Q&A With HookemHeadlines.com


I got together with HookEmHeadlines.com’s Jeff Kubiszyn to talk a little about this years Texas Longhorns squad and what the Tech-Texas match up may look like this season.

Oct 11, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong argues a holding call in the first quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners during the Red River showdown at the Cotton Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Weston: Much has been made about Charlie Strong’s disciplinary style and several players have been kicked off the team. Do you think this has contributed to a slow start in Strong’s first season? Will it pay off in the long run?

Jeff: The dismissals and suspensions were probably more of a distraction for the fans than the players. This is a roster with 71 four and five-star recruits. The players should be able to overcome this type of adversity.Strong had to come in and put his stamp on the program. He implemented his five core values. The players who couldn’t abide by these values were dismissed from the team. The tough love this year will benefit the program in the long run.The bigger problem has been injuries to quarterback David Ash and center Dominic Espinosa. The general feeling at the beginning of the season was that if Ash went down, the season would be lost. I think Texas fans will take six wins at this point.Losing Espinosa is a bigger blow than most people think. Espinosa made all the line calls. The Texas offensive line was already a question mark before he went down. Texas has no depth at the position. Espinosa was the player offensive line coach Joe Wickline counted on to stabilize a young group. As a result, Texas has struggled to run the ball.

Oct 18, 2014; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns quarterback Tyrone Swoopes (18) runs the ball against Iowa State Cyclones cornerback Nigel Tribune (34) during the second half at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Texas beat Iowa State 48-45. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Weston: Quarterback Tyrone Swoopes has seemed to find his groove in the past few games, throwing for over 300 yards against Oklahoma and Iowa State. What are your thoughts on him and do you think he’s developing into a guy that will start for UT over the next few years?

Jeff: Swoopes is showing signs of being a competent signal caller. He is smart, and has an NFL-caliber arm. He will be the favorite to be the Texas quarterback next season over Jerrod Heard and true freshman Zach Gentry (assuming he honors his commitment).Swoopes is still raw. He is one of those players who takes two steps forward, then one step back. He really shouldn’t be playing this year. Unfortunately the Texas quarterback situation is one that requires him to shoulder the load. He has done a commendable job considering the circumstances.

Oct 18, 2014; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns defensive tackles Hassan Ridgeway (98) and Malcolm Brown (90) react against the Iowa State Cyclones during the first half at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Texas beat Iowa State 48-45. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Weston: Texas Tech has struggled this year in many areas of the game, most notably in points given up and in quarterback Davis Webb’s very pedestrian 22-12 TD to Int ratio. One of the bright spots however has been the rushing attack with senior running back DeAndre Washington leading the way with 622 yards so far this year. What kind of game plan do you think Texas will have going into this game? Will they try to stop the run and force Webb to throw the ball into coverage?

Jeff: The Texas defense has been stout against the run. The defensive line, namely Malcolm Brown and Hassan Ridgeway, has done a great job of applying pressure on the quarterback. I expect the game plan to key around stopping the run, while getting pressure on Webb. If the Longhorns can disrupt the timing of enough plays, Texas has a good chance of leaving Lubbock with a win.Having said that, there is concern about the number of big pass plays completed against the secondary lately. Iowa State’s Sam B. Richardson and Kansas State’s Jake Waters will never been mistaken for Bryce Petty, yet these guys found success throwing against the Texas secondary. As a Texas fan, I would be concerned about Webb carving up the secondary if the defensive line can’t get to him.

Oct 18, 2014; Lubbock, TX, USA; The Texas Tech Red Raiders enter the field before the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Jones AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Weston: Even during Texas’ worst stretches of football in a very long time, the Red Raiders just always seem to have a hard time beating the Longhorns and they’ve lost five in a row since the 2008 Crabtree catch. Its no secret that neither of these teams are world beaters this year, but how do you think the game will play out?

Jeff: I think this game will be a shootout. Texas Tech has shown it can put points on the board, but can’t stop the opposition. Texas has the ability to score – despite being shut out versus Kansas State. Both teams need a win to stay alive for a bowl game, so it will come down to who makes the biggest plays on either side of the ball. The team that wins the turnover battle wins the game.

Oct 11, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns wide receiver John Harris (9) catches a six yard pass for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Weston: Let our fans know a few things they might not know about this years Longhorns squad, are there any under the radar guys that have played well this year? Anyone Kliff and Co. might need to be aware of before the ‘Horns arrive in Lubbock?

Jeff: I wouldn’t say this guy is under the radar anymore, but wide receiver John Harris has saved the Texas offense this season. The senior had nine career catches coming in to the 2014 campaign. To date, he has 40 receptions and 607 yards. He leads Texas with six touchdown grabs. He is a big-body receiver who uses the middle of the field as well as anyone in the game. The Tech defense will want to keep an eye on number nine at all times. He is Swoopes’ favorite target.On defense, Jordan Hicks is finally playing up to his potential. Hicks is a former five-star linebacker who has battled injuries throughout his career. His play this year has been the reason Texas is better against the run. He can rush the passer, too. I would suggest Webb knows where Hicks is on every play.What are your thoughts on Saturday’s game? Lets hear it!