October 21, 2007

The grades are in - Baylor report card

The Texas Longhorns are bowl eligible after beating Baylor 31-10 in Waco, but they learned on Saturday that despite the progress that they've made in recent weeks, they are still a football team that has to play hard for a full 60 minutes to win games, even against the bottom-feeders of the Big 12. In this edition of the post-game report card, there's a lot of good and bad to talk about in the wake of a 21-point win that pushes the Longhorns to 6-2 on the season.

Grading scale

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

Quarterback - Sophomore Colt McCoy has been the most difficult player in the program to grade this season through eight games and Saturday's performance wasn't any different. On one hand, McCoy didn't protect the ball well, as he threw two interceptions and was involved in a fumbled pitch inside the five-yard line that could have really hurt the team against a better opponent. On the other hand, the difference between the two teams today was Texas' playmaking defense in the fourth quarter and McCoy's ability to make big plays on offense. Overall, McCoy had a solid performance, completing 25 of 34 passes for 293 yards and a touchdown, while also shaking and baking for another 44 yards as a runner. There's no question that McCoy was one of the few differences between these two teams on Saturday, but the Longhorns need more from McCoy than just a solid performance because this team will live and die the rest of the season with his play.

Grade: C+

Running backs - Texas junior running back Jamaal Charles appeared to take a step back on Saturday in his evolution as a complete running back. Despite facing one of the nation's worst run defenses, Charles (56 yards on 16 carries) ran tentatively between the tackles and was ineffective for most of the game as the front-man in the Texas running attack. His 3.5 yards per carry is hard to fathom when you consider that the Baylor game-plan was centered on stopping McCoy's vertical passing game and not putting extra men in the box to stop the run. Charles' biggest play came as a receiver when he hauled in a 31-yard catch along the sideline that put Texas in a position to make it a two-touchdown game. Redshirt freshman Vondrell McGee finally got his chance to share carries and he ran hard in gaining 50 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, but putting the ball on the turf will ensure that his amount of playing time decreases if he's not careful. Overall, the Longhorn running backs gained 110 yards on 27 carries.

Grades: C

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