Football

Texas vs. Tulsa: Five questions facing the Longhorns

Posted September 7th, 2018

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Five questions facing Texas on Saturday against Tulsa:

1. Will Texas feed Keaontay Ingram?

Ingram, a four-star freshman from Carthage, gave Texas a glimpse of the future with his 5-yard touchdown run in the first half of last week’s loss to Maryland. But he was given the football only three times after that touchdown run and he didn’t compile any statistics after halftime as Texas instead distributed carries between a veteran trio of Tre Watson, Daniel Young and Kyle Porter. Ingram averaged a team-best 6.2 yards over his six carries in his UT debut. Can he earn more carries in UT’s crowded backfield?

“I think you’ll continue to see his role progress and increase, there’s no doubt in my mind,” Texas coach Tom Herman said on Monday. “I think in a close game on the road, after an hour-long rain delay, I made the call. I said Stan, we’ve got a fifth-year senior (Watson) that’s been in a lot of college football games and he’s running the ball well. I said we need experience here in the fourth quarter. That was why you didn’t see (Ingram) in the fourth quarter.”

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2. Will having familiarity with Tulsa’s offense help?

The game film on Tulsa may look familiar to the older Longhorns since Sterlin Gilbert, Tulsa’s offensive coordinator in 2016, move to Austin after spending one year with the Golden Hurricane. Will the memories of practicing every day against Gilbert’s offense aid the Longhorns in their first-ever matchup with Tulsa?

“You know what to expect as far as tempo,” defensive end Charles Omenihu said. “You’re not going to be out there predicting their plays until you start watching a little bit more film, but you’ll know the tempo is going to be out there.”

3. Will Texas field a healthy secondary?

Texas opened this week with three starting defensive backs on the injury report — cornerbacks Kris Boyd (ankle) and Davante Davis (neck), and safety Brandon Jones (ankle). Herman didn’t label any of those players’ situations as dire, but Jones was ruled out of the game on Thursday. Any missed playing time will certainly ding the secondary’s experience; Boyd, Davis and Jones have combined for 50 starts. Tulsa passed for 173.1 yards per game in 2017, and Luke Skipper opened this season with a 196-yard performance last week.

4. Will Dicker the Kicker get a chance to showcase his leg?

It looks like Texas is going with freshman kicker Cameron Dicker this season, but he didn’t get much of a chance to show what he can do against Maryland. Dicker converted all three of his extra-point tries but did not attempt a field goal. Texas kickers have missed 26 field goals over the last four seasons. Whenever he finally gets the chance, can the Lake Travis product improve UT’s luck in the kicking game?

5. What will the crowd look like?

Texas is unveiling its new game-day atmosphere and fans should expect changes to the festivities outside the stadium and the students’ seating chart. The excitement surrounding this team, though, has been tempered by the uninspiring performance against Maryland. Next week’s rematch between Texas and USC will be sold out, but can the Longhorns improve on last year’s average attendance of 92,778?

Texas’ last five home-opening crowds:

2013: 99,623 (No. 15 Texas 56, New Mexico State 7)

2014: 93,201 (Texas 38, North Texas 7)

2015: 86,458 (Texas 42, Rice 28)

2016: 102,315 (Texas 50, No. 10 Notre Dame 47)

2017: 88,117 (Texas 56, San Jose State 0)

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