Let’s get this out of the way – without the Texas offensive staff fixing the QB position, the Longhorns are still a hit or miss football team in 2015. The bowl game in Houston was the worst offensive performance I have ever watched in person as a former Longhorn player. The embarrassment of watching a college QB standing 10 yards from the huddle trying to figure out the signals from the sidelines on the game’s second play is nonsense. So some of this problem is not all in Tyrone Swoopes’ hands.
From the tapes I saw on TV of QB Kai Locksley from Baltimore, I wouldn’t count him out. I’m serious. The young man can run and pass and that’s more than Texas had at that position a year ago versus Kansas State, Baylor, TCU, and Arkansas. Let Jerrod Heard and Swoopes fight it out in the spring but don’t close the door on finding a starter until Locksley gets a chance. IF that sounds ridiculous then you weren’t watching the circus from the sidelines to the Texas huddle during the Bowl game in Houston.
Enter the new crop.
Coach Charlie Strong and his staff did a remarkable job to land this recruiting class. Malik Jefferson can become the very best freshman in college football because he will go through spring drills. He can play in space; he can rush the passer or cover the best receiver out of the backfield. Any athlete that blocked 16 kicks has incredible timing and ground speed in a football uniform.
Believe me, getting Ryan Newsome, the receiver from Aledo was a big hit for the Longhorns. The youngster was on our local TV station in Fort Worth talking about the Texas pride when he committed to UCLA? It confused me. Why leave the state you love? Thank the lord he came to his senses. Football in Southern California isn’t the same as in our state. No comparison. The youngster can take Jaxon Shipley’s spot with more speed. I loved his answer to why the switch, “my family can come see me play.” This decision is a tribute to Strong and his tireless recruiting efforts. The man is determined and real players love him.
No doubt right behind Texas in high school talent is the state of Florida and Strong didn’t hesitate in heading south to get five prospects from that region.
From the tapes I’ve seen and at least two coaches I talked to, running back Chris Warren from Rockwall is a big back that can help with the loss of Malcolm Brown. He is a powerful runner with speed.
PJ Locke from Beaumont Central can play next season in the Texas secondary. He could be another Quandre Diggs-type playmaker and hitter.
The offensive lineman that can take part in Spring Practice – Brandon Hodges, Tristan Nickelson, Garrett Thomas, and Connor Williams – are a Godsend for Coach Joe Wickline. Adding some depth on the Texas O-line, there is nothing like healthy competition at those positions. That unit got taken apart versus TCU and Arkansas. They were outmatched and embarrassed. Give S&C coach Pat Moorer time with his new group and then Wickline can put them into the blocking chutes and I believe that this unit will be the Longhorns most improved, besides the QB position, in 2015.
Don’t forget Breckyn Hager – it’s in his genes. His father Britt was a terror at fullback for the Permian Panthers and then made huge plays at Texas as a middle linebacker. The youngster from Austin Westlake will play special teams like a demon and someday take his place backing the Longhorn defensive line.
Let’s hope on Coach Strong’s list is a sit-down with the offensive staff and let them know that the next time the Longhorns have a delay of game on the 1st series of a contest, there will be more staff changes!
I will not be happy until Texas finds a winner at QB. Enough is enough….
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.