3 last-minute keys to success for Texas football vs. Alabama

Barryn Sorrell, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Barryn Sorrell, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /
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Trio of DeMarvion Overshown, Barryn Sorrell, and Jaylan Ford lead an efficient run defense while sparking the pass rush

Turning the attention to the defensive side of the ball, Texas needs to get a big weekend out of the trio of sophomore edge rusher Barryn Sorrell, senior linebacker DeMarvion Overshown, and senior linebacker Jaylan Ford. If this trio is able to be impactful both in the pass rush and defending the run, that will go a long way to keeping this game competitive for the Longhorns.

Texas saw Sorrell have a breakout game last weekend with a career-high 1.5 sacks to go along with two tackles for loss, a half-dozen combined tackles, and tied for a team-high with three run stops. Sorrell made a big impact on multiple phases of this Texas defense last weekend. Texas will need him to make a real impact in these areas again this weekend to have a chance against this potent Alabama offense.

One of the rare matchup advantages that Texas could have on Alabama at times in this game could come with Sorrell taking on sophomore offensive tackle JC Latham. Sorrell will be getting multiple snaps in pass rush situations against Latham, who is one of the more questionable starters in pass pro for the Tide.

Last season, Latham ranked in the bottom three on the team in terms of pass pro efficiency. He allowed pressure on the quarterback on roughly four percent of his snaps in pass pro in 2021. And he was also the lone offensive tackle for the Tide last week to give up multiple quarterback pressures.

If Texas can take advantage of this matchup and even get a few quarterback pressures and one sack from Sorrell, that would make a massive impact on this defensive front.

Texas could also utilize the delayed blitz and have an extra guy coming off the edge with Overshown when co-DC/LB coach Pete Kwiatkowski wants to get extra pressure on Bryce Young. We didn’t see much in the way of crazy schemes or blitzes with Overshown as an edge rusher or delayed blitzer against ULM. I’d imagine PK and the Longhorns could be saving those looks for this weekend.

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Last but not least, Texas will need a much-improved outing from Ford compared to what we saw out of him against ULM. Among the starters last weekend, Ford had the worst missed tackle rate on the team (a whopping 75 percent) while posting the lowest tackling and defensive grade.

Those missed tackles and misreads must be cleaned up by Ford this weekend or else Texas is going to suffer with gaps in run defense while giving Alabama more opportunities for chunk plays up the middle.