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First Look: Texas Longhorns

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Our last First Look of the regular season is the Texas Longhorns.

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
at
12/12/7 BAYLOR (9–2, 6–2) vs. NR/NR/NR Texas (4–7, 3–5)
Dec. 5, 2015 | 11 a.m. CT
Waco, Texas | McLane Stadium (45,140)

TV: ESPN
Watch |  Listen | Gametracker Gametracker | Game Notes Notes

OPPONENT: Texas Longhorns
ODB GAME HUB: Baylor Bears vs. Texas Longhorns 2015
MEET THE PRESS: Baylor vs. Texas
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.texassports.com
MEDIA GUIDE: 2015 Texas Football Media Guide (Click here for roster)
ADVANCED STATS PROFILE: Texas Longhorns Advanced Stats Profile
LAST MEETING: 28–7Baylor | ODB Game Hub
LAST GAME: L; Texas Tech 48, Texas 45
SB NATION BLOG: Barking Carnival and Burnt Orange Nation, at right
SPREAD: Baylor –20.5 (Open: Baylor –21)
TV COVERAGE: ESPN, 11:00 a.m. CST Saturday
WEATHER FORECAST: Partly Cloudy, high of 62° (wunderground puts) game time temp at 53° AND A 3% CHANCE OF RAIN)

SBNation.com Texas Preview
baylorbears.com Preview
Bears vs. Longhorns Coverage

One Game More

As Coach Art Briles is extremely fond of saying, "The past is last." It doesn’t do to dwell on what has gone by or to speculate as to what might have been. There’s still plenty for which this team has to play. They have the Texas Longhorns coming to town on Saturday with a chance to finish second in the Big 12 and head to a Sugar Bowl. The Longhorns could possibly have a bowl berth on the line, given the fact that the NCAA is looking at inviting teams with a 5–7 record to go bowling this postseason. The Bears have Senior Day on Saturday, and Briles wants a packed McLane Stadium. Colt Barber of Bears Truth has this from Briles:

Because of that, head coach Art Briles is encouraging Baylor fans to show up with high energy to support a team that is looking for their 10th win, specifically a group of seniors who have won 49 games in their five years on campus.

"We are glad to be back home, I need a very lively and energetic stadium on Saturday at 11 a.m. to help our seniors finish out," Briles said. "My whole thing is all about our senior class, and paying those guys back for what they’ve done for this University from a local, regional, and national standpoint."

Think about this for a moment: the seniors that were redshirting in 2011 have not seen a season of fewer than eight total wins. The year before they joined the program, we celebrated six wins and bowl eligibility for the first time in nearly 20 years by rushing the field. The contributions of this group of seniors deserves to be acknowledged. Get to McLane, support the seniors, and cheer them onto a fifth win in six years over the Longhorns. Let’s do this.

Banged Up Bovines

If you caught any of the weekly teleconference yesterday, you know that the Longhorns are suffering from several injuries. According to Burnt Orange Nation, the Longhorns could be without as many as eight players due to injuries. Those that are confirmed to be out include Peter Jinkens, D’Onta Foreman, Kirk Johnson, and Patrick Vahe. Players either questionable or day-to-day are Malik Jefferson, Hassan Ridgeway, Johnathan Gray, and Jerrod Heard. Gray is day-to-day; while Heard has been cleared to practice after suffering a concussion against Texas Tech last week, Tyrone Swoopes will be making the start for the Longhorns against Baylor on Saturday.

Texas Longhorns 2015 Schedule and Results

Record: 4–7 | Second-order wins (diff.): 4.5 (0.5) | S&P+ Rk: 84
Date Opponent Opp. S&P+ Rk Score W-L Percentile
Performance
Adj. Scoring
Margin
Win
Expectancy
5-Sep at Notre Dame 9 3–38 L 5% –39.6 0%
12-Sep Rice 118 42–28 W 87% 19.1 99%
19-Sep California 45 44–45 L 60% –0.4 48%
26-Sep Oklahoma State 25 27–30 L 36% –11.8 7%
3-Oct at TCU 19 7–50 L 2% –56.9 0%
10-Oct vs. Oklahoma 3 24–17 W 79% 2.6 63%
24-Oct Kansas State 81 23–9 W 90% 19.3 99%
31-Oct at Iowa State 72 0–24 L 7% –26.3 0%
7-Nov Kansas 127 59–20 W 85% 24.6 100%
14-Nov at West Virginia 14 20–38 L 40% –10.5 9%
26-Nov Texas Tech 57 45–48 L 42% –6.9 20%
Date Opponent Opp. S&P+ Rk Win
Probability
Proj.
W-L
Proj.
Margin
Proj.
Score
Cumulative
Proj. Wins
5-Dec at Baylor 8 7% L –25.6 20.1 - 45.7 4.07

The Longhorns’ season started off incredibly rough, getting walloped at the hands of Notre Dame on the opening weekend, then losing close games against both Cal and OSU in September. After getting crushed by TCU, they pulled off what will go down as one of the more head-scratching games of the 2015 season, handing Oklahoma its only loss of the season in a game that wasn’t even as close as its 24–17 score indicates. A win against Kansas State had media folks proclaiming that Charlie Strong’s program had turned a corner and things were looking up. But Iowa State turned the Longhorns right back around that corner again, blanking Texas 24–0 in Ames on Halloween Night. After a win against Kansas and a loss to WVU in Morgantown, the Longhorns lost to Texas Tech in what turned out to be the battle of who can give up more rushing yards (Texas Tech did. But they also won the game, so there’s that).

Texas Longhorns 2015 Individual Stats

Once again, the individual stats produced below come from Bill Connelly’s Advanced Statistical Profile page, which can be found in the link block above. Check it out. It’s neat.

Passing Statistics

Player Ht, Wt Year Comp Att Yards TD INT Comp
Rate
Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Jerrod Heard 6’2, 195 FR 92 157 1214 5 5 58.6% 27 14.7% 5.7
Tyrone Swoopes 6’4, 244 JR 35 74 386 3 1 47.3% 4 5.1% 4.5

Jerrod Heard and Tyrone Swoopes have split time in this offense all season; the season began with the "who will be the QB" question; but the situation has evolved into somewhat of a tandem QB sort of set up where both spend time on the field. Jerrod Heard is clearly the better passer of the two, but Heard suffered a concussion against Texas Tech and will not start. Since he’s been cleared to practice this week, my guess is that even if he doesn’t start, we’ll still see him get minutes. If the Bears start fast and force the Longhorns to play from behind, we could see him forced into the game more and more.

Individual Rushing Stats

Player Pos. Ht, Wt Year Rushes Yards TD Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Opp.
Opp.
Rate
Fumbles
(Lost)
Johnathan Gray RB 5’10, 211 SR 123 489 3 4.0 3.8 29.3% 0 (0)
Jerrod Heard QB 6’2, 195 FR 109 727 3 6.7 5.6 53.2% 3 (2)
D’Onta Foreman RB 6’0, 241 SO 95 681 5 7.2 8.0 46.3% 1 (1)
Tyrone Swoopes QB 6’4, 244 JR 62 428 11 6.9 5.4 56.5% 1 (1)
Chris Warren III RB 6’2, 232 FR 43 364 4 8.5 9.8 46.5% 0 (0)
Kirk Johnson RB 5’11, 205 FR 9 54 0 6.0 11.8 33.3% 1 (0)
Daje Johnson WR 5’9, 184 SR 6 28 0 4.7 2.6 66.7% 1 (1)
Trey Holtz QB 6’0, 186 JR 2 10 0 5.0 3.0 50.0% 0 (0)
Armanti Foreman WR 5’11, 204 SO 2 2 0 1.0 0.0 0.0% 0 (0)
NOTE: Quarterback run totals above do not include sacks (which are counted toward pass averages below) or kneeldowns.

Heard is the Longhorns’ leading rusher with over 700 yards. Foreman is out and Johnathan Gray is day-to-day; the Horns may have to turn to Chris Warren III for the second straight week for production out of the RB position. Warren had a spectacular game against Texas Tech on Thanksgiving Day last week, but given the state of the Texas Tech rush defense, let’s hold off on crowning him the next Ricky Williams for now. The Bears’ rush defense is sliiiiightly better.

Individual Receiving Stats

Player Pos. Ht, Wt Year Targets Catches Yards TD Yds/
Catch
Yds/
Target
Catch Rate Target
Rate
Daje Johnson WR 5’9, 184 SR 50 34 376 1 11.1 7.5 68.0% 22.7%
John Burt WR 6’2, 184 FR 46 24 436 2 18.2 9.5 52.2% 20.9%
Armanti Foreman WR 5’11, 204 SO 28 11 182 2 16.6 6.5 39.3% 12.7%
Marcus Johnson WR 6’1, 194 SR 20 12 118 1 9.8 5.9 60.0% 9.1%
Andrew Beck TE 6’3, 232 SO 13 6 61 0 10.2 4.7 46.2% 5.9%
Johnathan Gray RB 5’10, 211 SR 10 6 84 0 14.0 8.4 60.0% 4.5%
Jacorey Warrick WR 5’10, 170 JR 10 6 35 0 5.8 3.5 60.0% 4.5%
Caleb Bluiett TE 6’4, 258 JR 9 7 110 1 15.7 12.2 77.8% 4.1%
D’Onta Foreman RB 6’0, 241 SO 9 5 64 0 12.8 7.1 55.6% 4.1%
Lorenzo Joe WR 6’2, 202 SO 7 4 73 1 18.3 10.4 57.1% 3.2%
Chris Warren III RB 6’2, 232 FR 6 4 9 0 2.3 1.5 66.7% 2.7%
Ryan Newsome WR 5’8, 166 FR 5 3 21 0 7.0 4.2 60.0% 2.3%
Alex De La Torre TE 6’0, 243 SR 4 3 24 0 8.0 6.0 75.0% 1.8%
Jerrod Heard QB 6’2, 195 FR 1 1 3 0 3.0 3.0 100.0% 0.5%
Kirk Johnson RB 5’11, 205 FR 1 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.5%

LOTS of people with receptions. None with over 500 yards receiving total. This WR corps sports some talent, to be sure, the trouble is that they just don’t have an arm to get them the football. John Burt and Daje Johnson get the lion’s share of the targets. I… don’t have a whole lot else to say about it.

Individual Defensive Statistics

Name Pos Ht, Wt Year Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Peter Jinkens LB 6’0, 230 SR 60.5 9.1% 9.5 6.5 0 0 0 0
Malik Jefferson LB 6’3, 232 FR 49.0 7.4% 7.0 2.5 0 3 1 1
Duke Thomas CB 5’10, 178 SR 46.5 7.0% 3.0 0.0 0 4 0 0
Dylan Haines S 6’1, 193 JR 42.0 6.3% 3.0 1.0 5 3 0 0
Naashon Hughes DE 6’4, 232 SO 40.5 6.1% 7.0 4.5 0 1 1 0
Holton Hill DB 6’2, 179 FR 39.0 5.9% 1.0 0.0 1 2 0 0
Jason Hall S 6’2, 209 SO 36.5 5.5% 0.5 0.0 1 2 1 0
Hassan Ridgeway DT 6’3, 314 JR 30.0 4.5% 6.5 3.5 0 0 0 2
Davante Davis CB 6’2, 191 FR 26.5 4.0% 1.0 0.0 1 7 0 0
Poona Ford DT 5’11, 291 SO 26.0 3.9% 6.0 2.5 0 1 0 0
Paul Boyette Jr. DT 6’2, 303 JR 24.5 3.7% 6.0 3.0 0 2 0 0
John Bonney CB 6’0, 188 FR 24.5 3.7% 2.0 1.0 0 1 1 0
Anthony Wheeler LB 6’2, 209 FR 24.0 3.6% 1.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Desmond Jackson DT 6’1, 300 SR 23.5 3.5% 2.5 1.5 0 0 0 1
Timothy Cole LB 6’1, 235 JR 21.5 3.2% 1.0 1.0 0 0 0 0
Bryce Cottrell DE 6’2, 253 JR 20.5 3.1% 6.5 4.0 0 1 0 0
Shiro Davis DE 6’3, 256 SR 20.0 3.0% 5.5 2.0 0 0 2 0
Charles Omenihu DE 6’5, 236 FR 16.0 2.4% 1.0 0.0 0 0 1 0
Kris Boyd CB 6’0, 188 FR 12.5 1.9% 0.0 0.0 0 0 1 0
Kevin Vaccaro S 5’8, 185 JR 12.0 1.8% 0.0 0.0 0 1 1 0
Breckyn Hager LB 6’3, 224 FR 9.0 1.4% 0.0 0.0 1 0 0 0
DeShon Elliott S 6’1, 205 FR 8.5 1.3% 0.0 0.0 2 0 1 0
Edwin Freeman LB 6’1, 236 FR 7.0 1.1% 3.0 0.0 0 0 1 0
Antwuan Davis CB 5’11, 194 SO 7.0 1.1% 0.0 0.0 0 1 0 0
P.J. Locke III S 5’10, 191 FR 6.0 0.9% 0.0 0.0 0 1 0 0
Note: It appears "Fumble Returns" are getting pulled instead of "Fumble Recoveries." My apologies. Will try to get that corrected.

Yay defense! Their defense is supposed to be the strength of the Charlie Strong-coached team, but this D is ranked 78th in S&P+. Oh. LBs Peter Junkets and true freshman Malik Jefferson are the standouts here, but Jinkens is out for Saturday’s game and Jefferson is listed as "questionable." I’m guessing that Malik plays on Saturday, though. He will be a monster for the Longhorns for at least two more years after this one. Looking down this list you’ll see multiple familiar names if you follow recruiting at all. Despite what appears to be a very strong defense on paper, the Horns just haven’t been able to stop the Big 12 offenses.

2015 Texas Longhorns Team Stats and Rankings

Statistic National
Rank
Conference
Rank
Value National Leader Value Conference
Leader
Value
3rd Down Conv. % 93 10 0.365 Bowling Green 0.519 Texas Tech 0.519
3rd Down Defense 112 8 0.460 Clemson 0.240 TCU 0.280
4th Down Conv. % 97 8 0.429 Navy 0.913 Oklahoma St. 0.889
4th Down Defense 101 8 0.583 Penn St. 0.167 Baylor 0.409
Blocked Kicks BYU 8 Baylor
Oklahoma St.
3
3
Blocked Kicks Allowed 1 1 0 27 teams tied 0 Baylor
Kansas St.
Texas
0
0
0
Blocked Punts Temple 5 Baylor 2
Blocked Punts Allowed 1 1 0 63 teams tied 0 7 teams tied 0
Completion Percentage 92 8 0.550 Western Ky. 0.728 Oklahoma 0.672
Defensive TDs 20 2 3 Arkansas St.
Buffalo
7
7
Oklahoma St. 5
Fewest Penalties 53 4 70 Navy 35 Iowa St.
Kansas St.
59
59
Fewest Penalties/Game 77 6 6.36 Georgia Tech 3.17 Iowa St. 4.92
Fewest Penalty Yards 68 4 649 Navy 299 Kansas St. 445
Fewest Penalty YPG 82 5 59.00 Navy 27.18 Kansas St. 40.45
First Downs Defense 107 8 277 Clemson 162 West Virginia 219
First Downs Offense 123 10 187 Cincinnati 355 Texas Tech 346
Fumbles Lost 58 5 8 South Carolina
Ohio
Arkansas
3
3
3
TCU
Oklahoma St.
4
4
Fumbles Recovered 23 4 10 Virginia Tech 15 Baylor
TCU
Oklahoma St.
11
11
11
Kickoff Return Defense 122 10 26.33 Memphis 14.90 Kansas St. 17.21
Kickoff Returns 105 9 19.02 Tennessee 33.41 West Virginia 25.62
Net Punting 28 4 39.24 Utah 43.67 Oklahoma 41.47
Passes Had Intercepted 12 1 6 Navy 2 Texas 6
Passes Intercepted 57 6 11 Arkansas St. 24 West Virginia 21
Passing Offense 117 10 145.5 Washington St. 397.0 Texas Tech 389.7
Passing Yards Allowed 90 6 247.0 Georgia 146.1 Oklahoma 201.5
Passing Yards/Cplt 55 8 12.60 Army West Point 23.00 Baylor 17.33
Punt Return Defense 18 4 3.85 Oklahoma 0.70 Oklahoma 0.70
Punt Returns 23 2 12.59 Texas A&M 19.68 Iowa St. 17.41
Red Zone Defense 120 10 0.917 Appalachian St. 0.583 TCU 0.775
Red Zone Offense 42 6 0.871 Washington St. 0.943 Kansas St. 0.939
Rushing Defense 101 8 203.2 Alabama 78.9 Oklahoma 149.2
Rushing Offense 17 4 231.1 Ga. Southern 375.6 Baylor 291.5
Sacks Allowed 108 7 2.82 Air Force 0.17 Baylor 1.27
Scoring Defense 94 7 31.5 Wisconsin 13.1 Oklahoma 20.8
Scoring Offense 83 8 26.7 Baylor 50.8 Baylor 50.8
Tackles for Loss Allowed 109 10 7.18 Georgia 3.42 Texas Tech 4.83
Team Passing Efficiency 95 8 119.39 Baylor 183.96 Baylor 183.96
Team Pass Eff. Defense 101 7 141.65 Michigan 94.98 Oklahoma 108.03
Team Sacks 4 1 3.27 Arizona St.
Penn St.
3.67
3.67
Texas 3.27
Team Tackles for Loss 39 5 6.9 Boston College 9.6 Baylor 8.2
Time of Possession 114 9 27:04 Stanford 35:21 Kansas St. 32:41
Total Defense 107 7 450.2 Boston College 254.4 Oklahoma 350.7
Total Offense 86 8 376.5 Baylor 616.0 Baylor 616.0
Turnover Margin 24 4 0.64 San Diego St. 1.67 Oklahoma St. 1.08
Turnovers Gained 43 6 21 Arkansas St.
San Diego St.
31
31
West Virginia 29
Turnovers Lost 19 1 14 Navy 7 Oklahoma St.
Texas
14
14
Winning Percentage 91 8 0.364 Iowa
Clemson
1.000
1.000
Oklahoma 0.917

It’s Question Time!

FIRST: Even though the Big 12 title and CFP belong to OU this season, we still have a shot at the Sugar Bowl with a W on Saturday. How are you feeling?
SECOND: What’s your favorite Christmas song?
THIRD: Given that there’s a 3% chance of precipitation at game time on Saturday, exactly what kind of precipitation will be torrentially falling from the sky at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday?
FOURTH: This is not a question. It’s a statement that I hate games impacted by weather. Four of them this season. FOUR. That’s the worst. Weather is the worst. I’m sick of weather. Express your agreement in gif form.
FIFTH: Uniform Prediction?