Coaches make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are immediately punished. Sometimes those mistakes take plays to expose themselves.
Colt McCoy couldn't feel his arm. Mack Brown knew McCoy was not likely to return. He knew freshman Garrett Gilbert was not prepared to play the best defense in college football. Therefore he knew that the defense would have to carry his team. The Longhorns defense was talented but top heavy, and some players were irreplaceable. Lamarr Houston was irreplaceable. Houston was not only the Longhorns best interior pass rusher, he was the only interior lineman that could match against Mike Johnson, and the only interior lineman that could hold up against a Crimson Tide double team. Yet Brown played him at fullback. Maybe following the Longhorns third consecutive three and out, Houston was due a breather. I'd hate to have to wonder. I'd hate to think a single play at fullback cost a single play at defensive tackle.
1. 1st and 10 at TEX 49 Trent Richardson rush for no gain to the Texas 49.
2. 2nd and 10 at TEX 49 Trent Richardson rush for 49 yards for a TOUCHDOWN.
Ben Alexander is pushed aside. Kheeston Randall is pancaked. The Longhorns interior defensive line is ripped apart, and blame poor angles and blown gap assignments if you'd like, it's hard as hell to stop a rusher with a cavern to sprint through.
(An ugly interception to Javier Arenas gives Alabama the ball back.)
1. 1st and 10 at ALA 25 Mark Ingram rush for 10 yards to the Alab 35 out-of-bounds for a 1ST down.
LDT, 3-tech, 3 down linemen. Houston buries his shoulder into and moves through right tackle Drew Davis. He begins to pursue from the backside, but is impeded by William Vlachos. The run is directed left. This begins a trend of running away from where Houston is positioned. It might be a coincidence.
2. 1st and 10 at ALA 35 Mark Ingram rush for 9 yards to the Alab 44.
LDT, 3-tech, 4 down linemen. Houston gets around Barrett Jones but the hole develops to his right. He does not factor.
3. 2nd and 1 at ALA 44 Mark Ingram rush for 11 yards to the Texas 45 for a 1ST down.
LDT, 3-tech, 4 down linemen. Houston stands up and sheds Jones, but the run is again to the left. He does not factor.
4. 1st and 10 at TEX 45 Trent Richardson rush for 5 yards to the Texas 40.
RDT, 3-tech, 4 down linemen. He sheds a cut block attempt, pursues left, offensive right, but cannot catch up to Richardson before he's corralled.
RDT, 3-tech, 3 down linemen. Mis-times his jump and is a full step behind his fellow linemen. Houston then attempts a swim move and it's plain sad. So sad, in fact, he doesn't even finish it, pulling up in the front stroke, and is a spectator as McElroy passes deep towards the right sideline. Kinda funny, actually.
6. 3rd and 5 at TEX 40 Trent Richardson rush for 1 yard to the Texas 39.
NT, 3 down linemen. Bolts off the snap, swims right over Vlachos and is in the Tide backfield before McElroy can even hand off. Instead of running head down like a bull in a china shop, Houston squares and sits in Richardson's hole, forcing the back to take a wide angle left. Earl Thomas flies in from the third level and upends Richardson after one.
Nice recovery, kid.