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A Rare Mailbag

The news has slowed to an absolute crawl, if you haven't noticed by the abbreviated morning notes and general lack of posting. I've been using the downtime to focus on The Eyes Of Texas 2007 football annual, but I'm still not altogether thrilled to have so little to talk about. With that in mind, I get quite a bit of email from you guys - which I enjoy - and while I normally reply to emails directly, at this time of year, it's nice to use some of the questions and comments on the blog itself. So, yeah: a rare mailbag. As always, you can email me any time you please.

Nice work digging for the Durant info before it became widely reported. I wish you had been wrong of course. I was wondering though if you had heard of Tyreke Evans and if Texas has a chance to land him?  --KDG--

PB: I'm not a Texas writer with a well of reliable sources connected to the program, but in this case, I just couldn't wait to find out about KD's future. I was sad to learn what I learned, too.

As for Evans - the timing of your question is excellent. Orangebloods recently profiled the 2008 hoops recruit, noting that Evans has narrowed his list to eight schools. Rick Barnes and Texas made his first cut, though Louisville, Connecticut, Memphis, Florida, Villanova, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina are also trying to woo the 6-5 shooting guard.

It's too early to tell where Evans will ultimately decide to go, but just remember the next time you hear someone complain about Durant leaving after one year that his decision to come to Texas is one of the biggest reasons why Rick Barnes even has a chance at recruits like Evans (who hails from Pennsylvania). TJ Ford made Texas a choice destination for in-state premier basketball talent; Kevin Durant made Texas a school that every premier talent can feel comfortable considering.

PB, I agree with your take from the Spring Scrimmage. I don't know why Texas fans are so uncomfortable with this being a pass-first team. Colt's got the golden touch - let's roll with it!  --DL--

PB: I did note that Texas fans have been spoiled by run-heavy teams, and I do think we need to be prepared to embrace the 2007 offense as a pass-oriented attack. But...

I also said something else in my spring scrimmage notes that, in retrospect, I may not have emphasized enough: "With that said, Texas must improve in short-yardage, goal-to-go, and red zone situations."

As excited as I am about the Longhorn passing attack (which is going to be very, very, very potent), I need to remind myself how frustrating this offense was in the red zone and in short yards- and goal-to-go situations. Texas never loses to Kansas State or Texas A&M if Colt doesn't get injured, and Colt doesn't get injured if the short yardage running game was adequate.

Passing is good, but we have to be able to pick up necessary yardage on demand. If that aspect of the running game can take a step forward this year (a big question with the situation on the offensive line), then Colt can really blossom into an unstoppable force. We'll see.

I know you don't like Greg Davis bashing, but I know I'm really worried about GD not figuring out how to use John Chiles. I just feel like we've got to use Chiles as a weapon in some capacity, but Davis won't figure it out.  --UT05--

PB: To be fair, I'm not against criticizing Davis at all. I just think he gets unfairly blamed by some for every problem that Texas ever has.

And I think your concern is a legitimate one. I'm not sure I'd worry that Greg Davis, more than any other coordinator, is going to under-utilize Chiles; it's more like virtually all coordinators are incredibly cautious with how they use freshmen - even players as talented as Chiles.

How about this: I'll predict that if Texas' run game isn't producing in the aforementioned short yardage situations, Davis will take far more creative liberty with Chiles than you and I are imagining. Otherwise, my best guess is that Chiles will be used sparingly as a change of pace player in situational packages.

Watch the performance of Texas in the red zone. If it becomes clear we need something extra, I bet Davis takes the reins off a bit.