Players to Watch: Struggling Texas defense has to account for pair of talented wideouts in Lockett, Thompson


The Associated Press

Kansas State wide receiver Tramaine Thompson is one of several offensive weapons Texas will have to account for this week. The Longhorns have allowed at least 40 points in each of their last two games, both losses. 

Matt Warden

WR Tyler Lockett (Jr.)

After another week of surrendering big plays and taking a loss, the Longhorns must turn their attention to a team that has beat them in their last five meetings. Kansas State seems to have the blueprint to beat Texas and it will look to utilize receiver Tyler Lockett to amass big yards. Lockett is a small and elusive receiver which is a prototype that always gives the Longhorns trouble. Lockett has caught 16 balls for 232 yards and a touchdown this season. Lockett uses his speed and ability to elude defenders to pick up yards after the catch. He currently possesses averages 14.5 yards per catch and Texas will need to keep the ball out of his hands to get some confidence on defense this weekend.


LB Blake Slaughter (Sr.)

Standing under 6-feet tall, Blake Slaughter is not particularly imposing at linebacker but his numbers speak for themselves. Slaughter leads the team with 27 tackles through three games this season while adding two sacks to his resume. Slaughter fills most lanes when they open up and uses his speed to find the football wherever it may go on the field. Texas has had a tough time protecting its quarterbacks the last two weeks and if Case McCoy is back under center against the Wildcats, Slaughter will need to be kept in check. McCoy is nowhere near as elusive as David Ash and that could create problems, and worse turnovers, against a speedy front seven. Look for Slaughter to apply solid pressure to Texas quarterbacks.


WR Tramaine Thompson (Sr.)

Another smaller receiver, Tramaine Thompson can make an impact in the return game as well. Thompson has 10 catches for 187 yards this season and has also returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Kansas State’s keys to victory are usually to win the turnover battle and to outperform on special teams. In the Wildcats’ victories over the Longhorns, their average starting field position margin is 9.2, which means they generally start almost 10 yards closer to the endzone on every possession. If the Longhorns cannot get a hat on Thompson, he could easily give the Wildcats excellent field position every time he returns the football. If he isn’t covered well on offense, he can break tackles, much like every other team has done against Texas. Thompson will be a big X-factor for Kansas State against Texas.