Jay Norvell is under the microscope following a dismal offensive showing in Ames last Saturday.
Jay Norvell has nothing to lose.
The Texas wide receivers coach/play caller is feeling the heat after his offense laid a goose egg on Saturday against an inspired Iowa State team. It was a flashback to the 2014 season, one that Texas fans thought was history after offensive outbursts versus Cal, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
Now Norvell is left to ponder why his offense is all of a sudden sputtering. He didn’t have any answers at his Tuesday press conference.
“Just very disappointed,” said Norvell. “A week ago before we played the game we told them that we would play a team that is fighting for their lives in a very competitive environment and we were going to get their best shot. I take responsibility. I did a poor job of pounding that home all week.”
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This was Iowa State’s homecoming game. Traditionally a school will schedule a festive celebration like this when a weak opponent is coming to town – a team it should not have any trouble beating.
Iowa State picked the Texas game as its cream puff homecoming opponent. Let that sink in for a minute.
One would think being the scheduled opponent for such a game would be enough motivation to come out focused and ready to play. Then consider your opponent chooses you, the University of Texas, one of college football’s more storied programs, as its gimme game. Longhorn players should not have needed the coaches to get them in the right frame of mind.
It’s enough to make Texas fans sick to their stomachs.
Do you think Derrick Johnson, Earl Thomas, Vince Young or Colt McCoy would have to be reminded not to overlook a team like Iowa State? Where is the disconnect with today’s players?
Times have changed, according to Norvell.
“We live in a different in age, our kids, their attention gets stolen in every different direction,” he said. “When I was in college, I didn’t have anything except Saturday afternoon. That was all I thought of all week. Our kids aren’t always like that and so we’ve got to remember that as coaches and take advantage of that and keep pounding that message home.”
Texas has one fairly easy game left – this weekend versus Kansas. After that it’s West Virginia, Texas Tech and Baylor. West Virginia is beatable, but if this offense shows up in Morgantown, it will be another embarrassing loss. The Red Raiders can put points on the board. If the Longhorns come into this game 4-6 it could be a sparse Thanksgiving night crowd. This could be one of those games where defense is optional. But if the current Texas offense makes an appearance, this will get ugly very quickly.
Most fans have already chalked up the Baylor contest as a loss. That game will be more about pride, and making the Bears earn a victory.
Charlie Strong is staring a 4-8 record in the face. Why not take the training wheels off Jerrod Heard and let him learn on the job?
Where has the vertical game gone? Let’s bring it back, even if it means an interception or two. Force the defense to respect the deep ball and keep teams from loading up the box to stop the run. Let John Burt run some deep posts and fight for the ball if it’s contested. Now is the time to let him develop in game situations, not just in practice. Let a talented athlete like Burt make some plays for you.
Norvell is most likely coaching for his next job, so why not open up the playbook? What does he have to lose? Can it get any worse than what we saw in Ames last week?
The talent is there, it just needs to be turned loose. Norvell knows the players can execute the offense.
“We’re a much more capable team than we showed and we’ve gotta show that down the stretch.”
Time is running out, coach.