Texas Football: The 5 Biggest Problems the Longhorn Program Is Facing
The Texas Longhorns football program is still on the mend after their 5-7 record in the 2010 season compelled Mack Brown to patch up a sinking ship.
A coaching overhaul and changes to outdated philosophies, in conjunction with a host of other amendments to the program, has positioned Brown's Longhorns at a huge crossroad.
While there are plenty of arguments to support that Texas is showing signs of a nice revival, there are lingering concerns and fresh challenges that could make those points moot.
Here are the five biggest problems in the Texas program.
Now two years in the making, the Texas Longhorn Network has opened up the university to a host of subscribers and fans, as the programming ranges through a vast number of sports and academia.
For the football program, LHN provides an inside look like never before, meaning the coaches and players have to offer up an intimate relationship with the cameras.
Intrusive for some and mentally draining for others, despite the good programming that feeds a hungry fanbase, LHN is turning into an extra weight during a time when the Longhorns need to be focusing on just football.
Slowing down the Longhorns' true growth is the injury bug, which has bit hard on a couple of key players on both sides of the football.
Malcolm Brown has just started practicing this week after missing three games with an ankle knock. His absence has handcuffed the running game, although Texas has definitely survived the storm.
Defensively, the loss of Jordan Hicks for three weeks has put the linebacker position in the most challenging of spots. With Hicks out of the picture, inexperience and youth has a firm grasp of the situation and has placed an even steeper learning curve for the available players.
Additionally, Jackson Jeffcoat's season-ending surgery to repair a torn right pectoral has put the defensive line a step or two back.
Every team has to go through these issues, but how the backups respond is the true concern.
Plaguing the youthful Longhorns is a fanbase that has heightened expectations because of a long list of star-studded players to pass through the 40 Acres.
Mack Brown has spoiled Texas fans with over a decade of genuine and well-earned success, and because of a perfect storm of events that left the program desperate for change, the wait to build it all back up has a feeling of a dishearteningly long journey.
Hoping for that quick fix is the rash expectation, and the 2005 championship-winning team is more than a little bit of a distant memory.
The pressure is always on for the Longhorns, no matter the sport, but in a state where football is king, the expectations are second to none.
Part of the reconfigured Texas program was the fresh start. Fresh coaches, fresh players, fresh everything.
Youth, in every sense of the word, is keeping the Longhorns grounded.
Sophomores and freshmen litter the two-deep, with the hope that they will develop into the playmakers that the coaches expect them to be.
And in the second year of both offensive and defensive coordinators, the training wheels are just coming off this season as we start to get a glimpse of what exactly Texas has in store for itself.
Some are ready for changes already, but there are others who feel like we are still in the developing stages of something better.
Lack of Physical Dominance
Perhaps the physicality is still to come, as we have seen the Longhorns showcase it in flashes.
But what this team lacks on both sides of the ball is a mean streak that will allow them to impose themselves physically on the opposition for 60 minutes. Those type of performances is what Mack Brown envisioned when he tweaked his program, but his team has not yet gripped that demeanor.
We have glimpsed it, but not against the opponents where the wins could slingshot them excitingly high in the rankings.
Texas wants to create a power running game, much like the one Nick Saban is using at Alabama, but the Longhorns have not quite turned the corner.