Hornucopia: Top 10 Edition
Ten Things the 31-27 Alamo Bowl Victory over Oregon State Tells Us About Next Year's UT Football Team
1) Mack Brown still loves his job (shucks). With about eight minutes to go in the game, and Texas trailing 27-17, quarterback David Ash evaded a sack and looked as if he would run for whatever yardage he could get, but then he suddenly bucked up and threw the ball down the sidelines where RB Johnathan Gray snatched it and ran in for a 15-yard touchdown. This happened right in front of Coach Brown, whose look of delirium was one usually found on photos you have to pay for at the end of a roller-coaster ride. Which 2012 certainly was.
2) Barring injury, Ash will start every game at quarterback, not only next season, but in 2014. Can't see redshirt freshman Connor Brewer, redface senior Case McCoy, or true freshman Tyrone Swoopes pushing a junior Ash for the gig. Kid A has got a cannon, and new offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, a former UT starter at QB, will put everything else in its right place.
3) Unfortunately, Applevanilla looks to be an even more conservative play-caller than Greg Davis. As Brown's successor-in-grooming, Opie has a lot to lose. But he needs to break the culture of fear over at Jamailville. With all those ineffective quick passes to the flat, which do nothing but pad the QB's completion percentage, Texas did not convert a single third down in the first quarter.
4) Texas is weakest at linebacker. Even if Jordan Hicks makes it through the sexual assault investigation unscathed and incoming freshman Deoundrei Davis proves beastly, the second line of defense doesn't look to be much better than in '12. Even before he went on to correctly prove Leo Durocher's adage that "if you can't get it by midnight, it's not worth it," Hicks has been a bust at Texas. This is the top-rated linebacker in the country out of high school, but he seems to be in need of a geometry class. But, then, all the linebackers and DBs seemed to take bad angles on tackles.
5) The Horns are loaded at RB, with Malcolm Brown, Johnathan Gray, and Joe Bergeron. The recent hiring of former LSU assistant Larry Porter as running backs coach can only help.
6) Jaxon Shipley is, next to Ash, the most valuable player on the Texas offense. Must've been some labor for Mama Shipley, giving birth to twins seven years apart. Jordan and Jaxon look like they should be chewing straw in a cornfield, but they play like pure born footballers.
7) Texas needs DE Jackson Jeffcoat back out on the field. If his daddy didn't play for the Cowboys and have some coin, Jacky Jeff might declare for the NFL. He's got the physical tools, but I follow him on Twitter, and he's not quite mature enough for that cutthroat world. If Alex Okafor, who got 4.5 sacks against the Beavers and added millions to his NFL guaranteed money, can play as a senior, so should Jeffcoat.
8) Manny Diaz needs to fix the defense or he's gone. Led by seniors Oak and Kenny Vaccaro, the maligned Texas D came up big when they had to against Oregon State. But yet another RB has a career game against the hollow Horns. Incoming five-star freshman A'Shawn Robinson should start next to the other Malcom Brown, giving the Horns a pair of future NFL players at DT, but Texas needs to cruise the JC ranks for more mean meat.
9) Marquise Goodwin will win the Priest Holmes Award as the next NFL Pro Bowler who was an underused offensive weapon at Texas.
10) The sensationally gifted Daje Johnson and Cayleb Jones will sit on the bench, as Shipley and Mike Davis get most of the reps, but Applewhite will try and maximize the time those two natural playmakers spend on the field. The big story next year will be crowd favorite Applewhite's debut as Texas play-caller. Will the love affair end when he's calling four-yard passes on third and eight?