Texas vs Louisiana Monroe: Five Notes and a Chat on Sunday

The Texas Longhorns Leave no doubt on Saturday in the season opener against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, as they dominated early in the ball game and didn’t touch the foot of the Warhax’s neck.

The Longhorns set the tone early on after D’Shawn Jamison blocked a ULM kick that was recovered and ran to land by Keilan Robinson. From there, Texas enforced the fluidity of the game and flexed the muscles you’d expect from the Power Five playing the Sun Belt opponent.

I found myself trying to watch a lot at once in real time because I wanted to focus on several single players in each shot. With all the new names on the roster and the hype produced during the holiday season, I wanted to see what this team looked like under the bright lights with the fans in the stands and the opponent in a different color shirt.

This is going to be a weekly trailer that takes place on a Sunday (or at least on a Monday) and I’ll give some takeaways from what I saw during the game and after chewing on some of the footage and stuff I can access via YouTube. Then I’ll make myself available in the comments for any speech or questions for the next hour or so.

So, if you want to talk about some Texas football once the dust has settled the day after the game, pull up a chair, pour a drink, and come on! With that, let’s move on to my notes from the season opener.

Quinn Ewers gave a solid performance

I think we’ll start here because it was the elephant in the room going into season. All eyes were on third from the moment he toured the DKR on Saturday and you can tell from the first series he was dealing with nerves. He intercepted a deep ball to Xavier Worthy after he drove the safety to him by staring him down and then on the next play he tried to force the ball into very tight coverage and was caught.

You can feel nervous energy after the ominous start. But after a quick chat with Steve Sarkissian and the Texans defense stuck in the red, Ewers returned to the field and answered with a 4th and 4th turn and then hit a tight end for Ga Tavion Sanders along the side for the first time. Collective touchdown pass. From there you can see Ewers confidence increase and play more in control as the game progresses. The throw-in for me was easily the ball for Sanders over the touchline in the third quarter. Ewers climbed into the jeep, not even having all of his cleats in the ground, and unscrewed the laser in a narrow window between the safety and corner back in coverage. You have to have arm talent to be able to do these types of throws.

Ewers would finish a 16-of-24 pass for 225 yards and two touchdowns along with an early interception. All in all, it was a solid outing for a guy who hadn’t started a soccer game in over a year, and I commend both Ewers and Sark for turning the wagons after the first series. I would have liked to see better results on the deep balls on the field, but that will be settled as the season progresses.

Defense looked good

Obviously you have to keep in mind who the opponent was on the other side, but the defense took care of the business and then some. The Texas defense was so brave against a rushing ULM attack that they kept the Warhawks 92 yards speeding in 41 attempts (2.2 YPC). They attacked the slopes with confidence in the early descents and gave ULM racers a little breathing room all night long. The Longhorns racked up three sacks, eight TFLs and D’Shawn Jamison took home an interception, so it was a very productive night for Pete Kwiatkowski’s defense.

My balls in play will go out to Jack end Barryn Sorrell and linebacker DeMarvion Overshown, both players being very visible and active when they were off the field and the score was in the box. Overtaking was the Longhorns’ leading striker and scored two TFLs while Sorrell scored 1.5 sacks with the TFL. The Longhorns badly needed players to go up the front seven to be able to put pressure on their quarterbacks, and they certainly did last night.

Special teams will be a mixed bag

On the one hand, you had Jamison and Keilan Robinson earn a Gold Star early in the game where they came together in a block kick that went the other way for the landing. On the same side of the ledger, you had a throwback team making good, smart blocking decisions about a nice comeback by Xavier Worthy, something we haven’t seen very often in recent years.

On the other side of the spectral handle, Isaac Pearson missed a field shot that resulted in a terrible kick by Burt Auburn, and on top of that he fell into a penalty that almost led to disaster.

Jeff Banks is a high-energy coach, and while I’m sure he was excited about some of the results from his group on Saturday, I imagine he wasn’t happy about the kicking process where things sit now. Texans have added a pre-camp pitcher in Daniel Trejo and he watched the action last night, so it will be interesting to see how things play out here.

Texas has guys everywhere

If you take a look at the Texas depth chart right before the game, you know that this team has a lot of lower tier men in depth. Guys like Kelvin Banks and Cole Hutson made their firsts last night as a real freshman and were far from the only ones who would score in the game. I saw at least 15 freshmen taking shots last night in Austin and that included a brand-new offensive line set that Kyle Flood put up there late in the game.

Needless to say there will be growing pains throughout the season, but getting the puppies to experience as they did last night will pay off moving forward.

Texas running back room healthy and good

Everyone with eyes can tell that Bijan Robinson is still good at football and that last night was the first game of his potentially final season in Austin. Along with Robinson, we arrive at Rochon Johnson in good health after the injury scare that kept him sidelined for some time during camp. Johnson is one of my favorite players on this list so it was great to see him healthy and score goals.

Bijan and Roschon are going to get a lot of bang for the buck, and for good reason, but you still have Keilan Robinson and Jonathan Brooks in that room who are both talented and good enough to get pregnant all season. Having options like this is a good problem for the Texans, as the guys over the course of a long season are likely to explode at some point. Each will play a vital role in the attack at some point and will be asked to make a play.

What are your conclusions and observations from last night? Shoot away in the comments!