2008 CFN Texas
2008 Texas Offense
2008 Texas Defense |
2008 Texas Depth
2007 CFN Texas Preview |
2006 CFN Texas
Interested in blogging
about Big 12 football?
Texas isn't exactly your typical football program.
It's Texas, so to go T-shirt here, football is life and the rest
is just details, but this hasn't exactly been known as a tough,
punch-you-in-the-face, nasty program that's willing to get its hands
This has been the program of coaches like Fred Akers and John Mackovic
and Mack Brown, guys who could be teaching in the history department as
easily as they could be figureheads for the football-mad state's
flagship college franchise.
Head coach: Mack Brown
11th year at Texas: 103-25
25th year overall: 183-94-1
Off. 20, Def. 24, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 15
Best UT Players
1. QB Colt McCoy, Jr.
2. DT Roy Miller, Sr.
3. DE Brian Orakpo, Sr.
4. OT Adam Ulatoski, Jr.
5. OG Cedric Dockery, Sr.
6. DT Lamarr Houston, Jr.
7. LB Rashad Bobino, Sr.
8. CB Ryan Palmer, Sr.
9. PK Ryan Bailey, Sr.
10. WR/KR Quan Cosby, Sr.
CFN Prediction: 8-4
2008 Record: 0-0
Sept. 6 at UTEP
Sept. 13 Arkansas
Sept. 20 Rice
Sept. 27 OPEN DATE
Oct. 4 at Colorado
Oct. 11 Oklahoma (Dallas)
Oct. 18 Missouri
Oct. 25 Oklahoma State
Nov. 1 at Texas Tech
Nov. 8 Baylor
Nov. 15 at Kansas
Nov. 22 OPEN DATE
Nov. 28 Texas A&M
CFN Prediction: 10-2
2007 Record: 10-3
at Iowa State
Oklahoma St W 38-35
Texas A&M L 38-30
Dec. 27 Arizona State W 52-34
Texas players are currently known for being ridiculously talented,
there's an NFL farm system in Austin, and for good and bad, to have
brains. At the very least, they're far more pensive than your average college
Does any big-time program have as many big-time talents sticking around
for their senior seasons? While that's admirable, and we'd all like it
if everyone stayed in school until their eligibility was up, it
questions whether or not Texas cranks out killers.
Pure football players go to the NFL the second they're able to because
that's all they think about and it's all they want to do. Texas players,
for the most part, seem to be interested in leading lives, and while
that's hardly a negative, it has tagged the program with a bit of a
reputation for being, for lack of a better word, flaky. Soft is the word
the pro scouts use. Cedric Benson
and Ricky Williams haven't exactly helped the cause.
The Texas rivalries are nasty, no one has a bigger, badder, meaner pair
of showdowns to deal with than when the Longhorns have against Oklahoma
and Texas A&M, but still, overall, no one would exactly associate Texas
football with being gritty.
On December 27th, 2007, that all might have changed.
No, Texas didn't all of a sudden become a grinder-type of program in the
Holiday Bowl win over Arizona State, but after struggling late in the
year to get by Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, and with a loss
to Texas A&M, things started to get a little edgy. All it took was for
ASU QB Rudy Carpenter to start popping off, and the powder keg was lit.
A jacked up Texas ran for 300 yards on the Sun Devils in the 52-34
laugher, while the defense used Carpenter like a rag doll. It was as if
the program, after ten years under Brown, suddenly realized that if it
combined a nasty, 1980s-Miami-like edge with all the all-star talent,
big things could happen. It had that disrespected attitude when the 2005
USC team was being compared to the greatest war machines in the history
of the planet before the Rose Bowl was even played, and it showed.
Basically, to use a baseball adage, don't think, just throw.
Now, with defensive coordinator Will Muschamp entering the picture, the
aggressive factor is being turned up to 11. Oh sure, the recent array of
star defensive coaches have been great, but Muschamp takes things to a
whole other level. If there was any question about the team being
aggressive, edgy, and with a physical attitude before, it's answered now
So now, can Texas really change its stripes and combine a ten-cent-head
mentality needed for football to the million dollar talent? This will be
an under-the-radar year for the Longhorns with everyone about to be in
love with Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Tech, but the potential
is there to be the Big 12 champion, and even more.
What to look
for on offense:
The running back by committee approach. Jamaal Charles was the ground
game last year, running for 1,619 yards, with QB Colt McCoy finishing
second with 492 yards. It'll take a trio of players to get it done with
speedsters Vondrell McGee and Foswhitt Whitaker combining with veteran
Chris Ogbonnaya to try to make the nation's 17th ranked rushing attack
even better. With an improved line up front, it could happen.
What to look
for on defense:
Someone other than a defensive back to make a tackle. It's not like the
front seven wasn't pulling its weight last year, Texas led the Big 12
and was sixth in the nation against the run, but the top three tackles
were defensive backs with Marcus Griffin, Ryan Palmer, and Brandon
Foster combining to make 250 stops. Teams bombed away 517 times for
3,611 yards and 23 touchdowns with 16 interceptions, and they made the
defensive backs make all the tackles. With more blitzing and more of a
pass rush to come from the defense, there will be fewer big pass plays
for the secondary to deal with.
This team will be much
the secondary shows up. While Muschamp will be looking to improve the
defense as a whole, if there's as much blitzing as he'll want to do, the
relatively young secondary will be on its own ... again. Texas gave up
236 yards per game in 2006 and allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete
58% of their passes, and that was considered a disaster. Last year,
quarterbacks hit 61% of their throws and threw for 278 yards per game.
In the final five games
of last year, Texas allowed an average of 376 yards per game with 16
Considering Arkansas is in a rebuilding phase, and the old Southwest
Conference showdown is at home, the non-conference schedule couldn't be
much fluffier. Oooooh, there's a game against Sun Belt champion Florida
Atlantic. Oooooh, at trip to UTEP before facing Rice. There's a week off
before going to Colorado in a can't-look-ahead game before back-to-back
dates with Oklahoma and Missouri. Going to Texas Tech will be nasty and
traveling to Lawrence to face Kansas isn't like it used to be. There's a
week off after playing the Jayhawks and before the rivalry game against
Best Offensive Player:
Colt McCoy. It's easy to get swept aside in a year when Missouri's Chase
Daniel becomes a Heisman finalist, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford leads the
nation in passing efficiency, Texas Tech's Graham Harrell puts up
ridiculous numbers, and Todd Reesing of Kansas becomes a national
breakout star, but McCoy, outside of his 18 interceptions, deserved more
attention after throwing for 3,303 yards with 22 scores, while running
more than usual with 492 yards and four touchdowns.
Best Defensive Player:
Roy Miller. While he wasn't a starter last year, playing behind Frank
Okam and Derek Lokey inside, Miller still came up with a strong season
making 40 tackles with a sack and eight tackles for loss. With tackle
depth an issue, Miller doesn't just have to be great, he has to be
Key player to a
Redshirt freshmen safeties Ben Wells and Earl Thomas. The Texas
defensive backs are relatively interchangeable, they're all fast like
corners and they all hit like safeties, but early on, the spotlight will
be on Thomas and Wells to replace Marcus Griffin and Erick Jackson.
Tackling and consistent run support will be a must, but after the last
few years, providing more help for the corners will be vital.
The season will be a
... Texas wins the Big 12 South. This year, just winning the division,
much less the conference, will be a monumental achievement considering
Oklahoma is national-title good, Texas Tech has a loaded team that might
be its best ever, and Oklahoma State and Texas A&M should be improved.
The Longhorns need to focus on the progression. Win the South first, and
then hope things fall into place from there. Shooting for a national
title, even though Texas is one of the few programs able to go into
every season with that as a realistic goal, is too big a mountain to
climb all at once.
Oct. 4 at Colorado. Coming off a bye week and just before the showdown
against Oklahoma and with Missouri to follow, Texas has to make sure
it's 100% focused and as sharp as a tack for a bear-trap of a Big 12
opener. Just ask Oklahoma, who lost 27-24 in Boulder last year, what
kind of effort Dan Hawkins' Buffs can bring in big games.
2007 Fun Stats:
- Fourth down conversions: Texas 14 of 22 (64%) – Opponents 9 of 22
- Average yards per carry: Texas 5.0 – Opponents 2.9
- Onside kicks: Opponents 0 for 6 – Texas 1 of 1