AUSTIN (KXAN) — Football games are often won at the line of scrimmage, whether it’s a dominant offensive line or a defensive line that wreaks havoc and lives in their opponents’ backfield.
The Texas Longhorns are hoping they get a little of both this year, but with plenty of youth on the offensive line, one guy the coaches know they can lean on is fifth-year left tackle Christian Jones.
Jones started all 12 games for the Longhorns last season and has played 35 games during his time on the 40 Acres. Jones’ experience will be especially important now that senior Junior Angilau, Jones’ roommate, is out for the season with a blown ACL. Jones said it kills him that he won’t be able to take the field with Angilau this season.
“We’ve been talking about this season a whole lot,” Jones said Friday during the Longhorns’ media availability, “about everything we sacrificed, the things that he sacrificed. Now for me, it’s about doing my job and doing everything right, not just for me, but for my roommate who I know sacrificed a lot.”
Jones said the injury to Angilau in the first scrimmage Aug. 13, “came out of nowhere.”
“It broke both of us,” Jones said. “I feel like I owe it to him, owe it to the team, to give my best every single day. I know he’d do anything for just one rep in practice, one more indy, do one more sprint.”
In total, Texas has seven freshman offensive linemen on the roster, including High School All-Americans Kelvin Banks Jr. and Neto Umeozulu along with Westlake’s Connor Robertson. There’s no doubt the talent is there, it’s just a matter of if the big boys can build a rapport and chemistry with each other. Jones said he’s seeing it start.
“It has been really fun to see all the young guys just come out and get it,” Jones said, “and to see how focused they are, how driven they are. It reminds me of me my freshman year.”
When asked if the young players were more mature them him at that age, Jones said “yeah,” with a huge smile.
“They’re locked in,” he said. “They know what they came to school for.”