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Interview with the Enemy: Texas

We get some questions answered about the No. 6 team in the nation

Baylor v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Oklahoma State looks to get back in the win column this week as they welcome the Texas Longhorns to Stillwater for a Saturday night, Homecoming showdown.

The Longhorns have been one of the biggest surprises of the year, both in the Big 12 and nationally, currently at 6-1 including 4-0 in conference play, and currently ranked No. 6 in the country.

To learn a little more about this year’s Longhorn squad, we reached out to Gerald Goodridge of our Texas SBNation brothers, Burnt Orange Nation.

We discuss quarterback Sam Ehlinger’s injury, the defense’s weakness, and if Texas is going to “get up” for this game.

Phillip Slavin: QB Sam Ehlinger is still recovering from a shoulder injury. He’s expected to play, but how effective do you expect him to be?

Gerald Goodridge: “Ehlinger is still on a pitch count through the week, so nobody will really know until Saturday. During his Monday press conference, Tom Herman seemed willing to go with Shane Buechele if Ehlinger is unable to go. He said preseason that he feels like the team can win with both quarterbacks, but Ehlinger gave them a better shot. Ehlinger is a quarterback that relies on his physicality and toughness to make plays, so if he is playing gingerly in the running game or shying away from taking hits, the dimension that makes him the most-dangerous is gone”

NCAA Football: Texas at Oklahoma Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

PS: Texas has a really good defense. If there is one flaw on that side of the ball, what would it be?

GG: “I think the biggest flaw defensively for Texas is inconsistency in the pass rush, which directly leads to inconsistency in the secondary. Texas has come away with sacks, but most of them are from one player - Charles Omenihu - and have come in the last four games. There are a few spots in the secondary that are thin, so if asked to hold a coverage for an extended period of time that thinness eventually just breaks.”

PS: While not bad, the Longhorns haven’t been particularly great running the ball. They average less than 4 yards a carry and 159 yards a game. Why isn’t Texas more effective in the run game?

GG: “You have to take that number with a bit of a grain of salt, since it factors in 76 yards lost on sacks. That being said, graduate transfer Tre Watson has performed well as a receiver and blocking running back, but hasn’t really been explosive out of the backfield. On the other side of that coin, freshman Keaontay Ingram has been as good as advertised, but has been limited both by injuries and the coaches admittedly reducing his workload. For his time in high school, Ingram was the workhorse of the offense and racked up a high number of carries, so they’re hoping to preserve some tread on the tires.”

TCU v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

PS: Texas this season has had a habit of playing up and down to the level of competition. OSU has been a good program but is a bit “down” this year. How do you expect Texas to treat this game?

GG: “I’m not sure where that trend is coming from, but I think with the season-opening loss against Maryland, this team saw exactly what happens when you go on the road and don’t have your ducks in a row. With two weeks of practice and the ability to write their own ticket for the remainder of the season, I imagine they try to come out and finally try to string together a full 60 minutes of football.”

PS: Prediction?

GG: “It’s a night game, on the road, five days shy of the 10th anniversary of the Michael Crabtree catch, so I have been spooked all week. Especially with the questions surrounding the quarterback position currently, I think Texas leans on the defense and comes out with a 24-21 win.”