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MySanAntonio.com Expect to see more four-linebacker sets when No. 12 Texas plays Rice


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AUSTIN – Expect to see more four-linebacker sets when No. 12 Texas takes on Rice Saturday at NRG Stadium.

The Owls’ offense is a bit anachronistic. It deploys two- and even three-tight end sets in a run-heavy scheme with a healthy dose of I-formation thrown in.

Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando likened the Owls’ mentality to that of an option-heavy team. For the Longhorns, that means there will be less emphasis on filling the field with defensive backs.

“Rice is unique because there’s a lot of two tight ends, three tight tends, two backs in the backfield,” Orlando said Wednesday. “That’s something we had to work on. It’s just different. We’re used to seeing spread stuff, fast pace, and now we’re going to see three tight ends and a huddle. It’s different. We’ll have to be different.”

Rice (0-2) wants to pound the ball, siphon energy from the defense and extend drives as long as possible. There may be even more of a commitment to doing so now with starting quarterback Wiley Green (head/neck) out.

Rice has gained just 564 yards of total offense this season; 248 of those have come via the run.

When Orlando does deploy four linebackers, it will be Jeffrey McCulloch and Joseph Ossai on the outside with Juwan Mitchell and Ayodele Adeyoye manning the inside.

“We have some flexibility with some other guys who can play out there,” Orlando said. “You’re going to see a whole bunch of those guys, which I’m excited to see. Dele has proved to us he can play at this level. And I’m excited to watch Juwan play. Those guys are fired up. Yesterday’s practice they were super physical.”

Texas (1-1) has been gashed through the air this season, but relatively stout against the run. It ranks 28th nationally in rushing defense (87.5 yards...

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