Morning Coffee Is Back At Full Strength But Still Slow

 The attrition continues. The Longhorn football team is a group of walking wounded. Mack Brown said Wednesday that Brian Orakpo will be a game-time decision. Chip Brown broke the story ($) that Colt McCoy spent as much time in the ice tubs as Quan Cosby did last week after leaving the Tech game with an injury. It led to McCoy hesitating to take the running lanes given to him by the Baylor defense. He also absorbed a couple big hits when blitzing defenders came free through the line. Lamarr Houston left the Baylor game after aggravating an ankle injury he has played through most of the year. Adam Ulatoski injured his elbow in the game, as well, leaving after the injury, although he remained atop the depth chart at left tackle. Chykie Brown has struggled to get back to speed, while recovering slowly from his ankle injury. Now, starting center Chris Hall injured his knee in practice this week, leaving him out of action for the Kansas game and thrusting true freshman David Snow into the starting role. After Buck Burnette's dismissal last week, that leaves tight end (if you can even call him that) Greg Smith as the backup center and the only player on the team who may need two jerseys this weekend. Talk about a team in desperate need of a bye week.

 Short quarterback revenge tour continues. Have I heard this story before anywhere? An undersized quarterback grows up in Texas loving the Longhorns, eventually leading his high school football team to an incredible amount of success, while racking up unbelievable numbers. Problem is, he's under six feet tall and the Longhorns aren't in the business of making that type of quarterback a top recruiting priority. Except it's not Chase Daniel this time, it's Todd Reesing, who grew up in the Longhorns' back yard, preceeding Garrett Gilbert there and starting the run of success at Lake Travis. Guess you were just short those NFL quarterback genes, Todd. Todd's father, Steve, sounds a little bitter about the whole process:

One of the things that was really frustrating was, after being named player of the year in the best football state in the country, Todd couldn't get looks from some of the big schools close to him. That was hard to take.

Should have married an Amazon, Steve. Seriously, dude, get over it. That's how the process works. When you're barely 5-10, you're going to end up playing for the Kansas' of the world. Tough break. Saying that the big schools should look at him because he was the player of the year is like saying that Jason White should have been a first round draft pick by the NFL because he won the Heisman Trophy. Besides, Reesing probably wouldn't have beaten out Colt McCoy had he come to Texas, anyway. As it is, he got a chance to put the Kansas football program on the college football map, however briefly, and play in a BCS game. That doesn't sound like a bad football career to me.

 Embarassment of riches. PB has you covered on the signing of the three stud basketball players who currently make up the Longhorns' 2009 basketball recruiting class. But that's not all. The Longhorn baseball team hauled in three of the top 75 players in the country: catcher Jonathan Walsh (No. 34), pitcher/first baseman Colton Cain (No. 44), and pitcher Kiefer Nuncio (No. 75). Are you a greedy Longhorn fan left wanting more? Well, the women's basketball team is in the running to sign the numbers 2, 5, and 13 players in the country, with fifth-ranked Cokie Reed expected to sign today. Still not enough? The women's golf team signed three of the top 101 players, including Madison Pressel, the No. 34 ranked player in the country. The women's volleyball team got stronger as well, signing two of the top five players in the country, including top-ranked Bailey Webster and ShaDare McNeal. Whew. Never been a better time to be Longhorn fan.

 Into the great, white North. Well, maybe not quite the North, but it isn't expected to be in the 60's like it is in Austin. Nevertheless, the Longhorns will be in Lawrence to play the Jayhawks on Saturday, with Scipio Tex covering your Kansas scouting report needs. But first thing's first: The Kansas football team in 2008 is not a BCS-quality team. In fact, they sit at 6-4, with their best win coming over the injury-riddled Colorado Buffaloes. The Kansas offensive line has allowed 17 sacks in their six Big 12 games, while Reesing has thrown seven interceptions, equal to his total from all of last season. While injuries have slowed down the Texas defensive line, expect to see Longhorns running free in the backfield and clogging Reesing's passing lanes. Note to Steve Reesing: That's why short quarterbacks get into trouble against goods teams--they're short.

Kansas does, however, have two tall and talented receivers in 6-3, 220-pound former quarterback Kerry Meier, who has 69 catches for 794 yards on the season, as well as 6-3, 200-pound Dezmon Briscoe, who has 60 catches for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns. They also have a white running back named Jake Sharp. Don't laugh, he's actually been effective, particularly in Big 12 play, where he's averaged 108.5 yards per game and scored 10 touchdowns, along with two games of 75 or more receiving yards. The Kansas offense will probably try to run the ball early to back off the Texas pass rush, while putting pressure on the defensive backs of Texas by throwing wide receiver screens. As Scipio notes, they big a better job of that against Baylor after getting destroyed against Texas Tech. Time to keep playing it well. I'm looking at you, Deon Beasley. Time to be a man. I have to believe that Coach Boom and Duane Akina question his manhood every day in practice. If they don't, they should, considering that I don't recall ever seeing the kid interested in hitting someone.

 Sliding downhill? IT's Bill Frisbie brings up the conventional wisdom that is circulating through some quarters after the last several games that Texas has already played their best football of the season, peaking in the first half of the Missouri game. Longhorn players, apparently, aren't buying into that logic, with linebackers Roddrick Muckelroy and Rashad Bobino both looking for a complete, 60-minute effort from the football team, hopefully this weekend. I'm not buying into the conventional wisdom because the injuries are the manifestation of the physical demands of playing four intense, physical games in a month, while Greg Davis has struggled making adjustments to teams dropping more players into coverage rather than blitzing.

Davis notes that "a big part of coaching is asking your kids to do only what they can do." Certainly an obvious and elemental observation, but it raises questions about the usage of the tight end. Why did Davis leave Greg Smith in during max-protection schemes against a Tech team rushing three or four players? Especially since Smith kept getting beat. So let's look at this: Greg Smith can't pass block, can't catch, can't run, and has maybe a marginally positive impact on the running game. Why is he playing? I'm sure he's a great kid and all, but the best thing he can do is not be on the field for Texas. The Longhorns can still play great football this season on offense if Fozzy Whittaker can keep teams honest when they drop back in coverage and Davis uses the four-wide sets that directly contributed to the Longhorns playing their best football of the season. None of that should be considered anything more than glaringly obvious. Get it, Greg? Good.

 

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