Know your foe: Five questions with Austin American-Statesman beat writer Randy Riggs
Each week, I’ll check in with the beat writer who covers Oklahoma State’s opponent to get some perspective on the game from the other side.
Randy Riggs covers Texas for the Austin American-Statesman. Here’s our exchange:
Gina Mizell: Based on what you’ve seen through three games, how much better is this Texas team than the past two seasons? Why? And what will we learn from Saturday’s game?
Randy Riggs: It’s substantially better on offense because the Longhorns have been able to run the ball effectively for the first time in years, and that’s taken pressure off David Ash. The defense is a conundrum. It has seven sacks and seven turnovers – not bad – but has hurt itself with poor tackling and allowing big plays. Freshman placekicker Nick Jordan has made only three of seven field goals. It hasn’t been an issue yet, but it sure could become one for them in this game.
GM: David Ash is clearly improved. What have been the keys to his development from his freshman to sophomore season?
RR: Last year he found himself in a no-win situation because of the Longhorns’ perfect storm of QB troubles. If there was ever a freshman who needed to redshirt, it was him, but he didn’t get the chance. He’s got a strong arm, and he’s finally developing some trust in it. And he’s a good enough athlete to keep defenses honest with his ability to scramble if necessary. And, equally important, he’s got a much stronger cast around him.
GM: It sounds like RB Joe Bergeron is going to play Saturday. What allows him and Malcolm Brown to complement each other so well? And how much can we expect to see true freshman Jonathan Gray?
RR: Bergeron is the bruiser, who has been the starter. Brown is the best all-around back, though. He’s not a classic burner but he’s hard to get down and almost always good for positive yardage. Gray is their most hyped freshman back since Cedric Benson in 2001, but he hasn’t had a chance to break out yet, with only 21 carries in three games. Texas fans are eager to see that breakout.
GM: Even with Mike Gundy dropping that Wes Lunt could practice by the end of the week, it’s almost certain that J.W. Walsh will start at QB for the Cowboys. How will the Texas defense attack a running quarterback? Gundy seemed to think it wouldn’t affect much, since the ‘Horns play so much man coverage.
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