Posted February 7th, 2013 by J
Filed under: Football

David Ash

Texas needs a big 2013 from David Ash.

Big things are coming for Texas in 2013: Especially for Junior quarterback David Ash. I’m not calling for an improvement over his sophomore campaign. I’m calling for a transformative season. A season in which each and every one of us has to applaud and give credit where it is due. A season that will require Ash to be mentioned in the same conversation as (gasp!) Layne, Street, Applewhite, Young, and the McCoy (the good one, not the amateur film maker).

Yes. You’re correct — you just read that.

Colt McCoy left Texas as the winningest college quarterback of all time. His junior and senior seasons were two of the best ever by a Texas passer. Check out McCoy’s stats for a reminder of just how great he was in his career and his two Heisman finalist seasons:

Colt McCoy career stats

Here’s where I feel Ash will be for the upcoming season. Yes, his predicted passing total of 4,014 yards surpasses McCoy’s best year of 3,859 yards (2008). The 36 touchdown prediction also surpasses McCoy’s best year of 34 (2008). This is where I get crazy, the point where if you had yet to question my sanity-you begin to. I think Ash out rushes McCoy’s best year as well. I should be on medication and a strong dose of it, correct? Ash will come away with a grand total of 780 yards and 9 rushing touchdowns. That total surpasses McCoy’s best season on the ground (561 yards in 2008), but falls short in the number of touchdowns (11, in 2008). It also surpasses the best single-season passing yardage and touchdown totals of Vince Young in 2004 (3036 yards/26 touchdowns), Chris Simms in 2002 (3357 yards/ 21 touchdowns), and Major Applewhite in 1999 (3357 yards/21 touchdowns).

Check out my predictions for each game in 2013:

David Ash 2013 stats

This would be a monumental season for Ash and the Longhorns. An 11-1 record places them at the top of the heap come play-off time and poised to fight it out for a national championship. Quarterbacks over time have shown the most growth between their sophomore and junior seasons. It will be interesting to see how well Ash performs when he has an Offensive Coordinator that will make it imperative to get the ball to his best play makers in areas where they can maximize their abilities. No more multiple shifts and personnel groupings.

Yes, I am pumping sunshine. Bask in it. Soak it in.

I can’t wait to see the first time the Longhorns come out 4 wide with Jaxon Shipley, Mike Davis, Daje Johnson, and Cayleb Jones and either Jonathan Gray or Malcolm Brown in the backfield.

How do you cover that?

Whose the poor linebacker tasked with keeping up with Johnson or Gray/Brown?

Feel free to let me know just how crazy you think I am in the comments below. I’m sure many of you will have something witty to say. I will be more than happy to eat crow if I’m off base and rest assured I will say “I told you so!” if given the opportunity.

Here’s to hoping I get to do that a minimum of 12 times next year.

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Montrel Meander

Palo Duro WR Montrel Meander gives the Longhorns a speed threat for the 2013 class.

Welcome to the 40 Acres Montrel Meander. Meander, a 6’3″, 180 pound WR/S from Palo Duro High School in Amarillo became the fifteenth 2013 commitment after a last minute official visit to Austin. Meander had long been committed to Washington State, but flipped this weekend in favor of the good guys.

Meander is an athlete. He can play either safety or wide receiver. As a spread wide receiver he shows excellent straight line speed and could be the deep threat this offense so desperately needs-especially with the departure of the drastically-under used Marquise Goodwin. His route running is raw, but he shows great separation at the line of scrimmage and a willingness to go across the middle and make a tough catch.

As a safety, Meander showed really good instincts and takes good angles when tackling. He shows the ability to cover sideline to sideline, sheds blocks well, and wraps up-all of which are sorely needed in the Texas secondary.

Meander’s number one weapon however, is his speed. The young man can fly. Track speed doesn’t always transfer to football speed, but in this case it does. He has documented track times of 21.55 seconds in the 200 meters, 10.9 in the 100 meters, as well as a 4.46 second 40 yard dash and boasts a 21’3.5″ long jump.

Check out some of Meander’s highlight video:

Will he be a tool for Major Applewhite or for Manny Diaz? He could help either side. My bet is that he ends up at wide receiver at least for the time being.

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Posted January 31st, 2013 by J
Filed under: Feature, Football

Major ApplewhiteThe Texas offense will be better in the next season due to the departure of offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and his manic, almost bi-polar play selection. Major Applewhite remains Co-Offensive Coordinator, but will now share the role with wide receivers coach Darrell Wyatt. What will make 2013 better than 2012 is that Major Applewhite will be doing what he should have been doing for the last two seasons: calling plays and coaching quarterbacks.

The Alamo Bowl is a small sampling to draw conclusions from, however, it showed that Applewhite has the ability to maximize the talent on offense. He crafted roles for guys based on their unique skill sets. Absent from the Alamo Bowl was Harsin’s dogged insistence on forcing round pegs into square holes. Applewhite didn’t try to outsmart anyone; no mass substitutions, no multiple shifting at the line of scrimmage, no trickery. The game plan wasn’t perfect, but it showed one key element that seemed absent for much of the past two seasons: the ability to adjust when the original plan wasn’t working.

Simply put, Harsin wasn’t a good fit at Texas. The players didn’t respond to him. They didn’t relate to him. Harsin wasn’t a Texas guy. Major Applewhite is Texas. Every recruit in the Southwest knows the name. Their mothers and fathers remember the Big XII Championship game and the Holiday Bowl. Applewhite has the infamous “It” factor that Harsin lacked.

Please don’t get me wrong… I don’t think the 2013 season will be all sunshine and rainbows, but we will see a more cohesive team. We will see more discipline. We will see more accountability. We will see more heart. The old saying, “Attitude reflects leadership” certainly applies here. I don’t see this next iteration of Longhorn football cowering to Oklahoma or self-destructing against West Virginia.

I heard Trent Dilfer last week discussing the Harbaugh brothers and he said, “they get the most from the least and the best from the best.” This immediately made me think of Applewhite’s Alamo Bowl press conference quote when asked about the differences between his offense and Harsin’s. He replied, “…I’ve always felt like even as a player this game is about players, put [the ball] in the best guys’ hands and let them make plays. I think sometimes we over think it a little bit as coaches, so I’m excited to watch these guys go play.”

I’m excited to watch these guys go play as well.

Watch this video below and it will give you a taste of what the players think of Applewhite:

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[Update: Hammad did in fact commit to Texas. See ESPN’s story. – Brian]

The Longhorns are looking to continue stockpiling big bodies after Monday’s commitment by Desmond Harrison. Coach Stacy Searels is believed to be closing in on yet another top notch offensive line prospect: Irving High School Tackle, Rami Hammad. Hammad’s measurable are impressive: 6’5″ and 320 pounds. Hammad is ranked by Rivals as the 172nd prospect nationally, 28th at his position, and 78th overall in the state of Texas. Hammad took an official visit to the 40 Acres this past weekend that lead to him to end his his nearly three month commitment to Baylor.

Hammad now lists a top four of Texas, TCU, Baylor, and Oklahoma and is set to announce at 5:00 PM today. It is believed that Texas is clearly the team to beat for Hammad due to how quickly he backed out of his verbal commitment to Baylor after the weekend visit to Austin.

A quick film study of shows Hammad to be an aggressive and nasty blocker. He will sustain blocks 10-15 yards downfield on running plays and has a strong base in passing sets. He’s not nearly the physical specimen that Desmond Harrison is, but it’s easy to see that he has a mean streak and isn’t afraid to mix it up.

(more …)

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If you were to describe the perfect offensive lineman, it would sound something like this:

  • Around 6’6′ – 6’8″
  • Over 300 Pounds
  • Athletically built-not sloppy
  • Big enough to hold hid ground against the pass rush
  • Fast enough to get to the second level on run plays
  • Strong enough to pancake a defensive end

Desmond HarrisonAll these things can be said about the newest member of the 2013 Longhorn football team, Desmond Harrison. Harrison’s arrival can not come soon enough for a Texas team that desperately needs a dose of nastiness in the offensive line.

The time and effort that offensive line coach Stacy Searels and Offensive Coordinator Major Applewhite expended to land Harrison shows just how much of a priority solidifying the tackle position is for 2013. Having Desmond Harrison on campus makes EVERYONE better and here’s why:

  • Championship teams are built from the inside out-specifically the offensive line.
  • A strong offensive line extends drives: punts become field goals; field goal become touchdowns. More touchdowns leads to more victories. Victories are a good thing. They keep people employed. They keep fan bases happy. They keep stadiums full. They keep bank accounts full.
  • Jonathan Gray and Malcolm Brown have larger holes to run through. Bigger holes mean more rushing yards. High rushing totals allows for play action passing. Ash is a much better quarterback when there is a running game that can put up big numbers.
  • David Ash has more time to progress through his reads and has larger throwing lanes. A comfortable David Ash with wide throwing lanes makes Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis better receivers.
  • Extended drives leads to a rested defense. If their offense isn’t on the field, that severely restricts the other team’s ability to score points.

Adding Harrison will lead to some changes in the offensive line depth chart. If Harrison is everything he’s expected be, he’s penciled in as the starting left tackle from day one. This will prompt last year’s Juco signee, Donald Hawkins to shift inside to either guard or center. Another possibility at the center position would be Mason Walters. Either would be an upgrade over incumbent Dom Espinosa, who was often over powered by the bull rush and lacked the speed to get to the second level. Not to mention the debacle that was the West Virginia game, but there’s no reason to beat a dead horse here.

Is Harrison a sure fire starting left tackle in the NFL? If I could answer that with any degree of certainty my bank account would look much more attractive than it does now. However, I can saw with a high level of confidence that he has enough God-given athletic ability to have a chance to hold up a jersey at the draft and flash a Hook ‘Em for the cameras.

The question surrounding Desmond Harrison is the same one that has surrounded every other elite prospect that has walked into DKR: Will that talent be developed to its full potential? Will he get stronger? Will he get faster? Will his tendency to play too tall and rely on his freakish athletic ability be corralled and coached into flawless technique paired with unreal athleticism?

I have faith in Stacy Searels, Major Applewhite, and Bennie Wylie. I am supremely confident that Harrison is the real deal and will be an impact player from the first snap of the 2013 season.

Take a look at his film (#68) and see what you think. Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Let me know what you think his impact will be and who he reminds you of:

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