Depth a mile wide and inch thick. On Wednesday Mack Brown fielded questions from the media, including several questions about the plethora of 'ORs' (sixteen, if you're counting at home) littering the early-release depth chart. Said Brown:
It might mean that both those guys are ready to start and we just haven't picked one yet. Either/Or gets confusing to some people, us it's a really good thing...
I really think it's a great positive. The ones that don't have any are either lying to you or they don't have any depth. What we have done here is we've won a lot of games because we've had really good depth, and we've got great morale on our team. That's what Either/Or does, it gives two guys a chance to play.
Perhaps. In theory, this theory has some credibility, but there are other--more ominous--possibilities: the coaches could be poor at identifying the best talent, or there may exist a lack of a standalone talent at a given position. The latter question is the one which will be worrisome as the season progresses, as Texas will need several players to separate as 'must haves' on the field for this team to be more than just good.
For the opener, what Mack says is fine--good, even, if a lot of guys really are 'close'. The depth chart against Oklahoma, however, had better feature better definition.
Kirk Bohls' crystal ball. Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls published his annual predictions column today. Though Bohls' writing is painful to read at times (this year's lead: "Just more than a day remains until we learn if Howard Schnellenberger was right about the Texas football team being softer than the NBA salary cap." Aaaaaaaagh! --ed), his predictions column last year was eerily accurate, so much so that I'll peer closely at what he's selling this season. Among the guesses:
* Roy Miller could lead the team in tackles
* Adam Ulatoski second team All-America
* McCoy: 2,600 yards, 26 TD, 11 INT
* Negligible tight end pass-catching contributions
* Blake Gideon can and will play.
* Texas will block three kicks
* Texas beats OU and A&M, drops to Mizzou and Tech
* 10-2, Cotton Bowl
Most of it sounds eminently reasonable. Two quibbles:
1) Bohls writes: "Ryan Bailey will not only keep his job and should — come on, Mack, show him some love after beating Nebraska and Oklahoma State. He will nail field goals on 21 of 25 tries." Did Bohls forget Mack's awarding of a scholarship to Bailey prior to last season?
2) And: "The Longhorns will be slightly worse on offense than a year ago, much better on defense than a year ago and play harder in '08." I agree on two out of three, but Texas won't win 10 games if it's worse than a season ago on offense. I'm not sure you could pay me to watch the first three quarters of last season's Nebraska game again. I do agree with Bohls insofar as he's suggesting the offense looks a long way from elite at this point, but for things to work out this year, the offensive line play must improve dramatically, Colt must be sharp, and one of the receivers has to emerge as a field-stretcher. We can't be worse than last year on offense and still win ten games. Not in the Big 12.
Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on steroids. Fans will get their first look inside the revamped and expanded stadium this Saturday, but fans can get a good advanced look through this Statesman preview. 10,000 new seats in the north end zone have stretched capacity to 98,000; according to MB-TF, a few $65 tickets still remain.
C'mon now, slacker. One little call for help and community action and we get... this? Weak sauce. I'm gonna keep pushing this, so y'all step up now and do your part: Grab a player, keep an eye on him, and let us know--once a week--how he's doing. You can do it. Doooooooo it.
The Gregory Gazelles© are back! Tempest Horn steps up to remind us the Gazelles are back in action this weekend... and it's televised. Newbies who haven't taken the plunge and watched one of these things need to set aside the skepticism and tune in before passing judgment. If I'm around the TV either tonight or Sunday, we'll get an open thread up and running.
Last call for Pick 'em. It's not too late to sign up for BON's pick 'em league. If you're signed up, make sure your picks are in by tomorrow morning. If anyone's having technical difficulties, fire an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take us home, Earl. Finally, let's finish the Friday notes with a little Earl Campbell love: