We also answered some questions about Tech for BON. You can check out that conversation here.
Underdog Dynasty: Texas had a breakout season last year, winning 10 games for the first time since 2009. What are your expectations for this season?
Burnt Orange Nation: I think the expectations are around the same for me. Nationally, Texas has been seen as a team right on the cusp of being elite, evidenced by their preseason ranking. I think that Texas will likely win most of the games they should, but lose one that they shouldn’t. I think a 10-2 regular season with a Big 12 Championship appearance feels about right.
UDD: The Longhorns only return eight total starters (five offense, three defense). Will that lead to a step back, or has the recruiting been enough to simply reload?
BON: It’s a weird predicament because Tom Herman has absolutely crushed the recruiting trail in his first two seasons, with a third pending, but there’s nothing like experience. I think Texas is more talented in many of those spots, especially along the defensive line and in the secondary. However, most of the players in those spots have been on campus for less than two years and you can’t coach experience. If these players are able to get up to speed quickly, then it’s a reload, but that’s a big if.
UDD: Everyone knows about Sam Ehlinger, but what other players should Tech fans be keeping an eye on?
BON: Offensively, you have to keep an eye on Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay. Johnson is a guy that’s getting talk as a potentially high draft pick if he can show that he knows how to use his 6’6” frame well. His size draws a lot of attention, which will then create some matchup issues at the slot position with the speedy Devin Duvernay. Defensively, Caden Sterns was the Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the year and his counterpart at safety, Brandon Jones, was a potential NFL Draft pick before deciding to come back for his senior year.
UDD: Tom Herman announced that a few players would be missing the opener, including WR Joshua Moore and RBs Daniel Young and Kirk Johnson. What will their absences mean for this game?
BON: Moore is a guy who would normally be missed, except Texas is crazy deep at wide receiver, so it’s a bit of a next man up situation. The running backs are a different story. Young and Johnson were No. 3 and No. 4 on the depth chart, but their injuries mean that Texas has just two healthy scholarship running backs heading into the game. It’s so bad that they moved the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart, true freshman Roschon Johnson, to running back as an emergency option.
UDD: Although it’s the season opener, the Tech game could be considered a classic trap game since Texas plays LSU the next week. Is that something you’re concerned about?
BON: After back-to-back embarrassments at the hands of the Maryland Terrapins, I will always go into a season-opener anxious. I think the offseason shots at Sam Ehlinger by LaTech alum Terry Bradshaw maybe ensured that the quarterback will be dialed in for this one!
UDD: This game is on Longhorn Network, which can be hard to find for non-Texas fans. Do you have any advice on how fans in Louisiana can find the game?
BON: Well, there are some less than legal options out there on the internet that I won’t discuss, but they’re out there. If that’s not your cup of tea and you don’t have a friend in Texas that’s willing to share their logins with you, then your best bet is to find a restaurant or bar showing the game. Preferably a spot that has decent cheese fries, but that’s more of a personal thing.
UDD: Is Texas back?
BON: I hate this question, not because it’s become a meme, but because I legitimately don’t know how to answer it. It all depends on how you define “back.” A lot of college football fans in the key demographics spent most of their time watching Vince and Colt, so if that’s the standard then no, Texas isn’t back. If the standard is competing for conference championships, then they’re on the cusp. I need them to do it more than once to be truly back.
Louisiana Tech and Texas will face off at Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas, on Saturday at 7 P.M.
Thanks again to Gerald Goodridge for taking the time to answer our questions. You can find him on Twitter @ghgoodridge.