If you missed the Mack Brown press conference you can read it here. There was a lot of information in it worth examining regarding the depth charts beginning now as well as "the plan" to fix the running game.
Garrett Gilbert is one of the more known commodities on next year's team. We know he has talent, can throw the ball downfield, and has the necessary leadership and poise to be a featured player. Given these talents, and the fact that Davis has built his offenses around the quarterback in every season here save for 98 when Ricky was everyone's meal ticket, we can assume they will try to build around Gilbert.
The plan, as of now, is to at last switch back to the under-center 2-back offense. Given Mack's reference to Boise State in the press conference there is a desire to be "multiple" now on offense as well. Let's start with the expected depth chart for the spring under that system:
X: Malcolm Williams, Greg Timmons
Sub B: Captain Kirk (I'm sure Goodwin can take this job or flanker when he gets here in the fall, probably the latter)
Left Tackle: Kyle Hix is moving here, let's hope to God he can master the technique that Ulatoski did.
Left Guard: Tray Allen, immediately the most athletic guard since Dockery and best bet for zone-blocking.
Center: David Snow, the coaches like him alright as a guard but think he can excel at center. I think this will be a big plus for Texas this season.
Right Guard: Huey
Right Tackle: Britt Mitchell, he got a good review from the spring game last year.
Tight End: Greg Smith, Ahmard Howard. I'm hoping Texas plays some Spread-I and avoids putting these guys on the field too much rather than a receiver. Irby and Harris are probably done forever. If Mack/Davis want to run the I as the base offense I'm hoping it's a spread I or at least one using a flexed-out TE such as Grant instead of one of these blocking surfaces.
Fullback/H-back: Barrett Matthews, this is by far the most exciting development. Whoever is running the ball is going to get a bullet as a lead blocker.
Running back: Tre Newton, Fozzy...I'm less excited about Tre if the offense moves away from the zone-game. Chris Whaley got mention as a potential H-back and runningback since he's up to 250 or so.
Quarterback: Gilbert and then spring determines the rest.
I think it's safe to attribute a lot of this to HCIW. Mack points out the defensive struggles against 2-back power running teams that have run for 200 yards in each of the last 2 bowl games as well as the desire to run the ball if teams drop everyone into coverage as well as being able to throw against 7 and 8 man fronts. Mack talked about classical Texas ball running it down people's throats, playing strong defense, etc. I've actually grown up in the Mack Brown era where running the ball was a less consistent strategy but when it's happened it's been something I appreciate.
On defense the lineup is expected to go:
Buck: Okafor, Jones.
3-tech: Howell, Higgins. I'm still unsure of whether this is a position worth fielding unless Randall starts blowing through double teams like Roy Miller.
NT: Randall, Derek Johnson
End: Sacho, Mims
SLB: Dravannti Johnson, Nkwopara. We all know this is Eacho's spot.
MLB: Dustin Earnest, Tariq Allen. This will probably be a downgrade from last year but we saw enough of Earnest to know he's a very capable player.
WLB: Keenan Robinson, Ryan Roberson. There's going to be a lot of depth here, including after the addition of Hicks.
Corner we all know about and Safety is probably just going to be our 3 most talented guys (Scott, Vaccaro, Wells) competing to start with Gideon. Scott seems like a safe bet but Vaccaro is a dark horse.
There's your first projection of the 2010 Texas Longhorn football team. I think Hix, Davis, Howell, Okafor, Matthews, Williams, and Scott will be the difference between another 10-win season or another BCS challenger.
My list of sure things from the younger crop goes as follows:
1). Garrett Gilbert; we've already seen him on the biggest stage 2). Kheeston Randall; he was really strong last year and in year 2 at the position could have a breakout season. 3). David Snow; having a Center who can take on a tackle without being driven backwards is going to look a lot different. 4). The "Buck". I think Eddie Jones could be fantastic next year so if Okafor beats him out as the starter that should be a sign that Texas will have elite play there again.
The Hairline of Wade Boggs had an entertaining piece on FT shooting that frankly isn't that comfortable to read when you think about the possible implications for this team in the tournament with bad FT shooting.
Memphis made it all the way to the finals with similarly bad shooting before it broke them against Kansas. The tournament will always expose the fatal flaw eventually.
HenryJames takes a look at the measurables. Ulatoski lost 3 inches from his height the last 3 years down to 6'5". I think he's a worthy pick in the later rounds for his strong technique and good run-blocking. He could be an upgrade over Columbo for Dallas right now.
Shipley and Colt were shorter than expected at 5'11" and 6'1". I've seen Colt in person several times and would have guessed him to be at least 6'2" so that was a little surprising for me (no one else though apparently). Shipley was light at 193 but when he runs a 4.4 teams that use the slot frequently will be buying his stock.
Any bets on 40 times for the main 'horns? I'm going Colt: 4.6, Shipley 4.4, Kindle 4.5, Muck 4.6, Ulatoski 5.1, Earl Thomas 4.4.
The classic rivalry picks up today between Texas and Stanford. BON has the pitching matchups and open thread. I'm watching for how Ruffin handles leads this weekend as well as the offensive yield from the lineup that was less than overwhelming against los lobos.