Posted October 31st, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Can Lamarr Houston get quick pressure on Harrell?

Can Lamarr Houston get quick pressure on Harrell?

At this point in the season teams offer very few surprises. They are who they are. Guys like [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag], [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag], [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag], and [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag] are going to be crucial for Texas to win their fourth straight high profile match up in Saturday night’s game against [tag]Texas Tech[/tag]. Beyond those guys there are a few players that fly under the radar that are equally responsible for the Longhorn success.

[tag]Brandon Collins[/tag]

The Texas offense has moved from a good offense to a great offense starting with the [tag]Oklahoma[/tag] game. The main reason has been the implementation of the four receiver set and the main reason the set is working is because of the solid play of sophomore receiver Brandon Collins. Wide outs Jordan Shipley and [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] get all of the hype, but when tight end [tag]Blaine Irby[/tag] went down with a knee injury one of the young receivers needed to step up. There were a lot of potential suitors for the third receiver spot with freshmen [tag]Malcolm Williams[/tag] and [tag]Dan Buckner[/tag] expected to get the snaps because of their physical skills, but it has been the sure handed Collins that has emerged as an every game player. His skills are in the mold of Shipley and Cosby in that he can fit into tight spots in the middle of the field. He is smaller and quicker than Buckner or Williams who rely on speed more than quickness. Cosby leaves after this year and his spot will be in good hands with Collins.

[tag]Adam Ulatoski[/tag]

The big offensive tackle has struggled through injuries in previous seasons, but has been able to stay healthy and hold down Colt McCoy’s blind side. Overall, the offensive line has played great, especially in pass coverage, and a lot of the credit has to do with the play of the junior left tackle. In the win over Oklahoma, Ulatoski shut down Auston English and has done so to all the defensive ends he faced before and after. McCoy’s mistakes come when he is rushed, so if this offensive line can give the Heisman front runner the time to sit back and pass with a clean pocket the Texas offense will pick apart a porous Tech defense.

[tag]Lamarr Houston[/tag]

The Texas Tech offense makes it hard for edge rushers to impact the game by using enormous splits for their offense line. The best way to disrupt a passer is to get pressure into his face from the middle and with the philosophy Tech’s offense uses in regards to splits, up the middle pressure is the best and sometimes only way to get to quarterback Graham Harrell. Fellow defensive tackles [tag]Roy Miller[/tag] and [tag]Aaron Lewis[/tag] are more gap style inside players, so the ex defensive end Houston will be the man to provide pressure for the front if Texas hopes to provide it. The importance of the inside pass rush could pay dividends to the outside guys like Melton, Kindle, and Orakpo because Harrell will be forced to move around, and once he does the speed of the Texas ends will be able to force sacks and badly thrown balls. Texas used their inside guys against [tag]Missouri[/tag] before having to use them to focus on the run last week against [tag]Oklahoma State[/tag]. Look for Texas to use the Missouri game plan again this week.

[tag]Aaron Williams[/tag]

In most cases freshmen in the secondary, especially true freshmen would spell certain disaster for a defense going up against the high powered passing attack of Texas Tech. At times in this week’s game the Longhorns will have three freshmen in their back five or six against maybe the best passing offense in the nation. Williams has played a lot of football this year, so inexperience isn’t as big of a problem as it may be in most cases, but with the nagging injuries to [tag]Chykie Brown[/tag] and [tag]Ryan Palmer[/tag] it looks like Williams will be counted on to step up big time. The true freshman from McNeil looks to have all the tools needed to be a big time player in the secondary, but no one knows if he is ready to play major snaps in a primetime game against two top 10 teams. My guess is he will be fine and that this secondary will be great for years to come.

[tag]Curtis Brown[/tag]

Curtis Brown is another young cornerback whose role has increased the last few weeks because of the injuries to the other cornerbacks and the styles of offenses the Longhorns have been facing. A lot of people on the outside of the program were concerned about Brown’s progress as little as three weeks ago, with many wondering aloud on message boards if it was time to move the athletic sophomore to offense. The former Gilmer star made a big play in special teams against OU in Dallas and since has played with the confidence a player in the secondary has to have. Coaches and players say all the time that what separates a lot of sports stars is plain old confidence. “Swagger” can turn a good player into an impact player overnight. The light has appeared to come on for Curtis and he’ll get plenty of opportunities to prove it Saturday night in Lubbock.


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