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What We Think We Know | Texas Longhorns

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TEXAS LONGHORNS
Stats Schedule
OFFENSE 9/4 @ Rice | W | 34-17
Rushing | 182.00 (44) 9/11 Wyoming | W | 34-7
Passing | 197 (72) 9/18 @ Texas Tech
Total | 379.00 (64) 9/25 UCLA
Scoring | 34.00 (39) 10/2 @ Oklahoma
10/16 @ Nebraska
DEFENSE 10/23 Iowa St.
Rushing | 73.00 (13) 10/30 Baylor
Passing | 165.00 (34) 11/6 @ Kansas St.
Total | 238.00 (15) 11/13 Oklahoma St.
Scoring | 12.00 (17) 11/20 Florida Atlantic
TO Margin | 0.50 (40) 11/25 Texas A&M

WHAT WE KNOW | The Longhorns have been outstanding in stopping two teams that have struggled thus far to put up much offense. Of course, Texas Tech gave up over 400 yards to New Mexico. So there's that. Back to the Longhorns. I know it's a small sample size, but Rice is 105th in the nation in total offense (played Texas and North Texas) and Wyoming is 98th in total offense (played Southern Utah and Texas) and the Longhorns are getting a lot of credit for holding their two opponents to very few yards, which they did. The Longhorns have done a decent job of defensively shutting down opponents, but I watched a good part of the UT vs. Rice game (only slightly inebriated) and the Texas defense, as always was aggressive, but Rice was making things happen, especially in the first half. You could certainly make the argument that UT just hasn't seen a good offense yet. They have seen diverse and spread-type of offenses, but I think there is a significant difference in talent between Rice and Wyoming. I'm not completely sold that the Longhorns are unflappable on defense. That's not to say that I think the Texas defense is not good and I'm keenly interested to see how the Texas Tech receivers are able and/or figure out how to take advantage of a Longhorn secondary that could have some serious talented drafted when the NFL comes calling. I'll have more on this later in the week, but it's an interesting match-up.

Garrett Gilbert, is off to an okay start. Gilbert is completing 62% of his passes, is averaging only 6.8 yards per attempt, a shade under 200 yards a game, only 1 touchdown and no interceptions. The Longhorns didn't need Gilbert to win games and he's not losing them either.  Interestingly, Gilbert's completion percentage and quarterback rating decrease significantly from the first half to the second half:

1st Half: 70.6% | 142.80 Rating
2nd Half: 50.0% | 99.35 Rating

Playing college football is not easy. And even if you play teams that may not be up to your competition, young players, especially quarterbacks, that take beatings all game long can take a toll on a young QB. There's no reason, especially this early in Gilbert's career, to ask him to do too much, and I think that's smart. It would be great if there was a reliable running game for the Longhorns to rely on, but I think that's good news for Texas Tech fans.

WHAT WE CAN EXPECT | More of the same. I do not think that Texas Tech is going to see a huge departure from what Texas has done thus far this year. The most significant improvement on the part of UT will be a matter of the more that they play, they better they will be. I think the Longhorns are still trying to figure out their identity offensively. And this isn't to say that UT has been bad at running the ball, because that's just not the case. The Longhorns ran the ball for 3 touchdowns and 197 yards (4.28/carry) against Rice and 3 touchdowns and 167 yards (5.76/carry) against Wyoming. I thin most Longhorns would prefer to have just one running back step up their play and be the starter, but that just hasn't happened yet and I don't think that it will all year. All three running backs (more on them below) are okay, but if one of them really stood out amongst the others, then they'd play.

Texas Week
MONDAY Five Questions
TUESDAY What We Think We Know
WEDNESDAY Keys to the Game
THURSDAY Five Questions
FRIDAY Prediction Time

If you're Will Muschamp, what do you dare the Texas Tech offense to do. I can't remember which commenter said this (I'm giving you credit, I just can't remember where I read it), but Red Raider fans are going learn very quickly what type of coordinator Neal Brown is. From what I can tell about Neal Brown, is that he's not intimidated by just about anything and he's smart enough and cocky enough to think that he's one of the smartest guys in the room. I like that in an offensive coordinator, but if Neal Brown is what I think he is, then he'll adjust. But to get to my initial question, if you put yourself in Muschamp's shoes, what do you do? Texas Tech still has all of the pieces from a very talented passing offense from last year, meanwhile, Texas Tech may have found a quick enough and shifty enough running back that could cause some real problems with an over-active defense.

This is why I love football.

PLAYERS I THINK YOU SHOULD WATCH | Despite the attention that Gilbert is getting, I couldn't help but think that one of the three running backs could cause some problems for Texas Tech. Here's the three candidates:

Foswhitt Whittaker | 16 rushes | 113 yards | 7.06 YPC | 1 TD | 56.50 YPG
Cody Johnson | 24 rushes | 105 yards | 4.38 YPC | 2 TD | 52.50 YPG
Tre' Newton | 26 rushes | 84 yards | 3.23 YPC | 3 TD | 42.00 YPG

Whittaker gets the call this week and that appears to be the right choice.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Longhorns are making a bunch of plays behind the line of scrimmage. Currently sitting at 10th in the country in tackles for loss. Leading the charge is a ton of defensive stalwarts, including the man who will never graduate, Sam Acho, who already has 4 TFL, but he's also joined by OLB/DE Eddie Jones who has 4 TFL this early in the season. I'm not telling you anything you don't know, but the Longhorns will be attacking in some form or fashion on Saturday. The biggest problem for the Longhorns is that they've only forced 2 turnovers against Rice and no turnovers against Wyoming. This was a defense that was a +9 last year (and would have been even better had they not been a -3 in the national championship game).