2009 CFN Texas Preview
Texas QB Colt McCoy
Texas QB Colt McCoy
Posted May 31, 2009

Texas got the short end of the stick last year, but it has a good enough team returning to make its own breaks and find a way into the national title. Along the way, QB Colt McCoy might just get the Heisman, if he can first lead the Longhorns to a Big 12 title. Check out the CFN 2009 Texas Preview.

Texas Longhorns

Preview 2009

By Pete Fiutak

- 2009 CFN Texas Preview | 2009 Texas Offense
- 2009 Texas Defense | 2009 Texas Depth Chart
- 2008 Texas Preview | 2007 Texas Preview | 2006 Texas Preview 

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Head coach: Mack Brown
12th year at Texas: 115-26
25th year overall: 196-95-1
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 20, Def. 24, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 15
Ten Best UT Players
1. QB Colt McCoy, Sr.
2. DE/LB Sergio Kindle, Sr.
3. OT Adam Ultatoski, Sr.
4. DT Lamarr Houston, Sr.
5. LB Roddrick Muckelroy, Sr.
6. WR Jordan Shipley, Sr.
7. OT Kyle Hixx. Jr.
8. WR Malcolm Williams, Soph.
9. S Earl Thomas, Soph.
10. C Chris Hall, Sr.

2009 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2009 Record:

9/5 UL Monroe
9/12 at Wyoming
9/19 Texas Tech
9/26 UTEP
10/10 Colorado
10/17 Oklahoma (in Dallas)
10/24 at Missouri
10/31 at Oklahoma State
11/7 UCF
11/14 at Baylor
11/21 Kansas
11/26 at Texas A&M

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2008 Record:

8/30 Florida Atlantic W 52-10
9/6 at UTEP W 42-13
9/20 Rice W 52-10
Arkansas W 52-10
10/4 at Colorado W 38-14
10/11 Oklahoma (Dal) W 45-35
10/18 Missouri W 56-31
10/25 Oklahoma State W 28-24
11/1 at Texas Tech L 39-33
11/8 Baylor W 45-21
11/15 at Kansas W 35-7
11/28 Texas A&M W 49-9
Fiesta Bowl
1/5 Ohio State W 24-21

Someone had to get screwed.

As long as there’s a living, breathing Texas Longhorn fan on the planet, there’s going to be a bitterness surrounding the 2008 season that wasn’t taken away by a thrilling last minute win over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl or Oklahoma’s loss to Florida in the BCS Championship, and won’t be taken away by a national title this year.

It was the emptiness of not getting a fair shot. Texas beat Oklahoma (as if every Texas fan won’t have this score tattooed on the brain for all eternity) 45-35, yet had to sit back and watch the Sooners dismantle Missouri in the Big 12 title game and had to endure Sam Bradford’s acceptance speech for the Heisman (while being mocked by Billy Sims and the inane screams of “Boomer!”), and had to do it all while trying to focus on the Fiesta Bowl.

To be fair, it was an unwinnable situation for everyone involved. Texas deserved to be in the Big 12 title game, but so did Texas Tech, and so did Oklahoma. What’s done is done, except for future living room, bar stool, and message board arguments, so the question now centers around where Texas goes from here.

After last year’s performance from start to finish, and with the win over Oklahoma, any and all talk about Mack Brown only winning a national title because of Vince Young can now be squashed. Any and all talk about this being an underachieving program under Brown, considering all the talent flowing through Austin, has ended. Texas showed its staying power among the elite of the elite with last year’s somewhat surprising season, and after several excellent recruiting classes, depth up and down the board, loads of NFL prospects, and, essentially, a two game schedule to get to the Big 12 Championship, the pressure is on to not just get to the national title, but win it.

There’s no excuse this year if Texas isn’t off to Pasadena for the big show. Texas is one of only two teams in America, the SEC champion being the other, who can erase the BCS system, blow past any and all technicalities, and play for the national title. Because of what happened last year, and the sympathy that came with the bad break, the Longhorns will get every benefit of the doubt from the voters. If they go unbeaten, they’ll play for the national title no matter what anyone else does. Texas controls its own destiny. USC can’t say that. Ohio State can’t say that. Oklahoma can’t say that. 118 FBS teams (again, an unbeaten SEC champion being the other) can’t say that.

So now the pressure is ramped up ten-fold, and the team has to do everything possible to maintain the even, destructive keel that got it through last season. It’ll be tempting to start the season thinking national title or bust, because that’s sort of what this season is for the loaded Horns. However, just getting to the Big 12 title game has to be step one, considering that’s been the Oklahoma show for the last three seasons.

To do that, the program has to maintain the foot-on-the-throat mentality it had last season, helped by the addition of defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, and it has to stay focused. That might be impossible with the Oklahoma game as big as it has ever been, followed up by dates at Missouri and Oklahoma State, but with a leader like Colt McCoy at the helm, a rock-solid defense, and backups good enough to step in without a hiccup if someone goes down, Texas has it all. And if there’s ever a lull in the fire, or a lapse in concentration, it’ll take two simple numbers to kick things right back into place.

45 … 35.

What to look for on offense: The young receivers. The running backs will again operate by committee, with the hope to do more so Colt McCoy doesn’t have to lead the team in rushing again, and the offensive line should pave the way for a more consistent season. However, the key to the Texas offense is the precision passing attack that McCoy was so masterful at last year. Getting top target Jordan Shipley back with a sixth year of eligibility was key, but the stars of the show could be from last year’s recruiting class. Malcolm Williams already showed what he could do with a whale of a performance in the loss to Texas Tech, Dan Buckner has the size and potential to be great, and DeSean Hales has the gamebreaking ability to potentially be the best of the three. The emergence of the young receivers might be the difference between a great year and a national title.

What to look for on defense: Sergio Kindle doing his Brian Orakpo imitation. Kindle is an All-America caliber linebacker who saw a little bit of time as a rush end late in the year when Orakpo went down. While Kindle might still play a more natural outside linebacker spot from time to time, he’ll use his speed, smarts, and talent to be used as the Buck end and be asked to be a pure pass rusher. Don’t be shocked if he puts up better numbers than Orakpo (who made 10.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss).

This team will be much better if… the secondary can pick off a pass and the run defense doesn’t turn out to be a mirage. While finishing 104th in the nation in pass defense might seem woeful, that was par for the course in last year’s Big 12. Texas gave up 259 passing yards per game and still finished ahead of five other teams in the conference. However, Texas couldn’t come up with enough big plays with an inexcusably low six interceptions on the year. The bigger question mark could be a run defense that finished third in the nation, but that was because it didn’t face many teams that ran the ball and the sack totals brought the run defense stats down. Teams that could run the ball, did. Ohio State tore off 203 yards. Oklahoma State ran for 217, and Baylor ran for 201.

The Schedule: To be fair, Texas tried to put together a decent non-conference schedule but didn’t get many breaks. UL Monroe, at Wyoming, UCF and UTEP will make September feel like the NFL preseason, and getting Colorado at home to kick off the Big 12 slate will be a decent warm up on the way to 5-0. And then the fun kicks in with the Oklahoma showdown, at trip to Missouri, along with a brutal trip to Oklahoma State. Closing out with two sneaky-tough road games in the last three, going to Baylor and Texas A&M, will make for an interesting November.

Best Offensive Player: Senior QB Colt McCoy. It could be argued that Sam Bradford deserved the Heisman by being the signature player of the regular season, and Tim Tebow would’ve won the award in a walk if the voting was done after the bowls, but there was no more valuable player to a team than McCoy was last year. He did it all with 11 rushing touchdowns, a team-leading 561 yards, and an ungodly 78% completion percentage while throwing for 3,859 yards and 34 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. He made everyone around him better, and now, as frightening as this might be for UT opponents, he knows what he’s doing. He has the offense down cold and he should be even better.

Best Defensive Player: Senior LB/DE Sergio Kindle. He could’ve been off to the NFL and would’ve been a top 50 draft pick as an outside linebacker, but he’s back for his senior season and should up his stock even more as a pass rusher. Kindle made 50 tackles last year with nine sacks, 13 tackles for loss and 15 quarterback pressures, and now he’ll be used more as a pure pass rushing defensive end. Way too quick for most offensive tackles and with a tremendous closing burst, he should flirt with a 15+ sack season.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore DT Kheeston Randall. The secondary will end up being fine with four strong corner prospects for two starting jobs, the running back rotation will be effective, if not spectacular, and there are enough strong wide receivers to make up for the concerns at tight end. The big question will be at defensive tackle with Lamarr Houston moving over to the nose. 6-5, 288-pound Kheeston Randle has to flourish with all the attention paid to Houston on the inside and Kindle on the outside. If he struggles, the run defense will have problems in the big games.

The season will be a success if ... Texas plays for the national title. To do that, the Longhorns have to win the Big 12 title first. Just getting there would be a first since Colt McCoy took over as the starter, and that’s not going to be enough for a team as solid as this one. The schedule works out well, the voter sympathy is there, and the team is really, really good. Anything less than a Big 12 title would be a disaster, and anything less than Pasadena on January 7th will be a major disappointment.

Key game: Oct. 17 vs. Oklahoma. If you really need to know why this is the most important game of the year, possibly in all of college football, then you’re reading the wrong publication. While the Red River Rivalry is obviously big, the Longhorns have a major-league landmine to deal with a few weeks later at Oklahoma State. After playing OU, Texas goes to Missouri the week after and then travels to Stillwater. The high-octane Cowboys should have an even better offense, and considering they almost beat UT last year, this could end up being the game that ruins the party.

2008 Fun Stats: 
- First quarter scoring: Texas 104 – Opponents 31
- Fourth down conversions: Texas 11-of-14 – Opponents 11-of-30
- Red zone touchdowns: Texas 52-of-68 (76%) – Opponents 20-of-42 (48%)

- 2009 CFN Texas Preview | 2009 Texas Offense
- 2009 Texas Defense | 2009 Texas Depth Chart
- 2008 Texas Preview | 2007 Texas Preview | 2006 Texas Preview