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Mack Brown's Texas Longhorn team is awfully talented as usual, but a turnover-prone quarterback and a lack of offensive prowess will be the downfall of this re-grouping 2011 team.
Junior quarterback Garrett Gilbert was supposed to have a seamless transition into the starting role last season. That didn't happen, as Gilbert accounted for almost 25 turnovers in 2010 and was booed out of his own stadium at one point. He'll have to bounce back in a major way to fix the flawed Longhorn offense.
The offensive line struggled mightily last year as well and looks to find some new life with three new starters in 2011. Sophomore wide receiver Mike Davis was a bright spot in the passing game and could be the crutch that Garret Gilbert leans on early in the year.
Incoming freshman running back Malcolm Brown could be the savior Texas is looking for at running back, as he was the top-rated high school tailback in the nation last year.
Despite the offensive struggles, the Longhorn defense has the makings of greatness. They were the sixth ranked defense in the country last year and welcome some strong players back into the starting lineup. Sophomore Jackson Jeffcoat and junior Alex Okafor were productive players in 2010. They will make up one of the conference's deadliest pass-rushing duos.
Behind them are senior linebackers Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho. They were the team's leading tacklers last season and will make plays left and right for the Texas defense.
On the surface, Texas appears to have the fixings of a bounce back season. But many people are writing off last season's 5-7 record as a fluke. I'm not so quick to give Texas that benefit.
Mack Brown overhauled this staff this season to try to obtain a quick fix. New schemes on offense and defense will taken time to adjust to and that's no small task, even for a program like Texas.
While the defense will be one of the country's best, the season hinges on the play of Garrett Gilbert. If he plays like the 5-star talent he is, then Texas will be back in business. But with so many stronger teams in the Big 12 this year, I can't see Texas finishing higher than fourth or fifth in the conference.
Predicted Record: 8-4 (5-4)