The biggest and constant knock Charlie Strong has received at Texas is lack of a suitable quarterback and offensive system.
Those two things were figured out in the spring and showed Sunday’s win against Notre Dame.
Starting quarterback Shane Buechele is a strong armed freshman who flashed way more poise than freshman jitters against Notre Dame. His downfield throwing abilities mixed with talented wideouts who can stretch the field will test UTEP’s secondary in ways NMSU could only dream of.
Tyrone Swoopes is going be a major X-factor, particularly in the redzone.
UTEP struggled with containing NMSU quarterback Tyler Rogers on the read-option, and Swoopes is also 6’4 250 pounds so UTEP will need to get eyes, proper angles, and both arms around this talented runner.
Texas’ two quarterback system looked sharp in its initial debut and will be a tall chore for the Miner D in terms of staying disciplined and not allowing big plays.
Stud LB Malik Jefferson
UTEP’s Aaron Jones will face one of the top defenders and linebackers he's ever seen in Texas’ Malik Jefferson.
The reigning Big 12 Freshman of the Year was in mid-season form on Sunday.
First thing that stands out is his outstanding base in where you rarely see him get shook, and his footwork is quick and quiet which allows him to easily control the heel line against the run.
Whether you're a quarterback or running back, turning the corner is more than tough against Jefferson who is a future NFL star.
Texas has a deep and nasty front seven
Paul Boyette, Poona Ford, Malik Jefferson, and Anthony Wheeler will all be on NFL rosters one day and will be a major test for UTEP’s offensive line.
The Miner offensive line proved they could hang with Arkansas last year, but clearly Texas might be a different beast upfront defensively.
This will be a key if UTEP wants to see any success against Texas as we all know the Miners will try pound the run early and often. Keeping these guys out of the backfield and avoiding negative run plays is imperative if UTEP wants have any type of success on the ground.
UTEP matches up size wise, but the quickness, physicality, and overall talent Texas will lineup along their front seven is something the Miners have never had to prepared for.
John Burt & Co
One of the Longhorns major advantages on offense will be on the outside with John Burt, Jake Oliver, and Jerrod Heard to just name a few.
Size and speed are the biggest advantages as the Miners young and growing corners Nik Needham and Kalon Beverly will be tested against the Longhorns speed and length on the outside.
Burt went off for 111 yards and six receptions including that 72-yard touchdown reception and figures to be a big part of what Texas wants to do vertically all season.
Heard in another vertical threat who can expose UTEP up the seam out of the slot, and even on the outside.
UTEP switched to the 3-4 defense to cut down vertical passing threat, and Texas will put it to the test at an elite level.
Huge, big, hard to take down RB’s
Not sure Sean Kugler’s or any UTEP team has seen a running back tandem like the one Texas will trot out there on Saturday.
Junior D’Onta Foreman, and Sophomore Chris Warren III both are listed over 240-pounds, and will need to be gang tackled repeatedly.
Foreman ran for 131 physical yards against against Notre Dame, and while Warren was quiet against the Irish, both will test UTEP’s tackling technique, and toughness.
“Both their running backs, I don’t know which one you to pick to go against.” UTEP head coach Sean Kugler said. “One is 249 pounds and one is 252 pounds. So us tackling high would probably not be a good thing.”
Foreman was the week one rushing star, but I would guess Warren sees close to 20-carries in week two.
Charlie Strong has restocked the Texas football factory with top-recruiting classes, and even some of the Horns expected young studs like freshman Devin Duvernay, and Lil’ Jordan Humphrey did not have their number called against the Irish, but figure to become more involved against UTEP.
Three-star freshman center Zach Shackelford who is a starter, and fellow three-star defensive tackle Gerald Wilbon have been infused into the Horns’ depth chart as up-and-coming stars mixed with proven returning talent.
Buechele is a future star at quarterback, Burt also has NFL talent, and Jefferson could be the Big 12 defensive player of the year this season.
UTEP will have to earn every single, yard, tackle, and break in this game.
With only eight seniors on Texas’ two deep depth chart, Texas is not a one-win wonder, but will return to elite status with a roster full of highly recruited studs who will help Charlie Strong turn things around, and fast.