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October 17, 2013

The Deep Dig - OU

These guys love the rain

Scratch that - these guys love anything that makes someone into a bad driver. Rain, sleet, snow. They say God bless your cell phone and long live the 21st-century "texting and driving" phenomenon.

If you own an auto body shop, you say let it rain. Any distraction between point A and point B is what you've banked on all along.

"We're backed up because of the rain. Lots of collisions. We can get you in for an estimate late next week."

And what timing

I swear, these things can't write themselves. What timing for a record, much-needed downpour of big Texas rain in Austin. Just after some guy pulls a hit-and-run on my wife's car. Having the extra wait-time to get an estimate is one thing - but having to drive the damaged vehicle in the elements is another.

The left half of my body was soaked with rain from my commute across town when I went to the punk's house Tuesday.

I had the address in South Austin mapped out and scoped. All this research made possible because a bum saw the hit and run happen. What I thought was a panhandler loitering by my vehicle just a few days earlier turned out be a great help. This homeless man took down the license plate number. He said it was a white and silver Chevy Silverado "... a ZZ-71, man!"

I thought about that bum as I ran my finger along the side of the person's white and silver "ZZ-71" while approaching his front door. My insurance company said he was uninsured, but since I had spent the better part of a week finding his address, wife's name, tax records and place of work. I thought it may be best to pop in on the hit-and-runner to see if he would like to help with the out-of-pocket deductible we'll be having to pay because of his irresponsibility.

Knock knock

When the owner of the truck opened the door, he was not the man I was expecting. He was old and feeble. In stark contrast to the young, drunk idiot I had been picturing in my head, he looked like a man I might have called "sir" had I grown up in the rain-soaked South Austin neighborhood in which I found myself.

I told him he was going to be dealing with the police in one of two ways today:

1) By giving himself up, admitting to the hit and run, and paying my deductible for uninsured driver coverage; or

2) Through a thick, plastic body bag as investigators cleaned up the crime scene this house was about to become.

Judging by his response - which was to throw a wildly erratic punch at the side of my face - I determined the man preferred door No. 2.

I blocked the punch, and wrapped my hands around his soft, wrinkly neck. As chihuahuas yapped underfoot I squeezed. I made sure he was unconscious before proceeding into his home, where I was able to find $200 in cash and a few boxes of antique Mexican jewelry.

And .............. CUT

You weren't expecting that were you? The good news is that I did not assault the man in his South Austin home this week. I gave his son a note asking he call me.

But how else could I possibly paint a picture with words of something so sudden, so unexpected and so … violent? Here we are - in reality, and the Texas Longhorns really did that to Oklahoma last Saturday. For Texas fans, it almost seems like a daydream come true.

The Deep Dig

I didn't expect the win against Oklahoma to come like it did, but I expected the win and predicted it here on Orangebloods. I predicted correctly that Texas would get an early pick-six off of a zone-blitz by "putting playmakers in position to ballhawk." I didn't expect the "playmaker" in this case to be Chris Whaley dropping into coverage from the defensive tackle position, but again - nothing happened exactly like anyone expected.

Before we get into the Texas offensive line's performance against OU, it is important to point out a few things. The offensive line did not grade out as well individually as one might think, and for a while after calculating the grades, I struggled with understanding why. It took watching the actual broadcast version of the game back to see the forest through the trees.

While no one player outside of Dominic Espinosa put their best game on tape from an individual grading standpoint, they all played at an elevated level as compared to their 2013 averages versus an historically tough opponent in the trenches. The result was an entire unit looking absolutely brilliant as one - something it has shown a much greater propensity to do with Case McCoy under center than with David Ash.

- Donald Hawkins is looking more and more like a future NFL player every week, and as I've been saying, I have little doubt that if his development continues, that he will be on an NFL roster as a free agent if nothing else.

- Kennedy Estelle can look bad from time to time, as Texas fans know. He's improving though, and there are areas of his game where he is already better than Josh Cochran. Estelle is immeasurably more effective as the backside tackle on zone left plays and shows far less of a propensity for loafing when the play-call is not to his side. Estelle's scores in the run-blocking realm have been seeing an uptick despite occasional bad positioning and poor use of leverage at the point of attack because he gains it back when making great backside hustle-plays that can spring nice secondary cutback/"bounce-out" areas for Johnathan Gray. Estelle takes a great power step upfield on the back side of zone plays, and always gets his right shoulder pad under his guy's right armpit, forcing the defender to work across his body laterally with the flow of the play and taking away downfield athleticism. Estelle is still a clear liability in dealing with outside speed rushers.

- Espinosa was the Red River Rivalry's unsung hero. As was the case with Whaley and McCoy, Texas got help in some interesting places to make this thing happen. Espinosa played an inspired game, and was able to consistently win at the point of attack and own the inside with motor. It is no coincidence that Texas firmly established its identity at the Cotton Bowl in the middle of the line of scrimmage where Espinosa happens to reside. While Espinosa has been a liability in the run game that can clog zone lanes by allowing interior penetration, Texas fans saw no sign of this on Saturday, thanks in large part to the mix-and-match approach of run-blocking concepts Texas utilized, as we'll get to. As you can see here, when Espinosa had a positive play, usually the players around him did as well.

- Mason Walters did not play as inspired a game, and is clearly fading. While his level of play seemed to elevate with that of teammates, Walters can be a bit of a loafer at times and does not hustle upfield to make second-level blocks. After examining over 2,000 separate snaps this season alone, it is becoming my belief that the right guard position is trending toward taking over right tackle as the Texas offensive line's weakest link. Walters consistently fails at establishing proper leverage when meeting linebackers in the hole as a pulling guard on power concepts, and furthermore, sometimes even struggles to squarely deliver contact of any sort in this type of open-area engagement.

Run Game Breakdown

Texas fans loved the way Texas pounded the ball against Oklahoma, here's the general breakdown of concept usage over the 60 run snaps.

- Texas fans' hats should be off to the coaching and play-calling of Co-OC Major Applewhite and O-line coach Stacy Searels. When the staff saw what was happening in trenches, they not only committed to the run, they had a man-power scheme in place and ready to deploy. This kept the inexperienced and undermanned front seven of Oklahoma from ever understanding exactly what initial play flow indicated and put the Longhorns line on the constant offensive from both a mental and a physical standpoint.

Defensive Disruption

Where does Texas go from here?

The Texas staff and players still have their "original goal" intact. Despite two horrible losses at the beginning of the 2013 season out of conference, a media member will not get through a Texas press conference without hearing as much.

"The goal all along has been to win the Big 12."

And Texas is now undefeated in conference, having already collected one desperately needed Golden Hat. Whether the team keeps it up is up to the team, but if it showed its fans one thing versus Oklahoma, it's that McCoy was right. The media, the fans - they "have no idea" what's going on in the Texas locker room.

Maybe it's time to start expecting the unexpected.

Texas NEWS


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