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Friday, May 24, 2013
HornsNation Mailbag: Texas' leaders?

By Sean Adams

Every Friday, HornsNation's Sean Adams will answer questions from readers. Send him a question on Twitter here.

Daniel Mike Honcho Mendoza, Pasadena, Texas: Has Coach [Manny] Diaz found a solid consistent safety to fill the void left by Kenny Vaccaro's graduation?

Quandre Diggs
Will talented cornerback Quandre Diggs be a leader for the Longhorns this season?
A: The staple at safety will end up being Adrian Phillips. He was not able to tackle last spring and most of fall camp as he recovered from injuries and that was reflected in his play when the season started. 2013 should be a breakout year for Phillips and he should start the season the way he finished 2012 and get better from there.

@ckimberli on Twitter: In order for Texas to get to the BCS, _____ needs to have a breakout season (not named David Ash).

A: That _____ for me on offense has to be incoming transfer Desmond Harrison, because the offensive line is looking for one big bad boy to make the starting five. If the offensive line can play better than it did in 2012, Txexas has a shot to be the best in the Big 12.

On defense, I’m going to the middle and saying if Jordan Hicks has a big year, then the Texas defense will hum and make big-time strides over last year.

If both of these things happen, Texas will win the Big 12.

Larry Bonner II, Washington, D.C.: For years the Longhorns seemed to be a top-10 program but have fallen off in recent years. Is that due to losing some good coaches or being out-recruited?

A: I don’t know that it is either one of those, even though it's plain to see that there were some talent deficiencies. I believe those deficiencies were evaluation issues more so than being out-recruited.

Texas has lost some very good coaches and they have hired some very good coaches to replace them. I do believe that Texas does not have a ying-and-yang coaching staff. There are a lot of "good cops" and I’m trying to figure out who the "bad cops" are. I don’t see players with a healthy amount of fear. Some folks think that is a bad thing to have, but I’m not one of them.

There are plenty of kids around the country playing really hard on every single play because they are scared not to and know that accountability is a strong hand.

Lance Tindol, San Antonio: Where is the leadership going to come from for this year's team? Seems like the success that Coach Brown's teams have had in the past, it was a vocal leader that took the reins and led.

A: The offense is always the easy one. Ash will be the leader if they are going to play well and beat defenses that are on par in skill. A quarterback does not have to be a great leader in order to beat teams that they outclass. There is no quarterback that beats a team better than his own that is not a strong leader.

The defensive side of the ball will probably be led by Jackson Jeffcoat up front, Hicks in the middle and Quandre Diggs and Phillips in the back. There is no lack of leadership on the defensive side of the ball and that is why I predict they will be much better on defense.