NORMAN — At the national awards banquet last December, Ryan Broyles picked Fred Biletnikoff's brain, seeking insight from the player whose name is on the award for college football's top receiver.
“Ryan wants to know about the great players and how they got open,” said Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell. “He has never settled for being what he is. He's always trying to get better.”
By constantly improving, Broyles has compiled 304 career receptions. He's on the verge of becoming the top receiver in Division I history.
Last week, Broyles set the Big 12 receiving record.
With 13 more catches, Broyles will pass Purdue's Taylor Stubblefield, who hauled in 316 passes during the Drew Brees era.
But there's one thing missing on Broyles' resume — a big game against Texas.
In three Cotton Bowl games, Broyles has 12 catches for 130 yards, the type of stats he routinely compiles in one game.
“Texas has had pretty good pass defenses the past few years,” Norvell said. “They've done some things schematically to take some routes away.”
Last year, the Longhorns double-teamed Broyles the entire game, limiting him to five catches for 36 yards.
Two years ago, Broyles had only two catches for 33 yards but was playing despite suffering a fractured shoulder two weeks earlier at Miami.
His freshman season, Broyles was held to five catches.
“It's a tribute to they're one of the better teams we play,” Norvell said. “They've had good secondaries. Several of those guys are in the NFL. We haven't made a whole lot of big plays the past three or four years.”
That could change Saturday afternoon.
Texas has a young secondary. Senior strong safety Blake Gideon is the only Longhorn with extensive starting experience.
Also favorable for Broyles is Manny Diaz, the Longhorns' new defensive coordinator. Diaz likes to gamble by constantly mixing up coverages.
“They do like to blitz,” Norvell said. “Sometimes when people blitz, they leave themselves vulnerable in the back end. But (Diaz's) reputation is cover first. He's done that wherever he's been a coordinator. They've done a good job of limiting big plays. We've just got to do what we do.”
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