Offense - The most important position on offense is the QB, and the two most important aspects of QB play are accuracy and decision making. Sound like anybody you know? Churlish wunderkind Colt McCoy, Applewhite reincarnate. Of course Major's three biggest flaws were his size, mobility, and accuracy, none of which exist as a problem for McCoy. They share the same aw shucks demeanor and 7th grade face, and in McCoy's case, the act is sincere. He's capable of distributing the ball to the cadre of skill players Texas employs, capable of eluding rush from an inexperienced OL, capable of keeping his wits when the shit starts, and capable of not losing to Stanford.
He can't run like Vince, even though he is mobile. He gives us something Vince didn't, which is someone who can make a quick read and deliver the ball before the defense can recover. That gives us a unique weapon in the quick passing game, which can help ease the pressure on the running game. Also, he's white and won't upset our older fans.
Elsewhere, we return every significant member of the aforementioned skill players. The only loss is Selvin Young, if you can call it a loss. Take away Jamaal Charles' speed and elusiveness, Young is what you end up with. Sweed has shown improvement every season, Pittman is the quickest man on campus, Shipley is drowning in talent, and Quan McKelvey has the athletic ability to be a bitch to tackle after the catch. Even if none of that club can stay healthy (Mack's deal with the devil: expired), JerMichael Finley represents perhaps the best receiving threat in the country now that Calvin Johnson is a pro. Unless a team wants to commit their best cover corner to him, or has Michael Huff Jr., they aren't going to be able to cover him. It's been proven that you need elite talent to rise above Greg Davis' coordination, and we have it.
The OL seems to be everyone's concern, and while it will be our relative weakpoint, we aren't exactly going to suck. Last year's unit was plagued by injury and coordination of an unfit coordinator. Losing Blalock on the edge hurt, and with him in the NFL now, we'll need to play a lot better at tackle than we did last year. But both guys have a year under their belts as starters and should improve because of it. Players improve the most between the first and second year. It's a cliche, yes, but it's true, in Hills' case in particular. If he gets on you, you're done. His problem was between the ears, and another year of experience should go a long way.
The biggest help for the line will come in the changes in the offense. I don't know what the changes will be, but anything will be positive. Greg Davis (and Gene Chizik) turned in an F- performance last year. I'm buying low.
Defense - The two most important positions on defense are the DL and CB. We might finally have a DT group worthy of being mentioned alongside Casey and Shaun. They aren't that good of course, Casey Hampton alone is worth more than our top 3 combined, but we as a fan base seem to compare every DT pair with them. Seems like we finally got a group that shouldn't be embarrassed at the notion. Derek Lokey is a beast, Roy Miller is a potential beast, and Frank Okam represents the wild card. He's shown dominator ability and he's finally healthy, so here is to him putting it together.
Brian Orapko and Aaron Lewis should hold down fine. Lewis is a solid run stopper who draws comparisons to Aaron Humphrey because he's a thick, white DE named Aaron. Orapko is a lightning quick, smallish end that should be a force rushing the passer. The backups, Lamarr Houston and Eddie Jones, are potentially the best tandem we've had since the early 80s defensive heyday. It may not be this year, but they will be demons on the edge very soon. Last year's duo, while talented, were bogged down by injury and under achievement, respectively.
At CB, we are young, but super talented. There are 4 NFL players at corner, it's just a matter of finding two who can play now. Brandon Foster (not part of the 4, by the way) is an overlooked commodity that I believe has a really good player in him somewhere. Last year's scheme made everybody look bad, I think he's better than he's shown. He has great quickness and reaction time, with a low center of gravity. There is a good cover guy in there, trapped deep down, being told to put on the lotion.
It's not just talent to look forward to in '07. Last year our defense completely killed itself giving up big plays. Take out 3 plays against NU, and we dominate that game, and shut them out. The Chiz opted for a more aggressive run defense that neutralized large chucks of good defense at a time. We could giv up 60 yards rushing on the day, hold the QB to a 45% completion percentage, but sitll give up 330 yards and 4 TDs. That obstacle should now be removed, thanks to Superfriends Duane Akina and Larry McDuff, who both hold masters degrees in getting pressure with 4 guys and blowing the QBs mind with tricky coverages. If our front four can't create pressure on their own, we'll be able to manufacture it with scheming.
Schedule - Who is supposed to beat us? Who has fewer question marks than we do? Who looks at their schedule and says "Oh good, Texas, we can take them." Nobody, that's who. TCU has a pesky, tough defense but can't score. OSU is everybody's favorite dark horse, which of course means they are going to suck beyond words. Name more than two players that play for them, I dare you. We dominated NU outside of three plays, and all the causes of those plays are gone. Plus, we're at home. OU will be a stern test when they replace Josh Heupel, which might happen one day. A&M is our toughest game. Say that sentence outloud and see if you can do it with a straight face. take out tOSU and Colt's injury and we're undeafeated last year, as poorly as we played at times. If Colt stays healthy, if Davis reverts to the C- coordinator he is, and if some really good team doesn't make their way onto our schedule in the next 2 weeks, we're going to lose once, maybe.