Saturday, April 16, 2016
Buchele Leads EMERGENT LONGHORNS in Spring Game
"To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:"
Darryl K. Royal Memorial Stadium -- If you need one takeaway from today's Longhorn spring game, take this: Shane Buchele passed for two touchdowns while Tyrone Swoopes threw two picks. Buchele would have threw for two more if his receivers had stayed in bounds. Swoopes still has a role to play in short yardage situations, but after three years the time has come for the Longhorns to accept that Tyrone Swoopes simply isn't an accurate passer.
With Buchele under center, the Longhorns consistently moved the football in the medium yardage situations that killed the offense last season. In addition to John Burt and Amanti Foreman, Buchele worked several new receivers into the mix. Given the Longhorns strength in short yardage situations and their ability to break big plays,the offense could be really good if 4 to 7 yard situations are no longer a dead zone.
The best part for the offense is that the quarterback and the passing game don't have to be spectacular. They just have to keep the defense honest. The Longhorn running game didn't skip a beat from last season. D'Onta Foreman and Chris Warren both scored touchdowns in dominant performances. Junior Roderick Bernard didn't look bad either.
The defense was solid though not spectacular. Obviously, they allowed the offense plays described above, but they also collected the two picks off of Swoopes. While Malik Jefferson looked terrific as usual, but no one else stood out in either a positive or negative way. The pass rush was strong while the run defense remains a work in progress.
We were surprised how many people showed up for an exhibition scrimmage in the middle of the rain that ended up being called at halftime. The entire lower deck on the home side of the home side of the stadium was full and most of the middle sections on the visiting side were as well. There were at least 15,000 people there though the number could have been as high as 20,000:
One personal note: Our co-worker Austin Willis walked on to the team as a tight end; even though he didn't play, it was a trip to see him in uniform:
Bottom Line: While the lionization of Shane Buchele we've seen in the press is wildly premature, he had a Strong performance (pun intended). He climbed at least one place on the depth chart and set up a very interesting training camp competition with Jerrod Heard. The holes that existed in last year, primarily the dead zone on offense between 4 and 7 yards, look like they've been addressed. The running game remains dominant. The pass rush is strong though the run defense remains a work in progress. We expect the Longhorns to be significantly better this season, though how much better is anyone's guess. For the first time in several years, there is real talent coming through this program.