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Behind Enemy Lines: Texas Longhorns

I preview today’s game with our SB Nation sister-site, Burnt Orange Nation.

Iowa State v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

It’s Black Friday, and while you are out getting your shopping done, the Kansas Jayhawks are preparing for a morning kick-off against the Texas Longhorns. To help prepare for the game (and to give you something to read while you are waiting in line to check out), I talked with Gerald Goodrige of Burnt Orange Nation. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.

RCT: The last time that Texas traveled to Lawrence, KS, things did not end well, with Charlie Strong losing his job and the Tom Herman era starting soon after. How have things gone to this point, and on this Thanksgiving season, are you actually greatful that Kansas pushed out Strong?

BON: Well the fact that two years into Tom Herman’s tenure, the team is in a position to play for and win a conference championship clearly means that it was the right move. Take into fact that Mack Brown only did it four times in his 16 seasons, I’m pleased for sure. I’m usually in the camp of coaches get fired too quickly, but the fact that the team showed no progress year-to-year, while Texas has improved in the last two years shows that it was probably the right move.

RCT: Were Texas fans expecting this team to be competing for the Big 12 championship this year?

BON: I was in the camp that this could potentially be a 10-win season if the things fell in the right spots for Texas and the team currently sits at eight wins for the season. I think the most-conservative thoughts was eight wins including the bowl and competing for the Big 12 next season once the young players had a year in the system.

RCT: Turning to the action on the field, Texas seems to be a different team from last year. Who are the main contributors to the this team, and who is the biggest weapon against a good Kansas defense?

BON: The easy answer is Lil’Jordan Humphrey. His performance against Iowa State made him just the ninth player in school history to hit 1,000 receiving yards in a season. He’s extra dangerous, because Collin Johnson is also a deep threat, so the receivers force the defense which receiver they want to run single coverage again. If they choose to bracket Johnson, Humphrey is going to turn a three-yard drag into a 40-yard touchdown. If they double up on Humphrey, Johnson is one of the best 50/50 ball receivers in the country.

RCT: What will be the plan of attack for the Texas defense against a good Kansas running game?

BON: I expect to see Texas spend most of the day with a third linebacker on the field, rather than running the 3-2-6 that they favor when it’s a more pass-heavy team. If they get good production out of the linebacker, whether it’s Jeffrey McCulloch, Malcolm Roach or Joseph Ossai, they should be able to play more stout against the run.

RCT: Prediction time! Any worry about David Beaty going undefeated against Texas at home in his tenure?

BON: As much as I hate making predictions, I don’t really see Texas coming out and not playing up for this game, especially with all that is on the line for them. I think Kansas may crack off a few big plays, but I think Texas ends up winning 35-20

RCT: BONUS - Now that David Beaty has been fired and Les Miles hired, who on the Texas staff would be a sneaky good hire for the new KU coach looking to fill out his assistants?

BON: Passing game coordinator Drew Mehringer has been absolutely killing it on the recruiting trail this season. He’s landed seven top-250 players for Texas over the last two seasons, all at the receiver position. This is the most far fetched one of them all, but Bryan Carrington is one of the biggest pieces of Texas’s recruiting efforts over the last two seasons and has absolutely killed it in his role.

A big thanks to Gerald for helping us out today. Don’t forget to check out the questions I answered for him over on BON.