Don't Forget The Offensive Line

There will be some adjustments taking place this week on the defensive line for the Texas Longhorns as former starter Malcolm Brown (the defensive tackle) jumps in at the nose position. Brown's move is necessary after Chris Whaley was lost for the season in last Saturday's 47-40 overtime win over West Virginia. It will be an adjustment although Brown has nine starts in his career.

It's the back-ups -- redshirt freshmen Paul Boyette and Hassan Ridgeway -- that are green with no career starts.

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma State Cowboys will battle the Longhorns defense with a settled offensive line that is playing pretty consistently over the last four games or so.

"We have six guys playing right now, and we feel good about what's going on up there," offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said. "They're doing a good job of communicating and gelling as a unit. There's a lot of teamwork that has to go on up front, so reps are important because the more reps they get together, the better they're going to be as a whole."

You can say what you want about the improved play of the Cowboys offense. Some point to the change at quarterback or the emergence of Desmond Roland at running back, and they could be right, but the improvement and the stability of the offensive line is a as important as any factor in the Cowboys success.

"We're just trying to scheme it up, get our guys going and figuring everything out. Up front, we want to get five on five," offensive left guard Brandon Webb said.

"We want to get five guys blocked and get our running backs to the open land so they can do what they like to do. When we run the ball, it makes passing that much easier, so if we can do that, I think we'll continue to be pretty successful."

"I don't think there's any question that we are a much better football team than we were a month and a half ago," head coach Mike Gundy said while also giving credit to the offensive line for performing better. "That's a credit to the players. They've made a decision to work hard together and improve, and they have. I like our leadership and I like the maturity of our team right now and I like their chemistry."

At the end of the day there probably won't be a touchdown scored by an offensive lineman on Saturday in Austin. But without those five guys and the way they are playing and the matchup that looks favorable with some younger defensive tackles in the Texas rotation, no other Cowboy on offense would break into the end zone. The expectation is the Cowboys will score a few points at Texas.


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