A big thank you to Burnt Orange Nation, and specifically @ghgoodridge for taking the time to answer some questions about Texas!
ULL was a win that was supposed to signal Sark had the ship at least moving kind of in the right direction. What follows is the letdown against Arkansas. How are Texas fans feeling about this team now?
I think Texas fans were a bit shell shocked by how absolutely awful Texas looked against Arkansas. Texas coming out and leaning on Rice felt good to some folks, but as you’re well aware most Texas fans are National Championship or bust every year and those folks are already loudly - and annoyingly - voicing unnecessary panic. People who are a bit more measured have adjusted their expected win totals down about 1.5 wins but are hopefull they’ll be pleasantly surprised.
There has been some quarterback controversy in Austin. Is Casey Thompson really the best man for the job?
Whenever there’s a QB race, the players will tell you if the coach made the right choice. Perhaps the two best offensive players Texas has, Bijan Robinson and Xavier Worthy, both were vocal this week that Thompson is the dude for them. I said it in on our site last week, Card wants to hold onto the ball and make a play, which is fine, except that the offensive line is struggling. Thompson has shown that he is more likely to make his reads quicker and take the easy yards to keep Texas on-schedule.
Texas was pitiful against Arkansas defending the run, and Tech is bringing a monstrous stable of RBs to Austin. How is Texas going to flip the script on their run defense?
Part of it was schematic for Texas. It was almost like defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski had too much faith in the front to stop the run and never adjusted to load the box. I anticipate seeing more bodies close to the line and trying to force the run inside. That being said, Texas has to prove that it can handle an inside run in order to not get blasted again.
Offensively, Texas has had a lot of trouble in the protection game. Do you like the matchup you see facing Tech’s defensive line? Can Texas protect Thompson enough to let the signal caller shine?
At the risk of sounding like every message board poster, I think it all depends on how Texas can establish the run. Texas found some success in the zone blocking scheme, so if Bijan can get going then Texas will be able to test the passing game a bit more. If Texas gets it going on the ground, look for them to try some deep shots in the third quarter.
Lastly, who you got Saturday? Does Texas earn a big conference opening win, or does Tech leave Austin happy?
I hate predictions because I suck at them. As I’m writing this, Vegas has Texas favored by just over one score and I think that’s pretty fair.