How about a nice little game of five questions? Feel free to throw in your own thoughts on these important questions heading into fall practice.
1. Should we be worrying about a quarterback controversy?
The cynical among us worry that we're on the cusp of a serious problem behind center. It's not an unimportant question, obviously, but I think this thing will sort itself out on its own. My best guess as to how this plays out goes something like this: Colt McCoy will start, but he and Snead will each get significant playing time against North Texas. Barring a disastrous performance from McCoy, he will start against Ohio State. He will remain the starter until Texas loses, whether that's against Ohio State, Oklahoma, or not at all. Once Texas loses a game, we'll learn who the coaches ultimately prefer. The quarterback question is the most important one at Texas this fall, but I'm counting on an acceptable resolution to the issue by season's end.
2. Who will emerge as the emotional leader of this team now that Vince Young is gone?
The young quarterbacks have enough to worry about without trying to replicate Vince Young, Spiritual Leader. There are whispers about who will replace Young's leadership, but there's no question this team will have a different chemistry than last year's. You simply can't replace that kind of swagger because you simply cannot replace that kind of talent. Vince Young is that special. One wonders if this team won't play a "respect" card internally. One can easily imagine this team feeling slighted that they won't be the preseason #1 team, and may take offense to suggestions that it was a One Man Show.
3. Who might be this year's "breakout" players?
On offense, a healthy Jordan Shipley is as likely as anyone else we might mention, but his hype is already through the roof. So let's throw Quan Cosby out there for discussion. He was just beginning to tap his potential at the end of this year; by all accounts, this man has star talent. While we're on it, the depth and talent at receiver is just ridiculous. Shipley, Cosby, Limas Sweed, Billy Pittman, and Jermichael Finley (tight end) - name me a school with more talented pass catchers. I venture to say you can't.
On defense, there are whispers that Brandon Foster is having a heck of a summer working out. There's playing time to be had in the secondary - we might be seeing a lot of Foster in 2006.
4. Which game besides Ohio State and Oklahoma should Texas fans be most concerned with?
I think the trip to Lubbock has to be the one to watch. Some will cite the road game at Nebraska, but Texas Tech is the week after the visit to Lincoln, which makes it more worrisome in my mind. Can Texas stay focused in back to back weeks on the road? If any time is likely to catch lightning in a bottle for one Saturday night, it's Texas Tech. We've seen it happen before.
5. How good is Jamaal Charles?
This is a big season for Burnt Orange Nation's favorite player. The only thing he didn't do exceptionally well last season was stay healthy. Remember: it was ankle injuries that derailed Selvin Young. If Charles is going to have the kind of career we think he's capable of, he'll have to stay healthy. Fortunately for Texas, the depth at tailback is tremendous. Selvin Young looks quicker than ever, according to many sources, while Hank The Tank has shown steady improvement. Still, the key is Charles. He looks like Emmit Smith to me. If he's healthy, Texas will be that much tougher to beat.