The Longhorns turned in a record of 9-4 last year and that isn't acceptable in Texas. Coach Mack Brown has been doing a lot of talking this offseason and it can all be summed up pretty easy.
"We're back where we want to be" the coach said. "Everyone else is getting put on notice that we're going to make some waves this year."
The team has its greatest combination of talent and experience since reaching the BCS title game in 2009. The team plans to showcase its offense which all begins with the play of David Ash. Major Applewhite received a promotion to co-offensive coordinator and everyone should benefit because of it. He has gone on record as promising to get the ball into the hands of the playmakers more frequently.
The team has a grand experiment that will go into full effect tonight with an up tempo offense. They hope to run upwards of 80 plays a game which will give Ash all the chance he needs to shine. He threw for 2,699 yards with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2012, posting a 153.3 passer rating to finish fourth in the Big 12.
If they are going to make any noise in the conference it is going to have to be behind the offense. The defense had a woeful performance last year and even though they should improve this season, they won't be winning any awards. Last season the defensive unit allowed more yards than in any other season in school history, I bet that doesn't happen again. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was under siege last season because of their performance and he knows anything close to that this year will have him looking for a job come January. They return eight starters so at least they will have the added advantage of experience in the system.
Much of the success of this unit depends on the return of defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat and linebacker Jofdan Hicks. Both are coming back from season ending injuries. Jeffcoat had four sacks last season and 11 tackles for a loss in only six games. Hicks was the teams leading tackler before getting a hip injury in game three. Both will need to come back better than ever if the teams hopes to keep opposing offenses on their heels at all.
"Hicks is the type of player you have to account for on every play," one scout said. "He always finds a way to get around the football."
The team will also miss Vaccaro at safety, he was good enough to get drafted in the first round a couple of months ago.
Texas fans have been waiting for this season ever since the 5-7 meltdown of the 2009 debacle. Coach Brown has 19 returning starters and he couldn't be more excited. He has even said that a Big 12 title and national championship contention are not out of the question. That may be a little bit of a stretch for us to believe, but if he believes it, it makes me more confident. The team opens with an easy game against the New Mexico St. Aggies, exactly what the team needs. It will give them a chance to showcase their powerful offense against one of the worst defenses in the nation last season. That will not only give the fans something to cheer about, but it will also build the confidence of the players for some of the tough challenges they face as the season goes on.