2009 Texas Longhorns College Football Season Preview
By Jason Green at Predictem.com
National Rank: 2
Head Coach: Mack Brown
Offensive Coordinator: Greg Davis
Defensive Coordinator: Will Muschamp
Last League Title: 2005
Conference: Big 12
2008 Record: 12-1, 7-1 in Big 12 (tied for 1st in Big 12 South)
Gambling: ATS 9-4
Stadium: Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (94,113)
Odds to Win BCS Championship: +560 (5.6 to 1)
The Longhorns run a spread offense and boy do they have the players to run it well. Colt McCoy returns as the starting QB and he is one of the leading early season Heisman favorites. Last season he threw for 3,859 yards and was the team’s leading rusher with 561 yards. He has a gun and is mobile in the pocket. WR Quan Cosby is gone, but look for WR’s Jordan Shipley and Malcolm Williams to be his main targets this season.
The offensive line returns 4 starters and is led by All Big 12 selection C Chris Hall. The offensive concerns are at the TE position and at RB. Redshirt freshman D.J. Grant came to Texas to be a WR, but he has put on 15 pounds and will be the starting TE, but he is still pretty small and his run and pass blocking may be an issue. There are few RB’s on the Texas roster and one has to step up and take some pressure off McCoy, however, these are minor concerns, as the Longhorns offense should be a high scoring one again and McCoy will probably put up sick numbers.
Returning Offensive Starters
Colt McCoy (QB Sr)
Jordan Shipley (WR Sr)
Malcolm Jenkins (WR So)
Kyle Hix (T Jr)
Adam Ulatoski (T Sr)
Charlie Tanner (G Sr)
Chris Hall (C Sr)
Justin Tucker (P So)
The Longhorns run a 4-3 defense and they are deep at the LB position this season, so they may run more 3-man fronts than in the past. LB’s Roddrick Muckelroy had 112 tackles last season and Sergio Kindle registered 10 sacks. Kindle was an All Big 12 selection last year and he will move to the end this season to rush the passer more. Since Kindle is moving to end there are a few solid prospects that will battle it out for the other LB position and Alex Okafor may win the job.
The interior D will miss Roy Miller as Kheeston Randall will take his spot and while he does have big expectations, he is unproven.
Last season the Longhorns ranked 3rd in the nation in rushing defense and with the loss of Miller that will be hard to match again. The secondary was mediocre last season and they need to improve, especially since there are so many legit passing offenses in the Big 12. They need a playmaker to step up, as last season they had the fewest INT’s in the conference (6). The secondary returns all 4 starters, so they should show improvement this season.
Defensive Returning Starters
Lamarr Houston (NT Sr)
Sergio Kindle (DE Jr)
Rodderick Muckelroy (LB Sr)
Deon Beasley (CB Sr)
Chykie Brown (CB Jr)
Blake Gideon (FS So)
Earl Thomas (SS So)
Hunter Lawrence (K Sr)
The Longhorns kicking game is solid, as they return K Hunter Lawrence and P Justin Tucker. Lawrence was an All Big 12 selection last season and was 10/12 on field goal attempts and he may not even start this season, as Ryan Bailey is 25/30 on field goal attempts in his career. Last season Justin Tucker only punted 14 times, but averaged 45.2 yards per boot.
In the return game, WR Jordan Shipley averaged 26.3 yards on kickoff returns and had a key TD in the big game against Oklahoma. He may also return punts this season. The Longhorns were decent with their punt return coverage last season, but need to improve their kickoff coverage.
The Bottom Line
The Longhorns are stacked this season and they may still be holding a grudge after getting bypassed for the BCS title game in favor of Oklahoma even though they beat the Sooners last season.
Their schedule was a killer one last year, but with Missouri and Texas Tech losing their star QB’s it is not as tough this season. Their big games are at Oklahoma State, hosting Kansas, and obviously the game against Oklahoma, which once again may have HUGE BCS implications.
2009 Texas Longhorns Schedule
9/12/09 at Wyoming
9/19/09 TEXAS TECH
10/17/09 Oklahoma (Neutral site)
10/24/09 at Missouri
10/31/09 at Oklahoma State
11/14/09 at Baylor
11/26/09 at Texas A&M