Texas Football: 3 problematic Houston players for the Longhorns

Samuel Brown
Samuel Brown /
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Donovan Smith, Texas football
Donovan Smith, Texas football /

Fresh off the bye week, head coach Steve Sarkisian and No. 8 Texas football will face head coach Dana Holgorsen and the Houston Cougars on the road at TDECU Stadium on Oct. 21. Texas is looking to get back to its winning ways when it hits the road to travel to Houston this weekend to face the Cougars.

The Longhorns got the bye week to rest and heal up following a tough last-minute 34-30 loss to the No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Rivalry game on Oct. 7. Texas suffered a few injuries against Oklahoma two weeks ago. The bye week came at a pretty good time regarding the Longhorns getting to heal up heading into the second half of the regular season.

Problematic Houston players Texas football must prepare for on Oct. 21

Houston had a little over a week to prepare for the Longhorns after the Cougars came up with a miraculous last-second win on a Hail’Mary on Oct. 13 to beat the West Virginia Mountaineers.

Houston’s win at home last week was its first victory in conference play this season.

This is a Houston squad that has some weapons on offense. Despite its struggles in the ground game on offense this season and on the defensive side of the ball, Houston has weapons the Longhorns must prepare for.

The Houston game is a winnable one for the Longhorns, but Texas can’t come in with a bye week and a Red River hangover. Here are three problematic Houston players for the Longhorns in this week’s Big 12 matchup.

Samuel Brown, WR

Holgorsen and the Cougars run the infamous air raid offense that became more mainstream when he was the offensive coordinator for the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Houston, and the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the 2000s and early 2010s. Houston likes to spread the ball around on offense, with a lot of pressure placed on the quarterback to operate efficiently in the passing game and the QB run game.

The good news for Houston’s quarterback room is that their receiving corps is chocked full of talented guys.

Houston has a deep receiving corps highlighted by the trio of former West Virginia transfer Sam Brown, standout sophomore Matthew Golden, and former USC transfer Joseph Manjack IV. Brown is the most productive of this group of Houston receivers, leading the Big 12 in receiving yards (548) and receptions (37) this season.

Brown is experiencing a breakout campaign in his second season at Houston, as he’s on pace to easily eclipse his previous career highs in receptions and touchdown catches. He’s already eclipsed his previous career-high in receiving yards in a season.

As Houston’s starting x receiver, Brown gets utilized in many ways. They like to get Brown involved in the screen and short passing game to take advantage of his elusiveness in space. He leads the Big 12 in yards after the catch and missed tackles forced among wide receivers this season.

Brown is also dangerous in the intermediate passing game. He’s a tight route runner capable of operating in tight spaces between the numbers, or he can utilize his speed to create separation outside the hashes.

In the deep passing game, Brown can utilize his speed and ability to bring down those tough contested 50/50 balls to create explosive plays. While he isn’t targeted as much in the deep passing game as at the other depths of the field, Brown still has three catches for over 120 receiving yards on deep ball attempts. He can still make opposing DBs pay if they cheat and let him get over the top.

While Brown did play for West Virginia for one season (in 2020), he’s never faced the Longhorns. He didn’t get snaps when Texas faced West Virginia during the 2020 season.

Brown will be one of the best wideouts the Longhorns face this fall in the Big 12.