Let’s talk about the ugly first. In Chris Beard’s return to Lubbock, the Longhorns were largely outplayed and looked inferior to Texas Tech and Coach Adams. What was your initial takeaway and has it changed since Tuesday night?
Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - My initial takeaway was a) damn, that looked like a fun environment and b) I hope we can get a home-court advantage like that at the Moody Center. Outside of that, Tech showed up ready to play and Texas played frantic outside of Courtney Ramey. The Longhorns lack a player like Bryson Williams and that showed on Tuesday night. But remember, Tech was favored by 4.5 points and is a dang good team. It’s not like Texas was supposed to walk into Lubbock and blow them out. Disappointed to see them lose by 13, but Tech was clearly the better coached team.
Cody Daniel (@CodyDanielSBN) - My takeaway pretty much remains the same – this is an average team that didn’t quite yet meet expectations, not yet at least. Texas can look really good on certain nights, but when they’ve played teams that you might consider an upper-echelon group, they struggle and lose. It’s a team with notable depth and talent throughout that depth, but the talent isn’t top-end, NBA-caliber, and the depth is more of a collection of experienced guys than a group that fits and plays really well together.
Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - It just confirmed one of the things I’ve known all year, that this is a good team, but not a great one. Tech gave them a few chances to get back into it, but Texas’s inconsistency on offense kept them from taking advantage of those opportunities. The Longhorns still don’t really seem to have an offensive identity, so every night they seemingly have to figure it out all over again. Texas’s leading scorers were a combined 9-22, which is not going to get it done on any night – especially against tournament teams.
Texas Tech finished with 14 forced turnovers, 9 steals, 7 blocked shots, and outrebounded the Longhorns by 11 in their 13-point victory. Can Texas improve or are they are who they are at this point?
Cameron - At points during the Texas Tech game it looked like this was the first time Texas was playing together. In February. They aren’t a bad team but they aren’t in the top tier of Big 12 teams this season and just lack the explosiveness and athleticism that Tech, Kansas, and Baylor have. Doesn’t mean they can’t win a game or two in March, but lower your expectations.
Cody - I think this is just who this group is. They’ll have nights where they’re better across the board, but Texas Tech is elite athletically and Texas just isn’t, as they were last season, and it’s evident when they’re on the wrong side of a mismatch.
Gerald - You are what the tape shows and the tape shows. Right now the tape shows a team that can look dominant when they are the more gifted squad, but struggles when it’s even or worse for them – especially as it relates to playing near the basket.
The Longhorns added just one player on National Signing Day Pt. 2, but it was in a big one in 5-star OL DJ Campbell. Kyle Flood and Sark arguably had already signed the greatest OL class in school history, Campbell might solidify that. Is this finally the recruiting class that changes the future of Texas football?
Cameron - On paper, it’s definitely the best OL class recruited, but we don’t know how their development will go which has been a problem for the last decade. What Flood and Sark have done in this class is incredible, but let’s check back in 3 or 4 years and see how many of these 7 linemen are starting or still at Texas. That’s how we’ll truly know if this OL class is going to change Texas football.
Cody - I might as well be from Missouri because they have to show me. Recruiting has never been an issue in Austin and each class has claimed they’ll be the change, but we’re yet to see some truly significant results. I’ll say that I do really like what this class brings to the table from a sheer talent and depth standpoint, but if changing the culture and winning we’re that easy, then one of the previous 11 or 12 classes would have done it.
Gerald - There’s a lot of talk about how Texas has always recruited well, but never developed, but in my years of following recruiting I’ve never seen a class composed like this. Seven of the 28 signed players from the class of 2022 are offensive lineman, a group that includes two five stars and one just outside the five-star cutoff. Combining the offensive linemen, defensive linemen, and edge rushers, 15 of the 28 players in the 2022 class play in the trenches. It took the previous staff two cycles to reach that number. We saw what Kyle Flood was able to do with the group on campus currently, so him a class with multiple NFL-type players makes me hopeful he can fix what ails the offense.
Steve Sarkisian’s first full recruiting class will finish top-5 in the recruiting rankings plus four key additions through the transfer portal including QB Quinn Ewers. Was this a dream off-season for Texas?
Cameron - How many were confident after the Kansas loss that Texas was going to bring in a class like this, much less keep the one they had at the time? Sark addressed the weakness at OL, brought in four transfers that might be starting Week 1, and finished with a top-5 class? What more could you ask for? Especially with A&M recruiting this class.
Cody - All things considered it was fairly ideal given how the season played out. Texas added some unexpected pieces at key positions, added necessary talent in the right places, and made some notable additions to the staff. It was probably more eventful than it needed to be given the product on the field and the need to upgrade talent and depth throughout, but yeah, Texas certainly did itself some favors across the board in the last couple months.
Gerald - If we rewind to last summer and you tell me that at the end of this recruiting cycle Texas lands the recruiting class they did and landed Ewers in the portal, I would have assumed they were knocking on the door of the playoffs and sold him them all on “if you were here we would have won it all.” After going 5-7 thanks to a six-game losing streak that included a loss to Kansas, Texas has no right to have been as successful as they were this offseason.
With a little snow on the ground in Austin, who would be on your three-man snowball fight team consisting of former Texas athletes?
Cameron - Roger Clemens because he’s the rocket…duh. Vince Young because he’d dodge, juke, and side-arm a snowball right in your mouth. And Leonard Davis because he might just scare off the competitors while protecting Roger and VY.
Cody - I’m with Cameron — you gotta have Roger Clemens, and in winning time, you want VT with the (snow) ball in his hands. Maybe my last pick would be Colt McCoy because his accuracy was insane, so most of the snowballs he throws are gonna smack someone.
Gerald - Because I’m the last one to get my answers in, I’m going to go off the beaten path. National champion decathlete Trey Hardee, because a snowball fight is just as much about endurance and agility as it is throwing snowballs. Cat Osterman because I want a pitcher and I feel like nobody expects the underhand delivery. Rounding out the roster is Demarco Cobbs, because it snows enough in Oklahoma for him to be experienced and there are rumors he’s good in a fight.