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UTEP vs. Texas: Q&A With Burnt Orange Nation

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Burnt Orange Nation’s board of writers answered our burning game week questions.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Texas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Of course it was a classic battle to open the season with that epic win against Notre Dame, but what was your initial takeaway from the game?

Charlie Strong said last year we would have lost that game, and I agree. Some say that this team has "found itself", or that they have "confidence", and that's the difference between this season and last. I think the team has confidence because they have an offensive scheme that primarily leverages their advantages instead of trying to force themselves to overcome their faults. We would have lost that game last year because we had a terrible offense. This year, we have our weapons pointed at the defense, not our own feet. -Dustin Summy

My initial takeaway from the game was "Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo". After that I thought about how the Texas offense seemed to move the ball and score by design rather than accident. Texas only moved the ball last year against historically bad defenses (Cal and Tech), so to do it because of scheme and talent was a welcome addition. – Jeff Asher

"Wait. What? We actually just pulled that off?" – Abram Orlansky

Coach Kugler was very high on both Shane Buechele, and Tyrone Swoopes, can this two QB system with they way it's being used take the Horns offense to another level not only this week but for the rest of the season?

Absolutely it can. We saw the difference between dual-QB synergy and controversy on Sunday. Buechele-Swoopes is the anti-Kizer-Zaire, in that the former pair compliment each other while the latter are redundant. In fact, that it's best to think of Swoopes as a wildcat specialist RB rather than a true QB, while Kizer and Zaire are (except for what appears to be a vast performance discrepancy in favor of Kizer) largely interchangeable. Swoopes is a senior and Buechele doesn't have to worry about losing his job to him longterm, while Kizer and Zaire are junior and senior players, respectively, and time lost to the other is much more significant for them, personally. If Foreman, Warren, and Swoopes remain healthy, this system will do wonders for a young QB learning the ropes, and there is not a team in college football that wouldn't like to have the 18-wheeler package in the red zone. -Dustin Summy

I sure hope so. I'd guess that as Buechele gets more comfortable we'll see Swoopes more situationally. I don't really know what to expect with this offense and for the first time in many years that's a good thing. – Jeff Asher

Absolutely. I have long been of the opinion that part of the reason two-QB systems often don't work is that, to paraphrase the 40 Year Old Virgin, people put the quarterback position on a pedestal. Why, exactly, can't quarterbacks be in the game or out of the game as the situation and their skill sets dictate, just like any other player? Gilbert & Strong proved the point against the Irish, having no trouble playing Swoopes in short yardage even if Buechele was playing well on the drive, or Buechele on third and medium even if Swoopes was playing well. So simple, so elegant. – Abram Orlansky

Every Longhorn hater is calling for the classic trap game situation here with UTEP, what are your thoughts?

Did you see that game on Sunday? We are going to steamroll Oklahoma.

Seriously, I would be very surprised if we are completely in control of this game at halftime. I don't think any of the players on this roster have had the kind of treatment they're going to get for the next week, what with the #11 ranking and everyone talking about beating OU and winning the Big XII, and I would be impressed if the young guys handled it well. Hopefully, looking like idiots for one half is enough to snap them out of it. -Dustin Summy

Not sure I'd call it a trap game but it definitely has letdown game written all over it. That #11 AP ranking is fools' gold and Texas fans are quick to remember Iowa State shutting out the Horns last year after the program's other major victory under Strong (W over OU). I could see Texas starting slow though I've never watched an offense like this so it's hard to know what it looks like when it can't get out of neutral. – Jeff Asher

Nah. Too many bad losses in too recent memory, and too good a running back for UTEP, for the team to take y'all so lightly they actually fall victim to a "trap." Some Notre Dame hangover is to be expected, but I think that ultimately just shaves 10-17 points off the final score rather than actually making it close. – Abram Orlansky

What does Texas need to clean up defensively to make sure UTEPs run game non-existent?

Texas needs to prove that they can consistently pressure a QB behind a line not made of five-stars and future NFLers without big stunts and blitzes that make every play a gamble. We have seen flashes from Boyette and others, specifically in the OU game last year, but nothing consistent yet, and the secondary too often blows coverages to give us much confidence that we can afford not to blitz. We need the defense to play at least as the sum of its parts, if we can't get more. -Dustin Summy

Play consistently along the d-line. The vets along the d-line were surprisingly effective at times against Notre Dame. They aren't the most talented bunch but if they can play to that level all year Texas will be hard to beat. – Jeff Asher

Play an offensive line that isn't Notre Dame's. (No offense.) – Abram Orlansky

VY or Colt?

I would take Colt-VY in a Buechele-Swoopes package just because zeitgeist. If you made me answer I'd say Colt if he comes with Shipley, VY in a vacuum. -Dustin Summy

VY. It's not even close. Anyone saying Colt went to school between 2006 and 2009. Everyone else agrees it's VY. –Jeff Asher

Everyone loves Colt, but this is not a question. Vince Vince Vince Vince Vince. All day errday. – Abram Orlansky

UTEP is going to try and slow the game down, while Texas wants to run 90-plus plays, do you see UTEP grabbing any type of advantage here?

I think slowing the game down is the best thing UTEP can do. Decreasing the number of trials raises the variance, and that's their best shot at a W. However, the only way they can do it is by running the ball effectively and getting Texas into long yardage situations, which would basically mean that they were winning the game anyway. -Dustin Summy

Rice did this to Texas last season and it was frustrating as hell. If Texas can't get off the field and the offense isn't clicking then it's certainly possible. If Texas gets the ball first and puts up points it'll be tougher for UTEP. – Jeff Asher

I don't know how much actual play count matters. Again, I think it will affect the ultimate score of the game and the time it takes for Texas to pull away, but pull away I expect they will do. –Abram Orlansky

Three best Austin spots UTEP fans gotta try while in Austin?

I live in California now, so I'm not ashamed to pine for staple foods: Amy's Ice Cream because F*** September, La Barbecue because if you have to wait you might as well drink free beer, Trudy's because oh god, chorizo-stuffed chicken, I can't quit you. -Dustin Summy

I don't live in Austin anymore, but my New Orleans food recommendations are: po-boys at Parkway Tavern, dinner at Coquette, breakfast at the Ruby Slipper. Laissez les bon temps rouller. – Jeff Asher

I too have moved away from Austin many years ago, so I'll just go with Torchy's Tacos, Chuy's, and -- for health -- Burger Tex. –Abram Orlansky

Prediction

Texas pulls away after a screwy first half, 42-21. -Dustin Summy