I wrote a free article, but wanted to expand on a few thoughts.
- My talking up UTEP RB Aaron Jones isn’t just respectful Lou Holtz-style opponent hype. He has a strong track record against Power Five conference opponents (Arkansas, Texas Tech). He’s a legit NFL talent and one of my favorite un-hyped players in college football. Balance, vision and a wicked stiff arm. Are we counting on a LB to cover him in space?
- UTEP’s inability to get pressure from their 3-4 defense (they didn’t register a sack against a NMSU offense that threw 41 times and only had three tackles for loss overall) means they’ll drop into coverage and pick their moments to blitz. When Texas runs a two man route with max protection and UTEP is dropping 8 into a zone, we’re going to see some amusing offensive plays where #7 has five seconds to throw and no one to throw it to. Does he run for five yards and slide? Force a bad ball into coverage? Future Texas opponents will be keenly interested.
- What’s Sterlin Gilbert’s plan to zone bust? 4-5 receiver routes and trust that Buechele will make the right decision? Or do we just RTDB?
- Senior safety Dylan Haines likely misses this contest. How does the Texas secondary fare against Brent Pease’s Boise State stylings that uses motion and false keys off of Aaron Jones to set up one play kill strikes?
- Texas played its heart out in an emotional, physical, exhausting contest on Sunday evening and will play Saturday on a short week. Many veteran teams handle this dynamic poorly - how will we? Will Texas fans arrive late, fold their arms and demand entertainment or will they create a hostile environment and feed a young team energy?
- The line on the game is Texas -29.5. If UTEP had their starting QB Greenlee available, I’d say no thanks to that cover. I have little read on his replacements, but it’s entirely possible to win convincingly 41-17 or some such with a slow start out of the gate and still not cover.