The best tackler for Oklahoma State this season is a mostly unknown name, junior linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez. A good opportunity for Texas football to exploit against this Oklahoma State pass defense, partly to the fault of Rodriguez, is by stretching the field and utilizing all the speed Ehlinger has at his disposal with weapons like senior wideout Devin Duvernay.
A young defensive backfield for Knowles and the Pokes last season did give the Longhorns fits. But Texas found their way through the Oklahoma State secondary at times. One problem for any Big 12 team for about the past year and a half was Rodriguez. He flies all over the field and rarely lets the ball carrier out of his sights.
Overlooking the impact Rodriguez could make on this game would be a huge mistake for the Longhorns. Herman and offensive coordinator Tim Beck have to be weary of where he is on the field at all times. He has a team-leading 31 tackles on the season and has more than 110 total tackles in his last 15 games.
If Rodriguez starts to find his way into the backfield, that’s when he really starts to become a concern for Ehlinger and the Longhorns. He’s very fast and strong for a linebacker. The 6-foot and 205 pound frame can be deceivingly small for a linebacker, but he’s much stronger than he appears on TV.