Posted October 23rd, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

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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