BEVO BEAT Football

Big gains made by freshmen linemen as Texas prepares for the Sugar Bowl

Posted December 28th, 2018

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NEW ORLEANS — If Texas sticks to the script it has used all season, 13 seniors should start in the Sugar Bowl.

Three of those seniors are offensive linemen. Calvin Anderson, a left tackle and graduate transfer from Rice, will be making the 50th start of his collegiate career. Left guard Patrick Vahe has been a 44-time starter at UT. Right guard Elijah Rodriguez is wrapping up a career in which he has started at four different positions.

Since Texas gave meaningful playing time to only six offensive linemen this season, some holes must be filled in 2019. The extra practices and scrimmages that Texas held in the lead-up to the Sugar Bowl, however, gave the Longhorns a look at their future.

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When asked on Thursday about the young players that stood out during the preparation for the Sugar Bowl, Texas coach Tom Herman praised his young offensive linemen. Said Herman:

The two young quarterbacks played well in the scrimmage settings that we had. I think (defensive lineman) Moro (Ojomo) was playing well until he got banged up.

I think it was good for that young O‑line. I think those guys, if they stick together and they progress the way that we think they will — Christian Jones is already 312 pounds.  Rafiti Ghirmai is 300 pounds and can move and bend and is explosive. Reese Moore is teetering right around 300 pounds. I know I’m forgetting — Junior Angilau has been practicing with the 2s. So, he gets a ton of reps.

Those guys stick out a bunch just because it’s such meaningful reps because for the entire year they have been reading off of a card and now they get these extended practices of actually running our offense in our terminology, using our blocking scheme. So, I was impressed with their development.

Jones, Ghirmai, Moore and Angilau all belong to UT’s 2018 recruiting class. Each member of that quartet will use this year as their redshirt season. The weights that Herman quoted are notable since Ghirmai, Jones and Moore checked in at 294, 280 and 260 pounds when they signed with Texas.

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