This may sound stupid for any number of reasons but I think this Texas squad will be better next year. One round of objections might go, "well duh Nick, Hamilton and all the young guys will be better." To this I would agree and add that not only will the younger players be better, but they will own the identity of the team.The other type of objection I would expect, "you think Texas will be better without POY-considered Damion James and Dexter Pittman?"
Well yes that's obviously what I'm saying. It felt against OU like 3 different guys were trying to be the man (while Dexter was oddly content to grab loads of boards and be dominant in his rare post opportunities). Damion James is probably the real leader of the team but he can't create shots for himself unless he is isolated on slow power forwards. He can finish and score from all over the court but he is only getting the looks on catch-and-shoots off screens, ball-movement, or penetration by another player.
Bradley and Hamilton can create shots for themselves and took more field goal attempts than James (aside from the FTs). Trips Right already dragged Hamilton out from under the bus for taking all the shots while Peter Bean at Burntorangenation did the same for Rick Barnes but I'll chime in a little as well.
Now, if the Longhorns are in the final seconds of a game trying to take the last shot I want it taken by Avery Bradley. His midrange pull-up is like a sky hook for shooting guards. It's an almost certainty that he can get it and make it on any given possession. His willingness to shoot it we saw as a part of his transformation on saturday is tantalizing.
For the rest of the game I don't mind if Hamilton shoots more shots than anyone else. I haven't seen any post-entry consistently as effective this season as Hamilton simply driving in and pulling something out of his bag of tricks within 5 feet of the rim.
I hate Cade Davis.
One final note from that awful game, Gary Johnson is a consistent warrior on this team that we should all make a point to appreciate while we have him. In case anyone forgot, he was diagnosed with a heart condition that almost ended his career and 3 years later he's grabbing 10 boards in consecutive road games across the Red River, dominating Big 12 interiors and generally providing the kind of play that helps build championships. He's the real glue guy of this team now, not Mason (as if there was much doubt of that here).
The Super Bowl:
I think Dwight Freeney's ankle was bothering him more than the announcers would have led us to believe early in the game. After his initial pressure and several ankle tape adjustments, Freeney and the Colts' pass-rush died and Drew Brees began to receive Manning-type protection.
People always argue that when you give a quarterback enough time he'll pick apart a cover-2 zone. Well, you could give Greg McElroy that kind of time and he would have still been destroyed or failed on several of those drives as would other quarterbacks who actually play in the NFL. In addition to counting on an honest pass-rush the Cover-2 is betting that you won't complete the hitch or shallow cross enough times to actually score. Of course, Drew Brees was 32-39 for 288 yards (as you can notice in the box score) and absolutely can complete short-passes into tight windows consistently enough to finish multiple scoring drives.
Those were Colt McCoy numbers a la 2008-09.
Manning hit some deep shots and was generally excellent though he'll inevitably be labeled as the loser in the QB showdown. The Colts pass protection was arguably better than the Saints (though not their defensive coverage) and Manning had several occasions where he took at least 5 seconds before finding a target.
I've noticed more and more how similar the Colts' and Texas' offenses are and in this game the similarities were particularly stark. The Colts were running the ball very effectively but Sean Payton's onside kick call and the slow drives against the Indy zone pushed Manning to throw the ball more and push the game towards a "who has the ball last" contest that could go either way.
The interception gave me immediate flashbacks to the Colt McCoy tackle in Dallas. Same play, double slants by the wide receivers. Manning looked off the coverage briefly and came back to Wayne but Porter jumped the route like a Sooner/Cornhusker and Reggie Wayne allowed him to get between him and the quarterback. No tackle by Manning, touchdown Saints. It's the same mistake Goodwin made, you can't lose track of the defender and allow him to cross in front as a receiver on a slant.
Of course, much like Texas, the Colts were dipping into the well a little frequently and the Saints recognized it. However, as Greg Davis would frustratingly insist, you can still execute these plays when the defense knows they're coming. At any rate, both defenses played spectacularly in making the offenses grind down the field and earn all the points and Brees and Co. handled that better.
Congratulations New Orleans.