Texas’ defensive line can disrupt Gabriel and the Sooners
Combine Gabriel’s inconsistencies against Power Five competition with the occasional struggles from the Oklahoma interior offensive line this season, and you get a recipe for danger for offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby this weekend. Oklahoma’s interior offensive line is the weak point for this group in the trenches, which could make for a long day in the pocket for Gabriel on Saturday afternoon.
Neither of the Oklahoma starting guards, Troy Everett or McKade Metteur, ranks among the top half of eligible Big 12 interior offensive linemen in pass blocking grade this season.
If Texas collapses the pocket on Gabriel this weekend, that could be a recipe for disaster as Oklahoma attempts to stretch the field. Texas’ advanced depth and talent along the interior defensive line will also make it very difficult for Oklahoma to keep a balanced offense this weekend.
Junior defensive lineman Byron Murphy II and redshirt senior T’Vondre Sweat could be in for a field day this weekend if Gabriel isn’t getting the ball out fast. I also expect Murphy and Sweat to lead a Texas run defense that stymies the Oklahoma ground game the entire game.
A good example of how dominant Murphy, Sweat, and the Longhorns’ interior defensive line is this season in run defense is how it’s defending the A and B gaps on run plays. Texas has allowed fewer than 30 rushing yards per game on runs up the middle this season. It also has allowed the fewest rushing yards per game, yards after contact per attempt, and broken/missed tackle rate among Big 12 defenses this season.
Texas will also rotate senior defensive lineman Alfred Collins and junior Vernon Broughton to keep guys fresh up front against the Sooners. Collins and Broughton are very solid defensive linemen in their own right which adds more depth and punch to Texas’ interior pass rush and interior run defense.