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October 12, 2012

The TicketCity Locker Room

Note from Ticket City: OB subscribers can save $25 this week on orders of $150 or more with discount code OB1225

Q: (Prosperity) - Why is TEXAS unable to run between the tackles early in the game? Is it the interior OL (Hopkins/Espinosa/Walters) or is the FB missing blocks? Is Mason Walters performing at the standard expected when he signed with Texas?

A: I think the easy answer to the question is that the offensive line is a plus this season, but still not a physically dominant group and it simply isn't good enough yet to line-up and run at will. I think Mack's vision for this team might be one that the personnel can't quite deliver. The offense probably would have been much better off last week staying a little more wide-open in personality/scheme in the fourth quarter than assuming it could go jumbo and bully West Virginia. Texas is not a bully team.

Along with those thoughts, the Longhorns are getting only solid play, and not standout play from their interior linemen and they need an upgrade at fullback. As far as Walters is concerned, he was elite of the elite as a high school prospect, so I think it's fair to say expectations coming in were higher than him being just a pretty good player. Whether it was the injury situation as a freshman or him simply not developing in a way that matched his physical upside, he's not quite there yet.

Q: (jboy87) - Do you see Texas go after Daeshon Hall again? Can you see Joe B taking snaps at fullback next season, with M. Brown and J. Gray being a 1-2 punch? Project the 4 starters in the defensive backfield next season. Who would you take out of Tony Brown, Darrion Johnson and Nick Harvey, and what sets them apart from one another?

A: Let's attack these one at a time.

1. Never say never, but I don't think the Longhorns are going all-in after Hall again. I think there's a better chance that they look at a junior college player that could give them an immediate contribution, as opposed to a 2-3 year project.

2. Eventually, I think Bergeron is going to start holding more of the responsibilities that were originally projected when he was recruited. There's no player in the program right now more suited for being an all-purpose, multi-dimensional fullback. I'm of the opinion that they should already have him in that kind of role because I think he can help in a lot of ways.

3. I don't know if anyone can project what in the world is going to happen at safety in 2013 right now because we haven't figured out 2012 yet. I'd guess that Adrian Phillips eventually steps up and that Mykkele Thompson holds the position he has taken this week.

4. Brown is a true elite corner prospect, who wants to play defense more than offense and he doesn't have red flags off the field. That's the only thing that separates him from a guy like Johnson, who I could easily see being the No. 1 overall prospect in his own right from a talent standpoint.

Q: (styrbjorn) - I know we discussed it during Greg Davis' tenure as OC, but how much freedom does Mack really give his OCs? I know he's not calling plays but it sure as hell seems like our "game plan" calls for the offense to shell up as soon as we get a lead. I went to the WVU game with some WV alums and they were amazed by my ability to predict that we would try to sit on a lead if we had one. This was a "First team to 40 wins" type of game and we seemed more interested in controlling tempo than scoring points. Is that on Mack, or am I being paranoid?

A: The buck stops with Mack Brown. The ideology of the team and the philosophical game-plans come from the top. I've heard zero insiders tell me that Mack is smothering Bryan Harsin and his offensive staff, so I don't think he's dictating personality in games, as much as the coaching staff as a whole planned to take the steps that didn't work last week before the game started. They believed they could hit West Virginia with jabs all night and then knock them out with power in the fourth quarter.

Q: (Jasondire10) - A couple of buddies and I were sitting around reflecting on past longhorn greats when Roy Williams came up. How would you characterize his PRO career?

A: A massive disappointment.

Q: (OHorns) - Tell me more about this PSU transfer WR. How is he adjusting to the pace of the Big 12? I know OU has a Jr. College RB that impressed at first, but hasn't gone over 100 yards in the last 2 games. With our front 4 being strength in this game, how much of a factor will he be?

A: Justin Brown is a solid receiver for the Sooners, but he hasn't been much of a difference maker thus far. The Sooners have a lot of weapons and he'd probably rank fourth or fifth on the list of guys you truly have to be worried about. He's been a pure possession receiver to date. (Note: don't hold this against me if he catches three touchdowns on Saturday).

Oklahoma running back Damien Williams is the X-factor in this game because of the way the Longhorns have defended the run lately. If he goes big, the Sooners will win the game, which means that Steve Edmond, Kendall Thompson and whatever the team gets from Jordan Hicks must play well. The Texas linebackers cannot be MIA this weekend, or else. If the Longhorns win, the front four will play a key role in factory because pressure on Landry Jones without having to blitz is a must.

Q: (TXCardinal) - Geoff, I'll bet a social anthropologist would have a field day with the data you collect from the board. One thing I'm curious about: what happens to site traffic after a win compared to a loss? Basic psychology would suggest that after a win people would rush to the site to revel in the positive feedback and good feelings (talking about UT football makes me feel good - visit OB!), but after a loss they would avoid any further pain by avoiding discussion of UT football altogether (talking about UT football makes me feel bad - avoid OB!). Does your traffic data show the same thing?

A: I'm not sure there's a traffic spike that's stronger based on the outcome of the game, but you have to understand that the keyboard provides an outlet for emotional relief that must be released in a lot of cases after disappointment in something that those on the board are so passionate about. I would much rather people blow off whatever steam they need to on the message board, which I can partly contain, than the idea of it being directed at the wife, kids or family dog.

Q: (thar0902) - Is it even possible at this point to defend the Diaz blitzing, stunting scheme? Is it now proven the scheme will not be successful, or do we just need for some dang players to win some one on one battles, and/or make some better/quicker reads?

Is the OU offense balanced enough to force Diaz to play them more straight up, and would that be good for Texas?

Is Landry Jones better today than you thought he would become when he first took the OU starting job?

It shouldn't be, but is it possible Texas had a little bit of a letdown coming off a big road win and with OU coming up? Could a top-10 matchup, at home and at night, have turned into a trap game for them? I know the crowd was great, but it's really about your mental state during the week leading up to the game - isn't it?

I know Texas has scored a lot of points. But, is it even possible to defend the limited touches by the best playmakers? Texas runs Joe B into the line against a stacked defense over and over. At least Greg Davis threw to the sidelines and made the defense run a little. /sarcasm

Are our young, smart coordinators maybe a little too smart for their own good?

Does Texas have a WR on campus that scares an opposing DC at all? Do they have one on campus that could become that guy? Or, is it just a bunch of guys that are "good"? Are opposing DCs that afraid of the Texas run game, or does the passing game just not concern them at all?

What is the current prognosis for Camhron Hughes? How long before he is expected to be back at full strength and preparing for 2013? Should we expect him to be a lock for the two-deep next season? Other than Hughes where should we be looking to find more depth on the OL for 2013?

There has been some not so bashful talk about contenting for a NC in the near future. If that is the case what will prove to be the answers at LB and S for this defense?

Allison Scagliotti from Warehouse 13 or Ksenia Solo from Lost Girl?

A: You are full of questions, so let's hit them all.

First, I was told that the coaches have told the players this week that they've lost the right to engage in the exotic packages that Diaz and the players love so much because they haven't executed well enough. Whether it's their fault or the scheme itself, I expect a more vanilla approach this week because they can't keep up what they've been doing. I don't think we're at the point where the overall scheme is going to be trashed by anyone at the top.

Second, Oklahoma has struggled to run the ball this season, but it will be tempted for the free yards if they are there to be taken, just like West Virginia. The Sooners' run game is not their natural strength.

Third, Landry Jones has had a better career in terms of numbers than I expected, but he's still the Landry Jones that I always believed him to be. Oklahoma fans know what I'm talking about.

Fourth, the juniors in this class have never beaten Oklahoma. This is no trap game. The season is on the line this weekend.

Fifth, there are no proper excuses for the lack of involvement of DJ Monroe, unless he robbed a store and we don't know about it.

Sixth, ask me about the coordinators after this weekend. They could easily be undefeated right now.

Seventh, I don't think the Longhorns have a wide receiver that scares anyone. They have good receivers, but not scary receivers.

Eighth, it's too early to tell with Hughes, who is still rehabbing and still very young. You can probably pencil him into the two-deep, but that's because the depth behind the starters is painfully deficient.at this stage of the game. It's one of the reasons why the Longhorns should probably look to the JUCO ranks for some depth help.

Ninth, Texas needs to walk before it can run. Beat a ranked team first, then we can talk national titles in 2013 and 2014 .

Finally, give me

Texas NEWS


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