What to look for during first game: Texas vs Rice

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2023 Texas Longhorns Football Game 1

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Sarkisian said Texas will be aggressive, fast, physical, tough, and smart.

Translated, anticipate Texas to start the game with Quinn Ewers launching a long pass to Xavier Worthy or Jordan Whittington. Over the past two seasons, Texas starts most games with the deep ball right out of the first huddle.  If caught, DKR forgets about the heat and goes

Imagine the first play of the game being a deep, deep ball to let's say senior Isaiah Neyor who did not play last season due to a fall camp injury. Neyor transferred from Wyoming in 2022 where he averaged just shy of 20 yards per reception.

Think of it as Sarkisian’s “shock & awe” strategy.

You know this will happen on the first drive, Jonathon Brooks or Kelan Robinson run to reassure fans that while Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson will be missed, Texas is in good hands, or feet in this case. Expect Sarkisian to put CJ Baxter to the test and Anonai Mitchell who averaged 14.7 yard per carry in his past two seasons at Georgia.

Quinn Ewers has so many weapons to deploy in preparation for Week 2 against Alabama, and the rest of the season.

Passing, Ewers has Worthy, Jordan Whittington, Ja’Tavion Sanders, or he can turn and hand it off to Keilan Robinson, Savion Red, Jaydon Blue, or Jonathon Brooks. The possibilities seem almost endless.

Physical, tough, smart - expect senior linebacker Jaylon Ford to be disruptive to Daniels and the offense.

Texas has a deep roster in most positions on defense which is excellent so they can rotate players to keep them fresh all four quarters.  It will be really hot against Rice with temperatures expected to be 101.

Funny, one of the biggest questions on people's mind is, what is the depth chart look like at quarterback. Will it be Murphy or Manning as the backup?

In the secondary, look for senior Jahdae Barron to have an interception, and not allow a receiver to get the ball. Barron, we believe, will have a year the NFL takes serious notice.

Yes, Texas is the favorite over Rice, however analyze the game for the bigger picture. How does Texas execute plays, third down conversions, how do Texas do in the red zone, are there mental mistakes like pre snap penalties offsides or too many players on the field?

When Rice looks like they are about to have a chance, expect Texas’ special teams to bring lightning in DKR with a block punt. Special teams is a secret weapon Texas loves to deploy that is, let’s just say, effective and game-changing.

There will be a few kinks to work out, but Texas will need to look and be sharp.

Coach Sarkisian commented in the off season that he runs Texas like a NFL team. This was evident as we have spoken with and listened to players over the past month. They look, act, and sound professional.

Rice does pose a threat because of their experience, returning players on defense, and senior quarterback JT Daniels who played at DKR last year as the starting quarterback for West Virginia. Daniels completed 29 passes for 253 yards.

All eyes are on Texas this weekend and not just from DKR. The entire college football world eagerly awaits, on the edge of their seats, curious to witness Texas put their autograph on their final season in the Big 12.

Everyone is a fan of Texas even if they can’t show it.

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