Smack Talk: Texas vs. Oklahoma
Smack Talk: Texas vs. Oklahoma
This weekend, the Longhorns and Sooners arrive in Dallas, Texas for the annual Red River Rivalry.
Who will win this Saturday and take the lead spot in the Big 12 South…Kevin Flaherty of LonghornsDigest.com and Joey Helmer of SoonersIllustrated.com give us five reasons for each of their teams as to why they will win this shootout.
Kevin Flaherty – LonghornsDigest.com
1. The Defensive Backfield
Oklahoma’s receivers can look daunting to anybody: Ryan Broyles, DeJuan Miller and Kenny Stills. But Texas’s defensive backfield is just as daunting.
Cornerback Curtis Brown and safety Blake Gideon are both All-Big 12 caliber players, while versatile safety Kenny Vaccaro could be at that level in a year or two. Chykie Brown would likely be the No. 1 cornerback for most Big 12 teams not named Oklahoma and Texas.
But the most devastating player is Aaron Williams, an assassin from the nickel back spot who is an excellent blitzer, a slick cover guy and a turnover waiting to happen. He gives Texas a great matchup with Broyles in the slot.
Texas’s defensive backs allow the Longhorns to get after the passer, but the scary thing is that Texas can do that by rushing four.
Defensive ends Eddie Jones (four sacks), Sam Acho (three sacks) and Jackson Jeffcoat (2.5 sacks) are all on pace to put up seven or more sacks this season. What’s especially scary is when the Longhorns get an opponent into third-and-long situations.
In those spots, often they’ll play all three at the same time, along with talented pass rushers like end/linebacker hybrid Dravannti Johnson, converted end Alex Okafor and athletic nose tackle Kheeston Randall.
Just how good is this group? Last week, UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince threw the ball just eight times, completing five passes. But he was sacked almost as many times (four) as he completed a pass.
When talking on Monday, offensive coordinator Greg Davis said the Longhorns’ biggest offensive playmakers were probably freshly minted tailback D.J. Monroe and wide receivers Mike Davis and Marquise Goodwin.
What do all three have in common? Speed.
Goodwin and Monroe are both accomplished track athletes with the speed to take a pass to the house. Goodwin did just that on a short pass-and-run against Oklahoma in last year’s Red River Shootout.
When asked who true freshman Mike Davis reminded him of, Greg Davis said the receiver reminded him “of a really fast guy.” Davis was listed as questionable on Monday with a sore knee, but if he’s ready to go, that’s a lot of speed for the Sooners to contend with.
The ‘Horns have won the last two Red River games, and four of the last five. That’s not to say that Texas has “figured out” the Sooners, but the Texas coaches do seem to have a decent handle on what Oklahoma tries to do.
That also leads to an added confidence factor for the Longhorns, who will field a defense filled with players who helped to shut down the Sooners on their way to a 16-13 victory a year ago.
Saturday’s defeat will force the Longhorns to refocus on the little details that often decide a close game like the Red River Shootout. Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert said players often learned more from a loss than they did from a win, and Texas should have learned two things from Saturday’s loss.
First, the offense can move the ball when it’s placed in Gilbert’s hands, and when he’s allowed to throw the ball down the field. Gilbert passed for nearly 200 yards in the second half, leading Texas to nine points (the Longhorns missed a two-point conversion).
And second, the defense learned the hard way what can happen when all 11 players aren’t on the same page. Expect to see a much more assignment-sound defensive team head into the Cotton Bowl.
Five Reasons the Oklahoma Sooners will beat Texas
Joey Helmer – SoonersIllustrated.com
1. Big Time Offensive Playmakers
Yes, the Longhorns might be second in total yards given up defensively, but they haven