Four questions facing Texas against TCU:
1. Can Texas avoid another special teams meltdown?
These miscues have been game-changing the past two Saturdays. Last week, punter Michael Dickson followed Nick Rose’s missed extra point against Cal with a mishandled punt snap that led to Oklahoma State’s winning field goal. Take away Dickson’s muff and 10-yard punt, and he actually had a good day, averaging 45 yards on his six other attempts.
2. Will the Tyrone Swoopes package make an appearance?
Brushed aside in Jerrod Heard’s star turn, Swoopes came off the bench against Oklahoma State and ran for 35 yards, two first downs, and a touchdown on three carries. His participation was designed to limit the hits taken by Heard, who the staff would like to keep upright if possible. Swoopes, at 6-4, is a big boy who might be better suited in this role than as a traditional quarterback. This week, play-caller Jay Norvell suggested the Swoopes package is here to stay.
3. Will Kent Perkins be ready to play?
The last we heard, Texas’ right tackle was “day-to-day” with a knee injury he sustained late in the third quarter against OSU. His replacement Marcus Hutchins struggled and drew criticism from guard Sedrick Flowers for failing to prepare during the week. Without Perkins, Texas did not make a first down on four possessions. If Hutchins has checked out, junior college transfer Tristan Nickelson could get his first start.
4. Will the offense remain perfect in the red zone?
That’s right. In nine trips to the red zone, the Longhorns have two field goals and seven touchdowns. It is inconsistent to the overall picture, as Texas is ranked No. 111 in total offense. Interesting stat: Eleven teams are flawless in the red zone, but only three of them have a winning record. TCU’s defense has struggled in the red zone, surrendering 13 scores (nine TDs, four FGs) in 16 chances.