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Community Projection: Limas Sweed

You could argue that Limas Sweed was the best receiver in the Big 12 last season, and by all accounts, he's playing even better now than he was then. Reports from 7-on-7 drills include such hyperbole as "uncoverable," "a beast," and "the best player on the field."

Maybe most importantly, Limas has grown into a leader. He's leading by example. He's leading vocally. He's grown into the type of dominant senior player that we all dreamed about when he was a true freshman, but worried he might not become. Remember those days? When we moaned about how easily he got pushed around by smaller defenders? How he wasn't physical enough?

Those days are long gone. By the end of his sophomore season, he was a force in the Rose Bowl. Last year, he was one of college football's top ten deep threats in the game. And this year? Well, I'm not the only one who's bullish - the venerable Phil Steele has Sweed ranked as his top receiver in the country.

The only real question is how opposing defenses plan to handle him. Opponents spent a lot of defensive capital last season trying to contain the Texas run game, one of several reasons why the run game never exploded and - more relevantly - the passing game flourished. Sweed proved time and again that single coverage on the sidelines was a punishable offense.

What will teams do this year? If Sweed were on a lesser team, the answer would be obvious - lots and lots of safety help. Texas' offense is so loaded in so diverse a manner, though, that safety help is not the easy answer it would seem. There's Jermichael Finley to worry about (and worrying about him with a linebacker isn't gonna cut it). There's Billy Pittman and Jordan Shipley. And there's Quan Cosby, who's become deadly effective at chain-moving catches underneath in the soft spots of zones.

Seriously, what do you do? McCoy's proven he can make the right reads, so it's a pick-your-poison situation for opposing defensive coordinators. The best bet, I'd guess, is to push all your chips in on quarterback pressure. Give McCoy time, and it's over. Get to him quickly and you can force some mistakes.

All told, there's no question what kind of season Sweed is capable of. The two big questions are:

  1. Will Texas' offensive line protect McCoy adequately?
  1. How much secondary help will opposing DC's commit to stopping the Sweed deep ball?

Tough questions, but my projection's still rosy:

Limas Sweed 2007 Projection: 60 catches, 1050 yards, 13 TDs

Your turn.