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Around the Horns

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Football:

There was another nugget from the spring quotes Scipio disseminated which was the move to left guard for Michael Huey. Last year's Ulatoski, Tanner, Hall, Huey, Hix had virtually zero good zone blockers save maybe for Hall and Ulatoski. The others were drive-blockers trapped in a zone-scheme like gimp Big 12 OCs caught in Muschamp's lair.

Britt Mitchell is a former tight end and Allen an athletic enough prospect that he was considered a potential Left Tackle at one point and with Mitchell and Allen now on the same side of the line there is more potential for zone plays to the right side as it will ask for reach blocking on the playside from those on the line most suitable for the task. I don't favor continued use of the main zone-play Texas has rolled out these last several seasons but if it's going to happen I'm glad the personnel grouping is no longer such a serious misfit. For the use of the stretch play we've seen sporadically and successfully it's a particularly useful development.

On a similar note GhostofBigRoy had some player quotes from spring practices that had some revealing lines from the trench hogs:

(The offense) is kind of more downhill than anything, a lot more double teams I guess you call it and tying to get more movement instead of just trying to get people in space and get them out. It's more of coming off the ball and hitting instead of trying to zone and reach people.

I did this type of offense in high school so I'm just going back to what I've always done my whole life, and I like putting my hand on the ground a lot more than trying to run block out of a two-point stance. There's nothing wrong with the other offense, obviously, but I'm a little more adept at this offense.

-Kyle Hix

Obviously nothing wrong with it...

For Hix's sake I hope that the Jack'n'Jill offense is successful in generating a power-running game not only to line up foes for him to disembowel but to save him from pass protection on 3rd and ten. Hix is a big, capable linemen who could be a Right Tackle prospect in the draft with a strong senior season but he's not even a Ulatoski, much less a Jonathan Ogden, in pass protection.

Also of note from the Ghost's write-up was that Acho, Robinson, and Randall are some of your future leaders on the defense, and that Paden Kelly was drawing positive reviews at left tackle by the coaches. Didn't someone here notice him at an open practice?Yes of course I'm referring to myself.

Given Garret Porter's move to center (it's possible that I labeled him a potential left tackle of the future as well) and Luke Poehlmann's inadequacy in anything other than finding women named after cities in Texas that leaves Kelly and Walters as the most likely to succeed Hix next season. The year after next could go Kelly-Ashcraft-Snow-Buchanan?-Walters. It's a fairly worrisome scenario but we can worry about that after what we see from the younger crop in 2010.

Basketball:

It hasn't happened yet, but it seems inevitable that Avery Bradley will leave the Horns behind and go while the getting is good in the NBA. As has been mentioned before, he's an undersized 2-guard who probably won't see a higher draft projection by improving his shooting and defense which aren't really in question and further demonstrating his lack of point guard skills.

In some sense he's built to be a college player, but since the NBA is interested it only makes sense to leave before it's determined that his ceiling isn't so high. As I've also gone over, I think Hamilton is the real alpha dog and foundational player of the two. I'm hopeful that he'll stay and grow as a player and in his relationship with Barnes.

Watching Duke and Baylor it stood out how each team is able to rely upon seniors in their backcourt. When has Texas had a strong backcourt that feature upperclassmen? The best were Mouton-Ivey-Ford (junior, junior, sophomore) and Augustin-Abrams-Mason (sophomore, junior, sophomore). This might be your best reason why Texas has made only 1 final four and has struggled getting beyond the elite eight in their best seasons. In a tournament dominated by guard play they've lack experienced quality guards.

As far as good Texas guards go, Ginobili is back and I'm intrigued. His last 5 efforts have been very strong including 30 in a win over Cleveland, 38 in a close loss to Atlanta, and 28 in a win over the Celtics. When Ginobili is at his best, there are only a couple of 2 guards that are better and the difference in pay makes him arguably a more valuable asset, or would if he was consistently healthy.

We all know Duncan is just anchoring the defense and playing possum on offense until it is necessary for him to provide scoring. Dejuan Blair was a brilliant addition for them who rebounds like James Thomas playing at the Y and George Hill has improved to the point where the loss of Tony Parker isn't as debilitating as you would expect. Are they a championship team? Probably not, the LeBron and the Cavs are like a rampaging bull this season, the Lakers have one of the more talented teams in the salary cap era, and the West is too loaded for a team to claw it's way through without having the firepower to blow out a few series.

Nevertheless, it's interesting to see the old champions go in for a few rounds and you can't help but wonder if betting against the grizzled veteran isn't a mistake. Ultimately I can't see them winning 4 seven game series but I can see them beating any given Western team in one series, even the Lakers.