Inside look at Texas WRs, TEs and OL

Total Blue Sports takes an in-depth look at what the Cougars will see at the wide receiver, tight end and offensive line positions when they face the Texas Longhorns on Saturday.

Wide receivers

The best way to describe the Longhorn receivers is young but talented. Each receiver possesses a wide array of talents, and some might even be used in a wildcat situation.

There is a lot of inexperience and youth at the Texas wide receiver position. One talented player with be 6-foot-3-inch, 211-pound redshirt freshman John Harris, who is similar to BYU's own Ross Apo. However, Harris is a wide receiver that can also throw the ball in gadget plays and connected with true freshman Jaxon Shipley for a touchdown against Rice last week.

The 6-foot-1-inch, 190-pound Shipley did very well against Rice. He finished the game with two catches for 54 yards and rushed for 25 yards on three carries. Shipley plays the wildcat position as well.

Joining Shipley in the true freshman receiver ranks is 6-foot-4-inch, 216-pound Miles Onyegbule.

The most talented of the bunch is 6-foot-3-inch, 200-pound sophomore Darius White. However, White has been sort of an enigma and hasn't lived up to his potential.

"They like to spread it out and throw the ball around," said Branon Ogletree. "They also like to mix it up with the pass and the run and be a power run team also. They'll do the stretch, the lead, the counter, and so we have to be ready for everything."

Tight end

In regards to the Texas tight end position, here is where the production will drop off. There is, however, 6-foot-3-inch, 237-pound Blain Irby, who has a great personal story. After suffering a leg injury on September 20, 2008, Irby was told he would never walk normally again. However, Irby proved everyone wrong and returned to the team last week.

The Longhorns will run the ball using sets with two or three tight ends. They want to use the tight ends to make a concerted effort to run the ball and be more physical, though they'll do it with a lot of window dressing, using motion, shifts and unconventional formations and plays to do so.

Offensive line

"My plan is simple," said Hebron Fangupo. "It's to go in there, just like Ole Miss, and make them surrender. My grandpa always told me this since I was a kid, ‘No one wins unless someone surrenders,' so my job is to go in there and make them surrender.

"Like at Ole Miss, my man was the biggest guy I've ever seen. Oh my gosh, I thought I was playing against Shaq! But my goal was to make him surrender, and more and more I could see it in his eyes and feel it by how he was playing that he was giving up. That's my goal."

The best word to describe the Texas offensive line is ‘interchangeable.' Like BYU's own Mark Weber, new Texas offensive line coach Stacy Searels rotated guys at multiple spots this past spring and fall so that most of his players can play different positions.

There is also some youth mixed with experience on the Texas offensive line. Senior left tackle Tray Allen (6 feet 4 inches, 310 pounds) will face Kyle Van Noy, and that should be a good matchup to watch.

Next to Allen is 6-foot-4-inch, 295-pound senior David Snow, who started in 12 games last year but at center. Snow, who is the most experienced, will now play left guard and see a lot of junior Cougar tackle Eathyn Manumaleuna.

At center, a vital position on the line, is where the youth comes in. The 6-foot-4-inch, 298-pound Dominic Espinosa, who redshirted last year, will be lining up against BYU's junior Romney Fuga and redshirt freshman Travis Tuiloma.

At right guard is 6-foot-6-inch, 315-pound sophomore Mason Walters, who will face Fangupo and sophomore Graham Rowley.

"I don't think they'll come as physical as Ole Miss, but they're pretty fast and much faster than Ole Miss," said Fangupo. "They're more sound in their technique, but they do a lot of this pink-elephant-on-parade stuff by trying to trick you, but I don't care because my goal is to make them surrender."

Just outside of Fangupo at right tackle will be 6-foot-4-inch, 298-pound Trey Hopkins, who played in 12 games and started four as a freshman last season. Reports indicate that Hopkins might be the best honors candidate for this season.

"I just want to go into Texas and make them say, ‘No mas' real quickly," Fangupo said. "During that first series I want to come at them hard and strong so they know that every down is going to be a battle. Our defense, I'm falling in love with the 3-4-4 defense.

"I used to play in a 4-3 defense at USC, but I fell in love with our defense and it's a great defense. I watch the Steelers' defense and when you run it effectively, they can't run the ball on you and that's what we plan to do. It's so simple and you don't use as much energy like the 4-3.

"I love this defense we've got going against Texas [more] than the 4-3 like I used to play in. There are three of us on this d-line, and that means I've got two Texas guys on me, and I don't like one-on-ones. The more I can take up, the more fun I can have, and the more physical I can play, the more fun I have. I'm so excited for Texas."

Going back home to play Texas

"It's going to be cool," Ogletree said. "They have great tradition and play great football down there in Texas. It will be the biggest crowd BYU's played in and the passion and pageantry and everything else is unmatched. It will be really cool and I think the team will have a lot of fun down there."

Fangupo's three keys to victory

"Prayer, family and just have fun," said the jovial, energetic big man. "People go out there and they're all tense. I go out there and the music comes and I'm dancing."

In regards to having fun, Fangupo has a knack of making friends with those he's lined up against, even though his goal is to force them to surrender.

"I always talk to the offensive line and always remind them, ‘Hey, this is a game and let's play to the best of our ability and have fun playing it,'" Fangupo said. "I tell them, ‘Man, did you wake up mad?' It's kind of like ‘Tree' [Brandon Ogletree], the whole Ole Miss offensive line kept asking me, ‘Man, why is number 44 always mad? Why is he so angry?' They were like, ‘Number 44, there's something wrong with him.' I just told them, ‘Leave him be, there is something wrong with him. He's a linebacker.' So, one of my keys to victory is to just go out there and have fun. Like I said, I'm excited to play Texas."


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