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Well folks, not much going on this week however we will share with you everything weâ€™re hearing and pass it along. First of all, these are incredibly exciting times at Hornsports right now and our incredible growth is allowing us to do things that a few months ago may have seemed like a â€œpipe dreamâ€ when we were starting out. Consequently, in this weekâ€™s Crossfire we will talk about what Hornsports is doing to improve upon our service offering to our faithful fans. We will also be discussing our recent commitments. What do they mean to the program? Next we will discuss our former coaches that are on the move. Manny Diaz to La Tech? From there we will discuss medical hardships (anybody out there remember Jordan Hicks or David Ash?). Well, weâ€™ll discuss how things are coming along for those two key Longhorns for â€™14. We will also discuss Spring Practice, the Spring Game, and how team works outs are going so far. During the â€œDrop & Gimme 20â€, Hornsports will address the burning questions that you the Hornsports faithful have put forth. And finally we will have a discussion with our old buddy â€œFriend of Bevoâ€ and where his thoughts are this week (albeit brief!). So strap-up your chin strap and get into the â€œCrossfire!â€ UPDATE ON HORNSPORTS NEWS & SPRING GAME NOTES As it pertains to Hornsports, we are presently interviewing potential staff writers, recruiting scouts, baseball scouts, and reporters. It is our number one priority to continue to improve the content we deliver on HornSports. We have some exciting potential opportunities for radio and television shows in 2014. More details to come in upcoming weeks. On a different front I have been asked many times, â€œDarrell, how about a HornSports Spring Game Tailgate Party to get us prepped for the regular season?â€ Your wish is our command here at HornSports. Once the spring game is scheduled, we will plan the first 2014 Tailgate party. As it looks right now, we will have some very exciting events taking place for the Tailgate party. Stay tuned. UPDATE ON RECRUITING FRONT New Orleans Four Star 6â€™5 300 plus pound offensive guard Alex Anderson became the second blue-chipper to pledge to the Charlie Strong staff. The first commit to Strong being Arlington hybrid safety/linebacker Ed Freeman. FORMER UT COACHES ON THE MOVE There are reports out that have linked Duane Akina to Sonny Dykesâ€™ California staff and Stacy Searles to Frank Beamersâ€™ Virginia Tech staff. Daryl Wyatt's name has been mentioned concerning the Sam Houston State head coaching vacancy, although I have heard the current DC at Sam Houston is the leading candidate for the job. Bo Davis has accepted the DL position coach under Nick Saban at Alabama. Manny Diaz has accepted the DC position on Skip Holtzâ€™s staff at Louisiana Tech. Oscar Giles is talking to Sonny Dykes at Cal, Mark Richt at Georgia, and one other school that I am not privy to at this time. I will keep digging around to find out who that 3rd school is and I am sure we will hear something on this front soon. MEDICAL HARDSHIPS It appears that Linebacker Jordan Hicks and Quarterback David Ash will be approved for medical hardships. If Ash regains his health & form, this would be huge benefit to the team. HORNSPORTS Q & A Q) How long is it going to be before Ronald Jones II gets an offer? He's going to blow up next year. A) The staff has been on the job for one full week now. They have a lot of ground work to make up closing this yearâ€™s class. You can expect the staff to address the 2015 class right after spring ball is completed. With the retention of Chambers and Shipley, Iâ€™m certain Strong & staff will be brought up to spend on the top targets. RJ II should be one of them. Q) What's the biggest name recruit we'll get who is not already verbaled to this class? A) Iâ€™m going to go with the Four Star DT from Hilton Head, South Carolina Poona Ford. Q) Any idea on who matriculates from the program either by choice or by force? A) Right now I donâ€™t feel comfortable sharing any names. For the first time, some of the kids feel like they have a true opportunity for showcasing their skills regardless of their age. It is only natural for a certain amount of attrition during a coaching transition occurs. I would look at 5-10 current players to transfer or quit football all together. Q) KNOX do we have a 90% chance to get him back. We need him and how about Harvey? A) 90% is dreaming. Letâ€™s see if a visit is scheduled before we get excited. Q) mcphaul, are you noting any forthcoming changes as per our coaching staff allotment? obviously nothing major. nonetheless, subtle changes in staff personnel? A) There are rumors that TE Coach Bruce Chambers might move into to a administration position. Q) Signing day surprises? Do we get any? A) The class is shaping up to have a few surprises. I hope they are all positive. Q) Any chance that Brewster finds a place on this staff? A) I believe there is a chance. Letâ€™s see what direction Strong goes with Bruce Chambers first. Q) Which head 2 head battles with Sumlin does Coach Strong win this year & next? A) Iâ€™m not sure he does? Cypress Falls blue chip LB Olaka is the biggest battle raging between the two schools and this one might come down to signing day. If Strong could flip blue chip defensive back Nick Harvey, that would be considered a huge victory. Q) Where does Texas stand with Jarrett Stidham? A) Top 5. That is good considering he has not met the new staff. Q) Tony3487 asked if Charlie strong bought Sabans house? Sorry couldn't resist A) Everyone deserves a day in the sun! Q) Has Barnes saved his job or is that TBD? A) The season is far from over. Defiantly TBD. Q) Do you know if they were after anyone else? If so, who? If not, then why drag out the announcement like that? A) Iâ€™m not sure. One reason for this to drag out is if the coaching candidate agreed to stay on with his current employer until after signing day. Q) I am wondering about the committee that was assembled to help hire Patterson then was supposed to be involved in hiring Coach Strong was a committee in name only? Will there be a permanent advisory committee moving forward, available to convene and give input to the AD on highly important matters and to handle any major crisis, or did Patterson's lack of consulting with the committee on the hiring of Coach Strong effectively kill it off? A) Apparently so. It does not appear that Patterson believes he needs a consulting committee. I believe Patterson is trying to wean the BMDâ€™s off of being heavily involved. Q) Will our emphasis be on flipping players that are signed elsewhere or will we be going more for unsigned and/or undervalued players? A) Both Q) Who do you see taking over for Anthony Fera at P/PK? It appears that Nick Jordan redshirted this season, Nick Rose will be a Junior, and Will Russ is still around. Any news on walk-ons or transfers in that area? A) I look for a battle between Rose and Jordan. Russ will get the first shot at punter. There is a kicker at Boerne High School that actually outkicked the North Carolina kicker that we offered at the Texas camp by the name of Clayton Hatfield. Hatfield is now committed to Texas Tech. Claytons father attended Texas and the Hatfield were not too happy about not receiving the offer over an OOS kid that ended up de-committing. Q) Is there any news on Jake Raulerson's expected role next year. A) Right now Jake is penciled in as the backup Center. With Wicklineâ€™s background of mixing and matching multiple units, I wouldnâ€™t doubt that Jake will get a look at Guard too. Jake is tipping the scales at 289 right now. Jake may need another year to be a legitimate Div 1 offensive lineman. Q) Can you share anything compelling about conference affiliation in the next few years? The Big 12 sucks! A) In my opinion Texas will leave the NCAA before it leaves the B12 conference. The playoff system will alleviate some of our disdain for being a B12 member. Texas has scheduled some very intriguing match ups with national contenders for next 6 years. UCLA, Ohio State and Notre Dame are just a few to mention. Q) Myles Turner, how are things going with his recruitment? Anything new on that end? A) Shaunsters is reporting that Texas is in the thick of things with Turner. It appears to be a Texas vs. Kansas battle at this time. Q) With somewhat of resurgence by the basketball team, has Barnes' leash gotten longer any? Odds of landing Myles Turner? A) To early to tell. As of right now, we are 50/50 with Turner. BRIEF CONVERSATION WITH FRIEND OF BEVO THIS WEEK McPhaul: Like always, thanks for taking my call. FOB: Itâ€™s no problem. McPhaul: So, anything noteworthy happening on the forty that I can share with our members? FOB: I did have an opportunity to speak with a few folks this past week. The new staff seems to be settling in well. The staff is very pleased on how the kids/team has responded so far. McPhaul: Have you heard if the staff has experienced any kickback from the players about having to move back to campus? FOB: No, I really havenâ€™t. I think kids are taking a wait and see approach. I know some of the kids counted on the extra money if they saved on the living per diem by living off campus so. McPhaul: You hearing anything about the workouts? FOB: They are getting after it. The players know that short cuts wonâ€™t be tolerated. They are also aware that there will be no favorites played. Everyone has a clean slate and considered on the same level. McPhaul: Anyone standing out in the workouts? FOB: Not that I heard but the staff is pleased with the overall effort. McPhaul: Switching gears on you there has been talk about Coach Chambers transitioning over to the administrative side- is there any merit to that? FOB: There is no doubt that Bruce was retained with the intention of maintaining some level of continuity between the staff, high school coaches and recruits. Bruce is serving that purpose well however Iâ€™m not sure if they have their minds made up just yet on what direction they are going to go. McPhaul: Prior to our call, I know you had mentioned to me that there wasnâ€™t much to comment on this week. Is there anything else we should know? FOB: Nope. Thatâ€™s all I got for now but keep in mind, things will be heating up. McPhaul: Understood. Holler back at you next week. FOB: You got it. VAYA CON DIOS AMIGOS! Guys, thatâ€™s all I got for now. As always, if we hear something we will put it out there for you the fans. Again, just like at the 40 Acres there are fun times ahead at HornSports as well. We want to thank you our followers for our continued success- I cannot wait to see what â€™14 brings us! Hook â€˜Em and talk to you next week! Darrell
Weâ€™re a day away from seeing the 2012 University of Texas Longhorn football team run through the white smoke as they trot onto the field to kick off the season against Wyoming. Much hype, anticipation, and questions have been placed on the offensive side of the ball, mainly the quarterback position. But one of the more refreshing topics to look forward to this off-season has been not just how the defense will play this fall, but how well they will play and how nasty this unit can be. Iâ€™ll say it now, and Iâ€™m sure many of you will agree, but the Longhorns should have the best defense in the Big 12 this season and one that could fight to be the best in the nation. Itâ€™s a defense that returns 8 starters and has crazy athleticism and above average depth all across the board. Letâ€™s break it down though. Defense Defensive Backs Starters: Just try to throw the ball against this secondary. Seriously, I dare you. Mack and his staff have done it again by assembling arguably the best defensive backfield in the country. Starting corners Quandre Diggs and Carrington Byndom, and starting safeties Adrian Phillips and Kenny Vaccarro could all be playing on Sunday when they each leave the 40 Acres. Last year all these players played well but I fully expect them to improve their 12 total interceptions from last year to closer to 20 this season. The one guy I really want to watch early in the season in Adrian Phillips. I truly think he has the talent and skills to have a season that could be very similar to Earl Thomas as far as interceptions and big plays. I know, I know Kenny Vaccarro is also a beast roaming the field back there, but Phillips actually has the better coverage skills than Vaccarro. Regardless, every one of these starters have the ability to match up with any receiver in the country and give them trouble. Reserves: Mykell Thompson and Josh Turner lead the reserve unit that also currently includes freshman Duke Thomas and sophomore Sheroid Evans. Other than the freshman Thomas, all of the reserves have seen some game action and add to the strength of the entire defensive backfield. Defensive Ends Starters: The two names that come to mind first are senior Alex Okafor and junior Jackson Jeffcoat. These two combined for 14 sacks and 60 solo tackles last season as both made huge individual improvements from the previous season. But neither have hit their full potential yet and either one could very well end up as the top defensive end in the country. They are both that good. Reserves: Backing up Jeffcoat and Okafor are Reggie Wilson and Cedric Reed. These two athletes are both talented but have very limited game experience. Their lack of game play contributes to the main weakness of the defense, which is inexperience. But Iâ€™ve liked the moves Iâ€™ve seen Wilson make on the field in his limited play and I actually feel pretty good about both these guys as reserves to the two studs on the outside. Defensive Tackles Starters: When I think of defensive tackles from UT I think back to the days of Casey Hampton, Frank Okam, and the other big mammoths from years ago. What was once a strong position for UT has been in a funk recently. I say funk because the position wasnâ€™t necessarily a bad one but was a weird one that seemed to be patched up rather than fixed. There were tackles that ended up leaving the team, tackles who didnâ€™t ever give nearly enough effort, and tackles that simply didnâ€™t pan out. But with the help of Juco Transfer Brandon Moore the defensive tackle position is already in a better place now than where it was late last season. Both Brandon Moore and former running back Chris Whaley (Mack has gotten good at this conversionâ€¦) are locked in as the starters for Saturdays game. Iâ€™m excited to see what type of craziness these two can create in Wyomingâ€™s backfield as both have shown the ability to push opposing linemen around and get into the offensive backfield this off-season. Reserves: For the first time in a long time the Horns actually have good depth at defensive tackle. Both Desmond Jackson and Ashton Dorsey have seen game action. Add those two guys with 5-star freshman Malcolm Brown and that gives UT one of the best defensive tackle reserve units in the country. All three of these guys could be big time starters next year and beyond. Linebackers Starters: Led by junior Jordan Hicks, the LB core has a ton of talent. And itâ€™s time for Hicks to put all of it together and make the next step in his play. He had just 30 solo tackles last season, compared to Emmanuel Achoâ€™s 61 and Keenan Robinsonâ€™s 52. With both of those two guys heading to the NFL Hicks should have more opportunities to show why he was so highly recruited out of high school. But as talented as this LB unit is, it has a lot of inexperience as well. Other than Jordan Hicks no other linebacker has seen any extensive playing time, if any at all. That doesnâ€™t worry me though. The other starters, Steve Edmond and Demarco Cobbs, have been tearing it up in practice all summer long. And on top of that Cobbs was poised to make a difference last season as a sophomore who was supposed to be the fourth linebacker in the rotation on game days before his season ending injury last year. This is a unit who does have to prove itself, but they shouldnâ€™t having any trouble doing so. Reserves: Currently sophomores Kendall Thompson and Tevin Jackson are locked in as the back ups to the three starters, with Thompson as the reserve at MLB and WLB. Once again these are guys with immense talent but lack any game experience. If any of the starters were to go down we may see some growing pains for a few games but I fully expect both of these players to contribute each game as well off the bench. This defense is full of talent all across the board. There are players at each level of the defense who could emerge as the best at their position in the country. But Manny Diaz will have to get these players to create more turnovers and big plays than they did last season if they want to live up to all the pre-season hype. If I was a betting man Iâ€™d go all in with Diaz and this defense, though. Special Teams Kicking/punting: What was once a big question mark and potential weakness after the departure of current starting kicker for the Baltimore Ravens Justin Tucker, Mack Brown was able to work his magic once again and recruit one of the top kickers in the country away from Penn State to play for his Horns this fall. Though he is currently injured and may miss a couple of games, Anthony Fera is undoubtedly a huge get for the Horns, as he alone could end up being the difference in a couple of games this season. In his absence freshman Nick Jordan will handle the kicking duties. But even if Nick does well while Fera is out, expect Fera to be inserted as the starter once he returns. Though Fera is capable of punting as well, I actually donâ€™t expect him to hold any of those responsibilities once healthy, unless there is some special need for him. Duke transfer Alex King is listed as the current starter and I bet he remains there for the entire season if he kicks well. Kick Return/Punt Return: The starting punt returner is Quandre Diggs, and his back up is Jaxon Shipley. Both guys are dangerous and can take it to the house on any kick. The starting kick returners are D.J. Monroe and Mykell Thompson. I personally prefer Marquis Goodwin over both of those guys, but maybe D.J. Monroe will finally make a name for himself this seasonâ€¦ On top of the kicking game and return game Iâ€™m also excited and interested to see if the special teams unit can block some punts and kicks. Having a great special team unit means being great all around. In the return game, kicking game, and blocking punts/kicks. This is exactly what Mack wants to achieve this season. â€œWhat weâ€™re trying to do, weâ€™re trying to have the best special teams weâ€™ve ever had,â€ Brown has said. â€œWeâ€™d like to lead the country, and youâ€™ve got to put your best players out there to do that. And if every time they punt to us weâ€™ve got a chance to block it or return it for a touchdown, that gives us a chance to win a tight ballgame.â€ This quote is very important for this team since they may have some struggles on offense. Both the defense and the special teams have the potential to be the best in the country. Itâ€™s great to see buzz and potential back for the team on defense and special teams. Whatâ€™s sad is that the potential and greatness of the defense and special teams could be hindered and wasted by the lack luster offensive play, specifically of that by the quarterbacks. But hey, if SEC teams can win a national championship with incredible defenses, great special teams, dominant running backs, and average quarterbacks, then UT can as well. Is it Saturday yet?