Q&A: Get to Know the Texas Longhorns

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. After tough losses for both teams in their last contest, both OSU and Texas are looking to rebound with a big win in week 5. The Longhorns travel to Stillwater, where the home team in this series has had less than stellar results in recent history.So how does this year’s Longhorns team look compared to last year? We caught up with Austin American-Statesman Cedric Golden who gives us an in-depth look at the Horns and what the vibe is around the program headed into this weekend.1. Texas had a great win over Notre Dame and a narrow loss on a controversial call at Cal, what is general UT sentiment and what have you learned about the team so far going into conference play?Fans are a little nervous at this point. The sentiment has to be that these next two games will define the 2016 season. Texas cannot afford to lose to the Bedlam schools and fall to 2-3 with tough games remaining. A split puts the Horns at 3-2 with a chance to get to seven or eight wins.2. UT seems to be in the midst of an offensive renaissance, averaging 44.7 points per game so far. What are your thoughts on the offense in general and what do you attribute the successes to?They are much improved on offense. Shane Buechele will be a very good QB moving forward. Sterlin Gilbert was a great hire. Texas has scored over 40 points in its first three games after going over 40 four times in 12 games last season.3. Charlie Strong seems to be thriving on the recruiting trail, similar to the way Mack Brown did. What seems to be the biggest similarities/differences between the Mack Brown and Charlie Strong eras so far?The biggest difference is early commitments. Mack lived on those. Great players would commit to Texas and stay committed to Texas whereas Charlie has waited until the final day to sew up his classes. He has been really good flipping recruits from other schools so far.4. The defense had some question marks last week against Cal and there were rumblings about Vance Bedford’s job security. What are some things this UT defense needs to do that would show improvement and come closer to playing at their talent level?Their communication is very poor, particularly in the secondary which was supposed to be the most dependable unit in the preseason. What we saw against Cal were countless occasions where receivers were running unchecked through the secondary. That’s a communication problem and that starts with the coaches. This is a gut-check game for Bedford.5. The Longhorn defense led by stud sophomore linebacker Malik Jefferson has talent up front with veteran tackles Paul Boyette and Poona Ford. Who are other difference makers on that side of the ball to be aware of?Keep in mind sophomore defensive end Breckyn Hager, the son of former NFL player Britt Hager. He’s an energy guy who brings a wild intensity to that defense. Also, expect to see a lot of freshman safety Brandon Jones who was ranked as the country’s best safety his senior year. Jones has blocked two punts in three games.6. The running game and what Swoopes and the big backs provide are pretty well known. What are your thoughts on Buechele and what he brings? And while he spreads the ball, from his targets who are the playmakers to keep an eye on?Buechele makes all the throws pretty well. He’s very confident and wise beyond his years as a freshman. If Texas is to have a chance they have to run the ball with D’Onta Foreman and Chris Warren III,  a pair of 250-pound bruisers. At wideout, John Burt is the best deep threat but Jerrod Heard, last season’s starting QB, has made a nice transition to the position and has the best natural ability of the pass catchers. With a balanced offensive attack and talent all over the field on the defense, Texas will win the Big 12 if they can get stops. The Horns have already proved they are capable of putting up points on the scoreboard but the defense hasn’t shown up against good competition at most times. This offense isn’t built for shootouts so ball control and staying ahead of the chains is a key, especially on the road.8. Expansion is such a hot topic of late, what seems to be the general UT preference for expansion and candidates?From what I’ve heard, the school seems to be welcoming of expansion. Houston is a hot school in the state and has the approval of the governor and the lieutenant governor. I don’t see BYU making it to the Big 12 because of problems with their honor code and not playing on Sunday. Cincinnati stands a better chance.9. I’m not sure how familiar you are with Oklahoma State’s roster, but in a world where such things could happen, what player(s) or positions would Oklahoma State have to give to get either of Chris Warren or D’Onta Foreman?I’m sure Texas would demand defensive end Cole Walterscheid because they need pass rushers.  I would also ask for James Washington. You can never have enough game breakers.last_img

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