Posted October 17th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Football

The University of Texas faces the Missouri Tigers Saturday night in primetime on ABC. ESPN Gameday will be in town for the first big game in the new and improved DKR. The Longhorns are ranked at number one in the nation after their upset win last week in Dallas. Everybody knows the Colt McCoys and the Brian Orakpos, but football games usually come down to the play of few unsung players. Here is five, technically six, to look for this Saturday.

[tag]Brandon Collins[/tag]

The Longhorn offense is still searching for a third option in the receiving game. Against the Sooners Collins made a few plays and looked like a good option out of the slot. The sophomore ended his day with three catches, which was the most by a receiver not named [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] or [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag]. With Texas moving into more four receiver sets Collins’ role should increase as defenses adjust to Shipley playing in the tight split. Yes Texas is 6-0, and yes they’re number one in the nation, but this offense will not achieve maximum production until a third receiver surfaces. People have been waiting for freshman [tag]Dan Buckner[/tag] and [tag]Malcolm Williams[/tag] to be that guy, but it seems like that will not happen this year. It is easier for smaller, slot receiver types like Collins and [tag]James Kirkendoll[/tag] to earn a quarterback’s trust mid-season. Last week Cosby proved he can get deep. One of the slot guys needs to step up and take heat off the top two guys.

[tag]Peter Ullman[/tag]

Don’t watch what he does, watch what he doesn’t do. Last weekend, for the first time this season UT’s base offense was four receivers and a running back. The tight end position was all but eliminated from the game plan save for jumbo package situations. It will be very telling for this team’s game plan going forward in the year if Greg Davis’ offense comes out running this formation for the majority of the snaps. Ever since the injury to [tag]Blaine Irby[/tag] earlier in the year, the offense has searched for a way to attack the middle in the passing game. Injuries and a lack of production from the reserve tight ends caused the staff to search for a new way. They found it last week in Jordan Shipley. If you see a lot of number 86 on Saturday (that is Ullman’s jersey number), we’ll know the formation had more to do with match ups than philosophy. But if Ullman and back up [tag]Greg Smith[/tag] are only seen near the goal line, everybody will know the Horns have a new base offense.

[tag]Henry Melton[/tag]

The front four of the Texas defense is playing at a different level, and so far most of the attention, rightfully so, has gone to [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] and [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag]. Quietly Melton, the senior starter and former running back, is having a very solid year. He is not going to wow anybody with his pass rushing ability, but he plays hard at the point of the attack and has shown the ability to chase down and make a play on a scrambling quarterback. As Orakpo continues his All-American play more and more focus will be shifted to his side in terms of running back and tight end help. Coordinator [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] has used Kindle as his pass rushing specialist opposite Orakpo, but does not like to leave the speedy linebacker on the line on downs when a pass is not certain. That duty goes to Melton, and if he can add more pressure from his position on first and second down there is nothing this defense can not accomplish.

[tag]Aaron Williams[/tag]

The true freshman from Round Rock McNeil high school has been outstanding. Last week in the Oklahoma game senior starting cornerback [tag]Ryan Palmer[/tag] went down with a hamstring injury. Williams was the first guy off the bench. With Williams in the game UT’s secondary was playing three freshman out of a five man secondary against one of the best passing offenses in the nation. The group played well, only allowing seven points after the 10 minute mark of the third quarter. This week’s game sees another top passing offense on the other side of the field, and with Palmer’s status in doubt the secondary may get to play a whole game with three freshmen (two true freshmen) in the secondary of a number one ranked team. [tag]Deon Beasley[/tag] will likely get the start if Palmer can’t go, but Texas has relied on a five defensive back for most of the snaps. It seems clear that Williams has passed up sophomore [tag]Curtis Brown[/tag] for now, so a serious amount on snaps will likely go to Williams even if Palmer can go. A hamstring injury lingers and many times a player can start but have a hard time finishing ballgames. The colder weather expected for the game can’t help.

[tag]John Gold[/tag] and [tag]Justin Tucker[/tag]

Don’t kick it to Jeremy Maclin. Please don’t kick it to Jeremy Maclin. There are only a few ways Missouri can pull the upset. One of them is big plays in the return game. Last week the Longhorns proved that points on special teams can turn a game around, and if Maclin takes one back early in this game it could be the spark that lights the fuse for Missouri’s upset. The loss for the Tigers last week against [tag]Oklahoma State[/tag] has made people forget how good this Missouri team can be. Two weeks ago outsiders favored Missouri. This all changed because of one win and one loss. Texas won last week because of the kicking game and turnovers. The Longhorns could easily lose this one because of the same things if Gold or Tucker punts to Maclin through out the game. There is an argument to just kick it deep and rely on your coverage, but why chance it? I’d put my faith in Will Muschamp and the defense over the kick coverage every game. What about you?

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Posted September 26th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Sam Acho hates quarterbacks

Sam Acho hates quarterbacks

Three games into the 2008 season the Texas Longhorns have answered most of the preseason questions facing the team. However going into this week’s game against [tag]Arkansas[/tag] things are still hazy in the running game, at tight end, and with the pass defense. Read on below to see five players to keep an eye on this Saturday afternoon who might provide some much needed answers.

[tag]John Chiles[/tag]

The Texas staff stressed getting the best 11 players out on the field this year regardless of class or position. Chiles is clearly one of those players even if he is not the best quarterback on the team. Chiles offers the big play ability that UT severely needs for this offense to be as dynamic as it can be. Offensive coordinator [tag]Greg Davis[/tag] must find ways to get the former blue chip recruit involved, be it in the running game or in the passing game as a quarterback or as a receiver.

[tag]Vondrell McGee[/tag]

This could be McGee’s last week to show the coaches he is worthy of important carries in important games. So far the sophomore has done nothing to warrant a starting job and is not only getting pushed by injured [tag]Foswhitt Whittaker[/tag], but by bruiser [tag]Cody Johnson[/tag]. With Texas wanting big plays out of the running game, expect to see fewer and fewer carries for McGee unless he comes out and impresses this weekend against a SEC defense in Arkansas.

[tag]Peter Ullman[/tag]

Losing [tag]Blaine Irby[/tag] for the season is a huge blow for Texas’ offense. Irby allowed the Longhorn offense to lineup in four receiver sets without changing personnel. While Ullman will never scare opposing defenses in the passing game, he will be an upgrade in the running game and if he can add a few catches in the flats or in the shallow middle of the field Texas’ offense will continue to succeed. If the former Round Rock Dragon cannot offer any threat to opposing defenses UT may have to look at a different position for a player to contribute at the tight end position.

[tag]Sam Acho[/tag]

The coaches have been impressed with Acho since fall camp began. In reserve duty behind star [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] Acho has played well. If he continues to outplay [tag]Henry Melton[/tag] (who isn’t playing poorly) and backup [tag]Eddie Jones[/tag], the staff may have to look at getting Orakpo, [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag], and Acho on the field at the same time. Texas wants pressure on the quarterback, and through the first three games Acho has shown more ability to do that on a consistent basis than any other defensive lineman not named Brian Orakpo. If it continues some upperclassmen are going to find themselves standing next to [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] more than they’d like.

[tag]Chykie Brown[/tag]

It is no secret that the weak link on the defense; and the team for that matter is in the Texas secondary. Going into the season most onlookers expected [tag]Deon Beasley[/tag] to start next to [tag]Ryan Palmer[/tag], but through the first three games it has been sophomore Chykie Brown. Brown had his struggles tackling in the first game, with every other member of the secondary, but has made good strides in the last two ball games. Texas plays a lot of five defensive back sets with Beasley playing in the slot. Opposing defenses will continue to test Brown until he shows he can make plays. A good game heading into conference play will go a long way in building confidence for the ultra talented corner.

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Posted September 21st, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Football

Blaine IrbyIt was immediately obvious after watching the first replay of Blaine Irby’s gruesome knee injury but it is now official that the sophomore tight end will miss the remainder of the 2008 season. According to a press release from the university Sunday evening Blaine suffered a dislocated right knee and will undergo season ending surgery. He’ll be able to seek a medical redshirt and should have a full three years of eligibility remaining when he (hopefully) returns to the field in 2009.

Read the full press release including quotes from Irby and [tag]Mack Brown[/tag] below:

Longhorn sophomore starting tight end Blaine Irby sustained a dislocated right knee in Texas’ 52-10 victory over [tag]Rice[/tag] on Saturday, will undergo surgery and is out for the rest of the season, UT Head Athletic Trainer for Football Kenny Boyd confirmed on Monday.

“It’s going to be a long journey, and I just have to take it one step at a time,” Irby said. “I know the tight end spot and the offense won’t lose a beat because Peter (Ullman) and Greg (Smith) are there to lead the way. I’m going to be there too, helping out Coach Chambers. I’ll be there as a coach and a teammate and ready to help anybody in any way that they need me. Coach Brown told me that I could use a medical redshirt since this happened so early in the season, which would give me three more years, but that’s down the road. Right now, I just need to focus on being patient, taking it one day at a time, getting healthy and coming back stronger than ever.”

The 6-3, 235-pound Irby started all three games and had 10 catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns on the year. He led the Horns with seven catches for 62 yards and a TD in their 52-10 season-opening victory over Florida Atlantic. Irby also posted nine knockdown blocks in that game. He had a 23-yard catch at UTEP and registered two catches for 10 yards before sustaining the knee injury against Rice. He played in 11 games and registered two catches for 29 yards as a true freshman in 2007.

“We have a great history of tight ends and Blaine was quickly developing into the type of player to follow in those footsteps,” said head coach Mack Brown. “He was getting better every week and making a big impact in our offense. Blaine was very productive for us at a key time since we lost Jermichael (Finley) early to the NFL. As much as we’ll miss him this season, thank goodness he’ll get a redshirt year and have three seasons left when he gets back.”

In addition to Finley leaving school early, Texas also lost sophomore [tag]Josh Marshall[/tag] during preseason drills. He sustained a left scapula injury and remains out indefinitely. Senior [tag]Peter Ullman[/tag] and sophomore [tag]Greg Smith[/tag] both have played this season and will compete for the starting tight end job.

Redshirt freshman Ahmard Howard will move up the depth chart and compete for action after playing primarily on special teams this season. Fellow redshirt freshman [tag]Ian Harris[/tag], who sustained a neck sprain in August, is expected to be cleared to return to practice soon. Offensive tackle [tag]Britt Mitchell[/tag] has been playing tight end in short-yardage and goal-line situations as well.

We wish Blaine good health and determination through his rehab and can’t wait to see him back catching passes again as soon as possible.

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Posted August 26th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Depth Chart, Football

Football season is so close you can smell it. Less than a week from now the Longhorns will finally take the field for the 2008 season against FAU and today [tag]Mack Brown[/tag] and Co. released the first official depth chart of the year. We wouldn’t be true Texas fans if the first thing we did wasn’t overanalyze and complain about it, so of course we’ve done that below:

General Thoughts
  • Lots of OR‘s all over the place like every year. Harder to complain this year because there’s a ton of youngsters on at least one side of the conjunctions.
  • Looks like there will also be a lot of situational players as well. There are several places where players (e.g., [tag]Aaron Lewis[/tag]) are listed as co-starters with very different complementary players.
  • Lots of youth in general, including several true freshmen. There may be some games this year where you’re yelling at the television set because of the mistakes but 2008 and 2009 should be exciting.
Offense
  • No [tag]Malcolm Williams[/tag] anywhere at wide receiver. Not in the top 3 at either flanker or split end. True freshman [tag]Dan Buckner[/tag] right behind [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] is encouraging but overall no Williams seems like bigger story. Let’s hope the light comes on.
  • Former tackle [tag]Greg Smith[/tag] has been back at the position for less than two weeks but he’s already listed ahead of [tag]Peter Ullman[/tag] as the blocking tight end.
  • [tag]Michael Huey[/tag] vs. [tag]Cedric Dockery[/tag] vs. [tag]Charlie Tanner[/tag] at guard. Everyone has been raving about Huey throughout fall camp but most believed he’d be cutting into Tanner’s reps not Dockery’s. The general opinion (and we all know that’s never wrong) is that Dockery is the better of the returning guards but Huey is listed behind him. Is there a strategic reason the coaches believe Huey should stay at right guard?
  • The 12 names and 5 OR‘s confuse me at running back. What exactly is going on there?

(more …)

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Posted August 22nd, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Football

Position Rating: C-
Starter: Blaine Irby
Reserves: Peter Ullman, Ian Harris, Greg Smith

Blaine IrbyTight end was a position of concern headed into fall practice and Josh Marshall’s injury only makes things worse. When [tag]Jermichael Finley[/tag] bolted early for the NFL it left the Longhorns without any proven pass catching threat at the position.

The top returning receiver and most important tight end this season is sophomore [tag]Blaine Irby[/tag]. Last season as a true freshman Irby caught only two passes for 29 yards but Texas fans should be expecting better total numbers by week one this year. With no proven third wide receiver, quarterback Colt McCoy will need Irby to step up to provide him another option or the offense will struggle against better defenses.

Behind Irby the Longhorns have veteran blocker [tag]Peter Ullman[/tag]. Ullman is expected to be the team’s second tight end in two tight end sets. He may accidentally find himself open and catch an important touchdown pass but mainly will be relied on as a sixth blocker on the line.

There’s not much behind the top two with Marshall out. [tag]Greg Smith[/tag] was moved back to tight end last week but as a current/former tackle you know what to expect out of him. Redshirt freshman [tag]Ian Harris[/tag] will be the first guy off the bench if the team needs a TE who can stretch the field a little. He’s 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds so he’s got prototypical size to play the position and block as well as catch the football. I don’t think you can expect much out of him this year but he’s a player to look out for in 2009.

Not much production from the starting slot and little depth make tight end one of the biggest holes going into the 2008 season. If Irby doesn’t show flashes of being the next David Thomas you’ll likely see a lot of four wide receiver and two back formations than in recent years.

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Tight ends hope to make an impact. Irby, Ullman teaming up to fill void left by departed Jermichael Finley.

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Posted June 25th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Football

Update: Download named rosters for NCAA Football 10. (7/23/2009)

NCAA Football 09 is less than a month away, the demo is up on Xbox Live and the Playstation Network, and player ratings are starting to make their way on to the Internet. EA Sports released the team top 25 and player ratings for all those teams.

I went through the list and put the players’ real names in where possible. I had trouble with a lot of the true freshmen in the game so if you know who any of the blank names are or if I made any mistakes please let me know in the comments. It really looks like EA did a poor job this year on the roster and depth chart. Hopefully it’s a little more accurate when the game is released.

You can download Excel files of the player ratings at the bottom of this post or check out the overall ratings for the Texas team below:

Real Name Name Year Position Rating
[tag]Buck Burnette[/tag] C #66 Soph(RS) C 78
C #60 Fresh C 72
 
[tag]Deon Beasley[/tag] CB #7 Junior CB 85
[tag]Ryan Palmer[/tag] CB #13 Senior(RS) CB 84
[tag]Curtis Brown[/tag] CB #3 Soph CB 83
[tag]Aaron Williams[/tag] CB #26 Fresh CB 80
[tag]Chykie Brown[/tag] CB #8 Soph(RS) CB 80
[tag]Earl Thomas[/tag] CB #12 Fresh(RS) CB 78
[tag]DJ Monroe[/tag] CB #27 Fresh CB 76
 
[tag]Roy Miller[/tag] DT #99 Senior DT 90
[tag]Jarvis Humphrey[/tag] DT #96 Fresh DT 80
[tag]Brian Ellis[/tag] DT #90 Soph(RS) DT 78
[tag]Ben Alexander[/tag] DT #92 Junior DT 76
[tag]Kheeston Randall[/tag] DT #88 Fresh DT 76
 
[tag]Chris Ogbonnayya[/tag] FB #3 Senior(RS) FB 93
[tag]Cody Johnson[/tag] FB #31 Fresh(RS) FB 72
 
[tag]Ben Wells[/tag] FS #5 Fresh(RS) FS 84
[tag]Christian Scott[/tag] FS #6 Fresh(RS) FS 77
[tag]Blake Gideon[/tag] FS #21 Fresh FS 77
 
[tag]Vondrell McGee[/tag] HB #2 Soph(RS) HB 85
[tag]DeSean Hales[/tag] HB #30 Fresh HB 80
[tag]Antwan Cobb[/tag] HB #24 Soph(RS) HB 79
[tag]Fozzy Whittaker[/tag] HB #22 Fresh(RS) HB 78
[tag]Jeremy Hills[/tag] HB #32 Fresh HB 76
[tag]Tre Newton[/tag] HB #23 Fresh HB 73
 
[tag]Hunter Lawrence[/tag] K #15 Junior K 82
[tag]Justin Tucker[/tag] K #9 Fresh K 69
 
[tag]Lamarr Houston[/tag] LE #33 Junior LE 91
[tag]Aaron Lewis[/tag] LE #95 Senior LE 85
[tag]Henry Melton[/tag] LE #37 Senior LE 80
 
[tag]Charlie Tanner[/tag] LG #52 Junior(RS) LG 86
[tag]Tray Allen[/tag] LG #70 Soph LG 82
[tag]Chris Hall[/tag] LG #71 Junior(RS) LG 81
[tag]Aundre McGaskey[/tag] LG #76 Fresh(RS) LG 74
 
[tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag] LOLB #2 Junior LOLB 85
LOLB #16 Fresh LOLB 80
LOLB #57 Fresh LOLB 76
 
[tag]David Snow[/tag] LT #78 Fresh LT 78
[tag]Britt Mitchell[/tag] LT #72 Soph(RS) LT 78
 
[tag]Rashad Bobino[/tag] MLB #44 Senior(RS) MLB 90
[tag]Jared Norton[/tag] MLB #11 Junior MLB 85
 
[tag]Trevor Gerland[/tag] P #17 Junior(RS) P 83
 
[tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] QB #12 Junior(RS) QB 89
[tag]Sherrod Harris[/tag] QB #17 Soph(RS) QB 81
[tag]John Chiles[/tag] QB #7 Soph QB 79
 
[tag]Eddie Jones[/tag] RE #32 Soph(RS) RE 92
[tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] RE #98 Senior(RS) RE 90
[tag]Russell Carter[/tag] RE #97 Fresh(RS) RE 77
 
[tag]Cedric Dockery[/tag] RG #55 Senior(RS) RG 89
[tag]Michael Huey[/tag] RG #63 Soph RG 81
 
[tag]Roddrick Muckelroy[/tag] ROLB #38 Junior(RS) ROLB 87
[tag]Keenan Robinson[/tag] ROLB #53 Fresh(RS) ROLB 82
ROLB #4 Fresh ROLB 75
 
[tag]Adam Ulatoski[/tag] RT #74 Junior(RS) RT 85
[tag]Mark Buchanan[/tag] RT #54 Fresh RT 74
 
[tag]Ishie Oduegwu[/tag] SS #19 Junior(RS) SS 88
[tag]Nolan Brewster[/tag] SS #36 Fresh SS 79
 
[tag]Peter Ullman[/tag] TE #86 Senior(RS) TE 81
[tag]Ahmard Howard[/tag] TE #13 Fresh(RS) TE 74
[tag]Blaine Irby[/tag] TE #19 Soph TE 73
 
[tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] WR #6 Senior WR 89
[tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] WR #8 Senior(RS) WR 84
[tag]Montre Webber[/tag] WR #14 Soph(RS) WR 83
[tag]Dan Buckner[/tag] WR #4 Fresh WR 79
[tag]Malcolm Williams[/tag] WR #9 Fresh(RS) WR 78
[tag]DJ Grant[/tag] WR #80 Fresh WR 75
[tag]Antoine Hicks[/tag] WR #81 Fresh WR 75
[tag]James Kirkendoll[/tag] WR #87 Soph WR 74
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