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Charles/MacDuff gonzo

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. . . according to the AAS:

"Larry and I met this morning and he informed me that he is not returning for the 2008 season, citing philosophical differences," Mack Brown said. "Larry is a great coach and man and we appreciate all he’s done for our program. We want to wish him luck in the future and will begin looking for a replacement immediately."

Philosophically, MacDuff did not enjoy being forced to play thee talentless LBs that make him look bad. Fair enough, I say. Would seem to back up the rumors that he was not happy here. Good luck to him wherever he lands next. I hope he slashes Greg Davis' tires on the way out, in one last rampoplex (OK, that is a noun). This is the much more troubling news:

Jamaal Charles, who said only a week ago he was staying at Texas, has decided to leave school early for the NFL.

[ignorant homer Texas fan] But he'll go no higher than the 6th round! He needs to come back and play for another 4 years! No NFL team would draft him because he's fumbled before! He will be lucky to be a free agent! [/ignorant homer Texas fan]

Don't ask me why so many Texas fans want him back despite his growing list of weaknesses *rolleyes*.

Anyway, this leaves us with nothing at the RB position but potential. Chris O. has played a fair number of snaps but the drop off from Charles/McGee to him is a violent one. He's a good pass blocker, but really nothing more than the black Brett Robin. Despite this, he will almost certainly start up to his 15 carry, 23 yards game against OU. He's the kind of kid you are proud to have on your team, but you don't want him getting meaningful time.

Behind him we've got three decent but unproven options. McGee, we've seen, and I'm really impressed with him. However, as Charles found out last year it's one thing to average 6 ypc as a spot player, and another thing entirely to do it as the man. There will be an adjustment period. Let's just hope he can adjust vs. UNT and TCU, and not whoever we play after OU.

Then there are the two unknowns, Cody Johnson and Fozzy Whitaker. No one but the coaches know how good these two are, but I will still pretend I know what I'm talking about.

Fozzy is the guy I'm most excited about out of all our young skill players. In high school he was a classic one cut and up the field player, perfect for our style of attack. He is so quick in and out of his cuts, and showed surprising strength for a little guy. Probably not who you want with the ball 25 times a game, because he'll bang his way onto the injured list, but as a returner and change up option in the backfield, we could have quite the little playmaker on our hands. A friend of my dad's was the radio announcer for a bunch of Pearland games, and he was really impressed with Whitaker, too. I expect big things.

Johnson, I was not all that impressed with, on film. He seemed slower than people we giving him credit for (but film can lie), and didn't use his size well. And after Ivan Williams and Henry Melton, I don't want any more big guys who don't want to be big runners. So we'll see with him. If he is as good as people say he is, then we might finally have a short yardage runner. I think Vondrell is perfectly capable of getting two to three tough yards, since he's so quick and strong he can dart in between tacklers and pull them forward since they can't get in front of him. But he's not a goalline package, 3 TE/I formation runner, which is what we love to do for whatever reason even though we suck at it. Johnson could potentially be that guy. It's nice to have options, I say. If Johnson is willing to lower his shoulders (something I don't remember him doing a whole lot of), we could have a varied and productive stable of backs, even without Charles.

The other great thing about Johnson is that when Chiles is playing, we could line him up on one side, and McGee or Whitaker on the other, and have a deadly triple option game out of that. Now that would require, you know, we actually figure out that you are allowed to have more than one option on a play, but it's a deadly combination that almost every self respecting spread option team has now. I don't get my hopes up, especially since Colt will start for the next 7 years, but it's nice to think about.

Anyway, Godspeed, Charles. Please don't end up on the Lions or Dolphins like all the rest of our best players seem to.