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2007 Texas Preview

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jun 6, 2007


Once again, Texas has one of the most talented teams in America, and once again, the expectations are sky-high. The likely favorite to win the Big 12 title, and a true national title contender, Brian Orakpo and the Longhorns should be in for a big year.

Texas Longhorns

Preview 2007

By Michael Bradley & Pete Fiutak

- 2007 Texas Offense Preview | 2007 Texas Defense Preview
-
2007 Texas Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Texas Preview 

Okay, so maybe an Alamo Bowl appearance wasn’t exactly the best way for the Longhorns to follow up their national championship run, and those late-season losses to Kansas State and Texas A&M weren’t so pretty, either. But another ten-win season doesn’t look so bad on the résumé, particularly in a “rebuilding” year in Austin, after Vince Young’s early – and lucrative – bolt to the NFL. 

The next challenge will be to regain some traction in the national conversation, and that won’t be so easy, especially given the ten senior starters who departed after the come-from-behind win over Iowa in San Antonio. Even so, the expectations haven’t been lessened.
Head coach: Mack Brown
10th year at Texas: 93-22
24th year overall: 179-96-1
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 20, Def. 24, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 15
Ten Best UT Players
1. QB Colt McCoy, Soph.
2. DT Frank Okam, Sr.
3. WR Limas Sweed, Sr.
4. RB Jamaal Charles, Jr.
5. FS Marcus Griffin, Sr.
6. LB Rashad Bobino, Jr.
7. DT Derek Lokey, Sr.
8. DT Roy Miller, Jr.
9. TE Jermichael Finley, Soph.
10. LB Rod. Muckelroy, Soph.

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 10-2

Sept. 1

Arkansas State

Sept. 8

TCU

Sept. 15

at UCF

Sept. 22

Rice

Sept. 29

Kansas State

Oct. 6

vs. Oklahoma

Oct. 13

at Iowa State

Oct. 20

at Baylor

Oct. 27

Nebraska

Nov. 3

at Oklahoma St

Nov. 10

Texas Tech

Nov. 23

at Texas A&M

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
11-1
2006 Record: 10-
3
Preview 2006 predicted wins

9/2 North Texas W 56-7
9/9 Ohio State L 24-7
9/16 at Rice W 52-7
9/23 Iowa State W 37-14
9/30 Sam Houston St W 56-3
10/7 vs. Oklahoma W 28-10
10/14 Baylor W 63-31
10/21 at Nebraska W 22-20
10/28 at Texas Tech W 35-31
11/4 Oklahoma State W 36-10
11/11 at Kansas St L 45-42
11/24 Texas A&M L 12-7
12/30 Alamo Bowl
Iowa W 26-24

Colt McCoy’s back at quarterback after a stunningly effective debut, playing as well as any offensive player in the Big 12, completing 68.2% of his passes and so thoroughly grabbing hold of the starting job that backup Jevan Snead decided to transfer. Had McCoy not been injured early against KSU, Texas probably would have won that game, would have been more effective against A&M, would’ve beaten Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship, and possibly would’ve had a shot at Ohio State in the BCS Championship. While it’ll take some rebuilding, if the program could replace Young and still be almost great, it can patch up any other holes.

Texas isn’t in any trouble, and nobody is saying anything nasty about Mack Brown anymore, but another three-loss season (or worse) and a second consecutive flop against A&M might start the whispers and cement a widely believed theory that the national title was all Young, with Brown along for the ride. That’s life in Austin, where ten wins don’t always satisfy, and trips to the Alamodome don’t get anybody’s blood flowing. This team is good enough not to have to worry about that this year.

What to look for on offense: The return of McCoy, along with most of his top receivers, means the passing game should be among the most effective in an explosive passing-filled Big 12 South. The running game will be fine if Jamaal Charles returns to his freshman form, but in the clutch, the attack will be all about McCoy.

What to look for on defense: Texas will stop the run as well as anyone in the Big 12 and the secondary, even without the stars from last year, will be more productive…it can’t be any worse. Middle linebacker Rashad Bobino leads a loaded front seven, and tackles Frank Okam, Roy Miller and Derek Lokey form a brick wall up front.

This team will be much better if… it stops opponents from throwing the ball so successfully. Opposing quarterbacks completed 58.3% of their passes last season and amassed 236.2 yards per game through the air. Losing Aaron Ross, Michael Griffin and Tarell Brown should theoretically hurt, but Texas isn’t likely to finish 99th in the nation in pass defense again.

The Schedule: It's not that bad, but there's a rough finishing kick. The early battle with TCU might not get a whole bunch of national attention, but the Horned Frogs have the potential to go unbeaten if they get out of Austin with the upset. Even so, a 5-0 start has to be expected before the Oklahoma showdown. Get by the Red River Rivalry with a win, and 8-0 is possible before a nasty finishing kick playing Nebraska, at Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and at Texas A&M. Outside of the TCU game, the rest of the non-conference slate is nice and breezy (no Ohio State this year) playing Arkansas State, UCF and Rice.

Best Offensive Player: Sophomore QB Colt McCoy. If someone had told you before last season that McCoy would complete 68% of his passes for 2,570 yards with 29 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, you might have assumed Texas would play for the national title. McCoy progressed into a tremendous decision-maker and the type of leader who, while he didn’t fill Vince Young’s shoes, proved to be an adequate replacement. If he stays healthy, the Longhorns will be one of the favorites to end up in New Orleans.

Best Defensive Player: Senior DT Frank Okam. The 320-pound man in the middle, Okam could’ve turned pro early but chose to come back for his senior year. Now he needs to raise his game to an All-America level, doing even more to get into the backfield as well as hold firm against the run. He’s going to be the one the rest of the defensive line revolves around.

Key player to a successful season: Senior S Marcus Griffin. The Longhorn pass defense was awful last year, despite having a Thorpe Award winner (Ross) along with two other future NFL players in Brown and Griffin. Even though those three are gone, the overall production must be far, far better. Griffin is the only returning starter and he’ll have to be the new star, doing more when the ball is in the air.

The season will be a success if ... Texas plays for the national title. There’s no reason to shoot for anything lower, even though work needs to be done on the offensive line, the secondary and at backup quarterback. First, Texas has to win the Big 12 title, and then must hope everything else falls into place on the national scene. The schedule works out well enough that anything other than a conference championship might be unacceptable, and with the light non-conference slate, 12-0 is an attainable goal.

Key game: Nov. 23 at Texas A&M. While most of the world will focus on the Oklahoma game, since that might be for a spot in the national championship, the regular-season wrap-up game in College Station could be the bigger bear trap. After all, the Longhorns have beaten the Sooners by a combined score of 73-22 over the last two years, but have had a hard time with the Aggies, including last year’s stunning 12-7 loss.

2006 Fun Stats: 
- Second quarter scoring: Opponents 51; Texas 170
- Average passing yards per game: Opponents 236.2; Texas 228.8
- Penalties: Opponents 113 for 850 yards; Texas 72 for 661 yards

 

Related Stories
2007 Texas Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jun 5, 2007
2007 Texas Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jun 5, 2007
2007 Texas Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jun 5, 2007








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