2012 Texas Longhorns Football Preview
2011 Record: 8-5 (4-5 Big 12)
Head Coach: Mack Brown, fifteenth season (141-39 at Texas) (227-113-1 overall)
Projected Returning Starters: 17
Spring Game: April 1st
Notes: In 2010, Texas had their 12 straight bowl appearances snapped. The 5-7 record also snapped nine straight years were Texas had double digit wins! Last year, Coach Mack Brown faced the task of welcoming in three new coordinators to coach the ‘Horns. Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp left to be head coach at Florida; Manny Diaz (former Middle Tennessee and Mississippi State Defensive Coordinator) took over the position. Following long time Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis’ resignation at the end of the 2010 season, former Texas quarterback Major Applewhite and Bryan Harsin were hired to split the duties. Applewhite was previously an assistant at Rice and Alabama, while Harsin was previously an assistant (and offensive coordinator) at Boise State.
BVTSB Take: Texas returns more starters on their offensive side, as opposed to their defensive side, but its their 4-3 scheme and defensive intensity that make the Longhorns more dangerous in 2012. The quarterback situation appears to be resolved, as David Ash looked good in the spring game. Ash split time with Case McCoy last season. Ash threw for 1079 yards, 4 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, while McCoy threw for 1034 yards, 7 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Connor Wood and Garrett Gilbert have left the program, reducing the depth. Still, Texas’ quarterback play can’t be any worse than it has been the past two years, especially with the veteran presence at the wide receiver positions. Wide receivers Mike Davis, Jaxon Shipley, and Marquise Goodwin return to start this year. The three combined for 1637 receiving yards (66.3% of total team receiving yards) and had 6 touchdown catches (37.5% of team total). With more stable quarterback play, and a second year of Applewhite and Harsin coaching and teaching technique, the numbers will improve. Running back Malcolm Brown, who the ‘Horns relied on to a large extent last season, is back. Brown accounted for 742 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns. Expect Johnathan Gray and Joe Bergeron to see time as well. We would be remiss if we failed to point out Texas returns four starters on their offensive line – C Dominic Espinosa, RG Mason Walters, LG Trey Hopkins, and RT Josh Cochran. LT Donald Hawkins is the lone non-returning starter – he was signed out of junior college. Texas was 3-0 in non-conference play last season, beating Rice, BYU, and UCLA. This year they face Wyoming, New Mexico, and Ole Miss – they should easily be 3-0. Most of the tough games are at home (West Virginia and TCU, as opposed to Oklahoma State and Kansas State on the road). As always, the Red River Rivalry is a battle. But once again, the Red River Rivalry could decide the Big 12 Title. Consider the win projection to be on the conservative side – I’m still a bit wary of the quarterback play despite all indications that it should improve.
2012 Early Projection: 9-3
To see the 2012 Big 12 composite schedule, click here.
What are your thoughts on Texas football? Tweet to us @BVTSB.