The more meaningful part of the schedule is just around the corner as the Texas Longhorns (2-1) begin their Big 12 slate hosting the Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-0).
The Longhorns will be looking for their fourth straight win over the Red Raiders, while the Matt Wells club is looking for a win that could provide real momentum going forward.
The BON staff met to discuss expectations, what Texas needs to do to avoid unrest, and more.
Have your expectations for this season changed with the non-congress schedule now in the rear view? Why or why not?
Curry Shoff I came into the season claiming Texas was a dark horse playoff team. I don’t give up so early.
Daniel Seahorn They haven’t, but that’s because I had lowered my expectations coming in the year given what Texas returned to some key positions. I thought the game in Arkansas would be a bit more competitive, but I had a feeling they would experience some setback early on.
Gerard Goodridge I started the season optimistically expecting 9-3 and while I think if Texas matures quickly that’s still in the cards I think 8-4 is probably a more realistic expectation. Texas just hasn’t shown me anything yet that gives me the confidence that they can win on the point of attack on either side of the ball and will definitely cost them several times this year.
Cody Daniel Yes and no. The 58-0 win over Rice was a nice rebound, but until we see Texas improve against a quality opponent, it’s hard to forget how bad the game was in Arkansas and all the weaknesses it exposed so quickly. On the other hand, the rest of the Big 12 looked disappointing to say the least, so I don’t think Texas needs to be great to win games.
In what amounted to half the football against Rice, Casey Thompson looked good, completing 15 of 18 attempts (83.3%) for 164 yards and 2 TD with 1 INT. What was your takeaway from his performance?
Curry Can’t take much away as Texas would also look good against Westlake High, but it was good to see a dominant performance from this offense. An interception from Thompson wasn’t too worrying and I liked that he stayed in the pocket and tried to make the downfield throw even though the hit was coming. His touchdown pass to Worthy was also a perfect placement. He seemed to have strong control of the attack for most of the night. Dare I say the word: moxie?
sea horn Solid performance all around and the attack well managed. I hope the offensive staff finds a way to better protect him behind that offensive line because at some point all hell will be asked to knock teams out of the bag when the defense gets tired of stopping and running. They can win games with Thompson, but the staff must continue to develop as the season progresses and continue to build his confidence.
Gerardus It’s hard to really take anything away because it was Rice, but it seemed like he was on the attack and he understands how it aligns with the defense. Especially after hearing Bijan Robinsons quote that he mentioned the long touchdown run, I have a little more confidence in Thompson’s ability to translate the classroom to the field.
Cody He was confident, poised and accurate in the pocket, and decisive with both his throws and knowing when to stop and run. Even though it was his first start, Thompson just seemed to be prepared and master the attack, so if he can build on his first start and continue to grow with real playing experience, Texas should have his answer at QB.
It was against Rice, but we saw Texas explode on Saturday for 427 yards and 6 TD on the ground. Given the talent in the RB room and the current QB situation, did Rice’s game help Texas establish some of its identity offensively?
Curry I think we’ve seen what Texas wants to do, but nothing is being established against Rice.
sea horn The outer zone seemingly disappeared against Arkansas only to reappear against Rice, reaffirming that it should be a staple of the offensive game plan going forward. The offensive line and stable of backs show they can swallow defenses with folds in the run game, so I hope they keep building that and adding wrinkles like play action and RPOs from it.
Gerardus I think we need to see what Sark wants the ground game to look like under perfect conditions. Although a wide receiver won the Heisman a year ago, Sark likes to get the running backs heavily involved in the offense. I hope the offensive line felt what it is like to dominate an opponent on offense and use that to propel themselves to the next level and beyond as the year progresses.
Cody In a perfect world, Sark would want to dictate the flow of the game with an aggressive, effective hasty attack. But I’m not sure if this team’s identity is really good until the offensive line proves it can block well enough either from Bijan and the backs to break free, or for Casey Thompson to have time to actually get into the bag to work.
What have you seen from Texas Tech that could cause trouble for Texas on Saturday?
Curry I have not seen anything from Texas Tech that should cause problems Texas Tech is not a good team but this school has a deep hatred for Texas and we will feel it Saturday.
sea horn They have a quarterback who can swing him around a bit with a running back who can carry him too. The Texas defense will have to face the challenge to cover every level of defense and we will have to see a much better game plan from PK than we saw in Fayetteville. In addition, the Defensive Front Seven is quite experienced and will try to wreak havoc with an offensive line that struggles with pass protection.
Gerardus I don’t know if the secondary Texas has really been tested and Erik Ezukanma is the real deal. If he leaves, things could quickly turn bad for Texas.
Cody Erik Ezukanma is a problem, but I’m especially concerned about the trenches. Can the Texas offensive line hold out, and even assert itself, and can the defensive line overwhelm Tahj Brooks and put some pressure on Tyler Shough?
The Longhorns will win if…
Curry Texas sets the point early and doesn’t turn the ball around.
sea horn They continue to pound the rock effectively and protect 11 in pass protection. If that happens, you are likely limiting your revenue and putting a lot of pressure on Tech to be extremely efficient.
Gerard Goodridge The offensive and defense lines win at the point of attack and allow the systems to work as designed.
Cody Daniel Texas can hold Erik Ezukanma down, prevent Tahj Brooks from running through huge lanes, and the offensive line can beat Tech in the trenches.
Prediction: Does Texas Big 12 Game Start With Fourth Consecutive Win Over The Red Raiders?
Curry Shoff Texas wins easily and we start the Casey Thompson for Heisman campaign.
Daniel Seahorn I think Texas wins, but it’s going to be a bit of a knife fight.
Gerard Goodridge Against my better judgement, I think Texas wins 38-35.
Cody Daniel Texas wins and covers the spread, 34-23.
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