The most raucous Texas road game of recent vintage occurred on November 1, 2008, when the Texas Longhorns took their number one ranking into Lubbock on a day that was widely observed as Halloween. To borrow a term used in conjunction with the Oklahoma and Oklahoma State rivalry, it was bedlam.
Saturday the Longhorns will head to Stillwater to take on the Oklahoma
State Cowboys in a scene that will be the exact opposite of the one
described in the Five Satins song referenced in the title.
differences in the Texas scheme and identity are night and day compared to the
2008 team, but the task of going on the road in front of an unruly crowd and a
high powered offense means there are some similarities to what that great
Longhorn team faced and what this one does. I don't expect Stillwater to be as
amped as Lubbock, but it won't be far off and these things aren't measured by
decibel meters anyway. They're measured by false starts, the quarterback's
ability to audible and overall level of offensive comfort. Poor starts lead to
being behind on the scoreboard and being placed in dire situations that can
altogether alter gameplans.
verteran Texas offense with leaders everywhere struggled mightily in Lubbock. I
fear David Ash will as well, but there's one monumental difference between the
two scenarios in question. Texas can run the ball now.
the ball effectively has proven to be Ash's best friend forever and he'll need
that friend to come through in this game more so than any other the entire
year. At the beginning of the season I said West Virginia was the lynchpin
game. My reasoning for that was, I underestimated Gundy as an offensive coach,
instead giving too much credit to the wealth of NFL talent he's had on his
roster, rather than his ability to restock the shelves in place of
departed players. I didn't think he'd have the horsepower in place or
revving high this early in the season.
to how Texas usually has defensive backs and tackles step up in the absence
of graduated players, so to does Oklahoma State when it comes to offensive
loses Zac Robinson, he replaces him with Brandon Weeden. Though some of you
aren't big on the current state of OSU's quarterback position, I think they
have two players, albeit youthful, capable of being the next big passer in
running back, Kendall Hunter begat Joseph Randle, two player's that are eerily
similar with their ability to run the ball outside with speed and inside with
wide receivers in Stillwater have been well chronicled and in typical State
fashion, they have a nice mixture of underneath reliability and over the top
freak receivers. Blake Jackson, is a name you're very likely to cuss on
Saturday night. Either that or whoever is charged with covering him.
this Oklahoma State offense has written their resume against some unimpressive
defenses, the Texas defense hasn't shown the qualifications we thought they had
and they've yet to play an offense as potent as the one they'll face in
just a few days.
brings us back to Ash and the importance of his kennel of greyhounds and the
offensive line they'll be running behind. Texas must assert itself early and
control time of possession. If Texas is able to move the line of scrimmage as
easily as Texas bettors move Vegas' line, Texas will win this game. If they
don't, or if it's a push, this game becomes the toughest contest Texas will
find itself in this season. Yes, I'm including West Virginia and the December
road game in Manhatten against the Grinch into account.
readily acknowledge Geno Smith is a far superior quarterback to J.W. Walsh.
That's as obvious as Owen Wilson's broken nose. But, because of his ability to
run - not just scramble and improvise - Walsh could provide Texas with the
tougher match-up. I realize this was against a terrible football team, but take
a gander at this offense.
you watched that all the way through you'll realize that Walsh can run (you
could tell that if he was trying to catch a bus - opponent is inconsequential),
much better in fact than wide receiver-turned-quarterback Ryan Tannehill. This
is good if Texas gets him out of the game, but bad if they don't get clean hits
on him. Because of the spacing of their offense and their ability to attack all
portions of the field, Walsh will have lanes to run through.
thing you may have noticed is how tight those windows were that he threw into.
A tight window is a tight window, and if you're fitting into them it doesn't
really matter who's covering the receiver. You probably saw Jackson, a kid that
will likely give UT's inexperienced linebackers fits.
make mention of the Longhorn linebackers because with Jordan Hicks likely
out, they're very green and this is a tough match for them. Walsh is mobile,
Jackson is athletic, and Joseph Randle is a do it all running back who along
with being able to run inside and out, can also catch out of the backfield.
That's a lot of firepower to account for, especially when you factor in how
lost in space the 'backers have looked at times.
is a smart man, even if his own personal appearance is as disappointing as Guy
Fieri's. He'll be able to attack Texas' weaknesses, and if Manny Diaz hasn't
made strides in the past two weeks, Texas is in trouble.
Texas gets into trouble, then David Ash has to challenge Oklahoma State's
secondary. That's not something I'm sure would go UT's way.
have this game too close to call and when looking at the schedule right now,
it's the only one I wouldn't call a Texas win outright.
tells you how improved Texas is. It should also tell you how tough a match up
Oklahoma State is. Like in pugilism, styles make fights. They can also make
isn't exactly Rocky going to Siberia - or the slightly different Lubbock for
that matter - but this is going to be a tough business trip.