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Spring Theory

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Football:

Junior days and the next class are now the talk of the town and there's a lot of analysis and info available out there on Texas' needs and likely targets.

GhostofBigRoy over at Burntorangenation has some helpful spreadsheets that seem to calculate recruits' chances of coming to Texas after you enter some of their profile information and the schools in play. He's programmed wide receivers and tight ends in so far.

Scipio has done something similar with just his mind powers in response to a CTJ challenge.

I'm most interested so far in Joe Bergeron, the fullback and indicator of possible scheme change. Texas has not employed a fullback regularly since Ahmard Hall and him only sparingly. Mack Brown paints a picture of Texas High School football as though it were hard to find blue-collar players that will enjoy geting their hands dirty clearing paths. I'm skeptical of the rarity of such people, this is the coach that couldn't find enough fiery linebackers to fill a 2 deep for a generation, but you can bet Muschamp will find them or make them himself in a bellmont lab.

The perception of Muschamp is that he prefers a power-running based offense like the scheme featured in Alabama and the OL personnel retained in the starting lineup suggest that man-blocking wouldn't be the worst choice for 2010. While I'll support Texas regardless of scheme and believe the pieces are out there I do think the pass-heavy offense is more in tune with HS football in Texas right now and offers more appealing benefits than SEC ball such as the ability to come from behind and to score quickly and reliably when there is little time left.

Speaking of Muschamp, it sounds like Texas Tech is about to adapt to the spread-era defense with the 3-3-5. I'm not thrilled about the proliferation of Muschamp's weapons technology to the rest of the league which is part of what makes a shift to power-running an appealing counter-move for someone in the conference to make. As HenryJames laments (I'm assuming it's a lament) the tide in the Big 12 is towards SEC style football. I'm all in favor of intelligent play but I hope the league doesn't lose the exciting offenses. Its easier, at least right now, for multiple teams to field strong spread offenses than for multiple teams to field strong power offenses. Historically the forward pass has been advanced by necessity on the part of its fathers squads (Bill Walsh, Greg Ellison, etc.).

The NFL is currently dominated by the forward pass and I found a great write-up of the ways that two superbowl squads used the forward pass this season here from Chris Brown at smartfootball.com.

You may remember Chris Brown as the guy who broke down the Texas offense over the years in the last issue of "The Eyes of Texas" as well as the Colt McCoy offense in greater detail here. He also, along with Brophy football, took umbrage with ChrisApplewhite's assertion that pattern-reading was the downfall of the Texas offense this season and even takes another shot at that idea in his writeup on the Colts and Saints, although perhaps he would admit the Porter interception was a good reminder that predictability on crucial plays is generally a bad idea even with a HOF QB. Very few of the major Texas offensive conversions in history that immediately come to my mind involved Texas executing a base play save for the Vince Young 4rth and 5. Short-yardage attempts should always involve some misdirection.

It should be clear from these write-ups that Texas is currently employing a passing offense that incorporates large chunks of what the Colts and the Saints are doing with the 11 personnel and 5-wide formations. I find it obnoxious when people describe a shotgun offense as not being "pro-style" and meaning by that description that the offense is different than what is done in the NFL. It's not. The only substantial difference between the Colts and Texas running game is execution (from better personnel and coaching) and the use of a draw play.

Honestly I'm not really excited about giving up on this style of offense although clearly some changes are in order for the running game.

Basketball:

Big changes are in order for the Men's basketball program after the agonizing Kansas loss. That game has some haunting parallels to various Red River shootouts when the coaches would save material just for OU and be forced to admit that change would be necessary after lackluster performances.

Hank Dudek has a take on the illness infecting the Texas offense here, while Jonestopten adds a historical twist on Rick Barnes' struggle with finding players he needs to win here.

Personally I think choosing a lead guard and playing the younger talent for longer periods without yanking them will see tremendous fruit in this team forming identity, chemistry and creating offense. Bill Simmons once described a great basketball team as being "like a pizza" in that you put in the ingredients and then let them bake together for awhile. Of course it's February now but the way the team is currently playing they could miss the tournament anyways so they may as well take a fresh start in the post-Turkish Delight/Mason backcourt and see what the team can become by March.

Trips, of course, had his take on the game that indicates he is slipping slowly into broken Ron Burgundy territory.

Burgundy eats cat poop