Texas ex Brian Orakpo is tearing up the NFL in his first season with the Washington Redskins, already with 7 sacks midway through the year. The Washington Post gets some good quotes from Redskins coach Jim Zorn, Texas coach Oscar Giles, and former teammate Rashad Bobino about Rak’s transition to a hybrid defensive end/linebacker.

Link: Redskins’ Orakpo finds success at two positions

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Can Aaron Lewis help the defense stop OSU's balanced offense?

Can Aaron Lewis and the Texas defense stop OSU's balanced offense?

Every game comes down to the play of a few guys floating under the radar. Of course Texas needs [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag], [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag], and [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] to step up, but in order for Texas to keep the number one spot a few other guys that may not be “stars” (yet) need to play big. Last week a few of the guys, like [tag]Brandon Collins[/tag] and [tag]Curtis Brown[/tag], were huge for Texas. Who are the five guys the Horns need to step up against [tag]Oklahoma State[/tag]? Here’s what we think.

Fozzy Whittaker

The speedy freshman got back on the playing field for the first time since the [tag]UTEP[/tag] game last week against [tag]Missouri[/tag]. Fozzy wasted little time making an impact by breaking off a darting 20 yard run off the zone play Texas relies on. Coming into the season the coaching staff quietly believed Fozzy would be the featured back of this offense. Instead, [tag]Chris Ogbonnaya[/tag] has taken the job by the horns so to speak while Fozzy healed up injuries to both knees. Ogbonnaya has far exceeded expectations, but the addition of the speed that Fozzy has could give this team the one thing they have been missing—a homerun threat in the backfield. We will know how healthy Fozzy is by how many snaps he is given.

[tag]Malcolm Williams[/tag]

We finally saw the big play ability those around the program have been gushing about when Williams made a leaping catch over the Missouri defense for a touchdown. The catch ended up being his only of the day, but with it Williams may have finally become a big time player for this team. For as good as Shipley and Quan Cosby are, they are not consistent down the field threats that push safeties back. Malcolm Williams is. The deeper opposing safeties have to play, the more room underneath for guys like Shipley, Cosby, and emerging star Brandon Collins. The more game Williams can make an impact in, the bigger the impact of the underneath guys. The staff is hoping the highlight catch last week turns into a confidence booster along the lines of Limas Sweed’s catch in Ohio State.

[tag]Aaron Lewis[/tag]

All the defensive line talk has centered on Brian Orakpo and [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag]. The teams Texas has been facing have been pass heavy which has allowed the speed guys to make names for themselves. For the first time all year the Texas defense will have to face an offense that relies heavily on the run. The defensive tackles are going to be key. Everyone knows about [tag]Roy Miller[/tag], but quietly Aaron Lewis has taken over Lamarr Houston’s spot on the majority of snaps. Lewis has played well when given the opportunity, and a big game from him, Houston, and [tag]Henry Melton[/tag] is crucial for this team. If Oklahoma State’s run game can get their offense into manageable third downs, the Texas defense could get exposed.

[tag]Rashad Bobino[/tag]

The senior has become the forgotten member of this linebacking unit. Late in the game last week, sometimes starter [tag]Jared Norton[/tag] went down with what appeared to be a stinger. Even though all signs point to Norton playing, with the two already splitting time, it would be expected to get a bulk of the playing time against a strong running team this week. Bobino has started a large number of games in his career and has continued to be an emotional leader for this Longhorn defense. Bobino has been through the fire as one of the only Horns to say he was there for the Rose Bowl. Coordinator [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] has been pleased with all the backers play, and this game appears to be the biggest test for a group that could be the best of the [tag]Mack Brown[/tag] era.

[tag]Curtis Brown[/tag]

Two weeks ago fans were wondering if Curtis Brown would ever get to play at defensive back while attending the University. They saw true freshman get more playing time than the sophomore and with an already youth riddled secondary it appeared that the ex-Gilmer star would get passed up. A huge special team’s play against Oklahoma and a solid performance after Chykie Brown left the game against Missouri later and Brown finds himself as major player for this secondary. Every team in the Big 12 likes to spread the field, so more than the two designated starters get significant playing time, especially with Texas relying heavily on the nickel defense. Sources say [tag]Chykie Brown[/tag] should be able to start on Saturday, but with an ankle there is always a possibility of the injury resurfacing. If that happens, it appears Curtis Brown is next in line at cornerback.

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

The Longhorns get conference play started this week with a road game against the Colorado Buffaloes. Texas has been on a roll, while CU enters the game after suffering their first loss of the season last week in [tag]Florida State[/tag]. Last year, Colorado shocked [tag]Oklahoma[/tag] in Boulder the week before the UT-OU showdown so Texas will have to show up to play and not look ahead to Dallas if they want to leave undefeated.

When Texas has the ball

Quarterback [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] has played as good as any other quarterback in the country. McCoy has played as good as any player in the country. Period. The guy has done everything for the Longhorns: he runs, he passes, he pooch punts, if he cleaned the locker room and prepared the food would you be shocked? Me neither. A great quarterback gives a football team a chance to win every game. McCoy is a great quarterback, and shows no signs of slowing down in the first test Texas faces this season. The offensive line has been above average. While the pass coverage has been outstanding, this group must take some of the blame for a lack of production from the backs. Colorado has given up a ton of yards in back to back games to [tag]West Virginia[/tag] and Florida State. A good day would be great for confidence heading into OU week.

The Colorado defense is simple, but good. They don’t blitz a lot, they don’t disguise coverage, they play mostly zone. Expect Texas to pass, and do it often with McCoy getting pre-snap reads on virtually every play. Texas is hopeful running back [tag]Foswhitt Whittaker[/tag] will be back this weekend. Couple the darting style of Whittaker with the emergent bruising style of [tag]Cody Johnson[/tag] and the struggling Longhorn backfield could become one of the better tandems in the nation. Take into account that both of them are freshman and it should ease the anxiety of a Longhorn fan base that is used to stars toting the rock.

The biggest concern for Texas fans should be the inability of [tag]Malcolm Williams[/tag], and to a lesser extent [tag]Dan Buckner[/tag], to become a deep threat that opposing coaches must worry about. I can not remember one deep ball thrown to either of these guys when the ball wasn’t near the goal line. [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] and [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] have been very good, but with the loss of [tag]Blaine Irby[/tag] a threat down the field needs to replace the threat in the middle to allow space for Cosby and Shipley. If the offense can’t find one, the room Shipley and Cosby have been enjoying will dry up quickly.

When Colorado has the ball

Last week we finally got to see what [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] is going to do with the Texas defense. Attack, attack, attack. The Longhorn defense was flying to the ball, and when they got their they made sure Arkansas ball carriers remembered it. Never under [tag]Mack Brown[/tag] has a defense been as fast and aggressive as the defense was this week. When the knowledge and experience that only comes with game snaps catches up with the raw talent and energy of this defense this group is going to remind a lot of people of the old Miami and Florida State defenses UT fans used to beg for. Mack Brown’s best coaching move may be hiring Will Muschamp when it is all said and done.

On offense Colorado is just a solid football team. They don’t do a lot of things great, but they don’t hurt themselves. These are the types of teams that can jump up and bite a better team. If Texas makes mistakes and lets Colorado hang around, the home crowd could put them over the top. However, these types of teams can also be overwhelmed if the better team applies pressure from the beginning. The best way to silence a crowd is to make big plays with your defense.

UT has already scored twice this year on the defensive side of the ball. Texas is ranked in the top 10 in scoring defense, and has been applying a ton of pressure the last two games. The combination of [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] and [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag] has to keep opposing quarterbacks awake at night. With those two coming off the edge, it has almost been a guarantee someone is getting to the quarterback. Add [tag]Lamarr Houston[/tag], [tag]Henry Melton[/tag], [tag]Sam Acho[/tag], and [tag]Eddie Jones[/tag], and you can see how Texas has recorded seven sacks in each of the last two games.

Muschamp biggest contribution could be the job he is doing as the linebackers coach. Last year this same group of players looked lost in many situations. The scheme seemed to have them playing on their hills, a skill the collective group lacks. The scheme brought in by Muschamp has the linebacker’s core playing downhill and loving it. And while the group of [tag]Rashad Bobino[/tag], [tag]Roddrick Muckelroy[/tag], Sergio Kindle, and [tag]Jared Norton[/tag] have been great; the next great linebacker at Texas may have had his coming out party against Arkansas in the second half. His name is [tag]Keenan Robinson[/tag]. The freshman was everywhere, and just appeared to be playing at a different speed. Muschamp loves speed. I don’t know whose snaps will be taken away, but Robinson is going to play more and more.

The secondary is coming together, and it has all hinged on the play of safety [tag]Earl Thomas[/tag]. The secondary is what it is, but if Thomas can play with his swagger, and the front seven keeps applying pressure they have a chance to improve greatly. The best friend to a secondary is a pass rush, and I expect Texas to blitz a lot from here on out. The young secondary will get beat a few times, but so far they have gotten better each week. Muschamp will make sure that continues.

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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 7th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Feature, Football

Quan Cosby had a career night vs. UTEP

Quan Cosby had a career night

The Texas Longhorns have moved to 2-0 on the season with a win Saturday night over the UTEP Miners. A little closer than most expected in the first half but they eventually pulled away late in the third quarter. Overall it was a good, but not great performance by the Horns.

As Texas fans we’re spoiled and were expecting more out of the offense in the second half and a better showing from the defense. Despite the final score the game didn’t go as many predicted, and the team didn’t seem nearly as sharp as in the opening week. It is important to remember that at this time last year Texas had squeaked by Arkansas State and needed a second half comeback to beat TCU.

The team is definitely not playing its best football, the young secondary and the offensive line are only going to get better with each game. However, to win two games by large margins while so many youngsters learn on the job has to be encouraging for later in the season and certainly 2009.

Read on for some additional quick thoughts on the game:

Good

  • [tag]Jared Norton[/tag] got the start. [tag]Rashad Bobino[/tag] got plenty of playing time but the fact that Norton started ahead of the senior linebacker is a sign that playing time is based on performance and not seniority.
  • Quarterback [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] was incredibly sharp again in the first half. He completed 14 of 16 passes in the first half for 187 yards and three TDs. He finished the game with 282 yards and 4 TDs. He seems to always be on the same page with his top wide receivers, [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] and [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag].
  • Speaking of Cosby, he played his best game as a Horn against the Miners. In addition to his 8 catches for 154 yards he also made a huge play by returning a UTEP missed field goal for a momentum-changing 74 yards.
  • Tight end [tag]Blaine Irby[/tag] made another appearance in the offensive gameplan. After the loss of Jermichael Finley to the NFL there was expected to be a big drop off in performance at the position but Irby has been great so far. He only had one catch but it was a nice 23-yard touchdown grab.
  • Welcome [tag]Fozzy Whittaker[/tag]. It might take a few more weeks, but it looks like we may have found our next starting running back.
  • [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] coaches angry. The defense has been far from perfect, but the effort and attitude is definitely there and that can be directly credited to Muschamp. The team hasn’t allowed a second half point yet this season.

Bad

  • [tag]Earl Thomas[/tag] needs to step it up at safety. The talent is there but he needs to improve with every game.
  • The offensive and defensive lines did not look like they were overpowering UTEP’s inferior players until the Texas depth started to wear on them. Texas should be capable of dominating the trenches from the opening snap against a team like UTEP or they could struggle against Big 12 opponents.
  • [tag]Greg Davis[/tag] showed no interest in getting the running game going. Whittaker was ripping off big chunks of yardage every time he carried the ball but despite that there wasn’t much effort to get him the football. There were only 18-20 rushing attempts before garbage time.
  • Colt McCoy was far from sharp for most of the third quarter. It may have just stood out after three nearly perfect quarters of QB play but he missed several open receivers and threw a couple of ducks into the dirt as well. His tendency to abandon the pocket too quickly also reared its head a couple of times in the second half.
  • Where is [tag]John Chiles[/tag]? He hasn’t gotten a ton of plays and when he’s in there as part of the “Q package” he appears to largely be being used as a decoy. He had no catches and only two carries for five yards. Even worse, when he got in there to replace McCoy in the fourth quarter it was purely to hand off the football and he didn’t look too excited about that.
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Posted August 27th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Football

Position Rating: C+
Starters: Rashad Bobino, Roddrick Muckelroy, Sergio Kindle
Reserves: Jared Norton, Keenan Robinson, Emmanuel Acho

Jared Norton and Roddrick MuckelroyLinebacker has been a position of much consternation for the Longhorns since Derrick Johnson left the 40 Acres. A good way to ruin a perfectly good time last season was to bring up linebacker play around a bunch of Texas fans. This year might be different as there are guys all over the depth chart that have fans excited.

Probably the player the Texas fanbase is most excited about is starting strongside linebacker [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag]. Fans have been awaiting his arrival since the moment he committed to the Horns back in 2005. Injuries have slowed down his career so far but now as a junior he may be ready to explode on the scene. Backing him up is [tag]Keenan Robinson[/tag], a redshirt freshman who coaches are incredibly high on.

At middle linebacker [tag]Rashad Bobino[/tag] is entering his fourth year starting for the Horns. Bobino isn’t the biggest or most athletic guy but he’s smart and plays well in space. Despite Bobino’s experience he’s being pushed hard by his backup, sophomore [tag]Jared Norton[/tag]. Officially listed as a co-starter, Norton is the prototypical middle linebacker who had to lighten up to be able to run with the many spread offenses in the Big 12. Norton will knock your block off and may play more than Bobino against certain teams and in certain situations.

Starting on the weakside is [tag]Roddrick Muckelroy[/tag]. Muckelroy was a starter back in his redshirt freshman season and has finally earned his spot back late last season in the Holiday Bowl. He moves well but also isn’t afraid to knock your lights out. His athletic potential had Texas fans screaming that he should be in there all last season. Behind Muckelroy is true freshman [tag]Emmanuel Acho[/tag]. Some questioned his recruitment but Sam’s little bro definitely is making the jump from TAPPS to the big leagues look easy.

If I was grading purely on potential this group would be much higher. Bobino is the only player we truly know what he’s capable of, but the talent is most definitely there and if Muck and Kindle come on like they should this unit could actually be a team strength by midseason. This has been a position of weakness for years and a big improvement here would solidify the Horns against both the run and the pass.

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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 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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Posted June 14th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Football, Quick Hits

Summer update: Rashad Bobino. Rashad recently graduated and is eager to get back to work.

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Longhorns participate in Leadership Luncheon. Vince Young, Mike Griffin, Kyle Russell, & others discuss the importance of effective organizations & leadership skills.

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