There's no place like Saturday...

August 30, 2010

Top 25 Countdown: #6 Texas Longhorns


2009 Record – 13-1, 8-0 Big 12
Bowl Game – BCS National Championship – Lost to Alabama 21-37
Letterman Returning: 46
Stadium – Texas Memorial Stadium (94,113)
College Location – Austin, TX
Coach – Mack Brown 128-27 (13th year)


Key Returnees – T Kyle Hix, RB Tre’ Newton, WR Malcolm Williams (below), WR James Kirkendoll, G Michael Huey,

Key Losses – QB Colt McCoy, WR Jordan Shipley, T Adam Ulatoski, C Chris Hall, G Charlie Tanner, WR Dan Buckner

- As far as the rest of the country is concerned, three things happen in Texas: Rodeos, Executions, and Football, sometimes all in the same day. Football, however, may be what Texans do best. UT has not had below 10 wins in a season since 2000, when they finished 9-3. A lot of their success can be credited to the powerful offenses the Longhorns have produced over the years. The 2010 season comes with a big change however, with the loss of the winningest quarterback in NCAA history in Colt McCoy. McCoy, who was about as Texas as Cowboy Boots and a beat up pick-up, was a four year starter for the Longhorns and has since moved onto UT’s farm-team, in the Cleveland Browns. Stepping in for McCoy will be the same player that filled in for the single caller after he went down with an injury in the National Championship game, Garrett Gilbert. This season, Gilbert isn’t a scared freshman entering a situation he never thought he’d be in. Now a true sophomore, Gilbert is poised to become the next great Texas QB. Unfortunately for Gilbert, All-American wideout Jordan Shipley, McCoy’s favorite target, has graduated as well. Returning, however, is a slew of talented pass catchers the young quarterback can build a relationship with just like McCoy did with Shipley. Senior starter James Kirkendoll returns to the slot with junior Malcolm Williams on the outside. Senior John Chiles will fill in for the departed Shipley. The three combined for 121 catches last season and 11 touchdowns, while Shipley himself caught 116 balls and 13 scores, so expect a much more balanced receiving core come fall. Since the loss of running back Jamaal Charles to the NFL in 2007, the rushing game for the Longhorns has taken a backseat to the rest of the offense. An offense once known for producing great running backs has failed to turn out talent in the last two years. Last season, redshirt freshman, Tre Newton, led all ball carriers with 552 yards and six scores. Newton returns as doe’s goal line back Cody Johnson who brought in 12 touchdowns last season, and senior Vondrell McGee. Helping Newton and McGee pile up yards this season will be the return of All-Conference tackle, Kyle Hix. Hix and senior guard, Michael Huey, return as the Longhorns only starters along the offense line however.


Key Returnees – CB Aaron Williams (below), OLB Keenan Robinson, CB Curtis Brown, DE Sam Acho, S Blake Gideon

Key Losses – DE/OLB Sergio Kindle, MLB Roddrick Muckelroy, S Earl Thomas, DE Lamarr Houston

- Texas’s defenses have been known for producing pro caliber players as of late. But it’s not just the players that make this Texas defense great year after year; it is the way the defenses have played as a total unit. Last season’s defense grabbed opponents by the horns, or longhorns, ripping the life out of nearly every offense they faced. UTEP was held to just 53 total yards. Baylor amassed just six yards rushing, still, better than Oklahoma’s -16. Kansas was sacked seven times. Nebraska gained just 67 yards rushing and 39 passing. The National Champion Crimson Tide were held to just 58 yards passing. If not for prolific passers Jerrrod Johnson of Texas A&M and Taylor Potts of Texas Tech and Heisman running back Mark Ingram, the defensive numbers for the Longhorns might have been about as staggering as Charles Barkley’s golf game. This season, the Longhorns return six starters to a unit that still boast perhaps the nation’s best secondary, even with the loss of safety Earl Thomas. The ‘Horns send out the best corner due in the country in junior Aaron Williams and senior Curtis Brown. Williams proved to be one of the best man cover corners in the country last season, often scaring quarterbacks away while also bringing in three interceptions. Brown finished second on the team in passes defended with 16, behind Thomas’s 24. Junior safety, Blake Gideon, has been a diamond in the rough for the Texas defense and came away with six interceptions last fall. Filling in for Thomas should be junior Christian Scott, who at 6’1’’ 215 pounds, adds size to the backfield. The defensive line for the Longhorns returns two starters, including All-Conference end, Sam Acho. Acho led the team in sacks last season with 10, with 14 tackles for a loss. Kheeston Randall, a junior nose guard, also returns along the defensive front. Ends, Eddie Jones and Alex Okafor, will compete for playing time at the other outside position. Jones, a former No.1 recruit, has failed to live up to expectations in Austin. Last season as a true freshman, Okafor received honorable mention All-Big 12. The linebacker unit takes a hit with the loss of Kindle and Muckelroy, both high level contributors, however, junior Keenan Robinson returns. Robinson returns as the team’s leading tackler with 74 stops. Senior Jared Norton, who redshirted last season with an injury, and junior Emmanuel Acho, are expected to fill into the remaining two linebacker positions.


- No matter who is put on the schedule each season, the men in burnt orange look at the game as a win before it even begins. And there is good reason that they should. Over the last five seasons Texas has put together two undefeated regular seasons, two National Championship game appearances and one win in those games. Head coach Mack Brown has put together a 128-27 record in his tenure. Offensive coordinator Greg Davis has been with Brown for all 13 seasons, while defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, who enters his third season in 2010, will find himself a head position in no time. Consistency and terrific play for the Longhorns have made them a favorite to win it all every season. This season, a grueling schedule threatens to stand in their way. Home visits from Rice and Wyoming begin season play for the Longhorns before a Sept 18 visit to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech. The Longhorns last visit to the Red Raiders stadium was not a kind ending. The following two weeks continue to be tough draws, in a home meeting from sleeper UCLA, Sept. 25, followed by the Red River Shootout against Oklahoma, Oct. 2. Although the Longhorns have won four out of the last five meetings, you can believe the Sooners will be heading into the game with just as much confidence and even more fury. After a midseason bye week, a trip to Nebraska, Oct. 16, ends a gauntlet three week period. The Big Red are still thinking what could have been if not for the last few seconds of last season’s matchup. A breather period of conference play lies in games against Iowa State, Baylor and at Kansas State. Don’t, however, sleep on the Bears, who return quarterback Robert Griffin. Three straight home visits against Oklahoma State, Florida Atlantic and Texas A&M round out the ‘Horns season.

Schedule rating: A-

Red = Toughest Game. Blue = Pivotal to conference.

Top Incoming Freshman:

1.) Jackson Jeffcoat, *#2 DE, 6-4 235, Plano, TX

Jeffcoat has a great motor and excellent technique off the snap. He also has room to grow on a large frame.

2.) Jordan Hicks (left), #2 OLB, 6-2 220, West Chester, OH

Hicks chose the Longhorns over the local Buckeyes and gives Texas a future All-Conference signee.

3.) Demarco Cobbs, #3 S, 6-2 205, Tulsa, OK

An excellent offensive player in high school as well as defensive, Cobbs with focus his athleticism to safety for the Lonhorns.

4.) Darius White, #6 WR, 6-4 195, Fort Worth, TX

At 6’4’’, White will follow behind past Longhorns Roy Williams, Limas Sweed and Dan Buckner, as a big talented target for Texas QB’s.

5.) Mike Davis, #3 WR, 6-1 180, Dallas, TX

One of the fastest members of the 2010 class, Davis brought in a 20 yard average as a junior in a talented Dallas league.

*Rankings according to


Hicks –

Williams, Aaron - UT Athletics

No comments:

All writing and views subject to © Drew P. Kochanny, All Rights Reserved. Photo's credited to rights owner.