Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead is busy assembling his staff in Starkville this week. On top of adding a defensive coordinator with SEC coaching experience, Moorhead could also be adding an offensive line coach with ACC coaching experience. He will also reportedly offer a coaching job to former Louisiana-Lafeyette head coach Mark Hudspeth.
According to a report from Football Scoop, Hudspeth will be joining the Mississippi State coaching staff as a tight ends coach. This will be a homecoming of sorts for Hudspeth. Hudspeth previously spent time on the Mississippi State coaching staff form 2009 through 2010 prior to becoming the head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette. His addition to the staff should be a welcome one as Moorhead continues to add quality assistants to his growing football staff in Starkville.
According to Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated, via Twitter, Duke offensive line coach Marcus Johnson could be the latest addition to the coaching staff at Mississippi State.
This is a particularly interesting hire, because Johnson is an alum of Ole Miss (Class of 2004). The former NFL lineman joined the Duke coaching staff in 2011 and has held multiple positions on the football staff over the years under David Cutcliffe. Duke’s offensive line play may not have ever been among the best in the ACC, but Johnson was on a staff that saw Duke play for an ACC championship, and the level of offensive linemen he may be able to work with at Mississippi State could potentially be improved over his units in Durham.
It is also worth noting that Johnson played under former Ole Miss offensive line coach, Matt Luke. Luke was given the full-time head coaching job at Ole Miss after his one-year interim job.
Nobody could have seen this coming, even after throwing out the records. A week after being ambushed by TCU, Charlie Strong and his Texas Longhorns looked like a completely different team in the first quarter against No. 10 Oklahoma in the old Cotton Bowl. Texas holds a surprising 14-3 lead at the half.
Jerrod Heard completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Johnson midway through the first quarter. The Longhorns made it 14-0 when a break went their way. Lorenzo Joe recovered a fumble in the end zone for a score to make it 14-0 after Oklahoma had fumbled away the ensuing kickoff after the first score.
Texas outgained Oklahoma in the first quarter, 133 yards to just 15, and at the half (169 yards to just 85). Oklahoma went three-and-out on each of its two drives, and the Sooners had to punt four times before being able to put a dent on the scoreboard with a short 21-yard field goal by Austin Seibert after a 12-play drive stalled at the Texas four-yard line. Meanwhile, Texas was building a double-digit lead.
Without a doubt, the first half of this game was the best half we have seen from Texas in a while. Can they keep it going and score what would be a significant upset to get our day started?
Texas may want to start holding some open auditions for wide receiver before the season gets started. A hamstring injury will cost senior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley some practice time. There is no determination on when he might return to practice.
“Shipley has a hamstring pull, don’t know the timetable on that,” Texas coach Charlie Strong said Wednesday, per ESPN.com. “I don’t think it’s very severe. We’ll try to get him back as quickly as possible.”
Texas is now experiencing some serious depth concerns at the position, as if they were not already apparent. Strong has dismissed two receivers this offseason (Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander) and suspended another (Daje Johnson). Marcus Johnson has not been suspended or dismissed, but is recovering from some minor surgery on his nose. Other receivers still eligible and available for the Longhorns include senior John Harris and sophomore Jacorey Warrick. Harris had five catches last season for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Warrick did not record any offensive stats last fall.
“Warrick is getting a lot of work and Harris is getting a lot of work,” Strong said, again via ESPN.com. “With five freshmen, it gives us a chance to look at them too.”
I guess there is a bright side to this circumstance and situation in Austin. Younger players will get more opportunities, which can only benefit them and Texas later down the line.
The Texas Longhorns entered today’s edition of the Red River Rivalry ranked 69th in the country in third down conversion success. You would not know that by watching the Longhorns today. You also may not realize Oklahoma’s defense is ranked 11th in the nation in third down defense.
Texas is leading Oklahoma at halftime, 23-10, and has the success on third down to thank for it. The Longhorns converted nine out of 12 third down attempts, a 75 percent success rate. The Longhorns had entered today converting on just 40.26 percent of their third down attempts, so clearly Bob Stoops and his defense have something to review at the half. If Texas continues to extend drives with that kind of success, Texas could very well wear down Oklahoma on their way to their first win in the Red River Rivalry since 2009.
The Texas game plan has been incredibly solid and focusing on the running game. Johnathan Gray leads all players with 82 yards and Case McCoy has been dependable with 125 passing yards and a touchdown, a 59 yard strike down the right sideline to Marcus Johnson on a wild third down conversion. The offense has been efficient, but the defense has done their part as well. Defensive lineman Chris Whaley intercepted a pass from Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell and returned it for a touchdown in the first quarter to give Texas a 10-3 lead. Oklahoma’s only touchdown of the half was set up by a long kickoff return by Roy Finch. Damien Williams rushed in for a short touchdown run to get the Sooners on the board and cut the Texas lead to 20-10. Had the score stayed that way who knows if Oklahoma could have built off of that momentum at the break. Instead, Texas made the most of their short time until halftime and tacked on three more points with a 43-yard field goal from Anthony Fera. Before Oklahoma had that long kickoff return, Fera had kicked a 50-yard field goal.
Can Texas keep it going in the second half, or will Oklahoma battle back?