Tulsa travels south to the state capitol of Texas for a meeting with the Longhorns. The IT staff gives you predictions….
1. How does Texas avoid last week’s mistakes, penalties and handle Tulsa?
Eric Nahlin – Mistakes are avoided due to a solid week of preparation and players being confident in their assignments. Last week tackling was poor so this week the team worked much harder to clean that up. We’ll see how it translates in the coming weeks. Penalties are highly subjective so some of that is bad luck. Texas had two PI’s in part because balls were so under-thrown; a questionable hold on Shack, a hands to the face from Wilbon fighting a double team. Over the course of a season calls like that even. I think we’ll see a much cleaner game. That will make handling Tulsa much easier. Line up, move defenders out of the way, and march the ball up and down the field. On defense, don’t let that happen. It should be that simple.
Justin Wells – By playing their best football within their roles and not trying to be perfect. Heavy doses of the run game, keep Tulsa’s big plays to a minimum, and better overall game management. The UT offensive line has to continue its upward trend, and the secondary has to be ready for big plays.
Joe Cook – This is an offense plenty of members of the Texas defense should have some familiarity with defending. Tom Herman, Todd Orlando, and all of the defense know the veer and shoot is predicated on running the ball against favorable numbers for the offense. If Texas’ defensive line and linebackers can hold up against the Tulsa running attack, it’ll force the Golden Hurricane to attack a talented defensive back corps they won’t be able to top down after down.
Ian Boyd – Even though Tulsa wants a high paced, up and down game, Texas should begin the game with tempo and look to impose their will early with runs and whatever deep shots they have planned so they can put points on the scoreboard early. On defense they should play the dime defense and show simple looks, daring Tulsa to work their way down the field with the run game. Then once they have a lead they can slow the game down and relegate the Tulsa offense to the bench. This should probably be the strategy more weeks than not.
Scipio Tex – Herman is trying to sell fans and his own team that they wanted it too much and psychology is the predominant reason for their loss. No. Texas went down 24-7 early because they weren’t well-prepared, the offense floundered despite solid OL play, and we had some key players (like Roach) playing out of position. That created the anxiety, frustration penalties and tightness that didn’t relent until the offense started playing fast. Prepare the team with a game plan that fits what we can do and attack what Tulsa can’t. Do your job, play hard, play fast.
2. Name the most important offensive/defensive players for UT on Saturday.
Eric Nahlin – It’s Sam until he proves he doesn’t make mistakes in high leveraged situations. That won’t be this week, but it’s still him because we need to see consistently good decision making. On defense, I want to see Gary Johnson destroy the run game. Like the rest of the defense last week he was off to a poor start. I want to see him rebound in a major way and this is a good opponent to do that.
Justin Wells – Sam Ehlinger. Despite a solid game, Ehlinger received the brunt of the criticism for the Maryland loss. He’ll use as motivation and continue to grow. And hopefully avoid any unnecessary turnovers. PJ Locke. With Brandon Jones out, Locke at safety is very important. The Veer & Shoot will lull you with dummy routes, then rip off four verts. Locke has to be ready.
Joe Cook – Tre Watson and Keaontay Ingram. This is one of those games where Texas expects to run the ball over the opponent. Whether that happens has a lot to do with how these two play. On defense, I’ll go with Chris Nelson. Like I mentioned, it starts with the defensive line. A few TFLs for Nelson and this game looks good for Texas.
Ian Boyd – This is a big week for Sam Ehlinger to show he can channel all of the frustration and emotion into a disciplined, under control sort of rage. Make the right checks and reads, run hard when it’s here, and help keep the offense on track. Cold rage. On defense it’s Chris Nelson if they go the dime route since that look makes the game a contest of whether Tulsa can power the ball through the interior gaps or not.
Scipio Tex – Chris Nelson on DL and Anthony Wheeler behind him. Read my Tulsa preview. We can’t let Tulsa control clock and possession. If the OL plays like they did against Maryland, every Texas skill player will have a pretty easy road assuming even the most rudimentary offensive game plan.
3. Score/prediction vs Tulsa
Eric Nahlin – 52-14, Texas
Justin Wells – 44-17, Texas
Joe Cook – 41-13, Texas
Ian Boyd – Texas 42 Tulsa 17
Scipio Tex – Texas- 42, Tulsa -14
4. Game of the Week:
Eric Nahlin – I’m looking forward to watching A&M/Clemson as much as any other game. I think that game will be competitive into the 2nd half. Obviously Stanford/USC is the biggest game based on Texas playing USC in a week. Let’s hope that game is an internecine affair not unlike a Rocky fight. I’m picking the nerds: 28-24.
Justin Wells – Stanford vs USC. The Trojans will punch first, but the Cardinal will punch last, and harder. Bryce Love goes for two bills on a banged up Front 7.
Joe Cook – Stanford and USC, with the Cardinal winning by two possessions.
Ian Boyd – I’m sure most Texas fans will be drawn to Clemson vs A&M like moths to flame. The K-State v Miss State game and Iowa vs Iowa State rivalry will probably be really illuminating for what the coming season in B12 play holds.
Scipio Tex – Clemson vs A&M should be entertaining.
5. Upset of the Week:
Eric Nahlin – I just looked at the lines to find an underdog and see Stanford is favored by 4. I’m much better at guessing spreads than I am picking who will be on what side of them. What better way for Duke Silver to be owned by the 2010’s Texas Longhorns than by having USF upset Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets succumb to Charlie Strong’s team despite winning special teams by 10 points.
Justin Wells – Ralphie shucks the Cornhuskers.
Joe Cook – Pitt over Penn State
Ian Boyd – I think Arizona State may be able to pull off the surprise against Michigan State. Sparty doesn’t handle the spread that well and Herm’s boys were surprisingly sharp in week one.
Scipio Tex – Colorado +4 over Nebraska.