2008 Texas Longhorns Football Preview
Texas 2007 Record: (10-3, 5-3 Big 12)
2007 Bowl: Holiday Bowl vs. Arizona State (W 52-34)
Texas Head Coach: Mack Brown (103-25 at Texas, 189-99-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Greg Davis
Defensive Coordinator: Will Muschamp
Returning Leaders for the Longhorns:
Other Key Returnees: LB Rashad Bobino, G Cedric Dockery, C Chris Hall, DE Lamarr Houston, RB Vondrell McGee, G Charlie Tanner, OT Adam Ulatoski
Key Losses: RB Jamaal Charles, TE Jermichael Finley, S Marcus Griffin, OT Tony Hills, DT Frank Okam, WR Limas Sweed
Coming off two consecutive 10-3 seasons, the Texas Longhorns have a few problems to address to reach the high expectations they have set for themselves. Two years ago the pass defense was bad; last year it was horrible. Playing in the pass happy Big XII does not help the numbers, but the Longhorns will have to quickly find some answers in the secondary if they expect to win a conference championship.
Texas might have lost running back Jamaal Charles, wide receiver Limas Sweed, tight end Jermichael Finley and tackle Tony Hills, but the offense still has plenty of weapons and potential. Of course it all starts with junior quarterback Colt McCoy. As a freshman McCoy threw for 29 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. Last season his touchdown number went down to 22 and his interceptions rocketed up to 18. If we see a healthy, confident McCoy as an upperclassman, this could be an explosive offense. Quan Cosby is a quality receiver, but Jordan Shipley needs to stay in the game and youngsters Brandon Collins and Dan Buckner have loads of potential. At running back Coach Mack Brown has a few options. Vondrell McGee was the main backup for Jamaal Charles last season and, on paper, will likely be the starting back. However, Chris Ogbonnaya and redshirt freshman Foswhitt Whitaker will be needed to spell McGee and could potentially earn a starting gig.
The Texas secondary returns just one starter from a unit that gave up a miserable 278 passing yards per game last season. Yet, it does not seem to matter who the team has playing, they will give up big chunks of yards in a hurry. The Longhorns hope that a change at defensive coordinator will fix that nagging problem. Will Muschamp has shown quickly during spring practice that he will bring a lot more intensity to the defense than was around the last few years. As a result, this year’s defense will be much more aggressive and that could be exactly what the secondary needs to succeed.
The Bottom Line for the Longhorns:
That new aggressive defense should benefit the linebackers even more than the secondary. Juniors Roddrick Muckleroy and Sergio Kindle have not been on the field as much as one would hope over the last two years, but they have the ability to dominate. Unless injuries get in the way again, Muckleroy and Kindle have paid their dues and will be given the opportunity to lead what they hope is a much improved defensive unit.
2007 Texas Longhorns Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 207.54 (17th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 255.38 (39, 8)
Total Offense: 462.92 (13, 6)
Scoring Offense: 37.23 (14, 5)
Rushing Defense: 93.38 (6, 1)
Pass Defense: 277.77 (109, 10)
Total Defense: 371.15 (52, 4)
Scoring Defense: 25.31 (45, 4)
Turnover Margin: .08 (47, 6)
Sacks: 2.15 (54, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 1.92 (51, 11)
By Joel Welser
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