In this week’s Inside Texas Roundtable, we discuss the upcoming Texas-SJSU contest, games of the week, and one big upset. Get some.
1. What does Texas have to do on Saturday to be successful?
Eric Nahlin – Keep it simple. I’m sure they’ll dial up some exotic stuff to get reps under live fire but just keep it simple.
Justin Wells – Apply the proper game plan and execute. Facing the Veer & Shoot in practice last year should give UT an advantage. OL gotta block, RBs gotta run, and defenders gotta tackle. That would be a good start.
Ian Boyd – Run the dang ball and play with good fundamentals on D and the talent discrepancy will resolve the game.
Joe Cook – I’m sure the words “run fits” are etched into your retinas at this point, but improvement there is what I want to see. They’ve seen this system a lot, both in practice last year and against Baylor. The defense should know how to play soundly against it.
Scipio Tex – Game plan with our actual personnel and the opponent in mind rather than just stubbornly run our stuff while pointing helplessly to a lack of TE quality or defensive player instincts as the reason for a lack of success. On offense, we need to explore the running opportunities out of 10 and 20 personnel and let the OL play more basic protections. On defense, we need to free our DL to disrupt and reteach some basic run support concepts at safety and linebacker. San Jose State isn’t very talented and their Brilesian offense won’t test the same issues we showed against Maryland. But they could reveal new ones, particularly in how we deal with the spread power running game. Big 12 opponents will be tuning in to this one. My greatest fear is that we run out 11 again with different personnel, have some success against an inferior opponent and pronounce ourselves healed.
2. What offensive and defensive player stands out vs. SJSU?
Eric Nahlin – I’m going with Omenihu on defense. They’ll throw the ball and more drop backs equal more pass rush opportunities. Charles is also good versus the run. Offensively I’ll go with Collin Johnson but I also expect a big day out of Chris Warren.
Justin Wells – Sam Ehlinger and Poona Ford. Sambo does what he should; makes smart decisions, protects the football, and makes a few big plays. Poona is more than a space eater, he helps collapse the pocket and gets to the QB. Most importantly, both have the respect of their team.
Ian Boyd – The right answer on offense is Sam Ehlinger but since everyone else will say that anyways I’ll say that 4th receiver spot, whether it’s filled by a WR in 10 personnel or a TE again. If the staff feels that they can get this TE roster up to snuff before the end of the year then this is a game to keep at it with Garrett Gray and perhaps increased snaps for Cade Brewer. On defense P.J. Locke needs to show that he can fill that crucial fulcrum role as the nickel against the run game.
Joe Cook – Offensive: Collin Johnson. Whoever ends up starting at quarterback should target Texas’ best receiver early and often to build confidence. If it’s Shane, go with your best target in order to build up confidence and get the juices flowing despite a lingering shoulder problem. If it’s Sam, throw it to the guy who can catch nearly anything you send his way. Get those completions early so the ‘first plays of my career’ jitters can dissipate. On defense, PJ Locke needs to prove his first performance of the season is behind him. He’ll have to read plays quickly and help when needed to stop the run. Any improvement from his most recent outing will help the Longhorns’ defense. Also, always a positive to have team captains lead from the front.
Scipio Tex – Collin Johnson and Poona Ford. Presumably we learned that targeting Garrett Gray in the passing game more than CJ before the final charity drive of the game isn’t optimal. Chris Warren could be a good call here if we decide we want to ease things for a new or injured QB. We turned Poona Ford into a block eater against Maryland. No, he’s not Ed Oliver, but given the importance of quick interior pressure against spread passing teams, the coaches should turn him loose to take gaps and use that quick first step they’ve praised instead of imagining him as Tony Siragusa playing in front of Ray Lewis.
3. Texas vs San Jose State prediction:
Eric Nahlin – Texas wins 44-17.
Justin Wells - 44-17, Texas.
Ian Boyd - Texas 50-10.
Joe Cook - 42-20 Texas.
Scipio Tex - Texas- 45, SJSU-21
4. CFB Game of the Week:
Eric Nahlin – I’ll be more curious about Stanford versus USC than the OU/fOSU game, even if Texas can’t replicate what Stanford will do. I think Stanford wins.
Justin Wells – Oklahoma vs Ohio State. I can’t decide which way I think this goes. Both have strengths (QBs, OL) and both have deficiencies (secondary, depth). After Urban’s comments, I wouldn’t mind seeing OU stomp some ass, but in Columbus might be too much to ask.
Ian Boyd – Auburn vs Clemson is the most interesting one, in my estimation. The SEC Tigers are a good dark horse pick to shock in the SEC West and be in the playoff picture due to nailing down D last season and then adding Jarrett Stidham this year (they also have Sal Cannella). Clemson is a good test though because they have what’s probably another elite D and their offense has made some smart tweaks to help Kelly Bryant replace Deshaun Watson. The winner of this game is a very plausible playoff team. How Sam Darnold does against Stanford is also pretty big, of course.
Joe Cook – OU vs. Ohio State. JT Barrett vs. Baker Mayfield. I like what Oklahoma can do, but it’s tough to win in The ‘Shoe. The Buckeyes keep the momentum going, and the same old storylines about the weakness of the Big 12 start back up again on Sunday.
Scipio Tex – Oklahoma vs. Ohio State seems like the obvious answer, but I suggest tuning in to Stanford vs. USC. I expect a great game in a rivalry with more heat and acrimony than most fans understand. Stanford despises USC and they relish pushing them around whenever given the chance. USC doesn’t like seeing their dominant Pac 12 status subverted by a nerd school. Stanford won’t do a single thing against USC that we can duplicate, but it’ll be fun to watch a future opponent in an environment we’ll see the following week.
5. Upset Pick of the Week:
Eric Nahlin – UTSA, because when you lose to Liberty, Baylor, you gets no respect.
Justin Wells – Stanford takes down USC. I’m not certain the Cardinal aren’t better anyway.
Ian Boyd – Boise State +10 against Washington State. They just shut down a Neal Brown (remember him?) offense from Troy and beat Wazzu just last year. Mike Leach is fun but Bryan Harsin will have his number late Saturday night.
Joe Cook – Iowa State over Iowa. Big year coming for Matt Campbell, this is how it gets going.
Scipio Tex – Stanford over USC in LA. Cardinal physicality and their ability to limit big plays on defense show me a better than average path to the road upset.