Breaking news, rankings, predictions and analysis all in one place.

College Football Preview: 14. Texas Longhorns

14. Texas Longhorns

Despite the fact that the Longhorns won 9 games last season, frustration is at an all time high entering 2013. Even with considerable talent on their roster the Longhorns are 22-16 in the last three seasons ever since Colt McCoy left. The Longhorns have the talent and offense to win the Big 12 this year. If they don't Mack Brown's tenure in Austin will be done.

Backfield:  Junior quarterback David Ash made big strides last season. He proved to be a better decision-maker and his arm strength seemed to improve. Offensive coordinator Major Applewhite has implemented a brand new,
David Ash
up-tempo offense that should remind a lot of people of Oregon's. Ash looked good running it in the spring game and could have a huge year if he continues to mature. If Ash struggles expect Mack Brown to give senior Case McCoy an opportunity. Im not have a big fan of Colt's brother. He is pretty accurate and doesn't read defenses well. Impact freshman Tyrone Swoopes is the future in Austin and impressed in the spring game. The  Longhorns have a deep stable of quality backs including junior Malcolm Brown and sophomore Johnathan Gray, who lived up to the hype of his recruiting status. Gray will have a chance to be the feature back though they could spit carries.

Receivers: Although Texas has emphasized the ground attack the past couple of years, the reason the passing game could really improve is the great receiving corps. Senior Mike Davis has emerged as a big-time threat. He is great at separating himself from defensive backs and has proven he can be a downfield threat. Ash should be more agressive this year so Texas can attack defenses with longer pass plays which should help Davis excel. Many recognized junior Jaxon Shipley, mainly because of his star brother, Jordan, a legend in Austin. Though Jaxon is making a name for himself after a very strong 2012 in which he recorded 59 receptions for 737 yards. He has great hands and can record his fair share of spectacular catches. Junior Bryant Jackson and speedy freshman Jake Oliver should also make plays. Sophomore tight end M.J. McFarland should make an impact in this offense right away as he is important in moving the chains.

Offensive Line:  This offensive line should go a long way in helping this new-look offense. It is anchored by junior center Dominic Espinosa who should help out Ash a lot. He moves well and recognizes pass rushers very well and has All-Big 12 potential. Senior left guard Trey Hopkins also is an above-average linemen. He is very experienced and looked like he has the stamina to help out in this up-tempo offense. Massive freshman guard Darius James is also ready to make an immediate impact. Tackles Josh Cochran and senior Donald Hawkins are also quality linemen.

Ashton Dorsey
Defensive Line: The Longhorns defense was terrible last season a rarity in Austin. In order for it to improve this defensive line must get pressure on the opponent. Senior end Jackson Jeffcoat had 4 sacks in just six games and when healthy, is one of the best pass rushers in the Big 12. Jeffcoat is an athletic end and plays a lot like an outside linebacker but his size helps him against big offensive linemen. Senior defensive tackle Ashton Dorsey is a monster up the middle. He is very mobile for a tackle and can disrupt opponents' backfields regularly. The Longhorns must find a replacement at the other end spot for Alex Okafor, the Big 12 leader in sacks. Sophomore Shiro Davis is athletic and has star potential though Texas may lean towards senior Reggie Wilson who definitely has the clear edge in experience. Whoever does start at the opposing defensive end spot has huge shoes to fill.

Linebackers: This year's group of linebackers is extremely talented and should help improve a rush defense that 192.2 yards last season. Middle linebacker Steve Edmond returns after recording 103 tackles a year ago. The junior does a good job at reading defenses and is also a strong coverage linebacker. Coverage 'backers are very important in the Big 12 with all of these pass-happy offenses. Another junior, Jordan Hicks, is ready for a big year at outside linebacker. Hicks is a good tackler and can also become a factor as a pass rusher. Though being in a 4-3 defense I wonder how much he will get the opportunity to blitz. The other outside linebacker spot is a little bit of a question. Junior Tevin Jackson has the chance to start there though a number of other players will get a chance. Sophomores Peter Jinkens and Kendall Thompson both are strong players and could also get some real playing time.

Secondary: The Linghorns lose one of the most talented players in the nation after safety Kenny Vacarro left to the NFL. Though this secondary is still a pretty strong unit with a number of upperclassmen and potential. Junior Quandre Diggs had 4 interceptions in '12 and is an All-American threat. He is extremely athletic and can hang with any receiver, even the fantastic receivers in the Big 12. The other cornerback is also very talented in senior Carrington Byndom who isn't as strong and isn't as good at coverage but he is a great open field tackler. The safeties must replace Vacarro and they have the talent to do it. Senior Adrian Phillips is a hard hitter and average coverage guy and should likely start at the strong safety position. Junior Mykkele Thompson is the starter at the free safety position unless he struggles. He has extreme potential but isn't a proven talent yet. Kenny's brother, sophomore Kevin, may never be as talented as his brother but he definitely has loads of potential.

A new-look offense that should fit Texas' personnel well and a hopefully improved defense means the Longhorns could have a big year. If Ash continues to improve a Big 12 title isn't completely out of question with Oklahoma rebuilding.

No comments:

Theme images by LUGO. Powered by Blogger.