2012 Texas Longhorns Spring Football Game: What I'll Be Watching

All we are is Ash in the wind.

Expect that Manny Diaz's defense will show absolutely nothing, our offense will have some series where they'll be purposefully set up for success, our kick return game will flourish against walk-ons from Harlingen, and, the surest sign of Spring: Jeremy Hills resembling Gale Sayers on trucker's speed and equine steroids, sprinting through various third teamers like Cabo San Lucas street tacos through my colon. Although at a certain level Spring games are the ultimate exercise in zero-sum game, I'll be looking to see if our game, like an economy, can grow the larger pie of balla-ness. That's the best takeaway.

These are areas (almost entirely personnel, we're not showing many Xs and Os) where I'll be paying special attention. Let me know yours...

Offense

OL

OL performance will improve every year for the foreseeable future (influx of talent + actual development + actual scheme) but how much improvement can the current crop show in the 100 days since we saw them last?

  • Trey Hopkins understandably struggled at tackle and is now at his natural position. Is he an above average guard or an All-Big 12 level performer?
  • 3 for 2. The interior OL battle at the other guard and center position isn't as much about issues with Dominic Espinosa as the internet conversation portrays. It may have as much to do with the possible emergence of Sedrick Flowers. Searels will try to figure out which 3 player combination best fits two starting positions. If Flowers starts to show evidence that he's a better guard than Walters (who was inconsistent and had struggles in pass protection), it's now a battle for center - Mason's former high school position
  • Hawkins and Cochran. Are they functional or potentially good? The answer is worth points and wins. I'm increasingly confident that Josh Cochran gets a NFL paycheck one day since 6-6 humans with good frames and a hummingbird's energy level seem to do so, but I don't know anything about Hawkins except for some grainy JUCO film and optimistic second hand reports
  • Depth. We're still not there in terms of a legitimate two deep, but 3 high levels back-ups - at least one of them at OT - will help us navigate the injuries of a full season. If our OT #3 is Trey Hopkins, exhale slowly. Our nation turns its eyes to you Paden Kelley, Thomas Ashcraft, Garrett Porter, Garrett Greenlea, incoming freshmen that I hope we redshirt...

QB

  • Can Ash take the candy in the play action passing game and in the spread - evidence of pre-snap reads, recognition, decisive throws?
  • In-play decision-making?
  • Is he letting it rip and throwing the ball like he did at Belton instead of trying to place the ball, thus extending his release and making his mechanics resemble a drunken Jim Plunkett?
  • The offseason word is that Case McCoy's number 6 is suggestive of the number of points our cornerbacks can expect to score on every tenth pass he throws. Can he show enough to lend confidence that he can game manage a win or two if Ash gets hurt?
RB
  • Jeremy Hills will savage our defense like an escaped zoo chimp; Bergeron will knock someone out with his femur; Brown will show great vision and feet on the cutback and will be struck repeatedly by Mack Brown's headset if he complains of tightness in his groin
  • Who runs the Wildcat before Gray gets here?
TE
  • HA HA HA HA
WR
  • Has Mike Davis really been listening to Anthony Robbins' tapes? I think a Michelle Pfeiffer type mentor who Mike distrusted at first but gradually earned his respect got to him and as she taught him, she realizes that he was teaching her all along, too. Damn teach, when you make the route tree into rap lyrics, it's easy to memorize. No Mike, you taught me. YOU...(sob)...TAUGHT...(sob)... ME
  • DJ Monroe like to swat any ball thrown towards him to the ground like an oversized mosquito, but what if the 10.3 100 meter guy with some wiggle can consistently catch a go route, a hitch screen, and a simple post? That would be cool
Defense

This will be a very good unit and I have far fewer questions about it than our offense, but riddle me this:

DL

  • Can Reggie Wilson show us why we all thought he'd be an impact player coming out of high school? Or should Hassan Ridgeway eliminate redshirt from his vocabulary?
  • I know we're attacking DT by crowd-sourcing, but is Ashton Dorsey ready to make the expected "now you're the man" DT jump that Miller, Houston, Randall all made before him?
  • How many snaps can Man-Mountain Moore give consecutively before his mitochondria protest, "I'm all expended and whatnot. Let's nap." Also, is it possible that he could he actually lift Dominic Espinosa and throw him at David Ash like Crocodile Dundee aiming a can of corn at a purse snatcher?
LB
  • This Steve Edmond guy. Would you like to know more?
  • This Demarco Cobbs guy. Would you like to know more?
  • This Jordan Hicks guy - he's about to break out, isn't he?
  • Answers: YES, YES, YES
DB
  • Sorry to see Quandre Diggs injured, but he and Adrian Phillips' absence allows us to see a number of talented underclassmen for extended periods of time: Turner, Evans, Thompson et al. I'm curious to see just how talented these guys are: Josh Turner's reported instincts, Mykkele Thompson's lateral range, and if the mysterious Sheroid Evans really can play cornerback, it would be kind of cool to have Rod Woodson on the team
  • Carrington Byndom: good or dominant? He's a NFL player, but are we talking late Round 1 or Round 3?

Final Thoughts

Spring games are shoddy, uneven products that are dangerous to draw hard conclusions from, but you can see individual progress, players on the rise, and make educated guesses about strengths, weaknesses, unanswered questions and future attrition.


What's on your mind?





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