The Washington State left tackle killed it at the combine

Texans and Andre Dillard are a match made in heaven

Cody Stoots/SportsMap

The Texans need Andre Dillard. More specifically, they need a player like Andre Dillard. A freakish athlete who backs up his wow workout moments with success on the field at left tackle.

Currently scheduled to pick 23 in the first round and with need on the offensive line, the Texans would be very lucky to be able to pick Dillard. His floor might be higher than the Texans selection after today.

People Andre Dillard's size shouldn't be able to do the things Dillard did Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. The former Washington State left tackle manned the blindside in Pullman, WA for years and he is well on his way to making that his career path in the NFL.

Dillard started the day showing off his freakish speed.

That would end up being the fourth best number by an offensive lineman on the day. He would be the top performer in the 20-yard shuttle among the offensive linemen as well.

He would again be the best in the combine class with a huge broad jump.

It is the second-best offensive lineman broad jump since 2006.

Now how about the actual on-field play. After all, he's not getting drafted to play gym he's getting drafted to play football. According to Dillard's former quarterback Gardner Minshew his left tackle took a lot off his plate.

Having started 39 consecutive games for the Cougars running a Mike Leach offense there is plenty of film for teams to consume and get used to Dillard's pass blocking. Each of the past three years Washington State led the nation in pass attempts.

"A lot of teams have said it's a good thing that I have pass-protection ability," he said. "Because the NFL passes a lot. It's something that's not easy to master, so they like that I have lot of that in my background."

He credits some of his footwork success to being a multi-sports athlete.

Now, about run blocking. The Cougars have been dead last in rushing attempts the past two seasons meaning any inconsistency in his run blocking sticks out more with less reps to analyze.

"I'm pretty critical of myself," Dillard said at his combine media availability. "So one area for improvement is definitely continuing to improve on the run game.I showcased a bit of that ability at the Senior Bowl, and I just plan to continue that."

He joked the offense in college had just two zone running plays and that was it.

Helping the ground game will obviously have to get better but the Texans need help at tackle and they need it now. The team met with Dillard at the Senior Bowl but as of Thursday he hadn't met with the Texans at the combine. The league leaders in sacks allowed and a talent like Dillard, though initially maybe lacking in the rushing game, can help the pass game tremendously. Also, with teams having reservations about his ability to run block, he could slide down the draft board to where the Texans select.

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The Coogs play Miami on Friday night. Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images.

Number one seed University of Houston is favored by 7.5 points over No. 5 Miami, and No. 2 University of Texas is favored by 4 over No. 3 Xavier Friday night in the Midwest Regional semifinals in Kansas City.

Talk about opening acts. If both UH and UT win, they’ll meet Sunday in a good ol’ WWE-style Texas death match for a berth in the Final Four at NRG Stadium in Houston. Thank you, Mr. Schedule Maker.

How much do you think Cougar fans would love for UH to get their hands on the Longhorns with so much at stake?

For one example, let’s go back to the future, Oct. 21, 2023, when Big 12 rivals UH and UT meet in football at TDECU Stadium on the Houston campus. The game already is a lock sellout with tickets in the upper deck commanding $141 per ticket on the secondary market. It will be UH’s first year in the big boy Big 12 and UT’s last go-around before heading to the SEC.

One last opportunity for lasting bragging rights.

That’s for a UH football game. At home. Where the Cougars typically have trouble packing half the house. For example, the Cougars will be hosting the Sam Houston Bearkats at TDECU Stadium a month earlier. Tickets for that game, the same exact seat going for $141 against UT, can be had right now … $17.

Yeah, there’s something special about UH getting the opportunity to face UT. In anything. Anywhere. And it’s been a long time since the two teams, once co-members of the Southwest Conference together, have met on the basketball court. A full decade, in fact. The last time they played was March 20, 2013 with the Cougars prevailing 73-72 in something called the College Basketball Invitational. The UH coach was James Dickey. UT was coached by Rick Barnes. Joe Young led the Cougars with 18 points. The Horns’ leading scorer was Julien Lewis with 28. UH finished that season with a 20-13 record. UT limped home at 16-18.

That was then, this is now. The UH-Miami game will air at 6:10 p.m. Friday on CBS with UH grad Jim Nantz calling the play-by-play. The game will alsO stream on Hulu +++. ESPN’s BPI (basketball power index) gives the Cougars a 90 percent chance of winning. We’ll take it.

The UT-Xavier game will follow at 8:45 p.m. on CBS. The Horns have a 70 percent chance of beating the Musketeers. If both chalks come through, they’ll meet Sunday afternoon with the game on CBS.

The Cougars have made six Final Four appearances: 1967, 1968, 1982, 1983, 1984, 2021. The Horns have made three Final Fours, the last time two decades ago.

Here’s the only sure bet if UH and UT meet Sunday - get to your sports bar early if you want a seat. This could be memorable.

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