What to expect and who to look for as the Texas Longhorns take the field in the season opener against Wyoming.
Sophomore quarterback David Ash will be the starting quarterback after a long trial for the position against fellow sophomore Case McCoy. This is nothing new for Ash since he started multiple games last year. However, expect Ash to be more confident and show a greater understanding of the game. His rise to the starting position last year was a surprise considering he was slotted to redshirt as a freshman. Case McCoy will get plenty of playtime, but under what circumstances? Given Ash’s greater physical abilities McCoy’s role may become questionable.
Marquise Goodwin, Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley will be the most targeted receivers, and finding an open receiver will not be a problem for Ash or McCoy. Most of the question marks regarding the offense will be at the tight ends position, and the line.
The only question with the backs is; will the wildcat offense work with the more traditional longhorns? Co-Offensive Coordinator Bryan Harsin is known for implementing non-traditional offenses, and why else would UT have brought him onboard last year if they were not willing to try something different? Expect to see the wildcat, and look for Johnathon Gray to receive most of the carries when the horns show a wild formation. Joe Bergeron will likely be the short down back, and Malcolm Brown will be the marquee running back. Brown will be looking to prove himself this year with all of the talent the horns have in the running backs position.
The Horns defense is solid. Defensive ends Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat are explosive and will dominate most offenses. The tackles have a lot of depth, and are a solid performing element of the defense.
Expect great things from Kenny Vaccaro this season, as well as the rest of the secondary. The Longhorns secondary is already being looked at as one of the best in the country.
The linebackers remain the most untested element. Junior Demarco Cobbs, is a fast versatile athlete who has spent time as a wide receiver. He will be slow to find consistent ground, but have faith in Manny Diaz, the defensive coordinator, to shape Cobbs into a linebacker like no other as long as he can remain healthy. Cobbs missed six games last season due to a broken arm.
Look for sophomore Steve Edmond to be the most explosive, and the most feared linebacker for the horns this year.
Junior Jordan Hicks, was a highly recruited linebacker three years ago. Hicks, has not yet matched his expectations. However, his physical and mental toughness matched with his experience will be key to the Horns defense in the 2012 season. Look for Hicks to be the most consistent linebacker as well as a leader amongst the defense.