Texas Longhorns Football: What to Watch for in Longhorns' Season Opener

Benjamin Klein@BenjaminJKleinContributor IIIAugust 23, 2012

COLUMBIA, MO - NOVEMBER 12:  Head coach Mack Brown of the Texas Longhorns watches from the sidelines during the game against the Missouri Tigers on November 12, 2011 at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The season opener for the Texas Longhorns is about as important as any game on their schedule 2012. Getting off on the right foot is essential in college football, and there is plenty to be excited about by looking at this Texas team.

Wyoming won’t be the toughest team that the Longhorns host this season, but it will tell us a lot about the players and how they play during certain situations. Will they come out hot or will they come out cold? Will it be a blowout or will it be a close game? Is it possible that they lose to a team like Wyoming?

All three of those questions and plenty more will be answered when the Longhorns play on September 1 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Here are some other things to look for when Texas takes the field.

How Much Will Case McCoy Play?

It’s no longer a secret who will be the starter for the season opener. Head coach Mack Brown has announced that David Ash will call the plays to start the season, according to Carter Strickland of HornsNation.

Ash won the job over McCoy for "having just a little more edge." As Strickland writes, the coaches are going to try and play both quarterbacks this season, something that we saw a lot of in 2011. McCoy had better numbers last year, but Ash provides a completely different game that the staff seems to prefer.

Even though the Longhorns shouldn’t have any issues with the Wyoming defense, crazier things have happened. If Ash struggles on the first few drives, will Brown leave him in or put McCoy in? Will McCoy play if Texas has a commanding lead or will he even play at all?

It wouldn’t surprise me if McCoy did play a solid amount in the opener. Seeing him take a fifth of the snaps would make the Longhorn offense tougher to defend, but it would still show who the leader is and who the backup is.

Can the Defense Live Up to the Hype?

The Texas defense is primarily why the Longhorns are ranked No. 15 in the preseason AP Poll. That ranking may seem high to many since they only won eight games last season, but a strong performance on September 1 will show why.

Manny Diaz will still be calling the plays on defense after succeeding Will Muschamp a few years ago. 

“Each scheme works in its own way,” defensive end Alex Okafor told Strickland. “Each scheme has its own strengths and weakness. But coach Diaz, he is just a different personality than Muschamp. Coach Muschamp is more intense. Coach Diaz is more laid back.”

Okafor will be a huge part of the defense this season, as will Jackson Jeffcoat who joins him on the line. With those two up front and Kenny Vaccaro and Carrington Byndom defending against the deep ball, Texas should be in pretty good shape.

The Wyoming offense is nothing to brag about and the Texas defensive should keep them in check. It’d be a little shocking if Wyoming were to somehow stay in this game as it’s expected to this game easily goes in Texas’ favor.

“Our goal is to be undefeated, and the defense is responsible for that,” Diaz said to HornsNation.

That’s a great goal to have, but what will we be saying about the Longhorns' defense after Week 1?


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