Posted September 6th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Feature, Football

Keys to Victory vs UTEPThe [tag]UTEP[/tag] fans and players have likely had this weekend circled on the calendar for months. Their match-up against the Longhorns might be the biggest game they’ve ever played in the Sun Bowl. After the Miners’ loss to lowly Buffalo last week this game lost a little luster, but the Texas team still has plenty to work on both for this game and the rest of the season.

Read below for the Longhorns’ keys to beat the UTEP Miners:

1. Don’t sleepwalk to start the game.

A 9:15pm game time is not normal for the Texas players but they can’t let it affect the way they start the game. There’s going to be a lot more downtime for the team on gameday but the players need to find a way to get into their routine and be ready for the opening kickoff. If it takes Texas two quarters to wake up, UTEP will gain confidence and start believing the upset is possible.

2. Secondary play must improve.

The young secondary certainly looked inexperienced in the first half against FAU before they settled down a bit. UTEP quarterback Trevor Vittatoe had a rough season opener but was great in 2007 and will test the pass defense. There have to be fewer mental mistakes and fewer missed tackles this week and the safeties in particular need to improve quickly. The passing defense may not hurt the Horns this week or even against Arkansas, but when the team travels to Colorado in October they better not be playing like freshmen anymore.

3. Get more big plays out of the running game.

[tag]Vondrell McGee[/tag] and [tag]Chris Ogbonnaya[/tag] were both solid last week but the longest run of the game came on a 25-yard scamper from QB [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag]. The offense was near perfect but not explosive, this week it would be good to see McGee take one 30+ yards to the house. Getting the speedy [tag]Fozzy Whittaker[/tag] back will certainly help but he’s still not full strength yet.

4. Hit UTEP quarterback Trevor Vittatoe.

The best way to help out the secondary is by getting after the quarterback. The defensive line did get decent pressure on FAU QB Rusty Smith but didn’t record a single sack. That has to change this week. Against UTEP the Horns will likely stay pretty vanilla on defense but the team should still be able to get to and hit Vittatoe repeatedly. I want to see at least one sack each from [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag], [tag]Henry Melton[/tag], and [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag] Saturday night.

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