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Inside Texas Roundtable: Kansas game predictions, players to watch, storylines, and more

Joe Cookby:Joe Cook09/28/23

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The Inside Texas staff provides score predictions, players to watch, storylines to note, and much more ahead of Saturday’s matchup between the No. 3 Texas Longhorns and the No. 24 Kansas Jayhawks.

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What is Texas’ best course of action versus the dynamic Jalon Daniels?

Eric Nahlin – Playing with discipline and good communication is the name of the game. Get a push up the middle and have Edges play with good discipline by not getting too far upfield. Have coverage defenders take the middle of the field away. Trust your corners on KU’s solid but unspectacular receivers.

Justin Wells – Strong linebacker play with a spy on Daniels at all times. He keeps his eyes downfield so the DBs have to cover a little longer.

Ian Boyd – Stay home on the option, stay home on the receivers, and make the Jayhawks run the ball on standard downs, then heat ’em up with the blitz on passing downs. The goal should be to make the battle between the Texas D-line and the Kansas O-line the crucial contest on every snap.

Joe Cook – The Longhorns are going to have to be quick to react when playing a lot of zone coverage. That’s probably the defense du jour for the Longhorns because if Daniels sees the nameplates of Texas’ defensive backs, he’ll tuck and run. Keep the integrity of the zone coverage and close whenever Daniels tucks it to limit big gains that way, because I don’t see the conventional offense making a lot of progress for the Jayhawks.

Gerry Hamilton – Get Kansas behind the chains on first down. Force intermediate and deep throws late over the middle. If that happens, Jaylan Ford will get an INT for a second straight season vs. KU. Daniels has a quick enough arm, but a very long and deliberate arm action.

Bobby Burton – Mix it up. Zone, man, use a spy. Blitz, fake a blitz. He’s a veteran QB. Not much will shake him but you have to at least keep him guessing.

Paul Wadlington – Before you stop Daniels’ improvisation, you have to stop the normal Kansas offense and that means short circuiting their run game from which all things stem. Aside from pocket containment on 3rd down, Texas has to take away easy throws between the hashes. KU QBs complete 83.3% of their throws there.

Daniels deservedly gets a lot of attention. Who else should the Longhorns be keeping an eye on when KU has the ball?

Eric Nahlin – Devin Neal and Daniel Hishaw are both physical runners with good feet. Texas needs to pursue and gang tackle.

Justin Wells – Devin Neal. His 2021 breakout in Austin is remembered well.

Ian Boyd – Well, if you can train your eyes to observe how the O-line fares against Texas’ D-line, that’s probably the crucial battle. Otherwise, the Kansas tight ends move around and do a lot of different things which makes life hard on the linebackers.

Joe Cook – Neal. Any team in this league would enjoy having him on the roster. He can make plays in the structure of the Kansas offense thanks to some of the conflicts defenders are put into. Stopping that should be the priority. Also, if the Longhorns can force Jayhawk wideouts to have to make impressive plays, it should bode well for Texas’ chances.

Gerry Hamilton – Playing against the option early. You can prepare for it, but there is nothing like having to play and react to it live. Texas could get hit early as they haven’t seen it this season, and Texas will be challenged by the Jayhawks’ TE’s.

Bobby Burton – Like Texas, KU has a plethora of options on offense. If Texas plays a lot of man, look for the tight ends. If Texas plays zone, watch for Luke Grimm.

Paul Wadlington – Devin Neal is an upper tier running back and Daniel Hishaw can play as well, but KU’s strength is that all of their offensive skill players are at least average to pretty good. In aggregate, that means multiple guys can hurt you.

Versus Baylor, we saw great versions of Texas’ offensive standouts. Who carries the load this week?

Eric Nahlin – Ja’Tavion Sanders. Tight ends have found room to operate against Kansas and Sanders has found room to operate against most teams this season.

Justin Wells – More Quinn Ewers, a spoonful of Jonathon Brooks, and a dose of Xavier Worthy.

Ian Boyd – I think Xavier Worthy is going to have a big game when the Jayhawks necessarily have to trust Cobee Bryant to man him up without a lot of help.

Joe Cook – Jonathon Brooks. The Kansas defensive front is an improved unit from the one Brooks and Bijan Robinson ran all over last year, but it’s still one Texas can gain yardage against with regularity.

Gerry Hamilton – If it’s not Jonathon Brooks and Cedric Baxter Jr., the Jayhawks can sit back comfortably in a two high safety look. Texas offensive line needs to establish the LOS early, assuming the script affords them that ability.

Bobby Burton – The Texas OL. They need to be physical and dominant.

Paul Wadlington – Whoever Texas can get isolated on KU safeties and linebackers in space. Probably Sanders, Worthy, Gunnar Helm and the backs. Brooks should also manage his 3rd straight 100+ yard game unless Baxter steals his thunder.

With a win, the conversation surrounding the Longhorns will be…

Eric Nahlin – Last year’s blasting of the Sooners but the team won’t take the bait.

Justin Wells – Can Texas makes the 2023 College Football Playoff?

Ian Boyd – On to Oklahoma and a chance to seize pole position in the Big 12 and build a run at the Playoffs.

Joe Cook – Playoffs.

Gerry Hamilton – Texas heads to the Cotton Bowl vs. Oklahoma as the clear favorite to win the Big 12 and a legitimate playoff contender.

Bobby Burton – OU. 5-0 vs 5-0.

Paul Wadlington – There is no other conversation for a real Longhorn fan. Destroy Oklahoma.

Final score prediction

Eric Nahlin – 38-24, Texas. This result could happen a couple of different ways but I think we see a competitive first half before Texas’ depth, talent, and coordinator problem solving puts UT over the top.

Justin Wells – 38-20, Texas

Ian Boyd – 42-24, Texas

Joe Cook – 42-28, Texas. Enough to feel pretty good, but not enough to cover.

Gerry Hamilton – 38-23, Texas

Bobby Burton – 38-35, Texas

Paul Wadlington – 39-23, Texas

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