Posted October 15th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Can the Longhorns stop Missouri's Chase Daniel?

Can the Longhorns stop Missouri's Chase Daniel?

It could have been a match-up of top three teams but Missouri’s loss to [tag]Oklahoma State[/tag] takes just a little away from this Saturday’s game between the Longhorns and Tigers. With the Horns now the number one team in the country every game is huge so the atmosphere for a night game at DKR should still be incredible. ESPN’s College Gameday will be present once again as the Longhorns try to keep another dynamic offense from scoring as many points as [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] can muster.

When Texas has the ball

Texas’ offense looked great last week against a solid [tag]Oklahoma[/tag] defense. The offense found a running game in the second half, they proved the wide receivers could get deep in one-on-one coverage, and coordinator [tag]Greg Davis[/tag] showed an ability to make adjustments and exploit a defense’s weakness. All of these things had not been proven heading into last week’s game.

Missouri’s defense has not looked so good. They probably played their best game last week in the loss to Oklahoma State. The Tiger defense struggles in pass coverage, so expect Colt McCoy, [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag], and [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] to have another big day. The Longhorn offenses wants to find a third receiver, but at this point any production outside of Shipley and Cosby will be considered a bonus. Texas will be able to move the ball against Missouri, but the Horns must capitalize inside the red-zone with touchdowns not field goals.

The offensive line is playing great and should have a physical advantage across the board on Saturday night. McCoy helps the big guys out by buying time in the pocket. If McCoy can break contain and put Mizzou’s linebackers in awkward spots Texas will move the ball with ease. The Tigers must force McCoy to stay in the pocket and make mistakes to have any chance.

The running game has come alive the past two games because of senior [tag]Chris Ogbonnaya[/tag]. His name has been typed so much the past two weeks that sports writers can finally spell it without referring to the media guide each time. At this point it appears Fozzy Whittaker will not be a factor this year. His knee injuries have only allowed him to play in one game, and I don’t expect the coaches to give the redshirt freshman many carries in big games moving forward. The ball will be in Ogbonnaya’s hands a lot in the running and passing game, but the key may be the short yardage play of [tag]Cody Johnson[/tag]. If the big guy can continue his success there is not much defenses can do against this team.

Like last week, Texas faces another high powered offense with the ability to score quickly and frequently. It will be up to McCoy’s offense to put points on the board, and to take time off the clock. Last week Texas was brilliant in this regard. The offense picked up third down conversions when they needed to and stuck with the running game even when it appeared they had no chance to make plays. This effort wore down the Oklahoma defense and got Sam Bradford and the Sooner offense out of rhythm. Texas outscored OU 25-7 in the last quarter and a half last week and will need that type of effort again to come out with a victory.

When Missouri has the ball

Missouri may be the best offense this Texas defense has to face this year. Quarterback Chase Daniel is a Texas native and has expressed his interest on many occasions to prove he should have been recruited harder by the Longhorn staff. Daniel isn’t the most dangerous player on Mizzou’s team however, that honor goes to red-shirt sophomore Jeremy Maclin. Maclin can do it all, he catches, he runs, and he is deadly in returns. It will be interesting to see what coordinator [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] comes up with to defense Maclin. If cornerback [tag]Ryan Palmer[/tag] isn’t healthy I’d suspect Texas shadows Maclin with a safety over the top. If Palmer can go, look for the senior to get matched up on Maclin for most of the game. Both guys are small and quick and would provide a great match up on the outside. Missouri does a good job of moving Maclin around; Texas’ most important job pre-snap will be to identify the dangerous Maclin.

The Tiger offense creates big plays, but they don’t necessarily do it through deep passes. Daniel likes to get the ball out quickly underneath and let his playmakers make plays with their feet. Texas’ best weapon on defense is their pass rush, led by [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] and super freak [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag]. Missouri will look to throw a lot of screens. The screen game was effective against Texas in their last two games because of the Horns eagerness to get to the quarterback. Unlike McCoy, Daniel is not a great quarterback if he is forced to move around and create plays. It will be up to the front four to provide that pressure for Texas’ defense because the linebackers will need to be used to stop the short passing game.

Texas faced a great tight end last week, and will face another one this week. Missouri’s Chase Coffman is one of the best in the nation. [tag]Roddrick Muckelroy[/tag] was in coverage for most of the second half against OU’s Gresham, if Coffman has early success Muschamp will go back to this strategy. But Texas must be careful to not forget about the running game. UT’s defense has been great against the run. They face a decent back this weekend in Derrick Washington. Washington leads the nation in scoring. He is a powerful back that has the ability to make big runs if he can get to the second level with a full head of steam.

Missouri’s offensive line uses big splits, like Texas Tech, to provide more time and space for their quick passing game. Last week, Oklahoma State tried to go inside the tackles in order to force Daniel to scramble. Texas would like to get conventional pressure from the corner, but may use this strategy if no pressure is being made. I’d expect a lot of three defensive end looks, or a 3-3-5 look with Kindle playing linebacker or defensive end depending on the circumstances. If Texas can put pressure on Missouri and keep everything in front of them it has a chance to be a great night for the Horns.

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