Texas vs. Ole Miss: 5 Longhorns Other Than David Ash Who Need a Big Game
The Texas Longhorns are most talented on offense, there is no way around it.
When the points are coming in, the Longhorns are more comfortable considering they fielded a defense that did not deliver the goods at all against BYU.
With the offensively balanced and potent Ole Miss Rebels coming to town this weekend, the Longhorns will need all hands on deck on offense to pad the scoreboard and prepare for a shootout.
Texas posted 66 points on the Rebels last season in Oxford, Miss., but this is a vastly different game with even more different circumstances.
Quarterback David Ash is still questionable, meaning the offense could have a whole other feel to its flow come Saturday.
Regardless of who takes every snap, there are certain players who need to have big games to help get the ball rolling in the right direction again.
Sophomore running back Johnathan Gray was much more impressive in Texas' 40-21 loss to BYU than he was in the blowout win over New Mexico State.
That is a bit of positive news if quarterback David Ash cannot go this weekend for the Longhorns.
Gray rushed for 90 yards on 13 carries, though it paled in comparison to what the Cougars managed to do on the ground. Still, a live running game is exactly what Texas needs if anyone other than Ash takes snaps at quarterback.
Fellow running back Daje Johnson has already been ruled out against Ole Miss, and that makes Gray all the more valuable as a contributor. Gray picked up 50 yards on nine carries against the Rebels last season, and he will likely see many more looks this year.
Like Gray, Jaxon Shipley had an underwhelming season opener, though his 40 yards on five catches did reaffirm him as the other half to a reliable duo with Mike Davis.
Against the Cougars, Shipley racked up eight receptions for 105 yards, joining Davis as the only two Texas pass-catchers with more than 36 yards. To say Shipley needs a big performance is an understatement given the circumstances.
Shipley caught just three balls against Ole Miss last season, and that simply will not cut it as one of Texas' top playmakers on offense.
Senior wide out Mike Davis is the undisputed top option at the position, and his role as a contributor is a must-have against the Rebels.
Davis broke the century mark for the first time this season against the Cougars, catching two touchdowns and 114 yards on eight receptions. However, if Case McCoy, who is often scrutinized for his lack of arm strength, fills in for Ash as the starter this weekend, Davis may be limited in his production to intermediate routes.
Davis caught five passes for 124 yards and a touchdown last season against Ole Miss, but Texas will need more than that to stand up to a solid Rebels team.
The Offensive Line
Let's be real. The Texas offensive line really struggled at times against a good BYU defense, and it will have to completely flip the script if it intends to provide a foundation to score points.
The Longhorns were able to rip off 676 yards of total offense in Oxford, Miss. a year ago, and with the exact same unit with Desmond Harrison coming along as a junior college transfer, Texas has to be somewhat confident that it can put up a great effort with better results.
This is a huge game for the Longhorns after being out-muscled against BYU. A statement game from the front five is a must if Texas intends to steady itself before Big 12 play begins.
Junior tailback Malcolm Brown was one of Texas' biggest producers in its 66-31 win over Ole Miss last season. Now at full health, Brown is a prime candidate for another big performance.
Brown has been limited in his touches on the ground, however, receiving just six touches through two games. But his value as a pass-catcher is arguably tops in the backfield.
There is no denying that Texas has weapons, and a healthy Brown is right there with the best of them. He will need to impact the game in both phases if Texas has a chance in this one.