After a brief hiatus, we'll continue our end of year report card for Texas.
Previously: Colt McCoy
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
First, the stats. Individual notes to follow.
|Player||Catches||Yards||Yards per catch||TDs|
Now for notes on each individual.
Limas Sweed It was almost an All American season for Limas. After an 8 catch, 119 yard effort against Nebraska, Sweed was on pace for some truly elite numbers. The following week, in Lubbock, things changed a bit. For one thing, his hero Roy Williams showed up on the sidelines. Whether he was nervous or trying too hard or something else, I don't know, but Limas had a few dropped passes, and though he had a critical 45 yard touchdown catch, he was "off" for the first time. Limas' production dipped after that, then Colt got hurt, and the rest is history.
In any event, Limas "only" had a very good year, instead of an elite one. His 11 touchdowns was tied for 12th nationally, while his average of 17 per catch was well above average. Coming into this season, we said Limas needed to show two things: better consistency, and an ability to play a more physical brand of football. I thought he achieved both goals, though he has room to grow in each regard. Really, it's been one step forward after another for Limas. If he can continue the development he's shown from freshman to sophomore, and sophomore to junior, he can have an incredible senior season. Grade: A-
Quan Cosby His baseball stint makes him slightly older than his commrades, but he's still just a sophomore, in football terms. And it was a good sophomore season. He was reliable, he showed leadership, and he even had a touchdown pass. He was playing his best football by the end of the season, and showed a nice rapport with Colt McCoy. His speed, athleticism, and work ethic make him a strong candidate for a breakout junior year. Grade: B+
Billy Pittman Pittman switched jersey numbers - from #5 to #2 - and his production plummeted. I'll chalk most of that up to Vince Young leaving, but you have to wonder if BP's a superstitious fella. If he is, I'll bet you dollars to donuts that he dons the #5 next season. Pittman's got good speed and he runs good routes, but he and Colt didn't really hit their groove together until the Oklahoma State game. With so many weapons, of course, it wasn't easy for any one player to put up monster numbers. Add in the costly fumble against Ohio State, and this really wasn't Pittman's year. BP, like everyone else, returns next season. I'd expect better numbers than this season, but fewer yards and touchdowns than his huge sophomore year. Grade: B-
Jermichael Finley The redshirt freshman flashed some of that freaky athleticism that had the coaches buzzing this spring. It took Colt a while to learn how to use him, but the big tight end was becoming a consistent weapon in the passing game by season's end. Colt's a fast learner, of course, and assuming he heals properly, I'm expecting an elite sophomore season. Sky's the limit for Colt to Jermichael.
As a blocker, he improved by leaps and bounds as the season progressed. I'd expect that trend to continue.Grade: A-
Jordan Shipley The Great White Hope was spectacular at times - his Rice reverse and the Oklahoma touchdown spring to mind - but got lost in the shuffle at other times. Really, the depth at receiver for Texas right now is unprecedented. And Colt did an admirable job spreading the love. Bottom line: solid-not-great numbers for everyone (save Limas). Grade: B+
Nate Jones He's not the flashiest player in the world, but Nate had some key catches this season, including a Texas Tech touchdown. He has a tendency to look a little spaced out at times, but he's a fine fifth wide receiver. Which is weird to say. Grade: B
Neal Tweedie The only guy in this group that disappointed me this season. The senior was supposed to ease the transition into the J-Mike era, but he was a liability. The blocking, supposedly his strong suit, was inconsistent. The pass catching skills were virtually non-existent. And his effing false start penalty against A&M cost us 6 points. The full time Finley era gets under way not a moment too soon. Grade: D
Peter Ullman I only include Big Pete, who's way down the depth chart, because his pops is a stand up guy that helped me fix my satellite dish at a tailgate this season. We salute you, sir. Grade: A+++
Final Thoughts The top six pass catchers from 2006 will all be back. If Colt's stinger is a non-issue and he can slog through the brutalities of a 12 game season, I'd expect some ridiculous numbers in the passing game. Colt to Limas should be the best connection in the Big 12 next season, while Quan, BP, and Shipley are all interchangeable. Add in a year of development for Jermichael Finley, and we're looking at the best receiving group in the nation. Literally.
2006 has to be considered a success for this group. It was just 2004 when Texas had one of the nation's worst group of receivers. That group is all grown up, and contributing in great ways. A huge, huge asset for next year's team.