BYU vs. Texas Q&A With Hook’em Headlines Editor Jeff Kubiszyn


Lawless Republic caught up with Hook’em Headlines editor, Jeff Kubiszyn, to get his thoughts on the upcoming BYU vs. Texas game. Follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffKubiszyn and Hook’em Headlines @HookemHeadlines.

Big news broke this week that David Ash would not be playing due to concussion symptoms. How big of a blow is that to the Texas offense?

This is big blow to the offense. Ash had the best grasp of Shawn Watson’s offense. He is the most accurate quarterback on the roster, too. Quarterback depth is virtually nonexistent at Texas. The team really needed Ash to stay healthy. This also throws a wrench into the coaching strategy. Charlie Strong wants his quarterback to manage the game, not try to win it by passing for 400 yards every game. Ash did a very good job of managing the game against North Texas.

So who is Tyrone Swoopes and what can fans expect to see from him?

To some, Tyrone Swoopes is the second coming of Vince Young. He is tall (6’4″) and athletic, like Young. The comparisons should stop right there. Swoopes is a work in progress. He’s thrown 13 passes in his short career. In the spring game, he looked awful while running the first team offense when Ash was out with a broken foot. Some people think, including me, that he should move to tight end.

As far as this Saturday, fans can expect to see a conservative passing game. Swoopes reportedly did well in fall practice when Watson had him on move. Texas will probably roll Swoopes out to buy him time. That means lots of crossing patterns involving Jaxon Shipley. I would be surprised if Watson called more than 2-3 deep throws. The coaches will want to minimize the turnover opportunities.  Texas will try to run the ball and shorten the game. 

Lost in the Ash news is the injury to center Dominic Espinosa. Espinosa had made 40 straight starts, and was the leader of the offensive line. He made all the line calls. Redshirt freshman Jake Raulerson takes over. He was shaky last Saturday, to put it mildly. Few people outside of Austin know how big of a loss Espinosa is.

More from BYU Football

Charlie Strong announced that he was extending the suspensions of a few key players at least another week. How big of an impact will those suspensions play? 

Most Texas fans figured Daje Johnson, Desmond Harrison and Josh Turner would be back for the BYU game. Harrison is the only one reinstated. The team will miss Johnson because of his speed. He is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball. Johnson sprained his ankle against BYU last year and didn’t get a chance to get going. Texas seems to have found stability at safety in Adrian Colbert and Dylan Haines, so Turner’s absence won’t be an issue. Harrison’s return is welcomed after the loss of Espinosa. The offensive line is thin on experience, so having Harrison back is crucial.

How bad does Texas really want to beat BYU this year? It’s not as big of a deal as the Oklahoma game, right?

Oklahoma is always a big game, but the players have had this game circled on the calendar for awhile. The defense wants a shot at redemption. You don’t give up 679 yards of total offense, on national TV nonetheless, and shrug it off. This is a defense focused on the fundamentals. You won’t see the abysmal tackling effort like last year. These players want to atone for their performance in Provo. I think the crowd will be a little more energized than a typical non-conference game. More and more people are buying into what Strong is trying to do at Texas. This will be a hostile environment for the Cougars.

On defense, who is the one name that BYU fans should get familiar with before Saturday?

Jordan Hicks, linebacker. Hicks is a former five-star, Mr. Ohio recruit. Injuries have derailed his career up to this point. He looked like a man among boys versus North Texas. Hicks had an interception return where he made no less than two spin moves to get out of tackles. The senior is finally healthy and playing up to his potential. He’ll keep a close eye on Taysom Hill.

What do Texas fans think of Charlie Strong so far? 

Strong is 1-0, so he can do no wrong. All joking aside, the fan base has really rallied behind the new Texas coach. People like his no nonsense, honest approach. Those who follow the program closely knew the players ran the program under Mack Brown. The result was the program slipped. Strong has come in and told the players how it is going to be. If you don’t like it, there’s the door. He even helped open the door for a few players. The key for Strong surviving at Texas is going to be recruiting. He is a football coach. He wants to be on the field teaching, not at coaching banquets or fundraisers. That was the one thing Brown excelled at, and it won the hearts of high school coaches across the state. Brown knows how to work a room, and more importantly, win over mom. This is one area where Strong needs to improve.

Last question and we’re going to put you on the spot here. Prediction for Saturday?

This is a tough call, taking into account the injuries. I’m going to say 17-16 Texas, thanks to a second-half defensive touchdown by the Longhorns. I think the heat and humidity will take its toll on BYU in the fourth quarter, helping Texas overcome a lackluster effort from the offense.