At Inside Texas, we’ve broken down a lot of reasons Texas went 5-7 last year. There’s that botched defensive offseason install. Youth. A self-immolating high volume offense that treated 3rd down like Nahlin treats a Denny’s restroom after midnight. Poor staff accountability. Questionable player development. Disorganization. Horrendous special teams. Bad luck.
All caveats for zero sum games apply, but there were a few things on defense and special teams that got my attention. I haven’t had a chance to re-watch tape for individual drill downs, so most of my observations will be of the 10,000 foot variety.
The offense focused on the passing game because of the paucity of healthy running backs and the staff’s desire to get Buechele and Ehlinger as many live fire reps as possible. Probably also to gauge how successful Orlando’s defensive installations were. And you might as well throw it around for the fans and recruits on hand.
I watched an interview with special teams coordinator/safety coach Craig Naivar on Texassports.com and he had some comments worth noting about how the staff view Longhorn special teams:
In 2014, a rangy young DE named Charles Omenihu – standing 6-foot-5 and weighing just under 220 pounds – impressed at the NFTC camp competing against other 2015 recruits.
Last year, the Texas Longhorns churned out a 2,000+ yard rusher, a near 3,000 yard true freshman passer and eight receivers caught 18 balls or more, with seven of them amassing 250+ yards from scrimmage.
That’s a lot of production.
What the coaches want from this defense with respect to scheme and personnel is starting to come into sharp focus.
Last week, I commented on Herman’s fat shaming, as our head coach has made it a point to repeatedly mock the muffin-tops on our DL. He’s not talking about everyone (Nelson, Omenihu are on the good list) and there are clearly players who are too heavy but making the effort to cut down (Elliott, Ford), but he’s looking for proof in the pudding from several other athletes.
There may not be a unit on campus that highlights more of the gap in recruiting and development philosophy between the Strong and Herman regime than the Texas DL.
No, not even QB.
The 2018 state of Texas recruiting features one of the most imbalanced talent distributions in recent memory. The Lone Star State is absolutely loaded at DB and WR, solid at TE, and relatively lacking in both top line talent and quality depth everywhere else.
Little guys haven’t been this empowered since Frodo went to Mordor.