For the final time before the 2012 class signs in early February, Texas head coach Mack Brown met with the media on Friday to discuss the 2011 season and look forward to 2012.
Head on after the jump to find out what Brown talked about.
- David Ash will be given a chance to work at punter this spring in an effort to fill the void created by the graduation of Justin Tucker. However, given how much development Ash still needs at quarterback, the coaching staff would be well advised to pursue other options, as well.
- Harsin, Applewhite, Diaz, and Wyatt all declined opportunities to interview for head coaching positions. While it's not surprising that Harsin and Diaz had the chances, it is surprising to see the names of Applewhite and Wyatt in there, especially considering that so little is known about Applewhite in terms of his offensive philosophy.
- Joe Bergeron was not able to practice full speed during the lead up to the Holiday Bowl and Brown admitted that both he and Malcolm Brown were less than 100% for the game. No more 29-carry games in 2012 for either, please.
- Brown pointed out that starting center Dom Espinosa missed the spring with a shoulder injury, which limited his strength training and his ability to work with Stacey Searels. After struggling against the bull-strong Cal nose tackle, Bennie Wylie needs to be Espinosa's best friend in the offseason.
- Marquise Goodwin has indicated to the Texas head coach that he wants to put more focus on football this spring than track, a welcome sign. Brown apparently feels the same way, but doesn't want Goodwin to jeopardize his chances to compete in the Olympics. With how much Goodwin improved from the end of the season to the bowl game, it's clear that he could make another major leap if he can devote more time to football, but the fact he could participate in the Olympics throws everything into question.
- MJ McFarland, Sedrick Flowers, and Taylor Doyle were all mentioned as players who have a chance to make an impact next season. While the first two aren't surprising -- especially since Flowers probably would have been in the rotation had he not been injured -- Doyle's name is a surprise after a senior season in high school that made him look like a poor take. If he can contribute next season, it would be a major boost to offensive line depth. As for McFarland, the current tight end played wide receiver in high school and could be a major boost to the passing game, but the major question remains whether he can perform well enough as a blocker to truly provide stronger contributions than Texas got in 2011.
- The offensive coaches will likely spend some time with the New Orleans Saints during the offseason, while the defensive staff will probably visit with the New York Jets.
- The best quarterback will play next season, but Brown said that he would prefer for young quarterbacks to redshirt if possible.
- Preferred walk on Ben Pruitt, a US Army All-American and the final edition to the 2011 class, will have the first opportunity to earn the place-kicking job. Bad news for Will Russ, who could be on his way out.
- Brown expects the defense to be improved at every position but linebacker in 2012.
- Brown reiterated that Kenny Vaccaro will be returning to school and said that Alex Okafor will as well.
- Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson have been invited to the Senior Bowl. Blake Gideon and David Snow were invited to the East-West game.
- Texas should be able to contend for the Big 12 next season and then for a national championship the following year, according to Brown, the exact trajectory that would match the previous seasons coming off Holiday Bowl appearances.