What IF? That is the question for tomorrow. How would it happen? How CAN Texas compete vs. Alabama?
I have chosen my words carefully for this article. I am the guy that is sticking with his 48-24 preseason prediction of an Alabama beat down tomorrow, BUT how COULD that become say a 34-31 or more likely 44-42 Alabama is just happy to get out of Austin alive finish. Sure, if YOU want to really dream big, you can say how can Texas beat Alabama. I am just not going there.
Here are the top SIX things that must happen for the Longhorns to shock the world and compete tomorrow. To emphasize, I am telling you what it will take not if it is realistic. I already told you by my prediction I don't think all of these will happen.
Win the Turnover Battle
Whether the Longhorns get interceptions, fumbles, or special teams muffs, I don't care. Texas needs to be able to have short fields and some bonus stops to slow down a Bama offense that if it gets rolling could put a 50 spot on the defense. If the Defense or Special Teams scores on one of the turnovers they get, then the Horns MAY have a shot.
Also, the offense including Ewers have to be pretty clean- one turnover MAX. Texas CANNOT give Alabama a short field all day.
The Passing Game NEEDS to be Great
I feel like what I am about to say is asking for the unfair out of a quarterback and team with at least 3 if not 4 Freshman starting. Ewers needs to play one of the best games he will have this year. The Longhorns need to get at least 2 and probably 3 explosive plays in the passing game. Worthy needs to perform like the top WR he is. Whittington and Sanders need to be the Batman and Spiderman to Worthy's Superman all day. When it's 3rd and long the three best receivers must beat their man and get first downs.
Worthy needs to get 120+ yards. Whittington needs to get 70+ yards and Sanders needs to get 50+ yards. Yes that is 240+ yards between the three of them. I expect Bama will out talent every other WR/TE and they may end up with less than 20 yards for the rest of the WR/TEs. We will talk about the running backs in a bit.
Ewers has to get to 350+ yards. Yes this is completely unfair. BUT, what if it happens?
Let's pause here and make some bold statements.
The Longhorns may have only a few matchup advantages. Worthy is one of them. The Longhorns must take advantage of what Worthy can do. If Longhorns fans are talking about Worthy having the greatest WR day they have ever seen, the Longhorns will compete.
Bijan Robinson must show WHY he should win the Heisman
The next talent advantage the Longhorns may have is their best player- Bijan Robinson. If Bijan plays like a Heisman winner in BOTH the running game AND the passing game the Longhorns MIGHT have a shot. From the talent standpoint, I think the running game largely rests on Bijan tomorrow. Roshon Johnson and Keilan Robinson may have a big play or two (pull out the Wildcat?) but I expect Bijan to get 70+% of the rushing yards.
If Bijan runs for 120+ yards and adds another 60+ yards in the short passing game, the offense has a chance to have long time consuming drives. If Roshon and Keilan can add another 40-50 yards on the ground and 50ish yards in the passing game, the offense will be scoring at the rate needed to compete.
The Defense has the get a Pass Rush
How does it happen? I have no idea. The team that was TERRIBLE rushing the passer last year HAS to sack Bryce Young multiple times and hurry him several more. Maybe it's Sorrell and Overshown having the game of their career to this point. Whoever steps up and shocks the world may become a Longhorns legend.
The Alabama OL is probably their weakest link in 2022 especially early in the season. The Longhorns MUST expose that for this to be close or Bama will just out run the Horns.
The Freshman Need to Play like Juniors
The kids need to play like adults. I am mainly thinking about the offensive line here- Kelvin Banks and Cole Hutson. These two Freshman need to make us forget they are freshman and make Bama think why didn't we get them in recruiting. This also includes Ewers as previously stated. Ethan Burke and Jaylon Guilbeau need to be so good early that they play more than we anticipate and they make plays for the defense no one expects.
No Special Teams Issues
The Horns cannot afford to have 15 yard punts or missed field goals tomorrow. What they really need is the Special Teams to return a kick for a TD or as mentioned to recover a Bama muffed punt return. If Special Teams at least plays a clean game, they will be doing their part to give Texas a chance.
IF ALL of that happens, MAYBE Texas shocks the world. If five of the six happen, maybe Texas loses close.
Some of it must happen and I think it will, or it is going to be a long hot day in DKR. If NONE of it happens, my score prediction is too generous for the Horns.
This Alabama team may be one of the best teams to ever play. It will take near perfection for the Horns to even compete.
There is one for you too, Longhorns fans. YOU must be loud and disruptive to the Alabama offense. Make DKR the loudest it has ever been. The team bust be perfect and you must be perfect. How bad do you want it Longhorns fans?
Shock the World
Subscribers, PLEASE leave your comments here or in the chat.
If you liked this article or any of the others here, you really should subscribe to LarryTheGM.com (Below the header and above the articles). You will get notified of new content and you can use the chat feature.