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].


Related Posts


Comments are closed.

Texas FanGuide - Texas Longhorns fan app with roster, news, and team schedule

Subscribe to the 40 Acres!

Don't miss breaking news or another story from your favorite Longhorns fan site, subscribe to our RSS(?) feed!

Become a fan of the 40 Acres on Facebook

Recent Comments