Following a trip to the 2010 BCS National Championship Game
and a loss to Alabama,
many Texas Longhorns fans had high hopes for the 2010-2011 season.
After a quick start, the club fell apart after a home loss
to UCLA, going 2-7 down the stretch to finish 5-7 (2-6 Big 12). Bodog currently has the Longhorns listed as a 22-1 play to win the 2012 BCS National
Championship Game. Can Mack Brown and Texas
return to its former glory in one season and provide backers with a huge
After the Iowa
State loss last season,
Brown threatened his staff with the following quote: "I told them if one
of your guys is playing bad, I can change them. If three of your guys are
playing bad, I change you.” He now has five new coaches on his staff, three of
them due to lack of production (Will Muschamp took the head job at Florida). I find it
somewhat interesting that Brown had three coaches that did not live up to his
standards. Following his own quote, the man in charge of those three should be
held responsible …
Bryan Harsin, former Boise State
offensive coordinator, will call the plays for the Texas Longhorns next season. We
should expect to see a very different offense in Austin with a variety of formations. Darrell
Wyatt from Kansas will be working with receivers
and Stacy Searles from Georgia
will coach the offensive line.
The defense will have a decidedly SEC feel, with Manny Diaz
coming in as defensive coordinator from Mississippi
State and Bo Davis from Alabama coaching the
defensive line. Players are stating that they feel a lot more freedom in the
new scheme. We’ll see if that freedom brings results.
Overall, I find it difficult to believe that Texas will not improve
next season with the coaching changes. I also believe, however, that there will
be hiccups along the way.
There are a lot of questions about Garrett Gilbert’s ability
to lead this football team. The rising junior only tossed 10 touchdowns to go
along with his 17 interceptions in 2010. Brown and Harsin have used the term
“pecking order” to describe their rotation, and it appears that Gilbert will
compete with Case McCoy, Connor Wood, and David Ash for the position.
Running back should be a strength for Texas, as junior Cody Johnson demonstrated
that he has the ability to be a major power back for the Longhorns. Five-star
prospect Malcolm Brown could also get some carries as a true freshman.
loses receiver James Kirkendoll, but this unit should be in decent shape.
Sophomore Mike Davis is a dynamic player who will likely be the “go-to”
receiver. Malcolm Williams will provide senior leadership, and Marquise Goodwin
should also contribute (although he is currently dealing with “personal
The offensive line will be replacing both tackles, with
sophomores Paiden Kelly and Trey Hopkins expected to take the starting gigs.
defense did not live up to its reputation statistically late last season, and
the unit allowed 23.7 ppg. One has to realize, however, that the offense put
this unit into some horrible positions.
The front seven should be particularly strong, with senior
linebacker Emmanuel Acho leading the unit. Sophomore Alex Okafor is moving to
defensive end, which coaches call his natural position. Recruits Desmond
Jackson and Steve Edmond will be in this unit in the near future.
The secondary could be an issue (particularly when it has to
Aaron Williams, Chykie Brown, and Curtis Brown have departed, leaving the
Longhorns short of experienced players in the secondary. Seniors Christian
Scott and Blake Gideon will likely fill the safety roles, but it is uncertain
who we will see at corner. Quandre Diggs, the top-rated corner in this year’s
class, could be thrown into the fire immediately.
Mack Brown and Texas
are motivated to improve this season, and they have the talent to take a giant
step forward. I think, though, it will take a year for the new schemes
(particularly on offense) to be fully implemented. I also question whether
Gilbert is the answer at quarterback and wonder how the ‘Horns will handle top
wide receivers on defense.
Texas has a favorable
schedule, but games against Oklahoma
and at Texas A&M stand out as probable losses. I could also see the
Longhorns dropping an early game as a favorite on the betting odds board due to inexperience and/or new
This looks like a 10-2 or 9-3 club to me. Texas could very well double its win total,
but I’m not sure they’re worthy of a futures bet. 2012, however, could be an
interesting year. We’ll talk about that in 12 months.
Thanks to yahoo.com,
rivals.com, espn.com, and cbssportsline.com for information used in this