On Saturday against Oklahoma State, Texas will rely on reinforcements from its depth chart.
At 610.7 yards per game, Oklahoma State leads the nation in total offense. The Cowboys’ 48.8 points per game trail only Central Florida’s 50.6. Oklahoma State leads the country in passing offense, and nobody in the Big 12 has topped Justice Hill’s 633 rushing yards.
The Cowboys are stockpiling their stats this season in a hurry. OSU’s 439 offensive snaps are pedestrian when compared to its national counterparts, and the Cowboys rank 120th in time of possession. Only one school, however, is averaging more yards per play than Oklahoma State’s 8.35, and no team has recorded more 30- (31), 40- (19) and 60-yard (eight) plays.
— Danny Davis (@aasdanny) October 15, 2017
Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando described Oklahoma State’s approach on offense as “hair on fire.” In last year’s 49-31 win over Texas, Oklahoma State totaled 555 yards on 71 plays. If its offense can’t put together lengthy drives this weekend, Texas will need to keep its defenders rested by rotating linebackers and defensive backs in and out of the game.
“To me, putting somebody on the field that’s 60 percent and then having a guy less talented but at least he’s 100 percent, is still better,” Orlando said on Wednesday. “It just happens to be so far in this league that we haven’t seen ‘hair on fire,’ but in my opinion, we are going to see ‘hair on fire’ with these guys because they’ve done it versus everybody.”
Although playing time will be available for back-ups on the depth chart, don’t expect the defense’s starting line-up to change much on Saturday. Eight players on UT’s defense have started in all six of Texas’ games. Cornerback Kris Boyd’s only missed start was due to a suspension. Nickelback P.J. Locke III would be in the six-start club if Texas hadn’t opted for a four-linebacker look against Kansas State.
UT’s offense, meanwhile, has only had two six-time starters, and wide receiver Collin Johnson is expected to be a back-up on Saturday. Texas cornerback Holton Hill said that consistency in the defensive line-up has helped the on-field product. After allowing 30.9 points per game over the past two years, Texas is surrendering 24.7 points per game this season.
“It’s helped us a lot as far as building a relationship and getting closer with each other,” Hill said. “It helps with that whole team comradery and brotherhood that we have out there on the field.”
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