A few notes heading into spring ball...
- Marquis Goodwin will not be practicing with the team this spring while he competes on the UT track team. While this shouldn't come as any surprise as we all know Goodwin is the nations top long jumper and sprinter, it is unfortunate because you would like to see Goodwin and Gilbert develop some chemistry. On the flip side, QBs and WRs typically develop a lot of their chemistry during 7-on-7's in the summer.
- Chris Whaley is going to start out at RB, but True Orange is reporting that the coaches are considering him at TE. This is definiltely not a good sign to me. From all accounts, Whaley was a hit during bowl practice and his future looked bright. Now I'm hearing he's still pushing 240. There's no way he'll be the breakaway back Texas needs at that size. Whaley was supposed to be the difference maker in the backfield in 2010 but those hopes are taking a big hit right about now. My guess is that Demarco Cobbs ends up getting a long look at RB. He is not as big as Whaley but still bigger than Newton or Fozzy and has good speed. Shead has some potential, but he seems like a redshirt candidate and a long term project. The running back situation is worrisome, but it really doesn't matter who is back there if the offensive line can't run block better.
- Mason Walters continues to be hampered by an injured foot and he'll be sitting out. Not only is this an issue in terms of developing critical depth along the line, you also have to worry about whether or not he'll be able to recover. A lot of times with foot injuries, they can get re-aggravated if weight doesn't come down.
- Emanuel Acho is going to be limited due to hernia surgery. This isn't a big deal, and might be good for us to see if guys like Ryan Roberson or Dravanti Johnson will ever see the field on defense.
- Nolan Brewster is out with a shoulder injury.
Over all, we should avoid setting lofty expectations for this spring given the situation that we're in. With the seniors that left plus Earl and considering the injuries and departures above, none of the units or position groups can be considered a "strength" going into the spring. The secondary will not have to practice against Goodwin or any of the incoming freshman WRs. The O-line won't have a Kindle or Houston on the other side of the line to work against. That said, The d-line will be facing what could very well be the weakest o-line Texas has fielded in spring ball in the Mack Brown era. Fortunately for us, its all in the family because if the season started today we would be in some trouble.
To me, a successful spring would have the following:
- Gilbert continues to develop
- The offensive line develops a two deep. Here's hoping that Poehlman, Porter, & Kelly find a place on the depth chart and can contribute. The only thing worse than having a bad line is having no one behind the starters who can contribute if things fall apart.
- The TE situation clears up. At this point, if its Whaley or Dominique Jones so be it. Find someone among all the talented athletes we have that can catch, stretch the field, and block
- DJ Monroe's role in the offense is defined.
- Christian Scott hits the ground running. I don't expect him to light it up the same way Earl did his first spring, but Scott will have to show that he can play the run and the pass.
- Another DB emerges. Losing Marcus Davis hurt. Losing Earl as the nickle hurt more. We need Kenny Vaccaro or Eryon Barnett to be able to step in if the need arises in the secondary.