For the first time in what honestly feels more like decades than years, Texas can rely on a group of players that are both experienced and physically up for the task of putting together 13 games of solid football.
AUSTIN -- Over previous seasons Texas hasn’t been affected by the targeting penalty. Yet, before the 2018 season begins it already has. After being ejected in the victory over Missouri in the Texas Bowl for targeting, senior linebacker Anthony Wheeler will miss the first half at Maryland. Wheeler is most likely the starter at the Mac linebacker spot in defensive coordinator Todd Orlando’s defense, but he won’t be for the first half.
Last year around this time one of the big questions for the spring game was how Texas' LBs would show against the run. The 2016 season had been one of the ugliest for LB play in a decade of exceptionally ugly play at that position but with Malik Jefferson and Anthony Wheeler coming under Todd Orlando's supervision there was some hope that it might get turned around. Then the offense spent the spring game throwing the ball around on the perimeter and it remained to be seen whether Texas knew how to fit the run or not.
Spent a good half hour listening to Justin/Ian podcast and enjoyed their respective takes on the first installment of the Herman takeover at UT. They shared several opinions concerning various subjects in recruiting and possible defensive decisions/player positions. It was entertaining and definitely provided food for thought so here I am pitching a few of my own questions/remarks that intrigue my own sweet self.
Camp is finished, the kids are back in school, and high school football kicks off this week; in other words we're damn close to the start of college football season. Correspondingly, there's a bit of anxiety on the board it would appear. Relax, brah's, it's not life or death, and Texas will be fine in the long run no matter what happens this year.
AUSTIN -- Spring training is typically when a handful of lettermen spring forward. Here’s the short list, on Vance Bedford’s side of the ball, of those who are now standing head-and-shoulder-pads above the rest:
The play of Texas’ linebackers over the last year, especially in Strong’s 3-3-5 packages, is probably the most frustrating and also the most poorly understood aspect of the entire team. The fact that Malik Jefferson had to play as large a role as he did in 2015 as a true freshman spoke to how devastated the position was by the graduation of Jordan Hicks and Steve Edmond.
Last year Texas struggled to plug run fits with a highly inexperienced linebacker group. Not only was the group inexperienced, many were playing the position for the first time, or in a long time including high school.