2012-13 Football Previews (Big 12) – Texas Longhorns
Texas is in a somewhat similar situation, on a big-picture scale, as the Florida Gators: a super prestigious football program that was among the nation’s elite just a few seasons ago, but has recently fallen on hard times. The fact that an 8-5 2011 record portrays “hard times” at UT should speak volumes for the high pedigree of this program under head coach Mack Brown. Still, the Longhorns need to right the ship.
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Texas had an appearance in the Holiday Bowl last season (where it pulled out a victory against California to finish 8-5) and didn’t even make the postseason in 2010, so the rather spoiled fans in Austin will expect their beloved ‘Horns to be back in the discussion this season.
Big 12 2012-13 Football Previews: Texas Longhorns
Coach: Mack Brown
2011 Record: 8-5
Texas Gambling Odds from Sportsbook.com to win BCS: 25-1
A large part of the reason why there has been regression at UT has been the quarterback play. Ever since former campus legend Colt McCoy got injured during the 2009 National Title game versus Alabama, the pivot play has been unsettled for the burnt orange and white. Garrett Gilbert took over, but he never really established himself; he eventually got benched after Week 2 last year and has since transferred to SMU. The QB position was shared, for the bulk of last year, by David Ash and Case McCoy (Colt’s little brother). Ash took every snap in the Holiday Bowl, and he will be the likely starter for 2012. Whether it is Ash or McCoy, they’ll have a great RB in sophomore Malcolm Brown to utilize, as well as dynamic WR Jaxon Shipley (Jordan Shipley’s little bro – Jordan sits second all-time at UT in career receiving).
Yet, it will be the defense that will power this Longhorns team this season. Texas probably has the best defense in the conference, and it is filled with many players that could return for a senior season in ’13. Texas might have the best duo of defensive ends in the nation, with Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor. The pair had eight and seven sacks, respectively, in last year’s campaign. The tremendous pressure these two generate on opposing quarterbacks works wonders for the Texas secondary.
Cornerbacks Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs are buttressed by a fantastic FS in the person of Kenny Vaccaro. Diggs had four INTs last season, and that number could increase in ’12. The unit is strong enough that a player like OLB Jordan Hicks, the #1 LB prospect coming out of high school a couple years ago, is almost an afterthought. Don’t be fooled, however – Hicks is also another monster. Defensive co-ordinator Manny Diaz leads a ferocious “D.”
2012-13 Texas Football Prediction: 11-2
The Longhorns should take a profound step in the right direction this year. The offense, while not spectacular, should be improved enough to be vastly more productive than 2010 or ’11. There’s further good news: UT is stockpiling fantastic recruits on offense, which will bolster the offense for the next several seasons. The projected dominance of the “D” has been well documented. A coach with the reputation of Brown seldom has a team down in a “reload” phase (as the best coaches like to call it) for long, Texas looks like it will adhere to that rule.
The ‘Horns play a tough game at Oklahoma State on Sept. 29, but the game of the year for these guys will be the Red River Shootout in Dallas on Oct. 13. I don’t expect Texas to beat the Sooners, but the gap is closing between these two programs. The Longhorns are much improved and I’d be quite surprised if they didn’t at least reach the double-digit win plateau.
2012 OU Schedule
9/1/12 8:00 PM ET WYOM
9/8/12 8:00 PM ET NMEX
9/15/12 9:15 PM ET @MISS
9/29/12 TBD @OKLST
10/6/12 TBD WVIRG
10/13/12 TBD @OKLA
10/20/12 TBD BAY
10/27/12 TBD @KANS
11/3/12 TBD @TXTCH
11/10/12 TBD IOWST
11/24/12 TBD TCU
12/1/12 TBD @KANST