Texas football faces its second ranked foe of the regular season this weekend when it hosts the No. 24 ranked Kansas Jayhawks and head coach Lance Leipold at home at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin on Sep. 30. No. 3 Texas and head coach Steve Sarkisian will face Kansas with both teams coming in ranked for the first time in the history of this series.
This is the first of two important tests for the Longhorns over the next couple of weeks. Texas faces an experienced and quality Kansas squad at home this weekend before arguably the season’s biggest game on Oct. 7. Next weekend, the Longhorns face the No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Rivalry game in Dallas.
Major concerns for Texas football in Week 5 against No. 24 Kansas
While Texas is a sizable favorite in the pre-game spread this week against Kansas, this obviously won’t be a win that comes easy to the Longhorns. Texas will have to earn this win over Kansas with both sides of the ball firing on all cylinders.
This might be the best Kansas team we’ve seen in the last 15 years, at least since that magical run the Jayhawks had under head coach Mark Mangino in 2007.
Here’s a look at three major concerns for Texas as it hosts No. 24 Kansas at home at DKR on Sep. 30 in the first Big 12 home game of the season.
Kansas’ pre-snap motion and option plays
This weekend, we will see the two Big 12 teams that like to use the most motion in the conference. Kansas has the largest frequency of pre-snap motion on passing plays of any team in the Big 12, with Texas coming in second place. The Longhorns have utilized the most total passing plays with pre-snap motion in the Big 12 this season.
Not only do Texas and Kansas both use a lot of motion, but they also are effective on those passing plays. Both teams rank among the top 10 in the FBS in the percentage of explosive plays on offense with pre-snap motion.
Kansas likes to utilize a lot of different pre-snap motion looks in passing and run plays. The fact that over half of Kansas’ total dropbacks on offense this season have encompassed pre-snap motion shows how often Texas will face these pre-snap looks this weekend.
The Jayhawks will have a very scripted offensive game plan against the Longhorns that will likely involve many motion and option plays. It’s also noteworthy that Kansas averages over four option run plays per game, by far the most of any Big 12 team this season (per SIS Data Hub).
Offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki will pull out all the stops to get numbers advantages and throw off Texas’ defensive game plan with the pre-snap movement.
Texas’ defense is faster and more talented than Kansas’ offense. As long as Texas’ defenders stick to their responsibilities and play to their strengths, the Longhorns will be fine. Texas’ defensive line gives this unit a sizable advantage over each Big 12 offense. The bigger concern is how Texas’ safeties and linebackers (outside of senior Jaylan Ford at MIKE) will hold up in coverage.
If Texas starts missing assignments and losing the ball carrier, this matchup becomes cumbersome between the Longhorns’ defense and Kansas’ offense.