3 true freshmen to watch for Texas football vs. UL-Monroe

Steve Sarkisian, Texas Football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Steve Sarkisian, Texas Football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Ethan Burke, EDGE

A really exciting emergence for Co-DC/LB coach Pete Kwiatkowski and the Longhorns in fall camp was the play of the former underrated three-star recruit and Michigan Wolverines flip Ethan Burke. The former Westlake High School lacrosse star has risen as a potent true freshman for Texas.

And at 6-foot-7 and 245-pound edge rusher made some big contributions for the Longhorns in fall camp, leading to him getting some of the second-team reps, and even some occasional first-team reps, in the two scrimmages earlier this month.

I would imagine that the former Notre Dame Fighting Irish transfer and senior edge rusher Ovie Oghoufo remains the starter at the buck end position. But this is a great opportunity for PK and the Longhorns to get Burke some valuable early reps that can get his confidence up rushing off the edge.

Moreover, it’s worth mentioning how bad ULM’s offensive line play was last season and how that can translate to Burke getting an impactful start to his true freshman campaign. According to Football Outsiders, ULM ranked 123rd in the FBS last season with a standard down sack rate allowed of 9.2 percent.

As bad as Texas’ offensive line was last season, they allowed a standard down sack rate of 7.2 percent. That goes to show how bad ULM was in pass protection last season.

The two projected starting offensive tackles for the Warhawks in Week 1, Victor Cutler and Keydrell Lewis, were really bad in pass protection last season. Of the more than 150 offensive tackles that took at least 350 offensive snaps in pass pro last season, Lewis was literally the second-lowest graded offensive tackle.

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Cutler commonly played at center last season, but he still graded out among the bottom quarter of the Group of Five offensive linemen in pass protection last season. This should give Burke plenty of opportunities to get pressure on the ULM quarterback coming off the edge this weekend.