We caught up with Wescott Eberts, the editor of our Texas sister site at SB Nation, to ask him a few questions about the Texas Tech vs. Texas game on Saturday. Here’s what he had to say...
Texas hasn't won on the road this season. Why is that, and do you think they'll struggle in Lubbock?
To hear Charlie Strong tell it, the first one was a result of not having the team wear suits on the flight out to California, but that didn't fix things, so the explanation has to be a little bit deeper. To point to one single thing, it would probably be youth -- road environments take more mental preparation to succeed in and this team just hasn't quite figured it out yet. Even senior linebacker Tim Cole admitted that it took him a couple years to get himself right mentally before road games.
Texas has certainly struggled in Lubbock in the past -- 2002 and 2008 come to mind, but have won on the last three trips, so there's been some recent success there.
However, based on the overall trend this season, it seems reasonable to expect that the 'Horns won't play as well as they did last weekend against the Bears.
There's a ton of noise about Charlie Strong's job security, but what is the sense in Austin among UT faithful regarding whether or not he'll be back next season?
I would say that there are three factions in Austin right now -- those who haven't had much confidence in Strong over the last couple seasons who have now confirmed those feelings, those who continue to vehemently defend Strong, and some who are waiting to see how the season finishes.
As for my own position, the Kansas State game felt like a breaking point and I thought at that point that he had little chance to save his job. After backing away from the ledge a bit, I think that the best-case scenario for Texas is to bring him back for another season with enough success that he can still sell some hope on the recruiting trail.
Can he accomplish that with another regular-season loss, like one this Saturday against Texas Tech? I'm not sure about that.
If Strong is let go, who do you realistically want to replace him?
Nick Saban! Totally realistic. I've had some concerns about Tom Herman's lack of a body of work and don't see him as a guaranteed savior, so perhaps Western Michigan's PJ Fleck is the most intriguing coach out there. However, I'm not sure if he's quite ready, either, so when I survey the coaching landscape, I'm a little bit underwhelmed by the realistically available coaching pool, which factors into the desire for Strong to do enough to save his job for at least another season.
Other than Foreman, who do you expect to make plays for the Texas offense?
I assume that you mean star running back D'Onta Foreman, who is looking for his FBS-leading 10th straight game with 100 or more rushing yards, so I'll go with freshman quarterback Shane Buechele. With wide receiver John Burt basically a non-factor at this point, the Texas wide receiver corps has largely been by committee - seven players have 197 or more receiving yards and seven have touchdowns, with four players tied atop the leaderboard with three. Basically, any one of a number of guys can step up on any given week, it's just hard to predict who will do it. What isn't in question is whether Buechele will hit them when they're open, as his deep touch and accuracy overall have both been pretty remarkable.
The Texas defense hasn't been stellar this year. How can they slow down Tech's offense, and who should we be watching for individually?
Texas will probably have to manufacture pressure and will surely have to avoid the breakdowns in the secondary that plagued much of the season. Playing Kris Boyd and John Bonney at cornerback has helped, but Bonney is prone to giving passes up in front of him.
The guys I would really watch for though are demoted starters Davante Davis and Holton Hill. Particularly in the case of the latter, both have been prone to busting coverages and giving up big plays. When they come in the game, look for Patrick Mahomes to throw in their direction.
NOT SO SERIOUS QUESTIONS
Flour or corn tortillas?
To be hit with or to eat? For eating purposes, I usually stick with flour because too many corn tortillas break up as you eat them.
The Big 12 is doomed in my opinion. Where are the Horns going next?
PS - take us with you
My best guess right now is the Big Ten. Sorry, though, probably just room for the 'Horns and Sooners.
Should Breckyn Hager get a haircut?
I haven't cut my hair in 10 months and have publicly expressed my solidarity with Hager in his vow to not cut it until Texas wins a Big 12 title, so I'm going to say to have no on that one.
Is Texas back?
Ouch. That one hurts.
Which is the better post grunge band: Staind or Creed?
I don't listen to Staind, but that's the easy choice here because Creed is awful and Scott Stapp is even worse. Ugh.