Friends, let me introduce you to Texas’ new number one receiver, Mike Davis. We waited through spring practice, the pre-season camp, and five quarters of real play for a receiver to step up as Garrett Gilbert’s go-to guy.
In the second quarter against Wyoming last night, the true freshman did so, catching a 29 yards pass to start the first drive of the second quarter. That drive then stalled for a punt, but a couple of drives later, Davis goes 45 yards for a touch down.
Davis finished the day with seven catches for 104 yards.
Gilbert had a decent game, going 22 of 35 for 222 yards and a touchdown. He does tend to lock-in on a receiver, and his passes aren’t very pretty when he gets happy feet. He showed some impressive shiftiness from Wyoming’s sometimes strong pressure.
Which brings us to the offensive line. They just weren’t very good last night, and they’re going to get Gilbert killed if they don’t step up.
Backup offensive tackle Luke Poehlmann was helped off the field in the fourth quarter with what looked like a knee injury. No word on him so far today.
The running-back-by-committee choose to feature Fozzy Whittaker last night, with his going 62 yards on seven carries with a touchdown. Starter Tre’ Newton was a non-factor with only 25 yards on eight carries.
It’s becoming quite apparent that what we have are three mediocre running backs. That’s going to be a problem with an inexperienced quarterback and a suspect o-line.
The defense showed improvement with fewer physical breakdowns than last week against Rice. But the mental mistakes were legion.
One drive in the third quarter had Wyoming make three first downs by penalty, including a late hit by Blake Gideon where he lowered his head and drove into the wide receiver. I love the aggression, but you have to play smart.
I would have liked to have seen some turnovers, but holding an opponent to seven points and 257 yards offense will win a lot of games, even with a suspect offense.
Special teams was certainly special. Our kicking game looks great, with Justin Tucker hitting both his field goal attempts, and knocking most of his seven kickoffs into the end zone. Many of them were quite deep in the end zone, in fact.
Kick coverage looked good as well. On one kickoff in the second quarter, Wyoming return man James Caraway made the mistake of attempting to return a kick that went about four yards deep in the end zone. Adrian Phillips tackled him on the Wyoming twelve yard line.
We did see the return of Justin Tucker’s rugby punt, but it was from the Wyoming 44 yard line, so if it had been executed, it might have worked out well for us. Unfortunately, Tucker’s kick went out of bounds after only 17 yards. Not so pretty.
Punt receiving is much more exciting than it should be. The Wyoming punter was kicking away from us, but our guys were insisting on trying to field the bouncing, rolling ball. We didn’t muff any punts last night, but if we keep this up, it will burn us again.
The heart of our season starts next week, with a visit to Lubbock for Texas Tech. Then we get UCLA at home, Oklahoma in Dallas, and Nebraska in Lincoln after a bye week.
UCLA looks truly bad, so I’m not too worried about them. But if we play the way we have for the last two weeks, the other three are all losable games.
The defense should keep us in the games, but at this point, I’d be happy to get away with wins in two of the three.