We've held out as long as we can since there's so much time leading up to the Rose Bowl, but it's time to start getting into the nitty-gritty of the Rose Bowl matchup. We'll kick off our coverage with positional report cards for the entire Texas team. First up, the wide receivers. After each player's main statistics, we'll have a rating for each receiver in categories we're labeling as "Hands" (sure-handedness), "Possession" (ability to be a possession receiver), "Explosiveness" (big play threat), and "Importance" (importance in the Rose Bowl). Each rating is on a 1 (worst) to 5 (best) scale.
David Thomas: 40 catches, 525 yards, 13.1 Average, 5 TD
Thomas is VY's go-to guy when he needs a completion. Normally a very sure-handed receiver, Thomas does a great job of getting open in the mid- to short-range and is as reliable a possession tight end as there is in the country. Throw in his strong run blocking abilities and he's a future NFL player. He hasn't done it much this year, as other receivers have emerged, but he does have big play capabilities in streaks down the middle of the defense. Thomas needs to help Vince get in a good rhythm in Pasadena.
Billy Pittman: 30 catches, 697 yards, 23.2 Average, 5 TD
Pittman leads the nation in yards per completion and has emerged as Young's best deep-ball threat. Vince doesn't look to Pittman for much other than the deep strike, but he's vital in that regard. If Young can get a deep ball or two to Pittman early in the game, it will help open up the rest of the offense tremendously. Pittman, who is still learning, has a tendency to disappear at times.
Limas Sweed: 28 catches, 480 yards, 17.1 Average, 5 TD
Not exactly Roy Williams, Sweed has had a bittersweet season. Just when you're ready to curse him off the team for running lousy routes and getting pushed around by smaller players, he'll have a spectacular game and catch a couple amazing deep balls. Receiver of the most important pass of the season at Ohio State, Sweed has the size and abilities to be a go-to guy, but he's been wildly inconsistent. If he shows up to play at the Rose Bowl, Texas and VY are that more dangerous. If not, USC will have that much more fun on defense.
Quan Cosby: 13 catches, 254 yards, 19.5 Average, 2 TD
An after-thought just a few weeks ago, Cosby started to get comfortable in his shoes late in the season and emerged as another deep threat along with Pittman. With blazing pure speed, it's a matter of learning on the job for Cosby, and he's getting better each week. Whether or not he's ready to play big in the Rose Bowl remains to be seen, but if Vince returns for his senior year, he's going to have a very solid corps of receivers to work with. Cosby is also emerging as a punt return option with Aaron Ross.