I am delighted to announce the arrival of this year's football preview magazine: Longhorn Kickoff 2011, published by Maple Street Press and now available for order online and starting to arrive in newsstands across the state. If you're in Texas, you should be able to grab a copy at major airports, HEB grocery stores, assorted bookstores, and retailers like Wal-Mart and Target. The official release date is July 19th, and though it's already showing up at various retailers, if you don't see it yet check back next week.
The publication was previously known as The Eyes of Texas, but my publisher decided to rebrand this year. It's still the same publication you've seen in previous years. Speaking of changes to the publication, some excellent news: the price point has lowered this year, down to a most reasonable $9.95, which gets you 128 pages of materials exclusively dedicated to covering Texas football. There are gobs of color photos, stats, charts, and the like, but most of all, you get lots and lots of great text about Longhorns football.
I'm grateful for all the outstanding contributors to this year's magazine, and once again am proud to say that this is the best and most comprehensive pre-season magazine for Texas football fans on the market. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. And maybe the best endorsement I can give it is this: by the time I was finished I was really, really excited about Texas football this fall, and in the coming years ahead. The more you learn about Diaz and Harsin, the more excited you're going to be about what's ahead for Texas football.
A rundown of the contents to this year's magazine:
1. 2011 Texas Roster Breakdown. By Peter Bean
Each position (QB, RB, WR/TEs, OL, DL, LBs, DBs, ST) receives a two-page spread that serves as a useful introduction to this year's roster, including stats, player information, and an analysis of the position heading into the fall.
2. Meet the Class of 2011. By Wescott Eberts
Ghost of Big Roy breaks down the tantalizing class of 2011, from Malcolm Brown to Josh Turner.
3. Opponent Previews. By Wescott Eberts
Ghost of Big Roy introduces you to each opponent on the schedule, with write ups analyzing each game on the schedule, including big spreads dedicated to the three biggest challenges on the roster (OU, Oklahoma State, A&M).
4. Road Trips and Travel Tips. By Cory "54b" Davies
The publisher botched the headline in the actual magazine, but the article itself is 54b's best yet, guiding you through road trips to the Rose Bowl, Ames, Columbia, and College Station, followed by his first-ever breakdown of the festivities at the State Fair and Texas-OU weekend.
More after the jump...
5. Mack Brown 2.0: Overhauling the Coaching Staff. By Peter Bean
My analysis of the breakdown that led to the staff overhaul, Mack Brown's response to it, and the challenges ahead for Texas -- and Brown -- to get back on top.
6. Avoiding Rocky Top Redux. By Jeff Asher and Abram Orlansky
The writers you know as 40AS around here during baseball season offer an exemplary article comparing the fall of Tennessee under Phil Fulmer to Mack Brown's disastrous collapse in 2010. The examination looks at where the falls appear to be similar, where they differ, and what Texas must do to avoid a similar slide as the Volunteers.
7. Manipulation with Movement: How Bryan Harsin Gets What He Wants. By Mike Kuchar
Mike Kuchar, a senior analyst with X&O Labs and the author of this excellent piece on Boise State over at Smart Football, pens an excellent article detailing how Bryan Harsin sets up his offense and uses movement to probe and attack the opposition.
8. Lost in Transition: The Texas Offense Seeks A New Identity. By Peter Bean
Mike Kuchar introduces you to the details of Harsin's offense in the previous article. In this piece, I apply what we know about what Harsin wants to do to provide a rich and detailed analysis of the 2011 Longhorns offensive roster, breaking down both the personnel and how they are likely to be used this upcoming season.
9. Beat Me If You Can: Inside Manny Diaz's Aggressive Schemes. By Michael Bean
My very talented younger brother -- who knows from writing about Dick Lebeau all the time a thing or two about what Texas is going to see this fall -- introduces readers to Manny Diaz, from his interesting background to his radical defensive philosophies.
10. The Diaz Equation: How Diaz Will Put Texas' Defense To Work. By Ian Boyd
Ian Boyd, who provides excellent blogging as Nickel Rover over at Barking Carnival, does for the Diaz defense as I did for the Harsin offense, building off the previous article to providing an in depth examination of Texas' defensive personnel and how our new defensive coordinator will use them.
11. Mack Brown's Rise to the Top. By Keith Heugatter
Keith Heugatter provides this excellent historical review of Mack Brown's career -- from his playing days at FSU to his earliest coaching gigs all the way through his road to Austin -- to look at how Texas' top man got here and what lessons we might learn from a review of that history as we look to how we will rebuild the Longhorns from a down year.
12. Playing on Sundays: Longhorns in the NFL. By Wescott Eberts
Ghost of Big Roy breaks down the nearly 50 Longhorns now playing in the National Football League, from Jamaal Charles to Ricky Williams.
13. The All-Time Big 12 Team. By Peter Bean, with David Lee
With the Big 12-1 officially a thing of the past, we look back and choose an All-Big 12 Team for the record books.
Back Page Column: Ask Not What Brown Can Do For You... By Cory "54b" Davies
Classic 54b, as he humorously urges fans to stop sulking and get ready for the return of exciting Texas football.