Matchup to watch in Oklahoma State-Texas game: The trenches
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy calls Texas’ defense the most athletic unit the Cowboy offense will face all season.
That starts with ends Alex Okafor, the preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, and Jackson Jeffcoat, who popped up on preseason All-America teams. The task of slowing down those two will mostly fall on offensive tackles Parker Graham and Daniel Koenig, who are both seeing the most action of their college careers this season.
OSU’s offensive line as a whole has been solid through the early season, though. The Cowboys have not given up a sack through three games, and rank sixth in the nation in rushing (308.33 yards per game).
Going against UT’s defensive line is a challenge right guard Lane Taylor is looking forward to.
“They have great size, strength, speed,” Taylor said of Okafor and Jeffcoat. “Their defensive tackles, they’ve been there a while. I’ve noticed them, they’ve been on the two-deep and stuff, so they’ve gotten reps. They play hard and it’ll be fun blocking them.”
Last season against OSU, Okafor tallied five tackles (1.5 for loss), a sack and a quarterback hurry, while Jeffcoat had four tackles (one for loss) and one pass breakup. In 2010, Okafor had two tackles (one for loss), a sack, a forced fumble and three quarterback hurries, while Jeffcoat did not play in the game.
OSU’s up-tempo spread offense can often temper an opponent’s pass rush because of its quick throws out of the shotgun. But Saturday night, likely starting quarterback J.W. Walsh’s scrambling ability could slow it down. If the Longhorns over-pursue, the mobile Walsh could hurt them with his legs. It’s unlikely UT will go after Walsh as aggressively as they may have against injured starter Wes Lunt, a pocket passer.
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