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BON Round Table: Week 2 — Texas vs. Tulsa

After a complete setback loss against the Terps, BON writers discussed what needs to happen this week.

Texas v Maryland Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Under the lights in Austin on Saturday night at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, the Texas Longhorns (0-1) will square off with the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-0). Tulsa defeated FCS opponent, Central Arkansas, 38-27 in their week one matchup.

The BON team talked on what Texas needs to show this week, the ongoing quarterback battle, and gave their predictions for the highly anticipated Dabo-Jimbo showdown in College Station.

After last week’s disappointing loss to Maryland, considering how tough Texas’ schedule is to start Big 12 play, is it a must for this team to finish non-conference play 2-1?

Anthony Rizzo - Contributer: Barring a disaster of a loss to Tulsa, Texas is setup for a monumental showdown against USC at home. Starting the season 2-1 would completely change the complexity for the rest of the season. While that Maryland loss continues to linger, winning both games before Big 12 play is rather vital for the Longhorns.

Gerald Goodridge - Contributer: If Texas can manage to beat Tulsa in convincing fashion, and top USC, they should be able to regain some sort of composure heading into the tough half of the Big 12 schedule. Coming out of non-conference with a losing record nearly guarantees they’ll carry a losing record through the majority of the seaon, which colors every game in a tougher light. For a team that needs to learn to win, that will definitely be a big hit to their confidence.

Wes Crochet - Contributer: To get to eight wins, I’ve been saying getting out of the non-conference schedule at least 2-1 is probably a must. Starting 1-2 makes that a lot more difficult, and probably means Texas isn’t getting much better at the moment.

Evan Kirschner - Contributer: Short answer — no. Texas can still make a run against the Big 12, and if they were to somehow go 7-2 in conference, that may be enough to earn a spot in the Big 12 Championship with eight total wins. But if Herman doesn’t want to lose the fan base, he really needs to beat Tulsa and USC.

Will Covey - Contributer: I personally don’t think so at all. However, if Texas does indeed go 1-2 during the non-conference stretch, they absolutely have to show improvement on all phases of the game. For a team that is still extremely young, patience is the name of the game for me right now. Nevertheless, a despaired fan base will be expecting nothing short of victories on our home turf. Wins — to them — are the improvement.

Last year after a week one loss, Texas showed some improvement against San Jose State the following week. What are some positive things that Texas needs to prove against Tulsa to show they’re on the right track heading into the USC game?

Anthony Rizzo: Finding a consistent flow on the offensive side of the ball. Drives like the smooth six-play, 69-yard touchdown drive midway through the second quarter against Maryland is more of what we need to see. There were too many times last week where drives were stalled from killer penalties or unnecessary playcalls. It’d be encouraging to see some crisp, clean football from the offense. Also, let Collin Johnson eat.

Gerald Goodridge: My biggest issue was the lack of communication in the secondary and the lack of pressure along the defensive line. There is a ton of talent on that side of the ball, but struggling with those fundamental things can cripple this team’s ability to be successful throughout the rest of the season.

Wes Crochet: Run the ball well, start the game strong, get the right players on the field (offense and defense), and look more prepared for the match up than they did against Maryland.

Evan Kirschner: Playing all four quarters of the game — and playing those four quarters smarter. Texas needs to look to be more consistent and the team’s players need to be focused and make good decisions in crunch time.

Will Covey: On the top of my list is Texas’ ability to rush the passer. Coming off a week in which only one sack was recorded is not going to get it done on a weekly basis. Last week, we did a pretty good job of shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties. This week, and beyond, I would like to see a much more disciplined Texas team. Lastly, better quarterback play along with big-play capability. I don’t think Ehlinger along with the offensive line can establish 10-12 play drives on a game basis, so I think the big plays are going to be a necessity in putting up points.

Now that we know Sam Ehlinger will get the start at quarterback for the second straight game, how do you expect Tom Herman to manage the quarterback situation against an opponent like Tulsa? If the Longhorns are up by a large margin in the fourth quarter, should the team let true freshman quarterback Cameron Rising get some reps?

Anthony Rizzo: If Ehlinger can develop a rhythm from the start, they should let him ride the rest of the way. But, if he’s unable to put together a scoring drive within the first couple of offensive series... Buechele needs to get his chance. I expect both quarterbacks to play with Rising seeing crucial playing time if Texas is able to pull away.

Gerald Goodridge: That’s the beauty of the four-game redshirt rule. Cameron Rising can get some game-speed reps and still not lose his redshirt. It would be a major miss for the coaching staff if they’re up big and didn’t take the opportunity to get their third quarterback a few snaps.

Wes Crochet: I’d think Texas wants Ehlinger to get as many good reps as possible and then insert Shane Buechele before conceding reps to Rising or Thompson. Wouldn’t surprise me if neither Rising/Thompson enter the game at all.

Evan Kirschner: I expect Herman to stick with Sam throughout the Tulsa game. He’s echoed in the preseason that he wants to roll with a QB1 and QB2, not 1A and 1B. If they get up by a large margin, I wouldn’t be surprised to see mustache Shane come in the game. Please don’t put in Cam Rising though — save his eligibility for the fUTure.

Will Covey: If Texas is up big in the fourth quarter, which I believe they will be, why not give Cam Rising a shot? I do not expect Tom Herman to play Shane Buechele, barring potential injury to his only other experienced quarterback. I say take advantage of the new redshirt rule and put Rising in to see what he can do in a game-like environment.

Outside of freshman running back Keaontay Ingram, which true freshman would you like to see get more playing time with the starters this week?

Anthony Rizzo: Given how Kobe Boyce struggled in coverage when Davante Davis went out with an injury, it’s important to get Anthony Cook some reps at the No. 2 cornerback spot. On the offensive side of the ball, Joshua Moore needs to get more opportunities at the slot receiver position.

Gerald Goodridge: BJ Foster and Anthony Cook are one injury away from being starters, as we saw against Maryland, so getting those two guys some more reps in a game situation seems key. They’re both extremely talented, but obviously lack the game experience, so getting our next guys up some time on the field is a must.

Wes Crochet: Defensively, I’d say Caden Sterns, BJ Foster, and Anthony Cook. Offensively, Josh Moore and D’Shawn Jamison.

Evan Kirschner: Give me Ingram or give me death. It would be cool if BJ Foster got more run with the starters though.

Will Covey: I would like to say DeMarvion Overshown, but unfortunately he has remained sidelined with a knee injury. Instead, I’m going to go with Anthony Cook. All of the freshmen DB’s are proving to be as advertised and I would like to see Cook get some game action.

Despite the 2-10 record last season, the Golden Hurricane competed amongst some of the best in the American Athletic Conference and even had a 45-17 win over Herman’s former Houston Cougars squad. Do you expect Tulsa to keep this one close or will the Longhorns have their way from start to finish?

Anthony Rizzo: Texas is way too inconsistent of a team to dominate games from start to finish, even if it’s against Tulsa. The Horns will have their up and down moments in the first half to keep this one close, but eventually will pull away.

Gerald Goodridge: I think Tulsa has some athletes at the skill positions to perhaps put up some points early, but the lack of talented depth will probably catch up with them late. I anticipate one of their running backs or quarterback Luke Skipper to make a few plays as Texas continues to work out jitters, but the defense will settle in late and dominate the second half.

Wes Crochet: Frankly, given how slow Texas has started games in recent past, who knows how long it takes Texas to build a lead. Though if Texas doesn’t cover the 23-point spread, this will be another disappointing performance.

Evan Kirschner: I expect the Longhorns to play like we thought they would last week. Last week was a wake up call that the Horns have to play and coach smart against everyone they face – hopefully last week is the anomaly in a salvaged season. Also, what even is a Golden Hurricane? Texas 35, Tulsa 17.

Will Covey: It’s going to be interesting on how this team responds after another letdown against Maryland, but I do think Texas will have their way from start to finish. I can’t see Herman’s squad putting up an underwhelming performance, as I will expect the team to play with great urgency. Texas will beat Tulsa by 3-4 touchdowns.

BONUS: On a scale of John Burt to Vince Young — How depressing of a week has it been handling the loss against Maryland and hearing all the buzz from College Station with College Gameday heading down to Aggieland? Give your score prediction for the Texas A&M-Clemson game.

Anthony Rizzo: Collin Johnson. Opening week one with a loss against a mid-tier Big Ten opponent stings badly. While living in Michigan, the hate from Michigan and Michigan State fans is overwhelming because they’ve had no problems with the Terrapins in the past. I expect Kyle Field to be as loud as it’s ever been on Saturday night against the No. 2 Clemson Tigers. But, Dabo and company will prevail in a game that’s much closer than the score will indicate. Clemson 33, Texas A&M 20.

Gerald Goodridge: Crabtree Down the Sideline. Not only do I have the Aggy hype, but I live in Oklahoma City, so hearing everyone sing the praises of Kyler Murray and Lincoln Riley all week compounded the issue. I think it may be closer than Vegas thinks, but Clemson comes out on top 35-28.

Wes Crochet: Personally? I’ll manage. For Texas’ sake, it’s not great because there’s definitely recruits eyeing both programs and watching what happens each week. If Texas continues to struggle while A&M rides the hype train with Jimbo, recruiting will be a A&M this year when it comes to those two Texas teams. 31-23 Clemson in a closer game than expected.

Evan Kirschner: I have no aggie friends and that is not by fate, that is by choice. This week has been about a Tyrone Swoopes failed 18-Wheeler package against Iowa St. on a 3rd and 2 from our own 30-yard line down by 28 points in the third quarter. Clemson 27, Aggies 25.

Will Covey: I’m going to go with one of my favorite players to come out of the Texas program in Quandre Diggs. Look, this is what the Aggies do. Early in the season, the media will buy into all the hype around their program, and sure enough by the end of the year their hovering around 6-7 wins. I’m not sweating it. It will be a ballgame early on, but Clemson will have their way on offense and wear down the Aggie defense in the fourth quarter. Clemson 35, Texas A&M 14.