Citi BCS National Championship

Alabama Crimson Tide
#1 Alabama (13-0) vs. #2 Texas (13-0)

Jan. 7, 7:00 p.m. (ABC)
Favorite: Alabama by 4

Texas Longhorns

The 2009 season will come to an end Thursday, January 7th when the Texas Longhorns take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS national title game. For all the marbles the number one and two teams face off in what has become a rare MNC matchup between two undefeated teams. Texas is looking to repeat what [tag]Vince Young[/tag] did just a four years ago while Alabama is looking for their first championship since 1992.

Players to Watch

Texas: QB Colt McCoy, WR Jordan Shipley, LB Sergio Kindle, S Earl Thomas
Alabama: RB Mark Ingram, WR Julio Jones, DT Terrence Cody, LB Rolando McClain

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Posted December 18th, 2009 by Brian
Filed under: Football

Garrett GilbertThe 2009 Heisman was only awarded a week ago and we’re already moving on to 2010. College Football News has released a very early list of next year’s top contenders for college football’s biggest award and it’s mostly pretty solid. Sitting at number 15 is a quarterback who had less than 30 attempts and had no touchdowns passes this year.

Wait don’t get upset yet, that player is the likely 2010 starter at quarterback for the Longhorns. Here’s their blurb on why [tag]Garrett Gilbert[/tag] could already be a Heisman candidate:

15. Garrett Gilbert, QB Texas
Remember, Vince Young couldn’t be replaced, either. Gilbert might be the most talented quarterback Mack Brown has ever coached.

Overall not a bad list, but think there are some weird names near the very top. [tag]Ohio State[/tag] quarterback Terrelle Pryor has shown zero flash of Heisman-caliber performance and appears to be getting worse (or being used worse by OSU coaches) each year. I also wonder if [tag]Alabama[/tag] defending winner Mark Ingram will be able to repeat with stud Trent Richardson taking more carries away next season.

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Roddrick Muckelroy and the Texas D will try to shut down Zac Robinson's arm and legs. (Image: InsideTexas)

Roddrick Muckelroy and the Texas D will try to shut down Zac Robinson's arm and legs. (Image: InsideTexas)

This week Texas faces possibly their toughest remaining test against [tag]Oklahoma State[/tag] on the road. The Cowboys have rebounded from an early season loss and are sitting at 6-1 and ranked number 14. In years past the Longhorns have let the Cowboys get out to leads and had to stage remarkable comebacks, what must the Horns do tonight to keep that from happening again?

1. Try not to fall behind by 28 points.

This is a simple one. Cut it out. I know it’s Oklahoma State, but that doesn’t mean you have to fall behind big early and then stage a giant comeback. Seriously. It’s bad for my health.

2. Don’t be surprised by Zac Robinson’s mobility.

Zac Robinson is easily the best quarterback the Longhorns have faced this season (eight plays from an 80% strength Sam Bradford doesn’t count) and he’s also the most mobile. In a lot of ways the Cowboys’ QB is similar to Texas’ [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag], efficient throwing the football and the ability to beat you with his feet. He might not have the top end speed McCoy does, but he certainly can scramble to make plays throwing and beat you with repeated 5-10 yard runs after avoiding a sack. [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] loves to bring the blitz, especially early in the game, but can’t sell out or Robinson could run wild in the open secondary.

3. Throw it deep to Malcolm Williams.

The move to insert receivers [tag]Malcolm Williams[/tag] and [tag]Marquise Goodwin[/tag] into the starting lineup last week against [tag]Missouri[/tag] worked perfectly. They combined for 9 catches and the moves allowed [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] to have a huge day back in his old spot inside. This week against the Cowboys the Horns should open things up even more and take at least three deep shots to Williams. Making opposing defenses respect a deep threat will make it easy for McCoy to find open guys underneath and for the run game to find big running lanes.

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Posted September 19th, 2009 by Brian
Filed under: Feature, Football

Texas will need Colt McCoy's arm and his legs to outscore Texas Tech.

Texas will need Colt McCoy's arm and his legs to outscore Texas Tech Saturday night.

The Texas Longhorns have already played two games, but the season really gets started tonight as they take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders in a primetime matchup on ABC. The Horns are looking for revenge and more importantly the number 2 team in the country is looking to get another win closer to a BCS title shot.

Check out our keys below to beating Mike Leach on International Talk Like a Pirate Day:

1. Pressure QB Taylor Potts with a 4-man rush.

There’s two things you can’t do against the Tech offense: let the quarterback have all day to throw or blitz too often. If you give Potts too much time to throw he’ll be able to take his time and pick apart the defense underneath. If you send extra blitzers at him he can quickly get the ball out and you better cross your fingers the defensive backs don’t miss a tackle. The ideal is that your front four are able to get consistent pressure without bringing extra help, but with [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag] playing defensive end and [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] drawing things up you’ll likely see Texas bring 3-5 rushers from all over the field. Through two games Kindle is still looking for his first sack of the season, will he blow up the Texas Tech offense tonight?

2. Call just enough designed Colt McCoy runs.

McCoy had -3 rushing yards in the first game and 44 yards in the second on very few designed QB runs. When the offense was sputtering against Wyoming in the 2nd and 3rd quarter, offensive coordinator Greg Davis called Colt’s number to kick start the offense. Tonight against the Red Raiders they’ll likely need that boost from the very beginning and we should see McCoy run some QB draws, the zone read, and the option. McCoy is the franchise and you have to protect him, but this offense isn’t as explosive without him running the football.

3. Commit fewer than 5 penalties.

Through two games the Longhorns have been flagged for 19 penalties, and that doesn’t count penalties that the opponents declined. Those kind of unforced mistakes will kill you in a close contest. Penalties wiped several big 3rd down conversions off the board against [tag]Wyoming[/tag], that can’t happen against higher quality Big 12 opponents. Defensively, the last thing you want to do against Texas Tech’s offense is give them extra chances.

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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

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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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Posted November 6th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Can the Texas defense step up without Brian Orakpo?

Can the Texas defense step up without Brian Orakpo?

For the first time in over a month Texas faces an opponent that hasn’t been ranked in the top 10 at some point in the season. The players and the staff faced the challenge of staying “up” for such a difficult streak of games, but getting “up” for a game against an inferior opponent like [tag]Baylor[/tag] after a heartbreaking loss may prove to be more of a challenge. Texas appears to have an advantage at every position, even with [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] and [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] not likely to play.

When Texas has the ball

The Texas offense found their stride late in the Tech game after struggling to get anything going in the first two and a half quarters. [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] had a decent game, but it was no where near the level he had been playing at before the second half of the [tag]Oklahoma State[/tag] game. The Longhorn offense struggled after Cosby went down, but the emergence of Malcolm Williams as a deep threat could be the silver lining. When Cosby is able to get back, and he will at [tag]Kansas[/tag], Texas will finally have a three wide receiver set that scares opposing defenses.

The biggest concern coming out of the loss in Lubbock is the play of the offensive line. The big guys up front got beat up for most of the night night. They couldn’t open up holes for the run game or protect McCoy in the passing game. The ability is there, and if some of the older guys like Cedric Dockery and Charlie Tanner don’t step it up they may lose more snaps to younger guys like [tag]Michael Huey[/tag] and [tag]David Snow[/tag].

Texas’ offense has gone all year without a consistent run game and it is probably naïve to believe one is miraculously going to appear. The hope for Texas is that a healthy and utilized [tag]Foswhitt Whittaker[/tag] can provide enough of a spark to take some pressure off of Colt McCoy. McCoy proved to be human last week and in those games the Longhorns have to be able to run the ball to stay effective. They couldn’t in last week’s loss and it may have cost them a shot at the Conference and National Championships.

Texas should be able to move the ball against Baylor. The Bears defense has allowed over 30 points in five of their last six games, all of which were losses. Applying pressure and creating turnovers are the only way Baylor stays in this game and the Bears defense has not been good at either.

When Baylor has the ball

This is not your older brother’s Baylor offense. First year coach Art Briles found his future in his first year. That future goes by the name Robert Griffin. The freshman quarterback has been nothing short of outstanding. He can run and pass, and was the last quarterback in Division I to throw an interception. For the first time in a long time Baylor has a player that can scare you on every play.

The Longhorn defense played well in the second half last week. The only touchdown they gave up came with one second left in the game. The task this week will be to rebuild the psyche of the young secondary. [tag]Curtis Brown[/tag], [tag]Blake Gideon[/tag], and [tag]Earl Thomas[/tag] all had a forgettable last minute of the game, and each of them may have left the field with the feeling they were the reason their team is no longer number one in the nation.

The staff and fellow players have spent a whole week assuring these guys that one play and one guy has never lost a football game. But with young emotional players no one can tell how they will react their next time out. They could turtle up and play tentative from here on out, or they can feed off of the emotion and become better football players because of it.

Texas lost their best player for the week in Brian Orakpo. Most would believe that Texas doesn’t need Orakpo to win the game, but when facing a dual threat quarterback like the one Baylor has every team would want to be at full strength.

Just like on offense, the biggest concern heading out of last game was the play of the defensive line. Texas Tech’s offensive line won the individual battles last week. Baylor won’t have the talent that Texas faced last week and it will be important to regain confidence with early pressure.

Texas’ speed should be able to nullify most of what Baylor would like to do. Even with Orakpo out Texas should be able to get pressure with [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag], [tag]Sam Acho[/tag], and [tag]Henry Melton[/tag]. The key for this defense will be keeping Baylor out of manageable third downs. If Texas can force Baylor’s freshman quarterback into long distance plays, one would think defensive coordinator Will Muschamp can overwhelm him with schemes.

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Posted October 22nd, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Can Rod Muckelroy hold back the OSU offense?

Can Rod Muckelroy hold back the OSU offense?

The number one ranked Texas Longhorns face another tough test this weekend when the undefeated and seventh ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys come to town. Texas has met every challenge so far, and must show OSU the same respect they showed Oklahoma and [tag]Missouri[/tag] in order to stay at the top of the BCS. Three out of the last four times the Cowboys and Longhorns have met Oklahoma State took a lead into halftime. Texas was able to make the comeback with superior talent, but this OSU team is far better than in past years and may not give up the lead if they are able to get it.

When Texas has the ball

The Texas offense, led by super efficient quarterback [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag], has been clicking on all cylinders this season. It has been hard for the offense to top the previous week’s performance for much of the year, but this week will be especially tough considering UT played its best game of the year last week in the destruction of a good Missouri team.

As with most Big 12 teams, the defense is behind the offense, and for this reason Texas expects to put up big numbers again. The emergence of a third receiver (and a fourth and a fifth) last week was almost as big as anything that has happened for this offense this year. Sophomore [tag]Brandon Collins[/tag] had a huge day, and has set himself up to be the outlet on blitzes and when a defense takes away [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] and [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag]. Teams have been unable to take away Shipley or Cosby for a whole game, but it will free up even more room to work if opposing coordinators have to game plan for the young studs at receiver. For most of the year Texas has lacked a deep ball threat in the passing game. That could have changed with the acrobatic catch by [tag]Malcolm Williams[/tag] which showed the freshman’s unique skill set. Fellow freshman [tag]Dan Buckner[/tag] also made a big play late in the game.

The running game is improving each week to the point where this offense no longer relies on McCoy to be their leading rusher. Texas has gone from having no running backs to having four. Senior [tag]Chris Ogbonnaya[/tag] is playing at a level not even the coaching staff predicted, sophomore [tag]Vondrell McGee[/tag] had his best game of the season last week, freshman [tag]Cody Johnson[/tag] has been unstoppable on the goal line and in short yardage situations and fellow freshman Fozzy Whittaker finally got back in action, wasting no time showing off his ability on a 20 yard plus explosion through the middle of the Missouri defense.

The success of the offense depends on the play of the offensive line. So far, they have been dominant. Opposing defenses have chosen to blitz the Longhorn offense at a high frequently. McCoy says every team they have faced has blitzed more than they usually do in their games against UT. Oklahoma State already blitzes half the time and if that rate goes up this line will be key in providing time for McCoy and holes for the backs. Texas should have a physical advantage in this game and will look to exploit it more and more as the game wears on.

When Oklahoma State has the ball

This Oklahoma State offense could be the most balanced offense Texas will play all year. It will most definitely be the best running team, maybe the only running team that Texas has faced thus far. The Cowboys rely on a running back by committee but have relied heavily on Kendall Hunter as their main running threat.

Texas’ defense has been outstanding against the run, but it may be due to the teams they have faced. We will learn an awful lot about this defense after this game. We know they can get to the quarterback, but can they stop the run and get to the quarterback when a team throws a combination of the two at them for a whole game.

Last week the defense was dominant in the first half before taking their foot off the pedal in the second. It could have been the best thing that happened to Texas this week because it gave plenty for coaches [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] and [tag]Mack Brown[/tag] to complain about in film study. Some have said that the points Missouri put up in the second half (28 of them) was on the second team, but if you look back at the game only the last touchdown came with all second team guys on the field. Texas lost its passion, which is to be understood in a blow out win, but they must get it back this week and not start believing all the hype. This team looks to be great at forgetting last week and refocusing, but it only takes one flat game for all of the big wins to become obsolete.

Oklahoma State is not just a running team. In fact they may have the best receiver in the league in Dez Bryant. Bryant, a Texan by birth like everyone else it seems in the Big 12, has been tearing apart opposing defenses. Like Jeremy Maclin last week, the Longhorn defense will have to identify where Bryant is on every single play. Bryant has the ability to take it the distance every time he touches the ball, and he touches the ball in special teams, in the passing game, and on reverses and screens. Bryant is by far quarterback’s Zac Robinson’s favorite target.

Speaking of Robinson, the Longhorn defense will face a quarterback with a skill set they haven’t seen this year (if you don’t count the practice field). Robinson is efficient with the ball and has the ability to pull it down and take off if the defense breaks down. OSU uses him on different types of options to press the edge of a defense. The Cowboy offense does a great job of forcing a defense to move up before burning them deep. UT’s defense must stay at home and prevent big plays in order to come out with this win.

This is the type of game that scares a team. But Muschamp and this defense face a similar offense everyday and practice, so I expect no problems in terms of scheme for this defense.

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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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Posted October 8th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Every game between Texas and OU is huge, but with the rankings and the BCS implications the 2008 meeting carries extra weight. Both teams enter the game as top 5 teams, and the winner not only has the inside track to win the Big 12 South, but also has to be considered the favorite to play for the national championship at the Orange Bowl.

When Texas has the ball

Texas enters the game without a clear cut go to running back, a tight end that can catch, and a receiver that can stretch the field. Yet, the offense has been clicking on all cylinders due to the stellar play of third year quarterback [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag]. This week is not the time to try and tinker with things offensively so expect McCoy to have the ball in his hands most of the game. I wouldn’t be surprised to see McCoy throw the ball 40 times Saturday, especially if the Horns find themselves playing from behind. Most onlookers feel OU has the mental advantage heading into these because of the blowouts that started this decade, but none of these players were on those teams. In fact, the Texas players in this game have won two out of the last three against the Sooners, and last year could have easily been won if it weren’t were a few key mistakes by NFL rookie [tag]Jamaal Charles[/tag].

Oklahoma’s defense is good, but the secondary is not great. McCoy and his receivers will have a clear advantage in the passing game as long as the offensive line gives him enough time to get rid of the ball. Texas’ line struggled last week in blitz pickup at times, but the coaches and players have suggested that it was due to Colorado playing uncharacteristically. OU will be OU, and [tag]Greg Davis [/tag]and his offense should know what to expect.

I don’t see Texas being able to run the ball consistently against this Sooner front seven. The Longhorn offense has struggled to run the ball against lesser opponents and to expect the light to just come on would be unrealistic. The only chance Texas has of creating plays in the running game is if Fozzy Whittaker is able to play and play well. The added speed he gives the backfield allows UT’s offense to run the zone read much more effectively. I expect the backs to be used as receivers as much as anything else.

This game will come down to turnovers and protection. Texas has excelled in those areas so far in the season, but the level of competition and emotion will be sky high on Saturday. If Texas can control the ball and limit mistakes there is a good chance this offense is able to put up points against Oklahoma.

When Oklahoma has the ball

Oklahoma’s offense is scary good. The introduction of the no huddle as their primary offense gives the Sooners an overwhelming number of advantages. It allows quarterback Sam Bradford to snap the ball before defensive adjustments and substitutions are made. OU’s running game hasn’t been a world beater either as running back DeMarco Murray hasn’t had the same burst he had last year in the Red River Shootout when he took a huge run over 60 yards for a back breaking touchdown.

Texas’ defense has gotten better each week. The secondary play has improved dramatically, but most of it has to do with the pressure the defensive line has been able to produce. It will be interesting to see if the back four (or five when they play in nickel) will hold up if Bradford is allowed time. OU’s line is the best in the nation and it may force defensive coordinator [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] to blitz more than he would like. If Texas can create pressure with the front four it will allow for more players to cover Oklahoma receivers.

I expect UT to handle the Sooner run game, so just like when Texas has the ball expect Bradford to control the game for OU. The quarterback who makes the most mistakes or faces the most pressure will likely leave Dallas as the loser.

The key for Texas’ defense will be to utilize the depth in the front four they have tried so hard to build. If a guy like [tag]Sam Acho[/tag] or [tag]Eddie Jones[/tag] can provide pressure when [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] is getting a breather it will make OU’s no huddle offense less effective. For the first time since Bob Stoops took over in Norman I feel that Texas has the advantage in coaching because of [tag]Major Applewhite[/tag] and Muschamp. If Texas’ defense keep them in the game all the credit in the world must go to the first year coordinator that has single handily changed the mindset of this group of young Longhorns.

Hook ’em.

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