Game Preview: Texas vs. No. 1 Alabama

AUSTIN, TX – APRIL 23: University of Texas Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers makes a throw during the spring game on April 23, 2022, at Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, TX. (Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Game Preview: Texas vs. No. 1 Alabama

The Matchup

Texas (1-0) v. No. 1 Alabama (1-0)

When :September 10, 2022

Gametime: 11:00 am

TV: Fox

Radio: Longhorn Radio Network

What’s at Stake:  Head coach Steve Sarkisian says he does not want this game to serve as a barometer for the state of the Texas Football program, but it can’t be avoided.  A win and Texas can take its place among the elite.  Even a close loss would probably energize the faithful.   A blowout loss, however, will ignite the heat under Sarkisian’s seat and signal that the Longhorns still have a long way to go.

When the Longhorns have the ball:  Quarterback Quinn Ewers and the Longhorn offense are facing one of the most complex defensive systems in the nation, and it’s a complex system filled with 4 and 5 star talent.  The key match-up will be between the Texas offensive line and the Alabama front.  If Texas can block Will Anderson and company and establish a running game, Ewers will have a fighting chance; if Texas is forced into third and long repeatedly Saban and his complicated blitz packages will come to bear and spell trouble for the Horns.

No coach in the country should know more about competing against the Tide defense than Sarkisian; he faced off with Saban in spring practice while serving as Alabama’s offensive coordinator.  Look for him to manipulate the Alabama secondary with formations and motions to create space and matchups for the Texas receivers. The question will be what does Sark do once Saban adjusts?

When Alabama has the ball:  Returning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young leads an explosive Alabama offense that will test every facet of the Texas defense.  Young appeared more comfortable and confident in the Tide’s opening week shellacking of Utah State, adding a dual threat element to his attack, rushing for over 100 yards, something he had not done much of last season.  

Alabama will feature a rushing attack by committee but if there is a feature back it would be Georgia Tech transfer Jahmyr Gibbs.  

Last week Alabama had eleven different receivers record catches with Traeshon Holden, Kobe Prentice, and Jermaine Burton snagging five catches each.  

This balance is the biggest problem facing the Texas defense.  Alabama has weapons everywhere and has the ability to apply pressure to any weak point they find.

Key Horns to Watch:  The most important areas to watch are the Longhorn offensive line and secondary.  

If the o-line can open holes for Texas’ potent running attack it will alleviate the pressure on Ewers and force Alabama to adjust.  Alabama will play bump and run on the outside versus Texas receivers, if Ewers can stay upright he will have targets to throw to.

By the same token if the Texas secondary can hold up against Alabama’s receivers and eliminate or at least minimize big plays the Horns should at least be in the game.

The Bottom Line:  Bama is still Bama, they have too many weapons on both sides of the ball and Texas is still finding its way.  Ewers has never seen what he is about to, and the Horns offensive line is young and inexperienced.  Texas will move the ball and probably score early, but look for Alabama to be too much over the course of the game.  

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