2009 CFN Texas Preview
Texas QB Colt McCoy
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.
2009 CFN Texas
2009 Texas Offense
2009 Texas Defense |
2009 Texas Depth
2007 Texas Preview |
Interested in blogging
about Texas football?
Someone had to get screwed.
Head coach: Mack Brown
12th year at Texas: 115-26
25th year overall: 196-95-1
Off. 20, Def. 24, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 15
Best UT Players
1. QB Colt McCoy, Sr.
2. DE/LB Sergio Kindle, Sr.
3. OT Adam Ultatoski, Sr.
DT Lamarr Houston, Sr.
5. LB Roddrick Muckelroy, Sr.
WR Jordan Shipley, Sr.
7. OT Kyle Hixx. Jr.
8. WR Malcolm
9. S Earl Thomas, Soph.
10. C Chris Hall,
9/5 UL Monroe
9/12 at Wyoming
9/19 Texas Tech
10/3 OPEN DATE
10/17 Oklahoma (in Dallas)
10/24 at Missouri
10/31 at Oklahoma State
11/14 at Baylor
11/26 at Texas A&M
Florida Atlantic W 52-10
9/6 at UTEP W 42-13
9/13 OPEN DATE
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
11/1 at Texas Tech L 39-33
11/8 Baylor W 45-21
11/15 at Kansas W 35-7
11/22 OPEN DATE
11/28 Texas A&M W
1/5 Ohio State W 24-21
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.
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:
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
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
2009 Texas Offense
2009 Texas Defense |
2009 Texas Depth
2007 Texas Preview |