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More Midseason Reviewing

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Let's do a little survey here to get us through the rest of Tuesday. I'm totally buried this week with preparation for two practice exams, plus a writing assignment, but I'm still in mid-season review mode with the team.

We'll go position-by-position and compile results. There's plenty of room for disagreement at each position.

QB, RB, WR

Best To Date: Nate Jones. Handing out an MVP to the skill position players has been tough, as it's been up and down for virtually every player on the roster. McCoy's had some terrific games, but he's struggled mightily at times, too. Jamaal Charles has been a fearsome runner for the bulk of the season, but his fumbles have been ghastly. Limas played hurt. Jermichael's been ignored. Cosby's been steady, but not exactly an MVP. That leaves Mr. Jones, a fifth-year senior who's quietly been the most consistent offensive player on this team. He's not a guy who changes what a defense will do, but he's not been asked to be that. He's just been good. I'm happy for the kid.

Biggest Disappointment To Date: Colt McCoy. Not all his struggles have been his fault, but there's no question he's been a big disappointment for the Longhorns this year. It should be noted, though, that this kid seems to bounceback as well as anyone I've ever seen, so I won't be surprised if he gets rolling on a "F-ck all the haters" stretch of games. In fact... it may have begun already. (Read the full article.)

Biggest Surprise: Jermichael Finley. As in, I'm surprised as hell that we haven't been using him. I guess this could go as a disappointment, but it's not really J-Mike's fault. Davis hasn't done nearly enough to use his freakiest weapon.

Brightest College Future: Jermichael Finley. Again, properly utilized, he's near unguardable. Memo to coaches: figure this one out.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Best To Date: Cedric Dockery. We haven't talked much about right guard this season. That's because Dockery's quietly, effectively going about his business. He's probably Texas' best run blocker, pulls pretty well, and pass protects consistently. All you can ask for, really.

Biggest Disappointment To Date: Adam Ulatoski. The coaches insist the future's still bright, and he did play pretty well against Iowa State, but overall, it's been a disappointment in '07. When he's been on the field, he's been wildly inconsistent. And, of course, there's all the injuries. Here's to hoping for some better luck with health, and a step forward with the development.

Biggest Surprise: Michael Huey. It's pretty rare for true freshmen to play much college ball on the offensive line, but Huey's been in there, holding his own. He's doing well enough as is, and will be a fixture on this line for three more years. Kilgore continues to pump out great football players.

Brightest College Future: Tray Allen and Michael Huey. Take your pick, but if these two avoid injuries, they're going to be first day picks in the NFL Draft when they decide it's time.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Best To Date: Frank Okam. Maybe this is the collegiate version of the "contract year," because Okam's ratcheted up his play to the level many thought we'd see in '06. More likely, he's just healthy. And a healthy Okam is an absolute monster to deal with.

Biggest Disappointment To Date: Brian Orakpo. This isn't a knock against Orakpo at all; it's just disappointing he got hurt in the season opener. He's almost all the way back - here's to hoping he finishes strong to showcase himself for the draftniks.

Biggest Surprise: Lamarr Houston. We knew he was talented. We knew he'd play some this year. Did we know he'd be this good? I can't recall anyone predicting this kind of breakout.

Brightest College Future: Lamarr Houston. It's scary, but he's got room to improve.

LINEBACKERS

Best To Date: Jared Norton. In about half the snaps as the starter in front of him, he's only recorded three fewer tackles, has equaled him in tackles for loss, and recorded two sacks to the starter's zero. He's physical, explosive, and hits like a train.

Biggest Disappointment To Date: Rashaad Bobino and Robert Killebrew. I don't want to talk about it.

Biggest Surprise: Jared Norton. We knew the starters were weak, and lots of folks were clamoring before the season for Muck to get playing time, but the chatter about Norton was relatively minor.

Brightest College Future: Sergio Kindle. We're starting to see it. And 'it' is gonna be special.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Best To Date: Ryan Palmer. Tweedle-who? Seriously, a lot of us gave Palmer no chance this season, questioned the wisdom of starting him, and generally buried him before the season began. Wrong, wrong, wrong. He's second on the team in tackles (just two behind Marcus Griffin), has eleven passes broken up, two forced fumbles, and three tackles for loss. I'm happy for the kid - he's been terrific.

Biggest Disappointment To Date: Erick Jackson. I guess. He's not been too bad or anything, but he really struggles in pass coverage. By the way - check the stats; our four starting DBs are our four top tacklers on the team. That's not inherently awful, but in this case, it's a real indictment of the starting LBs.

Biggest Surprise: Ryan Palmer. See above.

Brightest College Future: It's tough to say at this point, because Texas has some youngsters with huge potential on the roster. Ben Wells is reportedly working out at safety. Curtis Brown is a tremendous athlete. Chykie Brown has drawn rave reviews in practice. Beasley's steadily improving. Christian Scott's being redshirted. Right now, we just don't know.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Best To Date: Ryan Bailey. He's earned that schollie, hasn't he?

Biggest Disappointment To Date: Trevor Gerland. Lost his job to walk-on Justin Moore.

Biggest Surprise: To me, the biggest surprise is that Texas isn't using Vondrell McGee to return kicks. I honestly can't figure out why.

Brightest College Future: Bailey? He's shown no signs of slowing down since he hit the game winner in Lincoln.

--PB--