Football

Culpepper Commentary: Preseason rankings

Pat Culpepper. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Pat Culpepper. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Just in case you are interested the 2015 Football Preview issues are now on sale and if they are really in the know a 6-7 record for Texas would really be a surprise. I mean this in a bad way.

Except for Rice, California, Iowa State, West Virginia, Kansas, and Kansas State, the predictions at this point don’t look good for the Longhorns. That would be six wins at the most and one magazine rated Texas this way as far as position-by-position compared to their Big 12 counterparts:

Quarterbacks: Texas was 8-10 down the list in this most important category

Running Backs: Texas comes in at No. 7

Receivers: Texas is next to last which is reserved for Kansas

Offensive Line: The Longhorns have the 8th best unit in the Big 12

Defensive Line: Texas is back in the 7th slot

Linebackers: The Longhorns slide back to 8th place, just ahead of Kansas and Texas Tech

Secondary: What was one of the top defensive back schools is now in 9th place edging out the Kansas Jayhawks!

Special Teams: Same as the secondary rating

​I can’t remember a preseason when Texas was so overlooked and underrated. The season ending blowouts versus TCU in Austin and the beatdown by Arkansas in the Texas Bowl along with the loss of players like DT Malcolm Brown and RB Malcom Brown, Jaxon Shipley and John Harris at WR, and Cedric Reed, Jordan Hicks, and Quandre Diggs on defense seem to be non-replaceable talent for the 2015 Longhorns.

​We would do well to remember the mighty TCU Horned Frogs were 4-8 in 2013 and coach Gary Patterson hired two offensive coaches to bring in the spread attack. QB Trevone Boykin made the offense work, and by mid-season, the Horned Frog defense was among the nations best units.

​Coach Charlie Strong has decided to follow such a pattern except his Trevon Boykin is a redshirt freshman named Jerrod Heard who ran for over 4,000 yards in high school, in my opinion.

​All these low rankings should motivate the summer workouts at Texas. It is an embarrassment to be sure. Lots will be brought into the open on September 5th at Notre Dame.

​For the very first time since I have had a chance to be a season ticket holder, I can’t get a ticket to a game I wanted to see… that game is Notre Dame vs Texas in South Bend. “Not enough donation” was the reason I was given and that’s ok with me since the game will be televised. I hope those big donors wear burnt orange and yell loudly on September 5th.

​I am happy that I still got to purchase my season tickets and tailgates haven’t been done away with as we start the second year of coach Strong’s tenure. Believe me, I am 100% behind our head coach, who I recommended to A.D. Steve Patterson in a meeting before the 2014 Alamo Bowl. He and his staff did an excellent job in recruiting and the Spring Game offense was 100% better than last year.

​This is what I tell my friends that wonder about the Longhorns: “When Texas replaces Tyrone Swoopes with Jerrod Heard, Johnathan Gray will emerge as one of the Big 12’s top running backs like OU’s Samaje Perine and Baylor’s Shock Linwood. Don’t worry about the defense. That is Strong’s pride and joy and Vance Bedford will not rest or let up until the unit grows up.

​Whole Baylor racks up stats against SMU, Lamar, and Rice, Kansas State has fun with South Dakota (2-10) and UTSA (4-8), Oklahoma plays around with Akron (5-7) and Tulsa (2-10), Oklahoma State entertains Central Arkansas (6-6), UTSA (4-8), and SMU. The Longhorns will face a college football blueblood and one of the nations top ranked teams in Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. ND’s quarterback, Malik Zaire, led them to a great bowl victory over a stingy, young LSU Tigers defense while Swoopes performance versus Arkansas resulted in a total of 59 yards of offense. Good or bad the Longhorns of 2015 make some critical personnel decisions after that night in Indiana.

​On another note isn’t it great that Jordan Spieth won at Chambers Bay. The golf course should be turned back into a gravel pit but even the ridiculous conditions could not stop Spieth. He is a young man with a great father and mother. His sister, Ellie, keeps him grounded. He knows how lucky he really is. Hogan, Nelson, Crenshaw, and now Spieth. Two of four Longhorns isn’t bad for being legends of golf in this great state.

Hook’Em,

Pat

Pat Culpepper played for The University of Texas from 1960-62 and graduated from UT with a B.A. degree with honors in history. He coached college football for 12 years as an assistant at Texas, Colorado, Tulane, Baylor, and Memphis State and was head coach at Northern Illinois from 1976-79. He also spent 16 years as a high school coach in Texas at Midland, Lufkin, Galveston Ball, Westfield and his hometown of Cleburne. He was selected to the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1991. His commentary appears regularly in the Inside Texas magazine and at InsideTexas.com.