Previewing Texas - The Longhorn Offense

Quarterback Garrett Gilbert #7 of the Texas Longhorns tells his running backs which way they should go. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

To this point there's been absolutely nothing about the Texas offense that should raise cause for concern. The Longhorns are currently 9th in the Big 12 in scoring offense (26 PPG), 6th in passing (221.3 YPG) and 8th in rushing (135.5 YPG). They're also averaging 2.5 turnovers per game which was their Achilles against UCLA when they maxed out with five turnovers. 

However, on the flip side there's been nothing that I've seen from Oklahoma's defense to build confidence against a Longhorn offense that, for as bad as it has been, has some guys who are very dangerous.

WR

Mike Davis

16 Rec/183 Yrds/ 2TDs


TE

Barrett Matthews

4 Rec/25 Yrds/1 TD

LT

Kyle Hix

 

LG

Michael Huey

 

C

David Snow

 

RG

Mason Walters

 

RT

Britt Mitchell

 


WR

Malcolm Williams

11 Rec/146 Yrds/


WR

Marquise Goodwin

14 Rec/137 Yrds




QB

Garrett Gilbert

87/139 - 885 Yrds - 4 TDs/4 INTs




















RB

Fozzy Whittaker

38/182 Yrds - 2TDs





 

Gilbert has a strong arm and is very capable of getting the ball down the field. Once more the Longhorns are going to run the ball a lot which means that Oklahoma's defensive backs are going to be more susceptible to biting on play-action passes. We all know that means there is a very real danger of receivers running open behind the safeties. Yes, Gilbert is going to make his mistakes but if the Oklahoma defense makes theirs then this game is going to give an advantage Texas. He may not be the quarterback that Texas thought he was at the beginning of the season but he's still more than capable of hitting a wide open receiver.

When it comes to stretching the field a guy not mentioned above is James Kirkendoll. He leads the Longhorns (those with 10 catches or more) with an average of 13.4 yards per reception. He's only found the end zone once this season and Oklahoma is going to want to keep it that way. In order to do so they're going to have to get pressure on Gilbert and play their assignments without biting on pumps and play fakes.

The best way to shut down the Texas offense is to stuff the run and place them in 2nd and 3rd and long situations. Of the three main backs Whittaker has been the strongest. He's averaging 4.8 yards per carry and has the potential of being a headache to Oklahoma's defense if not wrapped up. Another dimension to the Texas rushing attack is the addition of speedster DJ Monroe into the backfield. Last week against UCLA he averaged 9.3 yards per carry on 7 carries. He's a guy that Texas is going to want to get the ball to in space and he'll also add to the threat of passing out of the backfield. He'll be a liability in pass blocking so if the Sooners can force the Longhorns into a 3rd and long situation they'll most likely eliminate Monroe as a threat, other than the obvious screen.

Finally, the offensive line comes into play as the catalysts to a successful or struggling offense. The Longhorn big men have only given up 5 sacks in the first four games this season but you have to wonder if some of the struggle to run falls on their shoulders, especially in those short yardage situations. As a team the Longhorns are rushing for 3.38 yards per carry.

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