We all know Connor Williams is a first round NFL draft pick. Smart insiders (that means you, IT readers) know that PJ Locke and Malcolm Roach are poised for a breakout year on defense. We all know Collin Johnson should be un-coverable and Devin Duvernay can run really fast with a ball in his hands.
The players Tom Herman is sending to Big 12 Media Days shouldn’t surprise anyone. Well, three of them, anyway.
PJ Locke is the leader of the secondary and will emerge as a 2017 breakout talent, Michael Dickson is the best punter in college football and Connor Williams is a NFL 1st round draft pick.
Then there’s Naashon Hughes…
Herman talks a lot about alignment. We debate what it means and what is or isn’t aligned behavior…until it starts to sound like a chiropractor CME seminar.
I think he means sound tactics informed by smart strategy.
We feature a depth chart comprised of a sophomore and a true freshman. The sophomore isn’t cut from the Andrew Luck cloth of QB frames and spent most of 2016 struggling with a shoulder injury that came from a hard hit in the Cal game, which was then re-aggravated on a weekly basis before knocking him out altogether. The true freshman is a true freshman who will do true freshman things in football games who, as a high school senior, tore both meniscus, broke his thumb and broke his wrist, in no small part because he doesn’t like shirking hits.
This is in complement to Eric’s excellent post evaluating the DL post Spring.
I went back and re-watched the Spring game and specifically concentrated only on DL snaps. Beyond the zero sum game caveats, I can evaluate get-off, mobility, effort, technique, low pads and explosiveness.
When you want to know whether a player in the NBA can play extended minutes “going small”, the question isn’t whether your 3 can score on a post player. We know he can. The question is whether he can hold up defending on the other end and what he costs you elsewhere. Giving up 35 to score 30 isn’t smart basketball.
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: