3 Texas football players ready to breakout in Red River vs. OU

DeMarvion Overshown, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
DeMarvion Overshown, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Hayden Conner, G

One of the most inconsistent offensive linemen to start the season for Texas was sophomore guard Hayden Conner. The 6-foot-5 and 320-pound Conner got off to a promising start this season with some solid efforts against the Warhawks and Alabama Crimson Tide.

Since then, though, Conner’s play was pretty up and down both in pass protection and run blocking. The interior of the offensive line isn’t getting very good pushes up the middle blocking for the run game. The interior pass protection in the last two or three games also brought mixed results to the table.

The inconsistencies of Conner in the last two games didn’t do much to help the unreliable nature of the interior offensive line in pass pro. He was pretty good in pass pro against West Virginia, not allowing a single quarterback pressure. But he posted the second-lowest run blocking grade on the team against West Virginia.

Meanwhile, Conner was not very good in pass pro or blocking for the run in the loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders two weekends ago. I would place some of the blame on the poor performance from the interior run blocking on sophomore center Jake Majors and freshman guard Cole Hutson. Those two were getting pushed around at times and missed a few blocks that caused Texas to get stuffed in the backfield in that game.

Yet, the Oklahoma game presents Conner with an opportunity to help this interior offensive line turn a corner. Oklahoma’s defensive front has struggled both to generate pressure on the quarterback and defend the run in the last two games.

Oklahoma has turned to play more of a three-down defensive front since the start of the TCU game. They were burned by Kansas State when they played with four-down linemen. Switching to the three-down front didn’t help much against TCU, who ran for more than 330 yards and five scores on the ground against the Sooners last weekend.

Conner will have a chance to take advantage of a struggling Oklahoma defensive front in pass pro and run blocking this weekend. It would be big if Conner and this interior offensive line had the performance yet in Big 12 play against the Sooners.