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    Texas Longhorns Spring Preview

    Updated: April 4th, 2011
  • Texas Longhorns Spring Preview
    by JJBeatz of CollegeFootballBreakdown.com

    Austin-Mack Brown’s emphasis on change coming into this year clearly indicates to me that he knows that his current talent was not going to get it done without bringing new coaches to provide a scheme edge over his opponents. Coming off a horrendous “Texas” season, if Mack thought it was just a question of a team needing to gel or develop a little, outside of the necessary change at DC because of the departure of Muschamp, Mack would had kept the balance of the coaching staff in place. I don’t believe that he is the type of coach who needs to make changes simply to save his back side like a Marc Richt. Coach Brown realizes that the current offensive talent must be worked harder in order for Texas to change things around this year. So what does that say and what does it mean for this season?

    Many, including ESPN analysts believe that to win in the Big 12 you must be able to have a tremendous offense to stay with the opponents. However, Texas has always won on defense. That was Mack’s specialty at North Carolina prior to coming to Texas and I don’t expect his emphasis to change. Two years ago, Texas found itself in the National Championship Game without a running game and poor pass protection. It is true that Colt Mccoy’s legs and arm were a huge factor in getting the Longhorns to the championship game but the defense was a key component. Will the defense be strong enough at cornerback this year to slow down some of the quality passing teams on the schedule, such as, BYU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, and Baylor? Can the Longhorn defense which flashed ability last year be strong enough early to allow for the questionable offense with no clear cut starter at QB time to learn new offensive coordinator Brian Harsen’s system? The answer to these questions may hold the key to the success of the Longhorns season. Will they rebound with a strong 10-2 or 9-3 season or finish 6-6 barely qualifying for a bowl?

    Brown’s focus this year is on reversing the turnover deficit which Texas suffered last year. To accomplish this Brown knows that his defense must cause more turnovers and his QB must stop throwing so many interceptions. New DC Manny Diaz brings an attacking defense that prides itself on confusion and attacking the line of scrimmage. Brown wants more turnovers. The defensive line led by DE Alex Okafor and DE Reggie Wilson looked quite strong in the spring game. Of course, that was against an offensive line that is average at best was limited due to injuries. But it is clear that these guys are standouts and will cause trouble for most offensive lines all year. The experienced linebacker group and hard hitting safety Kenny Vaccaro should be able to pick up Diaz’s system pretty quickly. The front seven must be able to get pressure quickly to avoid exposing the young but talented cornerbacks. Except for the QBs that get the ball out quickly, like Landry Jones of Oklahoma, Texas’s defense alone should be strong enough to keep the Longhorn’s in most of the games. But will the offense kill them?
    After watching the spring game, I cannot help but think that although QB Gilbert is the more experienced player, Brown needs a QB who has a better pocket presence, mobility, and conservatism with the ball. Case Mccoy looked more of the part in the spring game. Although Gilbert has more game experience, a new system neutralizes this advantage. After throwing 17 interceptions last year, Brown realizes that a duplication of that cannot happen. In the spring game, Gilbert telegraphed one pass and clearly underthrew a pass when he had solid pocket protection. Brown must have though, “here we go again.” I believe that although there are still 4 QBs competing for the starting position, I think Brown has to be leaning toward the Case Mccoy.
    The offensive line looks average at best. The finished package is not in place due to injuries, but the running game was non existent in the spring game. Star RB recruit Malcom Robinson who is expected to be a star and returning RB Fozzy Whittaker, will struggle to find holes, at least early on in the season until the OL can gel.
    The bottom line is that the offense will find it hard to score points again this year. Although OC Harsen will have a few trick plays under his sleeve, with a questionable offensive line, unproven QBs, and a lack of game breakers on the perimeter, the offense should have one goal, don’t hurt the team!

    Brown’s changes this year clearly indicate his fears of a duplicate season. Bringing in an OC that can teach the running game and a DC that can cause TO is a smart, smart move for the current talent on the team. He is playing to the strengths of his team. With a solid defense, ground control offense, and a change of turnover ratio, the Longhorns may make it to 9-3 this year.


    More to come

  • JJBeatz


    John "JJBeatz" Jacobson is a handicapping analyst who covers the Big Ten, Sun Belt, MAC, Big East, Big 12 and Conference USA for www.collegefootballbreakdown.com. His nickname, "JJBeatz" was given to him by colleagues on Wall Street for his ability to make them money betting college football. JJBeatz is short for JJ beats the spread.

    John's passion for the sport of college football began when he played his first parlay card in elementary school. His fascination with making informative predictions allowed for a smooth transition into equity analysis and trading on Wall Street. As John often says, "Similar skills, such as money management, an analytical mind, hard work, an attention to detail, and perseverance, are needed in both trading and sports betting." JJ continues to work on his craft and loves to make people money.

    E-mail JJBeatz: jjbeatz@collegefootballbreakdown.com.

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