The Longhorns look to redeem themselves against the Kansas Jayhawks (2–4) this Saturday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium following last week’s loss to Oklahoma. Considered 21-point favorites in the matchup, this game will give Texas an opportunity to shake off last week’s performance.
Although their chances of winning are high, the Longhorns are still not taking this week lightly. Players and coaches pointed toward Kansas’ defense and sophomore running back Pooka Williams, but are still focused on fixing last week’s mistakes.
“We all know what happened Saturday, and it wasn’t the results that we wanted,” senior center Zach Shackelford said. “But, you know, we can’t do anything about it now, so we’re going to get back to work and focus on Kansas and learn from the mistakes we made and get better from it.”
The Kansas defense has allowed 178 points in their first five games, and Kansas currently at the bottom of the Big 12 rankings with an 0–3 conference record. But Texas offensive coordinator Tim Beck is still not taking their defense for granted, especially the safeties. Kansas senior safety Bryce Torneden
currently leads the team with 43 total tackles while senior safety Jeremiah McCullough was one of two players to register six total tackles against the Sooners.
“I think up front, they do a really good job,” Beck said. “I think their three guys and their Okie front do a really good job, they’re quick off the ball, physical, play with their hands. I like their secondary. I think their safeties are big-time. They do a really good job. They’re much improved.”
Sophomore linebacker Joseph Ossai also pointed to Williams, who has rushed for a net of 445 yards and has tallied one touchdown. Ossai said Williams stood out on tape.
“Their running back is explosive,” Ossai said. “He’s great. He can make people miss. I’ve only really watched their running tape, and he’s doing amazing from what I’ve seen.”
However, this week is an opportunity for Texas to plug holes that were exposed during its game against Oklahoma. Both the defense and offense played a part in the loss, and players and coaches are hoping to fix these mistakes.
Senior safety Brandon Jones sees an opportunity for Texas’ secondary to learn to be more situationally proactive against offenses.
“I think as a defense we need to be able to be able to attack the situation before it gets to that point … before it’s noticeable, before that it happens multiple times and (becomes) something that occurs often,” Jones said.
Offensive coordinator Tim Beck feels his offense also needs to be more proactive. Against Oklahoma, he felt players were waiting for others to step up and make plays. Beck said once one player makes a play, the spark and confidence will come back to the offensive line.
Texas’ game against Kansas is an opportunity to fix problems before it faces TCU and Baylor in the coming weeks. Defensive coordinator Todd Orlando said the team must remember its fundamentals in order to succeed in the future.
“The biggest thing I’ll continue to say is, ‘Fight, man,’” Orlando said. “Stuff gets really, really hard when there’s (outside noise). There’s only one thing to do, and that’s to work harder. We’ve talked a whole bunch about how do we dig ourselves out or and just go back to what we know, and what we know is how to do things the right way and scratch and claw and fight.”