Note the additional link roundup. We can't cover everything in Morning Coffee, so I'm glad to direct everyone to the Fan Posts where dimecoverage has begun what is intended to be a daily link dump for Texas and Big 12 sports. Just look for Bevo's Daily Roundup.
If blitzing isn't the answer... Greg Davis and Colt McCoy note that teams have been blitzing the Longhorns like madmen this year--obviously with little success, as McCoy has been sacked just 10 times and leads the Heisman race. The defensive strategy isn't without merit given what worked well defending McCoy and the Longhorns in 2007, but entering the home stretch of the '08 season teams are likely to look elsewhere for a silver bullet.
Which begs the question: Um, where? I'm honestly not sure. Though I truly loathe myself for making the comparison, the Texas offense under McCoy this year is very much like the Patriots under the direction of Tom Brady, insofar as the Texas quarterback has no trouble whatsoever neutralizing blitzes via his telepathic connections with Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby. Jordan Shipley-Wes Welker comparisons may commence.
Rather than blitz, the key to disrupting a spread offensive system like that which McCoy has mastered is to get pressure with down linemen while smothering passing lanes with the remaining 7 or 8 defenders. In that sense, Mark Schlabach is right: If no one stops Colt and the Longhorns between now and January, the first big test will come from a USC/Florida/Alabama-type team which can raise hell with its defensive line alone.
And in that sense he's wrong... If a valid point is lurking deep in the muddied waters of the much-discussed Mark Schlabach column, one of his primary operating premises--that SEC offenses are merely struggling because SEC defense is teh awesome--has been deserving of the collective eyeroll from Burnt Orange Nation. And Coach Boom agrees:
"Where is (the writer) from?" Muschamp asked. "There are two offenses in the SEC that are playing at high level and both have their quarterbacks back, and that's Georgia and Florida. If you have a quarterback, you afford yourself the opportunity to have success."
Then he added this gem: "I'd like to play against some SEC offenses."
Though I've traditionally kept conference chest thumping wars at arm's length because of their rapid, inevitable decline into cavemannery, it's hard to ignore the emerging Big 12 vs SEC narrative driving the 2008 storyline. Which... damn, LD picked the wrong year to cease with his Gameday Recaps: I'd be curious to see how much, if at all, ESPN has, is, or will start steering the narrative towards a super-hyped showdown between the Big 12 and SEC champs. Hell, maybe I'll start paying attention myself, looking for downplay of the Big 10 champ, sidelining of USC (who play no more ranked teams), and trumpeting as self-evident that the Big 12 and SEC are the nation's two best conferences bar none.
Balanced Cowboys. Mack Brown told reporters Oklahoma State is the most offensively balanced team the Longhorns will face this season and he's right. Later today in Part 2 of my OSU preview, I'll look at the Cowboys' underrated passing attack led by Zac Robinson and Dez Bryant.