July 31, 2008

Five match-ups that could determine UT's season

T-minus one week.

The thirst for Longhorn football has reached a point where burnt orange faithful everywhere are starting to sweat and shake in anticipation of the start of training camp on Wednesday.

In our endless attempt to hold you over until the first pass is thrown and the first tackle is made, we present to you the top five individual match-ups that we're looking forward to showcasing once camp begins next week.

No.5 - Michael Huey vs. [/db]Lamarr Houston[/db]

Why should you watch? - The one real position battle on the offensive line that is still taking place is over at left guard where Huey will hopes to unseat veteran Charlie Tanner, who has never emerged as an above-average starter thus far in his career. If you're going to bet on either Huey or Tanner emerging as a standout this season, put your money on Huey, who was a top-rated prospect coming out of high school and seems to make a little bit of improvement every day. In facing off against Houston, Huey will be head-to-head with the player that many NFL scouts feel like is the best pure pro prospect in the program. In order for the offensive line and defensive line to be great this season, both Huey and Houston need to take their games to new heights. The drama behind their developments can be seen every day in practice.

No.4 - Malcolm Williams vs. Chykie Brown/Curtis Brown

Why should you watch? - Williams is the guy that I'm calling the X-factor in the offense this season. If he can emerge as a down-field target that can take the pressure off of the rest of the receivers, the offense might be among the most powerful in the Big 12, but they key is finding a vertical threat to replace the enormous vacancy that Limas Sweed's departure created. On the other side of the ball, one of these two young cornerbacks needs to start showing some consistency on a daily basis or their on-field contributions this season are going to be limited. Frankly, all three of these guys need to start taking some legitimate steps forward.

No.3 - Greg Davis vs [db]Will Muschamp

Why should you watch? - It's pretty simple - everyone wants to see what both coordinators have planned for the fall. Will Muschamp bring the hounds of hell on every down? Can Davis find a way to get the best out of John Chiles? Will there be a pass rush? Is the running game going to be tweaked in any way? Is the secondary going to be improved? So many questions and we might not know the answers until the first or second game of the season, but if you get a chance to see any of the early workouts, you might get a glimpse of what is to come.

No.2 - Adam Ulatoski vs Brian Orakpo

Why should you watch? - It's a three-year starter and a guy that the staff hopes is an All-Big 12 offensive tackle going up against UT's only pre-season All-American candidate. It doesn't get much better than that. These two guys should push each other daily and the one-on-one battles between the two might be the most competitive of any positions in camp.

No.1 - Colt McCoy vs. Christian Scott/Earl Thomas/Ben Wells

Why should you watch? - The Texas secondary isn't looking for one good men or two, but in all honesty the staff needs three safeties that have never played in a game before to emerge as solid players at the very least. After two straight poor seasons in the secondary, the key to improvement for the entire defense is for these guys to not be liabilities. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball you have McCoy, who needs to cut his turnovers this season in half. McCoy's job is to keep from throwing the ball to the other team and these young safeties need to keep him from torching them up and down the field.

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