Ah, Big 12 Media Days. The prelude to the start of fall practices. Where journalists polish up their "Can you talk about" non-question questions and coaches polish up their coach-speak. While the players grind over the summer, the coaches surely spend some time with their wives or SIDs, giving non-answers to non-questions. You can't tell me this doesn't happen.
But until fall practice starts, this is all we have, like that bad relationship you can't quite end. So, let's just make the most of it.
Oh, that pesky quarterback question. It didn't take long for the assembled media to ask the question that has been on everyone's mind since Brown declined to name a starter during the spring -- what's the deal at quarterback? More specifically, the question was actually about how comfortable Brown is with David Ash entering the season. Ha! As if a master in the art of coach-speak would fall for such a simple ploy. Foolish journo.
Of course, Brown didn't fall for that, so he took everyone on a nice tour of what happened last season (I think everyone remembers, painfully). The Texas head coach then noted that Ash and McCoy left the spring "even," which is a complete farce based on the reps given during practice and the spring game, not to mention a mistake-free performance from Ash, while McCoy threw two interceptions and nearly a third.
"In talking to the guys last night, they've had a very competitive summer, and both of them are in the mix and we should have a great battle at that position in the preseason," said Brown.
However, if the reports out of summer workouts are accurate, Ash has even more clearly separated himself from McCoy and, as happened in bowl practices and throughout the spring, Ash should receive most of the reps as the number one quarterback.
As Brown's PTSD from Colt McCoy's injury in the national championship games still lingers, he once again talked about wanting to rely less one quarterback as Texas did during that era, going back to Vince Young. It's his justification for not naming a starter, and he's sticking to it.
In any such situation, chemistry issues can arise, especially since both Ash and McCoy left the spring thinking that they were going to win the starting job in the fall. Brown said that isn't the case, although he only knows what the players told him last night, which is required by the NCAA to be a "casual conversation." How stupid of a rule is that? Anyway...
"Right now David and Case are getting along really well," said Brown, who doesn't even really know, but sorta has to talk like he does at these things. "They're more worried from what I hear about winning than they are about playing, and I feel like one of the guys will separate himself some in the preseason and it will give us the other guy to come off the bench and play if need be."
As easy as it is to chastise Brown for some of these comments, though, he does have a legitimate point about wanting to decrease the amount of pressure on the quarterback to carry the team, preferring instead to have a greater level of balance, led by a more physical running game that can convert in short-yardage situations and in the the redzone.
A fair amount of this process has been about getting Texas to a position where it can survive an injury to the starter without being crippled. And that's real. Still, coach, it would be nice to have a starter right now.
BREAKING: Carrington Byndom is good. Just how good does thinking Carrington Byndom is going to be this season?
"Carrington will be one of the best defensive backs we've had," opined Brown.
High praise, especially considering the run of future NFL stars and Thorpe Award winners Texas had throughout the last decade. Brown speculated that the low-key demeanor of Byndom has hurt him on the national scene, but unless quarterbacks completely don't target him this season, a distinct possibility, the junior should have the opportunity to increase his national profile.
Byndom certainly isn't letting any of the young receivers on the team increase their own profile at his expense:
Asked Carrington Byndom if any of the freshmen WR's had gotten the best of him: "I don't let that happen." #UT— Ricky Doyle (@RickyDoyle) July 24, 2012
Gettin' it done for the real DBU. Accept no imitations.
Leadership questions could determine upside of the defense. Asked if the defense can improve under this season, Brown pointed to the question marks at linebackers, specifically the leadership void left by the departures of Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson. Young players like Demarco Cobbs, Steve Edmond, and Jordan Hicks have to step up into those leadership roles, which translates to the field as Diaz decides how comfortable he is letting them make the pre-snap adjustments that were the responsibility of Acho and Robinson last season.
In many ways, the play on the field by those linebackers, and their leadership off of it, will determine the upside of the 2012 Texas defense and whether or not it can make a jump in year two under Diaz.
A little J-Gray love. Junior offensive guard Mason Walters sounds like he's excited about blocking for incoming freshman Johnathan Gray. At the least, Walters is impressed with his work ethic:
Mason Walters say Johnathan Gray has impressed him the most of freshmen. "Work ethic and how much he wants to learn."— Ricky Doyle (@RickyDoyle) July 24, 2012
Too bad Gray is the second-best running back in the 2012 class to come out of Texas. According to Aggies, that is. Such a disappointment to find that out.
Big 12 spokesman says Texas-TCU game "in all likelihood" will be played Thanksgiving night, but it's still not official.— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) July 24, 2012
The television deal not being finished is holding some of this up, but when it happens, the change should become official.