4 reasons to be optimistic about Texas football heading into bye week

Alfred Collins, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Alfred Collins, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Alfred Collins, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Alfred Collins, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Interior defensive line is playing like one of the best in the country

Yet again, the Longhorns got a brilliant performance from the interior defensive line last weekend. Texas’ interior defensive line goes about five or six players deep and has given every opponent trouble in both the pass rush and run defense so far this season.

The same could be said for Oklahoma State, which couldn’t run the ball up the middle to save its life.

Texas allowed fewer than four yards per carry on runs in the A-gap against Oklahoma State. That was the fewest yards per carry for Oklahoma State in any gap in that game on run plays.

That is a trend that has followed Texas throughout much of the season to see the interior defensive line perform the best among any group along the defensive front.

According to Football Outsiders, Texas ranks in the top 13 in the FBS in both defensive opportunity and power success rate. That essentially shows that the defensive line is doing its job to limit opposing offenses, especially on run plays, on every single down.

It’s definitely worth mentioning that three of the five highest-graded interior defensive linemen in the Big 12 last weekend were Longhorns players. That includes junior defensive lineman Alfred Collins, the highest-graded interior defensive lineman in the Big 12 in Week 8.

Collins is a great example of someone rising to the occasion of late. The rise of Collins has somewhat flown under the radar in recent weeks. Collins is actually in the midst of the highest three-game rolling defensive grade of his career in the last three weeks. He’s doing a nice job of getting pressure up the middle on opposing quarterbacks, holding his lane, and making high-effort plays to chase down the ball carriers.

Some of these developments in his game are what we’ve wanted to see out of the former five-star recruit in each of the last two seasons.

If Collins continues to play well alongside this group of interior defensive linemen such as senior Keondre Coburn, sophomore Byron Murphy, senior Moro Ojomo, etc., this group is only going to continue to give opponents fits. They are putting Texas in spots to win games. It will be up to the secondary and the offense to get the job done in the end down the stretch this season if the interior defensive line keeps playing the way they have in the first eight games of the year.