HOUSTON – Texas will take on Rice this Saturday in Houston at NRG Stadium at 7 p.m.
Coach Tom Herman and his coordinators spoke this week, and we now have a much better idea of what we will see out of these Longhorns on Saturday, both in terms of their depth chart and schematically.
As for injuries, Herman announced after practice Thursday that DeMarvion Overshown will miss this week with a stress reaction in his vertebrae. In addition to that, Collin Johnson is still suffering from a sore hamstring and will travel with the team to Houston but is listed as a "game-time decision." Read more below for more injury updates.
As the Longhorns get ready to head east on I-10, let's take a look at some of the more important things to know heading into Saturday's matchup.
1. Ready for the run?
Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando confirmed on Wednesday that Texas is preparing to face run-heavy Rice, which is a bit of a change from what they faced in the first two games. Rice runs a lot of heavy sets with two or three tight-ends, and they love to pound the ball with different backs. The Owls had five different players total five or more carries last weekend vs. Wake Forest. Orlando said the team had a very "physical" practice during their full-pads day earlier this week, and he seemed confident that this team could bounce back on the road following a tough loss. What will Texas do differently this week on the defensive side of the ball to prepare for this run-heavy offense? See below.
2. Four-LBs for Texas
Texas began to thwart Rice's running game before they even traveled to Houston, as Orlando announced Wednesday that the team is likely to utilize their four-linebacker formation this weekend. Included in this big group are Joseph Ossai, Jeffrey McCullough, Ayodele Adeoye and Juwan Mitchell. This group of four will be tasked with stopping the Rice run game at least until Texas has a lead big enough that Rice begins to throw the ball more. Texas will certainly see a lot of the ground-and-pound on Saturday night, but the faster they score the less time these talented linebackers have to spend on the field giving and taking hits.