5 things Texas Tech fans need to know about No. 8 Texas, including the Longhorns’ two new coordinators
Coming off a shaky season opener, the Red Raiders are up against one of the best teams in the country in Texas. The Longhorns head into this matchup coming off an annihilation of UTEP two weeks ago.
Here are five things Texas Tech fans need to know about Texas:
New offensive coordinator
After last year’s disappointing season, Tom Herman lost both his offensive and defensive coordinators. On the offensive side, Texas brought in Mike Yurcich, the former passing game coordinator from Ohio State.
Despite a solid year from quarterback Sam Ehlinger last season, the Longhorns finished fifth in the conference, stumbling to a record of 8-5. In the first game under Yurcich, the Longhorn offense hummed as Ehlinger threw for 426 yards and five touchdowns despite sitting all but one drive in the second half.
Another former Buckeye
Texas hired Chris Ash as the new defensive coordinator in December to turn around the Longhorns defense which allowed nearly 300 passing yards per game in 2019. Ash spent time as a defensive coordinator at Arkansas, Wisconsin, and Ohio State when the Buckeyes won the National Championship in 2014.
His last stop before coming to Austin was as head coach at Rutgers. In the season opener against UTEP, the Longhorns defense looked stout, limiting the Miners to just 43 rushing yards, 233 total yards and three points.
The senior quarterback for the Longhorns is looking to become the first Texas QB and the third player in school history to win the Heisman. Last year, Ehlinger set career-bests in passing yards (3,663) and touchdowns (32), but also doubled his interceptions from the year before from five to 10.
Though he improved as a passer, his production on the ground took a dip. Ehlinger ran more efficiently on one fewer attempt, raising his yards per attempt from 2.9 as a sophomore to 4.1 as a junior, but his rushing touchdowns dropped significantly from 16 in 2018 to just seven in 2019.
Running back committee
This year the Longhorn rushing attack will come from a trio of backs: junior Keaontay Ingram, sophomore Roschon Johnson and freshman Bijan Robinson. Ingram led the team in rushing yards (853) and carries (144) last season while splitting time with Johnson, who came to Austin as a quarterback but found success at running back as a freshman, racking up 649 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.
True freshman and five-star recruit Robinson comes to Texas as the top-ranked running back in the 2020 class, per 247, out of Tucson, Ariz. In his three seasons as a high school starter, Robinson put up at least 2,000 yards and 26 touchdowns on the ground in each year, according to 247.
As a senior, Robinson ran for 2,235 yards and 38 touchdowns, but did so on just 126 carries. That’s an average of 17.7 yards per attempt and a touchdown every 3.3 carries.
The Longhorns defense has one clear anchor in the middle: junior linebacker Joseph Ossai. Last year Ossai led the team in tackles (90), tackles for loss (13.5), sacks (5) and was one away from the team lead with two interceptions.
Ossai is a balanced linebacker who excels in coverage and against the run. He has the end to end speed to stay with quicker tight ends and running backs in coverage and the size (6-4, 253 pounds) to make a difference as a pass rusher and in the trenches.
Find more college sports stories from The Dallas Morning News here.