Football

The people’s All-2010s team vs. the IT Staff’s All-2010s team

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The votes were cast, counted, then recanvassed after an anonymous complaint from ESPN… but the people have spoken.

Here were your selections for the Texas All-2010s team. The years listed are the ones in which the players were starters or had major roles on the team over the course of the decade.

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You also chose Marquise Goodwin as the kick returner.

The top 10 biggest vote winners per vote percentage within their group were, in order:

Michael Dickson: 99.6%
Quandre Diggs: 97.4%
Justin Tucker: 97.2%
Kenny Vaccaro: 96.7%
Connor Williams: 96.1%
Sam Ehlinger: 94.6%
Malcom Brown: 92.8%
Devin Duvernay: 88.1%
Poona Ford: 84.9%
D’Onta Foreman: 84.2%

Dickson No. 1 was an easy call, the two most successful Longhorns of this horrible decade were probably both kickers. To me it’s kind of surprising how high Diggs scored here. Diggs was a part of some bad defenses in between the very good 2011 and 2014 units, I’m guessing his professional success overrode any negative impressions from his time as a Longhorn and he definitely finished on a high note.

Kenny Vaccaro also did well here, as he should have. Vaccaro was dominant in Austin and often relegated Chykie Brown to the bench in 2010 because of his play at the nickel which bumped Aaron Williams outside. Ehlinger at 94.6 percent was a convincing win over the QB competition, especially when you consider that the non-kickers ahead of him were a part of ballots where you had multiple votes. Charlie Strong wishes we could know how a healthy Ash in 2014 might have stacked up here. Mack Brown wishes we knew the same about 2013.

Here was the process for choosing the five man secondary.

We gave you three options for both safety and corner and chose the top two vote getters from each position, which went Diggs and Williams at corner and then Vaccaro and Elliott at safety. Then we chose the fifth DB by choosing between the third corner and third safety based on vote totals. Brandon Jones edged out Holton Hill after that calculation. Then we left Diggs at corner, where he played regularly in both 2011 and 2014, and slide Vaccaro down to nickel where he spent the vast majority of his time, creating a viable nickel lineup.

But now here are the right answers, courtesy of the Inside Texas staff.

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Here are some of the big differences.

David Snow is a somewhat forgotten hero of the early part of the decade. He was a good center on the forgettable 2010 offense and Bryan Harsin moved him to left guard in 2011 to be the lead guard for the power run game they installed. Vahe was a solid contributor for four years but was never an All-B12 caliber performer.

Geoff Swaim got the nod over Andrew Beck because he was a savage blocker that was drafted by the Cowboys and had some teams questioning if he might be able to add weight and become a tackle. Had that seemed more viable he could have been drafted much higher. Go watch Texas’ big wins in 2013 that somehow had them in position to win the B12 late in the year and you’ll see Geoff Swaim clearing out the edge and neutralizing people like Eric Striker.

Over on defense, Charles Omenihu was a more versatile player than Alex Okafor and a similarly effective pass-rusher when allowed to go to work on the edge in 2018. Okafor’s best season was in 2012 when he had 12.5 sacks, boosted by a ridiculous bowl game against a bad Oregon State RT and foolish Beaver emphasis on first down passing that gave up 4.5 sacks in a single game. Omenihu had 9.5 sacks as a senior in 2018 along with 18 TFL. If you want a strong side end opposite Jackson Jeffcoat you’re definitely picking Omenihu over Okafor.

Malik Jefferson versus Keenan Robinson was a tough one, but Hicks already gives you a lot of what Robinson did well and if you want a player at MLB that is a non-issue in coverage and can make plays at the point of attack you want 2017 Malik Jefferson. Everyone really wanted 2018 Malik Jefferson, but alas for Texas it wasn’t that kind of decade.

Quandre Diggs chimed in on Twitter with his picks for the All-decade secondary and it went: Diggs, Aaron Williams, Curtis Brown, DeShon Elliott, and Kenny Vaccaro. That’d probably be your most talented possible group and includes three different players that could match up at nickel, but it’s not really the most representative of who served Texas best in the last decade. Williams only played 11 games for a wasted 2010 team (Brown played 12) while Carrington Byndom checked Justin Blackmon in man coverage and was a two-time All-B12 performer.

Elliott over Jones was tough but the original joker was generally put into positions to make the most of his talent whereas Jones got a single year (2018) where the D was built to suit him and the rest of the time he was a firefighter, moving around trying to save the defense from week to week.

Our secondary bumped Diggs inside to nickel and results in a secondary that was more skilled in coverage than the people’s secondary and yet still dominant in offering run support with Vaccaro and Elliott playing on the hash marks behind them. We’ll concede though that Diggs’ proposed lineup was the most talented and flexible you could build out of the available players. It just wasn’t as good at capturing the 2010s.

Some final notes:

-Tip of the hat to Trey Hopkins, who played as a true freshman in 2010 and bounced outside to tackle at times as needed over the course of his career. If you could pick one OL from the 2010s to clone four times in order to fill out an entire OL you would definitely consider Hopkins… then you’d probably pick Connor Williams or Sam Cosmi.

– Choosing a second RB after D’Onta Foreman would be very difficult. The 2010s were the decade where Texas kept trying to establish their recruiting advantages over the rest of the league by bullying opponents with a power run game. It was a complete and total failure in that regard and that’s reflected in the options at RB. Feel free to have that debate in the comments, it’s a tough one.

-Every WR selected had his best season working out of the slot. You could play those three together because all of them were highly versatile and skilled but Texas moved them all inside to feed them the ball.

-It’s kind of shocking that there were so many good options at LB since Texas had multiple seasons this decade where the defense tanked because they didn’t have good LB play. Lots of boom or bust cycles at that position. In 2011 they had a pair of seniors and were a good unit, then they bombed until 2014 when they could play senior Steve Edmond and healthy, senior Jordan Hicks. Then they bombed again until they had junior Malik Jefferson and Gary Johnson in 2017…then they bombed again in 2018 and particularly 2019. On this front, 2020 looks like it could go hard in either direction pending how DeMarvion Overshown takes to the position.

-The 2000’s All-decade team would put this group to great shame at most every position save for perhaps the secondary and the kickers.

Thoughts?

History major, football theorist.