In case your space/time continuum has been jarred by the dual realities of NASA landing a rover on Mars while NBC remains incapable of airing or streaming live Olympic coverage, then yes, it's August 6th and Longhorn Fall camp is already underway.
And if you had The Longhorn Network, you'd be watching practice live right now. Yet no practices were made available to the public. There are truly no holes left to prick in the Texas Fan Voodoo Doll.
IT'S PREDICATRON TIME. Just pretend there is a pop-up slideshow that ends with SpaceBear crashing into the Cotton Bowl after Texas upsets OU.
Cedric Reed blows up fall camp, solidyfing his role as third DE in the rotation. Forget that Reed and potential manbeast Reggie Wilson play different position on the line. But if we're fantasy drafting Longhorn DEs, they go off the board thusly: Jeffcoat, Okafor, Reed, Wilson, Davis/Ridgeway/Cottrell. That's a pretty athletic bunch but there are only two proven guys. Still, the year end sack total between the returning four could approach 30 and yes, the Texas single-season sack record of 47 in 2008 is in jeapordy. But not just because of these guys...
*Demarco Cobbs will be a fire zone-blitzing, TFL-reaping, blindside poaching witch. *If he can make it through the season without getting injured, which is less likely than Bob Stoops activating a convicted felon that attended OU in the late 80s and has one year of eligibility remaining. We still haven't really seen what Cobbs can do. And the same can be said for ...
Adrian Phillips will make you consider throwing away your Blake Gideon jersey. Or at least taking it out of the regular gameday rotation. I'm not asking you take him off your Longhorn Mount Rushmore so please settle down and consider the potential for improved play at the
centerfield safety position. Phillips has been fully cleared by trainers to proceed with his slightly behind schedule ballhawking badassery and I can't wait to see how he thrives while roaming between two lockdown corners and the Machete. If you're new to Austin (there are a few hundred thousand of you based on some recent MoPac adventures), that would be Quandre Diggs, Carrington Byndom, and Kenny Vaccaro. RESPEK!
Throw in freshman super nickel Duke Thomas and Texas will finish in the top ten in forced turnovers, sacks, and overall defense. The fact that these aren't really bold predictions gives you an idea of how great this defense can be if we can avoid injuries at key positions (DE, LB) and sustain even a moderately balanced offense. Our ability to get pressure off the edge will be aided further by having two great cover corners and smart safeties in coverage, who will buy the front 7 (yes, all of them) extra time to get to the QB. Reads 3-4 suddenly don't look so good when you have a microsecond to make a decision that could very well result in a turnover. Take the sack, Landry Jones.
Also, most college football teams only have one capable OT. Or maybe I've just accepted this as fact because of our inability to consistently recruit and develop the position since the early 1970s. Let's assume you're Alabama and have great protection across the line and don't offer a rotation of blocking surfaces at TE. Who do you double on the Texas defensive line? Manny Diaz is not waiting around for the answer. With Whaley, Dorsey, and Jackson in the middle you don't have a true five tool DT like Randall but you do have a mix of pass rushing afoletes. Are any of them Tony DeGrate? No, but just having the ability to get consistent pressure from multiple gaps down the line is a rarity in college football. Many collapsed pockets and the ensuing chaos that unfolds await you in 2012, Texas fan. (This is the part where you run through a wall in your office then wonder if Rhett Bomar's ribs still hurt as much as yours do).
The QB rotation becomes a game of thrones affair befitting Littlefinger and the Spider. Mack's split personalities mortally fear a QB controversy into one microphone while unconsciously exacerbating one into the next mic over just minutes later. I KNOW MY MACKSPEAK WHEN I HEAR IT. Just look at his fuzzy math on McCoy's weight. Coach Brown's head is already pre-scrambled in anticipation of a potential controversy that he would love to avoid but some internally complicated part of him craves. Then he blames it on you.
I'll miss this slick bastard some day...
Case McCoy will still be Case McCoy. The chiseled 200 lb version will just be able to put more velocity and air under jumpballs heaved off his back foot to tandem safeties while a streaking (and noticeably faster!) Mike Davis runs the wrong route 15 yards away. I'm all for having a competent two deep at the QB position and I appreciate McCoy's competitive moxie, but do both guys need to play if one guy clearly has more upside while coming off the best game of his career and earning bowl game MVP honors? Brad McCoy is still in Mack's head. Brown had a chance to squash any chance of a controversy by naming Ash the starter heading out of spring drills (snap allocation confirmed their natural preference) while letting Case fight for the job. Instead we're delivered a false rationale befitting an EU economic summit. Hopefully David Ash gets off to a hot start. Or the defense pitches a shutout in October. I'm not confident Ash even approaches his ceiling this year, but I know it will be higher than last year and the theoretical height surpasses Case's. That's enough for me to stick with one guy for now and let him know he's the man. It's also why I'm a highly paid CoachFan.
Texas will finish second in the Big 12. OU wins its 16th Big 12 title in just 14 years and SpaceBear will have to wait until 2013 when the tables officially turn. Yes, it's official -- look at the depth charts. As for this year, when you shit your pants then sit around in it for two fucking years while ignoring a pervasive stench obvious to everyone but you, the cleansing process takes time. Thankfully we're past the messy industrial wipe clean-up phase and have moved on to securing the Nike SHARTPROOF© training diapers in place. We should be fully potty-trained by October and playing with that confident piss-all-over-the-Sooner-Schooner abandon we knew just three short years ago. Can you tell I 'm spending a lot of time with an infant these days?
The unborn child of Aaron Ross and Sonya Richard-Ross will be on the two deep for the 2034 season. Mack has taken this early recruiting thing to a whole new level. Approved for an offer, pre-embryo, imo. Will we hold him/her until signing day?!
Distributing the carries at RB will require some higher level calculus. Mack already has Daje Johnson on the fast track to the Ramonce Taylor / DJ Monroe flexotronic backfield boogaloo role. Curious to see how these carries all get distributed and Monroe might get Wally Pipped by an equally fast but more willing competitor in Daje. As LonghornScott has tried to drill through your skulls for years, the goal is always to complement speed with power and keep both options well disguised. Simple, right? But how many carries are there behind Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron, and Johnathan Gray? Four? As long as two of those carries get taken to the house, Bryan Harsin is cool with that and you should be as well. There is also the possibility that Gray enters Vince Mode at some point in the season and you just give him the ball every damn snap and see what happens, but that's probably a year or two out.
The incoming trio of freshman wide receivers will help win some games for us this year. With only two spots sewn up on the depth chart and Marquise Goodwin's return delayed after competing in the Olympics; Marcus Johnson, Kendall Sanders, and Cayleb Jones all know the opportununity at hand to earn early playing time. One of them busts through and my bet is on Marcus Johnson. He's been tearing up offseason 7 on 7's. More importantly, their collective talents complement eachother perfectly -- red zone possesion guy (Jones), slot master (Sanders) and deep threat (Johnson). I really just typed all that as a disguised DeSean Hales callout. Yeah. What's up.
Wandering the desert for a functional TE will continue for another year or two. Throw ten bodies at a problem with an average position coach and hope it works out, right? The TE conundrum has to be so frustrating for Harsin but some progress HAS to be made by default just from adding MJ McFarland to the mix, right? Please? Hopefully D.J. Grant can stay healthy and Caleb Blueiett bring two arms, two legs, a torso, and one head to the table. With JUCO blocking specialist Geoff Swaim and gaelic language historian Durham Smythe committed for the 2013 class, there is promise of a TE revival but there ain't no Jimmy Graham waiting in the wings, unless you're confident Luke Poehlmann will finally turn the corner.
There are your ten guarantees for the 2012 Texas football season (and one for 2034). This is where you chime in with delusional visions of back-to-back explosive plays and all around undefeatedry. Or, you worry that our running back rotation lacks talent, experience, and depth.
Finally, I'm pleased to report that after reviewing hundreds of applicants, the 2012 Barking Carnival State of the Union features have been assigned (Scipio is writing every one), and you will soon be dunking yourself in a dilaudid bath of Longhorn football content over the next four weeks until the season kicks off Sep 1 against Wyoming on your favorite exclusive cable television network.