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Texas Tech Opponent Prospectus :: Texas Longhorns

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2010 Texas Tech Opponent Prospectus

Game 1: SMU Mustangs (9.5.10) :: Game 2: @ New Mexico Lobos (9.11.10) :: Game 3: Texas Longhorns (9.18.10) :: Game 4: @ Iowa St. Cyclones (10.2.10) :: Game 5: Baylor Bears (10.09.10) :: Game 6: Oklahoma St. Cowboys :: Game 7: @ Colorado Buffaloes (10.23.10) :: Game 8: @ Texas A&M Aggies (10.30.10) :: Game 9: Missouri Tigers (11.06.10) :: Game 10: @ Oklahoma Sooners (11.13.10) :: Game 11: Weber St. Wildcats (11.20.10) :: Game 12: Houston Cougars (11.27.10)

General Information

Opponent Texas
Nickname Longhorns
Location Austin, TX
Enrollment 50,995
Conference Big 12
Head Coach Mack Brown
2009 Record 13-1, 9-0
Starters Returning 6 Offense : 7 Defense
Blogs Burnt Orange Nation : Barking Carnival
Links -

Join me after the jump for a closer look at the Longhorns.

Statistics

Statistic Texas Texas Tech
Pass Offense 273.64 (22) 386.77 (2)
Rush Offense 147.57 (61) 84.00 (115)
Total Offense 421.21 (29) 470.77 (4)
Scoring Offense 39.29 (3) 37.00 (7)
Pass Efficiency 138.39 (35) 143.79 (19)
Sacks Allowed 2.21 (73) 2.38 (87)
Pass Defense 179.57 (19) 225.62 (73)
Rush Defense 72.36 (1) 126.77 (38)
Total Defense 251.93 (3) 352.38 (49)
Scoring Defense 16.71 (12) 22.46 (41)
Pass Efficiency Defense 100.48 (10) 117.38 (35)
Sacks 3.14 (2) 3.09 (4)
Tackles For Loss 8.00 (8) 6.46 (34)
Turnover Margin 0.64 (15) -0.46 (94)


Top Returners

Category Player
Rushing Tre' Newton :: 116 Rushes : 577 Yards : 6 TD
Passing Garrett Gilbert :: 30/66 : 310 Yards : 4 INT : 2 TD
Receiving Malcolm Williams :: 39 Receptions : 550 Yards : 2 TD
Tackles Keenan Robinson :: 42 Solo : 21 Assists : 63 Total
Sacks Sam Acho :: 9 Solo : 0 Assists : 55 Yards : 9.0 Total
Interceptions Blake Gideon :: 6 INT : 31 Yards : 0 TD


Key Losses and Returning Impact Players

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert on the opponent, but I try my best. If I have something wrong, please let me know and I'll correct or revise as necessary.

Key Losses:

QB Colt McCoy, WR Jordan Shipley, LT Adam Ulatoski, LG Charlie Tanner, C Chris Hall, DT Lamarr Houston, DE Sergio Kindle, LB Roddrick Muckelry, S Earl Thomas and K Hunter Lawrence.

Impact Offensive Player :: RG Michael Huey and RT Kyle Hix:

Both Huey and Hix played on the right side last year, but from what I can tell, they'll both be moved to the left side to protect Gilbert's blindside. And I get that this pick is a bit unconventional, the obvious pick is Gilbert, but last year, I witnessed what happened when the entire left side and center position left Texas Tech (Rylan Reed, Louis Vasquez and Stephen Hamby) and to say that the line was in a bit of flux during the first of the year was an understatement. Both Huey and Hix will probably have as much to do with UT's success as any other players on that team due to the increased roll of the running game and protecting Gilbert.

Impact Defensive Player :: DT Sam Acho:

Acho is the next best thing along the line. Although if you read below, there seems to be some question as to where Acho will eventually play. He was dominant last year as a defensive end, but may need to be utilized at tackle. I'm guessing that at either position, Acho's going to have a fine season.

Coach Speak:

Head Coach Mack Brown on motivation for 2010:

There are two or three things that really motivate our kids after watching now. The fact that we’ve had the second most 10-win seasons in the history of college football with nine puts a tremendous amount of pressure on them that 10 (wins) is the bottom you can consider. For nine years, not one player on this team has won less than 10 games. They know they have to win 10 games, period. They want to win the south and they want to win the Big 12. We’ve tied for the south and not been able to play for the Big 12, so that’s where the Oklahoma game has become so important. They want to win a bowl game. They want to win the Big 12 Championship then win the bowl game. You would hope that, two years ago that winning the bowl game did not allow a National Championship, it put them in third, but you would hope that the National Championship would be involved in that group. I think this group understands, like ’08 that there’s nothing going to be given to them. A lot of people are going to have question marks, and they’re going to have to work for it.

Spring Chatter:

  • Ranking the Longhorn Receivers: WR Marquise Goodwin is at the top of the list:
    1. Marquise Goodwin, So. (5-9, 170) – He’s got chemistry with Gilbert, holds up under pressure, has no fear, coaches love him and he’s a track star who can run the 100-meter dash in 10.24 seconds.
  • Gilbert Impresses: QB Garrett Gilbert impresses in spring game:
    Gilbert played like a veteran. With Texas' emphasis on the running game setting him up on numerous play-action plays from under center, he completed 10 of 13 passes for 165 yards, with touchdown strikes of three yards to Barrett Matthews, 41 yards to DeSean Hales and 23 yards to Tré Newton. "We were able to establish the run early on, and I think that definitely helped out," Gilbert said. "With all those good running backs we have, it makes it easy to play pass off of that."
  • Balanced Running Attack: Mack Brown wants a more balanced approach to the running game:
    But it sounds like they actually mean to revive a rushing game that last season managed only 147.6 yards per game, Texas' worst average since 2002.

    With Gilbert spending more time under center, running backs Tré Newton and Fozzy Whittaker establishing themselves as the front runners, and Barrett Matthews and Greg Smith looking good at the H-back/tight end spot, Texas seems primed to make its ground attack a threat again.

    "We'd like to get back to more balance where you could win running it or passing it," coach Mack Brown said. "Last year we could not have won the game just running the ball."

  • Muschamp Focuses on Interior of Line: Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp wants to focus on the interior of the defensive line:
    "I'm young, but I'm old-fashioned," said the 38-year-old Muschamp. "You've got to be strong up the middle. That's where we've got to continue to build our football team."

    At least Muschamp has some blocks to build with, starting with Randall.

    The 6-foot, 5-inch, 295-pound Beaumont native has played in 22 games, including 10 starts last season. He ordinarily lined up at nose tackle over the center, while Houston played the "three technique," which basically lines up between guard and tackle.

  • Sorting Out the Front Seven: There's still some question about how the defensive front seven will shake out in 2010:
    Brown confirmed that although the coaches like Sam Acho inside at defensive tackle, the preference is to have one of the young defensive tackles step up and that hasn't happened yet from Calvin Howell, the best candidate, or Derek Johnson, who was so raw when he came onto the campus that serious contributions from him probably can't be expected until 2011. Brown's comments indicate that the move inside is a ploy to motivate the young defensive tackles as much as it is a practical solution to the lack of depth.

    At the Buck position, Dravannti Johnson continues to draw mention at almost every press availability -- both players and coaches. His development should help the Longhorns rushing the passer from the edge, especially with Sam Acho, the first or second-best edge rusher on the team, possibly spending more time inside. It's positive news about a player who was in the doghouse at times early in the his career and comes leading up to a season in which he needs to distinguish himself with a variety of linebackers and defensive ends arriving in both the 2010 and 2011 classes.

  • Acho's Turn: DE/DL Sam Acho looks to be a dominant force for the defense:
    Acho, whose 63 tackles in 2009 included 14 behind the line, will play a big role in that. He packs 260 pounds on a streamlined 6-foot, 3-inch frame, and says he has focused in the offseason on building more lower-body strength.

    "I just want to add some more explosiveness," he said.

    And it doesn't matter to him where defensive coordinator Will Muschamp chooses to have him blow something up. While ideally built for end, there were times last season he moved inside when Texas dropped into a three-man front.

    "I'm down to do whatever coach Muschamp has me do," Acho said. "That's how every player on this defense is. We'll do whatever coach Muschamp has for us.

    "I'm comfortable," he added, "at any position."

vs. Texas Tech:

If I were to tell you that a particular team would be replacing the entire left side of their offensive line, a senior quarterback that started for four years, the team's leading receiver (accounting for 40% of the team's receiving yards) and punt returner, the leading tackler, two of the top three pass rushers and the safety that led your team in interceptions, but still be ranked 4th in the country (by some) you'd call me crazy. That's exactly what's happened with Texas and everything I read lets me know that all of these losses aren't going to have much, if any affect on the team.

I'll be honest, I just don't see how a team that can lose so much talent (and there's no denying that the 2009 Texas team had a ton of talent) can sustain the same production as last year, whether that production be on the offensive or defensive side of the ball. Any time that a team has to replace starters, there should be questions about whether or not that team's replacements will be up to par. The same has to be said about the Longhorns. I have no doubt that this Texas team has talent behind all of that talent that left due to graduation or onto the NFL, but there's a reason why those backups didn't play and to suggest that this team will have a minimal amount of a drop-off is a tough sell for me personally. That's not to say that I think the Longhorns will be bad, or even average, but it just seems unlikely that they'll be a top five team. To bring this full circle, EDSBS' Spencer Hall gave some advice to Alabama fans who are expecting a repeat championship and I think it applies to the Longhorns as well:

Everyone counts. If you don't think Rolando McLain McClain won't hurt, you are incorrect. If you don't think replacing Javier Arenas and Karim Jackson won't hurt, you are incorrect. There will be no dropoff in talent, true, but experience is unrecruitable and irreplaceable. The loss of Phil Trautwein mattered on the offensive line for Florida; so did the loss of supreme chess piece Harvin, receiver Louis Murphy, and the departure of Dan Mullen to Mississippi State. With something as chemistry-dependent as football, losses matter.

All summer this criticism will be shot down with "but but TALENT OMG," but it still adds up in a way that should terrify Alabama fans like nothing save the glowering ghost of Bear Bryant himself wondering why you're drinking Franzia, and not that fine brown liquor should be drinking, young man.

There's been a bit of hand-wringing over whether or not it's good for Texas Tech to get the Longhorns early, and it's already been said, but I'll say it again: Texas Tech will probably be about as vanilla as a team can be for their first two games out of the 2010 season and I would expect that to change the third game of the season. Considering the relative inexperience of the Longhorns on the right side of the line and Gilbert's relative inexperience, I could certainly envision Tuberville and Willis looking to confuse and confound young Gilbert. Giving Gilbert as many different looks as humanly possible with pressure coming from a bunch of different spots. Offensively, it wouldn't surprise me to see Neal Brown give Muschamp some different looks, attempting to attack the defense at the inexperienced defensive line.

Personally, I think that the early season matchup is going to be a ton of fun and there's a part of me that would love to see the Longhorns a little bit later in the season as I tend to think that they'll be a much different team with seven games under their belt rather than just two. It's really early to try and predict a win or a loss here and this is one of those games that I've circled (obviously) that I think can turn for either team. A lot depends on who is playing quarterback for Texas Tech and I also think a lot depends on how those first two non-conference games play out for the Red Raiders. There's a lot to find out about both of these teams so early in the season.