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The once and future king

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As if you all weren't probably oversaturated with Spring game analysis after the great jobs done by Minnesotahorn and ChrisApplewhite I'm going to add a few of my thoughts gathered from live attendance.

To rehash Chris Applewhite's main thesis, Garret Gilbert is going to be very good. I'll be specific:

a). He moves very well in the pocket. Whereas Colt would roll right and look for his favorites in a hot spot, the impression of a hot spot to come, or simply not seeing anything Garrett steps up in the pocket and throws strikes over the middle and down the field if possible. The way he looks down field first is a particularly good trait.

b). Following up on the last point Garrett reads through his progressions well. He looked for Malcolm deep on play-action and then worked his way back down to the seam/slant up the middle CA described and back to the check downs. BTW, I've been preaching from the gospel according to Matthews and his open field abilities after the catch were better than I had dared to hope. Not otherwordly, or "we have to get Matthews touches!" good but very useful.

c). Garrett's accuracy is better than Colt's. He can put the ball where only his guy can get it at several different points of the field including throws where Colt could only hope to put the ball where his guy could get it. His only shaky throw I recall came rolling right under pressure and was thwarted by a flash of fury numbered 16.

Speaking of 16, Mr. Vaccaro presents an interesting dilemma for next season. From what I've seen of everyone I would rank the defensive backs as follows:

1). Aaron Williams 2). Curtis Brown 3). Christian Scott 4). Chykie Brown 5). Kenny Vaccaro 6). Blake Gideon 7). Nolan Brewster 8). AJ White 9). and so on and so forth.

Given a predominantly nickel look that Texas uses this doesn't seem like a dilemna until you consider their natural positions. Williams can play the slot like a S/CB/LB mix as he did last year, he can dominate outside at corner, or he could be moved to safety. The Browns are outside corners all the way. Christian Scott is really a strong safety who I feel confident with on underneath routes or as a cover-2 guy and Vaccaro I like as a strong safety and maybe a cover-2 safety. Gideon is a free safety and likely liability anywhere else, but who plays free safety besides Gideon?

Texas needs at least one guy back there, not to line everyone up and make sure the calls are right because Williams or probably Scott at this point could handle that task, but to make sure there is someone who will be disciplined enough not to get burned by play-action, wheel route, etc. Even if Texas plays predominantly 2 deep with man coverage that lessens the penalty for Vaccaro or Scott being overaggressive because the corners can handle being on an island it's not an ideal fit.

Either one or both of them has to be able to handle the mindset and responsibilities of a cover-1 deep safety (the range is certainly there) or Gideon must stay on the field.

As far as other thoughts about the game:

1). Desean Hales stuck a goalpost in the spokes of the John Chiles bandwagon and gave me whiplash. He had sticky fingers and a fifth gear in the open field that will have everyone clamoring for his starting over Chiles at the first glimpse of trouble. I still think Johnny Boy might have a great season in him but there are options if he doesn't take hold.

2). Sherrod Harris is a terrible quarterback. I'd rather start Paul Thompson...I'm serious.

3). The rugby punt can crawl under the south endzone and die now, Gold should handle all the punts.

4). Somehow Texas ran for 4.7 yards per carry in the game though they didn't dominate with the rushing attack. What was encouraging was that there was the threat of the running game that freed up various parts of the field for Gilbert to strike and time enough to strike them. Consider the Manning Colts, if they have a 1,000 yard rusher they will dominate because Peyton+play-action is too much for anyone to handle. Well that will go for Texas this season as well.

5). One big reason the rushing game wasn't dominant. Kheeston Randall. We're seeing a lot of Kheeston+x from discussions with concern and/or optimism for filling in Houston's spot next year. Well, there's something else going on here as well that warrants discussion. Kheeston Randall becoming Roy Miller next season and not only holding ground against double teams but getting pressure inside and breaking into the backfield. Texas, or Fight, whoever the hell was against him couldn't handle him very well. Be excited about the Kheeston Randall era, best part is that it's not just one season like the last 2 defensive tackle eras...unless he leaves early but I'm not ready to predict that.

6). I'm not sure whom I like best at runningback. Whaley is best for the pin and pull stretch and power while Fozzy and Tre can handle those plus the draw and normal zone. GhostofBigRoy handled the classification at of the killa whale over at Burntorangenation.

Kafka is ready to fight to death in favor of his notion that Whaley play H-back and Matthews play TE which is great up to the point where Texas has no running plays that feature the H-back as anything more than a blocker (as far as we know) and I'm not at all sure what Whaley's blocking abilities look like. Certainly it puts more skill talent on the field and better receiving options.

Ultimately he may be a better fit at HB/TE as he's struggling even now to stay below 260 but then that's heavy for a HB/TE as well. I'm guessing he plays thunder to the Fozzy lightning and steady diet of Fig newtons that awaits the Big 12 in 2010. Traylon Shead is a better bet to be the Mark Ingram style power-runner Mack wants possessing acceleration plus a frame that isn't seeping out from under the pads.

Finally, Texas locked down commitment no. 19 with no. 2 defensive tackle  (per Ketchum's twitter, I'm sure more info will cost you) Quincy Russell.