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February 23, 2013

The TicketCity Locker Room

Q: (Horn In My Side) - If you look at the 2013 season and separate all of the games on the Texas schedule into the following categories, how would you rank them:

"Sure-fire win"
"Definitely winnable, but not automatic."
"Likely a loss, but not automatic"
"Sure-fire loss"

A: Good way to start things off this week and if there's one thing that should really excite Texas fans about this season is a schedule that isn't all that imposing on paper.

Sure-fire win: (3) New Mexico State, Kansas and Texas Tech
Definitely winnable, but not automatic: (7) BYU, Ole Miss, Kansas State, Iowa State, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Baylor.
50-50: (2) Oklahoma and TCU
Likely a loss, but not automatic: (0) None
Sure-fire loss: (0) None)

Unlike last year's schedule when the Longhorns were on the bad end of so many quarterback match-ups going into the season, there aren't any games on the entire schedule that look like sure-fire losses or anything close to it. The truth is that it's quite possible that Texas will be favored to win every game it plays this season because of the turnover in the Big 12.

Q: (Sodadali) - 1. Geoff, how big of a class are we going to be able to take next year?

2. OU is in shambles, the rest of the Big 12 is hurting, we lost a couple of battles that we were late to the party on, and we have a huge class of returners. With almost everyone back you have said countless times this is a make or break year, if we hit it big does momentum change?

3. We know Manziel is a beast, but I believe they underestimate the crosshairs on the ags in the SEC next year, if aggie goes 8-5, 9-4 will they come back to reality? Will recruits sour some?

4. How many of the 7 wr's that Aggie took will transfer?

5. You were speaking about how bad of a recruiting class this was for the Big 12, has all the chatter about the conference re-alignment, made the stable looking conferences of the Big 10, PAC 12 and SEC a much more desirable destination for recruits? By the numbers it looks like it, but not sure if that is really true.

6. MLB is my biggest area of concern on the defense. Even when Edmond made a significant amount of tackles they always appeared to be 4-7 yards deep. He does not have the suddenness to play off the reads, and is always a step behind. I almost felt he would be better off shooting a gap, to at least make an impact somewhere. With Safeties aware of this problem, I think they were basically in limbo and it was just never a cohesive unit up the middle. If you do not control the middle you cannot control anything. I am not sure Santos is the answer either, but whoever it is has to be a beast. The MLB should control that team. What is the answer going to be to that position?

7. Diaz has taken plenty of heat, and much of it is deserved, but I also believe there were events that were out of his control (injuries that hurt leadership). Are his players still buying into his defense? Is his defense a better fit for the SEC?

8. Edmond has the frame to put a hand down, why not try him at DT, he looks as if he could easily carry 290lbs and would help with the numbers at that position as well as be a plus athlete there (he will not make a paycheck in the NFL as a linebacker). Is this a possibility?

A: Lots of questions, so let's just attack them one at a time in the order they were asked.

1. There's no reason for the Longhorns to take fewer than 22-24 commits in the class. By the time a year and a half's worth of attrition takes place, the numbers should easily be in place to do so.

2. Momentum is a tricky thing that can come and go rather quickly, but if Texas wins the Big 12, they'll be a 2014 national title favorite in some circles with the talent expected to come back, so yea, they'd have the momentum back that they need.

3. A&M's actual schedule this year is so soft that it's hard to see them winning less than nine games.

4. Who cares? I'd guess a few, the ones that can't survive.

5. Realignment hasn't hurt the Big 12 as much as the fact as much as the reality of having a conference of 10 teams where the majority simply can't put themselves in a position to compete at an elite level. Conference realignment didn't decide that, natural selection did. If Texas and Oklahoma aren't special, the league isn't going to be special, and neither of those programs have been special the last couple of years.

6. I don't have an answer for you at middle linebacker just yet, but the coaches are aware of the problem and even more frustrated than you. Steve Edmond does not return this season as a starter with nothing to worry about because I think the coaches want someone to adjust to the position and allow them to go in a different direction.

7. Yes and yes. His players are still buying in and he's probably a better fit in the SEC than the Big 12, but the two leagues are becoming more alike than some might realize. The spread game is alive and growing in the SEC.

8. I don't think we'll ever see a day when Edmond is a defensive tackle, even if I can close my eyes and imagine him at 300 pounds.

Q: (RRHorn) -I nearly threw my computer across the room when I read that Maddog is working with the offensive line. Tell me this is a bad dream. Who came up with this disaster of an idea?

A: I'm pretty much with you. In this incredible important off-season, with so much on the line in the 2013 season, I really don't know that I understand exactly why Jeff Madden could be in a position of so much responsibility, considering many would argue that he's been a strength and conditioning problem the Longhorns have had to side-step for almost a decade. It was almost a decade ago when the Longhorns first realized that he really wasn't getting the job done in the off-seasons and needed to rely on Mac McWhorter/Dick Tomey to lead the charge. Well, that was back in 2004 and I haven't seen anything change that would explain why he's back working with a group of players that have struggled under his watch for more than half a decade. If the Longhorns need a lineman-specific S&C coach, why not just hire someone with a track record, rather than leaning on a scenario that seems questionable at best? This had to be Mack's call and Mack's call only.

Q: (Harry Bosco) - Is this the year that Sheroid Evans finally makes some sort of an impact? Surely he has to be better than Adrian Phillips, right?

A: Look for Evans to take a step forward and find his way into the two-deep at cornerback and he's my pick to be the No.3 corner behind Carrington Byndom and Duke Thomas, and I would bet as of today that he'll be in line to replace Byndom as a starter next year.

Q: (Horns35) - Buy or sell with zero added remarks to the following statements:

1. David Ash will earn first-team All-Big 12 honors?
2. Johnathan Gray will rush for 1,200 yards?
3. MJ McFarland will catch at least 20 passes?
4. Kendall Sanders catches at least 20 passes?
5. Desmond Harrison starts all 12 games at left tackle?
6. Jackson Jeffcoat will be first-team All-Big 12?
7. Steve Edmond ranks among the top 3 on the team in tackles?
8. Quandre Diggs will be the best defensive back in the Big 12?
9. Texas beats Oklahoma?
10. Texas wins the Big 12?

A: Hey, that's my game, but I'll play.

1. Sell.
2. Buy.
3. Buy.
4. Buy.
5. Sell.
6. Sell
7. Sell
8. Buy.
9. Buy.
10. Sell

Q: (RoughHouser) - If you were building an NFL team, who would you rather have at running back if you could have them in their primes - Jamaal Charles or Ricky Williams

A: Wow, that's actually an incredibly difficult question because in their primes, we're talking about two of the best backs in the NFL. I think if I had one game to win and I needed a guy between the two, I'd take Ricky because there's nothing he can't do and I know that I can lean on him to carry a team if needed. However, if I was building a team, I might lean towards Charles because his level of play ranks among the all-time best in the history of the game if little things like yards per carry mean anything at all and I wouldn't have to worry about any of the drama that came with having Ricky on your team in his prime.

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