Inside Texas Roundtable – TCU

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Texas versus TCU is finally here. How does the Inside Texas staff see the game shaking out?

1. Jake Smith should be back in the lineup this weekend. How does the sophomore receiver fare in his first game of 2020?

Justin Wells – If he’s fully healthy, take off the governor. UT might need his spped and explosiveness to keep pace with the Frogs. Schooler is cool, but Jake needs to be fed.

Eric Nahlin – He gives the staff its best vertical option in the slot, along with the ability for more motion, creativity, and screen game. He’s also a better YAC option than Schooler or Money, who filled in admirably last week. I think he’ll make a positive impact. Watch for him on crossing routes.

Ian Boyd – If he’s on and in good rhythm with Sam Ehlinger then Jake Smith should have a great game. There should be opportunities on slot fades and deep crossers in this game against the Tech defense.

Scipio Tex – Is Texas going to ease him back in with 30 snaps in a rotation or have him out there for 60+ and make Smith and Josh Moore 1A and 1B in targets? If Smith is a full go, I expect 5+ catches.

Joe Cook – His presence is key in disrupting what the TCU safeties want to do. Plus, his speed is something Texas hasn’t had over the past few weeks, and speed is a necessary component to win the Big 12. He’ll get his touches, and I think he’ll score, but I don’t think Texas does anything to put him at risk of messing with his hamstring any further.

2. Position battle between TCU and Texas to watch for on Saturday

Justin Wells – UT’s defensive line is a strength vs TCU, but I want to see holes from the Texas offensive line. If the o-line can get a push and control the line of scrimmage, Samuel L. Ehlinger could have a nice, little Saturday.

Eric Nahlin – Joe Ossai versus TCU’s questionable offensive tackles. Texas will want to pressure Duggan but also keep him in the pocket.

Ian Boyd – Texas can win this game in the matchup between Joseph Ossai and the TCU offensive tackles, perhaps by the Frogs overplaying it and getting wrecked by a blitz or pass-rusher from the other side.

Scipio Tex – The Texas DL vs. TCU OL is a significant advantage for the Longhorns. Can Chris Ash devise a man-under single high safety game plan that keeps the ball in Duggan’s hands long enough for the pocket to collapse without giving up a kill shot deep? TCU has talented WRs but they’re not as experienced or refined as what we saw in Lubbock. One important but subtle piece — the edge rushers have to contain Duggan when he wants to leak out of the pocket. 

Joe Cook – Texas LBs versus the TCU offense. Juwan Mitchell and DeMarvion Overshown had their heads spinning against Texas Tech. Can they rectify their issues within a few days? If Texas wants to win, they’ll have to.

3. Where does TCU have a clear advantage over Texas? 

Justin Wells – Coaching. And Juwan Mitchell in coverage.

Eric Nahlin – The headsets. Gary Patterson is a better coach than Tom Herman to this point. However, Herman at his best is quite formidable. It’s just tough to know when Herman is at his best until the day of. UT has been nothing but inconsistent under him. Defensive coordinator Chris Ash is still learning the Big 12 while TCU’s Co-OC’s are sort of the personification of it.

Ian Boyd – I don’t know if TCU will out-coach the Longhorns and be able to avoid the many bad matchups in order to emphasize the right ones, but that eventually is the main concern for Texas. That and TCU’s slots matched on Juwan Mitchell in 3×1 and 3×2 formations.

Scipio Tex – Historically, the answer is coaching. As evidenced in Ft. Worth last year. Obviously, a new Texas staff changes that equation. Herman needs to show that his hires addressed the problem.

Joe Cook – Headsets, of course, but tackling. We know what to expect from the TCU defense in that regard. What will Texas’ defense do after the performance they put on in Lubbock?

4. TCU vs. Texas score prediction

Justin Wells – Texas 38, TCU 31.

Eric Nahlin – 41-34, Texas. I can see the game going a number of ways, including UT losing, but I think they have a good enough game plan to get the win.

Ian Boyd – 38-24, Texas

Scipio Tex – 34-24, Texas

Joe Cook – 35-21, Texas

5. Game of the Week prediction

Justin Wells – OU-Iowa State could be fun, but watching Alabama kick in Aggies’ teeth is a joy too.

Eric Nahlin – Other than Texas, I’ll be most intrigued by OU versus Iowa State. Matt Campbell always plays the Sooners tough. ISU is coming off a good win while OU is on the road after a tough loss. I think OU loses another close one in the 30s.

Ian Boyd – Iowa State always gives Oklahoma fits and this particular year’s matchup is very concerning for the Sooners. But Lincoln Riley can’t really afford to give away another game heading into the RRS, so the Cyclones are going to get Oklahoma’s best shot. Should be fascinating.

Scipio Tex – Texas A&M-Alabama. A nice Longhorn win in the a.m. pairs nicely with A&M tears in the p.m. If ISU upsets OU later, that’s my dessert.

Joe Cook – Auburn is going to beat Georgia.