In his weekly Q&A, the former Longhorn receiver is up in arms over the offensive side of the football. He has some strong suggestions on the future of the program.
Walker: 'It is completely unacceptable to lose to Iowa State.'
What is your gut reaction from the loss to Iowa State?
Johnny Walker: First thing's first – it is completely unacceptable to lose to Iowa State. I think Greg Davis needs to resign as the offensive coordinator. I'm not for firing him, and I think he can stay on as the quarterback's coach, but I think its time to hand over the reins to Major Applewhite and let him call plays. I'm not for bashing on coaches, but I saw a big problem yesterday. When you're playing against a team in Iowa State that had lost by six touchdowns each of the past two weeks, surely there's something Utah and Oklahoma did to exploit something in their defense. You would think you'd have a game plan that featured some of what they did or at least something you do similarly that you feel will work just as well. They had no game plan. That part has nothing to do with players or anything like that – it is 100 percent coaching and that's completely unacceptable.
Has it really gotten to the point on offense where a change in play callers would be the answer?
JW: Yes. For Texas to score six points through three quarters against what might be one of the worst defenses in the country is incomprehensible. I just think to be in the position they're in right now, what they need is something new on offense. There's really nothing else you can say. I don't see what it would hurt to let Major Applewhite call plays. The type of effort in game planning I saw deserves a demotion. Iowa State had a game plan and they executed it while Texas had no game plan. Now, I'll say this, I would have thought Iowa State would have scored some points, but not 28. I really feel like the offense put the defense in some bad spots, but for the defense to give up 28 points to Iowa State – that's unacceptable no matter how you want to look at the situation.
There was talk, yet again, after the game about an arrogance or a sense of entitlement with this team. Is that a major issue?
JW: I hear talk of player arrogance, but for there to be no real game plan and this team as a whole being completely unprepared, to me that's arrogance among the coaches. It looks to me like they just went into this one thinking that their guys were good enough to beat Iowa State just because and without any kind of mental preparation. It works both ways.
D.J. Monroe got one carry against Iowa State. What's your take on the way he was used?
JW: I've screamed and hollered all year, as have a lot of people, about D.J. Monroe. I don't know how in the world you justify giving him one carry where he gets 10 yards, he's averaging 10 or 11 yards every time he touches the ball, and not letting him touch it again. We've heard that he's not this or he's not that, but for him to not be a part of the offense is totally unacceptable. That's the coaches not doing their job. They have to find a way to get him on the field because there are no more excuses. They keep saying they're going to, but it's about time they actually do it. He's their most explosive playmaker and if they plan on this offense having any success, they have to get the ball in his hands.
About the staff, do you think things need to be looked at there after the season?
JW: I think they need to make the one move immediately. Having been an offensive coordinator before, I've had to relinquish my duties because I felt like the job I was doing wasn't what the team needed and the job I was doing wasn't helping us win. I think you should give Major Applewhite the chance to see what he can do – see if he can bring some new creativity and some new energy to the offense. I mean, it can't be any worse than what we've seen. You don't have anything to lose. I think it just might be time for a change there.
Other than the obvious, what was the most disappointing thing about the loss?
JW: It’s frustrating because Oklahoma lost and Texas had a great opportunity to turn their season completely around and be right back in the hunt in the South Division and compete for a conference championship. Well, they didn't come out mentally prepared and got beat and now they are back at square one. It’s just disappointing all the way around.
The Texas offensive line has been under the microscope this year. What's your take on that group after this week?
JW: I don't completely fault Mac McWhorter for the offensive line issues. I think he's a good offensive line coach and I don't think you can put all of the blame on him at all. They don't have a great offensive line, and they don't have the personnel they used to have, but I think the scheme is part of it as well. This offense puts our linemen in bad situations sometimes because this group just isn't as strong as the ones they've had in year’s past. I don't think as an offense the staff has done a good job of playing to the strengths of that group.
How do you feel the wide receivers performed on Saturday and where do you see that group right now?
JW: I thought Malcolm Williams did a great job. John Chiles made some plays. James Kirkendoll made some big catches. I just think those guys are being put in some tough situations too, in terms of play calling and coaching. If I see that wide receiver screen again, I don't know what I'm going to do. They're young, but those young guys are showing they're talented. DeSean Hales finally saw the field and I thought he showed what he can do. As a group, those guys just aren't where they need to be. They could be better in their route running and attacking the defensive back's technique and things like that, which can create separation and take care of some of those issues that they're having.
What was your take on the defense?
JW: I'm really disappointed with the defense's performance. I saw a Nebraska team put 51 points on a pretty dang good Oklahoma State team – the same Nebraska team that Texas absolutely shut down last week. Iowa State's not nearly as good as Nebraska and Texas got manhandled for most of the game. On offense and defense. I think the thing overall, not just defensively, that concerned me the most was that Iowa State was in control of the game and the tempo the entire way. I think that should be concerning for everyone.
Mental mistakes continue to plague this team. Can those be fixed?
JW: They can be fixed. They got fixed last week against Nebraska. Again, that goes back to this team not being mentally prepared to play against Iowa State. They were not mentally into the game and not focused on what they were supposed to do and that is completely unacceptable. There are no excuses. Plain and simple – they got out-coached and out-played by a subpar football team.
Do you buy that the early start against Iowa State could have effected the team being ready to play?
JW: That should have nothing to do with you, as a player, getting ready to play a football game. That shouldn't have any effect on your mental preparation or how pumped you are to play a game. They didn't play well, they weren't prepared and they weren't coached very well going into the game.
What were your thoughts on the way Garrett Gilbert played on Saturday?
JW: I think the play calling and all of the issues we've talked about with the offense put him in some bad situations. I thought as a whole he did a pretty good job and there were some of those interceptions where the receivers could help him out. Even the ball he threw to Tre' Newton, he could do a better job of being a defensive back at that point and not letting the guy get the interception. He does have a long release, but I think that when he gets rolling, like any quarterback, and gets some confidence you'll see the release get faster. I think his biggest problem right now is he's thinking too much. That's something I keep going back to with this team – you're much better as a football team when you're reacting as opposed to thinking.
The lack of leadership on this team has been talked about, but how much of that falls on the coaches?
JW: Mack Brown wasn't happy and he seemed really disappointed. At the college level, it’s on the coaches to get your team mentally prepared to play and make sure they're ready to go, especially when you have as much youth as this team has. It makes your job easier when you have the leaders this team has had the past few years. That's what I was talking about when I said the coaches have to earn their paychecks this season – YOU HAVE TO COACH. This team has talent, but without strong leadership it’s on the coaches to coach these guys and get them ready. I think when we saw the changes on offense with trying to go to the downhill running game, we should have seen the writing on the wall for how this season was going to go.
What's your take on this Baylor team, which comes in with a lot of confidence?
JW: They're good. Robert Griffin and Art Briles are doing their jobs and doing them well. If Texas plays like they did against Iowa State, they'll get blown out. This is by far the best Baylor team Texas has played in a long time. Their players have bought into what they're doing and they're playing well and making things happen. It’s scary to think what can happen to Texas in this one if they play the way they did against Iowa State.
If you could put yourself in Mack Brown's shoes, what would you do to get this team ready for Baylor?
JW: I would say every position is open. I don't care how many games you've played, what class you are, or what you've done. I'm going to get the best 11 on the field on each side of the ball. I want the 22 most enthusiastic guys I can find who are interested in working as hard as they can to win football games and will play with 'Texas Pride.' I want guys with the right attitude. Losing to Iowa State, they definitely didn't look a top 25-type team. I think they're beyond hitting the panic button at this point.
A former two-time All-Southwest Conference receiver for the Longhorns, Johnny Walker co-hosts Longhorns Unplugged every Thursday night at 7 on 760 AM in his hometown of San Antonio.