Posted November 21st, 2009 by Brian
Filed under: Football

The Statesman ranks the top Texas quarterbacks of all time. Where does Colt McCoy rank?

Link: McCoy needs to win a title before topping the likes of legends Young, Street.

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Posted July 14th, 2009 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Will Keenan Robison blow up at linebacker in 2009?

Will Keenan Robison blow up at linebacker in 2009?

Football has become a 24/7, 365 days a year sport. We talk about football in the fall. We watch the spring games in April. And we even follow recruiting with the fervor of a Saturday night in Baton Rouge.

But the one aspect of college football that is overlooked is the work done in the summer with 7-on-7 workouts. Vince Young and the 2005 Championship team proved that chemistry and timing built in the summer can propel a team to the top. After a near perfect season in 2008 Colt McCoy and the Texas football team are looking to duplicate the blue print of the last team to make it to the Rose Bowl and win.

The similarities of this year’s team to the 2005 squad are alarming and are sure to be talked about like McCoy and Jordan Shipley’s fishing plans.

Not all aspects of the game can be worked on over the summer without pads, but plenty can be accomplished. Even with more answers than questions lingering to enter this season there is room for improvement. And here are five questions that could be answered over the summer?

1. What will be the base offensive formation?

The lack of a viable tight end may force Greg Davis’ hand when it comes to “go to” formations. In the biggest games of the year, and when Texas needed to move the ball, they abandoned the tight end set for a four wide receiver spread. With McCoy’s accuracy and the depth at the receiver position having a tight end on the field may be a detriment to the team.

From a skill stand point there is no question the fourth receiver will be more talented than any healthy tight end on the roster, unless we assume DJ Grant can emerge as a catcher and a blocker in his first year at the position. Frankly, it would be unfair to ask that of Grant so the question becomes – is it more important to disguise your play calls by being multiple on offense with a tight end or is the talent difference so great that putting a tight end on the field is holding the team back?

I don’t know the answer, maybe Davis and McCoy don’t either, but a huge summer by the receivers combined with no progress from the tight ends might equal a wide open spread attack for the majority of the snaps.

2. Can Garrett Gilbert handle being the backup quarterback right away?

Anyone who has seen or followed the career of the incoming freshman from Lake Travis knows that all signs point to a successful career at Texas and beyond. But all the skill, and smarts, in the world don’t necessarily spell success as a true freshman. In a perfect world Gilbert will only see the field in controlled situations. The plan is to bring him along slowly at the end of games that Texas has in the bag.

The problem is Texas cannot be comfortable with Sherrod Harris as the primary backup. The coaches and the players love Harris but he has never shown he could carry the team if needed. And with the junior recovering from surgery Gilbert has the chance to secure the backup spot if he can prove he has what it takes on the field, in his head, and in the huddle.

Like it or not Texas is one freak play away from starting a quarterback with no experience. With Chiles at receiver the only real hope is Gilbert. There is no doubt the pressure and expectations will not be fair or realistic for the prodigy, but he should have never expected them to be. This is Texas; he’ll learn that soon enough.

3. Who will be the running back?

Realistically this could be a question that isn’t answered at all this season. Mack Brown and Major Applewhite have proven they’ll mix backs in and out as much as they deem necessary. And while they’ll do it again this year, one has to think the staff wants a “go to” guy. A lot of the inconsistencies last year can be attributed to the lack of familiarity with the backs and the offensive line. The running game can be about timing as much as anything and UT had none last year.

It is true that the full running game cannot be featured without pads, but Applewhite has shown he values pass protection and ball security over big play ability. Vondrell McGee, maybe the most complete runner in the backfield, learned this lesson the hard way when he was benched for the entire Fiesta Bowl.

McGee may be the best runner, but it is Foswhitt Whittaker that can excel in 7-on-7 drills because of his ability to catch the ball and run in space. If he can stay healthy and prove he is willing to block Whittaker may finally break out this season.

The other option is freshman Chris Whaley. All reports have the physical freak as being impressive. The coaching staff has all but said he’ll get his shot to compete, so if he can pick up the small things this summer he’ll have a huge chance this fall.

4. Who will start as the third linebacker?

Roddrick Muckelroy and Jared Norton have starting jobs locked up in the 4-3 alignment, but with Sergio moving to defensive end one of the outside linebacker spots are open. The two candidates for the position are Keenan Robinson Emmanuel Acho. Both can rush the passer and both can make plays.

The skill that may separate them, and determine who plays more, will likely who can play in pass coverage the best. This is where 7-on-7 comes into play. With the Big 12 becoming football version of the Blue Angels air show finding linebackers that can stop the run and cover the pass is invaluable. In his short time on campus Robinson has shown the ability to play the pass and that’ what puts him at the top of the depth chart at strong side linebacker.

Texas will play with five defensive backs a lot this season, and that means only two linebackers on the field. Norton, who is a prototypical middle linebacker in the 4-3, has struggled in the nickel formation so if Robinson plays well enough he may be alongside Muckelroy when teams are spread out.

5. Is the work ethic there?

For the first time in a long time Texas overachieved last season. It had more to do with expectations, but the Longhorns had a workman like feel that wasn’t the norm in the last decade. Will Muschamp has gotten a lot of credit for the attitude change, but more credit needs to go to the players and especially the leaders on the team. More than talent, UT lost some big time leaders in Quan Cosby, Roy Miller, and Brian Orakpo.

Those guys kept the young guys in check in practice, off the field, and in the locker room. Texas still has established leaders in Colt McCoy and Sergio Kindle and new leaders are stepping up like Earl Thomas. But until the team faces some adversity no one will know if the team has the backbone they showed in games against Oklahoma and Ohio State last year.

The 2005 team established that ethic in the summer with many players pointing out that they had worked too hard in June and July to let anyone beat them. If this year’s team comes out of the summer with the same feeling another special year could be on the horizon.

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Some really cool stats from ESPN’s Big 12 blog on how [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] and his fantastic 2008 season stack up against the best all-time seasons by Texas quarterbacks. Five games into the season, Colt’s QB rating is by far the highest and his total touchdowns are eight more than [tag]Vince Young[/tag] in 2005. The stats are also a reminder of just how good Major Applewhite’s 1999 season was. Check them out below:

Quarterback Yr RYds Avg. TD Comp% PYds Int TD Rating Record
Major Applewhite 1999 -46 -2.2 1 64.8 1,492 1 10 150.73 4-1
Chris Simms 2002 -2 -0.1 2 56.1 1,161 3 10 132.03 5-0
Vince Young 2005 355 5.5 2 62.4 1,021 5 10 162.17 5-0
Colt McCoy 2006 59 3.0 1 71.1 846 2 10 174.29 4-1
Colt McCoy 2008 317 7.0 4 79.2 1,280 3 16 197.94 5-0
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Posted October 8th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Every game between Texas and OU is huge, but with the rankings and the BCS implications the 2008 meeting carries extra weight. Both teams enter the game as top 5 teams, and the winner not only has the inside track to win the Big 12 South, but also has to be considered the favorite to play for the national championship at the Orange Bowl.

When Texas has the ball

Texas enters the game without a clear cut go to running back, a tight end that can catch, and a receiver that can stretch the field. Yet, the offense has been clicking on all cylinders due to the stellar play of third year quarterback [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag]. This week is not the time to try and tinker with things offensively so expect McCoy to have the ball in his hands most of the game. I wouldn’t be surprised to see McCoy throw the ball 40 times Saturday, especially if the Horns find themselves playing from behind. Most onlookers feel OU has the mental advantage heading into these because of the blowouts that started this decade, but none of these players were on those teams. In fact, the Texas players in this game have won two out of the last three against the Sooners, and last year could have easily been won if it weren’t were a few key mistakes by NFL rookie [tag]Jamaal Charles[/tag].

Oklahoma’s defense is good, but the secondary is not great. McCoy and his receivers will have a clear advantage in the passing game as long as the offensive line gives him enough time to get rid of the ball. Texas’ line struggled last week in blitz pickup at times, but the coaches and players have suggested that it was due to Colorado playing uncharacteristically. OU will be OU, and [tag]Greg Davis [/tag]and his offense should know what to expect.

I don’t see Texas being able to run the ball consistently against this Sooner front seven. The Longhorn offense has struggled to run the ball against lesser opponents and to expect the light to just come on would be unrealistic. The only chance Texas has of creating plays in the running game is if Fozzy Whittaker is able to play and play well. The added speed he gives the backfield allows UT’s offense to run the zone read much more effectively. I expect the backs to be used as receivers as much as anything else.

This game will come down to turnovers and protection. Texas has excelled in those areas so far in the season, but the level of competition and emotion will be sky high on Saturday. If Texas can control the ball and limit mistakes there is a good chance this offense is able to put up points against Oklahoma.

When Oklahoma has the ball

Oklahoma’s offense is scary good. The introduction of the no huddle as their primary offense gives the Sooners an overwhelming number of advantages. It allows quarterback Sam Bradford to snap the ball before defensive adjustments and substitutions are made. OU’s running game hasn’t been a world beater either as running back DeMarco Murray hasn’t had the same burst he had last year in the Red River Shootout when he took a huge run over 60 yards for a back breaking touchdown.

Texas’ defense has gotten better each week. The secondary play has improved dramatically, but most of it has to do with the pressure the defensive line has been able to produce. It will be interesting to see if the back four (or five when they play in nickel) will hold up if Bradford is allowed time. OU’s line is the best in the nation and it may force defensive coordinator [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] to blitz more than he would like. If Texas can create pressure with the front four it will allow for more players to cover Oklahoma receivers.

I expect UT to handle the Sooner run game, so just like when Texas has the ball expect Bradford to control the game for OU. The quarterback who makes the most mistakes or faces the most pressure will likely leave Dallas as the loser.

The key for Texas’ defense will be to utilize the depth in the front four they have tried so hard to build. If a guy like [tag]Sam Acho[/tag] or [tag]Eddie Jones[/tag] can provide pressure when [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] is getting a breather it will make OU’s no huddle offense less effective. For the first time since Bob Stoops took over in Norman I feel that Texas has the advantage in coaching because of [tag]Major Applewhite[/tag] and Muschamp. If Texas’ defense keep them in the game all the credit in the world must go to the first year coordinator that has single handily changed the mindset of this group of young Longhorns.

Hook ’em.

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Posted October 1st, 2008 by Matt
Filed under: Feature, Football

Colt running for a first down

Colt running for a first down

Man the Texas Longhorns sure seem to like the score 52-10, now beating 3 of the 4 teams they have played this season by that same exact margin. Let’s just hope we don’t see the other side of that score this year.

Again the Longhorns looked impressive against [tag]Arkansas[/tag] dominating the Razorbacks in every aspect of the game. Going into the game I was actually a little worried, but after seeing Casey Dick throw up floating lobs into the secondary, my fears were quickly dissipated.

My favorite stat of the game? Texas rushed for 208 yards on the ground while Arkansas managed only 11 yards. Talk about a butt-kicking.

Let’s see how each position fared in the game:

Quarterback – Overall Grade: A+

Another almost near perfect performance for [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] as he continues prove he can hurt you through the air as well as on the ground. Colt finished with only two incomplete passes going 17 of 19 for 185 yards and 3 touchdowns. Colt also added 84 yards on only 9 carriers and 2 touchdowns. I don’t really like to think about the Heisman so early in the season, but he is definitely making a case to at least be mentioned in the talks.

[tag]John Chiles[/tag] got plenty of action Saturday since the game was basically over in the first quarter. By now we all know that he can run, but I would like to start seeing him try to become more of a pass first style quarterback. Why not try to develop his passing skills during the game when we are up by 40?

Running Backs – Overall Grade: B

I wasn’t really all that impressed with that impressed with the Texas running game. [tag]Vondrell McGee[/tag] got the majority of the carries with [tag]Mack Brown[/tag] obviously still trying out the position, but he only managed to average 3.0 yards per carry with a long run of 9 yards. That kind of production against a weak team like Arkansas just doesn’t cut it. Luckily [tag]Cody Johnson[/tag] had a pretty decent game averaging 4.8 yards per carry and ended up with 1 touchdown. Right now it looks like Cody Johnson is the best back we have, and as long as he can keep is conditioning up we should be ok.

The one major blemish on the day for the running backs was when [tag]Jeremy Hills[/tag] showed absolutely no hustle late in the game on a John Chiles fumble, which ended up getting returned by Arkansas for their only touchdown of the game. You can’t totally blame that on Hills, but if you are seeing limited action you need to hustle on every play. I’m pretty sure [tag]Major Applewhite[/tag] had a few words for Hills on that one.

Wide Receivers – Overall Grade: B+

It’s really hard to give grades when you beat a team as easily as Texas did on Saturday. The receivers played pretty good all around, but everything seemed so easy it’s hard to say they were “great.” [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] looks like he is the new safety net for Colt now that we know [tag]Blaine Irby[/tag] is done for the season. They said it a few times on the telecast, but it really does look like Colt and Shipley are just out there relaxing and playing a game of catch in the backyard. Shipley ended up with 2 touchdowns and [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] added one more. The one nice thing about a blowout win is we get to see some young players get some action. Sophmores [tag]James Kirkendoll[/tag] and [tag]Brandon Collins[/tag] both look to be solid receivers.

Defense – Overall Grade: A

I believe this is the defense’s first A of the season and it is well deserved. The front seven had constant pressure on [tag]Casey Dick[/tag], and knocked him around so much that I actually almost started to feel bad for him. And for the first time this season I actually started to notice some of the secondary in a positive way. [tag]Earl Thomas[/tag] actually made some plays, and [tag]Blake Gideon[/tag]’s name was called for some other than getting beat. It looks like [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] might actually be getting through to these guys.

[tag]Aaron Williams[/tag] returned an interception 81 yards for a touchdown in the 4th quarter on an absolutely horrible pass by the Arkansas backup quarterback. The front seven added 7 sacks with [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] leading the way with 2 for 17 yards in losses. Hopefully we can keep this up.

Overall Grade: A

That was about as dominating a performance as you can have. [tag]Bobby Petrino[/tag] has to be a little embarrssed with the way he made his debut in this storied rivalry. Texas now gets to start Big 12 play against a [tag]Colorado[/tag] team who is looking for revenge after their 70-3 loss in the 2005 Big 12 Championship game.

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Posted September 27th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Feature, Football

President Nixon declares the Longhorns national champs

President Nixon declares the Horns national champs

The Longhorns face off against (formerly?) hated rival [tag]Arkansas[/tag] today at 2:30pm on ABC. Some current UT students weren’t even born yet when the Razorbacks left the old SWC but this rivalry still holds some heat and could keep today’s game closer than expected.

Will the Longhorns finally get their running game going? Can the defense get started before the second quarter starts? Read on to see what the editors of Bevo Sports think will happen today:

Brian These aren’t your daddy’s Razorbacks. After changing coaches Arkansas is in a rebuilding year and the Longhorns are poised to take advantage today. New Texas coaches [tag]Major Applewhite[/tag] and [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] will make sure the Horns match Arky’s energy and this one will be a blowout. The running game won’t be perfect but [tag]Cody Johnson[/tag] will have his coming out party and top the century mark for the game. As a team the Horns will rush for over 250 yards and win easily. Texas 56 – Arkansas 21

Mike [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] will continue to play at a Heisman level in a beat down game that should have happened two weeks ago. The last time Arkansas came to town they left with a shocking victory, but the Razorbacks don’t have super freak Matt Jones under center. The secondary will continue to give up big plays, but the players and the staff has shown the ability to make big game adjustments. Anything can happen (USC vs. Oregon State), but I don’t see this staff letting this team come out flat. The running game finally gets it going and the front seven dominates again as the Longhorns roll. Texas 41 – Arkansas 20

Matt Man this match-up looked like a lot more fun when it was originally scheduled for Sept 13. This is a storied rivalry, but this won’t be much of a game. The Texas defense will be tested through the air, but they should be able to keep things under control with some Casey Dick mistakes. I don’t see Texas overlooking this game after what happened to USC. Colt and the offense will continue to roll and should win by a big margin. Texas 55 – Arkansas 19

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Posted September 20th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Feature, Football, Live

Follow along below with our live thoughts and analysis during tonight’s game versus [tag]Rice[/tag]. Feel free to leave comments and questions using the live tool, but not all comments will be published. Read below for more notes on comments and how the live blog will work. Hook ’em!

Notes: Comments on the article itself will be turned off till after the game. The Writer can view all comments sent to them but only they can publish your comments for everyone to see. The “autoscroll” feature ensures you’re always shown the newest content without having to refresh or scroll your screen. Subtle sound effects alert you to new content as the writer publishes it. You can turn these features on or off by using the controls at the bottom of the Live Blog.

Comments now open.

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Posted September 19th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Football

Everybody knows to look for [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] and [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] each game, but UT’s success in this week’s game against [tag]Rice[/tag] and in the upcoming conference match-ups will hinge on the production and success of a few players that are coming into their own. Let’s look at five.

[tag]Foswhitt Whittaker[/tag]

The redshirt freshman tailback was the most productive back in Texas’ offense in his only game this year. His skill set fits in perfectly with the type of offense Texas likes to run. Foswhitt averaged 6.0 yards on 12 attempts against UTEP. He had missed the first game with a knee injury but all reports suggest his knee is fine so expect more touches against Rice. Running backs coach [tag]Major Applewhite[/tag] has been emphasizing receptions out of the backfield, and with Whittaker possessing the best open field moves on the team he seems to be in line to become more and more a part of the offense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start, and if he doesn’t start against Rice, he will be by the time Big 12 play begins.

[tag]Earl Thomas[/tag]

The Rice game will be Earl’s third start at safety in college. Rice’s tight end James Casey leads the nation in receptions per game (over 9), and is sure to be Thomas’ man of the night as the defense has seemed to play [tag]Blake Gideon[/tag] in the deep middle. The redshirt freshman has played hot and cold as would be expected in his first two college games, but coach [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] seems to have confidence in him. If Thomas can hold his own and wrap up when he hits a ball carrier it will help ease the anxiety of a lot of Texas fans. If he can’t, [tag]Christian Scott[/tag] or [tag]Ben Wells[/tag] may get more looks.

[tag]Michael Huey[/tag]

The young offensive lineman got a chance for major playing time when teammate [tag]Charlie Tanner[/tag] went down with a leg injury. Huey struggled at times against UTEP and must begin to move people off the line in order to hold off Tanner when he comes back as well as true freshman [tag]David Snow[/tag]. Texas wants more push in the run game on the inside. Huey has the raw talent and mean streak to remind many fans of ex-Longhorn, and big bellied cult leader, Kasey Studdard, but must translate it on the field to solidify Huey as a starter for the next few years.

[tag]Malcolm Williams[/tag]

Colt McCoy has played great, beyond great really in the first two games, but eventually this team will need a deep threat and the most likely candidate appears to be the 6’4″ Williams. Through the first two games it appears Texas hasn’t even looked to go deep, settling for underneath patters. As the talent of the players, and the coaches, rises the need to stretch the defense takes on added importance. Watching Williams in practice and in pre game warm ups leaves little doubt to his physical skills, but like most young players Williams needs to build his on field confidence by making big plays in a real game. Think of [tag]Limas Sweed[/tag] before and after the catch in the “Horseshoe” against [tag]Ohio State[/tag]. Williams will need a play like that to jump start his season and his career.

[tag]Ryan Palmer[/tag]

The best player on Rice’s team is wide receiver Jarrett Dillard and one would think senior cornerback Ryan Palmer will be the guy asked to shadow him throughout the night. The Owls offer little threat on the ground, so the play of the secondary (especially on third down) will be important in preventing any thought of an upset. Dillard and Rice quarterback Chase Clement will finish their careers as the leading touchdown scoring tandem in NCAA history will try to pick on the size of Palmer, but the senior has shown an ability to hold his own against bigger receivers. Holding this group of players in check will serve as a much needed confidence boost heading into games such as OU, [tag]Missouri[/tag], and [tag]Texas Tech[/tag].

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Posted September 18th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Texas heads into this week’s game against [tag]Rice[/tag] off an unexpected bye week thanks to Hurricane Ike. Going into this game, the emphasis will not necessarily be on winning (that should come from just showing up), the emphasis will be on setting a tone for the upcoming Big 12 season.

When Texas has the ball

Through the first two games, one thing has become unmistakably obvious: this is Colt McCoy’s football team. This year’s Longhorns will go as far as he takes them, and so far that seems to be a good thing. After a sophomore slump that saw McCoy’s interceptions jump up significantly from his freshman year, McCoy has started off his junior year in spectacular fashion, including only throwing one interception.

On top of his improved passing game, McCoy is also leading the Horns in rushing. He is the only Longhorn to have over 100 yards on the season. This needs to change, and luckily for UT the Rice Owls are just what the doctor ordered for the Texas running game in the past few years.

New running backs coach [tag]Major Applewhite[/tag] has stressed ball security and pass blocking over explosive plays in the running game, but if Texas wants to get to their yearly goals of playing for the Big 12 championship and reaching a BCS game both need to happen. Texas ranks 23rd in the nation in pass offense, but sixth in the Big 12. The good teams in conference will be able to put up points, and with the youth in Texas’ secondary, UT’s offense must find a way to control the ball and shorten the game. This offense will not be able to score with the likes of [tag]Missouri[/tag] and [tag]Oklahoma[/tag]. In games like this weekend’s versus Rice, the running game needs to start asserting itself.

Texas’ offensive line should be able to physically dominate the smaller Rice defense. Expect the line to come out and quiet the naysayers after being out rushed by [tag]UTEP[/tag].

The receiving corps has been solid with [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] and [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] being the go to guys. Against Rice look for Texas to try and get [tag]Malcolm Williams[/tag] and [tag]Dan Buckner[/tag] deep, these two flankers need confidence heading into the upcoming schedule. So far, the biggest surprise has been the play of tight end [tag]Blaine Irby[/tag] who has scored in the first two games.

When Rice has the ball

Another week, another spread offense for Texas’ young secondary to deal with. The preseason schedule has worked out perfectly in terms of giving this group practice seeing the types of offense they will in the Big 12. The talent will obviously be a step up once conference games begin, but don’t be surprised if the Owl offense presents a challenge for the defense. Quarterback Chase Clement and wide receiver Jarrett Dillard are no slouches, especially Dillard who could be the best player to come out of Rice in recent memory.

Texas ranks 98th in the nation against the pass so look for defensive coordinator [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] to start bringing more pressure as the season wears on. In a game like this one where the outcome isn’t in much question UT may play close to the vest on offense and defense, but if Rice has success early look for [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag] to be unleashed. Texas has worked on a “Buck” package with Kindle coming off the edge. This should become more and more a staple of this defense.

Rice offers no real threat to Texas on the ground. The linebacker corps has played as good as it ever has under [tag]Mack Brown[/tag]. Texas’ emphasis moving forward in the season is to create more turnovers and to create more pressure. With offenses running the way they do now, sacks are not as easy to come by. Muschamp keeps track of pressures and hits on the quarterbacks each week. He would like the number to continue to go up.

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Posted February 27th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Football, Quick Hits

New coaches Muschamp & Applewhite bring new ideas to the Longhorns. Hopefully they also bring new intensity as well.

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