- Carter Strickland, Reporter, HornsNation
The Texas quarterbacks have dominated the headlines for the past month -- actually the past 12-plus months -- but there are a few more storylines for the No. 15 Longhorns as they take the field for the first time against Wyoming on Saturday.
With that in mind here are three questions Texas hopes to have answers to by the time Week One is over and Week Two begins.
Who, if anybody, will run the wild formation?
Texas is not as in love with the wild formation as it was a year ago. A lot of that has to do with Fozzy Whittaker being gone. He was extremely adept at being patient and finding the right creases in that set.
After weeks of trying out everybody from Jalen Overstreet to Jeremy Hills, Texas appears as if it has settled on Joe Bergeron to take the direct snap in short-yardage situations and Johnathan Gray to be more of a traditional wild back.
Bergeron brings with him a powerful, straight-ahead running style that is conducive to getting one or two tough yards if he has a full head of steam. He also has enough shimmy in his game that if something opens up he can bust a longer run.
Gray can get to the outside and is a better cutback runner than Bergeron. These two qualities make him perfectly suited to take the direct snap in those longer down-and-distance plays.
But Texas might not rely on the formation as much as it did a year ago. The Longhorns typically used the package in red zone situations. This year there is the thought, at least early on, that Texas must expand its options in the red zone and therefore might shy away from the wild formation at least in the nonconference games.
Can Texas create depth in the offensive line?
Offensive line depth is the largest concern Texas has in 2012. There was the thought hat Sedrick Flowers would step up and he has yet to do that. Remember this was a player Texas was depending on as a true freshman until he suffered an injury and redshirted. Flowers is over the injury but, despite being the top athlete on the offensive line, has not shown that he has what it takes to be a consistent player.
He is not alone in that. Right now Texas only feels comfortable with seven offensive linemen -- Luke Poehlmann and Thomas Ashcraft are the top two subs. That means Texas is going to be looking hard at Garrett Porter and Garrett Greenlea in this first game. Kennedy Estelle, a true freshman, is also going to get work at tackle. Texas has to get Estelle up to speed because he is going to play in Big 12 conference games.
With Anthony Fera out how sound is the kicking game?
Fera was not a player Texas recruited or expected to have for 2012. In fact, the Longhorns expected to have freshman Nick Jordan as the starting kicker. Because of the muscle pull suffered by the Penn State transfer, it turns out it will be Jordan out there for field goals and extra points.
Now while this game is not going to be settled by a last-second kick or even really any kicks that re too important, the Texas coaches will want to see how Jordan reacts in front of 101,000 fans. If he turns out to be solid this could help Texas down the line. Fera could be out until the Oklahoma State game. And while no one on the preseason schedule is that daunting if Jordan can get a few quality kicks in here or there he would be more than a capable backup if Fera injury reoccurs or if he is not as accurate as he was at Penn State.
Jordan has a big leg. He has also hit some pressure playoff kicks in high school. Additionally, Texas is not afraid to have a true freshman kicker. Dusty Mangum was the last one. He made 70 percent of his kicks in 2001.
But ultimately Texas would prefer to have a veteran in a clutch situation. Mack Brown has never had a true freshman kick a game-winner. That might be why Texas is eight for eight in those situations in his 14 previous seasons.
The Texas quarterbacks have dominated the headlines for the past month -- actually the past 12-plus months -- but there are a few more storylines for the No.