Boomer And Sooner dig into spring football with NateHeupel pausing to chastize Longhorn fans for our disappointment in an 8th seeded basketball team and our hopes for Garrett Gilbert. OU fan knows well that 2nd year quarterbacks never amount to too much...
He rates their DE group as the "most proven in the conference" which is another way of phrasing how I would put it, "inevitably the 2nd best behind the Sacho and co." Their situation at tackle is strong but they aren't replacing McCoy right away.
The conditions are right in the Big 12 for another explosive offensive season if anyone can field a balanced enough offense. I like Tech to have another year where they could knock off one of the 2 top dogs with their combination of younger talent and veteran stars.
Big 12 blogger David Ubben interviewed the new Aggie DC Deyruter in a long, grueling 2 part series here and here. For year one I'm mostly just interested in what he does with Von Miller who is their sole returning asset I'm aware of on defense.
Part 2 is actually informative in revealing that the Aggies are probably actually going to field 4 linebackers fairly often (unlike the Muschamp 4-3 base that hardly ever actually features 3 LBs on the field) and run a lot of quarters coverage.
ChrisApplewhite covered that scheme back in the day but don't get too excited, cover-4 can be pretty effective when zone is coached well and the players are well prepped on what they are going to see from the offense. It can lend itself to a bend-don't-break style while also offering a lot of run support. Read-and-react, which is great if you are reading right and can turn a 4.7 safety into a playmaker (see Harris, Nic) or leave a thorpe award winner looking foolish (see Ross, Aaron).
The key is "the joker" Von Miller (Deyruter's new army slang for that position). In the quarters coverage he'll mix between covering the flat and rushing the passer. I wouldn't get too cute with the joker since Kines basically just stood him up over the Left tackle and said "sic' em" and that was good for 17 sacks. My only priority as a DC would be to get him isolated and away from double team help. The 3-4 should facilitate that, especially if the end on Miller's side is worth any attention.
Will the Aggies be improved on defense next year? I almost hope so because I think the Sooners are ripe for some vengeance in the south, certainly they can't be worse. If the game was in College Station next season I'd be worried but as it isn't I can live with a stab at relevance from the bat lavatory.
Awiggo projects the tournament with Texas drawing an 8 seed with Louisville standing out to me as one of the more favorable matchup of the 9 seeds because Texas seems to have worked out some good solutions to the zone. I would love to see this offense pick up for the tournament so we could be treated to some exciting games ala 2007 even if the team is ultimately doomed.
Really I want to hang in for Damion James who is making his final push along with Mason and Pittman who have bled for the program and our entertainment and approval. All 3 are characters worth rooting for, even if the product we've seen in several games has been nauseating. If not for playing on 2 of my least favorite teams James could've been my favorite Rick Barnes' Longhorn.
Over at burntorangenation 40AS has some analysis on the Missouri game. The strikeout is just about the most frustrating out and the worst kind of rally killer. The double play is more damaging but fielding a hard grounder cleanly is much more difficult than watching a batter walk back to the dugout and far less common, especially at this level.
The starters on this team are dominating and Ruffin has been solid enough in the late innings that the lack of good swings is easily the winner for weakness most likely to become a fatal flaw. Once you get to Omaha you'd better be able to take advantage of the hitter-friendly conditions or you will be taken advantage of like an interior OL in the house of spears.