Starting quarterback, run defense hot topics as UCLA rematch nears

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Missed our live chat? We’ve got you covered. Make sure you join us next week at 4 p.m.

Double Coverage Editor Sameer Bhuchar:
Hey there, Double Coverage fans! We are excited about getting our fourth Chat underway! Once again, we are joined by Austin Laymance and Christian Corona ... the UT football beat writers.

Question From LateGameHero:
What is it about Texas and its slow starts?

Associate Sports Editor Austin Laymance:
The new system — it takes some time for the players to adjust and get used to it at game speed. There are a lot of new plays, formations and schemes being used this year, so it was expected for Texas to start slowly.
Football beat writer Christian Corona:
Texas has had problems coming out of the gate. They led Rice by just four at halftime and trailed BYU by 10. But it’s been a point of emphasis in practice this week, so the Longhorns could strike first this weekend against UCLA.
Sameer:
Texas finishes strong though ... the Longhorns haven’t given up a fourth quarter point all season.
Austin:
Yes, they have a 21-0 advantage in the fourth quarter
Sameer:
But shifting to the most important news coming out of Mack Brown’s office ... the QBs.

Question From William:
What can we expect from David Ash vs. UCLA now that Case McCoy is the starter? Will he see more playing time?

Christian:
The coaches have said that the package for Ash has only five plays, but that’s sure to expand. Ash has done well when he’s seen the field and has earned the right to more playing time, especially with McCoy making his first start.
Austin:
David will see a good amount of time this week at the Rose Bowl. OC Bryan Harsin likes to use two QB’s, he did it very successfully at Boise State and will do as well this week. David Ash should be on the field for at least 10-15 plays, and that’s if Case is moving the ball.

Question From Berrington:
Do you think Gilbert will ever get his spot back? Or is this
change permanent?

Christian:
After the way McCoy and Gilbert played this past weekend, it’s suddenly McCoy’s job to lose. If he plays the way he played against BYU, McCoy will remain the starter and Gilbert will stay at third string.
Austin:
I think Gilbert will play QB at Texas again. When? I’m not sure. But if McCoy and Ash struggle, don’t be surprised if Gilbert is back in there.
Austin:
I see Gilbert playing on the road, not at home. You heard the boos last week. Why not build his confidence away from home?
Sameer:
From the sounds of it, the coaches do have a lot of confidence in their younger QBs though. Harsin really runs plays catered to their styles.
Christian:
Players on both offense and defense have mentioned how vocal McCoy was in the BYU game. Not only has McCoy played better than Gilbert thus far, but he has seemed to win the respect of the locker room. Not sure if Gilbert ever did that.

Question From Stephen Farnesworth:
So is it true that McCoy and Shipley are roommates?

Austin:
Yes, just like the older duo.
Christian:
Yes, McCoy did confirm after Saturday’s game that he and Shipley, like their older brothers, are roommates.
Austin:
Jaxon plays guitar, same as Jordan Shipley did. Jordan sang; now it’s Case doing the vocals.
Sameer:
A couple more QB questions coming in here ...

Question From Poopycat McGee:
If McCoy and Ash struggle, how do you think the fans will react to Gilbert? With all the clamor to get Gilbert out of the QB spot, do you think they’ll be willing to see him play, or will he be welcomed with a chorus of boos?

Austin:
He will be booed the moment he throws a pick. But if he moves the ball and limits the turnovers, he’s going to be cheered.
Christian:
When Gilbert didn’t complete passes, he was booed. When he threw interceptions, they could hear the boos all the way at Lake Travis. So, yes, the fans will not react kindly if he returns.
Christian:
The fans are so eager for change after a season like the one Texas had last year. When Case McCoy and Malcolm Brown just step on the field, the Longhorn faithful go nuts.
Sameer:
We shift now to a concern a fan has about the running game.

Question From William:
How do you think Malcolm Brown will do now that he’s the No. 1 running back?

Austin:
If you ask Mack Brown, he’ll say Brown is not the No. 1 running back. He’s listed as co-starter with Fozzy.
Christian:
Malcolm Brown has led Texas in carries both games but hasn’t seen much playing time in the early parts of games yet. Now that he’s the starter, the Longhorn offense will get a boost right away.
Austin:
But I think he will do well against UCLA this week. He’s a powerful runner with good vision. He’s averaging more than four yards per carry.

Question From Fazzad Wang:
Do you expect Fozzy to be relegated to a Wildcat/passing-game-only role? With Malcolm now listed as co-starter, the promise that Bergeron would get more carries at UCLA, and Cody Johnson, do you think there is any place for Fozzy to be getting carries?

Austin:
Fozzy will see more time in Wildcat than in running sets, yes. And Cody Johnson will be the goal lineback.
Christian:
Not at all. Malcolm Brown may eventually prove himself to be the team’s best running back, but he’s learned a lot from Fozzy over the offseason and in these first couple of games. Also, Whittaker’s a senior so he’ll always get a fair amount of carries, some in the Wildcat, some not in the Wildcat.
Austin:
Malcolm Brown will be the workhorse. Bergeron did not play last week, so his carries may be limited.
Sameer:
The people want to know about defense!

Question from William:
UCLA’s run game really hurt Texas last year. Will the Longhorns’ run defense step up this time around?

Austin:
To a certain extent. Remember, UCLA went for more than 250 yards last year. So Texas should improve from that mark. But I don’t see them completely shutting down the Bruins’ attack.
Christian:
Texas has a good one.
Christian:
It’s a run defense that won’t give up the 264 rushing yards it allowed to UCLA last year. Defensive coordinator has pounded the importance of stopping the run into his players’ heads, and they’ve bought in.

Question From Bane Baneson:
When they aren’t running, UCLA likes to complete short, quick passes. BYU QB Jake Heaps was able to complete many of his quick strikes during Saturday’s game, so how will the defense be ready for this quick attack?

Austin:
Texas will go with man coverage if the Bruins start throwing it short. Quandre Diggs and Adrian Phillips can stick to the UCLA receivers, and the outside linebackers are mobile enough to limit the slant.
Christian:
Despite being the defense’s youngest unit, the secondary may very well be the most impressive. Sophomore Carrington Byndom was Texas’ defensive MVP Week 1 while freshman Quandre Diggs and sophomore Adrian Phillips each had an interception Week 2. The Bruins will have their hands full when they put the ball in the air.
Sameer:
Minny has a question about Alex Okafor!

Question From Minny Jackson:
Help! I’ve been looking all over the place for Alex Okafor, and I can’t seem to find him. Do you guys know why he hasn’t been as productive as they said he would be?

Austin:
Want to find Alex? Just look for him stuck to a lineman. He’s not getting off blocks, period.
Sameer:
Slow. Slow. Slow [off the blocks].
Austin:
Okafor is not a beast, yet. Sometimes he does not finish plays, the coaches are on him to reach his potential. But he’s not there yet.
Christian:
Jeffcoat hasn’t been productive either. Jeffcoat and Okafor have combined for just nine tackles this year. Texas has gotten away with not getting much production from their defensive ends so far, but that’s going to have to change soon.

Comment From wow:
Alex Okafor is not slow guys; he’s been double-teamed. No way is he “slow.” Get out of here.

Austin:
He’s fast and quick. Just getting blocked.
Sameer:
He’s been getting double teamed, but a player of his potential can’t consistently get held up like that.
Sameer:
Speaking of [Ashton] Dorsey though ...
Christian:
If Okafor is getting double-teamed, that’s fine. Then Jeffcoat should be wreaking havoc in the opponent’s backfield. No team is going to line up with seven offensive linemen.

Question From Rusty Dickenson:
What impact will Dorsey starting have on the defense?

Christian:
Despite being suspended against Rice, Dorsey was good enough against BYU to earn defensive MVP honors when Texas faced BYU.
Austin:
Dorsey will have a big impact, he was the team’s defensive MVP in the BYU game. He will benefit from playing next to Kheeston Randall and should have some lanes to the QB. Dorsey is only going to get better, so he will help shore up the run D.
Sameer:
Our most famous fan has a question regarding ... the law?

Question From Lil Wayne:
I’d like to sue the Texas defensive backs for copyright infringement ... Quandre The Giant??? Seriously?

Christian:
Quandre plays a big game that’s [how] he has that nickname, sorry.
Quandre went up against a BYU receiver that had about six inches on him and picked it off. He’s earned the right to be called a “Giant.”
Sameer:
Let’s keep the talk about the DBs going ... IrateFan has something to say.

Questionfrom IrateFan:
I can’t get over how sloppy Blake Gideon has been recently. What gives?

Austin:
Not tackling. And the coaches admit it.
He got juked at least once against BYU. If he does not play better against UCLA, watch out.
Christian:
Missed a couple open-field tackles against BYU. As a safety, he’s the last line of defense and is supposed to be one of the team’s surest tacklers. Gideon needs to improve in that area.
Austin:
He may be thinking too much out there. Just needs to make plays.