Posted January 4th, 2009 by Mike
Filed under: Bowls, Feature, Football

The Longhorns enter this year’s [tag]Fiesta Bowl[/tag] as the favorites. Texas wants to prove a point and make a case for a split National against a team with great name recognition. Many are overlooking [tag]Ohio State[/tag] and the third ranked Longhorns are going to need more than [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] and [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] to finish the season with a victory and a likely number two ranking.

[tag]Vondrell McGee[/tag]

The sophomore from Longview has looked quicker and more explosive as the season has worn on. The feeling is that McGee has finally been healthy. With [tag]Foswhitt Whittaker[/tag] back in the lineup the onus is not all on McGee to produce in the run game. It has appeared that he does not relish the number one role. That is not necessarily a bad thing, not all backs are made to be work horses. McGee will come into the game and run hard. With Ohio State having to use linebackers in pass coverage expect the Longhorns to use the pass to set up the run. As the game goes on Texas should look to use the run game in similar fashion to their game against [tag]Oklahoma[/tag]. McGee has shown a nose for the endzone and we’ll look to add one Monday night.

[tag]Malcolm Williams[/tag]

Texas will face the best cornerback in the nation when they face the Buckeyes’ Malcolm Jenkins. The Thorpe award winner will likely matchup with [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] for most of the night and the coaching staff is sure to focus on taking [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] away. This will force Texas to use another option, and with none being available at tight end, it will have to come from one of the extra receivers. Ohio State is physical in the secondary and out of all of the Longhorn receivers Williams possesses the best skill set to offset any advantage the Buckeye corners may have against [tag]Brandon Collins[/tag] and [tag]James Kirkendoll[/tag]. Williams has shown the ability to get deep; I believe Texas will try to take a shot early in the game.

[tag]Ben Alexander[/tag]

Alexander isn’t going to start, and he may not even play a ton of snaps. But this may be the best chance for Alexander to show his stuff heading into a crucial offseason for his career. The big nose tackle is a prototypical off center one gap tackle. The offenses that Texas faces in the Big 12 limit his effectiveness because of a lack of lateral speed. For the first time maybe all season, Texas is going to face a team that will show a heavy dose of downhill running. Texas’ two other tackles not named [tag]Roy Miller[/tag] are former defensive ends. Will Muschamp will need the size of Alexander on obvious running downs throughout the game. If Alexander can take up blocks and hold his gap it will help the Longhorn linebackers control Ohio State’s ground game.

[tag]Jared Norton[/tag]

Much like Alexander, Norton finds himself a duck out of water when he faces the offenses in the Big 12. Norton excels playing downhill at his middle linebacker position and may in fact be the best NFL prospect of the group. Unfortunately for Norton, in the Big 12 a linebacker needs to play well laterally and in space. Norton to this point has had a hard time in both of those categories. Enter Ohio State and Beanie Wells. This will be a game Norton can thrive in. [tag]Rashad Bobino[/tag] will likely get the start as the senior, but if Ohio State has success running the ball early, and maybe even if they don’t, Norton will become a factor in the game. The junior will be a sure starter next year and we’ve seen how a good bowl game can propel a player into a great offseason.

[tag]Blake Gideon[/tag]

A lot of people think the true freshman from Leander’s job is in jeopardy this offseason. Most still view Gideon as an overachieving two star recruit who is playing because of his brains and intangibles. The talk heading into the spring will depend a lot on how Gideon plays in this game. If he comes out and plays a good game and makes a play or two the talk will quiet, but if he struggles or [tag]Christian Scott[/tag] makes a huge play one of the major offseason hot topics will be the status of Gideon’s job. The word is the only thing holding Scott back is his work on the practice room and in the film room, if the light turns on in year three on campus the super athletic Scott will be in line for many more snaps in 2009. If he isn’t a transfer could be possible.

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2 Comments

  1. reply to  #1

    rachel

    none

  2. reply to  #2

    Brian

    @rachel: ha good one. Losers. 🙂

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