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Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Four downs: Biggest hurdle left for Texas

By Sean Adams

AUSTIN, Texas -- Each week Sean Adams looks at a few topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.

First down: Why does Texas have spring practice so early?

If there is one thing that I have learned over time is that down time in college football is never a good thing. Former Longhorn Sergio Kindle told me during his Texas days that he did not like not being out of football season because he appreciated the order and structure.

One of the other worries of college coaches and fans everywhere is spring break. Whether the destination is Lake Havasu in Arizona, Panama City Beach in Florida or South Padre Island in Texas, spring break has all the possibilities of fun and all of the trappings of trouble.

Texas, during the Mack Brown era, has been one of the schools to start spring practice the earliest in the country. There has to be something to having spring practice on both sides of spring break, keeping at least some of the players from getting too wild on vacation.

If a player is in a fight for a role on the team, taking a week off and treating their body like a party favor and reentering the competition for playing time will almost always lead to negative results. The players know that.

Instead of preaching to the young men about taking care of their bodies, preventing the opportunity might be the best way to go.

Second down: Why is there still negativity about Ash?

There are new quarterbacks at Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. David Ash is the leading returning passer in the Big 12. He blew away the projections that most people had for him during the 2012 season, including mine.

Ash has become Missouri. Missouri is the ‘Show Me’ state and many Texas fans want Ash to show them before they believe in him. The fanbase has been jilted one too many times over the last couple of seasons and it is slow to come around.

Texas fans see all of the good printed above but think back to his struggles with Oklahoma, Kansas and TCU in 2012.

Let’s just say that the most positive of fans are cautiously optimistic as to how this is going to turn out. History proves that players that get better year over year continue to do the same. While Ash might still be questioned, even his history tells us that he will get better.

The negativity surrounding him in some circles will only go away when he has earned it. Dallas in October will be the first time that he can earn it, and every Longhorns fan is looking forward to that day.

Third down: What is the biggest hurdle left for Texas?

Going back to the 2010 season, the reason/excuses are great as to why the Texas program hit hard times. There was quarterback play. There was offensive scheme. There was a culture of complacency. There were issues surrounding whether Texas had enough talent to compete with the highest levels of college football. There were seemingly issues everywhere.

After two years and two bowl wins most of the questions have been answered. The lone question that remains centers around the resolve of the Texas football program as a whole.

Does it have the leadership that college football requires for large-scale success? Does it have the resolve to conquer when things don’t go their way? Will Mack Brown have the Longhorns peaking at the right time and believing in what is possible based on their preparation and not the name on their jersey?

Fourth down: Can Texas handle the things they can’t control?

There are a lot of things swirling around the Texas football program that are, frankly, above their pay grade. There is rumor and innuendo about stability in the athletic department and school administration. There is negative recruiting going on about Texas unlike we have seen during the Brown era.

Can Brown and his staff shield this team and foster greater concentration on football based on the possibility of greatness?

Every school around the country has issues that it has to deal with. The programs that can manage the issues and focus more on football will be the programs that thrive and ultimately have success.