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View from the Cheap Seats-2016 Pre-Season


echeese
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View from the Cheap Seats Pre-Season 2016​



Back again for it's 8th season, the View from the Cheap Seats offers it's decided NOT insider look at the Greatness that is TEXAS football. Yep, it's still great despite coming off the 1st back to back losing seasons since Jack Chivegney (who is actually a great story and significant longhorn) and Dana X Bible lead us to 5 straight losing seasons from 1935 to 1939. Dana X would turn things around at TEXAS while Jack would give his life as a Marine on Iwo Jima, becoming the only coach or player of the Horns to have earned a bronze plaque in our Memorial Stadium.


Unlike some, the Cheap Seats thinks that CFS has already locked in 2017 barring a complete meltdown which frankly we do not see happening. And that is good news as Charlie has put the players in place for a nice long run. If we do not succeed from here, it will not be for a lack of talent. Think about this, we likely only lose 4 opening day starters for 2017, Swoopes (we don't like it but could have called this last year. . .CFS is pretty conservative), Perkins, Haines and Boyette. Call if 5 if you want to include Bluiett as the TE. Projecting forward to 2018, that number shrinks to 3, the Foreman brothers and Poona Ford assuming Hughes is passed between now and then which is likely.


To quote that classic song, the future's so bring, we gotta wear shades. The problem is the fan base is restless. It's been 70 years since we've seen so much TEXAS ineptitude. And the question still lingers, while Charlie has proven himself a great recruiter, can he function on game day, avoid the past mistakes and can he handle the CEO portions of a Head Coaching gig well enough to lead TEXAS to the playoffs/conference title? Much to learn this year. Biggest off season change came with the hire of Sterling Gilbert as the new OC and Matt Mattox as the new OL coach. Cheap seats were a huge fan of the Wickline hire, upon further review. . .not so fast my friend. . . he was a bust. Gilbert brings a high powered offense as an Art Briles disciple which we hope he can tailor to the TEXAS strengths.

 

Projecting the season.​


We will start with our overview of the season as we see it today then go into more detail about both offense and defense. TEXAS opens the year with a reprieve, last year TEXAS faced the #1 toughest schedule in the nation pre-season . . .this year they only have to face the #20th SOS. YEA!!!!!! Today we see a 7-9 win year depending on how the ball bounces. As always we break the season into 3 levels, games we are underdogs, toss ups and favorites. Overall we see both offense and special teams much improved and if we can get even slight improvement from our defense, particularly in the area of giving up so many 3rd and longs, we predict a much happier fan base in December this year.



Games we will be underdogs in:


ND

OU

Baylor


Games where there is no clear favorite/toss ups


OSU

TCU

WVU

TT (only because it's in Lubbock)


Games we are favored


KSU
UTEP
Cal
Kansas
ISU


Sweep the bottom 5, split 2-2 the toss ups and even if we lose all 3 of the underdog matches, we're 7-5 with what should be a very favorable bowl match up. Keep in mind that this team should be much better by year end than early.



What can we except from the offense this year?​


Great question, glad you asked. Clearly the O should be significantly better than last year. . . which isn't saying much as last year was really poor. One big advantage will be Johnathan Gray's carries going to clearly more talented players but we should also see an O that puts our QBs in a much better position to make plays. Cheap Seats suspects we see improvement in every key offensive stat . .. and before you utter "stats are for losers". . .you might want to realize that scoring is a stat too. We also suspect that not unlike his 2 years at Eastern Illinois, we see Sterling's offense get significantly better from year 1 to year 2. Why we think you will need those shades.



The real strength of the offense is a pair of outstanding running backs in D'Onte Foreman who many claimed we offered solely to land his brother, Oops was that ever backward, and the son of NFL star Chris Warren, Chris Warren III who runs much like his father. Both running backs are excellent combinations of speed, power and vision. They are backed up by Kirk Johnson, an elusive speed back and true freshman Kyle Porter who is frankly so good, he likely doesn't red shirt.


The future of the offense will ride on the arm of Shane Buechele but at least for now, Norte Dame sees Tyrone Swoopes to start. Shane is an excellent QB for the Gilbert offense though there is some question if he has the arm strength for an offense that stretches the field sideways from sideline to sideline making it REALLY tough on defenses.


And on the catching end of those passes will be perhaps the finest crop of young Wide Receivers to ever grace the 40 acres. John Burt was sensational his freshman year when they could get the ball near him and he brings a nasty disposition to the blocking game. Collin Johnson enrolled early this year and lit up spring game while TEXAS benefited from Baylor's disgraceful actions and landed the best WR in the state in 2016, Devin Duvernay. DD is a player some say is built for the slot WR role so critical to the Gilbert O.


Offensive line will still be young but those youngsters play with some real ability. Both Patrick Vahe and Conner Williams made Freshman All American lists last season. Kent Perkins back for his senior year and if everyone can get healthy, he'll man one guard spot with Tristan Nickleson manning the right tackle position. Though look for players like Patrick Hudson (Fresh), Buck Major(RS Fresh) and Denzel Okafor (Fresh) to push for playing time sooner rather than later.


Not unlike the offense, the defense has seen a serious upgrade in young talent. Lead by freshman All American Malik Jefferson, the defense is coming off one of the worst seasons in school history. And while some of this can be spun to problems with the offense (see the ISU game for example), that does not explain losses to Cal, OSU and TT when the offense generated enough points to win. Unlike the O, the Cheap Seats is not as optimistic about the D . .. . .THIS YEAR. Make no mistake, we have landed some big time young talent. .. but the key word is YOUNG. Their task will be/should be aided by an offense that scores more and keeps the ball more.
 

What about the Defense:​

Overall our projections for the defense are not as positive. Frankly the defense was poor last year and frequently gave up 3rd and 7+/3rd and long at a ridiculous rate. Despite some silly spin (FEI might be good for fantasy football but I don't trust a stat that doesn't account for scoring) it wasn't all the offenses fault either.


The strength of our defense is our linebacker core lead by Malik Jefferson. MJ showed he was the real deal from game #1 last year. The Cheap Seats remains concerned that MJ is being used as the Mike or middle LB when his strength is speed and rushing not fending off blockers. Though it seems CFS is channeling his inner Cheap Seats and mentioned in the press conference we can expect to see MJ off the edge. Look for Jeffery McCullough to take snaps at LB joining Anthony Wheeler and Edwin Freeman.


DBU is back. The young talent in the secondary is simply outstanding . ..but again, that key word is YOUNG. Now Holton HIll, Devante Davis Desaun Elliott and PJ Locke all logged good playing time their freshman year so expect them to continue to grow. While we fear we'll jinx him, Antwuan Davis seems finally healthy and ready to contribute which would be a huge addition. They will join a secondary where fan base whipping boy Dylan Haines starts at one safety and Jason Hall starts at the other. Barring injury, the Cheap Seats expects to see Haines start the bowl game but Hall to be supplanted somewhere along the way. The depth at DB is enough at this point, we'll go out on a limb and say that National Top 100 player Brandon Jones is the only freshman DB who will not shirt and frankly look for him to push hard for PT.


To play great defense, especially in the wide open BigXII, it starts up front. Funny you can insert about any offense into this and make that claim. TEXAS landed 5 defensive tackles this last class and 3 defensive ends. . .safe to say they needed everyone of them. There is not a position as thin on the depth chart as DL. Paul Boyette and Poona Ford will be the starters but you need 5-6 DTs a game at least so in addition to Chris Nelson, look for at least 3 of the freshmen DTs to log PT this year. And the good news, CFS didn't just land bodies, he landed some talented bodies. Charles Oheminhu seems to have locked up one starter spot while Naashon Hughes has the other. They will be pushed by Brecklyn Hager, Bruce Cottrell and Quincy Vasser. But the wild card here is the top recruit in the 2016 class, 5 star Erick Fowler who missed all of summer and most of fall drills trying to qualify. He's a beast and should force his way into the line up at some point.

 

Special Teams​


This is an area where CFS' lucky rabbit's foot really came into play. LSU was enjoying a wealth of kickers so senior Trent Domingue transfered to TEXAS. Trent was highly accurate from the 40-45 yard distance and in though perhaps not a great distance guy but that filled a massive hole in the TEXAS Lineup. Sadly, the LSU kicker was injured returning from a kicking camp and is questionable for the year. We hate that for the kid but we love getting one over on Less.


One added benefit of all the athletic talent TEXAS has added, we have lots of options in the return game and on special teams. Looking forward to seeing improvement in this area as well.

Big XII breakdown (how we see the BigXII today)

OU (oh how that sucks to post)

Baylor (still returns a ton of talent)

OSU

TCU

TEXAS

WVU

TT

KSU

ISU

Kansas

 

texas_longhorns.jpg

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Great job cheese, one of your best.

I hope our coaching staff spend more time with special teams. At times the past 2 years it appeared to me that special team line-ups were posted on the bulletin board just prior to kick off.

I consider Shawn Watson and special teams play CS's biggest failures at UT.

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Great job cheese, one of your best.

I hope our coaching staff spend more time with special teams. At times the past 2 years it appeared to me that special team line-ups were posted on the bulletin board just prior to kick off.

I consider Shawn Watson and special teams play CS's biggest failures at UT.

PS

Hopefully both have been rectified.

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Keeping in mind that my 2 cents is not worth near that much and that I reserve the right to change mind on a moment's notice, here's my 2 cents worth.

 

Pretty much for sure lose but still a small chance of winning

Notre Dame

Oklahoma

 

Likely lose but a better chance of winning

TCU

OSU

 

Tossup but the very slightest edge to the opponent

WVU

T Tech

 

Tossup

Baylor

 

Should win but stranger things have happened

KSU 

Iowa State

CAL

 

For sure wins

UTEP

Kansas

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Keeping in mind that my 2 cents is not worth near that much and that I reserve the right to change mind on a moment's notice, here's my 2 cents worth.

 

Pretty much for sure lose but still a small chance of winning

Notre Dame

Oklahoma

 

Likely lose but a better chance of winning

TCU

OSU

 

Tossup but the very slightest edge to the opponent

WVU

T Tech

 

Tossup

Baylor

 

Should win but stranger things have happened

KSU 

Iowa State

CAL

 

For sure wins

UTEP

Kansas

 

 

I disagree with your Pretty much for sure lose but still a small chance of winning category.

 

Sweart Mandall had Texas as a pretty easy win for ND. Now he's not sure who he's picking for the game. He likes both ND's QBs, but said they were both very upset at that press conference about sharing the job instead of winning it. Besides the QBs, he likes ND's RB, and OL. He didn't like the inexperienced of NDs WR who he saw dropping passes. The big downgrade was on defense which is inexperienced.

 

Phil Steele said that the last four times went into the season in the top five they finished unrated twice and #15 twice. So, Stoopes doesn't have a good record of going into the season ranked high. It looks like Charlie Strong doesn't go into a fetal position when he plays OU. We almost beat them two years ago and we beat them last year when OU had the better teamj. Any team that has Mike Stoopes as DC means we have a chance.

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I disagree with your Pretty much for sure lose but still a small chance of winning category.

 

Sweart Mandall had Texas as a pretty easy win for ND. Now he's not sure who he's picking for the game. He likes both ND's QBs, but said they were both very upset at that press conference about sharing the job instead of winning it. Besides the QBs, he likes ND's RB, and OL. He didn't like the inexperienced of NDs WR who he saw dropping passes. The big downgrade was on defense which is inexperienced.

 

Phil Steele said that the last four times went into the season in the top five they finished unrated twice and #15 twice. So, Stoopes doesn't have a good record of going into the season ranked high. It looks like Charlie Strong doesn't go into a fetal position when he plays OU. We almost beat them two years ago and we beat them last year when OU had the better teamj. Any team that has Mike Stoopes as DC means we have a chance.

 

Regarding your first sentence, remember that I said I reserve the right to change my mind at a moment's notice.

 

That means I may very well change my mind at halftime of a game  ;)

 

I mean, come on, I'm not some damn expert nor am I Nostradamus. 

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thanks for the comments. . .. 

 

I stand firmly with North Texas Golfer and reserve my right to flip opinions even late into the 4th quarter. . . ;)

 

Will update my BigXII standings each week. . . . and welcome all commentary. . ..Cheap Seats works without either net nor safe space.

 

 

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  • 2021 Texas Football Schedule

    Week
    Opponent
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    W 38-18
    9/11
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    9/18
    Rice
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    9/25
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