Defensively, the second half performance yesterday was disappointing and shocking. However, given

prior performances, I view it as an anomaly rather than a consistent problem. I view our talent evaluation

on that side of the ball as generally good, I view our player development on that side of the ball as very

good, and I view our coaching/scheme as consistently good. That doesn’t mean we don’t have issues

(play of DT’s and lack of depth at that spot being one), but I think we have demonstrated over the past

couple of years that we are getting the right players, we are developing them well and we are putting

them in schemes that are effective.

Offensively, I think the opposite is true in every one of those categories. I think our offensive talent

evaluation during recruiting has been shockingly poor, our player development—especially on the

offensive line—has been equally poor, and our offensive scheme is very poor, especially in fitting the

scheme to the talent on hand.


As a starting point, look at the offensive recruiting since 2006. I think it is telling:


Offensive: 2006

Buck Burnette (OL)

Antwan Cobb (FB)

Sherrod Harris (QB)

Philip Payne (WR)

Jevan Snead (QB)

Roy Watts (OL)

Greg Smith (TE)

Steve Moore (OL)

Britt Mitchell (OL/TE)

Vondrell McGee (RB)

Josh Marshall (WR)

J’Marcus Webb (OL)

Montre Webber (WR)


2006 is truly shocking. 13 offensive players signed and only two are contributing as 5th year seniors

(Mitchell and Smith), and those two are probably the two weakest links on the offense. An incredible nine

of them made zero impact on the program. Losing Webb and Watts (two grade departures) really hurt.

Zero all conference players and zero pro players from that year. A complete whiff of a year.

Unbelievably bad.


Offensive: 2007

Tray Allen (OL)

John Chiles (QB/WR)

Brandon Collins (WR)

Ian Harris (TE)

Kyle Hix (OL)

Ahmard Howard (TE/DE)

Michael Huey (OL)

Blaine Irby (TE/LB)

Cody Johnson (RB)

G.J. Kinne (QB)

James Kirkendoll (WR)

Aundre McGaskey (OL)

Fozzy Whittaker (RB)

Malcolm Williams (WR)


This year was better than 2006 (how could it not be?), but it was hardly a good year. You have six

starters on this year’s offense from this class (Chiles, Hix. Huey, Kirkendoll, Whittaker and Williams) and

two that would have been but for injury (Allen and Irby). However, not one of the starters is a differencemaker,

and I would bet not a single one of them will make all-conference (or ever has) or have any sort of

significant pro career. This is a year that really makes one question our player development skills, as

several of them are obviously physically skilled (M. Williams, Hix, Huey, Chiles, Allen), but have never

seemed to put it all together to become an elite player. Watching Williams continue to struggle catching

the ball and watching Hix completely whiff twice yesterday in pass blocking really makes one question

how they could be struggling like that after being in the program for so long. Hix and Huey are the real

disappointments to me. The offense needs them to be dominant, they have the experience and size to

be so—and yet they are average…or worst. Irby is the big loss. Before he got hurt so severely, he

looked like he was going to be special—at a position where we have been awful without him.


Offensive: 2008

Mark Buchanan (OL)

Dan Buckner (WR/H-Back)

Brock Fitzhenry (WR)

D.J. Grant (TE)

DeSean Hales (WR)

Antoine Hicks (WR/S)

Jeremy Hills (RB)

D.J. Monroe (DB/RB)

Tre Newton (RB)

Luke Poehlmann (OL)

Ryan Roberson (FB/LB)

David Snow (OL)


This is the year that screams “talent evaluation”. Out of 12 offensive recruits, not a single one of them

appears special. One can argue D.J. Monroe could be, but like John Chiles, we never seem to figure out

how to use him or he lacks the discipline, smarts or “want to” in order to take advantage of the

opportunity. Remember that Monroe was recruited as a DB, and only switched to offense after a very

impressive performance in a high school all-star game. Snow is a starter, but one that hardly appears to

be more than a journeyman. Grant has been an injury situation and Hicks failed to qualify. One really

has to wonder if the others were the type of players that Texas should have taken.

So, you have three years of offensive recruiting, and you have not one real difference-maker in the

program. Not one all-conference player, nor one player that likely has much of a pro future. Those three

classes include nine of our offensive starters, and it’s hard to be excited about the offensive potential of

that group when you have players that have been in the program for three-five years and have never

produced at an elite level.

Part of the reason has to be mistakes in talent evaluation (the list is long), player development (see

above) and scheme. With regard to the latter, who can look at the offense we are running and tell me

what we trying to establish—other than every horizontal pass known to football playbooks? For the last

three years, we have said we are going to establish a physical running game. We are four games into the

season and we have totally abandoned that idea…again. More importantly, who can look at the group of

offensive lineman that we have, coupled with the lack of a quality tight end, fullback or running back, and

say that any offensive coordinator in their right mind would believe that we could ever succeed in the type

of plain vanilla running scheme we tried to run for the first three games this year?

The biggest misses have been offensive line and running back recruiting and player development.

Consider Buck Burnette, Roy Watts, Steve Moore, Britt Mitchell, J’Marcus Webb, Tray Allen, Kyle Hix,

Michael Huey, Andre McGaskey, Mark Buchanan and Luke Poehlmann and one has to ask if those were

the right players to recruit and whether Mac McWhorter has done a good job with them—especially Allen,

Hix and Huey as they were very highly regarded recruits. One can argue that Buchanan and Poehlmann

are too young to judge, but they need to come on soon (Poehlmann is out for the year). Consider

Vondrell McGee, Cody Johnson, Fozzy Whittaker, Jeremy Hills and Tre Newton and it’s impossible not to

conclude that UT has been recruiting the wrong guys as running backs—especially in light of the other

running backs that have come out of the state during that period of time.


And before anyone gets giddy about 2009, here is a look at the offensive recruits:


Chris Whaley (RB)

Mason Walters (OL)

Greg Timmons (WR)

Garrett Porter (OL)

Barrett Matthews (TE)

Trey Graham (TE)

Thomas Ashcraft (OL)

Padden Kelley (OL)

Garrett Gilbert (QB)


Of that group, Walters and Gilbert are starting and there is hope for all except Whaley (another talent

evaluation failure at running back who has already been switched to H-back). One has to question

whether Matthews will ever be the answer at tight end, given his hands. In fact, given those hands, one

has to wonder how Barrett eats.

The long and the short of all this is that Mack needs to look hard at each of these three areas. From a

talent evaluation standpoint, one wonders whether the increased emphasis (after the disastrous 2006

class) on good students, good people and kids who want to play for Texas (translation: who will commit

early) has watered down the talent. Personally, I think that is an excuse—the real problem is poor talent

evaluation across the board on offense and poor player development on the offensive line. The latter

issue points the finger squarely at Mac McWhorter. From a scheme standpoint, we have moved from the

zone read with Vince (and a great offensive line and some real skill players), to the spread passing game

with Colt (and two great receivers in Shipley and Cosby) to some lousy combination of the Chris Simms

offense with lesser talent. That won’t work to get us to an elite level even if we eliminate a lot of the

mistakes that we’ve been making.


By the way, here a just a few of our defensive recruits during that same three year period:


2006: Lamarr Houston, Eddie Jones and Sergio Kindle

2007: Sam Acho, Curtis Brown, Keenan Robinson, Earl Thomas

2008: Emmanuel Acho, Kheeston Randall, Aaron Williams, Blake Gideon.

There’s a few difference-makers in that group—and a few guys who were coached to reach their


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