Now that the Summer Olympics are over, and the Cubs are out of the pennant race, it’s time for me to shift my focus to football–or more importantly, Longhorn football. The Horns finished 8-5 in 2011, but it was a tough season to watch. The wide receivers were decimated by injuries. David Ash and Case McCoy kept rotating at quarterback playing poorly, and the only bowl the Horns made it to was the Holiday Bowl. There is a lot to look forward to too: Manny Diaz transformed the defense. It will be even better his second year in command. Blake Gideon is gone, and Johnathan Gray, the top running back recruit who also owned a 95% average on his school work in high school, has arrived on the 40-Acres. Things are definitely looking up for the Longhorns.

Quarterbacks: The last two years have been miserable for Texas QBs. In the 2010 season, Garrett Gilbert became every Longhorn fan’s worst enemy by throwing 17 interception en route to a 5-8 record. Then, in 2011 Mack Brown decided to rotate Case McCoy and true freshman, David Ash, at QB. Neither of them could make anything happen, although Ash showed flashes of greatness. Case looked like a prima donna, and everyone on the team hated him.

This year, David Ash is expected to be the Longhorns’ only quarterback. He wasn’t great last year, but all reports from practice say he is ready to make a big leap in the right direction in 2012. Ash really needs to improve his decision-making. Last year, he forced tons of throws, trying to make an incredible play. This season, Ash needs to take a deep breath, think of what is best for the team and throw the ball to the open man. After a year in Austin, the best-case scenario is that Ash takes a giant step forward. Worst-case scenario is like last year. If Case McCoy plays quarterback again for the Longhorns in 2012, I may have to become a temporary college football atheist.

Malcolm Brown is the best running back Texas has had since Jamaal Charles. (photo by Brendan Maloney of US PRESSWIRE)


Running Backs: Texas’ offensive strength this year is the run game. With four running backs in Malcom Brown, Joe Bergeron, Johnathan Gray, and DJ Monroe who all bring different skills to the table (Brown: all-around, Bergeron: explosiveness, Gray: TD machine, Monroe: can play WR and is crazy fast) it will be near impossible for teams to prepare for UT’s run game. Both Brown and Bergeron were hit with injuries last season and, with a new and improved diet, they aim to stay healthy all year. Unless someone gets hurt, Longhorn running backs could transform the team into a National Championship contender.

Wide Receivers: I wish that Vince Young or Colt McCoy could have had as talented a receiver core as this. With Marquise Goodwin (returning from a disappointing trip to the Olympics in the long jump), Jaxon Shipley (injured last season), and “Magic” Mike Davis (coming off of a disappointing season, and since you’re still reading I’ll give you a random fact: Mike’s middle name is Magic) all ready to go, this could be one of the best receiver groups in college football. If Miles Onyegbule steps up, it could be one of the best groups in history. Let’s hope our QBs can get the ball to them.

Offensive Line: The offensive line has been terrible in the past, and it’s not going to be much better this year. Two starters, David Snow and Tray Allen, are gone, so who’s going to guard David Ash’s blind side? A freshman! Who is only a three-star recruit! Yippee!

Yeah, we’re screwed here. Sorry, David

Defensive Line: Texas has the best defense in the country, and that is thanks to the defensive line. Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor are the two best defensive ends in the Big 12. Jeffcoat and Okafor can disrupt any play run by any team in any conference. They’re that good.

At defensive tackle, Texas has 5 guys that could all make a difference. Ashton Dorsey, Desmond Jackson, Brandon Moore, Chris Whaley, and Malcom Brown will all fight for playing time at DT. No matter who is starting, opponents will be focusing so much on the defensive ends that the defensive tackles should have an easy time sacking the QB.

Linebackers: The Brick Squad, as defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz, calls the linebackers, will need a new leader now that Keenan Robinson and the Achos are in the NFL. Hello, Jordan Hicks. The former top recruit who hasn’t seen much playing time in the previous two years at UT will finally have a shot to be “The Guy.” Demarco Cobbs should help Hicks out, but the Brick Squad doesn’t have a lot of depth. After Hicks and Cobbs, the 3rdlinebackers spot will probably go to sophomore, Steve Edmond. Expect a lot of blitzing from this group.

My man, Kenny Vacarro ((Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)

Defensive Backs: Nobody should even try to pass on Texas. With Okafor and Jeffcoat’s pressure and Cobb’s blitzing it’s hard enough to get a pass off. Now, add cornerbacks, Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs, and free safety, Kenny Vaccaro, and subtract Blake Gideon. It will impossible to complete a pass!

Byndom and Diggs were both exceptional last season. Byndom was the definition of a lock-down corner last year. While guarding the country’s best receiver in Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, Byndom only allowed Blackmon 4 catches in 10 attempts. Diggs, Quentin Jammer’s little brother, intercepted four passes last year en route to becoming Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.

Vaccaro has been one of my favorite players since he first put on his cleats for the Horns. He always gives 110%. He is quick and hits hard. Very hard. Watching him play special teams is incredibly fun. He runs down the field like a cheetah stalking an antelope. When he goes for the antelope, the cheetah never loses.


  • Wyoming
  • New Mexico
  • @ Ole Miss-Tough place to play+SEC=Loss
  • @ Oklahoma State
  • Oklahoma-OU is good again this year, but it’s a rivalry game so you never know what will happen. Maybe the defense will pull one out.
  • @ Kansas
  • @ Texas Tech
  • Iowa State
  • TCU
  • Kansas State

Over optimistic? Yes, but this will most definitely be one of the most interesting seasons in Longhorns’ history. UT is very solid in every department except for the most important one: QB. If David Ash plays well, UT may very well go undefeated. Let’s all say a prayer that Mr. Ash doesn’t play like Garrett Gilbert.