It’s really easy to simply look at the calculators on 247 and get a numeric representation of which recruiting classes are winners and which are losers. Texas fans know a little better after a decade of finishing first in the Big 12 every February and maybe fourth in December.
This week we start in between Victoria, San Antonio, and Houston, then head toward the Golden Triangle for a monster on the D-line, we check in on a potential superstar DB at North Shore, and meet a big offensive lineman from North Houston. Get some Recruiting Notebook.
Mike Gundy’s intention in hiring Dana Holgorsen after 2009 was to free himself up from play-calling and to update the already spread-curious Cowboy offense with fresh Air Raid principles. He heralded the arrival of “basketball on grass” to Stillwater but to the outside eye the ‘Pokes didn’t look particularly imposing heading into 2010. Holgorsen inherited a roster that didn't have many of the big names that had driven OSU success in previous years like QB Zac Robinson (replaced by a 26-year old Brandon Weeden), WR Dez Bryant, TE Brandon Pettigrew, or LT Russell Okung.
Postseason play is always valuable for offering a sense of what the highest level of football looks like in a given year. Texas obviously gave LSU a game earlier this season but it was interesting to watch the Clemson vs LSU finale, which was in some ways an extension of the battle between Ed Orgeron’s new look Tiger offense and Todd Orlando’s sub-packages. There’s a picture emerging of what a modern, National Championship team looks like that you can pretty easily use as a barometer for the Longhorns.
Tom Herman’s biggest decision this offseason was deciding what steps to take on offense. Was he going to overhaul the approach with a hire like Graham Harrell? Tweak things with another power-spread assistant such as Rhett Lashlee? He basically split the difference between those two options when he poached Mike Yurcich from Ohio State.
Texas fans finally got their wish in the 2019 bowl game against the Utah Utes. Star linebacker Joseph Ossai, who’d spent much of the season playing as a nickel or weak inside linebacker, was finally able to play on the edge and produced six TFLs and three sacks in a dominating performance.
The conventional wisdom going into this game was that 11-2 Utah who always plays with a chip on their shoulders was going to pound disappointing, coordinator-less Texas in the Alamo Bowl. The problem with that wisdom was that Utah has feasted on teams that don't have the athleticism or skill of Texas and have been able to live between the tackles. Go watch them against Oregon or USC this year and you'll see something similar to the team that showed up in San Antonio.
Yurcich has been the OC/QB coach (or passing game coordinator) at three stops now in his still young offensive career. He took off at Shippensburg down in Division II from whence Mike Gundy plucked him to be the offensive coordinator for the Pokes. Last year Yurcich left Stillwater after six very strong seasons there and took the job of "QB coach and passing game coordinator" at Ohio State.
The 2020 season will hinge on what Tom Herman does with the vacant offensive coordinator office. This team has a few cornerstone pieces to build around on offense in QB Sam Ehlinger, LT Sam Cosmi (and two other returning starters on OL), RBs Keaontay Ingram and Roschon Johnson, and a deep collection of young skill talents at receiver of which several could breakthrough with a good offseason.