June 9, 2011

The Ticket City Locker Room

Q: (Okie4Horns) - Ketch, after hearing of the Greg Timmons transfer I was curious to hear your take on something. Does Mack and the staff usually persuade players to transfer or does he leave it up to the kids? How do you envision that process?

A: Transfers are like snowflakes because every kid has a different set of circumstances that result with a departure and usually we're looking at a mix of personal issues and the coaches are often the last to find out. I've always found that Mack wants to keep his kids in the program for the long haul and that while some programs have a trigger-happy trap door, that's not been the rep for the Longhorn program at all.

Q: (dropshot_7) - Ketch, in your opinion, how valuable is David Snow to next year's team? He's been a part of some bad lines, so it's been tough for him to shine, but I recall upper classmen's comments when he was a freshman speaking of Snow's work ethic, note taking, etc. I'm of the opinion that he's a big part of any potential success of next year's team, and (very) quietly was the lone player on offense who played well last season.

You mentioned in your 10 thoughts this week that from 2006-current, a lot of Texas's o-line signees have been interior prospects. Could you explain any positives from doing that? And in contrast, let's say Texas lands Andrus Peat (for the sake of the question I'm getting to), we're left with 3 tackle prospects in Camhron Hughes, Kennedy Estelle and Peat. Assuming they live up to their billing and are good enough to start, would one of them just play guard? Can tackles slide inside easier than guards can slide outside? As I understand it, the main difference in projecting guards vs. tackles is height/wingspan and feet. What other factors are there? Why would it be a bad idea to just load up on tackle prospects? Just a little explanation there would be appreciated.

If you're Mack, how many OL do you take in this class? Do you limit yourself to 5?

A: Your comment about Snow is spot on. When he arrived as a true freshman, the expectations were that he would eventually emerge as a star and former offensive line coach Mac McWhorter made comments singing his virtues as a young prospect on many occasions. Still, as he enters his senior season it has yet to completely come together for him. Some of it has been injuries, some of it has been coaching and some of it has simply him not having been a standout on the field.

This is his season. As the only senior starter of the group, he needs to take a step up in class this season and it would go a long way towards fortifying a major question mark facing this team. You can't be a good line if you're soft in the heart of the line and that's what Texas has been for several years. Snow has the raw ability to be a Sunday player and this is final chance to prove it.

As for your questions about offensive tackles and the skill sets that the position requires, the bottom line is that great tackles don't grow on trees because it's a tough to find players that are quick and athletic enough to handle elite edge players, while also maintaining the strength and toughness to be a plus in the run game. You're looking for guys that have great frames, quickness, athletic ability, flexibility and the ability to develop physically in a way that none of the skills go out the window at the expense of developing others. Yes, it's always easier to move tackles inside rather than the other way around and most of it centers on the quickness/feet factor.

I think it's important to note that Mack and his staff didn't believe that they were under-recruiting the tackle position. They've had some bad luck along the way at the position, but they've also made some terrible projections in some instances and it has left the depth crippled in terms of quality returning players, especially those with experience. The staff certainly didn't think that the 2008-10 classes would produce two tackles - Luke Poehlmann and Paden Kelley - and none of the linemen from those three classes has washed out.

Finally, if I'm Mack I'm taking five in this class, unless I need more when the season is over. It has to be a "by any means necessary" approach until the line problems are solved with confidence.

Q: (weenhorn) - Out of the top 25 of the 2013 LSR, who does Texas have the best chance to land? Of the same group, who does Texas have the most ground to make up?

A: Good question and I'm going to punk out on you to a certain degree because I think it's still so early. I always use Sergio Kindle as an example because I was the first to interview him about recruiting many moons ago and his first two co-leaders were Missouri and Oregon. It never really crossed his mind that he could even play at Texas.

That being said, let's group some members from the current top 25 in two categories.

Looking good, Billy Ray: Ricky Seals-Jones, Tyrone Swoopes, Darius James, A'Shawn Robinson, Justin Manning, Kent Perkins, Colin Janice, Dontre Wilson, Ja'Braylin Thomas, Desmond Mapps, Ben Hughes and Dannon Cavil.

Not yet feeling good, Lewis: Jake Oliver, James White, Paul Whitfield, Vincent Taylor, Raaquan Davis, Antwaun Davis and Will Barrows

Still trying to get a good read: Derrick Griffin, Laquintas Wallace, Ra'Shaad Samples and William Udeh

Q: (Wes2388) - Have you heard any more about how Darius White is enjoying the spring? I know he was not happy with his role last year? Are we going to see anything from Darius Terrell, Chris Jones, or John Harris? Who is your guess we will land for our last OL spots?

A: Everything that I've heard with regards to White has been very positive this off-season. I'm curious to see what the reports are going to look like this summer because there's no question that he took steps in the spring and he's going to be a factor in the fall, but just how big of a factor remains to be seen. We'll probably have a good idea based on how he looks this summer.

As for the other receivers you mentioned, Harris made waves in the spring and he's going to get game reps this season. I'm not so sure yet about the roles of Terrell and Jones, but both have shown enough flashes to have me thinking they have a chance. There's a ton of jostling for positioning right now.

As for the final offensive line spots, man, I'm really not sure at this point. It's too early to get a feel for where they would go in-state with the next offer, if they will, and they have so many lines out to out of state prospects that it is nearly impossible to handicap if they can swing one of these. They've got three and in my mind they need to take five. It's guesswork right now.

Keep an eye on Wylie's Kyle Fuller.

Q: (snouthorn) - Ketch if you had to pick the biggest brain fart of the two, was it Rachel's decision to get on national radio and announce to the world Texas players are violating NCAA rules or Colt's clock "management" in the Big 12 Title game? Seriously, do you think that Mack will look into this further, even if it is to just say that he did?

A: We all make brain farts and it's best to simply move on, do the best you can and try not to repeat the mistake. The problem with being a public person is the public part. Nobody ever said being recognizable would be easy.

DeLoss Dodds released a statement that the school is looking into the situation, but I expect this to be a dead story by Thursday at noon when the sports world turns its attention back to the NBA Finals.

Q: (hookemtrey14) - Out of all of the OOS recruits, can you rank the top 5 YOU think have the best odds on landing at UT. And I can go by the top Rivals 100, but who do you think will be the best fits scheme-wise for UT? Thanks for putting in all the work that you do.

A: In order of landing: Torshiro Davis, Nelson Agholor, Andrus Peat, Noah Spence and Landon Collins.

The only guy I'd bet a nickel on at this point is Davis.

As far as scheme is concerned, when you're talking about scheme, nothing fits a scheme like guys that carry wallets with "Bad MF" written on them. All of these out of state prospects have those kinds of wallets sitting on the front dash of their cars. They leave them there because they know nobody would dare touch them.

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