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During the spring and the summer, the general thought was that defensive tackle would be the real question mark for the Texas defense.
Fast forward from spring to summer and several things have happened.
First, the bad:
1. Texas signed three defensive tackles and had hoped two of them would be good enough to play early and play significant minutes, if even in a back-up setting. Taylor Bible and DeAires Cotton came in out of shape. Only Ashton Dorsey came in ready to go. He looks good, but he is a pup. Mack Brown says Bible will play, but there's no telling how much.
2. Calvin Howell did not separate himself and solidify the second starting tackle spot. Be it *injury* or *work ethic*, the bottom line is that Howell isn't No. 2 and that's just not what would have been best for this team. Howell is athletic and quick, and he has size. But if he's running third team, his development, for whatever reason, hasn't been what was expected or desired.
3. Tevin Mims was not expected to be a starter, but he was expected to be in the rotation. From Mack's presser yesterday, it appears he'll likely redshirt.
Now, the question marks:
1. Tyrell Higgins has emerged as the No. 2 DT. That is great news in many ways. Here's a guy who came back from the doghouse of all doghouses (his previous actions cost him his scholarship), to earn back the trust of the coaches and teammates. But at the same time, is he good enough to be the starter, or did he win because he's the only returning upper-class defensive tackle outside of Howell? Only time will tell if Higgins being first team is a good thing, or was simply a necessary thing based on lack of talent at the position.
2. Texas had already moved Acho inside in certain situations. Then midway through two-a-days, they moved Alex Okafor inside as well. Some believe that the move for Okafor was precipitated because Jackson Jeffcoat had passed him. The loss of Mims and non-emergence of Howell, then caused Texas to look for additional answers. Moving Okafor inside was as good as any other.
Let's take a look at the actual depth chart:
1. Kheeston Randall
1. Tyrell Higgins
2. Alex Okafor
2. Ashton Dorsey
3. Calvin Howell
Here's what Texas had hoped it might look like:
1. Kheeston Randall
1. Calvin Howell
2. Tyrell Higgins
2. Taylor Bible or Ashton Dorsey
3. Tevin Mims
3. Ashton Dorsey
The pre-season attrition at defensive tackle for the Horns has been significant. As long as Randall stays healthy, I think this position will be fine because Texas gives a lot of 3-4 looks anyway (and moves Acho inside at times).
However, lose one of the current top four, and you're talking about a real issue against teams who can run the ball.
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I wonder if Bible knows he is the one clear disappointment in the class
Coming in that out of shape at a position with such an obvious opportunity for immediate playing time is an embarrassment
Having to somewhat force Greg Daniels onto the field at DT this year is somewhat telling. I think he would have greatly benefitted from a redshirt year (physically in the lower body).
I have to think in most years, Bible and Daniels would have redshirted, but that seems rather obvious.
Texas schedule this year will really test the interior. More than last year for me (save Bama). Nebraska, Kansas State, OU, UCLA, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech will all likely look to test the Horns up front more than last year. Of course, two or three did last year, but I think with more game planning this year.
National Director of Scouting & Recruiting Analyst
I really hope that Howell is 100% healthy.
I think Scott and Vacarro will help shore up the run defense. Those two can knock the taste out of your mouth. Improved LB play will help too.
Listing them out like that compared to what it could have looked like really puts it in perspective, Bobby. I have faith in Muschamp to make it work just fine, but injuries at DT could really put him in a bind.
Signatures are stupid. You should block them.
Can we mug DD Lewis?
HenryJamesBC said... (original post)Can we mug DD Lewis?
HenryJamesBC said... (original post)
Can we mug DD Lewis?
I always thought Texas should mug Derrick Johnson because he's obviously playing to his strengths when he's directly taking on a blocker instead of roaming free to make plays. ;-)
This post was edited by BobbyBurton 4 years ago
These days I bet Carl is mugging a worm on a hook, then tangling his line around a very confused catfish.
How would the depth chart look if not for
a) Andre going gangster
b) Humphrey getting sick
c) Johnson not having a family in Arkansas
NLeininger said... (original post)How would the depth chart look if not for a) Andre going gangster b) Humphrey getting sick c) Johnson not having a family in Arkansas
NLeininger said... (original post)
How would the depth chart look if not for a) Andre going gangster b) Humphrey getting sick c) Johnson not having a family in Arkansas
I know they were *hopeful* on Derek Johnson - who I forgot to mention above - but I never got the feeling they expected all that much out of him based on his effort in the spring. Prior to that, they were hopeful. After the spring, he kind of drifted.
No doubt Jones and Humphrey could have helped greatly if they could be. Seems like we will be young but good in the future if these 5 (3 last year and 2 this year) pan out -even if someone leaves.
The question I have is if it's a concussion problem (which is not really solvable) or an attitude problem (which can be, but not a given). I hope it's the latter.
Further, outta shape going into camp can be corrected with "voluntary" post practice conditioning.....
We'd have Jones, Humphrey, and Johnson in the rotation...
Disciplina praesidium civitatis
I think if any of the top 3 guys goes down to injury for more than a game or so, the coaches will tell Mims tough luck about that redshirt we need you now.
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I think Muschamp has a lot of flexibility here. We're just going to be playing a different game. Mississippi State had a great defense under Joe Lee Dunn with a bunch of undersized players because he was able to disrupt and penetrate. We may not make the plays with our second tackle that we did last year, but we can occupy blockers and penetrate very well. That's the way we'll play the game this year. Our linebackers and safety will let us get away with being a little light at the second tackle.
But you still have to have that anchor. Randall has to stay healthy. Other than that, I think we'll be very good defensively, even with this relative weakness.
I am actually not as worried about the depth at DT as I was 6 months ago. We are screwed if Randall gets hurt, but that was going to be the case no matter what for this season.
I think the key for me is the number of high motor guys we can throw at teams. Assuming that Howell won't contribute this year, we are basically going 5 deep at DT. Randall, Higgins, Acho, Okafor, & Dorsey. I know the tradition thought is that a guy like Okafor or Acho would be used at DT on passing downs...however, I think its possible they will be able to play against the run as well because they won't be asked to give more plays at DT than their body can handle. I think the ability to keep all 4 guys (besides Randall) relatively fresh as it pertains to snaps will be really beneficial.
Also...I can't speak to Bible's work ethic (obviously not good news that he showed up out of weight at a position of need), but I am not convinced he won't be a different player when TX/OU rolls around and he has had another 30 days of Texas heat and conditioning to get in better shape. That first 15 lbs will come off him in no time if he can show a little discipline.
I'm curious... When the recruits sign on the dotted line and officially become a Texas Longhorn, I'd have to assume that our coaches sit down with them and set some goals over the next few months until they actually report, e.g. "Billy, we see you as a RB in our system. To be successful, we would like to see you at xxx lbs and roughly xxx% in body fat. Now we can't stand over you every step of the way during summer, so we'll have to rely on you to keep yourself in shape and work towards those goals. If you do, you'll have a very good chance of getting on the field early."
You know, management 101 stuff. Please tell me that's how this works.
Now, I also understand that we're dealing with 17-18 year old children with overdeveloped sense of entitlement that are used to getting by on raw talent alone.
Never mind, I think I just answered my own question...
This post was edited by TexShoe 4 years ago
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