Assessing 3 struggling Texas football offensive players this season

Xavier Worthy, Texas football
Xavier Worthy, Texas football /
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Quinn Ewers, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
Quinn Ewers, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports /

The biggest concern in the late stages of the regular season for head coach Steve Sarkisian and Texas football lies with the offense. Texas’ offense largely stagnated in the last six quarters or so.

The struggles that the offense faced for the Longhorns in the last three games caused two losses. If Texas’ offense had any signs of life on Oct. 22 against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, this team would have at least seven wins right now.

And it goes without saying that the offense struggled mightily in the Longhorns’ loss at home on Nov. 12 against the No. 4 ranked TCU Horned frogs. Texas’ offense managed just three points in a sluggish 17-10 loss at the hands of the Horned Frogs last weekend.

And if you go back through the last six quarters, Texas’ offense has mustered just six points.

Something has to give for the offense if the Longhorns want to find more success in the win column down the stretch this season. The process of improving the offensive output must start this weekend, when the Longhorns face a massively-improved Kansas Jayhawks team on the road on Nov. 19.

Quinn Ewers and the struggling Texas football offensive players that need to step up to round out the season

With that in mind, here’s a look at an assessment of the three Longhorns offensive players that are struggling the most of late.

Cole Hutson, IOL

The interior offensive line was the biggest problem in the trenches for most of the season for the Longhorns. And there is one particular interior offensive lineman for offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Kyle Flood and the Longhorns that is problematic this season.

True freshman offensive guard Cole Hutson is having some real issues in Big 12 play this fall. Hutson is missing assignments, getting beat in pass protection, and not getting the necessary push off the line of scrimmage in run blocking.

Not only is Hutson the lowest-graded pass blocker among the starting offensive linemen for the Longhorns this season, but he is also one of the worst in the Big 12. In fact, Hutson grades out as the worst pass-blocking offensive guard in the Big 12 in the last four weeks.

He also has the lowest effectiveness rating in pass pro of any Big 12 offensive guard in the last four weeks, at just 95.6 percent.

And it gets even worse in true pass sets for Hutson of late. In the last four weeks, Hutson has allowed pressure on the quarterback on roughly 10 percent of his snaps in pass pro in true pass sets.

Opponents have started to pick on the interior offensive line for the Longhorns in the last few weeks. As a result, we saw fellow true freshman IOL DJ Campbell getting some of the snaps at right guard that would usually go to Hutson. Campbell did a better job plugging the gap in the interior in run and pass blocking for Texas last week than Hutson.

He didn’t allow a single quarterback pressure in 10 snaps in pass pro, and he was one of the highest-graded run blockers last weekend.

I don’t believe the fixes are going to be easy, or immediate for Hutson. He’s got to work on his footwork and assignment recognition off the line of scrimmage. There also seems to be a lack of physicality at times in run blocking compared to what you would like to see from the Flood-type interior offensive linemen.

But we have to remember that he is still a true freshman. Hutson has a couple of years to bulk up and improve his play recognition to become a more formidable IOL for the Longhorns.

For the time being, it looks like Campbell might be getting more reps at right guard given his increased effectiveness in multiple phases of the game in the trenches compared to Hutson.