Texas Football: The state of the Longhorns halfway through the regular season

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Texas football had an up and down start to the 2019 campaign without any true marquee victories about halfway through the regular season slate.

It is hard to believe that we are now in the second half of the college football season. But here we are. After a six game schedule that featured games against two top ten opponents in LSU and Oklahoma, the Texas football team now sits at 4-2 on the season, 2-1 in conference play. The meat of the schedule is now over, but the next six games will not be easy, though they are certainly all winnable.

Prior to the season, most Texas Longhorns football fans had the LSU and Oklahoma games circled as benchmark games that would show whether Texas was truly “back” as Sam Ehlinger said after Texas’ victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. If Texas was truly back, then at worst they would split those two games, and at best they would win both. Unfortunately, Texas lost both games, in both cases by one touchdown. What can we take away from those two games and the other four? And was is Texas’ ceiling this season?

As of right now, Texas is not “back”. Back would mean that Texas is an elite team that is contending for the College Football Playoff and being a shoe-in for the Big 12 Title year in and year out. As of right now, Texas is a very good team that can contend with the elite teams, but as of right now they are not themselves an elite team. That is not to say that Texas cannot become an elite team at some point, they certainly can. But they are not there right now.

The rest of the season, as mentioned earlier, is not as top heavy as the first six games. Right now, Texas only has to play one more ranked team (Baylor), and several other teams who barely have a winning record. But none of those game will be easy. Texas will need to play disciplined football to run the table and return to the Big 12 title game. It is doable, but it is not a given.

In order to have the best chance of doing that, Texas needs to make at least three adjustments. First, it needs to tackle in practice more. There are simply too many missed tackles and bad angles being taken for a team with this much talent, and that has led to being on the losing end of games.

Second, the defense needs to be simplified. With so many starters being out and more unproven players being asked to contribute, Texas needs to let it’s athletes loose and allow them to make plays. However, if they do not improve the tackling, this will not matter.

Finally, the offense needs to be simplified and go with tempo. In the Oklahoma game, when Texas used tempo they were far more effective because they were able to get out of their own heads and keep the defense off balance. While Texas will not play another team of Oklahoma’s caliber during the regular season, if they go with tempo they will allow Sam Ehlinger to get comfortable and in a rhythm, and will be able to protect the defense by building leads early so that mistakes are not as costly.

Next. 3 reasons Texas can still win the Big 12 in 2019. dark

The Texas season will be defined by whether or not they make it to the Big 12 championship game and win it. Making it will not be enough because that would show that Texas has not taken a step forward but have remained where they were last year. If they make the adjustments mentioned, they should not only be able to make the game but win it as well.