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View from the Cheap Seats-Pre-Season

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View from the Cheap Seats-2020 Pre-season



If there has ever been a better time for the line “what a long strange trip it’s been”, it would be 2020.  As one of our loyal followers’, sig pic shows, a guy taking out the trash labeled 2020.  

All is not lost though, as this is being typed, the sounds of Saturday afternoon football on TV fill the room.   The morning air was finally cool, almost the smell of fall. A strong sense of “as close to normalcy as possible” returns as we are a week away from kickoff.

The Pac and B1G have put their little girl panties on and screamed “run away run away”, the SEC is only playing Conference games while the BigXII has allowed one out of conference game so we get to see the Mad Miners from Texas @ El Paso (UTEP) as our tune up/controlled scrimmage.  Sadly we will not get a shot at defending National Champs LSU, a great matchup and trip ruined by COVID.

So enough whining about crap we can’t control, let’s talk . . . .. .


For better or worse, Coach Tom Herman (CTH) is here for AT LEAST 3 more seasons, 2020, 2021 and 2022.   Odds are even 2023 barring a CFS level meltdown, as that is how long he’ll be here thanks to his ill thought out extension given 2 years ago.  And frankly, not ever sure who the “next” guy would be anyway.    Now don’t get me wrong, I loved the CTH hire, I am cheering for him to show he can coach at the very highest levels, to move past Mack Brown into 2nd place among TEXAS head coaches.   Dare I say it, to surpass DKR as our #1 HC????? The regulars of the Cheap Seats may have noticed a pattern especially in the Pre Season Addition, a serious concern and discussion about the coaching challenges facing CTH in the coming season.    

So what Is CTH’s coaching challenge for 2020?  Easy, pretty much he is expected win to the conference.  This season cannot be deemed SUCCESSFUL without the conference title.  The biggest challenge to that? One of CTH’s biggest problems dating back to his Cougar High days is that he averages 2 losses per year to an unranked team he out talents.  He has not shown he can have the team ready to play week after week.  They once featured Mack (during the 2008 season) talking about the difficulty of getting a team ready to play week in and week out.   Mack went to all the coaches on campus as well as his coaching buddies.  Specific examples of CTH’s losses in stats that matter.   And 2020 see CTH and TEXAS stepping on the field out talenting EVERYBODY.   OU might be close, but while they might be “ close”, this year the superior talent is on the TEXAS side of the field.   

The ONLY measure of success for the TEXAS Longhorns this year is winning “the whole damn thing” to quote Major League.   Anything short of a conference title. . . .you can spin some measure of positive but this is the year to get over the hump.   Otherwise, it’s simply another year of watching someone else boof the prom queen.   Face it, outside of the 60’s with DKR and that 9 year run of Mack Brown’s, CTH has yet to show in 3 years he is DA MAN.   The eternal optimist in us recalls that  Mack needed to change DCs to get over the hump and Greg Robinson did that in spades.  Can CTH finally hiring a D 1 staff be the catalyst for change as we finish the last year of the decade (decades start with year 1 and finish with year Zero, you don’t count to ten starting at zero. . . sorry pet peeve)?  So like the 1st glorious decade of the 21st century, will the changes CTH made lead us to glory in the Roaring 20’s?   We think/hope so..

Make no mistake, 2020 is a “no excuses” kinda season.  Senior QB who is a Heisman candidate, a strong stable of running backs, young but VERY talented WRs on the offensive side.    2019 marked the best TEXAS offense we have seen since 2009 but for 10 years now, we have not seen a TEXAS offense finish in the Top 20.   During the Greg Davis years (save for 2010), we never saw a TEXAS offense finished outside the Top 20, usually finishing in the Top 10.    2019’s O finished #25.   If the offense can simply hold serve and again, if the Utah game is any indication at all, our D looks to put incredibly talented players in a position to make plays and win games.  That is what great coaches do, they build schemes that put players in the best position to succeed.   Truth be told, the Cheaps Seats thinks the offense will be better than 2020.

Now why are we so bullish on 2020 being different?   Biggest reason was the Horns’ performance in the Alamo Bowl.  Utah was an interesting opponent; we played a team at or maybe even above our level of talent.   A well-coached (well until the 2nd half anyway) talented team trying to show their Oregon loss (which cost them a playoff spot) was a fluke.    CTH said when he arrived on the 40 was that one of his goals was for TEXAS to always be the most physical team on the field.   Against Utah, not unlike the Georgia game, TEXAS dominated both sides of the ball.   More importantly, TEXAS consistently kept Utah off balance with both offensive and defensive play calling.    CTH called the offense while unchained from whatever scheme Coach Todd offered, the TEXAS’ D was unleashed.   The defensive line was disruptive, tackled well and stymied a stout Utah O.  Joseph Ossai was a one man wrecking crew, where was that all season.    We see this type of game plan from the Horns week over week, there is no reason TEXAS does not achieve all it’s goals in 2020.

The challenge is that spring training was pretty much lost as new coordinators on both sides of the ball installed their new systems largely via zoom meetings.    How fast can the Horns adapt and embrace the new schemes?   They seem to have adapted pretty quickly to new coaches for the Alamo bowl, only now I wish our new COs had been on the sidelines.

Sam’s Legacy

Another issue to be decided in 2020 is where does Sam fit in terms of “best QBs at TEXAS”?   The General consensus for the Top 5 is:

Vince Young

Colt McCoy

Bobby Layne

James Street

James Brown or Marty Akins (Akins was an All American afterall)

All of them have won the conference.   While there will be no question Sam finishes statistically #1 or #2 on pretty much every category where he will be remembered in terms of being Top 5 QB on the 40 is where or not he wins a title.   The one caveat for Sam without a title is being the 1st TEXAS QB to bring home the Heisman.  That would vault him in the Cheap Seats top 5.   Since we think he wins the title, the question then becomes, who does he remove from the list?


Biggest loss from 2019

Devin Duvernay  Mr 3rd down, Mr Tough Guy.   Cannot confirm the stat but believe he lead the nation in receptions for 3rd downs.    A disgrace he was not a Biletnikoff finalist.   Wish the young man all the success in the NFL.    We have oodles of talent at WR including Grad transfer Tarik Black who has been a blessing to a young WR crew.    What we do not have today is a “go to, 3rd down WR”.    Early projection to take over that role is Jake Smith who takes his 1st real steps to stardom in 2020.    He was up and down in 2019 but flashed his talent.   We’ve always said you learn more from failures than success, we think Mr Smith ARRIVES.    By no means sleep on the talent around him either.

Break out star of 2020

Joseph Ossai who’s break out started 6 hours short of 2020 (Alamo Bowl was played on New Year’s Eve).  Young man follows up on his Utah performance and he likely pushes himself to a Day 1 NFL slot.   Teams LOVE an athletic, explosive pass rusher.   And FINALLY he’ll be playing in a scheme that fits him.  For the 3rd time in the past 4 years, we predict Ossai is at least the BigXII D Linemen of the year if not D Player of the year.

Under the radar Offensive Star

The TE position.    Oh, did you forget we use a TE at TEXAS?

Under the radar Defensive Star

Chris Adimora.   Yes the D backfield is crowded but he simply makes plays when he’s on the field. 


Stats that matter:

1-2 TCU

1-2 Okie Lite

1-3 OU

0-2 Maryland

That is why we have two new CO’s.   It’s not the jimmies and joes, we proved that in the Alamo Bowl, the X’s and O’s really matter


Prediction time:

Cheap Seats is calling for a 10-1 season (loss to Okie Lite)  Win the BigXII, we are exposed in the 1st round of the playoffs (sorry, just don’t think we can match up well with Clemson or Bama).   BigXII title and a playoff berth = VERY SUCCESSFUL season and most likely puts the icing on a very nice recruiting cake.

Ranking the BigXII Coaches:

#1  sucks to type, Lincoln Riley in a class by himself

Tier II guys

#2   Mike Gundy, he owns CTH so far

#3  Gary Patterson, he owns CTH without any real talent

#4  Tom Herman

Tier III guys

#5  Matt Campbell ISU   another does more with less guy

#6  Chris Klieman  KSU, question is can he get players to KSU 


Tier IV guys  (couple are brand new)

#7  Neal Brown WVU, guy who maybe moving on up if he lands some talent

#8  Less Miles Kansas   Played TEXAS tough, rings from LSU but can he get KU to a bowl? Are we even going to have bowls?

#9  Matt Wells TT

#10  Dave Aranda  Baylor    Suspect he will not be at the bottom long but he has no HC experience.  He was an outstanding DC.   

Will re rank at the end of the year, will be interesting to see the changes


Way to early playoff predictions

#1 Clemson

#2  Bama

#3  Georgia 




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thanks Cheese....Good job. I would comment farther, but it is easier to get complete DNA histories of Big Foot on the net this year than ANY info on UT football. Did someone make scouting illegal this year?


I keep looking for answers and they keep my thirsty lips from the fountain of knowledge....why?


Again.....thanks for this.

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Good job, cheese. 

I need to provide you with some information.  Once, in a conversation between a DKR football player (at that time), and some other people, we were discussing an awful game our National Championship team had just played against Baylor, or TCU, or...you get the picture.

The Longhorns had been sluggish and sloppy, and quite frankly looked like crap during the first half.

After the game, we asked him what was wrong, what was going on.  He said, that though the team knew they had to show up for every game, when you had a stretch of weaker teams, it was just difficult to get motivated.

I am not suggesting that college football is remotely the same now, or that the teams are remotely the same  However, I could see his point then, and I can see it now.



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