October 16, 2008

Ketch's Locker Room Report

Q: (TYR0NEBIGGUMS) - With all the changes atop the polls this year, do you see Texas coming out flat against Missouri at home? You hear the players and coaches talking about how they won't let their ranking get to their heads and how they have to take games one at a time, but do you think the Texas players will be affected? Will the coaching rumors surrounding Muschamp have any impact on this team come Saturday night?

A: After talking with numerous sources close to the team this week, I can confirm that this team had perhaps its best week of practice this week and there's a feeling that this team is not only ready for this weekend, but those close to the program feel like the team will play at a very high level if this week is any indication of how they'll play. I think this team is focused and the lack of star power among this group has convinced these guys that they have to remain 100% committed to the team and total preparation in order to win every week. Bill Parcells would love this team because these guys walk around talking about not wanting to eat the cheese. This team might drop a game in the next month or so, but it won't be because they aren't ready to play.

Q: (JKates) - Did Colt McCoy ever verbal to LSU? Or was he always committed to Texas?

A: McCoy committed to Texas early in the recruiting process, but he did take a very quiet look at the Tigers and a couple of other schools in the final months of the recruiting process. You'd have to remember that the Longhorns were in serious pursuit of Ryan Perrilloux at the same time and there were a lot of schools, including LSU that used his recruitment and five-star status as leverage against the Longhorns. Although there might have been an in-home visit or two, nothing serious ever materialized out of any of it and McCoy remained firm in his commitment to the Longhorns.

Q: (bchorn) - How would NFL scouts rate Colt McCoy's pro prospects right now? He's having a Heisman-type season but having this kind of success doesn't necessarily guarantee NFL success.

Also it seems Colt, Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley are playing really well because each of their strengths complement each other. Colt excels in the short and intermediate passing game. Quan and Jordan excel at short and intermediate pass routes. Colt's extremely accurate with his passes and Quan and Jordan can catch pretty much anything thrown their way. If this Quan and Jordan can help Colt maintain his 80% completion rate throughout the season, where will this trio rank in CFB history?

Finally, is there anyway an opposing offense can be successful even if their offensive line can't stop a defensive line like Texas from rushing just four? To me it seems like if your offensive line gets whipped by just four guys, it's a guaranteed recipe for disaster.

A: Since I didn't have the answer to your question when I first read it, I called a scouting buddy of mine that works for an NFC West squad and asked him for his thoughts on a few of the Longhorns.

"We're really just starting to tale a look at Colt, so I really can't give you an accurate grade on where we think he'd fall because we haven't spent a lot of time looking at him, although he's on our radar now," the scout said. "It's safe to say that he would be drafted and would have probably have a chance to be drafted in a good slot, but there's a feeling that he needs to go back for his senior season and the word is that that's exactly what's going to happen. He's obviously a good athlete and he's playing really well this season. He's the Heisman favorite right now, right? I know what you're asking me, but I don't have a full answer for you at this point. I would imagine most teams are in the infancy stage when it comes to taking a hard look at him."

Second, if McCoy can maintain his current pace, he will smash the NCAA single-season passing according to an article I read earlier in the week, but I'll be honest when I tell you that I've spent all week trying to find documentation of that record and I haven't been able to confirm what the record actually is and who holds it. For some reason I keep thinking that former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan holds the record with a 72.2% completion percentage in 2006. Regardless, McCoy's efficiency is silly good right now.

Finally, any team that has a hot quarterback can overcome just about anything, but I think you're pressing your luck if the front lines on both sides of the ball are getting pushed around.

Q: (tabascotexanş) - Ketch, I'm freaking out. What will all the talk of Will Muschamp possibly leaving for a head coaching job do to our recruiting this year? All the best uncommitted recruits are on the defensive side of the ball. My take.........no Muschamp, not top D recruits. I hope I'm wrong

A: I wouldn't worry about recruiting as it relates to this year's recruiting class and any possible Muschamp departure. They had their recruiting wrapped up so early that Muschamp never even had a chance to totally assert himself. His first big impact in my mind would come in the 2010 recruiting class, although that statement will prove to be false if he can get some of these out of state prospects like Dre Kirkpatrick or Jarvis Jones to start leaning towards the Longhorns.

You can come off the ledge.

Q: (ut_alh) - It appears that Brandon Collins got a lot of work against OU. Where do the young receivers stand as we move into the second half of the season?

A: Collins and fellow sophomore James Kirkendoll are taking turns each week in seemingly taking steps forward as a potential true No.3 receiver for this team. At this point the team is still waiting for one of these guys to step up in a game, much like Chris Ogbonnaya has in recent weeks at running back. Redshirt freshman Malcolm Williams is also still on the radar, but it's pretty obvious that he still likely a year away.

Q: (DimiHorn) - Good to be out of Orangebloods purgatory. No more political posts.... Here are my questions - all surrounding the draft.

1. Quan Cosby - No doubt he has what it takes to play on Sundays. Reminds me a lot of Brandon Stokley as they have similar builds, speed and skill set. Quan is the ideal slot / possession target. My question is how will his age affect his draft position and where in the draft do you see him going?

2. What under classmen, if any, are possible candidates to leave early? What are you hearing?

3. Brian Orakpo - Is he the best DE we have had since Brackens? Do you see him being a top 10 type pick in the draft?

4. What is your favorite fried goodie at The Texas State Fair? I have to go with Twinkies....fried Twinkies are wonderful

A: I don't know that Cosby's age is going to be a huge factor because I think he'll likely be a late-round draft pick.

As far as underclassmen are concerned, Sergio Kindle's name is certainly on the NFL's radar, but he is not a first round pick at this stage and he'll need another year of development before he's regarded in that capacity. Outside of Kindle, there are really not any draft-eligible underclassmen on the team right now that would factor into this discussion.

Yes, Orakpo is the best defensive end the Longhorns have had since Brackens and I also believe he has a chance to be a top ten pick in the next spring's NFL Draft.

Finally, fried Twinkies are the bomb, but they must come with ice cream or you're compromising the integrity of the friend desert.

Q: (Austin Dave) - When Shipley lines up as a TE, did he have to learn a new set of routes?

A: Nah, they really didn't have to re-invent the wheel when they rolled out the new four-wide offensive set last week. Shipley is masterful route runner and he understands how to find the open spots in the zone across the middle of the field. Frankly, the match-up of Shipley against the OU linebackers was like taking candy from a baby. Expect to see them to try to exploit Missouri with the same set this weekend.

Q: (Sweet Al) - How are the young guys on the D-Line looking? We are loosing two huge players in Roy Miller and Brian Orakpo next season and we all know what Lamarr Houston can do as well as Eddie Jones and Sam Acho, but what about guys like Kheeston Randall, Russell Carter, Jarvis Humphrey and Michael Wilcoxon. At least two of them are going to need to step up next season and fill some big shoes. Who do you see grabbing the bull by the horns and locking up one of those starting spots.

A: Of the four you mentioned, the two that jump out at me are Randall and Carter. The staff thinks they really have something in Randall and if he makes the commitment that is expected of him, he has a chance to be an impact player next year. In fact, I think the team would have zero reservations about turning to Randall for snaps this season if they needed him. As for Carter, his only problem is that the defensive end position is loaded right now, but he's been a very good player on the scout team and when he's been given opportunities in scrimmage settings, he's made the most of them. Both players have a chance to be excellent players. I think we'll likely have a better understanding of what Humphrey and Wilcoxon can bring to the table after the bowl workouts in December.

Q: (Stampedingsteer) - The Big 12 has several top qb's this year - project their NFL draft stock and ability to make it on a pro roster. Which ones are just "system" qb's that have been great in college and will flop in the pros?

How is Blaine Irby progressing? Any chance for a medical redshirt or do you believe he will leave after 4 years anyway?

Do you think Will Muschamp is one and done at the 40 acres, and if so how good is our next defensive coordinator that auburn is training?

A: Missouri's Chase Daniel, Kansas' Todd Reesing and Texas Tech's Graham Harrell are players that I think are going to have very difficult transitions from the college game to the pro game. Daniel has been discussed as a possible third or fourth round pick, but I'm just not sure that the pro scouts are going to love him when they get a chance to pick him apart in the off-season. As for the other two, I just don't see it at all, even though I'm a charter member of the Reesing Fan Club. The three guys that I think have an excellent shot at being high-level NFL prospects are McCoy, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and Kansas State's Josh Freeman. The jury is probably still out on Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson.

Irby is doing as well as could be expected, but it's too early to talk about any progress he might be making because he has a long road to travel.

No, I think Muschamp comes back for another season. Because I just can't imagine the Longhorns letting him get away from them unless a job opens up that is too good to be true and it's actually offered to him.

Q: (cdunagan05) - Hey Ketch, My question is two fold. 1. When is Fozzy Whittaker going to be able to play? Has Mack or anyone inside the program given a time-table? I still think he would be such a help in our not-as-much-lacking-run-game-as-we-thought.

2. If Fozzy is OK and Mack didn't play him during the OU game, then what makes us think that he will be played in the Mizzou, OSU, or Tech games? And if he isn't going to be played shouldn't we get a Medical Red-shirt?

A: Whittaker is ready to rock and roll right now, but he's missed so much time that it's tough to say how many carries he's going to get in the coming weeks. Mack Brown is not going to want to break him during games of real consequence when he hasn't had a chance to see what kind of engine the kid has under the hood. He's going to play a little, but perhaps not a lot for the rest of the month. Also, nobody is thinking redshirt right now.

Q: (CBHookem) - With the recent Darrell Scott quotes coming out, I wanted to get your take on the so called "Mack Brown Curse." Do you think that some of the big time recruits that we missed out on would have turned out differently had they come here (i.e. Scott, Ryan Perrilloux, Rhett Bomar, Fred Rouse, etc.)? The coaching staff wanted all these guys pretty bad but didn't get them and have had controversial careers (I know Scott's career is only 6 games long, but still). Does Mack Brown just do an exceptional job of changing kids and making them more team players or are we just lucky that we "dodged some bullets?" Personally, I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Also, I've always wanted to know this, but how can you like the Phillies and Sixers so much yet be a huge Cowboys fan and hate the Eagles? Where's the disconnect for football?

A: That's such a hard question to answer. If Mack and Co. couldn't get Robert Timmons to stay on the right path, it's hard to think that some of the guys that you mentioned would have been any different, but I think we know they probably would have had a better chance to survive in a fish bowl if they been in Austin because of the school's amazing support system. I can still remember when Rouse told me that Bobby Kennedy told him that if he came to Texas, he'd be taken care of whether he made the NFL or not. He then told him if he went to Florida State he might also have a chance to play in the NFL, but there would also be a chance he was going to end up in the state penitentiary in five years because of the lack of discipline in his life and the fact that he probably wouldn't be able to free himself from the clutches of the neighborhood back home. I think Rouse knew Kennedy was right, but he couldn't stay away from trouble in San Antonio and the Longhorns couldn't take him in the end because of his background.

Sometimes these kids really aren't good apples no matter how much we desire them to be because of their talent.

Finally, I became a Dallas Cowboys fan at the age of three when Dallas played the Steelers in Super Bowl XIII. That's the first game I remember watching with my family. At the age of seven I started to get into the NBA and MLB when I visited some family in Philadelphia in 1983. It was during that summer that the Sixers won the NBA title and I went to my first Phillies game (Steve Carlton was dominant that night) as they made a trip to the World Series.

I've been hooked on all three teams ever since and I should note that I was also a huge Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars fan of the USFL.I loved me some Kelvin Bryant, until he landed with the Washington Redskins in the NFL.

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