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Texas Longhorns Improving Fast

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Texas Longhorns Improving Fast

Texas wins a lineout against Texas A&M. Alex Goff photo.

Goff Rugby Report came out with a list of the top five surprise teams in DIA this fall, and if we’d made the video a few weeks later, it might have been six teams, with the University of Texas in that list.

With only two games under the Longhorns’ belt, it’s pretty clear that Texas is a much better team than in 2018-19. Last year in the Red River, UT was 1-7. This year they’re 1-1 after beating LSU Saturday.

It was a tale of two halves. LSU led 12-7 at halftime, but then UT turned it around.

“We were definitely flat in the first half,” said Head Coach Connally McKay. “I have played more than a few times in Baton Rouge and it’s definitely tough to play there. We got in late on the bus and we kicked off at noon and the guys needed until halftime to get into the game.”

McKay still gave the team a talking-to, and instilled in them the idea that getting a little bit better is nice, but getting a lot better requires much more attention to detail.

“We were getting in position but we were not sticking our tackles,” said McKay. “We were getting to rucks but we weren’t rucking past the ball. Everything. How we present the ball, how we approach our skills, are things the coaches have talked to them about.”

It all seemed to be based on caution. The Longhorns were capable of playing wide, but instead were playing between the 15-meter lines parallel to the touchline, basically giving up have the lateral space on the field.

“We needed to take it to the next level, and we kind of had an ah-ha moment,” said McKay. “I figured the’d show some improvement in the second half; I never expected them to do what they did.”

Texas ramped it up, that’s for sure, running in seven tries and outscoring LSU 41-7.

The switch has been flipped, and it could be that we will see more from Texas in the coming weeks. McKay thinks so.

“UT rugby has been mediocre for too long,” he said. “We can either lie down and accept it or do something about it. It feels like they go it; we need to take that confidence and run with it.”