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A big difference between the haves and have nots is overall team depth. The primary reason for this is obvious: better recruiting. While every team has the same amount of roster space, not every team has its choice of elite recruits who are typically further along the developmental curve. Even those elite prospects who are “raw” coming in can navigate the field through sheer size and athleticism.
Those chosen schools’ (we all know who they are) baseline talent is greater than other schools, making their functional depth greater.
Texas is certainly a have but it fell on hard times this decade. Mack Brown’s late talent acquisition was still pretty good (it was going to be terrible if he had a crack at the 2015 class) but his roster management was woeful. In the day and age of the portal Mack would definitely be a consistent buyer in the market.
Charlie Strong righted some roster wrongs. It’s overshadowed by the on-field performance but ask Todd Orlando if he had enough to work with on the 2017 defense. Strong didn’t right all roster wrongs, especially on offense. The o-line lacked depth, he never seemed to have a plan for the tight end position, and there were some poor evaluations.
When it comes to recruiting, Tom Herman has restored UT’s ‘haves’ status and depth is improving by the cycle, but it’s still a year away. The shrinking depth gap will be a national point of interest as we head into the 2020 campaign.
The roster will have talent across the board as well as experience. The offensive and defensive lines will be mostly comprised of full grown men. Being physically developed is a neutralizer when facing more talented but younger players. Reference K-State versus Texas for much of this century. Texas should be on both sides of the talent and developmental ledger next season, save maybe LSU or a playoff run.
But what about 2019?
In recent days my confidence in the season has decreased ever so slightly. I still think the Longhorns will win the conference, but I’m not as confident in my 10-game win prediction. Depth at certain positions is the primary concern.
Portal and early draft entrants notwithstanding, let’s take a look at where UT is and where it’s going. From what I write about next year, you can glean even more how I view the current roster.
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