ESPN’s Todd McShay is one of the best in the business and he’s got Texas’ [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] headed to the Cleveland Browns with the 5th pick in his latest mock draft. He also has some pretty high praise for Rak:

Orakpo exited the combine as the top hybrid DE/OLB in the 2009 class. His pass-rushing skills would be a welcome addition to a Cleveland defense that notched just 17 sacks in 2008.

Some experts aren’t as high on Orakpo as McShay, claiming he’s close to his ceiling and knock him somehow for being a high motor guy. Of the defensive ends that are available he is definitely the best bet, but I could see him falling a little based on team needs near the top of the draft. They’re calling him a hybrid DE/OLB but he didn’t play much without his hand on the ground at Texas so it will be interesting to see if a 3-4 team thinks he could play linebacker in that scheme.

Update: Orakpo goes 3rd to KC Chiefs in another mock draft on NFL.com.

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Posted January 7th, 2009 by Mike
Filed under: Bowls, Feature, Football

Senior WR Quan Cosby had the biggest game of his career in the Fiesta Bowl

Senior receiver Quan Cosby had the biggest game of his career in the Fiesta Bowl

Texas came up big in the [tag]Fiesta Bowl[/tag] to finish the season 12-1 and move to 3-0 in BCS bowl games. A good mixture of older guys and younger guys stepped up to give this Longhorn team a win that was fitting for this team and season. Nothing came easy for Texas against [tag]Ohio State[/tag], but the leadership of this team ended up being too much for the Buckeyes.

  1. [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] – I know Colt McCoy won the Offensive MVP award and it easy to give the top spot to the quarterback with the big numbers, but when Texas needed plays on third down and at the end of the game it was Cosby who stepped up and won the game. Cosby played inside more than normal to avoid Thorpe award winner Malcolm Jenkins and it paid off. Cosby had a career night in his last game as a Longhorn finishing with a career best 14 catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns.
  2. [tag]Roy Miller[/tag] – The Defensive MVP came up huge in the second half of his last game at Texas. The Longhorn defense struggled to slow down the Ohio State run game and Beanie Wells in the first half but did a much better job in the last 30 minutes. Miller was dominant, he demanded double teams and plugged the inside holes allowing the Longhorn linebackers to run free. The big senior finished with three tackles, a sack, and a devastating block on fourth and short on a drive in the third quarter.
  3. [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] – What can be said about Colt that hasn’t already been said? He should have won the Heisman, he should be playing for the National Championship, he has all the Texas passing records, he’s as clutch as you get, and he has a smoking hot girlfriend. Am I missing anything? In a game that appeared to be an inconsistent one for McCoy he still finished with a career best 414 yards on 41 of 58 including a pair of touchdowns. Ohio State bottled him up in the run game minus one 14 yard touchdown score.
  4. [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] – The best defensive player in college football was the focus of the Ohio State blocking scheme. The Buckeyes were able to keep him out of the stat book for the most part, but they weren’t able to keep him from making an impact on the game. All night Ohio State kept a tight end and sometimes even a running back in to help block Orakpo. When they didn’t he got pressure on the outside on both Buckeye quarterbacks, obliterating Todd Boeckman late in the game. It took until the second to last play for ‘Rak’ to get his sack, but the play iced the game.
  5. [tag]Earl Thomas[/tag] – Thomas has quietly become one of the better players on the Texas defense. The red-shirt freshman has been the most consistent player in the secondary this year for Will Muschamp’s group. Thomas flies around the field and appears to be around the ball at all times. He also brings an attitude and swagger to a young secondary that needs it. Thomas led the team with nine tackles and two pass breakups.
  6. [tag]Chris Ogbonnaya[/tag] – The Texas run game was nonexistent for most of the game, and it seemed to be more about play calling than anything else. On the first play for the Texas offense Ogbonnaya got the edge and picked up eight yards before fumbling out of bounds. For the rest of the half Texas abandoned the run. In the second half the senior running back was able to make an impact on the ground, and maybe even more so through the air. McCoy was able to check down to Ogbonnaya on many occasions to set up manageable downs and distance and to pick up first downs. He also caught the longest pass of the game, a 37 yarder. Chris ‘O’ has been the most consistent back all year for Texas and his leadership has been immeasurable.
  7. [tag]Roddrick Muckelroy[/tag] – I’m not for celebrating an injury, but the hit that Muckelroy delivered on Beanie Wells ended the game for one of the best backs in the nation. Wells had run for over 100 yards on only 16 carries when the two met in the hole early in the fourth quarter. Muckelroy has led the team in tackles all year and continued to be all over the field Monday night. The junior finished with six tackles on the night.
  8. [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] – The attention has gone to Cosby because of his performance, but Jordan Shipley played a great game as well. It was clear that Ohio State spent a lot of time attempting to take away Shipley’s plays over the middle of the field. Colt’s roommate, lifelong friend, and hunting buddy (in case you hadn’t heard) finished with 10 catches for 76 yards. It appeared that Cosby’s first touchdown reception was actually on a pass attended for Shipley. The NCAA granting the medical red-shirt for Shipley next year is huge for this offense.
  9. [tag]Henry Melton[/tag] – It is amazing how far Melton has come. The Fiesta Bowl was a great showcase of Melton’s talent. The former running back is not as good of a pass rusher as Orakpo and Sergio Kindle, but he may be as good as an overall defensive end than both of those. Melton has a future in the NFL and he proved it Monday night against the Buckeyes. Melton was the best end at the point of attack all night, and took a lot of snaps away from Kindle. The senior finished with three tackles including a team leading two for a loss.
  10. [tag]Chykie Brown[/tag] – Chykie has become Texas’ lockdown corner. Ohio State tried to go to his side early but quickly abandoned that strategy. Brown has come a long way from the times when coaches worried about his practice habits and focus. Coming into the season some were wondering if the sophomore would ever live up to his athletic ability, now heading into the offseason the program will look for Brown to be a shutdown corner like Ohio State’s Malcolm Williams. The Ohio State passing attack struggled all night, and a lot of it had to do with Brown occupying the entire right side of the field.
  11. [tag]James Kirkendoll[/tag] – Brandon Collins had more receptions and yards, but it was Kirkendoll that came up with the fourth down grab that kept the Longhorns alive. On the play Kirkendoll came in motion to the inside before running an arrow to the sideline. Texas caught the Buckeyes in man coverage and took advantage of the matchup. It says a lot about McCoy and the coaching staff that they trusted one of the younger receivers on such a crucial play. The sophomore from Round Rock just got the first down and a few plays later Texas was celebrating the winning score.
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Our live stream of consciousness posted from @40acressports on Twitter from during the Fiesta Bowl is posted below:

  • It was cool when they let blind guys sing the national anthem, but wasn’t letting a blind man design the Fiesta Bowl trophy enough? #UT 25 minutes ago
  • @springnet 77 is Luke Poehlmann, a very promising true freshman lineman. He deserves to start in 09 just due to his sweet mullet. 31 minutes ago
  • @HookEmSarah as Mack said this week, gatorade baths are for 7-5 coaches. 😉 plus I’m sure there nothing but whining on #UT msg boards. 37 minutes ago
  • What a game. Congrats Horns on the big tough win. Congrats to the seniors. #UT 40 minutes ago
  • I heart Quan and Brian Orakpo. Huge sack (and good job tackling QB too.) #UT 42 minutes ago
  • ANnouncers are acting like this thing is over. #UT 44 minutes ago
  • Unsportsmanlike could be huge. OSU kicker has big leg. Come on kickoff team. #UT 45 minutes ago
  • Tressel’s challenge gives #UT much needed timeout. Horns should actually gain yards with review. 49 minutes ago
  • That was a terrible initial spot. Clearly got first down. Replay will give it to #UT if spot doesn’t. 51 minutes ago
  • #UT needs to be in bigger hurry. 56 minutes ago
  • Not sure who #77 for #UT is but that mullet deserves playing time. 57 minutes ago
  • There’s no such thing as double pass interference, whoevere initiated contact deserves the flag. #UT 58 minutes ago
  • @joneke defense has been fantastic all game long. about an hour ago
  • Absolutely terrible pass interference call. Beasley has right to ball and ball was way short. F***! #UT about an hour ago
  • Well defended? Malcolm Williams was wide open and Colt just put it too wide. #UT about an hour ago
  • 4th quarter! Wrap this thing up boys. #UT about an hour ago
  • Attaboy Colt! You too Coach Davis. All three drives this half have been good ones (sans 20 yd sack.) #UT about an hour ago
  • Matt Hasselback is the NFL qb you reference? Weird. Is Tim announcing the game? #UT about an hour ago
  • When do you think we’ll see screen and go to Shipley? Looks set up well. #UT about an hour ago
  • 4th and 36 and we can’t even punt for first down yardage. Momentum squandered. #UT about an hour ago
  • Terrible play by Colt. Has to expect pressure on RB screen call. Drive killer. #UT about an hour ago
  • Dear Greg Davis, finally a designed run for Colt and you get a beauty of a TD run for #UT. Let’s go defense!! about 2 hours ago
  • #90 for Ohio St is dirty POS. 2nd time he clearly and intentionly went high with his hands on Colt. Hit was fine, hands to helmet isn’t. #UT about 2 hours ago
  • Very good effort by R Bobino to get first down when there wasn’t much room on fake punt. #UT about 2 hours ago
  • Fiesta Bowl trophy is one of the ugliest things on the planet. #UT about 2 hours ago
  • Crap. Holding call turns 2nd and inches into 2nd and long. #UT about 2 hours ago
  • Set your feet Colt. #UT about 2 hours ago
  • @kbohls you have to be able to trust you junior QB not to take bad risk. That one is on Colt. #UT about 2 hours ago
  • Bad underthrow by Colt costs #UT chance at at least tying FG. Huge mistake and momentum killer into halftime. about 2 hours ago
  • False starts on wide receivers drive me bats***. #UT about 3 hours ago
  • @kbohls blame out of position linebackers (due to play and blitzes) more than D-line for long runs. Agree about QB contain. #UT about 3 hours ago
  • Getting the awful feeling opposing fans felt when VY was at quarterback. Glad Pryor has no clue about watching for 1st down markers. #UT about 3 hours ago
  • 2nd and goal from 17 and we run a draw to Chris O? WTF? #UT about 3 hours ago
  • Speaking of running, where’s Fozzy? #UT about 3 hours ago
  • No attempts to get Colt McCoy running yet. Turn him loose Greg! #UT about 3 hours ago
  • Better drive by #UT offense but inability to get positive yards on 2nd & short is killing us. about 3 hours ago
  • Apparently that was a token holding call earlier, some pretty blatant ones on this series but we get pressure and S Kindle gets sack. #UT about 3 hours ago
  • 1st freshman mistake for Pryor. Good run but stepped out before first down with no one about to hit him. Melton rushing out of control. #UT about 4 hours ago
  • Woot!!!! Apparently holding still exists outside the Big 12! Good sign for Rak! #UT about 4 hours ago
  • Chris Hall is playing. Retweeting @suzhalliburton: @40acressports They used the depth chart from A&M about 4 hours ago
  • Chris Hall wasn’t on official depth chart for the game but #71 is in uniform at least for the Horns. Hope he’s 100% and starting. #UT about 4 hours ago
  • RT @CedGolden: Is it me or is Barry Switzer wearing a burnt orange tie with a matching hanky? #UT about 4 hours ago
  • Score predictions for #UT vs Ohio State: http://is.gd/eEb5 All three of us have the Horns winning a pretty close game. about 4 hours ago
  • RT @bevobeat: Blaine Irby up and about. Horns’ injured tight end was out tossing the ball around in pregame. http://twitpic.com/100fd about 4 hours ago
  • Ah oh: No Chris Hall on the 3 deep at center for Fiesta Bowl depth chart: http://is.gd/eDRj True frosh D Snow gets start. about 5 hours ago

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(Side note: This is the site’s 2,500th post. Kind of cool.)

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Posted January 5th, 2009 by Brian
Filed under: Bowls, Feature, Football

Will McCoy be able to pick apart the Buckeyes' D?

Will McCoy be able to pick apart the Buckeyes' D?

The Texas Longhorns have a lot to prove tonight when they face the tenth ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Texas fans have been screaming for months that they, not [tag]Oklahoma[/tag], deserved the chance to play for a national title and if they need to win tonight to help their case. The Buckeyes are the best defense the Horns have faced all season and if they can win and put big points on the scoreboard there’s still an outside shot of a split national title.

Check out our predictions for the game below…

Brian Texas hasn’t faced a defense as tough as Ohio State’s all year long but there aren’t any Big 10 offenses in the same league as the high-powered [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] led Longhorns. OSU’s young quarterback Terrelle Pryor will make a few plays but the Texas pass rush should also force some huge mistakes. I think [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] is headed for a huge performance in his last game in the burnt orange. If the Horns slow down running back Beanie Wells than they win, it’s that simple. Texas 34 – Ohio State 21.

Matt The rubber match between these two teams looks like it could be another instant classic. If you look at the major factors here, Texas clearly has the advantage. You have Colt McCoy versus a freshman, an offensive line that should dominate, and a defensive line that puts serious pressure with just their front four. Pryor looks like he will be a good qb, but he just doesn’t have the experience right now. I think [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] will have a field day with him and Texas will control this game. Look for a close game early and then Texas will pull away late. Texas 38 – Ohio State 20.

Mike Texas isn’t where they want to be. The team has to feel like they should be playing [tag]Florida[/tag] in Miami for the BCS championship. In years past the possibility of playing flat would be on everybody’s mind. The combination of the makeup of this team and the coaching staff has most believing the Longhorns will come to play Monday night. The game won’t be as easy as some are making it out to be because of Ohio State’s power running game and their defense which will be the best UT faces all year. Texas has too much speed and Will Muschamp will do everything he can to keep the Buckeyes true freshman quarterback off balance. It will be tight early, but expect the Longhorns to pull away late. Texas 31 – Ohio State 17

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Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

Ohio State Buckeys
#10 Ohio St. (10-2) vs. #3 Texas (11-1)

Jan. 5, 7:00 p.m. (Fox)
Favorite: Texas by 8

Texas Longhorns

The Texas Longhorns and Ohio State Buckeyes will face each other for the third time in the last four seasons on January 5th in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Splitting the home-and-home series back in 2005 and 2006, the two teams will get the chance to settle the score on the field. The Longhorns are disappointed to be here while the Buckeyes have been embarrassed the last two seasons in BCS championship games, which team will show up in Glendale, Arizona motivated and ready?

As in seasons past, Ohio State relies on a dominating defense and their running game to win games. Behind captains and All-Americans James Laurinaitis and Malcolm Jenkins the OSU defense is in the top 10 nationally in several categories including total defense and scoring defense. On the other side of the football true freshman blue chipper Terrelle Pryor has started at quarterback since the USC loss and got better every week. Pryor is good, but running back Chris “Beanie” Wells is both the star and the workhouse who lugged it for over 1,000 yards this season despite missing three games.

The Horns are of course led by Heisman finalist QB [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag]. McCoy and the Texas offense lit up scoreboards all season long even without a consistent rushing attack. McCoy found his favorite targets [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] and [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] to the tune of 3,445 yards and 32 TDs while blowing away Daunte Culpepper’s completion percentage record. The Texas defense has been re-energized by head coach in waiting [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag]. Thanks to the outstanding play by Nagurski Trophy winner [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] and [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag] the defense has been a strength despite extreme youth in the secondary. They match-up well against the Buckeyes as the nation’s number two rushing defense.

Players to Watch

Texas: QB Colt McCoy, WR Jordan Shipley, LB Sergio Kindle, LB Roddrick Muckelroy
Ohio State: QB Terrelle Pryor, RB Beanie Wells, LB James Laurinaitis, CB Malcolm Jenkins

40 Acres Fiesta Bowl Coverage

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Over the last several days Texas football players [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag], [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag], and [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] have brought in several All-American honors. Orakpo in particular has brought in four such honors including a first team AP All-American award today. Check out the list of honors below:

[tag]Colt McCoy[/tag]

  • Second team AP All-American
  • First team Football Writers (FWAA) All-American
  • First team Walter Camp All-American

[tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag]

  • First team AP All-American
  • First team Football Writers (FWAA) All-American
  • First team Walter Camp All-American
  • AFCA Coaches’ All-America

[tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag]

  • Third team AP All-American
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Brian Orakpo is Texas' second Nagurski winner

Brian Orakpo is Texas' second Nagurski winner

Texas defensive end [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] was announced last night as the winner of the Bronco Nagurski Trophy at a ceremony held in Charlotte, North Carolina. The award has been given annually since 1993 to the nation’s best defensive college football player as judged by the members of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). Orakpo is the second Longhorn to win the award, joining 2004 winner [tag]Derrick Johnson[/tag].

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Posted December 1st, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Colt McCoy once again carried the Horns on his back

Colt McCoy once again carried the Horns on his back

Texas did everything they could on Thanksgiving night beating the Aggies 49-9. The defense was dominant and [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] may have secured the Heisman Trophy. The Longhorns wait to see how the BCS situation shakes out while we look at the top 11 performers from Thursday night.

1. [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] – McCoy bounced back from a turnover filled sophomore season with arguably the best season a Texas quarterback has ever experienced. Texas A&M had been the bugaboo for the junior star until Thursday night. McCoy did everything once again for the Longhorns accounting for four total touchdowns and over 300 yards passing. He continued to be Texas’ number one running threat while completing his passes at a record breaking clip. Texas needed to impress the voters and their quarterback made sure they did.

2. [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag] – There are a lot of players that deserved the top spot on Texas’ defense but Sergio is going to get the nod. Kindle was everywhere on the night showing off his unfair athletic ability. Kindle has found his home coming off the edge for the Longhorn defense but showed Thursday night the ability to play in space. The former Dallas prep star finished with five tackles, three of which were for losses, and a sack against the overmatched Aggies. Aggie quarterback Stephen McGee thought he had something to say after Kindle’s sack but quickly realized it would have been a very bad idea.

3. [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] – The soon to be first round pick made a huge impact in his first extended game action since the injury he suffered in the Texas Tech game. Orakpo is the most physically dominating player on the field every time he steps on the field. Even facing double teams and chips from running backs and tight ends, Orakpo is able to disrupt seemingly every play. He finished with a sack and a half and added four more recorded quarterback hits. The pressure the front four produces allows the secondary to get better each week.

4. [tag]Brandon Collins[/tag] – Seemingly all year long the young receivers have taken turns making an impact as the third receiver for the Longhorn offense. It was Collins’ turn this week. Collins had a team high 103 yards on a tied for team high six receptions. The sophomore did most of his damage on middle screens out of the spread set. His 20 yard touchdown catch in the second quarter gave the Longhorn offense the momentum it needed to get the scoring rolling. Texas would score a touchdown on the next four possessions.

5. [tag]Earl Thomas[/tag] – There will be no more questions on Earl Thomas’ speed. The freshman safety made two jaw dropping plays on the night, one being when he caught speedy Mike Goodson on what appeared to be a 90+ yard touchdown reception. Despite a bad angle Thomas caught Goodson and let him know about it. Thomas gives the secondary an edge and was in on a number plays on Thursday night in both the run and pass game. Thomas has bounced back from the end of the Texas Tech game with three outstanding performances from his safety position.

6. [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] – The senior made his last game in DKR a memorable one by catching one of McCoy’s two touchdown passes. Cosby was one of the few players on this team that got on the field in the win over USC in 2005, so I’m sure he was happy to see the team back on top. Cosby has been McCoy’s rock all season and continued to come up with key third down and red zone completions. Cosby finished with six catches and 80 yards to go along with the touchdown.

7. [tag]Cody Johnson[/tag] – It is hard to account for two touchdowns and over 100 yards on the ground and not earn top five ranking but the truth of the matter is that Johnson’s yards came mostly when the game was out of reach. The big guy in the backfield did show some impressive speed on his 61 yard run late in the game. Johnson has continued to be excellent in his role as short yardage back, but could be so much more for this team moving forward if he can get his weight down 10 pounds or so. It will be interesting to see how the coaching staff uses the red-shirt freshman in the bowl workouts and in the Spring.

8. [tag]Roddrick Muckelroy[/tag] – Texas A&M managed to gain -24 yards rushing on the night. Texas’ run defense has been ranked in the top five all season in yards given up per game and while a lot of that may be attributed to the offenses that are ran in the Big 12 the man playing the best week in and week out against the run has been Roddrick Muckelroy. The junior is becoming one of the best linebackers in the [tag]Mack Brown[/tag] era. He leads the team in tackles on the year and seems to do so in every game. Muckelroy finished with a tie for the team lead with six tackles, including one for a loss.

9. [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] – Shipley had a quiet day by his standards for most of the game against the Aggies, but was able to come up with the highlight of the game on a 68 yard catch over the middle to set up a first and goal. Colt McCoy’s roommate, in case you didn’t know, caught for balls for 85 yards. Shipley seemed to be the focal point for the A&M defense which allowed other players, such as Collins, to step up. Did you know Shipley and McCoy go fishing and hunting together?

10. [tag]Roy Miller[/tag] – Roy Miller has played great in the middle all season for Texas. His impact cannot be measured by looking at the box score, but he finished with two tackles, a pass breakup, and two quarterback hits. Texas A&M could get nothing going up the middle from the run or screen game for the entire 60 minutes. Miller must be given credit for his lead blocking on short yardage situations for the offense as well.

11. [tag]David Snow[/tag] – Didn’t hear his name on Thursday? That is a good thing. With no fanfare at all the true freshman has stepped in to play center for a potential national championship team and nobody has even noticed. Texas continues to struggle in the run game and has not protected McCoy as well as they would like but Snow has stepped up tremendously with [tag]Chris Hall[/tag] injured. It is likely Hall will be back for the bowl game, and in that case Snow will get snaps at guard on top of backup center.

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Posted November 15th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Football

Bad news on the injury front this week for the [tag]Kansas[/tag] game. We knew starting center [tag]Chris Hall[/tag] would be out with a knee injury but cornerback [tag]Aaron Williams[/tag] and tight end [tag]Ian Harris[/tag] are also out. The true freshman Williams has been big for the secondary filling in and playing well while starting corner [tag]Chykie Brown[/tag] was out, fortunately Brown is not on this week’s injury report.

Listed as questionable are two key members of the defensive line in end [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] and tackle [tag]Lamarr Houston[/tag]. Both players could play and rumors are both should be on the field today in Lawrence. Safety [tag]Ben Wells[/tag] is also questionable.

With the offensive line injury, off field, and performance issues the last few weeks it is very good news that left tackle [tag]Adam Ulatoski[/tag] is probable.

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Posted November 13th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Will the Texas defense overwhelm Kansas?

Will the Texas defense overwhelm Kansas?

The Texas Longhorns visit [tag]Kansas[/tag] this Saturday in what could become a classic trap game. They’re on the road, it will be cold, injuries are piling up, and they’re facing an underachieving team. The Jayhawks have struggled this season after shocking the college football world last season. With all the BCS scenarios out there, the only thing Texas can control is how they handle Jayhawks. The last time a favored Longhorn team looking for a BCS berth went to Lawrence they got saved by a questionable pass interference call. Texas won’t get the benefit of refereeing on Saturday, so they must win it with a solid effort.

When Texas has the ball

Texas played a good game last week in the win against [tag]Baylor[/tag] even if it wasn’t as dominating of a performance as some would have liked. Texas quarterback [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] continued his good play by throwing for 300 yards and five touchdown passes. Baylor was able to get into the passing lanes by dropping as many as nine defenders on passing plays. The Bears were able to get their hands on a number of McCoy passes and even were able to intercept three of the attempts on the day.

It doesn’t appear any Big 12 defenses match up with the opposing offenses and Kansas is no different. The only thing that will stop the Longhorn offense is the Longhorn offense. The thing to watch is the offensive line play when Kansas blitzes. Junior [tag]Chris Hall[/tag] is going to miss the game, and with the dismissal of backup [tag]Buck Burnette[/tag] last week, true freshman [tag]David Snow[/tag] will get the start. It will be his first start and it will come on the road. Snow has played a bunch this year, but mostly at guard, and his calls up front will be key for protection. The coaching staff has been very high on the former Gilmer star and he’ll look to show why on Saturday.

On the road in November is where a team needs a running game. It isn’t enough to run the ball when the other team lets you. A great team needs to be able to run the ball when the referees, the fans, and the opposing defense know the run is coming. Texas has yet to be able to do that this year, and it is unlikely that a running game is going to appear. Help has come in the way of [tag]Foswhitt Whittaker[/tag], but even the speedy freshman is not going to be the complete answer. With McCoy beat up and unwilling to be the running threat he was early in the year UT will continue to use a stable of backs. If Texas can come out and dominate the line of scrimmage this game will not be close, unfortunately that has been something this team has lacked thus far.

The Longhorn offense will continue to go as McCoy goes. The lack of a consistent running game has put a huge load on the junior’s shoulders. He has responded in every way possible, and he is most likely going to have to do it again in order for UT to keep their national title hopes alive. The Longhorns are only one of five teams in the nation to have two receivers with over 60 catches on the season, and it is likely McCoy will continue to rely heavily on [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] and [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag]. Cosby played last week through an injury and should be able to go again this week. Any help from another receiver would be a bonus.

When Kansas has the ball

The good news is that superstar [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] should be back and ready to go after missing last week’s game because of injury. The bad news is Texas is facing another quarterback that wants to send a statement to the UT coaching staff that they should have recruited him. Texas passed the first test when they spoiled the dream of [tag]Missouri[/tag] quarterback Chase Daniel. The Longhorns face another life long Horn in the form of former Lake Travis star Todd Reesing.

Kansas has struggled protecting Reesing lately, and that figures to play right into the Longhorn defenses strength. In many ways Kansas offers the same set of challenges that the Missouri offense provided. Texas was able to get pressure on Daniel and cause disruption by getting their hands up in the passing lane. The defensive line was able to knock down numerous balls allowing the group to apply pressure because Missouri was in countless third and longs. Reesing is another quarterback under six feet, in fact it is probably the reason he is not wearing burnt orange on Saturday. Will Muschamp’s defense must disrupt the rhythm of Kansas’ offense by making them one dimensional and attacking. The only way Kansas hurts Texas is if the Jayhawks can get enough out of their running game to keep Texas out of pinning their ears back on third down.

On paper it would appear the Longhorn front seven has nothing to worry about when it comes to Kansas’ run game. After a great start the linebacking unit for the Horns has struggled in the last few weeks tackling in space. Kansas does a good job of getting their skill players in space and exploiting the other team’s lack of athleticism. They don’t necessarily line up and run it at you, but they do a good job with screens and dump passes of getting their backs involved. The Longhorns will look to get pressure with four so the linebackers can shadow what the backfield of the Jayhawks tries to do.

The group under the most pressure will be the secondary. Texas has been up and down in the back of their defense, sometimes in the same game, but that is to be expected with such a young group. They have been challenged seemingly every week, and they face another test on Saturday. Kansas is also one of the five teams in the nation with two receivers with over 60 receptions. The group is led by former quarterback Kerry Meier. He is great at running routes and finding holes in the zone. Texas is hoping [tag]Chykie Brown[/tag] is back from injury, but odds are even if he is the defense will look to put a number of bodies on Meier.

The Longhorns need to get some stops early so the offense can put the game away. If Texas can put some distance in between them and the underdog Jayhawks this one will turn into a route.

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