Right after the big win over Arizona State, I jotted down a few New Year's resolutions for the Longhorns and expressed the vain hope that 2 would come true. So... given nothing else to do on a sultry day, I thought I would check in on my list and see how the year was shaping up. Are the Horns saddling up for the rodeo or the dude ranch circuit? Let's have a peek...
For those who like to read the end of the book first, the score is 1 CHECK, 4 halfway there, 4 jury still out, and 3 XXXX thanks for playing. On the other hand, with regard to one resolution I didn't make, that Mack would grow a brain and/or tap into his personal creativity (didn't really want to go there...), can I CHECK your bags, Mr. Muschamp and Mr. Applewhite?
.... I'd like to offer an early set of New Year's resolutions for the Horns that could take the momentum of this season into next. I'm wary of getting too excited about next year just yet - after all, we don't know who might be arrested (!), flunk out or be injured in spring practice before next September. More than that, I follow SI's Stewart Mandel's (love him or hate him) advice in not putting too much stock in a big bowl win as a predictor of next year's success. To that end:
So far (knock, knock, knock on the mahogany), no one on the team has been arrested or flunked out. There were no new injuries that I remember from spring practice.
(1) Jamaal Charles, you will stay for your senior year. You'll have a boatload of fun and might even win the Heisman. Whatever happens, you'll improve your NFL draft stock from the upper 3rd round to the top 10 and thus literally make millions in guaranteed money. It's like getting the equivalent of an M.D. and your medical residency in one year!
XXXX - thanks for playing. In the year of the future NFL running back, Charles goes in the third round for $500,000 a year. After taxes and relatives, that leaves.... for the average 3 year career of an somewhat injury-prone NFL running back. Better check out the spring course offerings at UT, Jamaal.
(2) Colt McCoy, you will make friends with the weights (again!), especially the resistance hand ball to build some hand strength so you don't fumble every time a linebacker looks at you crosswise. Strengthening your arm so you can throw a post pattern would be great as well.
He's been seen in the weight room - we'll wait and see on the hands. No sign of the deep ball in spring practice and the spring game. Hmm...Jury still out....
(3) John Chiles, you will go to QB "camp" and learn how to throw a football, from the footwork on up. You will line up at receiver in some of the 7 on 7 drills in the summer. Does the name Percy Harvin (Florida) mean anything to you?
XXXX Chum, after that spring game (0 for 6), you'd best be visualizing the ball coming at you, not throwing it to somebody else. Can you say "Percy?"
(4) James Kirkendoll, Brandon Collins, Malcolm Williams, (John Chiles, you can jump in here if you want) your time has come. One of you will beat out Jordan Shipley for starting wide receiver on the basis of speed and turning on some brain cells. Without your speed, we'll be seeing another season of 1 yard passes to Quan Cosby. James K., you especially will learn how to catch the ball, and not fumble, on kickoff returns so the Horns have a real threat there.
My men Collins and Williams are IN the conversation!! Halfway there!
(5) Trevor Gerland, you will get that kink out of your leg or whatever it is so UT will have something better than an average high school punter next year.
Is no news good news? Jury still out.....
(6) Sergio Kindle, you will get your knee healed up, hit the books, and not even think about going near a car if you've even seen a beer bottle in past three hours. With you to join Muckelroy and Norton and Keenan Robinson and Rashad Bobino (for depth, for depth, people), LB will go from a weakness to an agency of fear for Chase Daniel, Todd Reesing, Graham Harrell, Cory Bradford, and most importantly, Stephen McGee. Lord knows the Horns will need it.
Didn't know about Muschamp on Dec 31, but I like it, I like it - "Agency of Fear." Lets make a T-shirt and get ready to rumble. Halfway there...
(7) God's children (a.k.a. Ben Wells, Curtis Brown, Chykie Brown), you will take off the diapers, start hustling in practice, and get ready to join your NFL legacy of brotherhood following Marcus Griffin and the heir apparent, Deon Beasley. I mean, the thought of having Ishie Oduegwu and Ryan Palmer responsible for half the field next year is like the thought of having dinner with your mother. Necessary, nice, and you'll do almost anything to avoid it.
If Hard Hat awards in spring practice mean anything, I think we have a big CHECK on this one.
(8) Adam Ulatoski, you will take ballet, dance, and gymnastics next semester (forget English, Music Appreciation, or whatever you registered for) so you can have a prayer of having the footwork to play left tackle for an entire season.
All indications are that the U-man is the Great Protector for our intrepid Colt - will he last the season? We're halfway there...
(9) Cedric Dockery, you will make men out of these young linemen (Kyle Hix, Tray Allen, Michael Huey, Britt Mitchell, Steve Moore, Buck Burnette) so they can join uber-backup Chris Hall on one of the great offensive lines in UT history by 2009.
I'll believe this when I see some poor defensive line armadillo from Florida Atlantic laying on the field in the second quarter, hoping to be taken off the field even though nothing is wrong. We'll know if he walks off under his own power...Jury still out...
(10) Jermichael Finley, you will get film of Antonio Gates and study it so much you will wake up at night looking for him in the bed next to you (Yuk! I know). Learn how a great TE can dominate on a team with little in the way of deep speed.
XXXX - thanks for playing, dude. You went to the combine and stunk up the joint, getting yourself drafted number 88 for $250,000 a year for the typical 4 year career of a slow, non-blocking TE. I think it was worth it, don''t you? Ahem.. call Jamaal and find out what courses he's taking next spring at UT.
(11) Quan, my man, Quan... You will lose 5 pounds and find a way to get back that 4.3 speed you had coming out of high school. Speed kills. Especially in college football.
Spring game... whistle blows, lights in stadium go out - where was Quan? Jury still out....
(12) Henry Melton, you will spend all of January and half of February walking with your shoulders lower than 40" above the ground, so you can finally learn to get leverage at the point of attack. That's all that, with your speed, is standing between you and the All-American banquet circuit. Barring that you are about to be moved to defensive tackle and some kind of success from you in your Horns career would be nice.
Well wattaya know, our friend Henry ended up at DE and MAY have played himself into a starting role. We're halfway there....
Score at the halfway point? One CHECK, four "halfway there's," three "jury still out." and three "XXXX, thanks for playing" Not bad I guess for mid-July. I'm checking my satellite sports packages as we speak.
I'm sure one could add to these, but hey, given how well most people do with their New Year's resolutions, I'll settle for even 2 of them.
Happy New Year