Chris Flanagan of Fansided’s Texas Longhorns blog, Hook’em Headlines, took the time to answer some questions we had on the upcoming game in Austin. Unfortunately this interview took place before asking about Texas’ legendary coach, Darrell K. Royal, who passed away Wednesday. Here’s the website’s post about the news.
Clones Confidential (Brian Spaen): Has the hot seat gotten any cooler now that Mack Brown finally defeated a top 25 team for the first time since 2010?
Hook’em Headlines (Chris Flanagan): It’s went from Boiling at 212 degrees Fahrenheit to 195 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s still hot according to fans. Now in the administrative office, it’s at room temperature. Texas can finish 10-2 but it can easily finish 7-5. Texas was 6-2 last year before losing 3 out of it’s last 5 games to finish 8-5. Texas does that again and the fans will begin to make their voices heard even louder. But right now, Texas fans expect a 9-3 record with huge importance on winning the conference in 2013.
CC: Why has the defense fallen so sharply from a season ago when they were ranked well at the top of the Big 12 under Manny Diaz?
HH: I think a combination of lost of Key seniors and Jordan Hicks. Texas plays a 4-3 defense. The Linebackers last year were seniors Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson as well as sophomore Jordan Hicks. Acho and Robinson are gone and Hicks is heading for a medical redshirt. So no experience at linebackers and the secondary, until last week, wasn’t playing very well. If you watch games before Tech, they tried to shut down the passing game. That gave other offenses a chance to run the ball and if they got passed the defensive line, which has played great all year, they got a huge gain. Offenses would also use quick passes to eliminate the pass rush. But since the first half against Kansas, the defense seems to have figured it out. We will see if it sticks.
CC: David Ash responded to being benched with 264 yards passing and three touchdowns. Are fans backing him as the clear starting quarterback for Texas?
HH: David Ash is the starting quarterback of Texas. I was listening to a Kansas City talk show the other day trying to hear some more about Kansas State and they talked about Texas and one commentator said David Ash was a bad quarterback. If throwing 1990 yards, 15 TDs and 5 INTs is bad, than what is good? I think people outside of Texas still hold his true freshmen season against him when he was the 3rd string QB heading into the season. I said before the season all they need from Ash is 2700 yards, 19 TDs and 9 INTs which was about average for all QBs last year. He is still on pace for that. He will be a 3000 yard passer next season.
CC: I have to ask – if Texas is in position to get into the Cotton Bowl, how bad would you like match up against Texas A&M?
HH: Aggie fans want it really bad, and if Texas fans are honest, they don’t want to play A&M. Texas last year beat Texas A&M on a last second field goal on Texas A&M’s home field. That got Mike Sherman fired and they brought in Kevin Sumlin. The Aggies want another chance to end the rivalry. Texas is perfectly content with ending the rivalry the way they did. They gain nothing by playing Texas A&M, but Texas A&M gains a lot by playing and beating Texas. So Texas would NOT like to matchup against Texas A&M.
CC: Give me your prediction for the game.
HH: I love Iowa State, I love the state of Iowa. I have family there and my dad calls it “God’s country”. I even visited Iowa State on a campus visit. So I always sort of root for Iowa State to do well (except against Iowa). But right now, Texas is hot. The only equalizer for the Cyclones is Texas has not been good this year starting at 11am. But I think Texas wants to prove it is still a very good team and 2010 is still fresh with these juniors and seniors and they want to remind Iowa State that this still is Texas. Texas wins 34-21.
Brian Spaen is the lead editor for Clones Confidential. Keep up with the latest sports fails and disdain toward the Big Ten by following him on Twitter.