Longhorns prepare for Rice's explosive aerial attack


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Texas' young defense will receive a good test Saturday night from Rice, which could have just enough offense to make things sticky for the Longhorns.

Rice's aerial attack will be of particular concern. Quarterback Chase Clement ranks sixth nationally in total offense and throws to two of the top 15 receivers in the country in James Casey and Jarett Dillard. Casey is tied for the national lead with an average of 9.7 receptions per game and Dillard averages 7.3 catches per game. The Owls rank 19th nationally in passing, 25th in scoring and 37th in total offense.

"They've got a good offense and it was good to get a chance to rest up and watch some more film," Texas CB Ryan Palmer said. "They've gotten better. They played Vanderbilt and have a couple of good receivers back. It's going to be a good challenge playing against them."

Coach Mack Brown is concerned about the Longhorns' susceptibility to big plays, their lack of a pass rush and low turnover production. The Longhorns have forced only three turnovers in the first two games and are tied for 84th nationally in sacks (1 per game) and 98th in pass defense (261 yards per game).

"We've got to cut down on the explosive plays. And we're not forcing turnovers that we need to," Brown said. "That's been a huge emphasis for us. We're not getting as many sacks because of the rule and the quarterbacks can get rid of the ball."