If you look at the numbers, pretty much any of the numbers, the Texas Longhorns don’t have any chance of beating the Oklahoma Sooners Saturday in the Red River Shootout (as it will always be known, as far as I’m concerned). And, going into the season, I would have agreed.
But, something strange happened on the way to winning our first four games: I began to believe in this team.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think the most likely outcome is that Oklahoma wins, but fails to cover the 9.5 point spread. And the chances that Oklahoma blows Texas off the field are much higher than the opposite happening.
But surprisingly, there’s a non-trivial chance that Texas squeaks out a win.
To do so, Texas must get pressure on Laundry Jones with its front four. Given time, Jones will pick Texas’ defense apart, with some of the best receivers in the country.
On the other hand, he can be rattled.
Granted, the pressure we’ve shown from our d-line so far this year hasn’t been impressive. But, Jones is not really any sort of running threat, so the defensive ends can rush upfield without having to worry too much about contain.
Jackson Jeffcoat, it’s time for you to live up to your pre-season hype.
On the offensive side of the ball, I expect we’ll come out with the same quarterback rotation we’ve been using, but quickly settle on either David Ash or Case McCoy. It’ll probably be whichever has the hotter hand, but my money is on Ash.
For the first time since Brent Venables became the defensive coordinator at OU, he will have to scheme against Texas. Thirteen years of scouting reports of Texas (that covered just a half page), went out the window with the hiring of Bryan Harsin as offensive coordinator at Texas.
Harsin has showed OU a number of different things during the first four games, and I expect he’ll have a few wrinkles for OU, but it’s going to come down to grinding it out on the ground. The o-line needs to open up holes for Malcolm Brown so that OU is forced to bring up help in run support.
Then, Texas can go over the top to OU’s soft deep middle.
The main thing, however, is to keep that OU offense off the field. Grind out long drives that result in six points, not three.
My biggest concern is our special teams play, especially kick offs. Our kick coverage has been horrible all year, and this may be the game were it burns us.
Punt coverage isn’t a whole lot better, unfortunately.
No matter what happens, I’m expecting a solid, entertaining game.
Hook ’em, Horns!