Paul Boyette pressures the Wildcats. (Will Gallagher/IT)
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Boyette details defending Tech, play against Baylor
The offenses in the Big 12 Conference producing the video-game like numbers are led by some of the more skilled quarterbacks in the nation. One of the names competing for the title of best quarterback in the nation just so happens to play for the Longhorns next opponent, Patrick Mahomes II of Texas Tech. For any defense, he is the focal point of pre-game preparation. It remains that way for the Longhorns and senior defensive tackle Paul Boyette.
“I just think he’s just an athlete,” Boyette said. “He’s a dual threat quarterback. He’s a fantastic dual threat quarterback. He can make tough throws on the run. We’ve been going against him the last few years. He’s a tough opponent.”
Texas has seen Mahomes II twice, once in Lubbock and once in a losing effort at home in Austin. Mahomes II did not finish the game in Lubbock after a hard hit from Quandre Diggs knocked him out of the game. In Austin, the Red Raiders put up almost 50 points and moved through the Texas defense with ease with Mahomes II at the helm.
“We know they have a good offense,” Boyette said. “We know they have fantastic receivers on the edge that [Mahomes II] can make throws down the field to and they can go get the ball.”
Boyette stressed the importance of remaining in proper pass rush lanes multiple times during his availability. This will be much more important in Lubbock considering Red Raider head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense is predicated on using the pass to set up the run.
“I think what really changes for the defense is going out there and having communication, knowing tendencies, and knowing formations, really,” Boyette said. “That’s what helped us get the win against Baylor – knowing personnel. We were going out there and being effective.”
Boyette was asked if he thought the defense played well against Baylor.
“When we needed to,” he said. “When we needed to go out there and get stops, we stopped them. We still have room to grow.”
One of the biggest plays of the game was Boyette breaking through the line of scrimmage with Baylor backed up under their own end zone. Boyette was held on the play, and since the foul occurred in the end zone, the Longhorns put two points on the board.
“It was whatever I could do to go out there and make an impact on the opposing offense and just help the team win,” Boyette said. “I know I got held, but like it told Coach Haley and Coach Bedford, I was out there doing my job and playing vertical.”
Buechele discusses backfield mates, vocal leadership
Following a season with disappointing production on the offensive side of the football, the Longhorns have surged under a new offense led by one of the best backs in the country in junior D’Onta Foreman and a true freshman quarterback in Shane Buechele. Now, the quarterback has another person to hand off to in the backfield, do-it-all “quarterback” Tyrone Swoopes.
“We’ve repped that in practice,” Buechele said about No. 16 and No. 18 being in the backfield at the same time. “It’s always fun being in the backfield with him with our two minds that we have. We think the same thing and its fun having him out there.”
Shane Buechele vs OSU. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Running backs in this offense are asked to make several calls for the offensive line pre-snap. This is something that Foreman both excels at and that national draft analysts have spotted his ability to do. ESPN’s Todd McShay said Foreman “might be the best back in the country in terms of pass protection.” His quarterback thinks he is good at more than just that.
“He’s an unbelievable player, and it just keeps showing every week,” Buechele said. “He’s a playmaker and it’s definitely exciting handing it off to him and seeing what he can do with it.”
Since Chris Warren’s injury, Foreman’s workload has only increased, with freshman backup Kyle Porter receiving some reps to spell Foreman every so often.
“I think he’s starting to understand his role and how many carries he’s going to get,” Buechele said. “He’s getting better at handling it with his endurance, and he’s doing a great job.”
Even with a 1,000 yard rusher now in his backfield, Buechele still plays a position looked to by many on the offensive side as a leadership role. It’s difficult for true freshman to inspire the entire team with leadership, but it is something Buechele is slowly working on. He said on Monday he knows he cannot be one of the more vocal leaders yet because the seniors who have been through more at Texas fill that role, but that does not mean he cannot speak out.
“I want to be a leader on this team,” Buechele said. “I think I’m a big part of this team. I’m a leader, and I’ve said this in the last weeks, I still need to be a more vocal leader.”
Buechele still has not lead his offense to a victory on the road this season even though they have been able to put lots of points on several opponents. With Texas still searching for the team’s first win away from Austin, Buechele still could not quite say what has kept the road woes going, but knew what needed to be done.
“I think it’s just a learning process understanding what we have to do,” Buechele said. “The only thing that’s different on the road is the crowd. Maybe they are a little more comfortable too. I think we just need to go out there, understand what we have to do, and just play a full game.”
Williams emphasizes work ethic, updates o-line
Sophomore left tackle Connor Williams has continued to protect the quarterback’s blindside and pave the way for rushers in 2016 the same way he did in his freshman All-American season in 2015. It is easy to argue his play this season has surpassed his from last year.
Part of the reason why he has continued to dominate defensive lined up against him is due to how hard he has worked to get here, and it started from a young age.
“My family has always emphasized for me to stay humble,” Williams said. “Before I achieved any success, I had the same mentality. After achieving success, you realize where you came from and the mentality that got you there, and I try to keep it.”
Williams said his harshest critic after every game is himself, saying he is never satisfied with how he plays.
“I always want to play better,” Williams said. “There’s always things I can improve on. There’s always things I can get better on.”
One thing Williams could have an issue improving is his mental and physical toughness. Williams fulfilled his media responsibilities while wearing a walking boot on his right foot. He said he was wearing it only as a precaution in order to keep pressure off of it. He also added he played through most of the game with the discomfort, with the play that caused it occurring during the second drive.
Although Williams has a tough and hard-working demeanor, he also jokes around from time to time. Several players at Monday’s availability talked about how Williams jokes about lining up as a lead blocker in the backfield or at tight end. Williams is likely better served in his future staying at left tackle, but he was persistent. “I’ll take that ball for them,” Williams said.
Williams was also asked about the benching of his teammate and fellow freshman All-American, Patrick Vahe. Vahe was replaced by Jake McMillon at the left guard spot for the Baylor game, and registered little to no playing time.
“He’s really taking it as ‘it’s a team,’” Williams said. “We’re all trying to win. He’s just taking it as we’re going to give our best shot to win.”
Williams even said the already passionate Vahe never needed extra motivation, but he still got it anyway.
“I think it would put a fire under you, as it would for everybody,” Williams said. “He takes it well. He keeps preparing and trying to get better every day.”
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