Texas Longhorns: Colt McCoy

Texas recruits react to Mack Brown news 

December, 14, 2013
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The inevitable is now a reality. At the start of 2014, Mack Brown will no longer be the head coach of the Texas Longhorns.

After a week of drama within the Forty Acres that would make some soap operas jealous, one of college football's most interesting stories was stamped with an ending. Texas announced Saturday that Brown will resign following the Longhorns game against Oregon in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30. Per the Longhorn Network, Brown already has informed the team of his incoming resignation.

For college football recruits, Brown's news means a completely new era of Texas football. Many of the prospects committed to Brown's program were mere toddlers when he left North Carolina to take over at Texas in 1998. The majority of 2014 commits were born in 1995 or 1996.

What will Brown's departure mean? For some of the 23 commits, consider it a wait-and-see process. For most of them, consider it a new chapter -- one they're looking forward to.

One thing's for certain: The recruits were big fans of Brown not only as a coach but as a person.

Best WR tandems in Big 12 history

November, 4, 2013
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The Big 12 has featured some prolific wide receiver tandems over the years.

Baylor’s Tevin Reese and Antwan Goodley, however, have a chance to top that list.

[+] EnlargeAntwan Goodley, Tevin Reese
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsAntwan Goodley and Tevin Reese rank 1-2 in the Big 12 in receiving yards per game.
This season, Reese is second in the Big 12 with 118 yards receiving a game. He trails only Goodley, who leads the league with an average of 128 yards receiving. They are a big reason why the Bears are on pace to break the FBS records for points (56.0) and yards (624.9) per game that were set by Army in 1944 and Houston in 1989.

But Reese and Goodley aren’t the only big-time duos in the Big 12 this year.

Kansas State’s Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett have been lighting it up since returning from injury. The last two weeks the two have totaled five touchdown catches.

Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard lead the Sooners with five touchdowns apiece. Texas Tech’s Eric Ward and Jakeem Grant are fifth and sixth in the league in receiving. Oklahoma State’s Josh Stewart and Tracy Moore are beginning to warm up with Clint Chelf at QB. And Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis have been stalwarts in this league for years.

But who are the best tandems ever to play Big 12? We lay it out below.

Tight ends were not included (sorry Jermaine Gresham and Chase Coffman). The tandems were evaluated on what they accomplished together, not on whether their careers simply overlapped (eliminating Jeremy Maclin and Danario Alexander, for example); and, this is a list for duos, not singles, trios or quartets (apologies to Rashaun Woods, and the 2008 Oklahoma and 2010 Baylor receiving corps).

To the list:

1. Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, West Virginia (2012): In their only year in the league, this tandem was one-two in the Big 12 in receiving, combining for 224 receptions and 2,914 receiving yards. Bailey himself had 25 receiving touchdowns; nobody else in the league had more than 13. Austin, meanwhile, also rushed for 344 yards in one game at running back. As Bailey tweeted out earlier Monday morning on this topic, “case closed.”

2. Michael Crabtree and Danny Amendola, Texas Tech (2007): Crabtree got all the headlines in 2007 on his way to winning his first of two Biletnikoff awards. But out of the slot, Amendola quietly put up 109 receptions for 1,245 yards, as Tech went 9-4.

3. Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby, Texas (2008): Shipley and Cosby starred on one of the three best Big 12 teams that didn’t win a conference title. The two each had 1,000 receiving yards and double-digit TDs from QB Colt McCoy, as the Longhorns finished the year 12-1, their only loss coming on Crabtree’s game-winning touchdown in the final seconds in Lubbock. The two were also prolific on special teams, with Shipley’s kick return touchdown sparking Texas’ 45-35 comeback win over Oklahoma.

4. Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper, Oklahoma State (2011): As with Crabtree-Amendola, Blackmon got all the attention on his way to a second Biletnikoff award. But Cooper was a pivotal piece in OSU’s first Big 12 title team, as he racked up 71 receptions out of the slot. Blackmon, of course, had a monster year with 121 catches and 18 touchdowns.

5. Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams, Baylor (2011): Reese was actually the third wheel to this duo, which shined with RGIII at quarterback. Wright was an All-American with 108 catches, 1,663 yard and 14 touchdowns. Williams was big time, too, finishing fifth in the Big 12 in receiving before taking over the No. 1 role in 2012.

6. Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills, Oklahoma (2010): Broyles led college football with 131 receptions on his way to becoming the all-time FBS leader in career catches. Stills broke OU’s freshman single-season receiving record, as the Sooners stormed back to capture the Big 12 crown after a pair of midseason losses.

7. Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas (2008): It might be difficult to remember now, but the Jayhawks used to play some ball. Meier tied Crabtree for second in the league with 97 receptions. Briscoe trailed only Dez Bryant with 1,402 receiving yards. This was an underrated duo.

8. Quincy Morgan and Aaron Lockett, Kansas State (1999): On one of the first passing teams in the Big 12, Morgan and Lockett shined. Morgan had 42 receptions for 1,007 yards and nine touchdowns and was a first-team all-conference selection. Lockett, Tyler Lockett's uncle, was a second-team all-league pick for the Wildcats, who went 11-1 and finished the year ranked sixth in the polls.

9. Jarrett Hicks and Joel Filani, Texas Tech (2005): Neither might be a household name around the Big 12 anymore, but these two were both first-team All-Big 12 selections in ’05 along with Iowa State WR Todd Blythe.

10. Mark Clayton and Travis Wilson, Oklahoma (2004): Clayton carried the moniker of best receiver in OU history until Broyles came around. Because of Adrian Peterson, Clayton’s numbers dipped in ’04, but he was still an All-American with 66 catches. Wilson led the Sooners with 11 TD grabs, as OU advanced to a second consecutive national championship game.
The Big 12 "Junior Jump" is real. Just look at the numbers.

Justin Ray of ESPN Stats & Info took a look today at the trend of Big 12 passers making a statistical jump from sophomore year to junior year. For many of the league's recent big-name quarterbacks, the results were impressive. Check it out.

Eight of them -- including Robert Griffin III, Colt McCoy and Chase Daniel -- put up higher completion percentages and passing yards in year three, and six threw for more touchdowns.

David Ash appears poised to join that rather elite class of quarterbacks. Like the rest of them, he put up a passer efficiency rating of 130.00 or better in his second year, and Ray believes if the trend holds true Ash could be on pace for more than 3,000 passing yards and a 71.2 completion percentage.

The best indicators for hope are what McCoy and Vince Young did as juniors. Young raised his passing yardage 1,187 yards, threw 14 more touchdowns and improved his passer rating 35.5 points in his third year. Of course, he also won a national championship.

McCoy's numbers didn't improve at such a dramatic clip from a yardage standpoint, but his completions went up 11.6 percent, he threw 12 more touchdowns and 10 fewer interceptions and raised his passer rating a similar 34.6 points.

And he ended that 2008 season with a victory in the Fiesta Bowl. If Ash can lead this team back to Tempe, Texas would be just fine with that -- no matter what stats he puts up.

Opening camp: Texas Longhorns

August, 5, 2013
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Texas is the next Big 12 team who'll begin preseason camp. Let's have a closer look at the Longhorns.

Schedule: Texas will have its first practice Monday after players reported on Sunday. In a somewhat surprising decision, the Longhorns will host three open practices for fans at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. They'll all be this week, beginning with Thursday and Friday's 7:30 p.m. ET practice and followed by an 8 p.m. ET practice on Sunday.

Setting the scene: It's no understatement to say this season could define Mack Brown's tenure at Texas. If the Longhorns turn the corner and find themselves in a BCS game come January, he'll have successfully turned around Texas. He'll have a strong team returning in 2014 and an uptick in recruiting that signals greener pastures ahead and a more placid end to his career in Austin, whenever that happens. If we see an 8-9 win season or worse, an amazing run in the 2000s will have led to a post-Colt McCoy downfall and Brown likely won't be around to coach those 2014 and 2015 recruits. It'll color how he's remembered and this season will have a huge impact on what the next three to four years look like at Texas.

All eyes on: The defense. We're not going to learn anything about David Ash in preseason camp, but the defense has to show signs that it's capable of bouncing back from last season's nightmare that gave up more rushing yards than any team in Texas' history. Manny Diaz stuck around, and the Longhorns brought back 2004 defensive coordinator Greg Robinson to analyze film and do other tasks to help out, mostly from his home in Los Angeles. The personnel is there with the return of Jordan Hicks and stars Jackson Jeffcoat and Quandre Diggs, but this unit has a lot to prove. We'll get an idea of their progress in camp.

Key battle: Offensive tackle. Sophomore Josh Cochran (right) and junior college transfer Donald Hawkins (left) both turned in good efforts a year ago, but Cochran missed the spring with a broken leg. Junior college tackle Desmond Harrison has finally joined the team and could complicate that race. Texas may shift some guys around, like the versatile Trey Hopkins, but the battle for the tackle spot should be one to watch over the next month.

On the mend: Jeffcoat (pectoral) and Hicks (hip) are finally both healthy and ready to go, and the best news of all for Texas is Hicks being given a medical redshirt. That makes him a junior again this season and means he didn't waste last season when he missed 10 games. Jeffcoat has dealt with pectoral injuries in consecutive seasons as well as a high ankle sprain as a freshman. He's got to stay healthy.

Breaking out: Peter Jinkens. The sophomore linebacker had a big finish to the season after grabbing his first start against Iowa State. He had three tackles for loss and a sack against Kansas State, and nine tackles and a pick against Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl win. He's got a lot of speed at 6-foot-1 and 218 pounds roaming the outside, and earned playing time at both weak and strongside.

Outlook: Texas has the potential to be better than any team in the Big 12 with a talented defense, experienced quarterback, deep stable of running backs and a physical, experienced offensive line. Still, all you have to do is look at games against Oklahoma and Kansas a year ago for a healthy, fair dose of skepticism. That's how a team that won nine games a year ago and returns 19 starters gets picked fourth in the Big 12 by the league's media. These Longhorns have a ton to prove, and a bit more experience and talent to do it than they've had in any year since 2010.

Quotable: Brown, on the struggles over the past few years. "We're a quarterbackdriven league, and if you just look at the last ten years, this league has been known for the best quarterbacks in the country and the best passers and the best offenses. So the fact that we've struggled at quarterback for two years on and off is a true fact that we've struggled as a team some because he touches it every time. ... So when you think about the importance of that player at all levels of our game, it is really, really key, and that's why we're so excited to have David with experience, with maturity, with confidence not only in himself but in his team. He's leading the team much better, and they believe in him right now."

HornsNation mailbag: 'What if' 2010 BCS 

August, 2, 2013
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Every Friday, HornsNation's Sean Adams will answer questions from readers. Send him a question on Twitter here.

Dr. Dre (@AndreaDuke15) on Twitter: If Colt McCoy would have stayed in the BCS Championship game against Alabama, do you think Texas would have won?


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AUSTIN, Texas -- Now that the picks in the inaugural all-time Texas draft are in, it is time to pick a few nits. And maybe a few superlatives as well. Here is the good and the bad of the draft.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Johnson
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesLinebacker Derrick Johnson was drafted with the first pick of the second round in our #HornsNationDraft.
Best pick: Steve Worster, fullback, 1968-70: Sure there were a lot of players picked before Worster. In fact, he went in the last round. And it is that fact, plus his obvious skill and accomplishments while at Texas, that makes him the best pick of this draft. Worster was an integral piece of the wishbone offense under Darrell Royal. He rushed for 2,353 yards at Texas and was part of back-to-back national title teams. For Worster to last as long as he did was a shock and a nod to the fact that fullback is a position many overlook these days. Galindo, whose team was built on defense and line play, picked up a valuable asset who fits the dynamic of his team when he snagged Worster in round 24.

Most underrated pick: Doug English. The defensive tackle had 260 career tackles (111 solo), was a two-time all-conference player, a first-team All-American in 1974 and is a member of the College Football Hall of fame. Somehow he slipped to the 18th round of a 24-round draft.

Biggest reach: Kwame Cavil. Texas has not been a school blessed with wide receivers, but for Cavil to be the third receiver picked, after Jordan Shipley and Roy Williams, is a stretch. Mike Adams, Quan Cosby and B.J. Johnson had more career receiving yards. And current Longhorn Mike Davis may very well, too, by the end of his career. Plus, Cavil is not in the top 10 in career touchdowns for a receiver.

Toughest position to pick: Wide receiver. Texas simply has not produced much talent at this position. Behind Williams and Shipley it can be a crapshoot when selecting this group. Mike Davis, a current receiver who has had his ups and downs, is actually sixth on the all-time yardage list for receivers. That is how shallow the pool is for receivers at Texas.

Best offensive team: Strickland. Colt McCoy to Jordan Shipley might be enough. It was the most prolific quarterback to receiver combination in the history of Texas and one of the most prolific in college football history. Add in Jermichael Finley who had 76 receptions over a two-year period, more than any Texas tight end, and Alfred Jackson, who averaged 19 yards per catch during the Earl Campbell years, and it makes for the most explosive offense of the four.

Best defensive team: Galindo. It was clear from the start Galindo was going to pick the best Texas players from the weakest positions, which is why, saddled with the last pick of the first round and the first pick of the second, Galindo went with linebackers Tommy Nobis and Derrick Johnson. Add in Brian Orakpo as his third pick and Tony Brackens as the fourth, and this was a team built around defense first.

Team that would win four-team playoff: Adams. Any of the teams can be picked apart, but Adams has a solid balance of offensive firepower and the strongest secondary of the four. Vince Young and Earl Campbell can do a lot of damage to any defense. Shon Mitchell was a flash-in-the-pan back but was productive in the 1995-96 seasons. Add in Johnathan Gray and Adams’ team has the ground game covered. His team is slightly weak in the passing game -- make that very weak -- but in a four-team playoff, controlling the ball and stopping the other team from making explosive plays will win out.

Best lines: Dunn. There were a lot of linemen to go around, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Dunn was bale to pick up maybe the best two Texas linemen early with Bob McKay and Jerry Sisemore. He followed that up with Bill Atessis at defensive tackle, completing a run in which three of his first five picks were used to build the lines. Dunn grabbed Doug English in the 18th round. The only real reach on either line was Roger Roesler, a third team All-American in 1999, but that didn’t come until the 22nd round.

Best backfield: Dunn. Earl Campbell and Jamaal Charles were two of the most prolific backs to play at Texas. Add in Bobby Layne at the quarterback position and it makes for the most complete and sturdy backfield in this year’s draft.
AUSTIN, Texas -- When it came to David Ash, Malcolm Brown's answer was no different than any other Texas player has given over the past several years when the quarterback question has come up.

"Like Mike Davis said, he has a swagger about him now," the running back said of the quarterback.

Only now it might be time to believe in the rising junior. Not because of some huge personality shift in Ash, but because this time –-- the junior season following a multi-year starter's sophomore season -- is typically when said actions start to speak louder than words.

Looking back at eight Big 12 multi-year starting quarterbacks -- Texas’ Colt McCoy, Texas’ Vince Young, Missouri’s Chase Daniel, Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III and Kansas’ Todd Reesing -- all but one had a dramatic leap in every statistical category from their sophomore to junior years. (Jones was the exception. In the six categories measured, he only increased his stats in one category, average yards per game.)

So the odds are Ash, who started 12 games in 2012, should follow suit. Maybe not to the extreme of Young, who topped the other seven aforementioned quarterbacks when it came to overall production increase. But there should at least be a measure of improvement to Ash’s stats. How much is up for debate for the next several months.

But if he follows the statistical average presented by those eight quarterbacks who have gone before him, Ash could see his passing efficiency rating rise by 17.10 points, completion percentage by 5 percent, touchdowns by 5.8, interceptions shrink by a nominal 0.25, overall yards move up 581.8 and yards per game to increase by 45.6.

Of course, there are mitigating factors that could shape whether or not Ash has a rise or fall in his stats in 2013.

One of which is that Ash already experienced a dramatic rise in his stats from 2011 to 2012. In his sophomore season, Ash finished in the top 25 in passer efficiency rating and increased that rating 45.9 points. He had 15 more touchdown passes as a sophomore, threw for 1,620 yards and completed 10.4 percent more of his passes. (He also had 144 more attempts as a sophomore than as a freshman.) The point being that quite possibly a ceiling, if not already hit, is at least within arm’s length.

A counter argument could be that a shift in offensive philosophy, from traditional sets to spread, should serve to bolster his stats. In addition, the Big 12’s defenses -- at least that of the top teams Oklahoma and Kansas State -- have experienced huge losses on their side of the ball. Add that fact to the unavoidable truth that the Big 12 is not exactly chock full of top defenses -- only TCU and Texas Tech finished in the top 40 in total defense in 2012 -- and it sets up for Ash to have at least a nominal rise in his statistical production in his junior season.

If all that is not enough to make a decision, there are still the words of Ash’s teammates to go by as well:

"Now that he has it down, he’s a lot more comfortable," Brown said. "He’s loosened up with us and he talks more now because he knows what he’s doing."

Given that this is Ash’s junior year and that history is on his side, it might just be time to believe those words.

The One Who Got Away: Ryan Perrilloux 

January, 31, 2013
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One of the greatest signing day stunners will go down in history as, believe it or not, a mutually beneficial one.

Texas has been on the losing end of some legendary recruiting battles -- Marcus Dupree and Eric Dickerson top the list -- but when it comes to decommitments, few top the story of Ryan Perrilloux.


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Texas recruiting misses: 2008 

January, 28, 2013
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Recruiting is all about choices.

Some are good. Some are bad. And sometimes teams don’t even get a chance to make a choice. Players just want to go elsewhere.

With all that in mind, HornsNation decided to take a look at the top players in Texas, as rated by ESPN, who did go elsewhere – aka not the Texas program -- in the past five years. It’s a look back at what could have been.

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Top Texas Longhorns sleepers 

January, 22, 2013
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Looking back at Texas' recent recruiting hits on prospects who were rated low but had stellar careers:


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AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel was better than Texas’ David Ash.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ash
AP Photo/Reed HoffmannQuarterback David Ash finished the regular season with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
The sky is blue. The Earth is round. Texas is an eight-win program. There, just wanted to go ahead and state all those obvious things right up top. Because what is not so obvious, not to those who watched Ash get yanked from two games and benched for one, was that while Manziel was better than Ash, not many other second-year quarterbacks (redshirt freshmen or true sophomores) were.

In fact, only five other second-year quarterbacks had better passing efficiency numbers than Ash. And Manziel wasn’t even the leader of that group. Oklahoma State’s J.W. Walsh finished the regular season as the highest rated in passing efficiency among first- or second-year guys with a 165.67 passing efficiency rating.

That’s the same Walsh who threw a very costly interception against Texas and who could not lead OSU back after Ash led Texas on a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter. Now, it was Walsh’s first career start. Ash was in his ninth start. And Walsh ultimately would up as the higher-rated passer although he did not win as many games as Ash.

Ash went 8-3 as a starter -- really 7-3 when taking into account the fact that he was benched in the Kansas game with Texas trailing in the fourth. Among the six top young passers in pass efficiency rating, those seven wins ranked just a shade past the middle.

(Read full post)

Four downs: Is David Ash the right pick? 

December, 19, 2012
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Every week Sean Adams takes a look at some topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.

First down: Is David Ash the right choice?

[+] EnlargeDavid Ash
Spruce Derden/US PresswireQuarterback David Ash will start for the Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl, but the future of the position is unclear for 2013.
Does David Ash have "it?" Can we even define what "it" is? Do we go with the Royalism (named after Texas legend Darrell K Royal) of, "If you have to ask the question about whether he has 'it,' he doesn’t." The questions are everywhere.

Can an introvert win at Texas? Which big-time quarterbacks have had a high level of success with the personality trait of being an introvert? Eli Manning is the only one I can think of. The fact that I have to ask that question and search for the answer should give us an indication of the actual answer.

With all of that said, Ash is still the best choice right now for the quarterback position at Texas going into the Valero Alamo Bowl. He is the quarterback with the most experience, the most success and the skill set to complete the task.

He needs to trust himself and trust his preparation and he will be just fine. New quarterbacks coach and play-caller Major Applewhite will be a great communicator with him over the next week and Ash should have a solid game plan going into the game vs. Oregon State.

Second down: Quandre the Giant at Safety

With depth issues at safety going into the Alamo bowl, Quandre Diggs has been practicing at safety. Texas will lose its best defender in Kenny Vaccaro and that leaves Adrian Phillips and Mykkele Thompson as the de-facto starters for 2013. If play on the field is an indicator, that might scare some people. While both have had bright spots, neither has shown to be impact hitters or emotional leaders.

Diggs, however, could be a leader in the defensive backfield. He can put himself in a place to lead the defense and make sure everyone is lined up and ready for their assignments.

He is aggressive, stands tall to every challenge and is as physical as any cornerback in the Big 12 . There is a reason why he will be a four-year starter for the Longhorns.

With the depth better at cornerback than at safety, this becomes the easy choice for a guy who is already a made man on the defense.

Third down: New does not mean bad


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ESPN 300 wide receiver Jake Oliver (Dallas/Jesuit) lives in a house divided by school loyalty but tightly woven by love and a family-first attitude.

He has been steadfastly committed to Texas since Feb. 15, choosing the Longhorns over a host of offers, which includes Texas A&M, his parents’ alma mater.

Jake Oliver
Bob Przybylo/ESPN.comTexas commit Jake Oliver is taking his official visit to Austin this weekend and attending the Longhorns' football banquet.
Not only did his parents meet in College Station but his father, Gary Oliver, went from walk-on to three-year starter for the Aggies, helping them win two Southwest Conference championships. He was then a graduate assistant with A&M for two seasons before embarking on a coaching career that included stops at SMU and Sam Houston State and the Texas high school ranks.

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Texas ready to take SEC approach

August, 8, 2012
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The "ESPN The Magazine" college football preview is all about the SEC, including the Big 12's effort to take down the league with six consecutive national titles.

LaRue Cook focused on Texas, who's looking more and more like an SEC team these days.

A power running game that's not reliant on the play of its quarterback, and a defense loaded with future pros and playmakers.
"After 5-7, I felt like I'd let everybody down," says Brown, who hadn't won fewer than nine games in a season since he took over. "I had to make a hard decision: Is it good for Texas for me to go on? I knew it would take a lot of work and time to get this program back." At 59, he contemplated retirement. But as arguably the most successful coach in UT history, he couldn't bear to end a legacy that way. Instead, he kept that BCS title loss to Alabama in the back of his mind -- namely, how the Longhorns' game plan was rendered useless when quarterback Colt McCoy went down with a shoulder injury in the first quarter -- and set out to hire assistants who could create a group of 21 that didn't rely on an improvisational Vince Young or a thoroughbred dropback passer like McCoy.

"I look at the SEC and recognize that's how they've won," says Brown. "At Texas, you don't want to lose a game just because your QB is having a bad day. That's why I hired three SEC coaches."

Great stuff on the Horns from Cook. Check it out.

Power Rankings: No. 17 Texas

August, 7, 2012
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After two years of being an also-ran on the national stage and in the Big 12, Texas appears poised to move out of the wings. The Longhorns return eight starters from a defense that was No. 11 nationally last season and have added quality depth at defensive tackle position. Defensive lineman Brandon Moore and linebacker Steve Edmond could be breakout stars. Offensively, Texas is still trying to find the next Colt McCoy. It's clear it is not his brother, Case. The younger McCoy continues to be locked in a quarterback battle with sophomore David Ash. Whoever wins will have the benefit of what appears to be the Big 12's best and deepest backfield with sophomores Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron as well as the nation's top running back recruit in Johnathan Gray.

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Discussion: Ash Out Against BYU
Texas quarterback David Ash will not play against BYU on Saturday after experiencing concussion-related symptoms. Kevin Dunn, Dan Neil and David Thomas discuss how this will impact Ash's career and the Longhorns's season.
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