We have seen what appears to be a very capable Texas football team thus far in the 2012 season but the real test begins this Saturday in Stillwater as the Longhorns open Big 12 play against Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are the defending Big 12 conference champions, have won 8 straight home games and possess the ability to put up significant points against opponents.Â Statistically, Oklahoma State ranks first in points scored among FBS schools, second in passing yards and sixth in rushing yards.Â Texas preparation for the Cowboys will need to be twofold since there is no word yet on which quarterback will start for Oklahoma State Saturday night.Â Wes Lunt suffered a knee injury against Louisiana-Lafayette but agile freshman quarterback J.W. Walsh (Denton Guyer H.S.) relieved Lunt and put up impressive passing and rushing numbers.Â The Texas defense will need to tackle well and defend against the pass and run regardless which quarterback is under center for the pokes.
The team as a whole has a lot to prove with this game which opens the torrid slate of games against the Big 12’s best â€“ Oklahoma State, West Virginia, and Oklahoma â€“ all in consecutive weeks.Â Oklahoma State has beaten the Longhorns two years in a row and the receiving corps of the pokes has won the Belitnikoff Award for two consecutive years (Justin Blackmon â€™10 & â€™11).Â The questions surrounding the Texas offense seemed to have been solved with the efficient play of David Ash but can Ash keep it up when it counts?Â Heâ€™ll have to if this Longhorn team hopes to have a shot at a conference championship and more.Â With no conference championship game, every game counts and wins cannot be expected â€“ they must be earned on the field.
The injuries sustained in the Ole Miss game to linebacker Jordan Hicks and running back Joe Bergeron have yet to be elaborated on, as both players were held out of practice last week.Â If Bergeronâ€™s shoulder is not healed enough for him to play on Saturday expect true freshman Johnathan Gray to split carries with Malcolm Brown.Â The coaching staff wants to get Gray more touches so even if Bergeron is playable expect Gray to see more action.Â On Hicksâ€™ injury, this one could prove more problematic for Texas if the juniorâ€™s hip is still sore.Â Hicks has registered 23 tackles through 3 games with 12 of them being solo. Manny Diaz would have to shift a few things around which would likely involve Kendall Thompson seeing playing time and possibly others depending on the scheme.Â Hicks was the proclaimed leader on defense by Mack Brown and the sooner he gets back to the field the better.
The Longhorns can complete phase one of the early season trifecta with a win over the Cowboys and ride the momentum into the West Virginia game slated for October 6th in Austin.Â Equally, a road win over a formidable conference opponent would further answer questions about the toughness, abilities and focus of this team.