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Oklahoma Football vs. Texas: Red River Q&A with Gerald Goodridge of Burnt Orange Nation

Gerald Goodridge is here to talk about Sam Ehlinger, Tom Herman, Texas BBQ and more!

NCAA Football: Texas El Paso at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

The Red River Shootout/Showdown/Rivalry/whatever has lost more than a bit of its luster in 2020, but this week at least provides us with some sense of normalcy. Here to discuss the matchup between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns is Gerald Goodridge of Burnt Orange Nation — SB Nation’s Texas affiliate.s affilia

How is the fan base currently feeling about the state of affairs in Austin? Are most people taking the TCU loss with a grain of salt due to this season’s circumstances, or is it seen as a symptom of issues with his leadership of the program?

No Texas fan has ever taken anything with a grain of salt, which is funny given how salty they often are. The fan conversation during the TCU game got pretty ugly in about the third quarter. The Twitter and message board heat reached fever pitch in the third quarter and people started tossing around any name you can think of, including Urban Meyer. It’s a name that pops up any time Texas fans get pissy and it was made worse because the game was on Fox so he was right in their faces.

Coupled with the recruiting issues Texas is dealing with in the 2021 class, fans are ready to pull the plug on Tom Herman. I think the wheels would have to come all the way off for it to happen this year and a win in Dallas can do a lot to soothe angry fans.

Speaking of the TCU game, what do you think was the issue with Sam Ehlinger as he faced TCU? Was it simply a bad day for him, or was it something TCU was doing to throw him off?

I honestly think Gary Patterson and TCU are in his head. Since taking over as the full-time starter in 2018, he’s had just three games with a completion percentage below 50 percent, two are against TCU. He and his receivers were not on the same page resulting in a ton of frustration and a couple of dropped TD passes. So far this year, he’s made most of his money on the long ball and TCU did a relatively good job limiting that.

Really, I think for Sam it’s between the ears - as it often is. Sam has a different level of focus when it comes to playing OU, so heading into what could be his last trip to the Cotton Bowl, I fully expect him to be dialed in and ready to go.

Defensively, what seems to be the biggest issue for the Longhorns? Is tackling the primary culprit, or is it more of a matter of missed assignments?

It depends on the position group. The secondary tackled better week-to-week and for the second week in a row received a passing grade from Herman as far as assignments go. There’s still work to be done, but I think they’re trending in the right direction. Both TCU and Texas Tech exploited Texas’ biggest defensive liability, the lack of depth and experience at linebacker. Texas actually had two backers out against TCU, one was ejected in the first quarter due to targeting and his backup left the game with an injury. DeMarvion Overshown is a converted safety playing outside, he’s a high-level athlete with coverage experience, so he can be an X-Factor for Texas.

The defensive line has been a strength, specially the defensive tackles and Joseph Ossai, who is playing a hybrid end/linebacker role. They have managed to take advantage of having extra personnel in the box, utilizing twists and slants across the line to create penetration and confusion. Ossai is a few breaths away from having three forced fumbles on the season, so expect Texas to try to scheme him free on Saturday.

At which position matchup do you think UT’s biggest personnel advantage lies? Conversely, which matchup worries you the most?

Texas has a massive size advantage in the passing game, both at receiver and TE. The shortest listed starter for Texas is inside receiver Jake Smith, who comes in at 6’ even. Expect to see a personnel grouping of Brennan Eagles (6’4”), Smith, Joshua Moore (6’1”) and tight end Jared Wiley (6’7”) often.

On that same token, I think OU will take advantage of the deficiency at LB by passing short, underneath routes. This will also give them an opportunity to get a receiver in space to hopefully cause tackling issues in the secondary.

Where can I find the best BBQ in the state of Texas?

Snow’s BBQ in Lexington is routinely named one of the best BBQ places in the state. They did an episode of Chef’s Table about their pit master, the Queen of Texas BBQ Tootsie Tomanetz. Franklin (no S) in Austin is another one that is widely regarded as one of the best around.

Is the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex our country’s least appealing major metropolis? Outside of this one particular weekend, does the place have any redeeming qualities?

Omaha-Council Bluffs is a metroplex according to Wikipedia and that sounds just awful. As far as redeeming qualities about Dallas, unlike the airport in OKC, I can get a direct fight out of that city. Also, my wife has Celiac disease and Dallas has some incredible gluten-free restaurants (shout out to the chicken fried steak from Company Cafe).

As someone who’s spent many years in this state, what’s your favorite thing about the state of Oklahoma?

If I leave my house by 8:00 AM, I can be in Texas by lunch.

On a serious note, my wife and kids were all born in Oklahoma and I’m a pretty big fan of theirs. Also, I grew up in San Antonio and Braum’s isn’t a thing down there. I’m excited that it’s almost egg nog season.

How do you see this one playing out? Are you picking Texas or Oklahoma?

This game is shaping up to be a shootout and when that happens, you have to look at the quarterbacks. Ehlinger struggled against TCU, but I think a late drive to seal the game - and maybe even another Dicker game-winner - puts Texas on top late.

Who do you think Big Tex is voting for in the presidential election? I feel like he might go Libertarian.

He’s been writing in Stephen F. Austin for decades.

If you could trade Tom Herman for Mack Brown right now, would you do it?

Honestly, I think Mack hated it in Austin his last few years. I think his success at North Carolina is because he loves it there. I don’t know if the zest for life would travel with him.