BYU

2: In Charlie Strong’s four years at Louisville, the Cardinals played two games against teams in the top 25 of the Coaches’ poll, winning both. In Strong’s first season at Texas, the Longhorns will take on three preseason top-10 teams — UCLA, Baylor, OU — according to the Coaches’ poll in a four game stretch.

56-4: That was Texas’ record in the friendly confines of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium from 2000-2009. But since 2010, the Longhorns are only 14-11 at home.

1: The number of times Texas has defeated Texas Tech, Kansas State and Oklahoma State in the same season since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996. Texas will face all three on the road over a four-game stretch from Oct. 25 to Nov. 16.

1-2: Texas’ last three head coaches started 1-2 in their inaugural season for the Longhorns. With North Texas, BYU and UCLA looming, the trend has a chance to continue this year.

3-6: The record Texas’ seniors hold against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor combined entering 2014.

904: Number of yards senior tailback Malcolm Brown ran for in 2013, best in the Big 12 among returning players. 

780: The number of rushing yards junior tailback Johnathan Gray ran for in only eight games in 2013, fourth in the Big 12 among returning players.

6: The number of seasons since a Texas back has run for 1,000 yards. This could be the season that drought is broken.

81: The number of sacks allowed by Oklahoma State since the 2007 season, the fewest in the conference. The Longhorns allowed 160 sacks over that same span but now have Joe Wickline, Oklahoma State’s recent offensive line coach running the offensive and offensive line.

35: Rushing attempts per game by Louisville in 2013, 101st in the country with Shawn Watson calling plays. Watson is now the play caller and quarterback coach for Texas, and will likely get that number up.

20: Junior quarterback David Ash’s quarterback rating ranked No. 20 in the nation in 2012. When healthy, Ash can be brilliant, and his health will be a key to the 2014 season.

12.2: The number of points Louisville allowed per game in 2013, second fewest in the nation. The Longhorns have been outside the top 50 in points allowed per game the past two seasons, but Strong and defensive coordinator Vance Bedford should help to change that.

40: The average number of times opponents reached the redzone against Louisville the past two years, tying them for No. 20. Texas has allowed an average of 55 trips to the redzone the past two seasons, 115th in the nation.

89%: The conversion rate of teams in Texas’ redzone over the past two seasons, placing them fifth-worst nationally. Strong’s Cardinals allowed scores in 77.5% of trips, 21st best over the span.

0: The amount of times opponents ran for 200 or more yards against Louisville in 2013. Texas allowed five such occurrences in 2013 and fell in four of those five contests. 

16: Louisville gave up 16 first downs per game over the past two seasons, fourth fewest in the country. The Longhorns only ranked 60th over the two years. 

187: The Longhorns defense has allowed an average of 187 yards per game over the past two season, the 34th most over the span. When throwing out the 550 yards allowed against BYU, the Longhorn defense allowed 173 yards per game the 52nd most over
the time.

10: After four seasons of building the Louisville program, coach Strong’s defense ranked 10th in defensive F/+ efficiency. The Cardinals ranked 89th in 2009, the season before Strong took over for the program. Texas’ defense ranked 35th in F/+, so Strong faces a less treacherous climb. 

16.5: Cedric Reed recorded 16.5 tackles for loss last season, second amongst returning players in the Big 12. Reed also led the returning Longhorns in tackles last season with 77.

31: Senior defensive back Quandre Diggs has broken up 31 passes in his career, leading the team in that category all three years.

19: During his time on the 40 Acres, senior linebacker Jordan Hicks has missed 19 of a possible 51 games due to injury. He missed all 19 of those games the past two seasons.

39: Senior center Dominic Espinosa has started all 39 games in his Longhorn career. With another season of 13 starts, he could tie Blake Gideon (52) for the second-most starts in school history behind Colt
McCoy’s 53.

5: Senior receiver Jaxon Shipley has completed five of eight of his career pass attempts including three for touchdowns. His quarterback rating of 308.1
easily outpaces the rest of the team.

2: Junior receiver Marcus Johnson scored two touchdowns last season on the two longest passes of the season for Case McCoy. With deep threat Mike Davis gone, Johnson should emerge as Texas’ big play receiver.

1: Over the past two seasons, Louisville was 1st in its conference in time of possession per game. Over this same span, Texas ranked fifth in the Big 12. It’s safe to assume the Longhorns will look to run more clock with the new coaching staff.

BYU's rushing attack presents big test for Longhorn Linemen

Forget about the Rice game, the Longhorns will have their first true test of the season on Saturday against BYU.
Texas failed to dominate the point of attack in the season-opener and the team won’t have it any easier this time around against a Cougars squad coming off a hard-earned road win at Ole Miss.

The key to success this week will hinge on the Longhorn’s ability to control the line of scrimmage. Texas must win the battle of the trenches for it to come out on top.

The Longhorns’ run defense was not up to par in Week 1 as the Owls gashed them for 130 rushing yards, with most coming in the middle of the field. Questions about Texas’ toughness remain and head coach Mack Brown is ready for some answers, which he thinks he will get some against BYU.

“We’ve been concerned about our toughness on both lines of scrimmage,” Brown said. “We’ll get some answers Saturday night because this bunch (from BYU) is tough. There’s no question they come in here tough.”

Brown has the Longhorns preparing for an old-fashioned, grind-it-out affair.

“This will be a street fight,” he said. “They’re so physical, they’re big, they’re strong, the strength of their team is both lines of scrimmage. They will fly to the ball and hit you.”
The Longhorns pride themselves on stopping the run, and senior linebacker Keenan Robinson says his team will need to limit the Cougar’s run game early and often. But the key to Texas stopping the BYU tailbacks starts along the defensive line with senior tackle Kheeston Randall.
Randall will certainly have his hands full going against an imposing Cougars front five.

“They’ll probably be one of the biggest offensive lines that we face this year,” he said.

Randall wasn’t pleased with the defense’s performance against Rice, when the Longhorns reverted to their form from year ago — a unit that allowed 138.2 rushing yards
per game.

“We gave up entirely too many yards up the middle,” Randall said. “We didn’t get enough penetration, we went back to the old way that we played and that’s unacceptable.”
No defensive lineman recorded more than one tackle against the Owls. That needs to change. Randall is a proven player, but someone else must emerge and solidify the line. And with Texas’ next two games against quality opponents in BYU and UCLA, the time is now for a second and third tackle to rise to the occasion.

“I don’t think we’re at the point right now where we’ve answered that other tackle spot,” Brown said. “And we need at least three to get where we need to get. We need two more guys to really step up.

“For the next two games, both of these will have physical offensive lineman blocking them, we’ll know more (then). Our guys are going to see really good looking teams for the next two weeks.”

Sophomore tackle Ashton Dorsey will return against BYU after missing the Rice game because of a suspension. Still, the Longhorns are young and inexperienced inside. Randall is the only senior at a position that includes three sophomores and two freshmen.

“We have a lot of maturing to do as a unit,” Randall said.
Texas will also be tested along the offensive line. While the Longhorns plowed their way to 229 rushing yards a week ago, they will need a better effort against the Cougars. BYU limited Ole Miss to 64 yards on 29 carries and knocked out three of the Rebels running backs.

“It’s going to be a big test for us,” said senior left guard David Snow.

The Cougars are coming to Austin with something to prove. They beat an SEC school on the road last week and they’d love to put a Big 12 school on their resume.

The Longhorns, though, welcome the challenge. They have something to prove as well.

“If it is a dog fight we’re going to be ready,” said senior linebacker Emmanuel Acho.

The Longhorns’ toughness up front will be tried early and often. It’s up to them to fight back. Expect a “street fight.”

Forget about the Rice game, the Longhorns will have their first true test of the season on Saturday against BYU.

Texas failed to dominate the point of attack in the season-opener and the team won’t have it any easier this time around against a Cougars squad coming off a hard-earned road win at Ole Miss.

The key to success this week will hinge on the Longhorn’s ability to control the line of scrimmage. Texas must win the battle of the trenches for it to come out on top.

The Longhorns’ run defense was not up to par in Week 1 as the Owls gashed them for 130 rushing yards, with most coming in the middle of the field. Questions about Texas’ toughness remain and head coach Mack Brown is ready for some answers, which he thinks he will get some against BYU.

“We’ve been concerned about our toughness on both lines of scrimmage,” Brown said. “We’ll get some answers Saturday night because this bunch (from BYU) is tough. There’s no question they come in here tough.”

Brown has the Longhorns preparing for an old-fashioned, grind-it-out affair.

“This will be a street fight,” he said. “They’re so physical, they’re big, they’re strong, the strength of their team is both lines of scrimmage. They will fly to the ball and hit you.”

The Longhorns pride themselves on stopping the run, and senior linebacker Keenan Robinson says his team will need to limit the Cougar’s run game early and often. But the key to Texas stopping the BYU tailbacks starts along the defensive line with senior tackle Kheeston Randall.

Randall will certainly have his hands full going against an imposing Cougars front five.

“They’ll probably be one of the biggest offensive lines that we face this year,” he said.

Randall wasn’t pleased with the defense’s performance against Rice, when the Longhorns reverted to their form from year ago — a unit that allowed 138.2 rushing yards per game.

“We gave up entirely too many yards up the middle,” Randall said. “We didn’t get enough penetration, we went back to the old way that we played and that’s unacceptable.”

No defensive lineman recorded more than one tackle against the Owls. That needs to change. Randall is a proven player, but someone else must emerge and solidify the line. And with Texas’ next two games against quality opponents in BYU and UCLA, the time is now for a second and third tackle to rise to the occasion.

“I don’t think we’re at the point right now where we’ve answered that other tackle spot,” Brown said. “And we need at least three to get where we need to get. We need two more guys to really step up.

“For the next two games, both of these will have physical offensive lineman blocking them, we’ll know more (then). Our guys are going to see really good looking teams for the next two weeks.”

Sophomore tackle Ashton Dorsey will return against BYU after missing the Rice game because of a suspension. Still, the Longhorns are young and inexperienced inside. Randall is the only senior at a position that includes three sophomores and two freshmen.

“We have a lot of maturing to do as a unit,” Randall said.

Texas will also be tested along the offensive line. While the Longhorns plowed their way to 229 rushing yards a week ago, they will need a better effort against the Cougars. BYU limited Ole Miss to 64 yards on 29 carries and knocked out three of the Rebels running backs.

“It’s going to be a big test for us,” said senior left guard David Snow.

The Cougars are coming to Austin with something to prove. They beat an SEC school on the road last week and they’d love to put a Big 12 school on their resume.

The Longhorns, though, welcome the challenge. They have something to prove as well.

“If it is a dog fight we’re going to be ready,” said senior linebacker Emmanuel Acho.

The Longhorns’ toughness up front will be tried early and often. It’s up to them to fight back. Expect a “street fight.”