September 9, 2007

The grades are in - TCU report card

College football is a 60 minute game and the Texas Longhorns proved that on Saturday with an inspiring second half that witnessed them easily eclipse the total number of points that had previously scored in the first six quarters of action in a young season. Overall, each phase of the game contributed mightily to the 34-13 win over TCU. 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

I'm a big believer that the quarterback position can't always be defined by stats. It's a position where key plays at key moments usually determine the eventual outcome of the game. Against TCU on Saturday sophomore Colt McCoy wasn't razor sharp, especially in the first half, but his gritty and determined play was essential for the Longhorns. After a miserable first half, McCoy opened things up in the second half with a beautiful 33-yard touchdown pass while rolling to his right on a third and 11. That was a sign of things to come, as McCoy proved to be at his best in this game on third downs in the second half. Whether it was a key run or pass, McCoy stepped up big when he needed to and that's the sign of a great player. If anything, McCoy needs to remind himself that he has to play within himself and not to try to win the game on every play. There were some plays in the first half where he forced a few passes and it led to TCU picking up a late field goal in the second quarter.

Grade: B

Running backs

There was a lot to like about the running game at times in this contest and it often started front and center with the running of junior Jamaal Charles. After being called out this week for not getting up-field quick enough in the season-opener against Arkansas State, Charles wasted little time in most of his 22 carries in getting up the field and limiting negative plays against the quick, hard-slanting TCU front seven. Even more impressive than that was his ability to get better as the game went on. With all the durability questions Charles has faced in the last nine months, he certainly answered the bell in this game as the majority of his yards on the night came in the final 30 minutes of action. It's also interesting to note that when Charles is able to get a head start and get going north and south, he's a playmaker and he proved that on Saturday night to the tune of 134 yards and a touchdown. Add in a sprinkle of Vondrell McGee and Chris Ogbonnaya, and the Texas running backs produced 145 yards and two scores on the night. Also, before we move to another position, let's throw some kudos out to fullback Luke Tiemann. I'm not sure he's a great lead fullback at this point, but he sure makes an effort to run into someone at full speed on every play.

Grade: B

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