2014 has been a year of change for the Texas Longhorns. When one considers the new head coach and coaching staff, multiple dismissals from the team and a change of culture in the football program, this offseason has been anything but ordinary in Austin.
All of the change has led to a number of interesting storylines, which Texas fans across the nation are eager to follow.
Change of Culture
One of the most significant storylines has to be the complete 180-degree culture change first-year head coach Charlie Strong has brought to the team.
Last week, Orangebloods.com first reported that running back Jalen Overstreet and defensive back Chevoski Collins were dismissed from the team due to a violation of team rules.
The duo being removed from the team was quickly followed up by news courtesy of Orangebloods.com that Strong had dismissed two other players on the roster, running back Joe Bergeron and safety Josh Turner.
In six months, Strong has dismissed six Longhorns and indefinitely suspended two others.
Some Texas fans may like his no-nonsense approach, some may not. However, whichever side of the fence you fall on does not really matter.
Strong has made it clear it's his way or the highway, and nobody is going to question him in doing so.
It will be interesting to see if he keeps it up or wavers, but all signs are pointing toward a continuing change of culture for the Longhorns.
Depth at Safety
A storyline that is a spin-off of the recent dismissals is the lack of depth at safety. Following Turner's dismissal from the team, the safety position became a lot less clear.
Senior Mykkele Thompson is now the only safety with starting experience. Behind him are five young players—two (Kevin Vaccaro, Adrian Colbert) have a little game experience on special teams and the remaining three (John Bonney, Erik Huhn, Edwin Freeman) have not seen playing time in college.
One could argue that Thompson's role will not be up for grabs, but the role beside him could be anyone's game.
Sophomore Colbert has a chance of being a hard-hitting safety that Texas will need this season, but he has yet to see the field aside from on special teams. True freshman Bonney could have the chance of being a contributor, but depending on an incoming freshman is not always the best answer.
In other words, the depth at safety is nonexistent. Nevertheless, Strong will need to find the best option available before Texas takes the field on Aug. 30.
At Big 12 media days, Strong said junior David Ash would be the starting quarterback for the Longhorns heading into fall camp. However, a major question surrounding Ash is his ability to stay healthy.
After missing the majority of 2013 with recurring concussion symptoms, Ash was ready to take the field for spring practice.
Unfortunately, the hopes of his return were shut down early after he suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot and missed the second half of the spring.
He has officially been cleared to participate in fall camp, but that does not necessarily mean his health issues are a thing of the past.
In fact, Strong told ESPN's Joe Schad that he has had discussions with Ash on the importance of sliding and not taking a big hit:
Even if Ash can stay healthy and holds on to the starting role, it will be interesting to see which quarterback makes a name for himself as Ash's backup.
Sophomore Tyrone Swoopes and true freshman Jerrod Heard will be battling it out to take on the No. 2 role this fall, but nobody is quite sure what either quarterback will bring to the Longhorns due to the lack of playing time between the two youngsters.
Will Swoopes' limited playing time and inconsistent spring-game performance hinder his ability to take the next step? Will Heard not enrolling until the summer hurt his chances of being the No. 2 guy?
These are all questions that could get answered during fall camp, but it may take longer to get the answers some Texas fans are anticipating.
At the end of the day, nobody truly knows what the future holds for Texas football under Strong. There are a lot of issues that will not immediately be sorted out for the Longhorns, but the time to get some of the questions answered is right around the corner.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
Taylor Gaspar is Bleacher Report's featured columnist covering the Texas Longhorns. Follow Taylor on Twitter @Taylor_Gaspar.
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