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Everything posted by Wes

  1. When you watch the Texas basketball team play you see flashes of a team that could be pretty good. But then you see the Longhorns fall back to earth and struggle in situations that ultimately lead to losses. 0-4 in Big 12 play, Texas is really having a tough time finishing games and finding an identity that will lead to wins. The struggles for Texas are a combination of problems, largely related to youth and inexperience. The team cannot keep it together long enough to pull out wins in games where they have still been in it in the very end. But no matter how they lose, each time I watch Texas I see two problems that stand out and are the difference between wins and losses. The first problem I see may shed light to a lot of the Longhorn's problems. The interior of the offense and defense are just not reliable enough right now. When you watch the Longhorns you see a team that clearly has struggled with rebounding, especially on offense. Game after game, opposing teams have series on offense where they miss their first, and sometimes even second, shot attempts but continue to keep the ball because Texas can't rebound on offense effectively. One of my biggest keys to winning a basketball game is rebounding. Go look at the stats. The team that wins the rebound battle wins the games more times than not. And that's common sense because the team that wins the rebounding battle simply has more plays where they take the ball away from the other team. It's not considered a turnover in stat books, but it's essentially the same idea. The Texas big men, specifically Cameron Ridley and Prince Ibeh, also need to do a better job protecting the rim. Ridley and Ibeh do show up at times with blocks (and those are some of the flashes we see of good basketball) but more times than not I see these players standing right next to the opposing player that lays the ball up for an easy bucket. Or I see these guys get beat by shot fakes and get out of position. With the size of these two guys, there should not be a player any where near the bucket that is able to easily attempt a shot without at least one of those two trees making them hesitate or re-think their decision. But the two big guys are young and just not playing up to the game speed that they need to in order to be effective on defense. The same could be said on the offensive side of the court. Texas seems to struggle the most on offense when the game slows down. Sure the team shows flashes of making shots, but their is no consistent source of scoring to turn to on offense. It's largely because Texas also does not have any reliable scorer down low to feed the ball to the interior of the opposing team's defense. The best big-man Texas has on offense is Jonathan Holmes. But as a 6'7" power forward, Holmes is often undersized against his opponents and has moved his scoring outside rather than trying to post someone up inside the paint (and honestly, Holmes needs to continue to develop his outside shot if he wants to play in the NBA). Having a lack of any reliable scoring threat down low forces the Longhorns to rely on jump shots any way they can get them. The only other way to improve their offense (other than having lights-out shooters) would be to have guys who can create their own shot by getting to the rim consistently. This would create some interior scoring threats to opposing defenses. Unfortunately, the only guy who has really shown he is capable of doing that is the shortest guy on the team, 5'10" (I really think he's 5'8") Javan Felix. When the lane is open, Felix has shown he can be a decent scorer getting to the basket. But because of his height, Felix has tailored his scoring to a pull-up jumper at the elbow. The problem with that is eventually teams can play better defense on him because he does not have a reliable 3-point shot, so the defender can essentially sag a few steps off and hang around the elbow where Felix likes to pull up for a jumper and then rely on their own big men to step in and block Felix if he does successfully get by the defender. So right now I see a team that relies heavily on jump shots from the outside. The fact that Texas relies on jump shots also sheds light as to why they are taking many less free-throws than opposing teams. Sure there are calls in games against Texas that I don't agree with. But do not begin to think this is some big effort by the NCAA to screw Texas over in free-throws. Because it's not. It largely has to do with the style of basketball Texas is currently playing. If they don't have any interior offense, they likely will not get many fouls called on them. And if they don't have guard who can make something happen off the dribble, they will also not have fouls called on him. When you are a team that relies on jump-shots then the only way you get fouls is if a defender jumps into you while your shooting, which doesn't happen nearly as much compared to a team that has players that either take the ball to the rim or post players that bang around down low. So for now, get used to the fact that Texas will likely take less free-throws in games compared to the amount the opposing team is taking. Just because Texas is struggling due to the fact that they have to rely on the jump shot does not mean you won't ever see another team that can win by relying on jump shots. There are definitely teams who find success by getting their players open and in positions to knock down shots. The problem for Texas is their inexperience and lack of offensive flow really hinders them from consistently finding spots on the floor for their shooters to knock down shots. The two guys that the Longhorns should be finding more shots for on offense are Sheldon McClelland and Julien Lewis. Those guys are the two best guards that can shoot for the Longhorns. Holmes is also a guy I'd like to see Texas run plays for, but he usually finds his shots when defenders forget to follow him to the 3-point line. I should be clear that I'm not saying the guards necessarily need more shots a game (McClellan just attempted 18 shots in the loss against KU). But the Longhorns should be running their offense to find more open shots for those two guys. A lot of the shots they take are contested, which lowers the percentage that the shot will go in. Instead of more than half of McClellan's shots being contested, Texas should find ways where less than half of his shots are contested. It isn't always easy to make happen, but when that is where your offense makes noise then you have to find a way to make it happen throughout the game. The other problem Texas has really emerges late in games, and even late in first half's. Texas does not have a reliable "go-to" player that can close games/periods for them. When Myck Kabongo comes back he likely will have the first crack at being that guy. But as of right now they do not have anyone who can take the game over late and help the team hold on for a win. This largely has to do with the type of players, specifically guards, Texas has and their mentality. First, I do not trust the ball handling of any of the guards other than Felix (and Kabongo when he returns). So that initially makes it tough for the Longhorns to put the ball in any other guards hands beside Felix. Secondly, even if the ball is in the hands of Lewis, McClellan, or even Holland neither of them really do much on offense other than taking a jump-shot (as we went over earlier). Out of those 3, Holland has been the one guy who has sort-of shown he can get through traffic to the rim but he often struggles to finish the shot-attempt successfully (and like I just said, I don't really trust his ball-handling yet either. Not enough for him to have it late in games). So since these guys rely on jump shots, it makes it tough for any of these guys to step up in the final minutes. They aren't going to be dribbling around with the ball waiting to get fouled, or trying to take it to the rim to force the other team to foul before they attempt a lay-up. Lastly, I haven;t seen McClellan, Lewis, or Holland really show they even have the mentality or desire to want the ball the last few minutes of the game. They may be able to knock down shots late in games, but I haven't seen any of those guys want to close games over a span of a few minutes. Which basically leaves you with Felix as the guy who likely has the ball at the end of the game. Which isn't the ideal player you'd want with the ball. He can handle the ball well and has an "ok" free-throw percentage (77%, not automatic but decent), but Felix doesn't have the size to take it to the rim at will, and he does not have a reliable outside jump-shot. On the season, Javan is shooting 34% from the field (though in recent games that percentage has increased some). And he is shooting a very pedestrian and unreliable 17% beyond the 3-point line. So to sum it up, Texas really doesn't have an ideal player that can close games. And in result, Texas continues to lose some close games that they had within reach. I said this a week or so ago, but it's like the Texas Men's basketball team is trying to play games with one hand tied behind their back. And they just can't seem to figure out how to untie that other hand. They are very frustrating to watch because they show flashes of good basketball. But in the end, their problems overtake their brief success in games and they end up losing. This team is also very young, so the problems do stem from lack of development and experience. And it will be very interesting to see the impact Kabongo will have when he returns. I think he will help the team, but I'm not convinced he completely fixes all of their problems. Rebounding, for example, is an effort play the whole team can improve on. Kabongo doesn't fix that. Regardless, I still think Texas could have a winning record right now instead of being 8-9, and 0-4 in Big 12 play. However, the Longhorns are currently fighting just to make the NIT at the end of the season, and this is easily the lowest point Rick Barnes has let his basketball program slip to.
  2. Always a good time on the show and a great listen.
  3. Do you remember when the Spurs almost beat the Heat in Miami but they came up short 105-100? Do you also remember that same night the Spurs sat 4 of their starters (Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Green) and the league and old David Stern was upset with the Spurs because the entertainment value of the game had diminished (though I had a great time watching the game, and I'm not even a big Spurs fan). Well David Stern fined the team $250,000 to make an example of the Spurs and moved on from it. Well, apparently the lack of stardome in the building really cut one of the fans deep and he is now suing the Spurs "stating that the team's head coach, Gregg Popovich, "intentionally and surrepticiously" sent their best players home without the knowledge of the league, the team and the fans attending the Nov. 29 game against the Heat." Here is the link to the ESPN article about this idiot: San Antonio Spurs sued by lawyer for resting top players - ESPN In the article the guy compares the players to a piece of meat, basically saying that not seeing them play was like going to a nice Steak restaurant and being served low quality meat... This guy is dumb and from that you should instantly understand where my opinions fell on the matter. This entire story actually sheds light on the line that is often blurred between entertainment and competitive play of sports. But when a coach makes a decision for the better of his team in order to increase the chances of his team winning in the grand scheme of things (because, well, that's his job) then I have 0 problem with that coach... Who is trying to do his job. Look, I get that the fans and NBA were upset. Fans didn't see as many stars as they hoped and the NBA figured they would lose money and ratings. But coach Pop was resting veteran players who had just played 4 road games. This guy is a moron and needs to get over it.
  4. With the combination of a poor basketball season and an article written recently by a guy (C.J. Moore) in Kansas who was trying to defend Rick Barnes, I've been really thinking a lot about this Texas Men's Basketball program. In the article Moore states "What if [barnes] left Texas? Would the Longhorns be better off?" ...I have one answer to that. Yes. Yes a thousand times over. Article: http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2515 Of course my "yes" depends on the coach that is brought in... No average joe would do the trick. But The culture of Texas basketball is flawed. In the article, Moore raises good points. And I'll admit that there is no question Rick Barnes has elevated this program to a new high. But he has reached his ceiling, and has been stuck there for years now. And I strongly disagree with the overall argument Moore is trying to make. One that is defending Rick Barnes and basically saying "get off his back". Being a senior at The University of Texas, I sometimes have the opportunity to talk to people I know who are close to the athletes; who hang out with the athletes when they aren't in front of reporters or cameras. One of my friends who I sometimes speak with is close with the Texas basketball team. Today I ran into him on campus and began asking him how the team was holding up through this rough season. I'm not going to quote him directly because I didn't write down what he said word for word so you can take this for what it is, but he went on to tell me the team was doing alright. But that the players weren't huge fans of the culture Barnes has created. And that it's been that way for some time now. He added that the players were even beginning to be honest with recruits and telling them like it is. Telling them that if they want a good culture to try a place like Kentucky. It was disheartening to hear that. And I don't blame the players at all. They were being honest. But this reiterated to me that the culture of the Texas basketball program is flawed and not where it should be at a school like The University of Texas. Take from this what you want. It was a short conversation with a friend of mine who knows the entire Texas basketball team on a first name basis with every player. Rick Barnes may have elevated the program and put some players in the NBA. But I still believe the culture of the team needs to be improved, and that will only happen if Texas goes in a new direction at Head Coach. Hook'em
  5. Another great point you bring up that I forgot about is the team doesn't get many fans because they don't connect with Barnes' personality. People love Mack (I know some are frustrated with him) because he has a great personality for the stage that he coaches on, that is Texas. Even Augie connects well with a lot of fans. But Barnes hasn't been the same way, which is also why fans are often quick to be frustrated with him.
  6. The university kind of screws the students over for bball games. Students shy away from going because the seats are either in the upper deck or student can buy season tickets behind the basket. I get that the university doesn't want to put the students on the side of the court because they want more money from Adult season ticket holders and Donors. But that is legitimately the price they pay. They can choose to give better seats to get money, but they will lose student fans to it. The university also reeeallllyyyy screwed over the media and their section for the same reason. Media tables used to be in a corner section of the area on the first floor. Now they are behind the basket and behind the students at the top of the first floor. Some of the worst seats in the house.
  7. I'm glad you posted this because I was actually just about to comment on this article about why I disagree with a lot in it from Mr. Moore. For starters, though I admit I havent finished all of it, I'm about half way through "The Book Of Basketball" which was written by Bill Simmons. In it he defines his "secret of basketball". To sum it up (though every basketball fan should read this book) the "secret to basketball" is not about basketball at all. It is about people getting along on a court by sharing a ball and flowing together around the court like a dance. It is about building chemistry and sacrificing for the better of the team. That is the secret of basketball. My take on C.J. Moore's article... "The head coach of the youngest team in the country is having a tough season." That's very true, we should remember this team is very young. But it's not the only reason why their season has been so rough. "Every coach has his flaws and Barnes has a few, but his past success says he's doing something right." His success at helping develop individual players into NBA players? Definitely, he's been successful at that. But he has never had much success creating a team with the chemistry to perform well in the big dance in march. He has 0 success winning a national title. "In 2007 Bill Simmons called Barnes "Dubya-esque" and once said "the way Rick Barnes butchers this team on a game-to-game basis is unconscionable."" Yes, Simmons was spot on then and is spot on now. In the article Simmons posted, he went on to say this about Durant during his time at Texas "I can't handle it. Watching Texas screw up the Durant Era is like watching a guy spend three straight hours buying drinks and working it with a girl who already announced, "Sure, I'll sleep with you." In other words, WHY ARE YOU MAKING THIS HARD????? Seriously, I feel like Barnes should resign. He's overmatched. He's Dubya-esque. It's a disgrace. They're going to get bounced from the NCAA Tournament this month solely because Barnes has no idea how to get Durant the ball ... and even worse, doesn't seem to feel any pressing need to get Durant the ball." Which was exactly what happened. Texas had the best player in the nation and got beat in the first game... If I was writing this article, I would have stayed far away from Bill Simmons' take on UT because Simmons was spot on. He was then and still is. Moore then continues his defense by acknowledging that Texas has had great talent over the years. And I agree. But he says Durant's team was going against the odds because they had a freshman starting at PG and only three teams have ever won a title with a FR PG; last year's Kentucky team, Syracuse in 2003, and Arizona in 1997... "Then again the team Durant played on in Austin had four freshmen and a sophomore in the starting lineup. Barnes had D.J. Augustin, a freshman, starting at point guard." Yes Moore, but do you know how many Kevin Durants their have been in the past 30+ years? Or ever? NONE. The guy was a monster in college. He averaged a double-double, and his scoring average was just over 25 points... I've seen teams with much, much less talent make it to the final four. His team didn't even make it past the first round. And from his young post-season NBA resume, we know it's not like he crumbles in playoffs... Come on now. "Barnes has had to win with mostly young talent..." Duh, it's college basketball. A lot of teams experience players leaving. Talk to Calipari about that. "...and it's fair to say he has underperformed in the month that matters most in college basketball." Which is why everyone wants to go in a new direction... Wait, aren't you supposed to be defending him? " Still, if your school had made five Sweet 16s, three Elite Eights, and one Final Four since 2002, would you be satisfied? An awful lot of fans outside places like Chapel Hill and Lexington would be." An awful lot of fans don't have an athletic department and expectations like The University of Texas. On top of this, Rick Barnes is also the 8th highest paid men's college basketball coach in the nation (vie Forbes: Rick Barnes - Highest Paid College Basketball Coaches - Forbes). Duke's coach is 9th. Interesting... Moore then goes onto defend Barnes by commenting on the high level of talent he has recruited and put in the NBA... I can't disagree with that point. He has had a high level of talent that has gone onto play professional ball... So my question, why couldn't they win at Texas? "Should Barnes apologize for recruiting great talent? He's developed those players and helped put them in a position to leave early. Barnes deserves some credit for getting them to Texas and to the Big 12. That helps the pipeline continue, and his success in that regard is a testament to his coaching." No question Barnes has recruited great talent. And no question he has developed players to leave early. But his TEAMs havent necessarily played well together... I've always wondered how coach Barnes would do in the NBA. I honestly think he would be a great coach to have on a NBA staff in order to develop players that are still very raw when they enter the league. Seriously. In his next section, Moore talks about Barnes' teams playing defense. "You may think Barnes' team, the one that ranks No. 253 in offensive efficiency, is a punchline this year, but actually the Longhorns aren't nearly as bad as they could be." I guess they could be 0-16... "Even with all that youth, the Longhorns are defending their tails off. They rank No. 12 in KenPom.com's defensive efficiency. They lead the nation in effective FG percentage defense, and have allowed only three teams all season to score more than a point per possession." Look... I'm a big time stats junkie. I don't memorize stats over the years but I love analyzing stats in seasons, right after seasons, and using them to project future seasons... Texas may lead the nation in effective FG percentage defense. But that means didly-squat if they aren't rebounding as a team and turning that stat into a play that wins games. Plus, Iowa State just made it rain down 3's on Texas (the team that led the nation in effective FG percentage). "Barnes has always coached good defense. His teams have ranked in the top 50 in defensive efficiency in 10 of the last 11 seasons. In 2010-11 Barnes had the hottest team in college basketball at one point, and it was because of some unbelievable defense." I agree Barnes' teams have been better at defense than a lot of other teams in the country. But doesn't help much if the offense struggles. "One challenge for Barnes is coaching in the same conference as one of the best programs in Division I. Bill Self, as you may have heard, has won eight straight Big 12 titles. What's often left out is that he's had to share two of those titles with Texas." yeaaa, and it's another reason fans want to go in a new direction at HC of Bball... "But March success, or at least reaching Final Fours, is not at the top of Barnes' resume. He hasn't been to a national semifinal since 2003. Conversely, here are the coaches who have been to two or more Final Fours in the last 11 seasons: Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo, Jim Calhoun, Roy Williams, John Calipari, Ben Howland, Bill Self, Thad Matta, Brad Stevens, and Rick Pitino." Yet another reason why fans are ready to move in a new direction... "So, if you must, go ahead and critique Barnes as a coach. That's fine. But at least admit that he's had a lot to do with the success Texas has had." Yes, there is no question Rick Barnes has elevated this program to a new high that it had never seen or even sniffed before. Coach barnes can recruit players. Coach Barnes can even develop the fundamentals of players. But I'm not convinced he understands how to create the chemistry and culture a college team needs to have success in the big dance. Moore states "When he arrived in 1998, the Longhorns had reached the Sweet 16 just twice in the previous 25 seasons. Barnes has taken all of his Texas teams to the tourney, including the first one, which won the Big 12 with seven scholarship players." ...And that's true. But it's one thing to get a team into the tournament. It's another thing to build a team and culture that can win in the tournament. Tons of people bash coach Barnes without even know what they are talking about. This article did bring up a lot of great points about Barnes' ability to coach, because he isn't a bad coach. And I hope you all took the time to read this entire article. Barnes does a lot of things well. But at some point Texas must look at the ultimate goal of the program and decide if it's right. Barnes is great at developing individual players. But I'm not convinced he can develop a team into a national title contender over a season or two. I also haven't always been a fan of his offenses. Also, I think his coaching style takes longer than what he often has with his players. If he had players for 4 years I actually think he would have teams that were much better than they have performed. He tends to take players, and break them down and then build them back up (especially defensively). The problem is that college basketball doesn't often give coaches that much time with players. And coaches all over the country could also do better with teams that fielded more upperclassmen.
  8. Realistically it makes sense for both parties. Marshall would have had to compete with Overstreet, Brewer, Swoopes, and Heard. That is if he even stayed at QB. And Texas would have had him for 2 years, maybe 3. He may not have produced like UT needs him to given the amount of development he probably still needs. Looking for a QB in the '13 class makes more sense to me. It spreads the years of eligibility out for the QB's better. The QB position will definitely be one to monitor as far as how it will shake up and whether a transfer, or multiple, will happen or not.
  9. Case may be around if he's needed in a pinch, but I also think (and hope) one of the other QB's is already being groomed as the back-up to Ash.
  10. Not any big losses as far as the impact they made during games.
  11. Sure this team is young... But what has Rick Barnes done in the last 5 years to warrant him keeping his job at the Head Coach of Texas basketball? Yes I'm going there. I understand he elevated the program to a new level, and that's great. We all thank him for that. But this program should be playing at the next level and it hasn't been at the next level for some time now. Anyways, watching this team play makes me want to pull my hair out a lot of the times. It's like the Longhorns play with 1 hand tied behind their back. They are frustrating because they show flashes of making plays at both ends of the floor but they shoot themselves in the foot by turning the ball over and not rebounding well. My thoughts: -First and foremost Texas needs to rebound better, especially when they are on defense. I've never seen a Longhorn team give up this many offensive boards. There is too much jumping and not enough boxing out. I also woud like to see two hands on the ball more. Sloppy rebounding is leading to balls turned over out of bounds. Rebounding is an effort stat/play. There's no excuse why Texas should be losing that battle each game. -In my mind, it's the same as stopping the run in football... Texas has to have better interior defense. Ridley shows up at times with blocks but protecting the rim needs to be a focus for this team. It was tough today against ISU because the Cyclones did their damage from beyond the arc. But protecting the rim makes teams more one dimensional. And with the height UT has there should be no reason why that's an issue. Inexperience definitely is playing a factor because Ridley, Ibeh, and the other young posts definitely look lost at times around the rim. This will improve as they adjust to game speed. But it needs to get better quick. -Turn overs are still very much a problem. I honestly do not trust the ball-handling ability of any guard other than Felix. (And Kabongo when he returns). But the Longhorns also make sloppy passes. -The flow of the offense still isn't there. One reason why is because there really isn't any who can create their own shot, other than Felix (who doesn't have the best shot in general). Felix is the only player that can drive in consistently and either get to the rim or pull up for a mid-range shot (I've been impressed with his improvement in his mid-range jumper). So without anyone else creating any offense, the Longhorns often jack up a bunch of contested shots and live and die by the jump shot. This could also be fixed if the Horns had more offense from the post players. The ball could be fed down low and the post player would either try to score the ball down low or kick it out to a guard. But there isn't any post player who is polished enough on offense for that to be an option right now. So once again the Longhorns are forced to some how find more open jumpers for the guards. Their best offensive play is a jump shot off of a curl from a screen on a lower block... When that's your best offensive play you will have issues on offense. -There isn't a "go-to" guy. We really saw this problem late in the Baylor and WVU games. Texas really doesn't have anyone to turn to in order to finish games or make a play when they need one. This ties back into the fact that the guards are mainly jump shooters and no one really can create any offense. Again, Felix is the only guy who really can create anything off the dribble, which is why he was big in the Baylor game. But he still isn't that "go-to" guy yet either. Hopefully Kabongo can help with that issue. -The identity and chemistry on both ends of the floor are still a work in progress. Texas has been beat by a team that played well inside (Baylor), a less-than-average offensive team (WVU) that grinded it out and fought for a lot of offensive boards, and a team that made a living off of three's (ISU). So although Texas had some good stats in the defensive category, the stats are not translating to wins and they don't matter. I do like how the guards get after the ball at times, but the team defense is still poor. -Since Texas doesn't have strong post play on offense and since they really don't have any players that consistently take it to the rim, they will undoubtedly continue to lose the free throw battle as well. Do not be surprised to see other teams attempting a lot more free throws than Texas right now. It's just how they play at the moment. There's still more Texas could work on but right now those are some thoughts running through my head. This team is frustrating to follow because they have a lot of depth but it isn't good depth right now. We have to remember this team is young, one of the youngest teams in the NCAA. And each player shows flashes that he can be good. But it could be some time before we see this team actually make any serious noise. Like I said earlier, it just feels like they play with 1 arm tied behind their back.
  12. 18 tackles and 2 sacks... He will probably make a roster but he won't get drafted until the third day unless he has amazing workouts and impresses a team. But guess he wants to chase the pay check.
  13. Joe Schad confirms that Dwight How..errr Mike Davis will be returning. And I say Hell to the Yes to that news. Mike, Shipley, Cayleb... Pick your poison Big12
  14. Looks like Magic Mike got the old "Dwight Howard Syndrome" and is having cold feet about leaving. COME BACK MIKE!
  15. We have no deep threats yet*. Come on now! Let's be positive! Ya, realistically there isn't a receiver who you would think is a prototypical deep threat receiver on the roster right now. But there are definitely a lot of guys to try at that position.
  16. ESPN (Mike Davis of Texas Longhorns to enter NFL draft - ESPN) is reporting that Mike Davis will leave Texas to pursue a career in the NFL. This is big news, and not the best news, for Texas because Mike Davis was one of the leading receiver for the Longhorns. Before last season started, I thought that Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley would be like 1A and 1B options (not in any order). Though I thought Shipley may do better, Davis actually ended up with the better stats. In his bounce-back junior season Davis tallied 57 receptions (2nd to Shipley's 59) for 939 receiving yards (led team) and 7 TD's (led receivers). Davis also led all receivers in yards-per-catch with 16.5 (led receivers who had more than 10 receptions) and recorded the longest touchdown past from scrimmage with his 75-yard bomb against Texas Tech in early November. There's no doubt Mike Davis has talent that can succeed at the next level. He is explosive and also is a great with the ball in his hands after the catch. The one area where he needs to improve is catching the ball because he it struggle with drops from time to time. As of right now I think 3rd round is what he's looking at. Maybe 2nd if he has a great combine and Pro Day at UT. For Texas, this does hurt because Ash and Davis had a great connection on the field. But Texas still has good depth at the receiver position and I expect guys like Cayleb Jones, Marcus Johnson, John Harris, Bryant Jackson, and Kendall Sanders to all fight for playing time. Soon to be freshman, Jacorey Warrick and Jake Oliver could also see some action as well, but Texas will need to find a new deep threat at receiver because that's where Davis excelled. It's tough news for the Longhorns because Davis had some great production opposite Shipley this past season. But at the end of the day I can't blame the guy for going after the paycheck and doing what's best for his family. Hook'em
  17. Definitely think it's time for better coaching at Texas. Actually past due.
  18. I'd love to know what every Longhorn fan's opinion on this as well. I'm trying to get a pulse of where Longhorn fans are right now with the program as we head into 2013. Here's the original article link: Why Aren't
  19. The college football season may be over but there is still a lot of college football swirling around in my head. As I watched Alabama tonight I began to think back to when Texas made their 2 National Championship runs in recent years and started asking myself what the Longhorns needed to do in order to get back there. Below are just some quick thoughts on the entire team about what I'd like to see changed and improved upon. Offense - QB play must be consistent if this team wants to seriously take it to the next level. Some like Ash, some don't, but I think he will be under center to start the season off in 2013 and he can't have "no-show" games like he did in 2012. He has shown he is capable of having success in the offense, but now it's on him to bring it each week. I also think Applewhite's personality will help create a better relationship with Ash. -Along with consistent play, I want to see Ash run the ball more. I'm not talking zone read or anything like what VY did. I'm talking more along the lines of what Colt did. Just having the ability to pick up 5+ yards at least a few times a game will not only help add another dimension to the offense and keep defenses honest, it also will help Ash settle down much like we saw in the second half of the bowl game. Major will likely also improve on this because Harsin was the one who hindered Ash from running more. Which is ironic since he was brought into games for run packages as a freshman. - The offensive line has to get more of a push off the line on running plays. It's great that Texas has a stable of talent running backs but that strength of the offense gets neutralized when there aren't any running lanes for the backs to get upfield through. -Texas had a luxury by having 3 guys (D.J. Monroe, Goodwin, Daje) who have blazing speed. Many coordinators would have been thrilled to have just 1 of these guys to utilize during a game. All season long I wondered why these three weren't a larger part of the offense. In just weeks after taking over Major understood what speed can do for an offense and fed Marquis Goodwin the ball enough to where he had his best game of his career and help lead the Longhorns in their come from behind bowl win. I'm sad to see Monroe and Goodwin graduating right when Major is taking over because I think he would have used them in much better ways but I want to see Applewhite move Daje Johnson around and take advantage of his speed. -Ever since Jermichael Finley left for the NFL the Longhorns have also failed to find a consistent threat at tight end. Finding a tight end that can be relied upon in passing and block also will add another dimension to the offense in the form of play action, miss matches against opposing defenses, and check downs for Ash. Defense -STOP THE RUN! This one improvement will cause a ripple effect of improvement for the defense. Look at what Notre Dame failed to do against Alabama. When a team can run the ball effectively on a defense it opens up the playbook and causes all kinds of problems for the D. Part of the problem falls on the schemes Diaz was running. They were too cute and too fancy at times. Instead just let the guys line up and go win their individual battles. Also the front 7 really needs to improve on shedding their blocks. Time after time I'd see running backs get past both the D-line and the LB's while barely getting touched because the defenders were stuck on blocks. That should be a large area to focus on in the spring. -In order to stop the run the interior of the defense needs to be strengthened, and that starts with the defensive tackles. Right now I think Malcolm Brown should be starting and playing majority of the games. He is an aggressive player and has a relentless mentality on the field. Next to him I'd insert Desmond Jackson. But regardless of who's plugged into the middle of the line, they have to be able to at least demand double teams in order to free up the linebacker's so they can make plays on the running backs if the DT's can't get to them. -The linebackers Outside LB's (who are specifically coached by Manny Diaz himself) need some shuffling around on the depth chart. My starters right now on the outside would be Peter Jinkens and Tevin Jackson. Sure, we haven't seen them play all that much but both those guys play with the attitude I want at linebacker. Middle Linebacker - But The larger area to improve on at linebacker is in the middle. Steve Edmond may have the perfect size for a MLB and tackles just as hard as anyone in the Big 12. But all that means nothing if he can't get to the ball carrier. Though he lacks the speed to keep up with many of the players in the Big 12, his instincts largely made him a monster in high school. But coming from a 2A school and being a first year starter this past season, his instincts and reactions to what opposing offenses were doing were not at a level that could allow him to have consistent success in the middle. Edmond isn't the most outspoken guy on the field and I'd rather have an MLB who isn't afraid to bark out orders and get players lined up correctly. Edmond can be an effective MLB but it all falls on his ability to find a way to get to the ball carrier faster. I'd also like to see more of Kendall Thompson in the middle during the spring to see what he could bring to the position. Though he's smaller than Edmond, the guy is much quicker and made positive strides towards the end of the season. Either way, the interior has to improve. - The secondary was also a major disappointment as a specific group. The tackling of the secondary was largely in question, though later in the season they picked it up a bit. I think the secondary can bounce back from this past season, especially since they return everyone except Vaccaro. At corner, Carrington Byndom had a down year. But We've seen him have success in the past and I'm confident Akina will re-focus him and help him get back to playing at the level we know he is capable of. Rumors are swirling that Quandre Diggs may make the move to safety. Personally I think he will be effect at safety or corner. To me it doesn't really matter. He is a play maker and a leader, so having him in the back of the defense may help organize the secondary as well. I see Mykelle Thompson remaining at safety with Diggs as well. Which would most likely push Josh Turner to corner. I'd be a fan to try that out because I always like corners who a bigger than the average at that position. And at 6'0", Turner fits that mold. Duke Thomas will also be in the mix a lot more than he was this past season and he has shown flashes that he can be very good. Regardless of how this group shuffles around and who starts where I think the secondary will bounce back from a down year. But their potential to bounce back also relies on the front 7's ability to stop the run. If the front 7 can't stop the run then the secondary will be forced to play closer to the line and have the potential to get out of position more than the should. Special Teams - Texas still needs to find a reliable field goal kicker, and preferably one with a strong leg. The problem is other than Fera, the other kickers don't exactly have the strongest leg. I'm not sure if Mack has come plan in recruiting to still snag a kicker but this is one of the more confusing positions on the team for me because I still don't quite understand why Mack didn't have a better plan to replace Justin Tucker. -Texas also needs to replace Alex King, who was underrated all season long. I assume Fera will also get a crack at this positon. And if he doesn't win the FG job, then I'd like to at least see him win the punting job because I still think he has talent that just hasn't gotten back on track since he left Penn State. -Kick and Punt coverage can always be improved upon. And that's an area where young players can start to make a name for themselves. Coaches -There are still many quality coaches on this staff. I'd love to see Mack get more in tune with his coaches and show more energy with the program, especially since I believe he is close to his last go at it. And I don't want to hear "it is what it is" from him or any coach because that saying to me sounds a lot like "we are still average, deal with it". It's not okay for Texas to be 22-16 the past 3 seasons. Expectations should always be high. -Manny Diaz needs to get his act together, tone down his craziness, put the right players in the right spot and let them make plays. Some creative blitzes are nice, but he runs too many and it caused many of this players to get out of position. He also needs to teach the team how to tackle again. -Major had a nice bowl game performance, but improving upon that to keep the offense rolling an entire season will have to happen if Texas wants to win the conference. -I've given Stacy Searels somewhat of a pass these past few seasons because many of the offensive linemen he was having to use in the lineup weren't guys that naturally fit into Texas power running scheme. They were guys left over from Greg Davis' pass-blocking oriented offensive line. But heading into the 4th year of this transition it's now time for Searels to coach these players into a stronger and more dominant offensive line. There are still numerous areas where Texas can be improved upon to help Texas regain it's strength as a team. These are just some that popped into my head. What are areas of the team that you would like to see improvement in? Provide an area or position and briefly say why. Hook'em
  20. Unlike the Under Armour All-American game that featured only 1 2013 Longhorn commit (OL (4-star) Darius James) the Army All-American Bowl will feature 7 players, 6 of which will play in the game. Linebacker Deoundrei Davis has an injury and will be held out of the game. Longhorn Commits at the Army All-American Bowl DT A'Shawn Robinson - A great athlete playing DT, Robinson can dominate linemen almost at will anytime he wants. But the problem has been a lack of consistent play from him. There are plays he makes that wow you, but then there are times you kind of forget he's on the field. I think he can turn into a great college player but it's on him to make it happen more consistently. OL/DL Ath (4-star) Jake Raulerson - easily one of my favorite commits of this class, Raulerson has the personality and mentality that matches an elite skill set that will allow him to be the best linemen for Texas at some point in his career. Mark my words now, this guy is special. I'm not sure which side of the ball I'd rather have him on but he will make an impact at which ever position he plays at. OT (4-star) Kent Perkins - Solid tackle with mammoth like size and has the potential to be nasty on the offensive line, standing at 6'5", 300 lbs. Stacy Searels, let's see what you can do. QB (4-star) Tyrone Swoopes - Some think he is the next coming of Vince Young. IMO there will never be another Vince Young, ever. But the dual-threat QB is similar in size (6'5", 229 lbs) and will enroll in the spring ready to make a name for himself. Right now I think he takes a red-shirt his freshman year, like VY did. Swoopes has talent but needs a little time to develop. CB (4-star) Antwuan Davis - Remember this name. Davis top-end speed, but I really like that he has a 6'0" frame to go along with his speed. Davis hopes to be another popular name to graduate from "DB-U". WR (4-star) Jake Oliver - standing at 6'4", Oliver is a natural at the wide receiver position. Though he doesn't have quite as much speed as the Shipley brothers, he runs routes and has the great hands both of those brothers had. My favorite position on the field is Wide Receiver and I'm excited the Longhorns were able to get Oliver. LB (4-star) Deoundrei David - Davis has an injury and will not be playing in this game but Though I hope Texas can still had at least 3-4 more top guys, this class is very solid and is filled with players who can come in right away and make an impact for the Longhorns. It's also important to remember that now that all the new coordinators and coaches have established themselves at Texas these are their guys and it will be interesting to see how their recruits pan out once they get to the 40 Acres. Hook'em
  21. Thanks for clearing that up. Any reason as to why they are trying it with basketball first?
  22. Before the Bowl game I was actually thinking the likely hood of a QB competition was higher than there not being one. I guess this thinking came from seeing an abysmal last two weeks of football from the Texas QB positon in the regular season, and also thinking back to the OU and Kansas game. I'll be honest, this answer of what will happen during the off-season at the position may have been clear to some, but for me it's been a ping pong ball getting hit back and forth in my head. And there are a few reason's why I have been so wishy washy with this thinking. But right now, if you were to ask me what happens in the off-season at the QB position then I would respond with "how could Mack Brown not roll with David Ash as his starter?" I'm trying to answer that question with what Mack will do. And he's going to roll with David Ash as his starting QB next season, as he has multiple reasons to. The only thing that confuses me now is his offering of the Juco QB Nick Marshall. But let's break this down and I'll show you what I'm getting at. Will there be a true QB competition? No. In Mack's eyes there's no reason to. Ash has shown he can have success in this offense. He had multiple games this season where he performed well. And this was Ash's first year as the full-time starter. He did this as a sophomore. Did he have some bad games? Of course he did. The OU game and Kansas game were both terrible performances by him. But in Mack's eyes, he is a sophomore who is still growing and learning. Where he showed his strength was coming back the next week after the OU game and performing well against Baylor. Mack likes that. Ash showed he can shake off a bad game and bounce back with a good one. But before the bowl game Ash had never really shown he could pick himself during a game. That all changed at the Alamo Bowl when he came out in the second half and fought to the end of the game to win it. Now, was Oregon State's QB really doing anything to help the Beavers' cause in the second half. No. But that's a combination of Vaz playing poorly AND the UT defense attacking him all night. Regardless, Ash still had a hole to lead his team out of and he did. I say all of this because Mack will look at Ash's body of work and will roll with him as the starter. He has a great argument for why he should. Don't get me wrong, Ash's inconsistent play will not get it done next season. But right now that will be attributed to his youth, the fact that he had Case McCoy looking over his shoulder waiting for him to slip up, and that Ash and Harsin didn't really click. Now with Major running the show I really think he will connect with Ash in a way Harsin never would have. Does Ash still mess with my brain and scare me with inconsistency? Yes. What makes him hard for me to read is his personality and up and down confidence. But the guy was a sophomore, showed he can make the throws and have success in this offense, and led a come from behind victory in a bowl game. I can't see any way Mack doesn't roll with him as the starter, especially in a season where Mack thinks this is "the year". Can you really see coach Brown handing over the keys to a red-shirt freshman, true freshman (possibly Swoopes, though I think he red-shirts), or a juco-transfer (if Marshall commits) in his first year at Texas? I can't. And Ash has done enough for coach Brown to stick with him and continue letting him develop as the starting QB. Let's look at the options behind Ash... Case McCoy - one way or another I think Case's time at QB at Texas are done. He may still be on the roster but I doubt we see much of him even if he is. I guess he possibly could still be a back-up. But before any thoughts can really be given we must see how his legal situation plays out. Connor Brewer - out of all the QB's that will be on the roster in the spring I think Brewer is the most likely candidate to transfer. Brewer was recruited by Harsin. He was originally recruited to Boise State. But when Harsin came to Texas he brought Brewer along. Well now Harsin is gone. And if you're Brewer you could be looking at your own position in the program like this: The one coordinator who recruited you strongly is gone. Though you have 4 years of eligibility left, you are staring at a QB (Ash) who potentially could play 2 more seasons. So you wouldn't have a shot to play until you were a red-shirt junior. But even then you look to your side and standing next to you is Jalen Overstreet, who also has the same years of eligibility left that you do. Add that to Swoopes coming to town. And the potential commitment of Nick Marshall, who will could be at Texas for 3 years (if he is red-shirted he has 3 years). If I'm Brewer and I'm looking around and I really want some serious playing time, then I'm thinking about transferring. Unless I know I have the clear advantage over the competition and am willing to sit possibily two more seasons to have my shot at playing after that. But I don't see Brewer doing that unless he really loves UT. (Love for him to stay, but this is the scenario he could face). In the end, I think Brewer is currently the most likely to transfer. Jalen Overstreet - This player is still very much an unknown. I know many fans are clamoring for him to get action hoping he is the next RGIII. But all anyone really knows is he's a great athlete. But I've yet to see him get on the field and throw the ball. I have no idea how he handles the offense, how he reads defenses, and how his passes look. So at this point I don't really know what Texas has in Overstreet. Could he transfer? Sure. But right now I think he stays in the program and continues to develop. Tyrone Swoopes - Thought by some to be the next coming of Vince Young, Swoopes is a different player than Vince was coming out of high school. Swoopes comes from a much smaller school than where VY came from and didn't have as much of the success that VY had (though Swoopes has done well). Unless he comes into the spring and blows the coaches away, I think Swoopes red-shirts, like VY did. *Nick Marshall - Marshall has yet to commit to Texas and he has other offers he is also considering. But the Marshall offer got my attention because I wasn't expecting it after Harsin had quit recruiting the Juco QB's, and left the program. Nick Marshall is a very interesting prospect. Once a defensive back at Georgia, Marshall was dismissed by the school and has since been playing QB at Garden City Junior College. (More of his story here: Nick Marshall: Dismissed UGA player revitalizes football career … at QB | AJC College Sports Recruiting) Though he still needs some work, Marshall has the potential to be great, and that's the main reason why Texas is still after him. He will be recruited as a QB and will practice as a QB if he chooses Texas. I could see him getting a red-shirt if he comes, unless he arrives on campus and also blows away the coaches with what he can do. Currently Texas has the potential to have 6 QB's on roster David Ash Case McCoy Connor Brewer Jalen Overstreet Tyrone Swoopes *Nick Marshall But when you start to try to figure out how it all may shake out you see that not all of the QB's will likely be eligible to play during games in the fall. Active on Roster Ash - (likely starter) Overstreet - (have yet to see what Texas has in him, I think he stays with the program) Transfer Brewer - (IMO, most likely to transfer) Red-Shirt/Inactive on Roster Swoopes - (red-shirts FR year) Question Marks McCoy - (possibly a reserve, likely not in the picture one way or another either by transfer, kicked off team, demotion) *Marshall - has yet to commit. If he does commit, I could see him being active on the roster or taking a red-shirt. That depends on how he looks if/when he gets to campus and starts practicing. All of this is just one scenario that could possibly happen. None of this is currently fact, rather an attempt to understand what Mack may be thinking about the QB position for 2013. Either way, I think right now David Ash is the Longhorns' starting QB in 2013. It's silly not to think that, unless one of the other QB's dominates in the spring. I do not see a QB competition, unless Ash begins to struggle in the off-season. I know some of you may be cool with this, and some may be weary about it, but right now I believe the job is David Ash's to lose.

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