Five Things to Watch Against Colorado

Horns_bullet_mediumIt's as easy as 1-2-3. Aggressively control the gaps and man up on the outside on first and second down when Colorado has the ball, then tee off on rag-armed lil Hawk on third and long. Simple. Jump out to an early lead and make every down a passing down. Collapse the pocket and get hands up to take away passing lanes. The Longhorns should bat down three to five passes at the line of scrimmage and pressure Cody Hawkins nearly every time he drops back to pass. Force turnovers, get pressures, get sacks, pummel lil Hawk. Check here for a preview of what's going to happen.

Horns_bullet_mediumWhither the WildHorn? For a running game that needs a boost, the WildHorn could be an effective way take pressure away from McCoy. Brown says the formation needs to sink or swim and presumably soon, so what better time than early on? Chiles says the execution will be improved and that's all that stands between Texas and successful plays in the formation. The Wildcat series may be a stretch, but there are simple solutions to making the WildHorn consistently effective with a little commitment.

Are Brown and Davis committed? They understand fully that they must protect McCoy, who has helped the running game tremendously post-Vince and particularly post-JC  and that means searching for other alternatives, of which the WildHorn is most promising. Get. the. ball. to. Monroe. Stealer! But that's too simple, it makes too much sense. Of the six WildHorn plays, he's only carried the ball once. Change that, somehow, anyhow.The running game needs a boost and the WildHorn can provide it.

Horns_bullet_mediumHow do Texas fans receive Darrell Scott? These two things are true -- Speedy Stewart will start the game at tailback for Colorado and Demetrius Sumler will play when Colorado gets behind and has to throw it every down. So that leaves Darrell Scott where, exactly? Clearly, things haven't gone well in the People's Republic for the former five-star recruit and Texas target.

How will Texas fans welcome him to DKR for the first time? Booing him should certainly be out of the question -- why taunt him at this point? No need for viciousness. Maybe just a slight Bronx cheer when the Longhorns stuff him for no gain on one of his three carries and nothing else. But mostly just complete indifference. Yeah, that's fitting.

Horns_bullet_mediumMore Malcolm, please? Greg Davis, PB is practically begging for you to throw him a bone and play big no. 9 at the X. Just for a while. See what happens. Pretty please? Is anyone not in agreement that the freak should play? Trust, because of the potential for reward.

This is the last game for major experimentation before the three-game stretch of OU, Missouri, and OSU -- move Shipley around and create some favorable match ups for him. Take a shot downfield to Williams. At the very least, put him in the slot where he can be extremely effective as a blocker, particularly in the WildHorn formation when running outside with Monroe.

There's a trust issue somewhere with Williams, whether it's the coaches that don't trust him or it's McCoy, but it needs to be sorted out. Having him over on the sidelines is too great a waste of talent to allow to continue.

Horns_bullet_mediumWhat type of impression does Texas make on Hicks? Turns out that I'm running out of storylines beyond the big recruiting event of the weekend -- the Longhorns hosting stud linebacker Jordan Hicks and his mother.

Will Muschamp has personally taken control of recruiting Jordan Hicks, convincing Mack Brown to consider going after him at the start of the process, according the Hicks' high school coach, and then traveling to Ohio last Friday to see the star linebacker play in person. The fiery defensive coordinator also coaches the linebackers, so Hicks is really his first major recruiting project at the position he coaches. Sure, Muschamp recruited Jarvis Jones, but that relationship started when Muschamp was at Auburn -- between Hicks and Muschamp, it's all about Austin.This weekend will go a long way towards determining whether Muschamp can start establishing a reputation as a recruiting closer with big-time defensive prospects.

Of course, the personal relationship between the two will be a determining factor in the ultimate decision and in that regard Hicks always speaks highly of Muschamp and their relationship, feeling that Muschamp genuinely cares about him as a person. Another important personal relationship is that of Muschamp with Lakota West coach Larry Cox, with whom Muschamp communicates on a regular basis.

Cox says of Muschamp:

Number one, he's an outstanding human being. He's been a joy to work with. He's always staying in contact but he doesn't bug you. We talk at least every other week just to stay in contact. I've enjoyed the relationships I've built with these recruiters through the process.

As Muschamp prepares to take over for Mack Brown, establishing strong personal relationships with coaches, more importantly Texas high school coaches, will go a long way towards Muschamp making a smooth transition and maintaining the same high level of relationships as Brown does.

More from Cox:

It was interesting because Will had to sell Jordan to Mack (Brown). Let's face it, it's an Ohio kid, why do they need to go to Ohio? It wasn't until Jordan went down to camp that Mack fell in love with him. It was sort of a reach for an Ohio kid with the way Texas rolls, and I'm respectful of that because Ohio State feels the same way - keep the best in state.

At the same time, it wasn't just the athleticism, it was the whole package. Will said, 'we wouldn't be coming up here if we didn't think this was important.' Will gives you that confidence. As his coach, I want to make sure if things were to go bad, the Ohio kid isn't going to get picked on or things like that. That's just a reality of college football. Will does a great job, and Mack does too because I've had a couple conversations with him, of making you not worry, 'we don't book losers, we book winners.' It makes you feel really good.

Also, that continuity is going to be there. Mack's the head coach, but when Mack does want to give it up, boy they have a great one getting ready to step in. It gives me a sense of ease and confidence knowing that's going to happen. If Jordan does elect to go there, then he's going to be taken care of.

As good as the coach-to-coach relationship is, this weekend is about Jordan Hicks and what he sees in Austin. The weather should be perfect tomorrow and Texas has a chance to make a strong impression because Hicks hasn't spent much time on campus, only visiting for the summer camp. He saw the facilities briefly, but this will be a chance for him to really get a feel for life in Austin and what it would be like going to Texas. His mother will accompany him on the visit and renew her acquaintance with Mad Dog from their days at Colorado and the Longhorn staff and families will do their best to make them feel comfortable, in particular Sally Brown, who may be the best recruiting closer associated with the program. Maybe Mack will even brag about all the big-screen televisions in his house.

Hicks has made it this far with Texas still in excellent position, so this trip could really put the Longhorns right at the forefront of his mind.

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