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Alabama Roundtable: Takeaways from Week One and can Texas temper the Tide?

Quinn Ewers’ deep balls, offensive line play, and predictions in this week's roundtable

Rice v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The No. 11 Texas Longhorns enter their Week Two match-up against the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide 1-0. It was a lethargic start on offense but an impressive performance on defense from the Horns in the season opener. What was your biggest takeaway from the 37-10 win over the Owls?

Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - My biggest takeaway is that the interior offensive line is going to be a work in progress for at least the first few weeks of the season. I was disappointed to see them struggle with assignments and processing out the gate, and you know Nick Saban is in the lab dialing protection busters for them this week. I am not going to be surprised if see a little bit more of a liberal rotation at the guard spots this week.

Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - Going into the game, I thought I was mentally prepared for how suspect the interior offensive line was, but I was not. Rice was tripping Texas up with simple twist stunts, beating them with bull rushes, and just overall making them look bad on the inside. This is new information to everyone, but Alabama is going to be better than Rice, so to see them look essentially unchanged from where they were a year ago was shocking and a bit disappointing.

Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - My biggest takeaway is that the Texas defense is LEGIT. It felt like the Longhorns defensive line pressured J.T. Daniels on every snap and made his life miserable. If the Horns can get that type of performance every game, it’s going to keep them in every single game no matter how the offense looks.

What is more fixable: Quinn Ewers’s incompletions on deep balls or the inconsistency on the offensive line?

Daniel - This is a tough one for me. I’ll say the offensive line because I think as they get more live game reps the cohesion will become better. Young guys like DJ Campbell and Neto Umeozulu are still young pups with very few starts between them, so you expect some bumps along the way. Ewers is in his second season as the starter now and started every game he was healthy for. Seeing him miss on deep shots and still seeing the mechanics break down against Rice doesn’t give you the warm fuzzies for sure. Either way you go though it’s a small sample size. We will see how things play out for both over the next few weeks and revisit.

Gerald - The offensive line simply because of numbers and options. Replacing Ewers doesn’t really fix the other issues with the offense that add to the deep ball frustrations, while Texas has other experienced and talented options that could potentially provide an instant boost to the interior of the offensive line. Whether it’s sliding Cole Hutson back into the starting lineup or giving Neto Umeozulu some run, there are more options.

Cameron - I think we have a big enough sample size to know that Ewers isn’t an accurate deep ball passer. For now. The offensive line is the option that can be fixed more easily. Everyone on that offensive line has not reached their ceiling - including DJ Campbell.

Now onto Alabama…if Texas wins on Saturday, it’s because ________ but if they lose, it’s because _______.

Daniel - Texas wins if the same Quinn Ewers we saw last year in the same game shows up to Tuscaloosa. Texas will lose if Ewers is inefficient on shots where receivers are schemed open and if they can’t make Jalen Milroe beat them with his arm by inflicting negative plays on early down and distances.

Gerald - Texas wins if the offensive line allows the offense to play in rhythm and ahead of the chains. Texas loses if the running backs don’t have space to breathe and Ewers reverts to his old bad habits.

Cameron - Texas wins if the defense plays like last week and forces Jalen Milroe to turn the ball over in big moments like he did all last year. Texas loses if the offense continues to stall in the red zone (or the gold zone for those who watch Hard Knocks) and Milroe makes one or two big plays.

Texas vs Alabama: Part II. Who wins? (Writers prediction record in parentheses)

Daniel (1-0) - I feel like I should stick to my guns after watching the Alabama quarterback battle play out. I am very bullish on Pete Kwiatkowski’s defense and I think they have the personnel defensively to make things tough on Milroe. I feel like this is going to be a low-scoring affair in Tuscaloosa. I picked Alabama last year to win by double digits and was pleasantly surprised by how things went. It took a superhero effort from the first overall pick in the NFL Draft for Texas to not come out victorious in 2022. He won’t be suiting up on Saturday. I am taking Texas in a tight one. Texas 27 Alabama 24

Gerald (1-0) - I said it on Saturday that I think the defense is good enough to help Texas tread water while the offense figures itself out. Middle Tennessee State was able to create havoc in the Alabama running game and I think that Pete Kwiatkowski’s unit will be able to do much of the same. As much as I love Jalen Milroe as a kid, he’s no Bryce Young and I think Texas will be able to do enough to win a lower-scoring affair. I’ve got Texas 24-21.

Cameron (1-0) - Texas 20, Alabama 23 - I think this Longhorns’ team can be really good but it appears they have a little ways to go, and a Saturday night in Tuscaloosa isn’t ideal for an offense with a few growing pains.