Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Four downs: Who is Texas' bad cop?
By Sean Adams
Each week Sean Adams takes a look at some topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.
First down: We have some ying, where’s the yang?
Is defensive coordinator Manny Diaz Texas' disciplinarian?
Every staff in the country has two kinds of coaches. There is the coach that turns red and has to be calmed down and there is the coach that does the calming. There are "good cops" and "bad cops." For every Nick Saban spitting and yelling and throwing headsets, there is a Bobby Williams that comes behind them and hugs the player with a statement like, “Come on, he just wants you to be the best you can be. He loves you and we need you.”
Bobby Bowden, the good cop, had Chuck Amato and Mickey Andrews.
Mack Brown, the good cop, had Dick Tomey and Will Muschamp.
Who is the bad cop now? Who do the players fear? I don’t mean fear as in danger. I mean fear as in, “When I screw up, I don’t want to go to the sidelines." I mean fear as in, "I’m scared to watch film tomorrow.” I mean fear as in, "I’m going to lose my job.”
Who sets the edge for this team? Is that person defensive coordinator Manny Diaz? Is that person offensive line coach Stacy Searels?
Whoever that person is, they need to be heard. There seems to be no healthy amount of fear in the Texas program. I see interceptions thrown, tackles missed and passes dropped and very little chastising when they get back to the sideline. While that is not the end all and be all to a football team, that is part of the formation of a team and accountability.
Second down: Is the offense too complicated?
I was all for the offense put in buckets when I first heard about Bryan Harsin and the way his offense was structured at Boise State. His goal was to define roles for players and give the best athletes opportunities to get the ball in prime positions.
That worked for a while and still does, but the overview of the offense is that there is too much going on. There are so many different things that Texas probably does OK, but nothing is done really great. Players are not allowed to find a rhythm within the offense and the offense has become somewhat predictable based on motions and personnel packages.
Texas should not have to do what Boise State did to find success. Texas gets some of the best athletes in the country and tricking and teams without a consistent scheme is almost a misuse of talent.
Simple will be better for this team in 2013.
Third down: Another QB?
Texas is looking at two junior college quarterbacks: Nick Marshall of Garden City Community College and Arizona Western College's Tanner McEvoy.
With five scholarship quarterbacks (Case McCoy, David Ash, Conner Brewer, Jalen Overstreet and Tyrone Swoopes) already in the fold and sealed for the 2013 season, Texas is talking to more quarterbacks.
Does that mean that it is not happy with those signal-callers on campus or does that mean that it knows all five will not be back on campus for the 2013 season?
Either way, the quarterback situation is a mess. For an offense that over-delivered this fall it appears the only position that will come back with a dose of unknown will be the quarterback spot.
I will stay with the notion that Texas will not be a championship winning team in 2013 if it doesn't leave the spring with a dialed-in, 100-percent starting quarterback. This is a competition that cannot go into the fall.
Fourth down: When are people going to talk about the defense?
I heard coach Mack Brown, media members, television broadcasters and just about anyone else with an opinion consistently rake the offense over the coals. I get it. Texas did not show up on offense in the games that matter most against the top teams that they played in Oklahoma and Kansas State. McCoy had to come in to save the day against Kansas.
Ash struggled in three games. But let me be honest: Ash is better than I expected in 2012. The wide receivers came to play in 2012, the running backs were good and the offensive line got better despite some woes from a talent perspective.
The Texas defense ended the 2011 year as the No. 11-ranked defense in the country. It brought back the defensive line almost intact with Brandon Moore from the junior college ranks. The linebackers were talented but probably oversold. The defensive backfield graduated one but who knew Blake Gideon was the glue that held everything together?
The defense was not good in 2012 and that is treating it with kid gloves. It finally got some things turned around near the end of the season by simplifying but as a former Longhorn All American told me, “Every time they got hit in the mouth more than once, they did not have blows to come back. They didn’t quit but they didn’t play with passion. That’s a fact.”
Based on predictions coming into the season the Texas offense over delivered and the defense underperformed.