Texas Football: 3 major concerns for Big 12 opener vs. Baylor

Quinn Ewers, Texas football
Quinn Ewers, Texas football /
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Hayden Conner, Texas football
Hayden Conner, Texas football /

Lapses in protection and communication along the interior offensive line

Another problematic area on the Texas offense early this season is the inconsistency along the interior offensive line. Texas and offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Kyle Flood saw Jekyll and Hyde performances from the IOL in the season’s first three weeks.

The interior offensive line played up to their potential, allowing zero sacks against the vaunted Alabama defensive line in a big Week 2 win on the road. Texas’ interior offensive line looked like the more dominant group up front against many NFL talents along the Alabama defensive front a couple of weeks ago.

Against Rice in the season opener, though, the interior offensive line was very suspect out of the gates in the first half. Texas allowed a few sacks and nearly a half-dozen quarterback pressures in the first half as Rice confused UT’s O-Line with creative twists, stunts, and ghost pressures.

The interior offensive line had more ups and downs in the Week 3 win over Wyoming. Texas ranked third from the bottom of the Big 12 in Week 3 in blown run blocks along the interior offensive line (two). Ewers was also pressured a few times against Wyoming and sacked once.

Two problematic areas along the interior offensive line for the Longhorns are the mental lapses from sophomore guard DJ Campbell and junior guard Hayden Conner. Campbell has costly miscommunications and mental lapses that cost Texas a couple of sacks and blown blocks against Rice and Wyoming.

Meanwhile, Conner also had some costly blown blocks. Conner’s biggest problem, though, is penalties. Conner is tied for second in the Big 12 among starting offensive linemen, with three penalties on the season.

Flood and the Longhorns must clean these issues up, especially with the costly penalties from Conner that put the offense behind the sticks early in games.

Let’s not forget about the damage Aranda and the Bears did to Ewers and the Texas offensive line when these two teams met at DKR last season. Texas gave up a season-worst five sacks against Baylor last year thanks to the creative ghost pressure looks that Aranda sent at Ewers and the Longhorns pre-snap.

If Texas doesn’t play a cleaner game along the offensive line this weekend, Baylor will continue to get rampant pressure and sacks on Ewers and rattle him early in the first half.