After a disappointing 12-1 season, Texas has big plans in 2009.
It would be easy to be complacent after the statistical numbers Colt McCoy put up last year. Yet, coming in second in the Heisman voting, being left out of the Big 12 Championship, and ultimately having to watch OU lose by 10 to Florida (Texas beat OU by 10 at a much more neutral site) has to give the team plenty of offseason motivation.
Offensively, Texas returns 96 starters on the offensive line. Last year, eight out of 10 of the final top-10 teams averaged 65 starters returning (Oklahoma State–86, Oklahoma–26). This is essential because the big question for Texas is: who will tote the rock?
If you ask me, I agree with the Longhorn staff in that their luxury is running back-by- committee. Colt McCoy runs a 4.5, Fozzy Whittaker can shake and bake, and Cody Johnson has not been stopped in short yardage yet.
Texas loses WR Quan Cosby, who will be difficult to replace. However, the big play capabilities of Jordan Shipley, Brandon Collins, and Malcom Williams help ease that loss.
Defensively, Texas is a powerhouse, starting with the best young coach in college football, Will Muschamp. Muschamp has the been called the Spread Assassin.
Because Texas gave up 18.8 ppg, and only allowed one 40+ yard pass in the second half of games last year.
In fact, Will Muschamp only gets better with age. Look at the progression he had at LSU, and then at Auburn (similar talent) from year one to year two. His second year at LSU, they had the No. 1 ranked defense in the country, and a National Championship. His second year at Auburn, they had the No. 3 ranked defense in the country.
Texas has the best back seven in college football, and, as expected, they don't have very much fall-off on the two or even three deep. The starting corners are 6'1'', and are excellent in pursuit, zone, or man.
SO S Earl Thomas will likely be the Thorpe Award winner, but SO CB Aaron Williams may be the best player of the bunch.
A commonly recurring theme is the front four. They will make-or-break Texas this year. Losing Brian Orakpo (first round–Washington Redskins) hurts, but Sergio Kindle could very well be the most talented player in the Big 12.
The former No. 1 overall recruit has a full offseason under his belt at his new hybrid "BUCK" DE/LB position, where he tallied 10 sacks and 14 tfls last year.
In short, there is no reason the Longhorns should not believe they can match last year's magic. Sure, it will be hard for Colt McCoy to match his percentages from last year, but having the best defense in the Spread Era doesn't help in the spread happy Big 12.
New faces that plan to make an impact:
QB converted to WR John Chiles, a healthy Fozzy Whittaker, freshman RB Chris Whaley, FR DE Joseph Okafor, DB Aaron Williams, WR/KR DeSean Hales, LB Keenan Robinson, WR Malcom Williams.
Prediction: 14-0, National Champions