Texas Longhorns 2013 College Football Preview
2012 Record 9-4 (5-4)
Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium
Odds to win the Big 12: 11-2 See the Latest Odds
Head Coach: Mack Brown (16th Year, 150-43)
2012 Record 9-4 (5-4)
Last Bowl Appearance: 2012 Valero Alamo Bowl 31-27 W over Oregon State
8/31 New Mexico State
9/7 at BYU
9/14 Ole Miss
9/21 Kansas State
10/5 at Iowa State
10/12 Oklahoma (in Dallas)
10/26 at TCU
11/9 at West Virginia
11/16 Oklahoma State
11/28 Texas Tech
12/7 at Baylor
2012 Review: If Mack Brown coached almost anywhere else, a 9-4 campaign probably wouldn’t cause much ruckus. But this is Texas and barely finishing the Big 12 conference season above water at 5-4 is reason for concern round these parts. Losses to West Virginia (48-45) and TCU (20-13) were both within reach, but the loss at Kansas State (42-24) and the lone blowout loss against Oklahoma (63-21) in the Red River Rivalry were made all the more glaring by the stage. Add to the mix back-to-back dismal seasons in 2010 and 2011, and you begin to see why Brown is not so suddenly scrambling for answers.
Player Ready to Shine: Soph. RB Jonathan Gray (5-11, 208). The Longhorns may have a stable of NFL-caliber running backs, but Gray is the unquestioned leader. The Horns’ top rusher last season with 701 yards and 3 TDs on 149 carries, Gray is in the right place for what will likely be a showcase season for pro scouts.
Offense: Texas returns 10 offensive starters, but did lose maybe the fastest player in the nation last year in Marquise Goodwin to the NFL Draft. This unit is hardly lacking in the speed department, though. Between Senior RB D.J. Monroe (5-8, 175), WR Mike Davis (6-1, 193) and Jonathan Gray, you could field the beginnings of a pretty good 4x100 relay team. As far as 40 times go, Monroe runs a 4.3, Davis is a solid 4.4 guy and Gray’s hand-timed 4.29 is open to interpretation. In any case, this offense has plenty of talent and Brown’s plan to resurrect the spread offense in 2013 could prove fruitful. The RB position is stacked, with Gray, Monroe, Jr. Joe Bergeron (6-1, 230), and Jr. Malcolm Brown (6-0, 225) all talented enough to play at the next level. Jr. QB David Ash (6-3, 223) is back and should be poised for a stellar season after putting up solid numbers in 2012, passing for 2,699 YDS for 19 TDs and 8 INTs. Ash will have NFL-caliber targets in Mike Davis, a second team All Big 12 selection last season with 57 receptions for 939 YDs and 7 TDs and Jr. WR Jaxon Shipley (6-1, 195), honorable mention All Big 12 with 59 Rec for 737 YDs and 6 TDs. The O-Line returns everyone so the questions will be more about conditioning than experience, with Offensive Coordinator Major Applewhite shifting to an up-tempo offense in 2013. Sr. G Mason Walters (6-6, 320) is this unit’s standout and will be instrumental to the Horns’ offensive success.
Defense: The defense was about as stout as tissue paper in 2012, conceding an average of 404 YDs and 29 points per contest. The bright spots were a 45-0 shutout at New Mexico, where they surrendered just 35 yards passing, and the 33-7 win against Iowa State. But those two opponents speak for themselves. In Texas’ four losses to West Virginia, Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas State, they allowed a combined 1,798 yards and 173 points. Despite the scary numbers, the Longhorns did have some defensive success, particularly in getting to the quarterback. Senior DE Jackson Jeffcoat (6-5, 245) should be the breakout star from the defensive front after missing half of 2012 with a torn pectoral muscle. Senior DT Chris Whaley (6-3, 295) should also anchor the defensive line after recording 22 tackles (4 for a loss) last season. Sr. DT Ashton Dorsey (6-2 295), 28 tackles in 2012, and Jr. DT Desmond Jackson (6-1, 300), 33 tackles, should also be key contributors. The LB corps was a bit of enigma in 2012. The unit had talent and athleticism for miles, but we all know the kinds of numbers offenses were routinely able to produce against them. They’ll need to get it right this year, though, and central to that end will be Jr. MLB Steve Edmond (6-3, 255), who finished 2012 with 103 tackles, the defenses’ second highest total. Jr. LB Jordan Hicks (6-2, 238) is slated to return to the unit after missing most of last season with a hip injury. Sr. S Adrian Phillips (5-11, 201), third on the team with 72 tackles last season, and Jr. CB Quandre Diggs (5-10, 200) are the standouts in the secondary.
Special Teams: Who will lineup to kick field goals is up in the air at this point. The Horns have Soph. Nick Jordan and Soph. Nick Rose returning, but neither has laid claim to the starting position yet. Rose was the kickoff guy last year and seems to have the strongest leg of the two, but Jordan was the placekicker and only hit one field goal outside of 40 yards last season. CB Quandre Diggs is a burner who averaged a dangerous 20.1 yards on several punt returns last season and looks to be the leading candidate for the job in 2013. Soph. WR Daje Johnson (5-10, 180) averaged 20.8 yards per kickoff return last season and leads the depth chart heading into 2013.
Final Thoughts: The Longhorns’ 2010 and 2011 seasons were dismissed by many as rebuilding years, but in 2012, the Horns were stacked at virtually every position and expected to be the class of the Big 12. On a lot of levels, 2013 is taking shape as a mirror image of last season. For Mack Brown’s sake, let’s hope the similarities begin and end with the level of talent and the expectations.
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