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(All information as of June 20, 2008)
COACH AND PROGRAM
Last season Texas took a step back. Seeming recharged and reloaded after a BCS Championship run in 2005 and what looked like a hiccup (if you call 10 wins a hiccup) a year later, the Longhorns appeared poised in '07 to make another run at a national title.
They just weren't up to it.
Their defense, which was then under Larry McDuff instead of Gene Chizik, couldn't play up to its expectations, giving up too many big plays to be effective. The offense did fine, but when game-breaking wide receiver Limas Sweed was lost with a season-ending wrist injury in October, the dynamic changed and big plays were harder and harder to find. So, too, were victories.
This season, Texas has the horses. It has the tradition. It has the know-how.
Does it have the intangibles, the magic pixie dust Vince Young sprinkled every time he juked, bobbed or weaved, every time he scrambled and found a receiver for a drive-sustaining completion?
For all Mack Brown has achieved -- seven consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins, five straight bowl victories, a BCS title in 2005 -- he still has one albatross to shake. Can he win a national title with a quarterback who's merely very good instead of extraordinary? Can people finally give him the credit, not his recruits?