The Statesman's Suzanne Haliburton had an excellent weekend column asking "Who's the face of the '07 Longhorns?" Along with noting the generally quiet, cerebral nature of many of Texas' senior leaders, Haliburton notes that many key cogs of the '07 wheel will be underclassmen. As much as half of Texas' two-deep (to be released by the team this morning) could be freshmen and sophomores.
Take a look, too, at Texas' roster breakdown by age. A lot of important names for 2007 sit on the right side of the chart.
Mack Brown's recruiting in 2005, 2006 and 2007 was so good that this isn't exactly surprising, but it's interesting to look at how many of these young players are projected to be right there in the mix for starting jobs. The 2007 team is going to be a very good team with a nice balance of younger and older players.
Speaking of young players and the depth chart, reader Buck astutely noted that my depth chart notes failed to include mention of freshman Brandon Collins. I've noted elsewhere that the young receivers, led by Collins, are going to be on the field, but Buck's right to single out the 6-0 receiver from Brenham. By all accounts, he's had one of the best fall camps of any Longhorn, helping assuage concerns about the Pittman and Sweed injuries. Texas can't reach its top potential without Sweed, but Collins can certainly provide what Pittman does. With Shipley's hamstring a cause for concern, the fall workouts of the young receivers has been huge.
By October of last season, Big 12 football teams made it plain that the conference was in a down year. In one non-conference game after another, the Big 12 fell short - including Texas' disappointing loss to Ohio State in Austin.
This year? The conference should be much stronger, with all the young quarterbacks from a year ago returning. As Chip Brown writes, we should know pretty quickly just how much better the Big 12 really is. Within the first two weeks, Oklahoma State takes on Georgia, Kansas State plays Auburn, Texas hosts TCU, Oklahoma hosts Miami, and Colorado takes on Arizona State.
I settled in to watch ESPNU's Big 12 Preview, hoping to, at the least, get some "latest info" stuff on the teams around the conference. The hosts previewed Oklahoma first as I scribbled down various notes on what they were saying. Texas was second, and the information was so bad that I simply didn't watch the rest of the show. If what they were saying about the Longhorns was as over-simplistic and, in many cases, factually wrong, as it was, what faith should I put in what I was being told about the other teams in the conference? As has been the case for a while now, the best sources for information on Big 12 teams are still the beat reporters and the teams' most dedicated bloggers.
Briefly: Barking Carnival previews the 'Horns... The Statesman has a fluff piece on Chris Hall... The National Weather Service projects rainstorms next weekend... The AP has a feature on Arkansas State.