Texas Longhorns wide receiver Jake Oliver makes a gain against the Baylor Bears during the NCAA college football game, Saturday, October 29, 2016 at Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

BEVO BEAT Football

Staff takeaways: Jake Oliver’s steady hands vital; Admiration for Malik Jefferson soars

Posted November 8th, 2016

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Staff takeaways from Monday’s UT press conference:

Brian Davis: Public, private criticisms

Charlie Strong doesn’t throw his players under the bus. Why should anyone expect him to do that with his coaches? Strong faced some pointed questions on Monday about Sterlin Gilbert’s decision to use the 18-Wheeler on third and fourth downs late against Texas Tech instead of running D’Onta Foreman. Long-time KLBJ radio host Ed Clements asked him if he ever questioned Gilbert by saying, “Hold on there, buckaroo.” Said Strong: “No, I didn’t say ‘buckaroo.’” Kris Boyd saved Gilbert’s bacon; if he doesn’t make that game-ending interception and Tech goes on to win, Gilbert and Strong are facing far sharper questions this week. Strong may not question Gilbert publicly, but there must be some real heart-to-heart talks in private, right buckaroo?

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Danny Davis: A case of production vs. speed

Jake Oliver’s 52-yard catch and run on Texas’ first offensive play against Texas Tech could have been a 69-yard touchdown, but he was caught from behind. “I’m definitely not known for my Devin Duvernay speed,” the junior receiver joked on Monday. Oliver may not share Duvernay’s speed or Collin Johnson’s highlight-producing acrobatics, but his steady hands have been just as vital. He has 23 catches, and one of only two players (the other is Armanti Foreman) to make at least one catch in each of Texas’ nine games.

Kirk Bohls: Jefferson impressive again

I had so much admiration and respect for Malik Jefferson before Monday, but that went up after the way the mature sophomore linebacker discussed his benching and said he deserved it. Malik said he was “too high on myself, and I wasn’t getting better.” It’s rare for someone that young to be humble and self-deprecating. His play the last two weeks has been outstanding (18 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks) as he’s begun to play at the level that was expected of him.

Cedric Golden: UT has risen from the ashes

Just two weeks ago, Texas was a program that had been left for dead. The Longhorns had dropped games to Kansas State and Oklahoma and a nation of sports fans were wondering when Tom Herman would accept the job as Charlie Strong’s replacement. It’s funny how winning can quiet some of the doubters. Texas is on a roll that could continue the rest of the season. That is, if the Horns can figure out a way to beat a very good West Virginia team on Saturday.

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