Red River focus shifts away from QBs

September, 30, 2010
9/30/10
1:00
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For the past three seasons, much of the focus surrounding the Red River Rivalry has been the strength of each team's quarterback, and for good reason. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy finished second in the Heisman voting twice, and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford won it in 2008 before returning to start last year's game.

This year, quarterbacks may not be the biggest factor in deciding who hops back on I-35 as the Red River Rivalry winners.

Texas rode its defense to a win in its conference opener against Texas Tech, and if it wins on Saturday, it'll probably have its defense to thank again with its offense struggling to pin down an identity.

Even though the defense struggled in the second half against UCLA, defensive tackle Sam Acho says there's little reason to believe those struggles will carry over to this week.

"It was a little disappointing because we know we didn’t give our full effort out there, that goes back to me needing to be a better leader," he said. "Our mistakes were on us; we had, I think, 16 busted assignments. That’s when we gave up those big runs. When we did well, it was a 2-yard loss or short gain, so that’s encouraging."

Oklahoma's Landry Jones has played well as a sophomore, but the bulk of the Sooners' offensive production may not have been possible without receiver Ryan Broyles and DeMarco Murray. The receiver and running back will be making their combined seventh Red River Rivalry starts to Jones' one -- though last year he was forced into action on Oklahoma's second drive after Bradford re-injured his throwing shoulder.

"Having someone like Ryan out there, who's one of the best receivers in the country is good, going up against one of the best secondaries in the country," Jones said, adding that he'd feel good about throwing a ball up to Broyles in one-on-one coverage against a secondary full of NFL talent. "Ryan's probably an NFL future first-rounder, too. He's a great player and they've got great players. It's going to be a great matchup."

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