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Texas Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
Texas Longhorns
Posted Jul 31, 2006

Texas Longhorns Preview 2006 - UT Further Analysis

1st and Ten – Um, is this one that easy? – Let’s make a deal right off the bat.  Vince Young will be mentioned in this paragraph (perhaps a bunch of times), but then that’s it.  You all know the deal.  Magnanimous talent.  Gregarious leader.  Once in a lifetime player.  The type of player that lifts a program to new heights.  How many kudos and plaudits can be thrown at the young man?  But, alas, he’s gone.  And, if you didn’t know he was, um, question what planet you’re living on.  Okay, so let’s move on.  It’s another guy’s ball.  It’s another guy’s team.  It’s going to be Colt McCoy…or, Jevan Snead.  Or, maybe Chance Mock can come back and take what was rightfully his.  All kidding aside, the two freshmen, McCoy and Snead, will be good players – eventually, that is.  For as good as Young was, when he was a redshirt freshman, it wasn’t pretty at times.  He was dominant one play/game, turning the game on a “did you see that play?”, like he did against Kansas State, then he couldn’t do much of anything against Washington State in the Holiday Bowl.  So, regardless of what side of the QB battle you’re on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride, but perhaps not as hectic as you’d think.  McCoy spent the whole year watching and learning from Young and offensive coordinator Greg Davis, while Snead ran a version of the spread at Stephenville (TX) High School, former home of Houston Cougar head coach Art Briles.  Davis will protect his young’uns, and that might end up being the problem.  Hopefully what Davis and his staff learned from Young will allow him to push the boundaries of what these youngsters can do, as opposed to coddling them for 60 minutes a game.  The other question becomes whether Davis likes a solo act or wants a Sonny and Cher show.  A two quarterback system?  Oh, don’t even get started with that noise, but that might be the reality facing the Horns when Ohio State comes calling in early September.  Just imagine if VY was back for that game against OSU’s Troy Smith.  Shoot, sorry.  But, that’s it, no more VY talk.  Promise.

2nd and Seven – One Griffin gone, One Griffin remains – When the name Michael Griffin is brought up to most college football cognoscenti, the first thing that comes to mind is his game changing interception in the Rose Bowl.  But, if that’s what you know about Griffin, all you know about Griffin, you’ve missed the boat.  For the past two years, Griffin has been a force in the secondary, whether he’s stopping the run or defending the pass.  The senior led the Horns in tackles with 124, but he also was tied for the lead in interceptions with three.  Plus, he’s also a special teams demon.  He fills the alley on the run and what you saw in the Rose Bowl was his ability to close on deep balls downfield.  With the other Michael (Huff) off to Oakland and the other Griffin (Cedric) off to the NFL, Michael Griffin will be the leader for this defense and this team.

3rd and Three – Strange (Kille)Brew – Up until the 2005 season, the Longhorns seemed to lack that physical presence, an intimidator on defense who runners wanted to avoid like the plague.  For as good as DJ was, he wasn’t a true head-wrecker.  But, Robert Killebrew is.  The junior doesn’t always turn off the motor, but this might be the first Longhorn in a while who looks to turn a ball carrier inside out.  Or, to just knock one out.  He’s got an edge to him that the Horns haven’t had in a while.  He sometimes can be over-aggressive and run himself out of a play, but as he grew more comfortable with his strongside linebacker spot, the ‘nasty’ was fun to watch.  He may not be the highest profile guy on this side of the ball, but he might ultimately be the one guy offenses will have to find and account for throughout the game.

4th and One – A Football player with track speed – Remember ‘Skeets’ Nehemiah?  Former world class hurdler who could fly?  He decided to give football a shot in the early ‘80s with the San Francisco 49ers, but it was an opportunity that didn’t really pan out.  Some brilliant individual encapsulated the experiment by saying “he’s a track guy playing football”.  Jamaal Charles might be one of the fastest individuals in the Big XII on the track, but he’s also a football player.  He’s a football player with track speed.  Great Longhorn backs have been power guys like Earl and Ricky, and there were some shifty guys like Hodges Mitchell and Priest Holmes.  There hasn’t been one as dangerous as Charles.  No back in the Big XII can get to the corner and then exploit the corner like #25.  In the Oklahoma game, that blinding speed was evident when Charles ran up inside, got hit in the face, kept his feet and then the jets got turned on.  80 yards later, the Red River shootout, wait, what’s it called now?  Well, in any event, it was over.  There wasn’t one guy who sniffed Charles the rest of the way.  With Selvin Young a step slower than he was before his injuries and Ramonce Taylor having some, well, let’s just say ‘off-field issues’, Charles is going to have to prove that he can be a 25 carry a game football player with track speed.  But, then again, when that’s what you are, it’s not hard to slip back into character.

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