Football

Cowboy up: Longhorns are buzzing about new blitz package with eight defensive backs

RB Keaontay Ingram feels healthy, LSU's K'Lavon Chaisson talks smack, Horns wear 'DBU' shirts

Posted September 3rd, 2019

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Texas linebacker Joseph Ossai had high hopes when the defense unveiled its new third-down “cowboy” package last weekend against Louisiana Tech.

“I told you it was going to be awesome,” Ossai said Tuesday. “Wasn’t it awesome?”

The new blitz package, which utilizes eight defensive backs, was used twice in the first half when the Horns ran up a 24-0 lead. The first time, DeMarvion Overshown came flying in for a sack. The second time, linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch jumped offside and Texas went back to its base front.

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The creative alignment put a majority of Texas’ fastest defensive players on the field all at once. Defensive end Malcolm Roach shifted to nose guard, Ossai and McCulloch came off the edge and eight defensive backs flew around everywhere else.

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow should expect to see that look at some point on Saturday.

“The (Louisiana Tech) quarterback did a great job in getting the ball out of his hands last week,” Roach said. “But I think we got great pressure on him and we just look to improve every week in that package.”

The Horns themselves know the “cowboy” package could be special this season. They light up just talking about defensive coordinator Todd Orlando’s strategy.

“It’s a great concept, great scheme. Orlando’s a genius,” Ossai said. “You want every game to be energized. You want every call to be energized. You want to be ready to go. So I’m pretty excited for this weekend. I can’t wait to see what we do.”

Hanging tough: Running back Keaontay Ingram said he feels 100% healthy and is no longer bothered by a bone bruise injury suffered in August. “Yes, sir,” he said.

Texas running back Keaontay Ingram (26) runs with the ball during an NCAA college football game against Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Austin, Texas. [ELI IMADALI/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

That’s good news for the Horns, as they can ill afford another running back injury. Ingram said he thought backup Jordan Whittington handled the pain from his groin injury as best he could during the preseason. “I don’t know how bad he was hurting,” Ingram said.

Whittington is now likely out six weeks and will visit a specialist in Philadelphia to repair his groin injury. The new backup is Roschon Johnson, who was the third-string quarterback in August. Coaches moved freshman linebacker David Gbenda over to running back Sunday night.

“Honestly, I feel like I’m the type of guy where all things happen for a reason,” Ingram said. “God doing something in that room. We just don’t know what it is. Maybe he’s trying to bring us closer together. … Everybody just keep their head up. I feel like our culture’s strong.”

Chaisson blast: LSU linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson didn’t pull any punches last Saturday when asked about Texas. First, the sophomore from Galena Park North Shore went after UT quarterback Sam Ehlinger.

“I’m glad we get to go against him again,” Chaisson told reporters. “I don’t really find him too much of a threat. Not taking a shot at him, but he uses his legs more than his arm. Just like high school. He has a decent arm, but it’s more about his legs.”

At least he conceded that LSU-Texas would be a “good game next week.”

“Obviously, going against guys from the Texas area, those guys really strongly believe they have a chance. I don’t. But you know what I’m saying, that’s what you’re supposed to do. But like I said, it’s going to be a good game.”

No offense intended: UT defensive backs hit the field Saturday night wearing white shirts that read “There’s Only One DBU.” Some LSU media outlets reported that Texas was taking shots at the Tigers, another school that refers to itself as “DBU.” Texas has been using that moniker for years.

“I really just wanted to pay my respects for the tradition and what Texas has been known for because of (Michael) Huff, (Michael) Griffin and Earl Thomas,” senior safety Brandon Jones said. “So it definitely wasn’t any shots to any other teams out there.”

Said sophomore safety Caden Sterns: “It’s about us and the dudes who played before us and continuing the tradition of what DBU means here.”

Adios, Twitter: Roach said the Longhorns’ leadership council decided last week to order the entire team off Twitter.

“Yeah, we decided to stay off Twitter,” Roach told reporters. “Stay away from y’all.”

Asked why that was the right thing to do, Roach said, “Because y’all talk too much.”

The Longhorns are still staying on Instagram and other social media. Roach said the constant stream of commentary is sometimes too much. “Not even seeing that content is healthy for you,” he said.

Poll position: Texas moved up one spot to No. 9 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll. That’s where the Horns finished last season. Prior to 2018, Texas had not been ranked that high since 2009 when it peaked at No. 2 behind Alabama.

LSU remained at No. 6. Saturday’s game will be the fifth non-conference matchup of two top-10 teams in Royal-Memorial Stadium history.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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