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Game Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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My buddy was at a dinner event last night that Shaka and Charlie attended. Charlie told a couple of stories, but I liked hearing this one the most. A couple weeks ago, Charlie received a call from Sha

I have to say, I'm pretty stoked about the OL talent we have now assembled. We are where we've wanted to be for years now, but were never able to even get halfway there. The talent is not "shovel-read

Eyes of Texas are fixed on Charlie Strong's Longhorns






AUSTIN, Texas -- Inclement weather caused Texas to halt its April 16 spring after the first half, but victory-starved Longhorns fans still got a plenty good glimpse of the 2016 squad's offensive makeover.


They watched early enrollee quarterback Shane Buechele complete 22 passes for 299 yards -- more than Texas' quarterbacks threw for in 11 of their 12 games last season.


They watched running backs D'Onta Foreman and Chris Warren III average a combined 10.9 yards per carry.


And they watched all this play out in breakneck fashion. The two sides combined to run 110 plays in a half; last year Texas ranked 110th in plays per game (67.8).

Charlie Strong's 'Horns may be coming off a 5-7 season, but the doom and that's hovered over Austin the past several seasons is quietly morphing into cautious optimism thanks to a precocious freshman quarterback and an ascendant young offensive coordinator.

"We needed to give our fans something. We needed to give them hope," said Strong, who went 11-14 in his first two seasons. "The new offense, the change, it gave them a shot of juice."


“We needed to give our fans something. We needed to give them hope.

Charlie Strong

Since replacing longtime Texas icon Mack Brown in 2014, Strong has endured a wildly turbulent initiation.

On the field, a dearth of veteran talent coupled with an interminable void at quarterback led to embarrassing losses and maddening inconsistency. Texas last season beat College Football Playoff participant Oklahoma and Top 15 foe Baylor (albeit with a receiver playing quarterback) but also lost 38-3 to Notre Dame, 50-7 to TCU and, most gallingly, 24-0 at 3-9 Iowa State.

Meanwhile, off the field, there was the mutiny against Strong's former AD Steve Patterson, a lawsuit involving his former co-offensive coordinator, Joe Wickline, a player tweeting from the halftime locker room and various other soap opera headlines.

Strong had barely begun his second season before the calls for his head began.

"The eyes of Texas are always on you," said the former Louisville coach and longtime SEC defensive coordinator. "I didn't hear people on TV calling for my job. But I figured they would be."

Much of the criticism directed at Strong was unfair. He inherited a roster so lacking in high-end talent that this week may be the second time in three years the program does not have a single player drafted. Conversely, his former team, Louisville, saw 10 former Strong recruits get the call last year.

Meanwhile, Texas' well-documented misses over the years evaluating quarterback prospects only compounded matters, especially when former starter David Ash's career ended one game into Strong's first season due to recurring concussion symptoms. Tyrone Swoopes struggled as a replacement.

The one area where Strong unquestionably erred, however, was in his initial offensive staff and philosophy. After teaming together to coach star Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville, Strong brought with him offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, whose pro-style offense quickly proved a poor fit for Texas' quarterbacks and offensive personnel. Strong pledged to switch to a hurry-up spread to in 2015 yet stuck by Watson until Notre Dame humiliated the 'Horns in the season opener, at which point Strong abruptly handed over play-calling duties to receivers coach Jay Norvell.

A week after Texas' 5-7 regular season ended, Strong and a convoy that included school president Greg Fenves and AD Mike Perrin flew to Tulsa to reel in a new coordinator. Sterlin Gilbert, a 37-year-old Texas native and Art Briles disciple, was still a high school coach as recently as 2011. Dino Babers, himself a former Briles assistant, hired Gilbert upon becoming the head coach at Eastern Illinois and brought him to Bowling Green two years later.

        Tim Heitman

"The only reason I went to Eastern Illinois is there's a small group of people who know how to run this offense, and Dino Babers wanted to run this offense," said Gilbert, a GA for Briles at Houston in 2005. Gilbert spent last season at Tulsa under former Baylor OC Phillip Montgomery. The Golden Hurricane jumped from 99th to 37th nationally in yards per play (6.1) in their first year in the offense.

Though Briles' Bears have led the Big 12 in total offense three of the past five season, Texas will be the first program in the conference to adopt their unique no-huddle system.

"We had to go in that direction, No. 1, in order to recruit, because it's the system that most of the players [in Texas] come out of, that's the system they want to go into," said Strong. " ... Also, you still want to be physical. You still want to run the football. I have two really good running backs. We have to be able to go up- tempo but also turn around and hand the football off. That takes a lot of pressure off the quarterback.

"I looked at Sterlin and felt this would be the perfect fit for what we need to do to get this program heading in the right direction."

If the spring game was any indication, the 'Horns are already operating at a fairly fast tempo. And there's certainly no shortage of skill talent on Texas' offense. It starts with those two aforementioned running backs -- Foreman, a 6-foot, 238-pound junior who averaged 7.2 yards per carry last season, and 6-2, 255-pound Warren, who broke out late in his freshman season with a 276-yard Thanksgiving night against Texas Tech. 

Texas also has several budding young receivers, most notably track star John Burt, who caught a 65-yard touchdown in the spring game, as well as early enrollee Collin Johnson, a 6-6 target who's already locked down a starting spot.

But most of all there's Buechele, son of former Major League third baseman Steve Buechele, the savior-in-waiting charged with ending the program's now seven-year quarterback drought post-Colt McCoy. 'Horns fans have been fooled before by the likes of Garrett Gilbert and Jerrod Heard, but the 6-1 Buechele looks sharp and comfortable running Gilbert's hurry-up offense.

Neither Strong nor Gilbert has officially anointed Buechele the likely starter over Swoopes, but Strong certainly talks as if it's a formality.

"[The fans] were looking for something different. What's going to be different?" said Strong. "And then Shane goes out and plays well in the spring game, they walk away feeling good knowing now that, 'Hey, we have a quarterback.'"

Far less certain is whether Texas has an offensive line that can protect him. The 'Horns last season started two freshman tackles, Connor Williams and Patrick Vahe, and now early enrollee Zach Shackelford will attempt to do the same at center.


“It's Year Three now. It's no more excuses.

Charlie Strong

It's much the same story on defense, where Texas is brimming with young budding stars like linebacker Malik Jefferson and cornerback Holton Hill but is largely starting over on the defensive line.

"Right now our issues are up front," said Strong. "We've just got to solve that problem."

Texas fans could not ask for a better measuring stick as to how far the 'Horns have a progressed in a year's time than the season opener Sept. 4 against Notre Dame â the same team that embarrassed Texas a year earlier in South Bend.

"It's Year Three now," said Strong. "It's no more excuses."

Especially with that offense and that quarterback.



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Spring review: Linebackers — Malik Jefferson is a star, but who else?



After becoming a freshman All-American, what does Jefferson have in store for 2016?

Posted April 25th, 2016

Brian Davis   American-Statesman Staff

ï‚™ @BDavisAAS

Going into the 2016 season, there is little doubt that Malik Jefferson is the face of the Texas Longhorns. He represents everything coach Charlie Strong wants his program to embody.

Jefferson has always had supreme confidence, too. “There should be no more excuses about how young we are,†he said after the spring game.

Jefferson is a top-flight choice at linebacker. But will coaches turn him loose and allow Jefferson to come rushing off the edge, which is his natural skill? Or, will Jefferson have to stay put in the middle due to a lack of other defensive playmakers?

Texas linebacker Anthony Wheeler, left, and P.J. Locke III tackle Baylor running back Johnny Jeffeerson in the third quarter at McLane Stadium in Waco on Saturday December 5, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Texas linebacker Anthony Wheeler, left, and P.J. Locke III tackle Baylor running back Johnny Jeffeerson in the third quarter at McLane Stadium in Waco on Saturday December 5, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Anthony Wheeler and Tim Cole both had extensive roles last season, although not starring ones. Edwin Freeman played in six games last season and finished with 12 tackles.

There are high hopes for Demarco Boyd, who enrolled in January. Another incoming freshman, Jeffrey McCulloch, was 16th on the American-Statesman’s Fab 55 recruiting list. It’s thought Erick Fowler could make a dynamic off-the-edge pass rusher.

So while Jefferson believes that youth shouldn’t be an excuse, it’s clear the Longhorns will give multiple freshmen long, hard looks this August.

Here’s a look at the linebackers currently on the roster:

1. Malik Jefferson: A potential college football superstar. Maybe that’s putting too much hype on a player with only one year of experience. But he was a freshman All-American. Jefferson (6-3, 238) had 61 tackles last season, 2.5 sacks and a 26-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

2. Anthony Wheeler: The Skyline product arguably had his best performance in the season finale against Baylor. Wheeler (6-2, 232) had six tackles, one pass breakup and a key fumble recovery. He needs to elevate his play and lock down a starting job.

3. Tim Cole: Going into his fifth and final season, Cole (6-1, 240) has plenty of experience to draw from. He’s played in 31 career games but started only four. His career best was an eight tackle performance against Texas Tech last season.

4. Edwin Freeman: Coaches are always looking for consistency. Freeman (6-1, 232) had four tackles in the season opener against Notre Dame and four in the season finale against Baylor. But only four tackles in four games in between.

5. Dalton Santos: The Van linebacker had ankle surgery before last season began, and he missed the entire year. Santos (6-2, 257) promised that he’d return, and he did. It’s unclear whether the fifth-year senior will have the speed to see extensive playing time.

6. Cameron Townsend: Once considered the second-best outside linebacker prospect in Texas, Townsend (6-0, 222) redshirted last season.

7. Demarco Boyd: By enrolling in January, Boyd (5-11, 240) got a leg up on the other freshmen who won’t get here until the summer semester. But his size alone is a worry. Can he avoid getting blocked by the typical 6-foot-4 Big 12 offensive lineman?

2016 freshmen: Last year, coaches, reporters and fans all got caught up hyping one player who referred to himself as “The Diesel†on social media. Cecil Cherry didn’t even last one week before transferring out. So tap the brakes on inserting McCulloch, nicknamed “The Shark,†into the starting lineup just yet. Both McCulloch and Fowler need to show up, keep their head down and go make plays.

2015 review: Prior to last season, Peter Jinkens was thought of as nothing more than good role player. Given a full-time starting role, Jinkens became UT’s leading tackler with 9.5 tackles for loss. Jinkens and Jefferson finished 1-2 atop the tackling statistics, respectfully. With Jinkens gone, someone else must step up and help Jefferson patrol that area with gusto.



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<p>[tweet = https://twitter.com/Longhorn_FB/status/725364325548875779]</p>

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<h1 class="yt watch-title-container" style="margin: 0px 0px 13px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-weight: normal; font-size: 24px; display: table-cell; vertical-align: top; width: 824px; word-wrap: break-word; font-family: Roboto, arial, sans-serif; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">

<span class="watch-title " dir="ltr" id="eow-title" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; background: transparent;" title="LHN Extra: One-On-One with Charlie Strong [April 27, 2016]">LHN Extra: One-On-One with Charlie Strong [April 27, 2016]</span></h1>

<p> </p>


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I know Shane is a true freshman, however he didn't look like a true freshman in the spring game. We saw what a true freshman looks like four years ago when a similar looking true freshman played in the spring game and he even wore the same number. Shane Buechele did not look in any way like Connor Brewer.




Texas coach reveals strong feelings about Shane Buechele




Texas Longhorns coach Charlie Strong seems to be making a strong case for Arlington Lamar product Shane Buehele to be the team’s next starting quarterback.

In an exclusive interview Wednesday with former Heisman winner Ricky Williams on the Longhorn Network, Strong showered Buechele with the type of praise that certainly seems to place the early enrollee as a major threat to win the job.

When Williams asked Strong if Buechele has “any chance to see significant playing time in the fall,†Strong looked at Williams like the former Texas great must be smoking something: “Buechele? Oh God yes. Yes, oh, he will play in the fall. Yes, he will play. Yes.â€

Buechele, who impressed with his performance in the spring game, is battling senior Tyrone Swoopes and sophomore Jerrod Heard, who experienced some success last season as the starter, but missed a chunk of the spring, including the spring game, with a shoulder strain.


Williams started the quarterback conversation by telling Strong that he watched the quarterbacks during spring practices and “I have to be honest, the player who jumped out was Shane Buechele. What makes him so special?â€

It’s interesting to note how Strong opened his description of Buechele.

“Buechele,†Strong said, “if you think about it, he’s a quarterback, and he’s been in this offense before so he really understands it.â€

He’s a quarterback. Now, that’s not to say that Strong doesn’t view his other two options as such, but neither Swoopes nor Heard has yet to demonstrate an ability to perform as an all-around QB. Swoopes thrived last season as a goal-line runner after he lost his starting job to Heard. Heard showed he has a long way to go in the passing game.

Buechele already might be the most complete, and most polished quarterback in the group. And, according to Strong, in just a few months, he’s already rubbing off on his teammates.

“He’s like a gym rat. He really studies the game, and it’s amazing,†Strong said. “If you walked down that hall right now, he might be somewhere hanging out in the office.

“He is a competitor and that comes from his dad, with his dad (Rangers bench coach Steve Buechele) playing professional baseball, so he understands. And the players know it. The good thing about it, and we can say what we want to say, but the players see it. Players, they know who’s the good players, they know who the bad players are. And they’ll tell you, ‘He’s a baller, coach.’

“Even me and Ty (Swoopes) was talking, and he said, ‘You know what coach? He will make me better because he can play.’ When you’re sitting there getting that from a teammate of yours, someone you’re competing at the same position, then you know you got you something special.â€


The ultimate decision, Strong said, will be left up to first-year offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, who is implementing an up-tempo offense.

With spring over and the summer approaching, the QB question will be put to rest until the team reconvenes for camp in August.

It might not be long after that when Strong announces his team will roll into the Sept. 4 opener against Notre Dame with a true freshman as the starting QB.

Stay tuned.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/college/college-confidential-blog/article74493272.html#storylink=cpy

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