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Are the Longhorns as 'cocky' as the Gators?

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. –- Alabama sophomore receiver Marquis Maze expects Texas to do Thursday night what the Longhorns have done best this season in the secondary.

And that’s to play a lot of man coverage.

“That’s what they got here with, and I don’t think that’s going to change,” said Maze, who’s been Alabama’s best big-play threat this season.

Defenses have shadowed Julio Jones, and Maze has taken advantage. He’s averaging a team-best 17.3 yards per catch, and 19 of his 30 catches have gone for first downs.

Texas hasn’t been a big zone team this season, and if it is indeed mostly man coverage that Alabama sees Thursday, that suits Maze just fine. He has great speed and likes his chances of getting open in any one-on-one situation.

Florida learned the hard way. The Gators let their cornerbacks go man-to-man against the Crimson Tide, and Maze had a career day. He caught five passes for 96 yards. All five of his receptions went for first downs, including a long of 34 yards. What’s more, all five of his receptions led to scores.

“Florida just tried to man up, one-on-one,” Maze said. “I guess they figured they had pretty good corners.”

Maze wouldn’t mind that same treatment from the Longhorns.

“If they are as cocky as Florida … yep, I think we’ll see the same thing,” Maze said.