The Eyes of Texas Are Looking Up
Pride. Class. Championships. This is what Texas football is all about. In the past years, Texas football has been a disappointment to say the least. Since 2009, the Longhorns have finished the season in the Top 25 only once. On the 40 Acres, this kind of performance is unacceptable. However, things appear to finally be looking up for the Longhorns. Despite a disappointing 2015 season, the Texas offense starred an impressive freshman class, lead by linebacker Malik Jefferson, offensive guard Patrick Vahe, and offensive tackle Connor Williams.
With these 3 players named to the True-Freshman All America Team, Texas tied with Alabama last season for the team with the most freshmen given this honor. In other words, Texas is talent heavy on the younger side of the roster. In addition, sophomore running back Chris Warren III had an impressive true-freshman campaign, highlighted by a 276 yard game against Texas Tech, a UT single-game freshman rushing record. Expect to see very big things from him next season. Fresh off a top 10 recruiting class brilliantly assembled by Charlie Strong, the Longhorns are young, explosive, and eager to bring Texas back to its standard of winning. Along with some new on-the-field talent, Texas is also bringing some new energy on the coaching staff. Sterlin Gilbert will be the new Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks coach, and with him will come a more explosive, up-tempo offense with heavier reliance on the pass game, something Texas has seriously been lacking since the departure of Colt McCoy. On top of that, the addition of wide receivers coach Charlie Williams, a 30 year veteran with coaching experience in both the collegiate and NFL levels, is sure to maximize the production of sophomore stand-out John Burt and up-and-coming recruit Collin Johnson. Keep a close eye on Collin Johnson; he towers over cornerbacks at 6-6, and coaches have been raving about his speed and catching ability all spring.
But don’t get too eager; Texas is still in its rebuilding stages, still far from a championship caliber team. The biggest question mark on the team remains in the quarterback position. 2016 4-Star recruit Shane Buechele had a good showing in the Orange-White Spring game, but we have yet to see how his abilities will play out in-season. Sophomore Jerrod Heard proved to be a capable dual-threat last season, but was also inconsistent due to inexperience. Tyrone Swoopes proved to be effective in converting 3rd downs last season, but he still lacks pass accuracy. Right now, Shane Buechele seems to have the edge in the race. But only time will tell whether Texas has finally found its answer at QB.
All in all, expect some great progress this next season, in upwards of 9 wins. With 2 full recruiting classes under his belt, this is finally Charlie Strong’s team. The talent is there, and the players are determined. Now it’s just a matter of fitting the pieces together and finding a winning formula under the new offense. Until then, Texas fans should stay patient, hopeful, and most of all, loyal as this young team enters a new era.