March 12, 2011

The Ticket City Locker Room

Q: (Channy) - DT was a weakness last season. Ashton Dorsey has stepped up with Kheeston Randall, but do you see Calvin Howell, Taylor Bible or DeAires Cotton doing the same with the help of Bennie Wylie? Also, what has kept Howell and Bible from living up to expectations?

A: The early buzz of camp is that the Longhorns are feeling pretty good about the top three of Randall, Dorsey and Howell, but the depth behind it has yet to take off and it remains to be seen just how much quality the duo of Dorsey/Howell will provide. Of course, it's early. When you talk about the progress being made under Wylie, the real benefits won't be seen until August after another four months of off-season work. While the position isn't in the state you'd expect, it's certainly a positive to hear positive reports on Dorsey/Howell because their emergence is much needed. As for your final question, Howell has battled concussion issues, injury and the fact that he might not ever become a big-time college player. Bible has simply never been in the kind of physical condition that he needs to be in to be a success, but keep in mind that he's still a very young player.

Q: (CapitalHorn) - We've got so many young guns that came in with all of us having such high hopes for like Taylor Bible, Reggie Wilson[db] and [db]Chris Whaley (maybe a stretch), but what about those redshirt freshmen or sophomores that should start developing a little further and hopefully begin to fill some slots on the two deep and start contributing? Can you rank the kids who have yet to show up on the depth chart and what their prospects are for becoming players in our program?

A: Here's a look at my top five non-true freshmen who were not on the final two-deep vs. A&M that could make an impact this season.

1. John Harris - The redshirt freshman is competing for a starting job at wide receiver and is certainly going to be a player that is in the rotation this year at the very least.

2. DeMarco Cobbs - Sophomore linebacker has been making a lot of noise this spring as an outside linebacker. It's a stacked depth chart in front of him, but he's starting to find his niche.

3. Jeremy Hills - The fifth-year senior has new life and has looked as good this spring as he ever has. He still has a lot of proving to do, but he's in the mix after long being an afterthought.

4. Connor Wood - He redshirted last season and is the early favorite to take home the No.2 spot, which means he's an injury away from being the man.

5. Darius Terrell - The redshirt freshman is still developing in the weight room, but he's a player for the future at H-back.

Q: (dropshot_7) - What is the Texas fan-base going to miss about Greg Davis, and they don't know it yet?

2) Who are two players that benefit the most from the coaching/scheme change on offense?

3) Have you heard any feedback as to the complexity of the new offense, from the perspective of the players learning it?

A: The thing I respected about Greg Davis is that he was a pretty stable ship in a decade that saw some really rocky waters at various times. Even when things were at their worst, he wasn't a guy that threw guys under the bus or panicked when the heat was hottest. It might not seem like a big deal, but he never ducked his position or the responsibilities of it. He was a good, loyal, productive solider. Plus, he's just a damn good man.

Second, I'll go with D.J. Monroe and Garrett Gilbert. Monroe was in purgatory last season and Gilbert ended up in a worse place with all of the offensive confusion.

Third, the players seem to be picking things up very quickly. I haven't heard that retention has been an issue at all. On the contrary, actually, as the players worked very hard to mentally prepare themselves for the spring. The pace has been quicker than you'd expect.

Q: (JimsTexas) - Ketch is it just me are is it possible that OU is running behind some of the other colleges recruiting Texas athletes this year. I just don't see their name come up like they have in past years. If this is true that OU might be slipping could it be that the aggies are cutting into OU recruiting in Texas. For me this is a double edge Sword I know that OU needs Texas football recruits to be competitive. But I can't stand the thought that the aggies might be turning the corner in recruiting the top athletes. Thanks

A: There's no question that Oklahoma has lost a lot of its mojo in the state of Texas in recruiting. TCU has replaced them in the Metroplex as the area's No.2 team and Texas A&M has impacted their stronghold as well. That leaves East Texas as a major area of importance for them, but they haven't been big factors there, either.

Oklahoma was much stronger in-state than either school in 2011, so this could be a one-year anomaly and let's not go crazy over A&M's recruiting until they close a few deals with the biggest of big-time guys.

You can't make any huge conclusions yet, but it's something to monitor closely.

Q: (cubsbevo17) - I haven't heard much about Duane Akina since he returned. Has he just jumped back into the swing and not missed a beat?

A: Pretty much. To steal a line from Akina, it was add water, instant coaching.

Q: (Troyboy8ball) - Ketch, we've all heard that the guy who broke the Tressel story has two more explosive stories on college football coming out, one on the level of the Tressel story and one much bigger. How nervous should we be that one of these stories involves the Cleve Bryant situation or something else involving UT football? If neither story involves UT, what are your best guesses as to which program these stories are focusing on? Here are my best guesses:

- Expose' of rampant cheating at Auburn, or just SEC in general
- Investigation of BCS corruption preventing a play-off
- Story concerning behind-the-scenes stuff concerning last summer's conference realignment fiasco
- Investigation of Iowa Hawkeyes problems (lot of arrests, S&C abuses, overall loss of institutional control)
- Farm animal abuse in College Station?

A: I think every big-time school in the country ought to have some nervousness because there are more eyes than ever watching a sport that crosses over into the gray area at the door. As it relates to the Longhorns, there was some initial conversation about an investigative report when the Bryant news first hit, but it's been very quiet on that front and I have not heard that there's a smoking gun out there from a story standpoint. Still, the alleged details are such that if anyone ever did document some of the allegations, it potentially wouldn't paint a pretty picture, but it's not something that would generate a lot of long-term damage if it ever got 15 minutes of true public attention. I think it would simply be a matter of further having to remove the school away from the radiation of the story source.

Of the stories possibilities you mentioned, Auburn has every investigative team in the country looking under rocks. Iowa is a disaster right now. But, nobody can throw too many rocks right now in my mind.

Q: (beagleme) - I'm still not hearing D.J. Monroe's name in the discussion so far. I would think his speed and elusiveness would be ideal in our new offense. What's up ?

Also, who is the leading contender at this point as our FG kicker ?

A: Monroe is having a very good spring and is developing in the new offense. The coaches are still trying to get a handle on what he's capable of now that the self-imposed and coach-imposed shackles have been removed. I still have very high hopes for him.

Justin Tucker would be your place-kicker if there was a game today.

Q: (troon74) - Let's talk about the wideouts. Based on the offense that Boise ran where they routinely ran two-, three- and four-receiver sets, it is safe to assume our new offense will do the same. At this point do the coaches have four leading top receivers that will get majority of the snaps? Also, will Mike Davis likely play one of the slot positions or do you think they split him out more? Lastly, when including the three freshmen that will soon be on the team, we do have a lot of players at this position. No names, but do you think we lose any of the guys at this position with transfers? Thanks

A: First, the top four receivers today would probably include Davis, Darius White, John Harris and DeSean Hales. Marquise Goodwin will be in the mix eventually, as will Malcolm Williams if he returns. I also believe true freshman Jaxon Shipley will quickly emerge as a player on the two-deep. That's seven guys right there if all are available.

Second, if Davis is the player everyone believes he is, the staff will use him in every capacity possible, not just in the slot.

Finally, yes, I expect transfers.

Q: (Lilbigdaddy) - With the first scrimmage over and our expectations inflated like a blowfish, Ketch, call your shots.

1. QB winner?
2. Wins-Losses?
3. RRR winner?
4. Ypg on offense?

A: 1. Gilbert.
2. 9-3
3. Oklahoma
4. 475

Q: (Golfpr3145) - Do you feel Taylor Bible is finally dedicating himself to getting in shape for the fall? I realize this doesn't happen overnight, but will he be ready for this season, or are they going to have to depend on some of the incoming freshmen to step up? If that situation were to happen, which of the freshmen do you feel are capable of filling that role?

A: It's too early to make a declaration on Bible, but everyone in the program is watching to see if the light switch comes on. If it doesn't, I think they really need Desmond Jackson or Quincy Russell to come in ready to contribute 20 snaps a game. I'm not sure if either will be ready to be that guy.

Q: (Utarlington1) - 1. Scenario - I am a 3 star recruit at Texas. I do everything that I am asked but I maxed out in high school. I never got in trouble, have good grades, and refuse to voluntarily leave the program. Does Texas cut these student's scholarships or do they get to stay 4 years. What schools have been known to cut them (rumor was SMU)?

2. My OU relatives are taking about stomping us in recruiting with their national recruiting. Should we be worried for the next 3-4 years? Their smack talk is that we were lucky just to keep it close last year.

A: Of course, they stay at Texas all four years. If they've had injuries, a placement on medical scholarship is sometimes agreed to, which makes all parties comfortable if it's a matter of football just not being the answer.

As for question No.2, I'd worry about finding find new relatives before worrying about OU's recruiting.

Q: (Weenhorn) - We know that Texas has offered Kennedy Estelle & Michael Starts as OL prospects. And we've also been told they want to take at least 4 for the 2012 class. If they whiff on Estelle or Starts, who are the other in state prospects that UT is actively recruiting? It seems as though you mentioned John Michael McGee and Aviante Collins as guys who were invited to Junior Days, and German Ifedi was listed as one where the Texas coaches had collected film. Has Texas been in recent contact with any of those guys?

In regard to our defensive back recruiting, who is currently under consideration for that other schollie? Corey Coleman, Nick Coleman and Justin Thomas have all been mentioned. Nick & Justin sound as though they might grab a Texas offer--do you agree? And where do we stand with Corey Coleman?

A: If there's a next move to be made with an in-state line prospect, it hasn't been made yet, which means the Longhorns are taking their time right now before pushing that undetermined button. There seems to be an effort to look nationally along the offensive line, so it's possible that for the foreseeable future, we're not going to see an in-state OL back-up emerge. McGee is a guy they should look at in my mind, but I get taking the slower approach. There's no need to rush at this point.

My guess is that Thomas gets the third DB offer and that he accepts it. Both Nick and Corey Coleman are guys in the mix. There doesn't appear to be anything notable to mention at this stage, as they are under continuing evaluation.

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