Today is a judgment day of sorts. Texas is up against what many believe to be an eventual College Football Playoff team, maybe the eventual champion. That said, it’s just one and it’s the Longhorns’ chance to prove they’re able to play with any team, on any stage. As for the ‘Brainiacs, we’re happy to host you here, whether it’s joy or frustration, you can unleash it all in the comments section. For now, I’ll share a few concerns I have going into today’s game.
Run Defense – How does Orlando attack the vaunted SC rushing attack? The Trojans will use straight-ahead run schemes, quarterback read schemes, perimeter screens, and the dreaded play-action pass game (why you must stop the run)! My prescription, spill runs outside, pursue, and tackle. Why are you laughing? What’s desired is a pileup of minimal gains and TFL’s, do that, and it forces SC into their drop-back passing game.
Darnold – Not only is the base run game a bear, but Darnold is a legitimate dual-threat. This is where things get dicey and why disguise is needed, as Darnold must be accounted for near every play. Where SC thrives, play-action and that’s why the first point is a big deal. Stymie the Trojans run game and play-action opportunities are minimized. When Darnold drops back, Orlando’s rush or blitzes must hit home.
Big Plays – They are going to happen. Points are going to happen. Your main goal is to limit yards per play and points per drive to a threshold that keeps you in the game. That includes limiting big plays, easier said than done with the type of ball-handlers SC has on the team.
Turnovers – This is usually unpredictable. The Texas defense has done well to turn the ball over up to now, more will be needed. The backs and quarterback’s ball security must be challenged. If Texas does well to force SC into drop-back passes and pressures Darnold, they’ll also have interception opportunities. Please throw to Holton.
Texas Quarterback – Who will it be? Will it be a committee? While it’s a big deal, I think both quarterbacks bring enough to the table to move the ball and score points. The issue, SC’s run defense has been terrible and favors Ehlinger. Whoever gets the call should do just fine so long as late down and long distances are avoided like the plague.
Run The Ball – The big uglies must smash the SC front. I think they are soft, but that’s me. The Texas run game should factor in this game just as much as the SC run game. If Texas can also work in it’s play-action pass game with successful early downs, success will ensue.
We’ll see how it all shakes out on the field tonight. I’m hoping for a competitive ball game. While confidence among the Longhorns fan base is low, what matters is how the players feel. If they execute well tonight, they’ll be fine. They have the talent to stay with the Trojans unlike many other teams. Share your thoughts below before, during, and after the game. It’s a celebration! Or is it?