May 24, 2009

The Ticket City Locker Room Report

Q: (mikhailtū) - Quan Cosby was a human vacuum cleaner catching everything thrown his way which kept the chains moving in our short passing game. Please rate the hands of James Kirkendoll and Brandon Collins.

Count me in with the group very concerned about our DT rotation. It seems like I read somewhere during spring practices that Coach Boom said he was willing to look at some 3 - 4 if the DT play was not up to par. Do you see this as a real possibility?

What is the two deep at linebacker going into the 2010 season?

A: I think both players still have to prove that they are ready to be consistent significant contributors in the offense, but the coaching staff and Colt McCoy couldn't be any more confident in the Collins/Kirkendoll duo than they are coming out of the spring. I think the success at the end of last season for both players really helped raise their confidence levels and both battled for spring MVP honors. I'd probably give Collins an 8 and Kirkendoll a 7.5 on a 10-point scale as far as hands go and I can't give them higher grades until they show their progress in game situations.

As far as the defensive line and potential alignments are concerned, I expect the Longhorns to play the majority of their defensive snaps with a four-man line, but expect Muschamp to try an assortment of things in his second year and I think you can count on some three-man fronts as a change-up. Unless the Longhorns are ravaged by injuries, I think the identity of the defense will look familiar up-front.

Finally, I think the linebacker two-deep will look a little something like this:

SLB: Keenan Robinson (sophomore)/ Tariq Allen (freshman)
MLB: Jared Norton (senior)/ Dustin Earnest (junior)
WLB: Roddrick Muckelroy (senior)/ Emmanuel Acho (sophomore)

Q: (jthhorn00) - What up Ketch, if you had to make a LSR top 20 with all of the kids from the 09 & 10 classes, what would it look like? Maybe add in 2011 if that is too easy for you. Hook em.

A: Love the question. Here you go:

1. Garrett Gilbert - QB - Lake Travis (2009)
2. Darius White - WR - Forth Worth Dunbar (2010)
3. Alex Okafor - DE - Pflugerville (2009)
4. Jackson Jeffcoat - DE - Plano West (2010)
5. Russell Shepard - Ath - Houston Cy Ridge (2009)
6. Lache Seastrunk - RB - Temple (2010)
7. Reggie Wilson - DE - Haltom (2010)
8. Craig Loston - DB - Aldine Eisenhower (2009)
9. Mason Walters -OL - Frenship (2009)
10. Malcolm Brown - RB - Cibolo Steele (2011)
11. Aaron Green - RB - San Antonio Madison (2011)
12. Taylor Bible - DT - Denton Guyer (2010)
13. Christian Michael - RB - Beaumont Westbrook (2010)
14. Kevin Brent - DB - South Oak Cliff (2009)
15. Nick Ash - QB - Belton (2011)
16. Ahmad Dixon - DB - Waco Midway (2010)
17. Tevin Jackson - LB - Garland (2010)
18. Corey Nelson - LB - Dallas Skyline (2010)
19. Chris Whaley - RB - Madisonville (2009)
20. Chris Jones - WR - Daingerfield (2010)

Note: I'm reluctant to rank many of the 2011 kids in this kind of company until they go through a little of their junior seasons. This is an elite-level comparison and while I think a kid like Desmond Jackson of Spring Westfield has five-star potential at defensive tackle, I'm not quite ready to say he's in this kind of company.

Q: (Saturday) - Up till now the 1960's were the best decade of Longhorn football IMO. Have the 2000's eclipsed that? Would it require another MCN this year to pull that off? The 1960's had some "lean" years toward the end of the decade. But they have two MNC. The 2000s have resulted in more wins but fewer conference champs. The 1960's resulted in more bowl wins in quality bowl games (5-1 in new years day bowls, 1-0-1 in minor bowls) but only one of those wins was over an integrated team a factor I think slants a lot of 1950's and 60's college football

A: I don't think there's any question that the 1960's rank as the top decade in Longhorn football history, with this current decade running a distant second unless the 2009 team is able to record that second title. At that point we can at least have a conversation about it.

Q: (Insp_Clouseau) - (1) What are your thoughts on Art Briles' future at Baylor? Do you think that after Baylor hits a bowl game (probably Robert Griffin's junior year), Briles follows more money/pub? I know he's a state of Texas guy, but do you have any insight on the man's ambition?

(2) Will Garrett Gilbert participate in 7on7s? Will Jordan Shipley and D.J. Grant? Can you remember a WR/DB/ATH going nuts in 7on7s and jumping up the depth char?. A guy who might have been on the 3 deep in April, but hit the pipes and looked the stud in voluntary summer drills and actually broke out the following season. I am thinking of Billy Pittman (summer 2005), but I could be wrong.

A: On some level I think age will probably play a big part in any future decisions that Briles makes in regards to his career. We're not talking about a spring chicken here at the age of 53. To put that in perspective, he's less than four years younger than Mack Brown. Before we start projecting Briles for any other jobs, we probably need to let him get Baylor bowl eligible first and I think that happens this season. If I had to make a wager, I'd put my money on Briles sticking in Waco unless the Texas Tech job opened up and he felt like that job was more in line with where he'd like to be as he heads into the homestretch of his career.

As for your second set of questions, yes, Gilbert will be involved in seven-on-seven workouts this fall and they should help him quite a bit in trying to get ready for playing time as a true freshman. I would expect that the staff will want Shipley and Grant to both take a very cautious approach this summer in seven-on-seven drills because of their importance, but by the time we get to July, I would bet both are involved .

Also, Pittman is the guy that stands out the most to me because he had been so inconsistent up until that point, but by the end of June before the start of that 2005 run, it was clear he was going to be a difference maker that year.

Others that jump out as summer camp sensations include Blake Gideon last season, Nate Jones in 2007 and Colt McCoy in 2006.

Q: (mikhailt) - Has recruiting changed for Texas since the arrival of Will Muschamp and Major Applewhite? Last season, Muschamp (& the other recruiters/coaches) were not able to bring in Jarvis Jones, Devon Kennard, or Dre Kirkpatrick. I know these were high profile OOS recruits that Texas made a late push for; however, in the end, each ended up at USC or Alabama. During this recruiting season, it seems as though Texas is having some difficulty landing other top players like Corey Nelson, Jordan Hicks, Jackson Jeffcoat, Lache Seastrunk and a few others. The reason I ask about Muschamp and Applewhite is these coaches are the recruiters assigned for some of these top recruits. We read about certain defensive players wanting to be the 1st player to commit after NSD, or one of the top recruits living 60 miles from campus; yet, other schools like USC or LSU seem to be able to land these players on NSD. I'm starting to wonder if we're going to see a drop off in recruiting after Mack leaves...could you shed any insight into Muschamp and Applewhite as recruiters? Should I step away from the edge of the cliff regarding a recruiting drop off after Mack leaves?

A: Forget about stepping away from the edge of the cliff because I'm not sure you should be allowed to drive heavy machinery.

I think the three biggest flaws in your entire case are the following:

a) You don't recognize any of the success that the Longhorns are currently enjoying in recruiting.
b) You seem to be punishing the Longhorns for not being able to finish the deal with all but a few prospects without holding the other schools competing for their signatures to the same standards.
c) You aren't acknowledging the irony of your incredibly high expectations being created because of the success in recruiting that the Longhorns generally enjoy.

The Longhorns currently have 13 commitments from the state's top 25 players and no other school that recruits the state has more than one commitment from that group of prospects. Overall, Texas has 17 four-star commitments, so if they didn't pick up another recruit, we're talking about one of the nation's top classes.

In the spirit of the question, I think Muschamp and Applewhite are both very good recruiters, but I'm not sure that we've seen enough of a body of work to really make any real conclusions. That being said, I think Muschamp's influence in recruiting is pretty obvious when you look at the early results from this year's class, which is really Muschamp's first chance to make complete imprints on evaluation and decision-making on that side of the ball.

They have not landed the big out of state fish and Applewhite is still waiting to land his first big fish in a contested fight as the lead dog in running back recruiting. So, if some feel that the jury is still out there, that's probably fair at this point.

Overall, take a deep breath and understand that it's completely unrealistic to think that Texas would have every single target wrapped up by the end of May, especially when a number of the remaining prospects have let it be known for a while that early decisions weren't expected.

Q: (GetHooked) - Even though we lose Roy Miller and Brian Orakpo up front, do you see us getting more sacks this year? It seems, with the improved secondary, we should get more "coverage sacks".

A: When you consider that the Longhorns led the nation in sacks last season with 3.62 per game, it might be unrealistic to think that the team will have more sacks this season, especially when they will be trying to replace the program's best pass rusher in the last decade. Still, this team is going to have an abundance of push rushers and the comfort level in the defense in year two under Muschamp should ensure that the Longhorns have one of the best pressure units in the nation.

Q: (SouthHolland) - Following the conference vote on the tie breaker rule, and =Ice Man='s now legendary faux article, there was quite a bit of talk amongst Texas fans about wanting to join another conference. Given a choice, which conference would you prefer to join (including Independent)? Are there legitimate reasons for Texas to seriously entertain the idea of jumping to another conference?

A: Given the huge discrepancies in revenue earning between the true have's and have not's in the Big 12, I think it might be time for the likes of Texas, Oklahoma and a few others to start investigating the possibility of forming a new super conference within the next ten years.

We saw the Big 12 announce last week that the conference is looking to cut costs, despite turning a sizeable increase of total conference revenue from 2008 to 2009. There's talk of cutting back the production of media guides among other things and it has everything to do with some of the schools not being able to cut the mustard.

The Texas athletic program's visibility and ability to thrive on a nationally elite level is now being impacted because Texas Tech, Iowa State and a few others have a hard time turning a profit as athletic programs.

Frankly, that should be a "them" problem and not something that Texas or Oklahoma are forced to shoulder as a consequence. What the Big 12 conference really announced this past week was that the conference has a bunch of dead weight and because of that, the league athletic directors are considering restrictions that favor the week.

It's like asking Ussain Bolt to run races with ankle weights because the rest of the pack can't keep pace. Those runners need to get faster and these athletic departments need to step up or quit pretending that they really belong in big-time Division I athletics.

Q: (TheNutzOfKnippa) - We had a recruit come in with the '07 class. He played DB, was cocky and confident and we all loved it. He was projected as seeing significant playing time and we figured he would be a starter within a yr or two.

Then along came Blake Gideon and Earl Thomas. Then Christian Scott stepped it up and now it appears that Nolan Brewster is battling for PT as our fourth safety.

So my questions are: what are the reports on Ben Wells? I didn't hear any talk about him during the bowl practices or spring drills. Is it a case where he came in and hasn't been able to take the next step with this level of competition, a la George Walker? Or is it a case where these other four safeties are just that good?

In no way am I trying to bash this young kid: I am just wondering how he is doing in his development. I figured with his attitude being one of aggressiveness, that he would want to see a lot of playing time. And if he doesn't foresee that happening would you project him as a transfer? I certainly hope not.

A: I think this can best be summed up by your own words. At this moment in his career, Ben Wells is a defensive back version of George Walker.

Q: (plk10) - Ketch, are you hearing anything from your sources about the cbssportsline article that was posted on the board a couple of weeks ago about DeLoss Dodds et al meeting with ACC officials about the possibility of bringing Texas into the ACC? Seems unrealistic, but does this concept have any legs?

A: I need a vacation.

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