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Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Four Downs: Texas' X-factor in 2013

By Sean Adams

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

First down: X-factor in 2013

Yeah, I’m probably putting too much pressure on this guy, but I am convinced the X-factor for the Longhorns in 2013 is offensive coordinator Major Applewhite.

Major Applewhite
New Texas play-caller Major Applewhite is transitioning the Longhorns' offense and upping the pace.
Applewhite was a cult hero in Austin during his playing days and has not lost his popularity during his coaching years. He says all of the right things and it is not coach-speak. I have always been impressed with his resolve as player and a coach. After hearing his postgame comments after the Alamo Bowl win over Oregon State, my impression of him only grew stronger.

As a former quarterback who is trying to run an uptempo offense, Applewhite will be the perfect mentor for a quarterback (David Ash) trying to find his way leading one of America’s top college football programs.

Second down: Does Brewer leaving Texas matter?

That almost seems like a harsh question to ask, but in the age of commodity in college football, Connor Brewer is a number on an 85-man roster.

Brewer is an asset that is highly valued, based on his scholarship offers list out of high school and his interest list now that he has received his release from Texas.

But let’s be honest: Texas' depth chart was flush with quarterbacks, and there is another on the way for the Class of 2014. Brewer leaving, along with Jalen Overstreet’s position change, puts a lot of pressure on 2014 recruit Jerrod Heard.

While you devalue losing a player the ilk of Brewer, it might be a good move for both sides as Brewer can find a great place to play and Texas can relieve some pressure on the depth chart.

Third down: I’ll buy offensive line hype for $1,000

We have seen some great offensive linemen at Texas but very few great offensive lines. We have seen some bad Texas offensive lines get abused, like the 2009 offensive line against Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game.

I don’t know if Texas will have the best offensive line in the country, as some have projected. But I think the Longhorns will have the best O-line in the Big 12 this season. That is a huge step.

When you couple what the Longhorns have with the 2013 class starting this fall, the offensive line is set for a couple years and should only improve.

Fourth down: Speed in Waco

There is a lot of speed on the Baylor campus and the lion’s share is on the football team. I don’t know if former Baylor track coach Clyde Hart is running the show in recruiting for Art Briles but Baylor has certainly done its share of cornering the market on speed.

I have talked to nearly a dozen people who are close to the Baylor program and most think the Bears will be one of the fastest offenses in the Big 12.

If the Baylor defense can continue to evolve the way it did at the end of the 2012 season, expect Baylor to be in the mix for the Big 12 title. I even had someone tell me that when the Bears host Texas on Dec. 7, it might be for the conference championship. I don’t know that I’m ready to go that far, but don’t count out the Bears.