Nathan Vasher's turn to try to lockdown arguably the nation's top wideout."> Nathan Vasher's turn to try to lockdown arguably the nation's top wideout.">

Vasher Bracing For Season's Biggest Challenge

Just before Texas' game against Okie State last season, former CB <B>Rod Babers </B>interrupted reporters' steady stream of accolades tossed exclusively at <B>Rashaun Woods </B>and literally asked, "Where is the love?" for Longhorn DBs. Babers turned in two critical stops in that 17-15 nailbiter: the two-point conversion pass to Woods with 4:04 remaining and then the clutch INT two minutes later. Now, it's CB <B>Nathan Vasher's </B>turn to try to lockdown arguably the nation's top wideout.

"It ain’t gonna be that safety over the top stuff," Vasher predicted. "It’s just gonna be me and him. The best man will win."

On the season, Woods is the Big 12’s best man with a league-leading 938 yards, or 104.2 ypg (No. 4 NCAA. By comparison, SE Roy Williams is No. 58 with 74.6 ypg).

This type of matchup is precisely what Vasher has been preparing for all season. Ever since August two-a-days, Vasher wanted to go man-to-man primarily against Williams to prepare him to face the best that an opponent has to offer.

"The great thing for Nate is that he works against Roy Williams every day one-on-one," head coach Mack Brown said. "He’s getting a picture today of what he’ll work against Saturday, and Rashaun will be one of the great Sunday players as there has ever been. He seems like a great young man. We’re excited about the matchup."

The fact that Texas also has to account for the league’s leading running back -- Tatum Bell’s 133.7 ypg is No. 2 NCAA -- means that Vasher will likely be in single-man coverage for most of the evening.

"This is the first time I’ve had the chance to get a legit, one-on-one matchup against a great receiver," Vasher said. "I think Coach (Carl) Reese and the defense is giving me the right-of-way to go out and play man-to-man defense. I’m working hard the rest of this week to put up a good show this weekend."

More so than against any other opponent, Vasher sees the matchup as a personal measuring stick for his talent level.

"Any time you go out and play against a highly rated receiver like Rashaun, you’ve got to come with you’re A-game," Vasher said. "I won’t expect anything less from him."

What impresses Vasher most about his worthy opponent is Woods' playmaking ability, particularly "his ability to go up and make plays and to make the athletic catch. It will be a big challenge for me. It will be fun to see this weekend."

His strategy for shutting down one of college football’s top receiving threats: "It’s being efficient out of your breaks and trying to stop the play before it starts. I think you can win at the line of scrimmage."

Vasher heads the Longhorn secondary during a critical two-week stretch against top-notch passing attacks. Following the OSU game, Texas braces for the nation’s best passing attack when Texas Tech (averaging 500.8 yards through the air) visits DKR on Senior Day. But Vasher believes the D-backs may be peaking at just the right time. Plus, the defense’s confidence is also surging after manhandling Nebraska.

"I think our eyes have been good, our eyes and feet, on play-action pass," Vasher said. "We’ve been coming up and supporting the run really well and helping out the D-line and linebackers. If we can get everybody flying to the ball, it’s amazing what you can do on defense."

Kickoff for the OSU game is set for 6 p.m. (CST) Saturday on a Fox Sports Net national broadcast.


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