April 15, 2010

The Ticket City Locker Room Report

Q: (Golfpr3145) - We have an interesting situation at QB. Garrett Gilbert is a first time starter at QB. We have unproven talent at the backup. Now the season is here and we have several games starting the season where there should be no problem with us winning the game. Do you continue to play your starting QB to get him experience, or do you give a good bit of time to your back ups to get them ready for a same situation that could possible happen similar to the NC game? I'm assuming that some of the early games will be games where we are comfortably ahead by the 3rd quarter.

A: That's a hell of an interesting question and I think from the moment you sent it in, you knew we'd be discussing a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. I think a strong case can be made that Gilbert should be taking every snap possible in the first month of the season, barring a 40-plus point lead in the fourth quarter. When you consider that a possible national title run could hang in the balance of Gilbert's development, you've got to spend the majority of the focus on getting him as many quality game reps as possible. With the Oklahoma game moved back to the first Saturday in October this season, there's not a lot of time to waste.

Confine yourself to the present.

Yes, you'd like for Sherrod Harris to get quality work in every single game, but in the pecking order of things that need to be accomplished, it's clearly positioned behind the need to get Gilbert into bad mamma jamma mode as soon as possible - by any means necessary. My guess is that the Longhorns will likely enter every game this season with fingers and toes crossed because the luxury of having your cake and eating it in this instance is pretty unlikely. It's rarely talked about, but how many teams in the nation actually accomplish the goal of getting their starter all of the quality work he needs, while also prepping the back-up in a way that would have him game ready in the event that the glass case is forced to be broken in case of emergency?

Q: (jag_sfa) - Have recruits ever been invited to attend a Longhorn pro day? Are there rules against it? It seems like if I was a high school kid with college and NFL aspirations, being able to watch guys like Colt, Sergio, Earl, etc. workout in front of a host of NFL talent evaluators would make a huge impression. Thanks.

A: I'm pretty sure there's nothing that prohibits a prospect from being on campus at the time of a Pro Day, but the coaches are always so busy that day with coaches, scouts and other NFL people that it makes it a little bit of a wasted visit if they aren't allowed to give a prospect some one-on-one time. I think the staff would rather have recruits come in under much more planned and controlled conditions. Having recruits bouncing around campus while agents and the like are around is just asking for trouble. Ask USC.

Q: (jthhorn00) - What do you think the 2 deep will look like for the 2011 team (I know, far in advance)? I'm most curious about the OL and DB.

Under what circumstances would Charles Jackson get an offer from Texas?

A: Let's start with your last question first. From everything that I've heard, Texas defensive backs coach Duane Akina is a big fan of the emerging star from Klein Collins. A lot could depend on Josh Turner, but I think Akina would love two more corners when it's all said and done, and the numbers would certainly seem to dictate the move. Don't be surprised if the staff takes a hard look at him this spring and if they see what they like, he might get that coveted offer.

As for as your first question is concerned, hey, it's not like you asked me to project the 2012 All-Big 12 team like I was asked to do several months ago. Simply asking me to project two years down the road seems like a piece of cake.

QB: Garrett Gilbert (Jr.)/Connor Wood (RS-Fr.)
TB: Tre' Newton (Jr.)/Malcolm Brown (Fr.)
FB: Cody Johnson (Sr.)/ Joe Bergeron (Fr.)
WR: Malcolm Williams (Sr.)/Greg Timmons (So.)
WR: Marquise Goodwin (Jr.)/ Desean Hales (Jr.)
WR: Mike Davis (So.)/ Darius White (So.)
TE: Barrett Matthews (Jr.)/ Ahmard Howard (Sr.)
LT: Paden Kelley (So.)/ Christian Westerman (Fr.)
LG: Thomas Ashcraft (So.) / Trey Hopkins (RS-Fr. Or So.)
C: David Snow (Sr.)/ Dominic Espinosa (RS-Fr. Or So.)
RG: Garrett Porter (So.) / Sedrick Flowers (Fr.)
RT: Mason Walters (So.)/ Garrett Greenlea (Fr.)

DE: Alex Okafor (Jr.)/ Reggie Wilson (So.)
DT: Kheeston Randall (Sr.)/ Calvin Howell (So.)
NT: Taylor Bible (So.) / Ashton Dorsey (So.)
DE: Jackson Jeffcoat (So.)/ Dravannati Johnson (Jr.)
SLB: Keenan Robinson (Sr.) / Tevin Jackson (So.)
MLB: Emmanuel Acho (Sr.)/ Ryan Roberson (So.)
WLB: Jordan Hicks (So.)/ Aaron Benson (So.)
CB: A.J. White (So.) / Adrian Phillips (So.)
S: Blake Gideon (Sr.)/ Nolan Brewster (Sr.)
S: Christian Scott (Sr.)/ Kenny Vaccaro (Jr.)
CB: Carrington Byndom (So.)/ Sheroid Evans (Fr.)

K: Justin Tucker (Sr.) / Will Russ (So.)
P: Tucker (Sr.)

Q: (dropshot_7) - Ketch, realistically, what should we expect the offense to look like next season? Just because the staff spent a lot of time installing a power running game this spring does not necessarily mean that it will be a primary feature. Do you believe it will be 50/50 run/pass, or will we still come out slinging it around, and use the running attack more to close out games?

How do you feel about next year's starting o-line? On the surface, it appears that they're more suited for a power rushing attack because of their size, plus they don't have a lot of experience together. Making the assumption that they'll take some lumps in pass pro, what steps do you believe Greg Davis will take to mask their inexperience early on?

In your opinion, what are some realistic expectations for John Chiles and his role in the offense next season? Seeing Desean Hales in the spring game, do you think he might take some snaps away from Chiles?

A: It's probably a little too soon to know exactly what the offense will look like because we just don't have any kind of sample size to really work with. My expectations are that the offense is going to be fairly balanced and if the Longhorns can't operate efficiently at the required level, they can always open things back up to more three- and four-receiver sets because that's still a major part of this offense, although they'd like to use it situationally moving forward and not as the foundation of the offense.

As far as the starting offensive line is concerned, I think there's some real reason for optimism. The middle of the line, which should feature Michael Huey, David Snow and Tray Allen, is more athletic and looks like it will be more physical in play than the starters we saw up-front in the interior last season and I really like what Kyle Hix showed this spring. If Britt Mitchell steps up, this has a chance to be a pretty strong group of five starters. As far as the issue of masking holes in the group, I think that's pretty much the point of going more under center, getting more downhill in the running game and using more play-action. If I'm being honest, I think the real issue is depth. If a guy or two gets hurt, the Longhorns could have some serious problems.

Finally, I expect Chiles to be a solid inside receiver for Gilbert and he'll likely catch 2-3 balls each week, but he better start out well or I wouldn't be shocked if the coaches simply start looking for other options. The staff has a lot of confidence in Chiles because he appears to have the mental side of the position down, but at some point you have to be able to make plays. Hales looks like a guy that can not only make plays, but BIG plays. We're still waiting to see that from Chiles in any form and at some point he is either going to start showing it in September or someone else will play.

Q: (mikhailt) - 1. Which game do you think will be more challenging in the first part of next season: Tech in Lubbock with a new coach/system or UCLA in Austin with a formidable D and, dare I say, budding Chow offense?

2. From a personnel standpoint at DL, would you say we're worse, better or the same now, compared to going into last summer?

3. Five star commitments for Texas set at 3, over or under?

A: With all due respect to Tommy Tuberville, I'm going to go with the Bruins because they are a team that Texas is unfamiliar with, they aren't in year one of a new system and they have a better/deeper pool of players to play with.

If we look at the defensive line, I'd probably go with the 2009 defensive line group over the 2010 group simply because I feel like the 2009 team had more known at defensive tackles than this 2010 team does at the same stage. The talent and depth at end might be a push, but I have to look at a veteran Lamarr Houston/a young Kheeston Randall as a better duo than anything this current team has.

Finally, I'll go with four five-star prospects: Christian Westerman, Sedrick Flowers, Malcolm Brown and …. Wait for it…. Wait for it…

Josh Turner.

Q: (principle) - How does Josh Turner rank with the DB's Texas currently has in the 2011 class?

A: Hey, there's that name again. Everyone is talking about Turner and for good reason. He's going to be a player in the five-star discussion when it's all said and done and the only in-state defensive back that he would rank behind in my rankings is Sheroid Evans, whose incredibly elite athletic skill separates him from everyone.

Q: (longviewlobo01) -With our class at 19 commits and a limited number of spots available we're nearly finished at this point. Assume no more offers go out and we finish with turner, brown, green/Williams and reed. Who are the players out there that in a no scholarship limit world you wish Texas could have gone after? What players do you think Mack and co would like to take a chance on but can't due to numbers?

And under that same assumption of how we finish the class out would this be the best Mack has ever signed? Where are the holes (if any)? Obviously not ever player will be a 4* and higher so who should we expect to see begin the rankings as a 3* when they are released?

A: I like it when people ask me to play the second-guessing game. Sorry Mack, Lobo made me do it.

Let's just settle on five names and if we're talking unlimited scholarships, the next five would likely go out to Brookshire-Royal running back Brandon Williams, Abilene running back Herschel Sims, Arlington Sam Houston athlete Jamal Turner, Arlington Martin defensive back Devonta Sparks and Rockdale offensive lineman Le'Raven Clark.

Those are the five I would pick.

Overall, I think this class has a chance to be the best that Mack Brown has ever signed, especially if they go out and close on a couple of elite prospects like Brown, Turner and Reed. They've already ravaged the state of most of its elite prospects. Mack's is starting to remind me of Daniel Day-Lewis' character Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood In my head he's screaming "I drink your milkshake!" to anyone that will listen.

Q: (Duanej6) - I just wanted to know your opinion on a couple of things that have been thought to be a concern but I just don't see them.

1. Why is everyone so worried about the cornerback situation next year if Aaron Williams leaves? Just off the top o my head the team has a healthy Eyron Barnett in his second year in the program. AJ White on campus, who from reports looks like he belongs. A recruiting class coming in the summer with Carrington Bynum, who looks like Earl Thomas, Bryant Jackson a playmaking CB/Safety ,who looks like a skinny Sean Taylor. Then this current recruiting class has Sheriod Evans, who you think is a five-star talent, and Leroy Scott, who many think is the top pure cornerback in the state. I think there has to be at least two starting cornerbacks out of that group.

2. Why does Mack Brown and everyone always talk about one running back separating from the rest? Most successful teams have multiple running backs like Reggie Bush/Lendale White, Trent Richardson/Mark Ingram, Selvin Young/Romance Taylor/Jamal Charles etc...

A: I don't think that anyone is worried about the long-term future at cornerback because Duane Akina is the nation's top developer of defensive backs in the nation and the staff's recruiting at the position is as strong as it's ever been. The issue is that the possibility exists that the Longhorns could enter the 2011 season without much varsity experience at the cornerback position. With three NFL caliber talents at the position, it's possible that Barnett, White, Jackson, Bynum and the rest of the group that you mentioned could be thrown into the fire next season without a lot of game reps, which a lot of people fear will derail what should otherwise be a national championship-caliber team.

Second, if Mack had someone on campus that was anywhere near the level of the players you mentioned, he wouldn't have to talk about backs separating. They would just be separated.

Q: (jthhorn00) -Lets pretend the 2010 and 2011 classes are the same... can you give us your LSR top 20?

A: 1. Malcolm Brown 2. Reggie Wilson 3. Jackson Jeffcoat 4. Mike Davis 5. Sheroid Evans 6. Desmond Jackson 7. Sedrick Flowers 8. Tevin Jackson 9. Steve Edmond 10. Darius White 11. Brandon Williams 12. Aaron Green 13. Lache Seastrunk 14. Luke Joeckel 15. Quandre Diggs 16. Trey Hopkins 17. Anthony Wallace 18. Corey Nelson 19. Chris Jones 20. Taylor Bible

For those keeping track at home, nine of the top 10 all signed or have committed to play for Texas and if Brown commits to the Longhorns, it would give them a clean sweep of the elite of the elite and potentially 14 of the top 20 overall.

That's silly.

Q: (johnson1179) - First time for the locker room, long time Orangeblood. If we do not get a commitment from Malcolm Brown or Aaron Green, do you think it will impact Major's position. Where do we go from there? I know Brandon Williams is on the radar, but do you think we see another year pass without a big-time RB recruit. How many years will pass before we land the big time RB recruit? I know there are a lot of ifs, but I think I speak for all of the Orangebloods when I say if we don't land one of the big three (Brown, Green, Sims) this class will not be complete. As good as this class is, will this year be another wait until next year situation. Thanks for all you do!

A: I think you're getting a little ahead of yourself because I haven't seen anything at all that would indicate that the Longhorns aren't going to land one of the top three and I would still bet money on Mack and Major to close the deal with the state's top back (Brown). If, for some reason, the Longhorns swing and miss on everyone they covet at the position, I think it would probably cause the staff to re-evaluate the way that they are handling the running back recruiting, but I don't think there's a ton of pressure on Major to produce when you consider that he's done everything in recruiting that Mack has allowed him to do in recruiting this far.

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