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Position Preview: Offensive Line


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We continue our series previewing each position group for the 2021 season. Today, we turn our attention to the offensive line.

Departures

Sam Cosmi (NFL)- 34 career starts, 21 of them at Left Tackle

Reese Moore (Portal)

Willie Tyler (Portal)

Kyle Flood will have to find a way to fill a massive hole left behind by Sam Cosmi, who was a 3-year starter for the Longhorns. Cosmi anchored the Texas offensive line for the last 2 years and was a 2nd round pick by the Washington Football Team.

The departures of Moore and Tyler were not a total surprise as both didn't see much playing time last year.

Additions

Hayden Conner- #391 ranked player in the 2021 class, 29th ranked OT

Max Merril- #1086 ranked player in the 2021 class, 9th ranked OT

Connor and Merril are both headed for a redshirt year. Herb Hand did not have a good year from a recruiting standpoint, but he did improve the Longhorns overall depth the last few years which will allow Flood to redshirt most freshman lineman moving forward.

Returning Players

Jake Majors (R-Fr)- Played in 3 career games with 2 starts

Tope Imade (R-Sr)- Played in 8 career games

Derek Kerstetter (Sr)- Played in 46 games with 37 starts

Andrej Karic (R-Fr)- Played in 3 games with 1 start

Christian Jones (Jr)- Played in 23 games with 10 starts

Logan Parr (R-Fr)- Redshirted last year

Tyler Johnson (R-So)- Played and started in the Alamo Bowl last year

Isaiah Hookfin (R-So)- Played in 1 career game

Rafiti Ghirmai (R-Jr)- Played in 13 career games

Junior Angilau (R-Jr)- Has played and started 22 career games

Jaylen Garth (R-Fr)- Redshirted last year

Denzel Okafor (R-Sr)- Played in 48 career games with 14 starts

Despite losing Cosmi, Texas will be returning 6 players with starting experience and have several more who could make positive contributions for a unit looking to take a big step forward in 2021. Christian Jones is the favorite to take over at LT entering fall camp after spending the majority of his time at RT a season ago. Jones has a high ceiling but will need to develop more consistency after struggling at times in 2020 against good pass rushers. 

The biggest wildcard of the group will be Derek Kerstetter, who is returning for a 5th season and has played all over the offensive line in his first 4 seasons. Kerstetter spent last season at center but could be moved to a guard spot or RT with the emergence of Jake Majors. Wherever Kerstetter ends up will cause a domino effect on the rest of the unit. If Kerstetter ends up at RT, it likely leaves Tope Imade and Denzel Okafor in a battle for the RG spot. Kerstetter at RG opens the door for Andrej Karic to claim the RT spot. The Southlake Carroll product flashed in the final few games of 2020 when he received extended playing time. Junior Angilau likely has a firm grasp on the LG spot.

Outlook

As a unit, Texas has to be better at protecting the QB than they were in 2020. The Longhorns OL struggled mightily against teams like Oklahoma and Iowa State who were strong along the defensive line and at linebacker. Sam Ehlinger was able to mask some of the issues with is scrambling ability, but Steve Sarkisian will be asking his QB's to stay in the pocket much more frequently which will place more of an emphasis on keeping either Hudson Card or Casey Thompson upright.

Another important factor will be Bijan Robinson, who will make the jobs of the offensive lineman easier. If Flood can get the offensive line to be an above average run blocking unit, the Longhorns should see plenty of success running the ball. 

The expectations for the unit as the whole should be higher despite losing their best player. The Longhorns have depth at all 5 positions and Flood is regarded as one of the best offensive line coaches in the country. If Christian Jones to take the next step in his development and Kerstetter shows that he is the same player at guard or tackle that he was pre-injury, Texas should field one of the better OL units in the Big 12.

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Like the preview.  Question, where do you see T. Johnson calling home?  Is he a G or a T?  Also, you hardly ever hear his name called or talked about in regards to a position battle.  Technically, he is the highest rated OL in the bunch.  Just curious on why he has never really progressed to his rating.

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Didn't  say championship level yet. But when you consider all the useless oline coaches: Hand, Warhine, Wickline, Searls, and whoever  came from Tulsa and if those are the correct spellings of last names. Why would 5 stars want to play or think that they would be developed undered them? Now with Flood the wait to see any development will go a LONG way with 4 and 5 star olinemen coming to Texas.

 

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  • 2021 Texas Football Schedule

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    Opponent
    W/L
    9/4
    Louisiana
    9/11
    @Arkansas
    9/18
    Rice
    9/25
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    10/2
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