Posted October 17th, 2009 by Brian
Filed under: Feature, Football

Sergio Kindle intends to (re)introduce himself early and often to Sam Bradford Saturday.

Sergio Kindle intends to (re)introduce himself early and often to Sam Bradford Saturday.

The game Texas and [tag]Oklahoma[/tag] fans have been looking forward to and stressing about for 364 days is finally upon us. Saturday morning the two Big 12 powerhouses will face off in a game that has lost a little luster with the Sooners dropping two early games, but the rivalry always makes this the biggest game of the year. If Texas wins the path to a possible national title shot gets a little clearer, do the editors of 40 Acres Sports think it’ll happen? Find out below:

Brian After last year’s offensive shoot out (45-35!!!!) this year’s game should be a battle of two strong defenses. Texas’ secondary was just a bunch of pups last season but this year they’ve been one of the team’s biggest strengths. Those guys will be helped out against OU quarterback Sam Bradford by a surprising defensive line including end [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag]. OU’s offensive line is a weak spot so expect Mr. Kindle to be in Bradford’s head and in his face all game long. The Horns will also get a big momentum boost or score from either the defense or [tag]DJ Monroe[/tag] and the return game. Texas 27, Oklahoma 13

Matt Bottom-line, this game will be close. Texas’ defense has looked strong this year in my opinion, but they have not faced the type of athletes that Oklahoma will be putting on the field. OU’s running back duo is about as good as it gets, and after watching Sam Bradford play last week I am convinced that is shoulder is not bothering him at all. For the Horns, someone needs to step up big at running back. Last year it was Ogbonnaya. Who will it be this year? Expect Jordan Shipley to make a big play at wide receiver/punt returner, just like he has done all year and did last year in the Red River Rivalry. Texas 33, Oklahoma 27

Ross I compared every position between the Longhorns and the Sooners. The Sooners can boast a better running attack and a better defensive front four (QB play I felt was even). Which should lead me to a Horns win. One looming issue is the caliber of opponents that both teams have faced leading up to this game. OU has played a much tougher schedule and has not survived the trip. The Horns are still trying to put it all together (ie. UTEP game). I am concerned with Colt McCoy’s penchant for an early miscue (fumble or interception) and we all know that the turnover battle is a huge factor with this game. My prediction for the game is that it will be a close one. Texas 24, Oklahoma 23

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Posted April 30th, 2009 by BT
Filed under: Feature, Football

Chris Ogbonnaya scores against the Sooners.

Chris Ogbonnaya scores against the Sooners.

Sometimes, I love ESPN Classic. Usually when they replay college football during the “dog days” of the season (May-July) that keeps my ever-present desire for college football that much sharper. One such occasion occurred last week, as ESPNC replayed the Texas/OU 2008 game in all its glory, unless you’re a Sooner. So, with pen and paper in hand, I decided to cue up my DVR and record some observations in hindsight (i.e. when I’m not shot gunning Modello’s and cursing whatever evil demon Bob Stoops sold his soul to). Enjoy!

1. Our offensive line got whipped in the first half.

Colt was running for his life in the 1st half, and our passing game was relegated to quick passes out of necessity. I forgot how badly we got worked in this area early on. The three first half sacks really could have been six were Colt not so mobile.

2. The Ryan Reynolds myth.

I have officially had enough of this crap; YOU know what I’m talking about, cause we’ve all heard this excuse since about five minutes after the final gun in the RRS. We only began to move the ball once Oklahoma’s leader Ryan Reynolds left the game with a knee injury, and IF he stays healthy it would have been a different story. If you need a refresher, just read this OU stooge or check the game recap at Red Dirt Kings.

Funny thing about it… Reynolds wasn’t even on the preseason All Big-12 team; after he tears his ACL every Sooner fan will tell you he’s the best MLB in the country. Let’s look at some hard data:

For the game, in which he lasted about 2 1/2 quarters, Reynolds registered 3 tackles. What’s more, two of them game on his first series (he stuck [tag]Chris Ogbonnaya[/tag] for no gain, and then limited him to a 3 yard run). So, for those of you math majors, in the remaining 2 quarters he played (which translates to five series) he made ONE TACKLE!! Why the drop off in production? Simple once we went to the 4 WR formations, Reynolds became obsolete. He’s your typical OU linebacker, he plays the run aggressively and rushes the passer, but if you get him in coverage he is vulnerable. Three separate times in the first half, [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] either shook him loose or made him miss badly on a tackle. It was a totally mismatch, and St. Reynolds became Donnie from The Big Lebowski…totally out of his element. The longer he would have stayed in the game, the worse he would have looked.

So, why did we start to move the ball better in the second half? Because their defensive line wore down, giving Colt more time to find holes in the zone defense Oklahoma was playing. Reynolds being in there would have lead to him having to cover someone down the field, and we’ve seen that movie (go cue up [tag]Jermichael Finley[/tag] career highlight video, I swear half the plays are against Oklahoma. Where he was covered by… drumroll please… Ryan Reynolds).

One more thing, Reynolds’ replacement Brandon Crow, who OU fans blame solely for the loss to us, registered five tackles in barely over a quarter of action. That’s right, Reynolds’s replacement logged almost twice as many tackles than he did. So, that’s it, Ryan Reynolds is good not great and his injury didn’t hurt OU all that much. The next time snotty dirt burglar fans try to use his injury as an excuse, drop the hammer of knowledge on them.

3. Our “calls”

You know, cause between the refs screwing them AND losing the greatest linebacker every to step put on a pair of shoulder pads, what chance did OU have to win the game? This might be beating a dead horse, but I decided to look into this for the record. There were three main calls that drew criticism: the two roughing the passer calls and the “fumbled” interception in the end zone that was ruled an incomplete pass.

  • The first roughing the passer call was a BAD call that went in our favor, no question about it. This call bailed us out of a 3rd and 14 and probably resulted in a “free” 3 points for us. No excuses.
  • The second RTP penalty was correct. It wasn’t malicious, but Colt was a good four steps out of bound when Travis Lewis shoves him in the back and jerks his jersey. It looked to be one of those “I’ll hit you late, but not hard enough to get a flag” shenanigans that OU seems to specialize in. Keep your hands to yourself Mr. Lewis!
  • The dropped interception…I don’t even know what to say. It’s like trying to explain to a grownup why water is wet; you don’t even know how to begin because the point is so blatantly obvious that any explanation feels asinine. Anyway, here goes… IF a player catches the ball, maintains possession, but when he hits the ground the ball gets jarred loose, IT IS NOT A CATCH!! Invariably there is always some moron who chimes in (usually very know-it-allish) “The ground can’t cause a fumble!” No, it can’t, but it damn sure can cause an incompletion. Learn it, live it, love it.

4. OU’s tomfoolery

Before I can get into this, I think everyone out there that supports the Burnt Orange can agree that Oklahoma cheats worse than a meth-addicted three card Monte dealer. However, that seems to be a common theme in ANY heated rivalry; the Haggys and Red Faders swear that the refs give us every call. The difference is, in this case it is totally true (see Big Red Auto Imports and any game film of an Oklahoma). But instead of making random claims, I decided to game to the game film:

  • 1st drive of the game (that didn’t take long, did it?), [tag]Lamarr Houston[/tag] beats Duke Robinson off the ball and has a beeline to sack Bradford. Robinson grabs Houston’s jersey and spins him (blatant holding) and Bradford has time to let the play develop and hit the running back for a 34-yard gain. There is no way that WASN’T holding! So instead of a third and long (if Houston makes the sack) or 2nd and 20 (if the refs could have found their flags), OU had a 1st down in Texas territory.
  • In the second quarter, 2nd and 19, Oklahoma runs that jailbreak screen and Manual Johnson is a good yard past the line of scrimmage when he catches the ball. That would have been okay, except for the three OU linemen downfield. Instead of a 2nd and 24, they get 3rd and 6.
  • In the third quarter, same situation that I just described, only this time Johnson is a good two yards past the line of scrimmage when he catches the ball. Instead of 3rd and 15, they score a touchdown.

That’s three infractions calls that OU got away with, all which lead to touchdowns. And don’t even get me started on Loadholt; he grabbed Orakpo so often I think he wanted to date him. Don’t be shy Phil, tell him how you feel!

  • In the sake of fairness, there were a couple of plays I thought OU got away with something turned out to be legit. A few of their jailbreak screens WERE behind the line of scrimmage (nullifying the illegal man downfield) and the first touchdown where I thought Manual Johnson never broke the plane (he clearly did).
  • You want proof of the Big 12 media bias for the Sooners? Trent Williams, the All-Big 12 first team and winner of the lineman of the year award, was absolutely destroyed by [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag]. Sergio beat him for a sack, two QB pressures and drew a holding penalty against Williams. DeMarcco Murray, who was a repeat selection on the All-Big 12 team first team, did absolutely nothing against us, gaining seven yards on six carries. And the Big 12 coach of the year Bob Stoops? He spent the entire second half taking turns looking confused, and then constipated.

In closing, now that I have watched this game for the third time, this was Oklahoma’s best shot. Seriously. DeMarcco Murray was healthy (for all the good he did), Oklahoma busted out their maddeningly effective jailbreak screen for this game (which we had no time to prepare for, as opposed to Florida) and they converted all their opportunities inside the red zone. For all the smoke being blown about how OU was a different team at the end of the season, with all due respect, so were we. Our freshman safeties had grown up, the young receivers had emerged and our defense was playing lights out (allowing 16 points combined it its last 2 regular season games). We could have played them again and the result would have been the same.

God, I can’t wait for October 17th!

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Posted April 26th, 2009 by Brian
Filed under: Feature, Football, Live

Follow along below with our live thoughts and analysis during today’s second day of the NFL Draft that will take place starting at 9:00am on ESPN and the NFL Network. You can catch our live thoughts by tuning into this page and you can also participate in the conversation.

We’ll also be embedding Twitter posts from @40AcresSports and with the hashtag #UTdraft right in with the other notes. Feel free to leave comments and questions using the live tool, but not all comments will be published. Read below for more notes on comments and how the live blog will work. Hook ’em!

Notes: Comments on the article itself will be turned off till after the game. The Writer can view all comments sent to them but only they can publish your comments for everyone to see. The “autoscroll” feature ensures you’re always shown the newest content without having to refresh or scroll your screen. Subtle sound effects alert you to new content as the writer publishes it. You can turn these features on or off by using the controls at the bottom of the Live Blog.

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Posted April 22nd, 2009 by Brian
Filed under: Draft, Football

Lance Zierlein doesn’t think [tag]Chris Ogbonnaya[/tag] is shooting off draft boards into the first round, but he thinks the former Longhorn tailback could have a good pro career ahead of him:

Possible Steal – Chris Ogbonnaya, Texas: He’ll be drafted late if he is drafted at all, but there are several things working in his favor. While his top-end speed is limited and he’s not the shiftiest back, his ability to play in zone schemes will create opportunities for him. He has terrific hands out of the backfield and is a willing pass protector. He’s also not afraid to put his helmet done and get physical if need be. He could be a better pro than college player.

Zierlein is also a big fan of defensive end [tag]Henry Melton[/tag] and loves his size/speed combo:

Possible Steal – Henry Melton, Texas: Melton is a former running back who has played DE for only one year. Obviously he has above average feet and quickness for the position and Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp believes Melton has a chance to be a very good pass rusher on the next level if he continues to develop. If Melton wouldn’t have crushed it at the Texas pro day, he would have been more under the radar than he is right now.

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I’m not sure when or if Texas running back [tag]Chris Ogbonnaya[/tag] is going to be drafted in this weekend’s NFL Draft, but no matter what this young man is going to be successful in life. The official site has yet another great article on Chris’ life and academics off the football field:

When Chris Ogbonnaya came to Texas in 2004, he wasn’t totally sure how he’d fit into the Longhorn football program, but one thing was certain. He was going to take advantage of the opportunity, both on the field and off. The results of five years of hard work were All-Big 12 honors both athletically and academically, two degrees and a chance to play in the NFL. Ogbonnaya will share those experiences as the student-athlete speaker during the 2009 Academic Awards Presentation on Monday at the Frank Erwin Center.

Source

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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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Can Aaron Lewis help the defense stop OSU's balanced offense?

Can Aaron Lewis and the Texas defense stop OSU's balanced offense?

Every game comes down to the play of a few guys floating under the radar. Of course Texas needs [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag], [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag], and [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] to step up, but in order for Texas to keep the number one spot a few other guys that may not be “stars” (yet) need to play big. Last week a few of the guys, like [tag]Brandon Collins[/tag] and [tag]Curtis Brown[/tag], were huge for Texas. Who are the five guys the Horns need to step up against [tag]Oklahoma State[/tag]? Here’s what we think.

Fozzy Whittaker

The speedy freshman got back on the playing field for the first time since the [tag]UTEP[/tag] game last week against [tag]Missouri[/tag]. Fozzy wasted little time making an impact by breaking off a darting 20 yard run off the zone play Texas relies on. Coming into the season the coaching staff quietly believed Fozzy would be the featured back of this offense. Instead, [tag]Chris Ogbonnaya[/tag] has taken the job by the horns so to speak while Fozzy healed up injuries to both knees. Ogbonnaya has far exceeded expectations, but the addition of the speed that Fozzy has could give this team the one thing they have been missing—a homerun threat in the backfield. We will know how healthy Fozzy is by how many snaps he is given.

[tag]Malcolm Williams[/tag]

We finally saw the big play ability those around the program have been gushing about when Williams made a leaping catch over the Missouri defense for a touchdown. The catch ended up being his only of the day, but with it Williams may have finally become a big time player for this team. For as good as Shipley and Quan Cosby are, they are not consistent down the field threats that push safeties back. Malcolm Williams is. The deeper opposing safeties have to play, the more room underneath for guys like Shipley, Cosby, and emerging star Brandon Collins. The more game Williams can make an impact in, the bigger the impact of the underneath guys. The staff is hoping the highlight catch last week turns into a confidence booster along the lines of Limas Sweed’s catch in Ohio State.

[tag]Aaron Lewis[/tag]

All the defensive line talk has centered on Brian Orakpo and [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag]. The teams Texas has been facing have been pass heavy which has allowed the speed guys to make names for themselves. For the first time all year the Texas defense will have to face an offense that relies heavily on the run. The defensive tackles are going to be key. Everyone knows about [tag]Roy Miller[/tag], but quietly Aaron Lewis has taken over Lamarr Houston’s spot on the majority of snaps. Lewis has played well when given the opportunity, and a big game from him, Houston, and [tag]Henry Melton[/tag] is crucial for this team. If Oklahoma State’s run game can get their offense into manageable third downs, the Texas defense could get exposed.

[tag]Rashad Bobino[/tag]

The senior has become the forgotten member of this linebacking unit. Late in the game last week, sometimes starter [tag]Jared Norton[/tag] went down with what appeared to be a stinger. Even though all signs point to Norton playing, with the two already splitting time, it would be expected to get a bulk of the playing time against a strong running team this week. Bobino has started a large number of games in his career and has continued to be an emotional leader for this Longhorn defense. Bobino has been through the fire as one of the only Horns to say he was there for the Rose Bowl. Coordinator [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] has been pleased with all the backers play, and this game appears to be the biggest test for a group that could be the best of the [tag]Mack Brown[/tag] era.

[tag]Curtis Brown[/tag]

Two weeks ago fans were wondering if Curtis Brown would ever get to play at defensive back while attending the University. They saw true freshman get more playing time than the sophomore and with an already youth riddled secondary it appeared that the ex-Gilmer star would get passed up. A huge special team’s play against Oklahoma and a solid performance after Chykie Brown left the game against Missouri later and Brown finds himself as major player for this secondary. Every team in the Big 12 likes to spread the field, so more than the two designated starters get significant playing time, especially with Texas relying heavily on the nickel defense. Sources say [tag]Chykie Brown[/tag] should be able to start on Saturday, but with an ankle there is always a possibility of the injury resurfacing. If that happens, it appears Curtis Brown is next in line at cornerback.

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Posted October 20th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Chris Ogbonnaya had 133 total yards.

Chris Ogbonnaya had 133 total yards.

The number one ranked Longhorns had an impressive win in front of a national audience last Saturday when they beat the Missouri Tigers 56-31. The game wasn’t even as close as the final scored would indicate as Texas jumped on Missouri early, taking a 35-3 lead into halftime. Some of the usual suspects and some new faces came up big in a night that could turn out to be the highlight of the 2008 season. Here is the big board:

  1. [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] – Could anyone else be on top of the board? The Heisman front runner turned in his best performance of the season Saturday night. Colt went 29 of 32 (92%) for 337 yards and two touchdowns. He also added two touchdowns on the ground. McCoy is playing better than anyone in the country and seems to break a UT passing record every single time he steps on the field.
  2. [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag] – No Texas defender put up huge stats this weekend, but Kindle was everywhere all night. His athleticism is second to none as he showed on one play chasing down a Missouri reverse after being blocked. The linebacker/defensive end ended the night with five tackles and one of UT’s two sacks of Chase Daniel.
  3. [tag]Chris Ogbonnaya[/tag] – Ogbonnaya has come out of nowhere to become the unquestioned go to back in Texas’ backfield. For the first few games of the season Texas fans and their staff were searching for a guy to break out. It was Chris “O” all along. The former wide receiver led the team in rushing, gaining 68 yards on 13 carries including two touchdown runs. The senior’s main strength may be what he does when receiving out of the backfield where he added another 68 yards on six catches. McCoy is driving this team, but the emergence of Ogbonnaya has been the best thing that has happened to this offense so far this season.
  4. [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] – His stats will not impress you: only one tackle. But how he changes a game can not be measured by a box score. O-Sackpo as his teammates are calling him forced Chase Daniel to move around all night. He forced Daniel into Kindle’s arms for one sack and caused the hurried throw by Daniel in the end zone that led to Ryan Palmer’s interception. Orakpo has been unblock able all year, and will be on everyone’s All American team as this year finishes.
  5. [tag]Brandon Collins[/tag] – Yes, Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby had more catches but the emergence of Collins as a third receiver was huge for this team. He made a huge catch early in the game to get the offense going and continued to make plays in the slot throughout the night. Collins finished with six catches for 76 yards clearly becoming the best option not named Shipley or Cosby for McCoy in the passing game. As important as it was in this game, the impact of Collins’ night will have an effect on how defenses have to prepare for this offense moving forward.
  6. [tag]Blake Gideon[/tag] – This guy impresses more and more with each game. Watching the true freshman on TV does not due him justice. Gideon makes all the calls for the secondary, frequently barking out calls or make hand gestures right before the snap because he saw something that needed to be changed. He is a sure tackler that isn’t afraid of contact as he proved when putting a lick on tight end Chase Coffman early in the game. The combination of Gideon and fellow freshman Earl Thomas has improved significantly to the point that the safeties are becoming a strength of this team instead of a liability.
  7. [tag]Charlie Tanner[/tag] – The big guys on the offensive line need some love. Tanner went out early in the season and the so called experts (message board coaches) thought that the injury could be a good thing for the line because it would allow higher rated Michael Huey to get more game time. The fact is that this unit struggled with Tanner not in the lineup and the proof is that now Huey and David Snow take senior Cedric Dockery’s snaps when they come into the ball game and not Tanner’s.
  8. [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] – The chemistry between Shipley and McCoy is unfair at this point. Shipley has become essentially the tight end for this football team and frankly the offense is more explosive because of it. Shipley ended the night with another touchdown (he has scored at least one in every game) on eight catches for 89 yards. Missouri showed Shipley respect by not kicking to him at all on the evening.
  9. [tag]Roddrick Muckelroy[/tag] – “Muck” probably deserves to be higher on the list because he led the team in tackles once again accounting for 11 total on the night. Missouri’s offense got away from the run early because of the score but Muckelroy was still able to make an impact. The junior linebacker doesn’t make the “wow” plays that Kindle and Orakpo do but there is no doubt that Roddrick is the best and most complete linebacker on the team. He has struggled with injuries in his career but has stayed healthy and come into his own this season.
  10. [tag]Ryan Palmer[/tag] – There was concern coming into the game that the senior cornerback wasn’t going to be able to play because of the hamstring he injured in the Oklahoma game. Palmer played and made a big impact on the night, recording Texas’ lone turnover on an interception and almost making another pick early in the game that would have been returned for a touchdown if the not so sure handed corner would have held on. Palmer may not have the physical gifts that some of the younger defensive backs on the roster have, but he plays hard and with an attitude that I think is beginning to rub off on guys like Chykie Brown and Earl Thomas.
  11. [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] – McCoy is going to get a lot of credit for the passing attack, and rightfully so, but Cosby and Shipley have played at another level this whole year. Cosby finished the night with seven catches for 74 yards. Cosby plays harder than anybody on the team and just appears to max out his ability on every snap of every game. He contributes in the return game on punts and kicks and has become one of Texas’ better blocking receivers. With Shipley moving inside, Cosby has become UT’s go to outside receiver and he has yet to disappoint.
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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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