Posted November 7th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Can Sam Acho corral Baylor's Robert Griffin?

Can Sam Acho corral Baylor's Robert Griffin?

The way players perform after a breakout or a disappointing game says a lot about them. With a few players out because of injury and the heartbreak of last week there are going to be some younger Longhorns that must step up for this team against Baylor. Most years the [tag]Baylor[/tag] game is considered a gimmie, but this Baylor team, led by new coach Art Briles and freshman quarterback Robert Griffin, is capable of giving the Longhorns everything they can handle. These five players need to step up for this program to have success this week and beyond.

[tag]Foswhitt Whittaker[/tag]

Finally after weeks of hearing that Fozzy was ready to play the coaching staff let the speed red-shirt freshman get some meaningful snaps. Once he was in the game Fozzy showed what many onlookers had been looking for from him. He averaged seven yards on only six carries in the second half of last week’s loss. Before those gains the Longhorn offense could do nothing on the ground. Whittaker’s speed and elusiveness allows him to make positive plays even when the blocking isn’t perfect. That is just what this team needs because the offensive line play has been far from perfect. Whittaker is a smaller back that has already struggled to stay healthy, so don’t expect him to get over 20 carries. Expect him to get 10 touches or so out of the backfield and a few touches on shovel passes and screens. Fozzy can be the playmaker this backfield needs for the next few years if the staff shows confidence in his ability to carry the load.

[tag]Malcolm Williams[/tag]

Williams had his breakout game last week. He is another freshman with loads of upside. All year long Texas has been searching for a receiving threat to go along with [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] and [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag]. It took an injury to Cosby to allow Williams the opportunity to showcase his ability in a real game, but now that he has the hope is that he can continue to make a difference. Young players have the tendency to be inconsistent from one game to the next, so if Williams can back up last week’s effort with another solid performance the Longhorn offense may become that much better. Greg Davis’ offense has been reluctant to go deep throughout the year, but in the Missouri game and then last week, Williams has shown he is the type of player that can go up and get the ball. The more confidence Davis, and more importantly [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag], show in the young receiver the better this offense will be.

[tag]David Snow[/tag]

Texas Tech’s defensive line whipped up on UT’s offensive line for most of the night. Tech was able to get pressure on McCoy and shut down any thought for a consistent running game. Older guys like [tag]Cedric Dockery[/tag] and [tag]Charlie Tanner[/tag] are getting more and more of their snaps taken away by the younger guys. One of those younger guys is true freshman David Snow. Snow will start on the line somewhere next year. Offensive line coach Mac McWorther loves his mean streak. He has compared him to a bigger and more athletic [tag]Kasey Studdard[/tag]. No higher compliment can be made in my book. With the offensive line woes it wouldn’t be completely out of the question to see Snow get a start of Dockery by the time the year ends. The one thing that may keep Dockery’s job safe is the hole left at backup center because of the departure of [tag]Buck Burnette[/tag]. Snow will be the primary backup to starter [tag]Chris Hall[/tag] and the snaps he will have to dedicate to center at practice may keep him off the field at guard as a starter. Don’t be surprised to see next year’s potential starting lineup on the field at the same time with Michael Huey and Snow replacing Tanner and Dockery at guard.

[tag]Sam Acho[/tag]

It appears to be certain that starting defensive end [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] is going to miss the Baylor game because of the leg injury he suffered last week. His primary backup has been sophomore Sam Acho. Early in the year, and certainly during preseason camp, Acho impressed the coaching staff with his endless motor and nose for the football. Keeping containment while applying pressure will be crucial in this game because of the type of player Baylor’s quarterback is. Next year the Longhorns lose both defensive ends and it looks like Acho will definitely be one of the replacements. Just like Cosby’s injury allows guys like Malcolm Williams and Dan Buckner an opportunity to showcase their future ability, Orakpo’s injury gives a chance to emerging players such as Acho and [tag]Eddie Jones[/tag]. If Acho and Jones can gain confidence with Orakpo out of the lineup it will do wonders for this defense as it heads into the off season.

[tag]Blake Gideon[/tag]

The true freshman from Leander has exceeded everyone’s expectations. Not only has he come in to a program that many felt he couldn’t compete at and held his own, he has found himself as the starter for a top 5 team in the nation at safety for every game of the year. Gideon by no means lost the game last week with his drop of a potential game winning interception on Tech’s last possession, but with a young guy who is such a competitor it is likely he walked off the field believing he did. From everything we have seen of Gideon it would appear he would bounce back and use the adversity to get better. The worry is that he’ll play like a deer in the headlights for the rest of the year trying in vein to not make another key mistake. Secondary players must have a short memory, a lesson Gideon will have to learn early in his college career. As a coach’s son and a classic overachiever there is no reason to believe he won’t. Look for him early to see if he can make a play to restore some much needed confidence.

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