September 13, 2007

The next Vince Young?

Q: (TTomTerrific) - What is real story with Drew Kelson? Is this another OJ McClintock deal? This guy was one of the best high school safety prospects in country, and he can't find the field in his senior year vs. TCU? I know OJ out grew his position, and Kelson probably put some weight on to move to LB, but come on.

A: The bottom line at this point is that Kelson just isn't as good or as consistent as either Marcus Griffin and Erick Jackson. In last week's game against TCU, Kelson didn't even get in the game at safety, as the team played only two safeties and three corners in the entire game on defense. I hate to say it, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen for Kelson. He's a great kid and a model student athlete. I'll even go so far as to say that he'll end up being as successful in life as anyone that has come through Mack Brown's program at Texas. I'm not sure that weight is the issue with Kelson as much as he's just not as consistently good right now as the players that he's competing against.

Q: (soulglo) - If someone else hasn't already asked this one, please give some thoughts on what you think the LB rotation will look like when Sergio Kindle gets back next week, and some speculation on what it might look like by the OU game.

A: In talking to the coaches this week they seem to have big plans for Kindle when he gets back and it would appear that he'll be back on the two-deep for the Rice game. Overall, I'm not sure that you're going to see much difference in the rotation from here on out. The Longhorns will have six linebackers that they feel very good about once Kindle returns and I would expect the snaps to be evenly divided, unless someone raises his level of play to an elite level. It'll be interesting to see where Kindle is when he returns because if he can start to tap into his potential the Longhorns could be adding a key piece to the puzzle on that side of the ball.

Q: (Westcoastorange) - Seems the Board generally feels OU is kicking our ass in recruiting this year. Has the sky really fallen?
A: The answer here has several levels, but if you're looking for a one word answer, then the answer is no. First, the Longhorns didn't just kick OU's butt in recruiting the last two years, they annihilated them to the point that they just gave up last year and didn't even try to compete. Instead, they focused on this year's recruiting class and it has paid off in a big way. For the most part Texas was still able to get the kids that that they wanted this year, but there were a few big losses when in past years there had been none. I think the overreactions from some deal with the fact that OU is headed for a potentially awesome recruiting class and the Longhorns have simply a very good class, especially when compared to those signed in 2006 and 2007.
Q: (Beagleme): We were told during spring and fall workouts that Jermichael Finley was coming in to his own and would create real match-up problems for defenses. Through two games I have not seen Greg Davis design any plays to use Finley more effectively. How about slotting him as an H Back on the same side as Limas? Is the problem that the offensive line needs another blocker to stem the blitz ?

A: I would suggest showing a little patience with this situation until we see a little more football. Finley was on his way to a huge night last week against TCU before he cramped up. After he made that big 22-yard reception, he just sort of disappeared, but up until then he obviously was a major piece of the game plan. Finley is going to be a major weapon for the team throughout the year and I think we'll see that materialize over time.

Q: (Golfpr3145) - Do you think Texas will be ready for this game? This game worries me more than TCU. O'Leary is a good coach and CF isn't any slouch? Also is Greg Davis just stubborn headed or does he not see how predictable he has become with the offense he is running?

A: Over the years the Longhorns have been a great road team under Mack Brown and one of the things that I've always admired about Brown's staff is their ability to get the team to focus on each game exactly the same way from week to week. Some have complained about the fact that the Longhorns treat the Rice-type games the same as the Oklahoma game, but I think it's needed to a certain degree. I expect this team to play better on Saturday than they have in the first two games of the season. As for Davis, I think he's setting the offense to look a lot less predictable with the multiple sets he displayed last week. I certainly didn't think the offense that everyone saw against TCU in the second half was predictable.

Q: (Texastumbler35) - Do you see both Brandon Foster and Ryan Palmer starting against OU, or do you see one of the young guys breaking through? Also, do you expect to see the freshmen wide receivers anytime soon?

A: It's too early to say with either of those corners because they haven't really been tested yet in my opinion. We're know a lot more about them by the end of the month. That being said, sophomore Deon Beasley has been playing very well and will continue to get a lot of snaps. If I was a betting man, I'd put money on Beasley becoming a starter
at some junction this season. I also expect to see more James Kirkendoll and Brandon Collins in the next couple of weeks. Now that their redshirts have been pulled it's time to get those guys some quality snaps.

Q: (freret) - Recruiting is changing at breakneck speed. We're talking about "stud" 2010 prospects in September 07 ! Do you think there's a possibility that Mack might loosen up his current policy of no offer until you visit and we meet you AFTER the 2008 boys have been signed ? What if, for example, some of the ( Top 20 ) boys on our 2009 radar start feeling the pressure from the bad guys and start committing between now and the end of the year ?

A: That's a great question and I really think that the answer probably isn't known at this point. So far, the Longhorns are telling the 2009 prospects that they are not going to make offers until after the 2008 class signs. The Longhorns did the same thing last year and it really hurt them. The difference this year is the level of contact that is being made right now, as opposed to simply waiting until next February to begin the process. The Longhorns are currently in the cat bird's seat in respect to a great number of the elite prospects in the state for 2009. When you consider that most of those kids came to a Texas camp and are currently in serious conversations with the Longhorns, the timing of the offers might not be a huge issue. If it does become one, then they'll have to re-think their position.

Q: (krussell22) - Look into your crystal ball . . . will we see Trevor Gerland run a fake punt this season? Look closer . . . will he take it to the house? Have you seen this in any practices?

A: Yes, we will see Gerland run a fake punt. Will he take it to the house? I consulted with Karnac "The Magnificent" and he doesn't seem to think so. He does think he'll rip off an 80-yard run against OU and will be pushed out of bounds at the three. At that point Henry Melton will enter the game and plow through for the game-winning touchdown. In all seriousness, the Longhorns work on this stuff each week. It's definitely in the works.

Q: (ut_alh) - I find the "recruitment" of Terrelle Pryor very interesting and intriguing. It seems that he has much more interest in us than we do in him right now and I am trying to understand why. Do you think our lack of interest is related to the de-commitment of the last two big-name OOS QBs (Brantley and Perrilloux)? What about the fact that there are some clear stud QB prospects in-state for 2009 (Gilbert and Sheppard)?

A: Honestly, it's hard to tell just how hard Texas is recruiting him because he doesn't do many interviews. Greg Davis did make a visit in the spring and the Longhorns continue to be listed in his top five. I also know that the Texas staff believes he's the closest thing to Vince Young that they've ever seen. There's no question that the staff is leery about going after out of state prospects, especially ones that aren't begging for a spot on the team. There's also no question that there are some big-time 2009 prospects that the Longhorns have their eye on. I would take a wait and see approach. There's a very good chance that Orangebloods will be making a trip to Pennsylvania in the next couple of weeks in an effort to get down to the bottom of this situation.

Q: (AzleHornsFan) - After attending the TCU game last week and watching the special teams unit I'm really impressed with the kick-offs, the coverage was good too, but it seems that Hunter Lawrence is doing a great job. The FG unit also looks solid. The attempt that hit the upright in the SEZ had tons of leg on it from Ryan Bailey and could've easily been good from 50. Beyond some inconsistencies, the punts seem to be above average as well. So, my question is why was Mack Brown so concerned about this aspect of the team heading into the season? He waited until Ark State game to even announce the FG kicker. What was going on in practice that we're not seeing on the field?

A: I think a lot of it has to do with inexperience. Other than Ryan Bailey, the Longhorns didn't have anyone with any real game experience. Trevor Gerland was a wild-card, as was Lawrence. Brown was also worried about the inconsistency shown in practice in the final weeks of fall camp and he couldn't help but wonder how these kids would respond to kicking in front of 80,000 fans. I wouldn't get too confident about this group just yet because there's a lot of football still let to be played and the group has a lot to prove. Playing on the road this week is the next big challenge because it's a lot easier kicking in your comfort zone than doing it on foreign soil.

Q: (LongJim) - There has been a lot of talk concerning more vocal leadership among the players in the locker room, and on the field. With Texas dramatic turnaround in the 2nd half against TCU, did/has that happened, and has anyone really stepped up to provide the 'swagger and attitude' that this team will need against the big dogs on the schedule? Can the 2nd half play be attributed to a few players taking control, or was it a combination of coaching adjustments and a new attitude?

A: I don't know that anything drastic happening at halftime. The word coming from those inside the program have suggested that the Longhorns simply maintained their composure and simply played better in the second half. I do think the second half was a huge confidence boost for the entire program and might send them going forward from this point on. Gaining confidence can do wonders for your level of play.

Q: (GetHooked.) - Several years ago, I remember a receiver named Don Beebe from the Buffalo Bills wearing a cap on his helmet. It looked like a helmet on a helmet. This was, supposedly, to prevent concussions. Is that an option for Buck Burnett? It seems like it might help with his recurring headaches.

A: That's a good question and I'll need to check around. As far as I know everyone has simply been very cautious with Burnette, but he's not had a history of concussions or anything like that. He played last week and is expected to see more considerably more action in the coming weeks. Beebe isn't the only players to wear that special helmet, but you don't see them very often.

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