No. 12 Texas Longhorns (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Coach: Mack Brown (15th year, 144-39 record at school)
2011 Record: 8-5 (4-5 in Big 12)
Style of Offense: Pro Style
Defensive Formation: 4-3
Best Player: Alex Okafor, DE: Arguably the best defensive player in the Big 12, Okafor is a nightmare for opposing offensive linemen to contain. He has the size (6-foot-4, 265) and the speed (4.6 in 40 yard dash) to disrupt an entire offense. He also had the patience to hold at the line on running plays making him a solid run stopper. Through three games he is averaging a sack a game and has 12 tackles.
Quarterback: David Ash: The jury is still out with the quality of Texas’ first three opponents not being the best, but what a difference a year has made for Ash. A true freshman last season, Ash looked out of rhythm and sometimes lost as Texas rotated him and backup Case McCoy at quarterback. Against OSU last season, he threw behind open receivers and waited to long to throw to an open receiver on a goal-line play, which would have resulted in a touchdown.
For the 2012 season, he’s third in the nation with a 76.4 completion percentage, an improvement of 20 percent from 2011. He looks comfortable in the pocket and in sync with his receivers. If he continues to resemble this form, Texas could be the team to beat in the Big 12.
Deepest Position: Defensive End: Between Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat, the Longhorns have the best defensive end duo in the nation. As explained above, Okafor is a complete player, yet Jeffcoat might have more upside. Jeffcoat (6-foot-5, 245) isn’t as great as a run stopper as Okafor, but Jeffcoat makes up for it with his speed with an explosive first step to get an angle around opposing offensive tackles. Expect to see Jeffcoat line up as a blitzing linebacker on certain plays as well.
Weakest Position: Linebacker:
Injury report: Texas, similar to Oklahoma State, is dealing with injuries at key positions and is uncertain about three of its starters playing Saturday.
Linebacker Jordan Hicks injured his hip against Ole Miss two weeks ago and did not return to the game. As mentioned above, Hicks is the only returner starting at his position group this season.
Kicker Anthony Fera, who transferred from Penn State this summer, is questionable Saturday with a pulled hamstring. Fera has yet to kick this season because of the injury. His backup, freshman Nick Jordan, has made only three of his seven field goal attempts this season, so Fera would provide a boost for the Longhorns.
Starting running back Joe Bergeron left the second half against Ole Miss with an injured shoulder. With Malcolm Brown splitting carries with him before the injury and Jonathan Gray as a solid third option, Bergeron would not be as serious of a loss as Hicks or Fera.
Mack Brown said Monday all three of the injured players have yet to return to practice and remain questionable for this weekend.
Key Number—2: The amount of times quarterback David Ash has been sacked this year. He was sacked 16 times last year despite making only six starts.
Famous Alumnus: Quentin Jammer, CB, 1997-2001: Jammer was Texas’ first Jim Thorpe Award finalist and allowed only one touchdown thrown against him in 28 starts. Jammer has played 13 years in the NFL, all with the San Diego Chargers, where he has started all but two games since 2003. Jammer’s younger brother, Quandre Diggs, is Texas’ starting cornerback.