I couldn't watch the Spring game and after reading reports, I'm not sure I missed much beyond the standard slaughter of 1s on 3s and walk ons, but I was intrigued by some of the post-game comments and what they could mean for next year.
Let's wade in....
Cool. But that better cohere with this:
Or else we're in for an underachieving year - even in a Big 12 where OU will field its weakest squad since 2009 (16-13, Texas) and 2007 (and they won the Big 12, anyway). Think about how bad last year's defense was when they were being relatively protected by the offense. Now add 10-12 extra plays from scrimmage.
Last year, Texas averaged just under 36 points a game, while conceding 29. If we score 36 points per game again and lop 10-14 opponents points off per game, I'd love it. I'm more interested in creating a wider gap between our offensive and defensive outputs than having one elevated to a certain point just by virtue of running more plays. I'm not opposed to up-tempo offense at all, and there are many arguments for it, but I'm afraid we're seeing another instance of Mack Brown surfing a trend wave.
Good offense isn't volume. It's high average yards per play and scoring when you have the opportunity.
On Tyrone Swoopes:
After seeing Tyrone up close in Oregon, one thing was pretty clear: whether he panned at QB or not, really big guys who are athletic, can run, and have great hands are never a wasted take. Spreading open the offense will simplify his reads, make his throws more instinctive than intellectualized, and force teams to account for his feet. As I've already written, I've got some early, speculative hopes on Jerrod Heard. I wrote that piece in the summer before Guyer's state title run, a season in which Heard amassed 4,000+ yards and 52 TDs, including his clutch state title game performance.
Swoopes and Heard are the types of QB I want at Texas, irrespective of whether either individually pans.
Let's look at them, and then redshirt them, instead of continuing to mortgage the future. Even the ones who are good enough to crack the two deep.
A strength and a curse. Against today's spread offenses, a defensive tackle needs to actively create problems in order to matter. The actual impact difference between average and pretty good is small. We need some difference. Not just layers of approximately similar depth. That's the challenge.
I really like our depth in the secondary. I think the raw material is there. Thomas, Thompson, Evans, Colbert etc. What's more interesting to me is whether or not Manny Diaz and Duane Akina continue to create parallel defensive structures instead of a coherent one.
Agreed. But the defense can't collapse entirely if any of the 11 goes down and all of the players aren't finished products with 30+ games of starting experience. This 2013 defense has good depth, plenty of seniority and experience, and good talent. The question is whether they're going to play on the same page and Diaz is going to SchemeFuck them excessively.
On David Ash:
I laughed at the first part. The more we can simplify Ash's reads, the better he'll be. He's hard to tackle, can improvise, and if we can surround him with ballers he has shown that he can distribute. If he's asked to carry the offense entirely and make chicken salad from chicken scratch on every down (as our previous spread, hurry-up QBs have been asked to do) then we're in for a few frustrating Saturdays. And that's more on our coaches than players, though "Ash sucks" will probably be the predominant fan explanation.
OK. We're back on the same page.
Texas has the necessary ingredients for a 2013 Big 12 championship run and if all of the teams in the league were blinded and their resumes examined without baggage or assumptions, the Longhorns are probably the logical favorite.
Unfortunately, as we've learned the hard way here in Austin, that doesn't guarantee much of anything.