September 9, 2011

The Ticket City Locker Room


Q: (Water Brother) - I know most everyone is excited about Marquise Goodwin's return, but I am concerned it may hurt some team chemistry especially with the receiving corp. The players worked out very hard all summer together with Bennie Wylie and 7-on-7 and I think bonded from it. I am not sure they will love the idea of a player who wasn't there for all the blood and sweat to take snaps from them. If we many games this year it will have a lot to do with chemistry and cohesiveness. Garrett Gilbert is excited but do you have any feel from the other WRs on how they feel about Goodwin coming back?

A: I think the concern is fair, but the bigger question is this - is he the kind of overall good guy that a team would welcome regardless of situation? I think the answer is yes, and if you judge the online reactions of numerous Longhorns on Twitter, the sentiment was extremely supportive and positive. I think it's important to note a few things in the discussion. First, he's probably going to be a limited player for a lot of the season as he learns/adjusts to a new offense/team. Second, this is where Bryan Harsin should prove his worth as an offensive coordinator because he doesn't need to give Goodwin the entire offense to make him a possible impact player within the offense. Like David Ash, I expect that Harsin will create a package of plays that showcase Goodwin's strengths and perhaps his role expands as the season goes along, but he has to be viewed as a specialty player right now, and potentially an important one. Considering the lack of a true veteran presence at receiver, I would only view the junior returning as a positive thing.

Q: (Sydney15) -Let's be honest, this conference is done. As much as we want the Big 12 to remain in existence it's just not going to happen. This is a boat that taken on water at a rapid pace. The options for replacement are not very attractive at all plus at the end of the day Texas looks like the bad guy in all of this. Personally, I would love for this conference to stay together and it saddens me to know that the conference I've know most of my adult life is on life support. That being said is going independent or going to the PAC12 the only reasonable solution to this situation for Texas?

Also I'm really at odds with A&M leaving. Even if I really don't care much for them or the culture I still consider them family. But what really concerns me the most is the potential for A&M opening up Pandora's box and letting the SEC into the state of Texas as far as recruiting goes. For the most part if the Aggies wants to leave let them leave but I don't believe for a moment it will help them more in recruiting, if anything I feel like they are leaving the back door open for the SEC to sneak in. We all know why the SEC would be happy to get into Texas and it's not to increase their revenue or fan base it's to get at Texas recruits. UT has spent the last 15 year trying to keep most of these kids in state so my question is how many in the future do you think we might lose to the SEC?

Last question. For a long time now I've believed that the hiring of Mack Brown and then later Bob Stoops has change the land scape in college football. Traditional powers of the 90's like Notre Dame, Florida State, Miami, Nebraska, Tennessee and even A&M have never really been the same since their arrival in the Big 12. It leads me to believe a lot of these school use to cherry pick what they wanted out of Texas to top off their rosters and since they haven't been as successful at doing that their programs have suffered. If and when the Big 12 collapses do you feel like these teams will make resurgence in Texas?

A: Before, I answer any of the questions, let me say from the start that I am an unabashed supporter of Texas playing in a Pac-16 Conference. From the destinations to the incredible set of major media markets to the academic alliances, there's just a hell of a lot to like.

That being said, I think there are a lot of reasonable options for the Longhorns, so the key question is which represents the best option. I think adding BYU (if it could happen) as a replacement for Texas A&M is probably a win if you're talking about apples to apples comparisons between the two. One if a national program with the juice to think they can thrive as an independent. One has a history as a program that is respected nationally. One has a national title since the Eisenhower presidency. One wins bowl games. The other school is A&M. So, that's a reasonable option. The Pac-12 is reasonable to say the least, but the issue of the Longhorn Network won't go away. I would have to think it would be over DeLoss Dodds' dead body before he's share the baby with a regional neighbor like Texas Tech. The Big 10 could be a reasonable option if Texas would agree to forego Big 12 Network revenue for the sake of the Longhorn Network cash. The Big 10 is reasonable, but not convenient for non-revenue sports. As it relates to the idea of independence, there's a debate about how reasonable the move would be outside of football. It doesn't seem to be the path Dodds would prefer. I'm not sure amny of us truly have a handle yet on what the true best option is.

As for the recruiting questions, yes, I think an A&M move to the SEC would have an impact on recruiting, but I don't know that it would translate to a sonic boom of any sorts. As long as Mack Brown is in charge, it's hard to imagine the Longhorns losing their in-state juice in recruiting. Perhaps an SEC move impacts two or three kids that it wouldn't have otherwise, but the state is deep enough in most cases that the overall impact to Texas wouldn't be significant. It will make the SEC a more attractive conference in-state among recruits and there will be an increase in activity/departures, but the overall numbers shouldn't move too heavily. It's not like Alabama is going to sign 10 kids from Texas? The Tide and others will be looking to cherry-pick when they can, with LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Arkansas standing to gain the most, especially the Razorbacks and Tigers (maybe two or three additional kids in some years that it helps them net). With the Aggies, it's going to positively impact them with a sizeable crop of kids, especially kids that don't have the Longhorns on the radar. The key to sustaining early momentum is a positive start and winning. The Aggies can ill-afford a mediocre start in the conference.

Finally, I don't think any of those schools that used to really rake in Texas is a huge threat in 2011. Those schools have to get back to consistently being really good first.

Q: (RickNelson) - Watching Malcolm Brown at the game, he seemed like a taller version of Emmitt Smith -- no AP super-speed or Ricky Williams tackle exploders-- just incredibly gifted at finding holes, reading his blocks, and making guys miss. Am I underestimating his speed and/or power? Emmitt made the Hall of Fame with that kind of talent -- what kind of runner do you see in Brown now and how do you see him after he gets substantial game experience? Thanks

A: Brown is probably more of a natural physical runner that looks to run through tackles with contact more than Emmitt (although he was one of the best run finishers of all-time), but they do have a lot of the same strengths/perceived weaknesses. More than anything, both do a great job of seeing the field and running North/South without a lot of wasted motion. If he stays healthy, he has a chance to be a difference-making player at the collegiate level. He's always reminded me of a young Jonathan Stewart.

Q: (Donjuanovan) - Two questions:

1) Is it actually Manny Diaz's scheme to have his LB's lining up literally 5-6 yards off the line of scrimmage so that the earliest they possibly get to hit the RB is a yard down field? Or was this part of the "mis-alignments" that was referenced in the Q&A? I could not believe it watching the game back on Sunday how many times our LB's were so far off the line and so they first touched the RB after he was past the line of scrimmage - and these were not obvious passing down situations. Did anyone ask Diaz about that at any Q&A post-game or this week?

2) The penalty that we were called for 3 times was for having two men in motion, but can you clarify what the penalty rule is? On the broadcast is sounded like they said it was for having two men in motion and that one had not been reset before the snap, or it is that BOTH have to fully reset before the snap? If only one has to be reset, then all 3 were blown calls by a long shot. On one, the first guy in motion was clearly reset, but he was just waiving to other guy to keep coming across the field - could the waiving of his hand have considered him still being in motion? That would seem nuts.

A: I have to be honest - it reads like you're nitpicking after the first game of the season with a new defensive scheme without trying to sound like a nitpicker. Of course, it's possible you don't care if you sound like you are nitpicking or not.

Here's what Diaz said about the front seven's play against the run on Monday:

"I expect us to make improvements on our run fits. What I saw last week was not a giant surprise. With a new scheme and the movement and stunting we do up front, our run fits change a lot. It just takes a while for everyone to trust it. I saw in the spring where guys were thinking, 'Should I definitely go?' And then they finally realize, 'Yes. Just go.' And then, bam, all the plays start coming. Then you get into a game, and because of the speed of the game, the same process happens. I've seen this movie before, where they get in the game and start thinking, 'They're going left, should I go left?' And then you can show them in the film room afterward if you would have just taken two more steps you would have had a tackle for loss. That's what this week is all about: being confident, letting it go and trusting the scheme."

No, nobody at the Monday press conference questioned him about the linebacker depth from Saturday night.

As for your second question, I hope I can explain this correctly. An offensive shift is the action of one or more players moving after taking a set position pre-snap, thus moving to a new set position before the snap of the ball. After that shift, there has to be a pause of a second before a player out of that shift can move in motion. At that point, only one player can move in motion before the snap, so if there are more than two players not in a set position, you've got your illegal motion.

Q: (Mongo122580) - Sorry not conference realignment question, I can feel your disappointment. So how surprised were you that 18 true freshman and seven redshirt freshman played in the Rice game? What do you think that means for Texas not only this year, but three or four years down the line, and do you think this is something Mack Brown will continue to do or something he was forced to do with the 07 and 08 recruiting classes not living up to their star rankings? Thanks

A: This is a case of good news and bad news. The good news is that this freshman class is incredibly skilled. The bad news is that the coaches are forced into this spot because of failures in recruiting from 2007-09 in a variety of areas for a variety of reasons. It probably means that there will be some growing pains this season until this group grows up, but the upperclassmen of the future should be an incredibly strong group. The 2012-14 seasons could be big seasons for the program.

Q: (HuffTex) -Now that we are very far removed from one of the, what seemed like, darkest moments of our programs recent history, the end of the 2010 campaign, and Will Muschamp's sudden departure for Florida when we had most of our recruiting class here, I'd like to get some feedback on "feelings." Now, most of us on here are realists, and we realize that you take a REALLY great opportunity when it comes available, and certainly Florida is probably THE only job in the country that can compete with Texas on an almost-even basis. But Texas had also gone out on a limb and made a commitment to Will Muschamp, and Will, in turn, made a commitment to Texas. How do the powers-that-be (Dodds, Powers, Mack,etc.) feel about the way it ended. Are there really sore feelings? Does Mack come at it from a different angle because he realizes you sometimes have to act on a great job as a HC? Just wondering, since everything was handled pretty quietly, and I think we have EXACTLY who we want here in the coordinator positions, but does anyone have the, to borrow an Aggie term, "red-ass" about how he left.

A: Sometimes the best things in life are the unplanned events that cause important change. Do I believe Mack and everyone involved in last season still harbors some tough feelings? Yes. Do I think Mack and Muschamp talk during the season once a week? No. Do I think in time all of the stuff that happened will become white noise and somewhat forgotten in the context of a great two-year run prior to 2010? Yes, time heals all wounds. The truth is that everyone was off their A-game last year, but last year no longer matters. The HCIW tag was misguided in that Muschamp was never going to get the job on a realistic timetable. That being said, perhaps the position created helped ensure that the 2009 season happened, which nearly led to another national title. Also, If absolutely helped ensure back-to-back difference-making recruiting classes in 2010 and 2011. The idea had its flaws, but it did serve a useful purpose for a couple of years.

Q: (memhorn) - Have you watched the Rice film enough to determine which offensive linemen will be able to do a good job this year? Is Tray Allen going to have a good year, and what about the freshmen? What is going on with Paden Kelley? What will be the lineup by bowl time (thinking positively)?