Posted October 8th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Every game between Texas and OU is huge, but with the rankings and the BCS implications the 2008 meeting carries extra weight. Both teams enter the game as top 5 teams, and the winner not only has the inside track to win the Big 12 South, but also has to be considered the favorite to play for the national championship at the Orange Bowl.

When Texas has the ball

Texas enters the game without a clear cut go to running back, a tight end that can catch, and a receiver that can stretch the field. Yet, the offense has been clicking on all cylinders due to the stellar play of third year quarterback [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag]. This week is not the time to try and tinker with things offensively so expect McCoy to have the ball in his hands most of the game. I wouldn’t be surprised to see McCoy throw the ball 40 times Saturday, especially if the Horns find themselves playing from behind. Most onlookers feel OU has the mental advantage heading into these because of the blowouts that started this decade, but none of these players were on those teams. In fact, the Texas players in this game have won two out of the last three against the Sooners, and last year could have easily been won if it weren’t were a few key mistakes by NFL rookie [tag]Jamaal Charles[/tag].

Oklahoma’s defense is good, but the secondary is not great. McCoy and his receivers will have a clear advantage in the passing game as long as the offensive line gives him enough time to get rid of the ball. Texas’ line struggled last week in blitz pickup at times, but the coaches and players have suggested that it was due to Colorado playing uncharacteristically. OU will be OU, and [tag]Greg Davis [/tag]and his offense should know what to expect.

I don’t see Texas being able to run the ball consistently against this Sooner front seven. The Longhorn offense has struggled to run the ball against lesser opponents and to expect the light to just come on would be unrealistic. The only chance Texas has of creating plays in the running game is if Fozzy Whittaker is able to play and play well. The added speed he gives the backfield allows UT’s offense to run the zone read much more effectively. I expect the backs to be used as receivers as much as anything else.

This game will come down to turnovers and protection. Texas has excelled in those areas so far in the season, but the level of competition and emotion will be sky high on Saturday. If Texas can control the ball and limit mistakes there is a good chance this offense is able to put up points against Oklahoma.

When Oklahoma has the ball

Oklahoma’s offense is scary good. The introduction of the no huddle as their primary offense gives the Sooners an overwhelming number of advantages. It allows quarterback Sam Bradford to snap the ball before defensive adjustments and substitutions are made. OU’s running game hasn’t been a world beater either as running back DeMarco Murray hasn’t had the same burst he had last year in the Red River Shootout when he took a huge run over 60 yards for a back breaking touchdown.

Texas’ defense has gotten better each week. The secondary play has improved dramatically, but most of it has to do with the pressure the defensive line has been able to produce. It will be interesting to see if the back four (or five when they play in nickel) will hold up if Bradford is allowed time. OU’s line is the best in the nation and it may force defensive coordinator [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] to blitz more than he would like. If Texas can create pressure with the front four it will allow for more players to cover Oklahoma receivers.

I expect UT to handle the Sooner run game, so just like when Texas has the ball expect Bradford to control the game for OU. The quarterback who makes the most mistakes or faces the most pressure will likely leave Dallas as the loser.

The key for Texas’ defense will be to utilize the depth in the front four they have tried so hard to build. If a guy like [tag]Sam Acho[/tag] or [tag]Eddie Jones[/tag] can provide pressure when [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] is getting a breather it will make OU’s no huddle offense less effective. For the first time since Bob Stoops took over in Norman I feel that Texas has the advantage in coaching because of [tag]Major Applewhite[/tag] and Muschamp. If Texas’ defense keep them in the game all the credit in the world must go to the first year coordinator that has single handily changed the mindset of this group of young Longhorns.

Hook ’em.

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3 Comments

  1. reply to  #1

    Lane Boissenin

    texas suck ou is going to kill texas saturday

  2. reply to  #2

    Brian

    Thanks for the insight.

  3. reply to  #3

    Mark in Georgia

    Lane – I really respect the OU football program – good coach & good players. Regarding your comment about The University of Texas.

    Appears you have received the typical Oklahoma primary and secondary education which is reflected by your poor grammar, syntax, and punctuation.

    May the best team win, but I can sleep well at night knowing I did not receive a “3rd world” type of education like you did in Oklahoma.

    Good luck on Saturday!

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