Spanning the Big 12: five questions with HornsNation writer Carter Strickland
As we prepare for Big 12 Media Days, HornsNation writer (and friend of the program) Carter Strickland and I conducted a Q&A with each other about the teams we cover. His readers got an inside look at the Cowboys (sorry, folks, didn’t realize initially that this is ESPN Insider content you need to be a subscriber to view). You get an inside look at the Longhorns.
I’ll fully admit this was Carter’s idea. But I think it’s a great one. So the plan is to do this with the conference beat writers before the season, and then with each beat writer of the opposing team the week leading up to its game against OSU.
Here’s my exchange with Strickland:
GM: I’ll go with the obvious layup question, as well (he asked about Wes Lunt to start). How has David Ash progressed since the end of last season? Any chance we see QB musical chairs with him and Case McCoy again? Are people already calling for blue-chip recruit Connor Brewer?
CS: Did you see the Holiday Bowl? That was after 15 practices as well as a month of film study and Ash still was shaky. Somehow he was named the MVP. Undoubtedly Case McCoy did not get to cast a vote. But Ash is the guy around Texas. At least for now. He will go into the season as the starter, although Texas refuses to acknowledge that fact.
McCoy might get the third series of every game. At least that is what is being said to placate him at the moment. But really all Texas wants to do is hand the ball off next season. The Longhorns did that 66 percent of the time in 2011 and expect to o it about 70 percent of the time in 2012. All they want from the QB is to not throw interceptions and successfully throw a bubble screen or two.
Connor Brewer will almost assuredly redshirt unless the other two are just awful.
GM: Expectations are understandably high for Malcolm Brown. Any chance of a sophomore slump? What has he most improved during the spring/offseason?
CS: Brown will have to work to be the guy. Joe Bergeron emerged in the spring as the favorite to get more carries that Brown. He is bigger, stronger and might be even more explosive than Brown. It’s hard to tell where Brown is because the toe injury he had really prevented everyone from seeing him in the last half of the season.
Now added to that mix is Johnathan Gray, the top high school running back in the country. Texas wants to get him at least 10 touches so it is going to be very delicate when it comes to parsing out carries for the Texas running backs.
GM: The Longhorns look to be stout on defense again this season. You mentioned the stronger defensive line and faster linebackers. How has that front seven developed?
CS: Texas went out did something it rarely does – grab a junior college player. Brandon Moore, who signed and played with Alabama in 2009, came to Texas after year at East Mississippi Community College. He immediately made an impact at tackle. Next to him Ashton Dorsey is much improved. Chris Whaley is a guy with next level potential and Texas believes true freshman Malcom Brown – yes there are two but they have different spellings – can play.
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