Posted April 27th, 2009 by Brian
Filed under: Draft, Feature, Football

After what had to be one of the most difficult weekends of his life Texas wide receiver [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] has found a new home and signed a rookie free agent deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. Estimated by most draft experts to be a 5th or 6th round draft pick Cosby went completely unselected in the 2009 NFL Draft and also was forced to sit uncomfortable next to the great Bill Cosby wearing a football helmet.

Though he was assuredly disappointed with not being selected, as a free agent he was able to pick the team and contract that was the best situation for him. With TJ Houshmandzadeh gone and Chad Johnson disgruntled as always, Quan has a good chance to make the team and contribute. Cosby chose the Bengals over offers from Detroit, Seattle, Houston, San Diego, Indianapolis, Minnesota and St. Louis.

Texas right guard [tag]Cedric Dockery[/tag] also has reportedly signed a free agent deal with the New Orleans Saints.

We will have updates on [tag]Ryan Palmer[/tag] and the other undrafted Horns when they happen. Also follow @40AcresSports on Twitter for breaking Texas sports news.

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

Follow along below with our live thoughts and analysis during today’s Texas Longhorns game versus [tag]Kansas[/tag] on FSN. Participate in the discussion by following 40acressports on Twitter or by refreshing and commenting on this post.

Texas vs. Kansas tweets

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Posted November 9th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Fozzy Whittaker rushed 15 times for 77 yards

Fozzy Whittaker rushed 15 times for 77 yards

The Longhorns bounced back with a solid win against an improved [tag]Baylor[/tag] team on Saturday in front of a lackluster crowd at DKR Memorial Stadium. The student section was empty for the beginning of the game and the blue hair section emptied pretty early in the second half. Luckily the football team doesn’t front run like the fans seem to and showed up to play. With a couple of key guys down with injury some of the usual suspects and a few under the radar guys stepped up in the win.

  1. [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] – Coming into the game the thought was that Cosby wouldn’t even play. The Waco native felt good enough to go against his home town team and didn’t disappoint. Cosby got the scoring going on a touchdown pass from [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] on Texas’ first drive. When Cosby and [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] are on the field together this offense is on a different level. The senior finished the game with 111 yards on eight catches including two touchdowns.
  2. [tag]Ryan Palmer[/tag] – The smallish senior cornerback gets overlooked in Texas’ secondary because of the perceived ability of the younger guys at his position, but Palmer is a leader on this team and continues to perform better than anyone could have ever imagined. Baylor had tied up the score at 14 in the second quarter when Palmer made the biggest play of the game on a 23 yard interception return for a touchdown. It was the catalyst for the 31 point run UT would go on to put the game away. Palmer added a sack and a pass breakup to his stat line later in the game.
  3. [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] – It says something about this season’s play of Colt McCoy and the expectations of the UT fan base when the junior signal caller can throw for five touchdowns and 300 yards and many still feel like he under performed. McCoy didn’t have his best game of the year but he was solid while completing 26 of 37 attempts. The Heisman contender has relied less on his legs to make yards only gaining 22 yards on the game. But he is buying more time in the pocket and keeping plays alive for his receivers. Yes he threw two interceptions, but it was a big win and a good day for McCoy.
  4. [tag]Roy Miller[/tag] – The big guy in the middle made his two tackles on the day count by recording both of them as sacks on Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin. [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] gets all the press clippings, but the loss of Miller after this season will be the most costly for the Texas program. The senior dominates his gap on nearly every play and has the ability to go from run stopping to pass rushing at will. His play at defensive tackle may not even be what he does best. When Miller lines up at fullback and lead blocks on short yardage situation he is devastating.
  5. [tag]Earl Thomas[/tag] – After a rough week last week Thomas rebounded to play his best game of his career. He didn’t record any interceptions or sacks but he was all over the field and made sure tackles all game. The freshman safety made a good play in the end zone on an early Baylor drive and showed how valuable he is when Baylor scored on a long pass on the first play Thomas missed with an injury. It was the only big play the Bears would get in the passing game because Thomas came back in on the next possession. It was important for Thomas to rebound and get some confidence back and he did with a team leading five tackles, with three coming for losses.
  6. [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] – Shipley makes catches when he has to. It is that simple. He is a third down catching machine. Every time McCoy needs to make a play or convert a first down it is obvious Shipley is the first progression on the route. Shipley is a senior who will most likely be back next year because of a medical redshirt that will surely be rewarded. His chemistry with McCoy is better than any receiver-quarterback combination to ever play at Texas. He finished the game with six catches for 81 yards and another touchdown. Shipley has scored a touchdown in every game this year.
  7. [tag]Foswhitt Whittaker[/tag] – I think Texas has found their running back. The staff knew they had one all along, but it was nice to see the speedy freshman be able to carry the load and get over 15 touches. Whittaker possesses a burst that no one else on the roster has, and with the type of offense Texas has moved to his ability would figure to go best with the schemes. Fozzy has struggled with nagging knee injuries all year, but appeared to make it through the game without any problems. With [tag]Chris Ogbonnaya[/tag] figuring to come back next week it will be interesting to see how Greg Davis and Major Applewhite distribute the snaps. Ogbonnaya will get the third down snaps, but Whittaker should begin to get more and more on first and second down.
  8. [tag]Roddrick Muckelroy[/tag] – Despite what the numbers show, Texas’ run defense was solid throughout the night. Baylor finished with 201 yards of total rushing, but 130 of those yards came on three runs (two on options by Robert Griffin and one late in the game by a running back). For the most part the front seven (six for most of the game) played extremely well. Muckelroy lead the team in tackles again, tied with Earl Thomas with five, but showed his speed when he chased down Robert Griffin on one of the speedy quarterbacks long runs. Muckelroy has turned into the best linebacker of the group because he has finally been able to stay healthy.
  9. [tag]Henry Melton[/tag] – Quietly Henry Melton is becoming an above average defensive end. After struggling at running back for his first few years at Texas, Melton was finally convinced to move to defense by pointing out that is where he would make money at the next level. It might not be the most noble reason to agree to move positions, but however it happen it has helped both Melton and the Longhorns. With Brian Orakpo out Melton was allowed to stay on the field on third downs, and he responded with three quarterback pressures to go along with his two tackles. The light has finally come on for the big guy out of Grapevine.
  10. [tag]Justin Tucker[/tag] – Throughout the season Tucker has done a good job on kickoffs by getting good height and distance on his kicks. Beginning last week Texas began going to the “rugby” style punts with Tucker being the man executing the duty. This style of kicking doesn’t allow for returns and also provides for opportunities to fake the punt if the opposing team doesn’t cover the edge. Texas hasn’t tried to fake off of it yet, but Tucker does have the athleticism to pull it off when they do call it. He only had to punt once, but it went for 53 yards and forced Baylor to go the length of the field.
  11. [tag]Ryan Bailey[/tag] – Somehow Bailey lost his job to [tag]Hunter Lawrence[/tag] during preseason practices. No one had mentioned it because up until the Baylor game Lawrence had been perfect on his extra points and perfect on his field goals. Against Baylor Lawrence missed both of his field goal attempts, one being a chip shot, and was replaced for the last kick by last year’s starter Ryan Bailey. Mack Brown said Lawrence’s leg was “sore”, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bailey trot out for Texas’ next field goal attempt.
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Posted November 8th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Feature, Football, Live

Follow along below with our live thoughts and analysis during today’s Texas Longhorns game versus [tag]Baylor[/tag] on FSN. Participate in the discussion by following 40acressports on Twitter or by refreshing and commenting on this post.

Texas vs. Baylor tweets

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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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BevoBeat has posted three nice long videos of interview sessions with [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag], [tag]Ryan Palmer[/tag], and [tag]Chris Ogbonnaya[/tag]. The team sounds ready to come out and give the Sooners hell. Watch the videos below to see the guys talk about this week’s match-up.

Colt McCoy talks about being a Big 12 quarterback and how much he loves the week of Texas/OU:

Ryan Palmer says the team needs to practice hard and the defense needs to tackle better to stop the Sooners’ offense:

Chris Ogbonnaya shares a story about the “lovely” Sooner faithful:

Source

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Posted October 2nd, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Football

With Big 12 play getting underway this Saturday [tag]Ryan Palmer[/tag] and the entire secondary are about to really be tested. Watch the video below (courtesy of the AAS) to see Ryan dish out a few cliches, discuss facing the top teams in the conference, [tag]Colorado[/tag], and the young defensive backs in general.

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Posted September 26th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Sam Acho hates quarterbacks

Sam Acho hates quarterbacks

Three games into the 2008 season the Texas Longhorns have answered most of the preseason questions facing the team. However going into this week’s game against [tag]Arkansas[/tag] things are still hazy in the running game, at tight end, and with the pass defense. Read on below to see five players to keep an eye on this Saturday afternoon who might provide some much needed answers.

[tag]John Chiles[/tag]

The Texas staff stressed getting the best 11 players out on the field this year regardless of class or position. Chiles is clearly one of those players even if he is not the best quarterback on the team. Chiles offers the big play ability that UT severely needs for this offense to be as dynamic as it can be. Offensive coordinator [tag]Greg Davis[/tag] must find ways to get the former blue chip recruit involved, be it in the running game or in the passing game as a quarterback or as a receiver.

[tag]Vondrell McGee[/tag]

This could be McGee’s last week to show the coaches he is worthy of important carries in important games. So far the sophomore has done nothing to warrant a starting job and is not only getting pushed by injured [tag]Foswhitt Whittaker[/tag], but by bruiser [tag]Cody Johnson[/tag]. With Texas wanting big plays out of the running game, expect to see fewer and fewer carries for McGee unless he comes out and impresses this weekend against a SEC defense in Arkansas.

[tag]Peter Ullman[/tag]

Losing [tag]Blaine Irby[/tag] for the season is a huge blow for Texas’ offense. Irby allowed the Longhorn offense to lineup in four receiver sets without changing personnel. While Ullman will never scare opposing defenses in the passing game, he will be an upgrade in the running game and if he can add a few catches in the flats or in the shallow middle of the field Texas’ offense will continue to succeed. If the former Round Rock Dragon cannot offer any threat to opposing defenses UT may have to look at a different position for a player to contribute at the tight end position.

[tag]Sam Acho[/tag]

The coaches have been impressed with Acho since fall camp began. In reserve duty behind star [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] Acho has played well. If he continues to outplay [tag]Henry Melton[/tag] (who isn’t playing poorly) and backup [tag]Eddie Jones[/tag], the staff may have to look at getting Orakpo, [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag], and Acho on the field at the same time. Texas wants pressure on the quarterback, and through the first three games Acho has shown more ability to do that on a consistent basis than any other defensive lineman not named Brian Orakpo. If it continues some upperclassmen are going to find themselves standing next to [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] more than they’d like.

[tag]Chykie Brown[/tag]

It is no secret that the weak link on the defense; and the team for that matter is in the Texas secondary. Going into the season most onlookers expected [tag]Deon Beasley[/tag] to start next to [tag]Ryan Palmer[/tag], but through the first three games it has been sophomore Chykie Brown. Brown had his struggles tackling in the first game, with every other member of the secondary, but has made good strides in the last two ball games. Texas plays a lot of five defensive back sets with Beasley playing in the slot. Opposing defenses will continue to test Brown until he shows he can make plays. A good game heading into conference play will go a long way in building confidence for the ultra talented corner.

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Posted September 19th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Football

Everybody knows to look for [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] and [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] each game, but UT’s success in this week’s game against [tag]Rice[/tag] and in the upcoming conference match-ups will hinge on the production and success of a few players that are coming into their own. Let’s look at five.

[tag]Foswhitt Whittaker[/tag]

The redshirt freshman tailback was the most productive back in Texas’ offense in his only game this year. His skill set fits in perfectly with the type of offense Texas likes to run. Foswhitt averaged 6.0 yards on 12 attempts against UTEP. He had missed the first game with a knee injury but all reports suggest his knee is fine so expect more touches against Rice. Running backs coach [tag]Major Applewhite[/tag] has been emphasizing receptions out of the backfield, and with Whittaker possessing the best open field moves on the team he seems to be in line to become more and more a part of the offense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start, and if he doesn’t start against Rice, he will be by the time Big 12 play begins.

[tag]Earl Thomas[/tag]

The Rice game will be Earl’s third start at safety in college. Rice’s tight end James Casey leads the nation in receptions per game (over 9), and is sure to be Thomas’ man of the night as the defense has seemed to play [tag]Blake Gideon[/tag] in the deep middle. The redshirt freshman has played hot and cold as would be expected in his first two college games, but coach [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] seems to have confidence in him. If Thomas can hold his own and wrap up when he hits a ball carrier it will help ease the anxiety of a lot of Texas fans. If he can’t, [tag]Christian Scott[/tag] or [tag]Ben Wells[/tag] may get more looks.

[tag]Michael Huey[/tag]

The young offensive lineman got a chance for major playing time when teammate [tag]Charlie Tanner[/tag] went down with a leg injury. Huey struggled at times against UTEP and must begin to move people off the line in order to hold off Tanner when he comes back as well as true freshman [tag]David Snow[/tag]. Texas wants more push in the run game on the inside. Huey has the raw talent and mean streak to remind many fans of ex-Longhorn, and big bellied cult leader, Kasey Studdard, but must translate it on the field to solidify Huey as a starter for the next few years.

[tag]Malcolm Williams[/tag]

Colt McCoy has played great, beyond great really in the first two games, but eventually this team will need a deep threat and the most likely candidate appears to be the 6’4″ Williams. Through the first two games it appears Texas hasn’t even looked to go deep, settling for underneath patters. As the talent of the players, and the coaches, rises the need to stretch the defense takes on added importance. Watching Williams in practice and in pre game warm ups leaves little doubt to his physical skills, but like most young players Williams needs to build his on field confidence by making big plays in a real game. Think of [tag]Limas Sweed[/tag] before and after the catch in the “Horseshoe” against [tag]Ohio State[/tag]. Williams will need a play like that to jump start his season and his career.

[tag]Ryan Palmer[/tag]

The best player on Rice’s team is wide receiver Jarrett Dillard and one would think senior cornerback Ryan Palmer will be the guy asked to shadow him throughout the night. The Owls offer little threat on the ground, so the play of the secondary (especially on third down) will be important in preventing any thought of an upset. Dillard and Rice quarterback Chase Clement will finish their careers as the leading touchdown scoring tandem in NCAA history will try to pick on the size of Palmer, but the senior has shown an ability to hold his own against bigger receivers. Holding this group of players in check will serve as a much needed confidence boost heading into games such as OU, [tag]Missouri[/tag], and [tag]Texas Tech[/tag].

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