Scattershooting and question marks

Gary Johnson and Todd Orlando at LHN. (Courtesy of Johnson

Gary Johnson and Todd Orlando at LHN. (Courtesy of Johnson

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Recruiting the ’17 class is winding down to a less than blazing finish as predicted by our experts. I think it’s only fair to say that we have received the best info and insights from our guys without breaking stride. We must remember that their inside information took a jolt when we changed coaching staffs but it’s obvious that their relationships with the individual prospects and their respective families still allowed us to know what’s happening in their world without missing a beat. One attaboy ain’t enough so here’s a thankee for the good guys.

I think it’s only fair to give my opinion on the new UT staff’s recruiting effort while I’m on the subject. I have seen so many pictures/snapshots (or whatever the hell they now call this damn internet’s lingo) showing multiple coaches visiting with current and future prospects (and often family members) in various locations that I wonder if we have cancelled our normal tee times that we have honored for years once we fill up our 25 (out of 27 or 28 offered) by Thanksgiving (Mack) or sprinting late to the wire once the travel vacations have been completed (Strong). I hate it that we are organizing foursomes and actually using them on recruiting—Greg Davis would not be a happy camper.

We are not getting outhustled off the field for the class of ’18 and beyond—we intend to earn any championships won in the future. You gotta like that about this staff at least. Spring training will finish their first report card.

Let’s talk football. One of the more interesting things about the spring practices is exactly how the defensive personnel will be positioned. Any time you change staffs you face the possibility of a roster not exactly conducive to future plans. Let’s face it—our roster is better positioned for a 4-3 or 4-2-5 (number wise) and our new DC is a 3-4 kind of guy. It’s going to be interesting to see how we find drill reps for the total number of DL’s returning once we squeeze 4 spots into 3 squares a day. Even harder to imagine is how many snaps they will receive individually during team sessions. This doesn’t even take learning a totally new defense (technique and alignment) into consideration.

I find the opposite is true concerning the linebackers. We must now find four starters (with backups) out of a roster that seldom used more than two backers at a time and was built that way numbers wise. As many have noted in recent times we have an abundance of edge stunters (both OLB’s and DE’s) but remain extremely thin in quality inside backers. There is no doubt that some of the roster must be shifted to LB and it’s not a complete certainty that it will be limited to ex- DE’s. There could be a DB or two that now starts eating at the big boy table. Could also be a change or two at the salad bar table for two. Who knows?

I love the competition for the spring. I really believe we have a few areas where quality competition will exist and a good player will be second best at his position—I hate co starters. I never felt as comfortable with the roster as I do this spring. On offense TE and RB are the only two spots where I’m not convinced we have at least two quality players.

I love Sam and definitely believe Heard needs to be a slot receiver period. God help us at TE if we intend to feature that aspect next fall. I like Porter more than many. Kirk Johnson is downright unlucky—if he mends we have a hoss that doesn’t need a blinders. The OL and WR’s have winners. The sweet part is we have more of them than usual. They may be young at spots but they also have talent. How hungry they are individually is the bump in the road.

Let’s get the edge rusher Wednesday and prepare for the spring. Eric needs a rest—what better way to relax than start filling us in on the ’18 group since we have offered damn near half of the “can’t miss types” nation wide and we need a quick fix to catch us up. We already have the authority on football in East Texas so we should be good to go. As Hunter always said “Works for me”.