I’m in the middle of writing the 8th Annual Thinking Texas Football preview. Aside from the fact that I get to stare way too long at a computer screen for 12 hours a day, it affords me the opportunity to dig into the football program at the macro and micro levels in every conceivable way. It was during this process last year that I began to have some insights on Orlando and the positional staff that allowed me to be the early driver on That Dog Won’t Hunt bus once I saw how we were going to play our 2019 cards.
The Longhorn defensive line arguably stands to benefit the most from the addition of Chris Ash to the Texas staff. After three years mostly utilizing a three-man, odd front with directives to allow for other defenders to make plays, the Longhorn defense will switch to a four-man front in order to let the D-linemen make plays themselves.
For going on two years now we’ve known Texas had to strike oil on the offensive and defensive lines in the 2021 recruiting class. The materials are championship caliber across the board. There are plenty of edge rushers, offensive tackles, interior O-linemen, and grow 'em D-tackles. A good challenge, and one that Texas fans hope truly materializes, will be to make the pieces fit within class numbers.
I thought crowdsourcing a list of former Longhorns in the coaching ranks would make for an interesting discussion. There are a lot and I’m sure we’re missing some. If you have any to add, please share.
After pulling several prospects from the Pac-12 footprint in the 2019 cycle, Tom Herman, Todd Orlando, and Oscar Giles looked west once again and found the next Longhorn defensive lineman. 2020 Draper (UT) Corner Canyon DL Van Fillinger committed to Texas today over competing offers from LSU, Michigan, Oregon, UCLA, Utah, USC, Ohio State, and Washington.
Clemson won the national championship for myriad reasons: the best program culture in FBS, outstanding team quickness, a phenom freshman QB, terrific coaching that exploited Alabama's systemic weaknesses... but most of all they won the national title because they fielded the best defensive line in college football.