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Found 715 results

  1. Texas won the Alamo Bowl in dramatic fashion last night behind David Ash and (what appears to be) an improved defensive unit. We lose some guys but looking forward to next season, where does the team stand in terms of expectations/capacity? Can the 2013 Longhorns compete for a conference championship or even more? We improved from last year to this year. 9 wins ain't all that bad - but it ain't glorious either. We know Mack is back and I think it is safe to assume Manny is too.
  2. The score was very close to what many people were predicting but I’m sure this game was played out unlike many had predicted. After and abysmal first half, the Longhorn offense woke up as David Ash rallied the group to a late score on a touchdown pass to a streaking Marquis Goodwin. Though it was ugly in the beginning, this win was important for the Longhorns in order to show improvement from last season and enter the off-season on a positive note. 1. David Ash says “What QB Competition?”: This quarterback has been a guy that has been a roller coaster to watch all season long. He messes with my brain and I don’t like it. Ash has physical tools that allow him to have success at the college level. But the knock on Ash is his inconsistent mentality and confidence. When it’s there, he plays well: Good enough to lead an offense and make plays. But when his mentality and confidence are off then he is way off and plays very poorly. One big positive tonight was how David Ash rallied his team to victory over the Beavers. Tonight he showed that he has the ability to bounce back from a poor performance early in a game. But tonight was also the first time he wasn't benched in favor of Case McCoy. I’ll be very interested to see if Major can connect with Ash and get him rolling in a way Harsin couldn’t. Before tonight’s performance I was confident in saying the Longhorns should have another QB competition to find the guy who can lead the team, complete the passes, and make the plays necessary at the QB position. But now I’m hesitant in saying that. Sure it’s 1 game, but the fact that Ash was able to pick himself up after a poor first half and lead his team late in the game is a big step for the young quarterback. We should also remind ourselves that Ash was just a sophomore in his first year as the full time starter. Of course there would be growing pains for a young QB. Aside from Ash, I also wonder what Mack will want to do. He has been clamoring that this next season is the season his Longhorns will finally have the success they should be having. So with that in mind, will Mack actually risk putting the offense and team in the hands of a new starter? Especially after that starter just won him a bowl game in a come-from-behind victory? Had Ash played poorly tonight I would have thought there was no doubt that there would be a QB competition, but now I’m not so sure. With all of that said, I still think the Longhorns should have another QB competition and at least see what the other guys bring to the table because I think back to the games which Ash struggled in, like against OU, and cringe. I also look around the nation and see young quarterbacks having more success than what Ash has done. But David Ash definitely has the advantage over the other quarterbacks right now, there’s no question about that. 2. Major Applewhite: In his first game calling plays for the Longhorns Major won in Major fashion. He got snubbed early on in the game by the Beavers defense but he didn’t quit and came back and called some great plays in order for his offense to rally and win the game in the end. Whether he had come away with a good game or not, this game should not really be used as an assessment of Applewhite’s offense at all. I liked what I saw in the second half but he will need the entire off-season to really put his influence into the offense and mold it the way he wants it to look like. I’m definitely glad he got the win and am really curious to see if he can connect with Ash in a way Harsin couldn’t. Who knows, maybe Major’s personality is exactly what Ash needs from an offensive coordinator. 3. Marquis Goodwin: I have asked this question hundreds of times this season and not found an answer. Why was Goodwin not a larger part of the offense? (D.J. Monroe and Daje Johnson as well). Tonight Goodwin, the Alamo Bowl Offensive Player of the Game, showcased his skills by scoring a 64-yard touchdown and also had 4 receptions for 68 yards and a game-winning touchdown catch. I cannot figure out why Harsin/Mack did not utilize Goodwin more during the season, but Major figured it out in 1 game and unleashed the Olympian on the Beavers. This is another case of Texas confusing me by not using a player more than I would think they should. Hopefully Major will carry this change into next fall and use Daje Johnson in more ways where Harsin failed to. Great game by Goodwin though, and we will also be seeing him on Sunday’s in some fashion. 4. Where was the running game? Maybe the O-line knows: If you would have only told me the rushing stats for both teams tonight I would have thought Texas had lost this game for sure. Marquis Goodwin led the stats in yardage with his 1 64-yard touchdown run. Behind him David Ash was second with 22 yards and a touchdown off of 7 carries. The running backs totaled 37 yards of 19 carries and 0 touchdowns. Joe Bergeron didn’t even punch one in. I blame this performance largely on the poor play of the offensive line. They struggled to open holes all night. It also didn’t help that Texas was playing from behind for much of the game and had to throw the ball a lot in the second half. But a large reason they were playing from behind is because they couldn’t establish the run early on in the game. The offensive line is another area that needs major work this off-season. It’s great to have a handful of talented running backs and playmakers on offense that can move the chains but they become very handicapped without an offensive line that can block for them, let alone get a push off the line. This is another area of the roster that confuses me. Texas should be able to get the biggest and nastiest linemen in the state of Texas each year. There’s no reason why this group should be playing at this low of a level as a unit. 5. Defense got by but still needs improvement: Tonight the defense played well enough for Texas to win, and luckily the Longhorns got the win. But the performance wasn’t spectacular and they still have a lot to improve upon. If I were the defensive coordinator for the Longhorns my priority would be improving the ability of my unit to stop the run. The interior of the defense has been weak against the run all season long and it’s a big reason why the unit has had its struggles. Storm Woods ran for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns tonight. He deserves credit, but it’s not like Oregon State’s QB was really a threat to throw the ball so I’m frustrated Texas STILL could not stop the run. When teams can move the ball on the ground then it opens up their playbook and allows that team to have good control of the game. I think players will need to be shuffled around in the interior and the scheme needs a bit of a change as well. I’d start Malcolm Brown at DT and then have a competition for the DT that would be playing next to Brown. And Santos and Edmond are not the answers at middle linebacker. 6. Alex Okafor: 9 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and a forced fumble… Okafor just locked himself into the first round of the 2013 NFL draft. That performance was icing on the cake of the great season he has had. The Alamo Bowl defensive player of the game has been show casing his pass rushing skills all season long. In one sense I’m disappointed Okafor’s great season has been over shadowed by poor play of the defense as a unit. But you have to love how Okafor brought it each and every week, regardless of how the unit plays as a whole. We will be watching him on Sunday’s. 7. Steve Edmond/Dalton Santos: All season long I’ve been hoping one of these guys would take the next step into becoming more of a presence in the middle of the defense. But all season long neither has. Sophomore Steve Edmond and freshman Dalton Santos have great size and aren’t afraid to tackle anyone. But the problem is both lack the necessary speed and ability to read the plays in order to get to the ball carrier to tackle him. If I’m the defensive coordinator I immediately open the middle linebacker position up for a competition. My first thought would be to possibly move Kendall Thompson to the middle because I love having Tevin Jackson and Peter Jinkens on the field at the same time too. Texas has some other young guys to look at as well. But as of now I don’t think Edmond or Santos should be the starters in the middle. I want someone who can get to the ball carrier faster before he gets up field. 8. Justin Tucker, you’re needed back in Austin: I don’t exactly know why Mack hasn’t done more in recruiting to address this or why he didn’t have a better plan for the ‘Post Justin Tucker Era’ but what Texas currently has at the kicking position is not good. Kickoffs are fine, but if Texas ever has to kick a field goal over 40 yards to win a game then they are screwed. And I also don’t know why Anthony Fera has disappeared as a kicker once he got to Texas. The guy was pretty good for Penn State but he has done next to nothing while at UT. And Nick Jordan makes me nervous every time he attempts a field goal, and he doesn’t have the strongest leg either. Alex King has been killing it all season long punting the ball, but he is a senior so Texas will also need to find a replacement for the golden leg of Alex King. 9. Mack Brown can take a breather: It’s been somewhat easy to tell that this season has been unlike any season Mack has had at Texas. He has shown more stress and frustration than in any season before. But after tonight’s win, Coach Brown can take a breather and relax. He did a great job handling the situation with McCoy and Hicks earlier in the week and didn’t let that distract his team. I liked the energy from the team all night and Mack did a great job regrouping his team at half time and leading them in the second half as they rallied for their 9th win of the season. Sure the team isn’t back where Mack wants them, but I’m glad he got his bowl win. 10. Resilience: What happened tonight is something that had seemingly disappeared from the Longhorn football team for the past few years. Tonight the team was faced with a challenge in the second half and rallied together to succeed and win the game. I’m sure many fans thought Texas would eventually turn belly up and stall out in the second half to lose the game, but the Longhorns had something else in mind and fought to the very end to win the game. It was great to see and definitely a positive to build on going into the off-season. Wow, what a season it has been. Before the first game was played there were all kinds of speculation as to what type of year the Longhorns would have. Some of the expected scenarios happened, like the roller coaster ride at QB. And some unexpected scenarios happened, like the underachieving play by the defense. In the end the team did end up improving on their play from the previous year by finishing the season with 9 wins, 1 better than last year’s total. But this group still has many steps to make in order to bet back to being national contenders. There are a lot of question marks all over the roster. And as usual it will be fun sifting through the roster and learning about the new recruits to see how everything falls into place in time for kickoff next fall. Though I think I experienced every emotion possible with this Texas team, it’s what makes sports unique and fun, and I’m still proud to be a Longhorn and a fan of Texas. Hook’em Twitter: @WesKCrochet
  3. It is no surprise to learn that Mathis is in the running to become the running backs coach at Texas with the recent departure of Bryan Harsin to Arkansas State and Applewhite's move to playcaller and qb's coach. Mathis is a finalist for National High School Coach of the Year after leading DeSoto to a perfect record this season. He would be fantastic in my opionion for a lot of reasons but in a nutshell he has proven himself as a great coach at DeSoto and he would be a recruiting magnet. It is doubtful mathis will entertain any offer until after the season is over for the Eagles --- they have a huge playoff game against Allen at SMU's Ford Field on Saturday.
  4. Harsin's Exit One thing that has become prevalent in college football is the on-going, never stopping, always looming coaching carousel that occurs all around the nation. Texas fans should already be familiar with this situation on an even larger scale when the University of Texas lost their “Coach-In-Waiting”, Will Muschamp, to the University of Florida. Now it’s another coordinator that will be moving on by following an interest to be a head coach. After just two seasons at Texas, Co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin will be the head coach at Arkansas State. Some fans may not know anything about Arkansas State or have ever seen a red wolf (Ark. St. mascot) before. But if recent history tells you anything then it’s clear why Harsin would want a shot to be head coach at this stepping stone school. After each of the past consecutive seasons at Arkansas State, the head coach of the Red Wolves’ has left for much bigger head-coaching jobs. And both coaches have found landing spots in the SEC. After the 2011 season, Hugh Freeze left for Ole Miss after just one year as head coach at Arkansas State. And after the 2012 season, Gus Malzahn left for Auburn just 1 year after he was named the head coach at Arkansas State. Both of these guys were also offensive minds, like Harsin. With that knowledge alone it’s easy to see why Bryan Harsin is ready to take a shot at being the head coach at Arkansas State. Regardless of the fact that Harsin wants to take the gig as the head coach at a stepping stone school, we cannot shy away from the fact that Texas still has a big question mark at the quarterback position; a position Bryan Harsin had been coaching himself. The fact that Harsin is leaving may explain why the Juco QB’s UT have interest in hadn’t been offered anything from the school yet. On top of this, it will also be interesting to see if this plays a role in the decision of any quarterbacks (or any offensive players) to stay or leave the 40 acres. Fellow HornSports contributor Johnny Whisenant (@Texas0205) will shed more light into this subject and give more insight into how the players felt about Harsin, not just as a play-caller, but as someone they worked with daily. It’s definitely something you will want to read. But even with the question marks still floating around at the QB position, I believe this move for Harsin had more to do with the chance to be a head coach, at a school that has recently catapulted it’s past head coaches into a top football conference, than any other reason. Moving Forward With Major Whether you liked Harsin’s play calling or not, he has now moved on. Which means Texas must move on and move forward with a new play caller. Co-offensive coordinator, and beloved lifetime longhorn, Major Applewhite is now taking over as the play caller during games. He will still be a co-offensive coordinator, as wide receiver’s coach Darrell Wyatt has been promoted to co-offensive coordinator. But Applewhite will take charge of the offensive strategy and insert his own direction into the squad. The excitement over Major Applewhite’s promotion is understandable. The guy worked his magic, as a player, when he was doubted most: especially by his own head coach (Mack Brown). Now many fans, and even players, seem excited to see if Major can carry that magic into his play calling. As an offensive coordinator that calls plays, Major has had just 2 seasons in that position. His first was at Rice in 2006. And his second opportunity was with Nick Saban at Alabama in 2007. Below are the offense’s respective stats those years. 2006 Rice Offense: Totals – 4,486 yards, 44 TD’s, Passing – 2,783 yards, 29 TD’s, 14 INT’s. (6.40 yards/attempt) Rushing – 1,703 yards, 15 TD’s. (3.9 yards/carry) 2007 Alabama Offense: Totals – 4,859 yards, 38 TD’s. Passing – 2919 yards, 19 TD’s, 12 INT’s. (6.18 yards/attempt) Rushing – 1940 yards, 19 TD’s. (4.0 yards/attempt) 2012 Texas Offense (plays called by Harsin): Totals – 5, 292 yards, 54 TD’s. Passing – 3180 yards, 23 TD’s, 10 INT’s (8.71 yards/attempt) Rushing – 2,112 yards, 31 TD’s. (4.6 yards/attempt) The numbers in Applewhite’s two seasons as OC are lower than what Texas did last season. But we really shouldn’t even compare those two seasons to the Longhorn’s offense of last season. The style of offense and talent on offense at Rice and Alabama are much different that what Texas currently has. Texas is faster and has multiple players than can take it to the house on any given play. Rice’s talent isn’t up to that par, and we all know about the offenses Alabama has run in the past. Right now Applewhite has a Mustang (it’s not a Porsche yet) of an offense sitting in the driveway. If he can find a quarterback who can consistently drive this offense then he could very well shatter his own past offensive stats as a coordinator and keep this offense performing at a high level like it did in many games last season. There’s no question the Harsin move is an unexpected change. But what has almost been more unexpected is the reaction the fans, and even players, have displayed when learning knowledge of Harsin’s exit. Many fans don’t seem nearly as disappointed or as upset as I would have thought. I’m not sure if fans A) expect Major to come in and keep the offense rolling with out skipping a beat. And/Or don’t realize that almost all of the play calling from last year was from Bryan Harsin. And Harsin’s play calling improved this offense significantly all across the board in the two seasons he was here, specifically in points per game (28.1 in 2011, 36.1 in 2012). Bryan Harsin did help improve this offense, there’s no denying that. But the underlying story many of us may not have known is what his relationship was like with the players. As I stated earlier, Johnny Whisenant will shed light on this. But if you’re curious, go read some of the tweets from the players. They too don’t seem that disappointed Harsin is gone. And as a matter of fact, like the fans, they seem excited about Major Applewhite taking over the play calling. My Thoughts I, myself, am looking forward to seeing how Major does with the plays and how the team plays under his increased leadership. He is a very likeable guy and usually works well with the players, and recruits. But if you think about it, this next season could essentially be an entire season long job interview. Though it’s my opinion, I believe Mack will leave after next season. And if he does leave and a new head coach is brought in, then that head coach will most likely bring his own offensive coordinator. So the ‘Major Applewhite experiment’ may only last 1 season (unless he does an incredible job and gets promoted to Head Coach at UT… But I’m not ready to go there yet). It will be very interesting to watch how Major performs this next year. Though we all may be excited to see what he can do, we need to remember the offense may have a different look to it (rumblings are it may have a faster tempo at times). I also really hope he utilizes guys like Daje Johnson more, something Harsin shied away from in certain games. The offense, most likely built on the same basics of last year, will certainly have a different look under Applewhite. It’s fun to be excited about Major taking over but whether or not his style of offense works for UT has yet to be seen. Hook’em Twitter: @WesKCrochet
  5. Take it for what it is, but a friend of mine plays basketball at Gregory GYM on campus with one of the UT football players from time to time. I'm not naming this player right now. Anyways, my friend said the player and him were talking about the team a little bit. The player said David Ash could be good but he isn't focused on football enough right now. And that Case is too into himself. The player also said Mack is pretty much there to try to be the inspirational leader, but he really hasn't done that much coaching at practices. Not as much as the coordinators. Once again, I got this from a friend, but it's someone I trust and I know he's friends with the player.
  6. There are rumblings that OC Bryan Harsin is recruiting a QB to transfer to Texas. His name is Tanner McEvoy and he played at Arizona Western Community College. He was once a 3-star commit to South Carolina but transfered before this past season (his red shirt freshman season - he red shirted 2011) started because he was buried on the depth chart. Standing at 6'5", the kid was an interesting prospect out of New Jersey. He started just 1 year in high school, his senior year. "Tanner McEvoy threw for 2,264 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushed for 1,196 yards and 14 scores during his senior season at Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell, N.J." - Tanner McEvoy Profile - South Carolina Official Athletic Site If I have these stats correct, in 7 games at Western Arizona Community College, Tanner McEvoy completed 106 of 158 passes for 1,568 yards, 21 TD's, and 3 Int's. *The first game of the season he completed 3 of 5 passes for 17 yards and 1 TD - must not have played that much. - Tanner McEvoy | #14 | QB | Arizona Western College - NJCAA Stats I'm a fan of this move. Texas is still looking for a solid option under center and I'm a fan of bringing in anyone they can get while performing another QB competition this off-season. From looking at stats alone he seems like he is a pocket passer but can scramble if need be. But that is still to be determined. Hook'em.
  7. This game was tough to walk away from because Texas had many chances to win it. They are a talented team but they are making mistakes that are very uncharacteristic of Texas teams in the past and should not be happening with the talent that is on this team, especially on defense. Though I knew the outcome of the game, as I re-watched it I still cringed at the mistakes made and even found myself yelling at the TV from time to time because this team can be very, very good, but they need to put it all together. 1. David Ash: What was once a mystery before the season started, the quarterback position is now a strength of the Longhorn team. Ash didn’t put up ridiculous numbers this week (passing for 269 yards, 1 touchdown, and 0 interceptions), but he didn’t do anything that cost Texas the game or put them in bad situations (the botched shotgun snap at the end of the game wasn’t his fault. The snap came too early. And Mack should have called a timeout with the clock running down that low at that point in the game). Nevertheless, he made the completions when he needed to, led the Longhorns on another late drive, and managed the offense well. I like the touch on most of his passes, though he can still improve his accuracy. But he is coming into his own and developing into the leader and playmaker the Longhorns need at the quarterback position. 2. Offensive Line: This offensive line is a funny unit. Funny not in a comical sense but in the fact that they are a very strange group to define and understand. They do well in pass protection, for the most part, but they still are very inconsistent in run blocking and often get little to no push against opposing defensive lines. And statistically it showed. Yardage wise, Jonathan Gray was the leading rusher with 87 yards. Second to him, Joe Bergeron ended the day with just 45 yards on the ground (though he had 4 goal line touchdowns as well). But because holes were either non-existent or more of creases in the line, the bigger Bergeron had a harder time getting into the second level, while Gray was able to slip through some of the creases and get up field. It’s frustrating to watch because not only does the lack of run blocking take away from the talent of the running backs, but it also hinders the offense from being able to open up the playbook more and keep the opposing defense guessing. And on top of that, it put Texas in many 3rd and longs, which is never a good thing. This needs to be improved upon but the problem is I’m not sure this group can improve upon this… 3. Defensive Line: Like the offensive line, this group also had its ups and downs. I loved all the pressure and containment that the defensive line had on passing plays all night. They sacked Geno Smith multiple times, caused big time turnovers, and were getting past the offensive linemen in passing situations. But as good as they were on passing plays, they were terrible on running plays. The team thought to be inferior in the running game actually dominated on the ground all evening. West Virginia’s Andrew Buie rushed 31 times for 207 yards and 2 touchdowns. And for the second straight week, an opposing running back had a big day (recall last week when OSU’s Joseph Randle rushed 25 times for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns). Worse damage comes when teams run the ball out of the shotgun. For whatever reason, when the ball is run out of the shotgun and the defensive line is a bit more spread out, they do a terrible job of shedding their blocks and getting to the running back as he makes his way through the running lane. They do, however, seem to play better when the ball is run out of a more pro style attack. Traditionally, Texas is very good against the run so hopefully Mack and his staff can figure out exactly what is going on and make the changes before the big game this Saturday in Dallas. 4. Secondary: A lot was riding on the secondary this past weekend if Texas wanted to win, and they simply didn’t get it done. Give credit to the Mountaineers’ receivers, especially Bailey and Austin. But the Longhorns are better than this, and this subpar play is already getting old real fast. As far as coverage goes, Quandre Diggs is currently the best Texas has, and I like what I’ve seen out of him for the most part. I noticed WVU seemed to avoid throwing to his side much. I also liked Mykkele Thompson’s play. He was physical and if he wasn’t making the tackle he was close by. He also did well in coverage, especially for starting his first game. But I’ve been really disappointed with Adrian Phillips, Carrington Byndom, and even Kenny Vaccaro. I may be nit picking with Vaccaro some, but he isn’t playing at an All-American level. I’m not high on his coverage ability, and he could even improve his tackling. I do like that Diaz has him playing close to the line. That’s where he plays the best. As for Byndom, his coverage ability this year has seemed to digress some. But the worst part of his play has been the pursuit angles he is taking when he is going to tackle someone. I can think of a handful of plays where he is getting into position to make a tackle but then over-pursues or takes a bad angle and misses the chance to even tackle the player. Last year he played very well so I know he is capable of being better, but, like much of the secondary, his play has digressed this season so far, largely due to a lack of discipline. And for Phillips… he gets his own thought. 5. Adrian Phillips: I’ll be the first to admit I was very high on Phillips at the end of last season. I thought he would really be an impact player at the back end of the defense and be an exciting player to watch this fall… Right now I can’t stand seeing him on the field. He continues to make bad play after bad play. He looks lost. He has terrible tackling technique. His coverage ability has really been subpar. And he has turned into a liability in the secondary. Unless he makes some big improvements in his play, Mykkele Thompson should have no trouble remaining the starter above Phillips for the rest of the season. Phillips has just been disappointing, like much of the secondary… 6. Emerging Defensive Playmakers: As frustrating as the defense was, two guys really stood out to me: sophomore middle linebacker Steve Edmond and freshman nose tackle Malcolm Brown. With Hicks out, Edmond was forced to take over much of the leadership on defense and did very well with it. He and Malcolm both played well at their positions, made tackles, applied pressure, and looked like they will be very, very good players for UT. 7. 5/5: On fourth downs, West Virginia was five for five. Giving up a stat like that alone can lose you games; just ask Oklahoma State who Texas had success on fourth down plays against. Failing to stop these conversions was a large reason Texas lost Saturday night. Ironically, the Longhorns were great on third downs, as WVU was just 3 of 12. But 5 chances to get WVU off the field were blown by the Longhorns’ inability to stop the Mountaineers on fourth down, and that cannot happen in Dallas this next Saturday. 8. Special Teams: First, the kick coverage was terrible to start the game, and it forced Texas to kick sky balls and squib kicks the rest of the night. I’m fed up with the inability to tackle across the entire team. Texas is too talented of a team to be missing tackles this frequently and consistently. The special teams unit was successful at blocking another field goal and punt, and it’s great to see that aspect back as a strength for UT. 9. Anthony Fera: We finally got to see Fera play this season after he had been out with a groin injury. He was 6 of 6 on extra points, but was 1 of 2 on field goals; his only made field goal was from 38 yards and looked good. There’s no denying his kick at the end of the game was a key mistake, as it would have tied up the game, but that kick alone did not lose the game for Texas and that’s very important to remember. Hopefully his confidence didn’t take a huge hit because, once again, he will be called upon to kick well in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday. 10. Missed Opportunities: There were two key drops by D.J. Grant and Joe Bergeron, a botched snap, a missed field goal, and a turnover that all halted drives, cost the Longhorn’s points, and/or gave the ball back to the Mountaineers. The most frustrating aspect of this game is that Texas had a legitimate chance to walk away with a win, but they just couldn’t put it all together when it counted, especially late in the fourth quarter. West Virginia has a great offense, led by Heisman candidate Geno Smith. They are fast, they are explosive, and they don’t make many mistakes. But the Mountaineers are beatable, and that’s what is most frustrating about this loss. Texas had a chance to get the “Wâ€, but they simply made too many mistakes at the end of the game that cost them the win. But I still feel good about this team, and you shouldn’t count them out or lose hope after this loss. This is still a young group and many of the players are continuing to emerge and develop. Many of the playmakers on offense like Ash, Brown, Bergeron, Johnson, Gray, and Shipley are all sophomores or freshman. And there are players all across the defense, like Diggs, Edmond, Brown, and Thompson, to name a few, who are also still young as well. Even though there is still much this team can improve on, they are headed in the right direction and are much more improved at this point this year than they were last year. It was a tough loss, but the fact that Texas has a chance to win is something to walk away with. Hook’em Twitter: @WesKCrochet Email: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  8. All week I’ve been trying to play out in my head how I think the game will go this Saturday at DKR. But each time I run through the game I come up with a completely different outcome. And that’s what makes this game so interesting. We know the general identity of both teams, but how they respond to the match ups on both sides of the ball is what’s hard to predict. West Virginia has a high-powered offense, led by Geno Smith, that attacks with its passing game first and its running game second. The Mountaineers are averaging 441.5 passing yards per game (best in the nation) and 157 rushing yards per game. The offense is fast and explosive and can score a lot of points in a hurry. The Mountaineers defense is their weakest part of the team and has given up a total of 130 points this season, which ranks them 96 nationally. Texas is more balanced across the board, though. The longhorns are averaging 267.8 passing yards and 228 rushing yards per game. With the emergence of David Ash at QB the longhorns can score in a number of ways. Add that to the fact that West Virginia's defense is one of the weaker units in the Big 12 and that give you a match up that offensive coordinator Brian Harsin will be drooling over. Here are 5 things I’m interested in most for this game. (No particular order). 1. Secondary: A unit once thought to be one of the best in the nation has not played up to expectations. This group can still make a name for themselves on a national level but it has to start this Saturday. Big plays and missed tackles have plagued the secondary so far this season. I still think they are very talented and have the potential to be one of the best units but they have become to reliant on talent and have not played with the necessary discipline, fundamentals, and effort they are capable of. The outcome of the game will rely largely on how this group plays. 2. Geno Smith: This high-powered offense that the Mountaineers are bringing to Austin has all kinds of explosive players across the depth chart. But it all starts with Geno Smith. In addition to the secondary playing well the studs at defensive end and the linebackers for the Horns will need to get good pressure on Geno Smith and prevent him from breaking off a lot big runs out of the pocket. Some big gains may be inevitable, but the number of big runs will need to be controlled. 3. Running Backs: When I heard that Malcolm Brown was out I immediately thought back to the Missouri game last year. But luckily this is a different scenario. The longhorns have the luxury of having a stable of running backs who can all run the ball effectively. Before the season I said that there will be a few games where Jonathan Gray will be called upon to carry a bigger load than normal. This will be that game. Bergeron will get his carries but the ability to insert different running backs into the game who have different running styles will be very important. Running the ball effectively and controlling the clock will be huge Saturday night. 4. Offensive Line: A work in progress, the offensive line has had its ups and downs. But this game will be about scoring points and it will start with the offensive line opening up running lanes and pass protecting well for Ash. I actually think the offensive line could have their best game of the season. They haven’t been all that consistent but my gut is telling me they put it together for this game… Optimistic? Ya. 5. Anthony Fera: For the first time all season we should get a chance to see high touted kicker Anthony Fera play. And it couldn’t come soon enough. The Longhorns will need to get points on every drive, whether it be by touchdown or field goal. And the latter is where Fera will play a big role. Neither of the current kickers Texas has been using have been very reliable so having Fera will be a luxury. Granted, we haven’t seem him kick in a game yet, but he has to be better than what we’ve had so far. I could see this game being a shoot out… But I could also see this game being lower scoring than people may think. Either way I expect a great game and good football. A few players will need to step up for the Longhorns, especially the linebackers, if they want to pull out a win. Jordan Hicks is out and you know the WVU offense will exploit the reserve linebackers and test their ability, as well as the tackling/coverage ability of the secondary. At the same time the Texas offense could exploit the entire West Virginia defense. Hook’em The game on Saturday will be played in Austin, Texas. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 (CT) P.M. Notable Injuries: LB Jordan Hicks (out), RB Malcolm Brown (out), Anthony Fera (Questionable), Brandon Moore (probable). Join in on the conversation. What will you be looking for? Twitter: @WesKCrochet E-mail: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  9. I'm starting to put together a list of schools to visit in East Texas during 2-A-Days. Any suggestions on a school or particular prospect ?? For the record... Class of 2014 could be legendary. Let me know guys. HookEm
  10. The Offensive Line Preview 2012 By Wes Crochet Much of the focus this off-season has been on how the starting quarterback will perform, or whether the receivers will make plays, or which running back will have the best year. Well guess what, none of that matters if the offensive line doesn’t play well. And for an offensive line coming off a year where they gave up a total of 28 sacks for 242 yards, they have much to prove and improve (in retrospect, the SEC bound Aggies gave up a total of 9 sacks for 44 yards last year. That’s impressive for any school). In defense of the O-line, there was a new position coach, Stacy Searels. And the new coach barely had enough scholarship players to form a starting unit with back ups at each position. But luckily for the Horns improvement is exactly what should happen. Four of the five starters either have experience at their position or have started there in the past. And the remaining starter, Juco transfer LT Donald Hawkins, has already meshed well with the rest of the unit and looks as if he will be the solution to what was once a question mark at Left Tackle. And considering that there isn’t a single senior in the starting unit, this unit could potentially become one of the best offensive lines we have seen in the past few years. Starters: Left Tackle: Donald Hawkins – JUCO transfer who has been flashing greatness as he learns the offense. Left Guard: Trey Hopkins – move back inside to guard where he is better suited. Center: Dominic Espinosa – Looks to be the weakest link of the offense but was thrown into the fire last season as a freshman and should improve. Right Guard: Mason Walters – arguably the best linemen on the team, he will be the leader and anchor. Right Tackle: Josh Cochran – Won the starting tackle job late last season as a freshman and should be locked in as the starter for at-least this season and next. Reserves: Thomas Ashcraft, Kennedy Estelle, Sedrick Flowers, Luke Poehlmann, Garrett Porter. During Mack Brown’s press conference a few days ago he stated there were still two main weaknesses with the depth chart. The first was at the tight end position. But the second was with the depth at offensive line. Mack singled out Thomas Ashcraft as the only reserve he was really confident sending into the game. Where as the other reserve linemen still need to gain Brown’s trust and confidence before he feels comfortable with the depth behind the starting unit. Let’s take a look at the reserves to try to understand why Mack feels this way. As I stated earlier, Thomas Ashcroft is the only reserve Mack Brown has singled out as the back-up linemen he has the most confidence and trust in. Whether there are injuries or not, having multiple reserves you can count on to spell the starters or play in their place is key to an O-line’s success. Kennedy Estelle – It’s understandable that Mack could still have some question marks for Kennedy Estelle. Though Estelle is a four star recruit and a mammoth standing at 6’7†and weighing 300 lbs, he is a true freshman. The fact that he is even on the depth chart and listed as the reserve at Left Tackle gives me confidence that though Estelle may still need work he has shown signs that he can be a talented linemen down the line. Sedrick Flowers – Currently listed as the reserve at Left Guard, I’m really hoping Flowers turns it up soon. He is a bit undersized to play on the outside but his 6’3†frame should be able to handle the guard duties where he is listed. There was some positive buzz around Flowers during the off-season but what concerns me is that Sedrick has already had a year with the team and Mack still has question marks for Flowers. The doubts could mean he still is struggling with consistency or to learn the new blocking assignments. But he was dominant in high school and has been working hard in the weight room to increase his weight from 280 lbs when he stepped on campus to his current 313 lbs. I think he can take the next step in his performance early in the season and become a viable reserve. Garret Porter – Once a red-shirt freshman, Porter is entering his fourth year as a Longhorn. But the 2009 recruit has yet to show any indication he is capable of starting. He is listed as the reserve at center but was not always seeing snaps as the immediate reserve. Instead Mason Walters has also seen snaps as the reserve center. Porter was a four-star recruit from Odessa but still hasn’t put it all together. I admit that I will be a bit nervous if Porter is called upon to start at Center for a large portion of the season. Luke Poehlmann - A three-star recruit from the 2008 class, Poehlmann has seen action on the offensive line and at the TE position mainly in blocking situations. I like Poehlmann’s versatility to play Tackle or TE but his weakness is that he is decent at both positions but not great at one of them. Though he has the experience to handle a starting role, he would struggle with a larger DE/DT due to his 275lb size. The depth behind the starting unit is full of in-experience, youth, and some simple lack of talent. I’m confident with all of the starters on the line, though Dominic Espinosa is currently the weakest link with that unit. But if he, or any of the linemen go down with an injury don’t be surprised if offensive-line coach Stacy Searels moves guys around and changes up the line up. His coaching philosophy involves placing linemen in different positions across the line during practice, and that philosophy is part of what makes him one of the best coaches at his position in the country. Much talk has been about the quarterbacks, running backs, and receivers, but the success of the team this fall also very much relies on the growth, improvement and health of this offensive line and the depth that lies behind it. Twitter: @WesKCrochet Email: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  11. Today the depth chart for the horns came out and Mack had many different notes on each position and who's going to play. One thing that struck me was his comments on the QB position. The depth chart has David Ash as the starer, Case McCoy as 2nd string, Follwed by Connor Brewer and Jalen Overstreet in that order. But when asked about the starter, Mack did mention both David and Case will play. He didn't know exactly how or what role Case would have since David is the starter. But when asked about leadership on the team Mack went on to single out Case by saying he "is one of the best leaders on the team". So what does that mean? Mack also said he hopes to red-shirt both Connor Brewer and Jalen Overstreet. Which is what I originally thought should happen. But wait just a second... Both David and Case will be playing in each game and Mack still hopes to red-shirt both the young QB's? Here are my questions... and my initial thoughts. -Why is McCoy still in the mix for playing time during a game? -When McCoy steps onto the field what does he bring to the game that Ash isn't bringing? -Why doesn't Mack know what role McCoy will have for the games? (Mack literally said he needs to sit down with Harsin and Applewhite to clarify McCoy's role during the games. Yet Mack knows McCoy still needs snaps?) -If Mack wants to red-shirt both Connor and Jalen, then why would he put both his starter and back-up QB in a game where both could get hurt? Here are my initial thoughts for all those questions: McCoy has a special gift that isn't necessarily teachable and something you can't shy away from, especially with this team. He has leadership. He has that presence and mind-set his brother, Colt, had. But his brother also had a better arm and was more gifted physically. If Ash had Case's leadership abilities then Ash would easily be the starter, no questions asked. That also tells me Ash hasn't become the leader for the team that he needs to be. Which is why McCoy is still in the mix. Ash has the athletic ability but isn't the leader he needs to be. McCoy has the leadership & presence but can't make as many throws as Ash. To me, Ash seems like a shy guy who will open up when he feels comfortable in a situation. For him to feel comfortable with his team he will need to play well and earn some respect from how he performs during games. I think if Ash can perform well, then we will see a more open and confident David Ash who will then take more of a leadership role. It is disappointing that it seems as if he hasn't taken more leadership, because not only is leadership critical for the QB position but this team also had leadership issues the past couple of years and having the starting QB be the unquestioned leader on offense would really help the offense and the team. Mack realizes Case is one of the best leaders on the team and is going to show Case and the team respect by still giving him snaps. But Mack also knows that if he truly wants to get back to national prominence, Case simply can't make all the big time throws that Ash should be capable of. As for the rest of Mack's comments about the depth chart... Mack mentioned that tight end and offensive line depth were the two weakness that still needed to be fixed. D.J. Grant could have a decent year, but I think Mack sees MJ McFarland as the better receiving weapon. Problem is MJ hasn't shown the ability to effectively block, which contributes to the weakness at the position. Currently, McFarland isn't even listed on the depth chart. But in a passing situation McFarland could enter the game. I would also not be surpised to see Miles Onyegbule on the field as a tight end split off the line only in receiving situations. He too needs to improve his blocking before he is an every down option. The starters on the offensive line are solid but the depth behind the O-line is where the concern emerges. Mack singled out Thomas Ashcraft as the first guy in to sub for the starters but needs to see more from the other guys to feel confident in them. Overall I felt good about the rest of the positions Mack Brown talked about. Defensive line and the defensive backs will be a strength. If the inexperienced linebackers can play well during the games like they have in practice then they too will be a strength, which will form one of the top defenses in the country. There are playmakers all over the special teams and the longhorns could very well go back to having one of the best special teams units in the country again, like that had a few years ago. The running backs are all talented and as many as four (Bergeron, Brown, Gray, Hills) could see the field for multiple snaps a game. That's crazy depth. *Daje Johnson will be suspended the first game for violating team rules "and that won't change". Both the starters, Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis, are dealing with some minor injuries but should be good to go by the opener. Other than Marquis, depth behind the receivers will still be an area to monitor but is not seen as a huge weakness by Mack. (of course not, the horns will barely throw the ball until they figure out what they have at QB...) I expect the floor to be 8 wins and the ceiling to be 11 wins. Anything worse will be a disappointment and anything better will be incredible. The depth chart can be found here: MackBrown-TexasFootball.com - Official website of the Texas Longhorns - Texas Football Jump into the conversation and let us know what you think. Twitter: @WesKCrochet Email: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  12. Before I begin I need to explain the league I play in. It's an 8 team league and we have our own customized scoring system. The system isn't drastically different from the standard scoring system but we like to think it's more accurate as to how players are playing and more detailed. Because of this system the top QB's have always been more valuable than the top RB's/WR's (just like in the actual NFL) but having a top RB is still key to success. Oh and we also play with individual defensive players (2 D-linemen, 2 LB's, 2 DB). I really suggest trying a league with defensive players. After we started doing the league that way I've never preferred a league with team defense/special teams. If I can figure it out I'll try to upload a screen shot of my league's scoring system and the entire draft order. Like I said it's an 8 team league. We do a snake draft. I had the 8th pick.... One of the 2 picks I did not want. In my oppinion the 7th and 8th pick were 2 of the worst picks based on where talent drop offs in the first 5 rounds. And I also hate having back to back picks (I.E. drafting in the last spot then drafting the very next pick since it's a snake draft.) But I did what I could to make it work and was pleased with my first 2 picks as far as who dropped to me. Roster: QB, RB, RB/WR, RB/WR, WR, WR, TE, DL, DL, LB, LB, DB, DB, K, IR (injured reserve). Like I said, if i can make it work ill attach pictures of the draft order. but the first and second rounds went like this... RD1 1. Matthew Stafford - Our draft order is randomized one hour before the draft. My friend clearly thinks Stafford is going to be the best QB in the league. Stafford won't be the best. But he is a top 5 fantasy QB this year with the #1 receiver. I smell what he's stepping in, but I'd never take him first. 2. Arian Foster 3. Aaron Rodgers 4. Calvin Johnson - I was surprised to see Johnson this high. He's a beast, but the WR depth this year is insane. I'd have gone QB or RB. 5. Drew Brees 6. LeSeanMcCoy 7. Tom Brady 8. Ray Rice - My first pick. I was verrryyy surprised to see Rice fall to me at 8. I rank him in the top 5 overall. RD2 9. Cam Newton - After Newton, the QB talent drops off. Had to snag him now while he is still here. (Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Stafford, Newton are my top 5 QB's.) One could argue Vick will have a big year but he's made of glass and I try to avoid those injury prone players early. 10. Andre Johnson - Also made of glass but when he's healthy he's one of the best. Little early for him here. 11. Chris Johnson - Really interested to see what he does. Call me crazy but I too think he will have a great year. 12. Rob Gronkowski - I'd take Jimmy Graham before Gronk. But Gronk and Graham are in a league of their own. 13. DeMarco Murray 14. Matt Forte 15. Maurice Jones-Drew - surpised MJD was this low. If rice was gone when i picked at 8, MJD would have been my next pick. 16. Jamaal Charles Order of players drafted I drafted 1. Ray Rice - Honestly I never thought he would have fallen to the 8th pick, but the added value to QB plays into his fall because 4 QB's were taken in the first round... a little different than standard leagues. 2. Cam Newton - Had him last year and I think he does it big this year again. 3. Steven Jackson - It was either him, Trent Richardson, or Frank Gore then the talent dropped. Gore will be part of big committee. I went with Jackson because Fisher loves running the ball and steven is still in good shape. Richardson is also a good pick here, but he did just scope his knee... 4. Antonio Gates - The top tight ends were starting to go off the board. I always like to make sure to get a top tight end because they can put up stats like a receiver. Especially when I won't be picking again for a while. 5. Dez Bryant - if he gets his act together he will put up top 5 points this year. Big IF but worth the risk. 6. Brandon Lloyd - In the past two seasons he put up a combined 2,414 yards and 16 TD's WITHOUT Tom Brady as his QB... Huge year with Tom. 7.Eric Decker - I keep going back and forth trying to figure out if Decker or Thomas will have the bigger fantasy impact. I want to jump on the Peyton train this season and will try to have one of those two on every team i draft in. Thomas was gone when i had this pick so Decker was the pick. 8. Jeremy Maclin - Everything coming out of Philly is indicating Maclin is healthy and looking like a number 1 wide out on a powerful offense. 9. Jarad Allen - my first defensive pick of the draft. I put a lot of emphasis on trying to get top tier players at every position. There are always tons of Linebackers that can put up good stats. The amount of top defensive linemen are limited. Allen should see reduced snaps but he is still a freak. 10. Antonio Brown - if the steelers can invest over 40 million dollars in him then i can invest a late draft pick. But he needs Wallace on the field to get his top potential production. 11. Calais Campbell - Another fantasy IDP stud on the d-line. And in real life. 12. Pierre Garcon - if RG3 is all that then he will need someone be on the other end of his stats. Garcon has looked good so far and seems to be Griffins favorite target so far. 13. Morgan Burnett - flies all over the field making plays. One of the best safeties in da leagueee doeee 14. Ben Tate - although he is a back up he still had over 1,000 yards. And god forbid Foster gets hurt but if he does then Tate will have a huge year. But if another player emerges in free agency, Tate may be one of the first players I'd cut. He's still a back up so it's tough to predict when he will have big games. 15. Ben Roethlisberger - decent back up QB if Newton goes down. 16. Doug Martin - Martin will be the starter. Blount may vulture some TD's, but Martin has been out shining Blount in training camp. 17. Jarius Byrd - solid DB who could provide many turnovers 18. Luke Kuechly - taking a flyer on him early in the season but hearing he's been all over the field in training camp. If he doesn't work out there are always LB's that can be picked up. 19. Sean Witherspoon - tackle machine. 20. Sebastian Janikowski - biggest leg in the league. And kicks of 40+ & 50+ yards have bonus points awarded. The biggest improvement I could have made to this draft was trying to get another top RB. It wasn't my best draft but I came away pleased. Feel free to ask questions on here or on twitter (@WesKCrochet).
  13. Prior to the annual Orange-White game, The University of Texas honored Heisman Trophy winner and former Longhorn running back Ricky Williams by unveiling an 8-foot bronze likeness of the star. With 20,000 + fans in the stands and a cast of notable attendees including famed sportscaster Brent Musberger, who made the call on November 20th, 1998 when Williams broke the all-time rushing record held by Tony Dorsett, Ricky Williams' place in Texas football was solidified... literally. "Ricky Williams provided the greatest run I have ever seen, against Texas A&M," said Musberger. Ricky's good friend and former teammate Wayne McGarrity was part of the celebration and addressed the crowd: "If Ricky were not here in 1998, there is no telling where this program would be today." Alumnus and long-time donor Joe Jamail praised Ricky's accomplishments and even poked a little fun by mentioning Austin's "Keep it Weird" slogan and saying "Ricky has done his part to contribute to that." Williams mentioned how honored he was to have a statue that will sit next to Earl Campbell's but noted that the statue represents the accomplishments of the past, the present and the future of Texas football, not just his individual achievements. The ceremony and the energy, passion and nostalgia that surrounded it will live in the hearts, minds and now, the reality of all fans of Texas football. Catch Ricky's record breaking run and call from Brent Musberger (and the Texas radio guys) below.
  14. I just about fell out of my chair laughing so hard and seeing the tweets to David Ubben regarding his assessment of the Aggie football season. He gives the Aggies the following grades: Offense - D+ Defense - D Overall - F Take a peek for yourself - Season report card: Texas A&M Aggies - Big 12 Blog - ESPN Poor Aggies.
  15. Get your tickets tomorrow, Monday, August 1, 2011 for Longhorn Football games. Box office opens at 9:00 am - http://bit.ly/bLA0Nf. Hook'em
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