January 21, 2008

The Locker Room

Q: (BuschLeague■) - What's your hunch on further staff changes after signing day? Where does Drew Kelson end up next yr? Think he'd be a great GA. Any thoughts to that?

A: I'll be honest when I tell you that there's been a growing buzz that offensive coordinator Greg Davis wouldn't be back to coach for the Longhorns in 2008, but if the smile on his face this Friday after Major Applewhite was named running backs coach is any indication, he'll be around for at least another season. Mike Tolleson is another coach whose name has been in the rumor mill for more than two years as a possible departure, but none of the speculation has ever amounted to anything. When asked on Friday if the assembly of his 2008 coaching staff was complete, Mack Brown confirmed that he doesn't expect any other changes.

As for Kelson, I'm guessing that he's going to spend the next few months getting ready for the NFL Draft. Although he didn't have a big senior season, his name is on the radar with NFL teams and if he has a series of good workouts leading up to the draft, he might have a chance of catching on somewhere as either a late round pick or most likely as an undrafted free agent. Brown has mentioned in the past that there's a long line of applicants for the GA spots, so I would guess that if he's interested in jumping into that role, he might have to wait a year or two. That being said, Kelson seems like a guy that has the world at his feet and he's never come across as a guy that needs to have football to survive.

Q: (centexu■) - I hope that we end up landing Darrell Scott, but if we don't, who do you think steps up behind Vondrell McGee and Chris Ogbonnaya? Of all the young running backs, who do you think gets the most PT next year?

A: Great question. I really think that the answer might have to come from one of the incoming freshmen and if it's not Scott, it might have to be true freshmen Jeremy Hills or Tre Newton. Both players enrolled in the spring and with redshirting freshmen Fozzy Whitaker and Cody Johnson not being able to establish themselves during quiet first seasons on the 40 Acres, each player should have an opportunity to prove that they should be the guy. Of the four players we're discussing, Hills is probably the most dynamic of the bunch and this team is going to need someone that can give the running game some big-play ability. McGee and Ogbonnaya both figure to dominate the carries in the running game, but neither is established as a front-line player, so the opportunity exists to be more than a simple role player.

Q: (Stanpedingsteer ) - How would you rate Colt McCoy vs. the 10 quarterbacks that played in the BCS bowls? He's obviously not the best, but played well in the holiday bowl, albeit against a weak defense, to rank him above several of them. Whoever helped Jamaal Charles with football security after his early season fumbles needs to help Colt with his.

A: Another really good question. As a sophomore this season, McCoy completed 276 of 424 passes (65.1%) for 3,303 yards, 22 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He averaged 7.79 yards pass attempt and finished 24th nationally in passing efficiency. He also added 492 yards and four touchdowns on the ground as a runner.

Here's a look at the stats from the 10 starting quarterbacks from this year's BCS games (in alphabetical order):

* Todd Boeckman (Ohio State) - 190 of 341 (63.8%) for 2,372 yards, 25 touchdowns, eight interceptions, 7.96 yards per attempt and ranked 13th nationally in passing efficiency.

* John David Booty (USC) - 215 of 340 (63.2%) for 2,361 yards, 23 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 6.94 yards per attempt and ranked 28th nationally in passing efficiency.

* Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) - 237 of 341 (69.5%) for 3,121 yards, 36 touchdowns, eight interceptions, 9.15 yards per attempt and ranked first nationally in passing efficiency.

* Colt Brennan (Hawaii) - 359 of 510 (70.4%) for 4,343 yards, 38 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, 8.52 yards per attempt and ranked fifth nationally in passing efficiency.

* Matt Flynn (LSU) - 202 of 359 (56.3%) for 2,407 yards, 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 9.15 yards per attempt and ranked first nationally in passing efficiency.

* Sean Glennan (Virginia Tech) - 143 of 235 (60.9%) for 1,796 yards, 12 touchdowns, five interceptions, 6.70 yards per attempt and ranked 64th nationally in passing efficiency.

* Todd Reesing (Kansas) - 276 of 446 (61.9%) for 3,486 yards, 33 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 7.82 yards per attempt and ranked 14th nationally in passing efficiency.

* Matt Stafford (Georgia) - 194 of 348 (55.8%) for 2,523 yards, 19 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 7.25 yards per attempt and ranked 56th nationally in passing efficiency.

* Pat White (West Virginia) - 144 of 216 (66.8%) for 1,724 yards, 14 touchdowns, four interceptions, 7.98 yards per attempt and ranked ninth nationally in passing efficiency.

* Juice Williams (Illinois) - 153 of 267 (57.3%) for 1,743 yards, 13 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 6.53 yards per attempt and ranked 81st nationally in passing efficiency.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that McCoy's single-biggest problem as a player right now is with his ball security. If you look at the ten quarterbacks that played in BCS bowl games, only Brennan came close to approaching McCoy's interception total and he had nearly 100 more passing attempts on the season. Seven of the ten quarterbacks threw ten or fewer interceptions for the entire season. When you add in the plays that McCoy makes with his feet, his numbers can pretty much match up with anyone in the nation, but in order for him to emerge as a championship quarterback he must significantly decrease his high volume of turnovers. If McCoy is able to slice his turnovers in half in 2008, the Longhorns will likely be playing in a BCS game next season.

Q: (Horn O Plenty■) - Regarding our newly found interest in OOS recruiting: Do you feel like Mack has been Brown more loyal to Texas HS coaches since he's been at UT than they have been to him, or do you feel it has been an equitable relationship?

A: There's no question that Brown has taken more steps to ensure solid relationships with the high school coaches in the state of Texas than anyone that has likely ever coached at a major program in this state. Year after year, Brown passes on out of state talent because he feels like he needs to play and win with players from the state of Texas. Obviously, Brown probably has had to alienate quite a few coaches each season because of scholarship limits, but there can't be any questioning Brown's commitment to the high school coaches and players in this state. Also, I think he would make the case that those relationships are the very reason why the Longhorns ended almost a 40 year reign without a national title. I think it's human nature to focus on the situations when the Longhorns have lost a prospect in part because of the influence of the high school coach, but the truth if the matter is that the Longhorns win nine out of ten of these situations.

Q: (echeese) - You have mentioned in the past wanting to recruit "difference makers". Can you tell us a bit about what a "difference maker" is to you and who do you think are the "difference makers" in the '08 and '09 classes?

A: I suppose I consider a difference maker to be a player that possesses the ability to change the complexion of a game with single play. On the offensive end, you think about players like Vince Young, Roy Williams and Cedric Benson, while players like Derrick Johnson, Michael Griffin and Cedric Griffin come to mind on the defensive side of the ball. In any given year, I will usually regard the top 10-15 players in the state of Texas as difference makers. That means if you're the Longhorns and you are going to pull most of your talent from in-state, it's imperative that you land as many guys from the top of the list as possible.

If you look at the 2008 recruiting class for the Longhorns, I think you can make a case for about seven or eight players as being potential difference makers. Aaron Williams, DeSean Hales, Dan Buckner, D.J. Monroe, Jarvis Humphrey, D.J Grant and Kheeston Randall are all players that have the ability to be big-time college players in a very short amount of time. For a school like Texas, you should be hitting at least at a 50% rate on these types of prospects in your class.

If you look at the 2009 recruiting class, I think the number available in the state of Texas will be higher than most years. In fact, I think there are almost ten players in the state that we view right now as possible national top 50 prospects. In case that number didn't jump out at you, it's an unusually large number.

Q: (ElPasoMD) - Take a look at our five lowest-rated commitments and tell me which guy you think has a chance of being a contributor for the program in a big way. Basically, I'm asking you to name our most underrated player.

A: According to the Rivals.com national rankings, the three lowest ranked commitments in the current recruiting class are Leander defensive back Blake Gideon (5.4), Austin Westlake kicker Justin Tucker (5.5) and Giddings athlete Brock Fitzhenry (5.5). Joining that group as slightly higher-rated three stars is Southlake Carroll running back Tre Newton, Dallas St. Mark's linebacker Emmanuel Acho, Mansfield Summit wide receiver Antoine Hicks, Brenham offensive lineman Luke Poehlmann and Brenham athlete Ryan Roberson. Of that first group of three, I really like Gideon to emerge as a real contributor for the Longhorns. A back injury really limited his work in the weight room for a couple of years, but he emerged as a different level of player and athlete as a senior at Leander. If I'm being asked to pick one player from the group of eight that I listed, I'd probably buy stock in Roberson because of his athleticism and versatility.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!