September 16, 2007

The grades are in - UCF report card

A win is a win. It's phrase that has existed in the American sports jargon for many years and it might become the official team slogan of the Texas Longhorns before the end of the 2007 season because this is a team that keeps winning games, even if it does often look like a piece of modern art. In a 35-32 road win over an inspired Central Florida team, Longhorns showed that they can be go from good to bad on any given play. Here's a position-by-position review of the game.

Grading scale

A - All-American level
B - All-Conference level
C - Solid
D - Below average
F - Complete failure

Quarterback

It's becoming increasingly difficult to give a tangible grade to sophomore quarterback Colt McCoy because there are so many layers to every single performance that go beyond simple completions and incompletions. On the surface, McCoy was a steady 32 of 47 for 259 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. There's no question that McCoy made some outstanding plays throughout the game, including a huge 38-yard completion to Jordan Shipley that ranks as one of the best plays of his young career, but there were some definite holes in his game against the Knights. Outside of the pass to Shipley, McCoy didn't throw the ball well in the intermediate and deep passing game. McCoy was accurate with the very short passes, but it seemed like anything that was over 10 yards was hit or miss at best. Still, the kid is an amazing competitor and it's scary to think about where this team would be without him. One thing that McCoy has to stop doing is locking on his primary receiver too soon because defenses are making plays on him on a weekly basis by simply following his eyes. The interception he nearly threw early in the fourth quarter with the team trailing 24-23 would have potentially been a backbreaker. Overall, there was a lot of good, a few outstanding moments and some bad ones mixed in at the same time.

Grade: C+

Running backs

If you want to talk about a mixed bag of tricks, look no further than the performance of Jamaal Charles. On many levels on Saturday, Charles played as well as he's ever played in a Texas uniform. With the line struggling to get any kind of push on the line of scrimmage, Charles was able to turn a few runs into pure greatness against the Knights. At times Charles ran like a man possessed, but his two fumbles put a huge dark cloud over his entire performance. You can't fumble in the red-zone and you sure as heck can't put the ball on the turf when you're trying to run out the clock and put away a win. Charles did both and to say that they were critical is an understatement. Still, if the Longhorns don't win this game without McCoy, they surely wouldn't have won it without Charles. When you consider that 12 of Charles' 22 carries went for two yards or less, it's amazing to think that he was able to finish with 153 yards. Back-up Chris Ogbonnaya did some nice things in a relief role, but this was Charles' show and it was boom or bust all afternoon.

Grade: B-

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