Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Texas has always had the talent. And though Mack Brown has done great things for the program, his self-doubt and lack of creativity have crippled the Longhorns. If this team is to reclaim the Big 12, keeping up with the Joneses is not going to cut it.
When they won the 2005 national championship, did all but win it in 2008 and returned to the championship game in 2009, the Longhorns were innovators. With Vince Young and Colt McCoy running the show, the 'Horns were an offensive juggernaut that spearheaded the nationwide movement to the spread offense.
But after his crushing defeat at the hands of Alabama's power attack in 2009 and a disastrous 2010 campaign, Brown began to doubt himself. First, he traded out longtime offensive coordinator Greg Davis for Boise State wunderkind Bryan Harsin, signaling his move from the spread attack he pioneered for a more balanced pro-style attack.
The result was two years of 17-10 football and back-to-back 40-point blowouts in the Red River Rivalry. Now Harsin has moved on and Major Applewhite has stepped in, moving Texas back to the spread with a more up-tempo attack. In other words, Texas is more or less emulating the offense that Oregon and several other Big 12 teams have been running for years.
So what is Texas' edge going to be? The saying goes "monkey see, monkey do," not "championship coach see, championship coach do." The 'Horns have to find a niche and do something on the offensive side of the ball that gives the opposition nightmares in preparation.
Two extremely talented running backs, a hybrid player with 4.34 speed and a backup quarterback that can mow over a linebacker would all be a good place to look.