Cougars hope to slow Texas offense


For a team that is used to finishing in the top 25 every year, the Texas Longhorns would like to forget that 2010 ever happened. The Longhorns finished with a 5-7 record last season — the worst since head coach Mack Brown took over the job in 1998.

BYU travels to Austin, Texas, this weekend to take on the Longhorns in their first meeting since 1988. Texas is tough to beat at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, even though the Longhorns finished 2-5 at home last year. The Cougars are trying to earn a strong start in their first year of independence, while the Longhorns are trying to regain national prominence.

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Texas coach Mac Brown holds up the "hook 'em horns" sign as the longhorn flag flies after the Texas Orange and White spring football scrimmage, Sunday, April 3, 2011, in Austin, Texas. The Orange team won 27-7.
The Longhorns have a new offensive coordinator this year, Brian Harsin. He spent the past 10 seasons as part of Boise State’s coaching staff, including five years as offensive coordinator. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall knows Harsin will show many different looks to confuse the defense.



“A lot of their running game is similar to what we saw at Ole Miss with fly sweeps and a wildcat player back at quarterback,” Mendenhall said. “They just happen to be more advanced currently in play action and multiple formations.”

The preseason battle for the starting quarterback spot received a lot of media attention during the summer. The competition featured three different QBs, but ultimately Garrett Gilbert earned the position for week 1. Gilbert helped Texas rack up 506 yards of total offense in last week’s 34-9 win against Rice.

The offense also features two young wide receivers in sophomore Mike Davis and  freshman Jaxon Shipley. The two receivers combined for 169 of the team’s 277 total receiving yards against Rice. Junior receiver Marquise Goodwin is another name to keep an eye on this week. Goodwin was competing for the Longhorn track team and was scheduled to sit out this season as a redshirt. However, he decided just this week to return to the football team.

Texas also has a new coach on the defensive side of the ball. Manny Diaz left Mississippi State to become the defensive coordinator for the Longhorns. With Diaz commanding the defense, Texas held Rice to just 94 passing yards last week.

“They have some good athletes,” said BYU quarterback Jake Heaps. “They’re definitely a bunch of ball hawks and they fly to the football.”


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