Season Preview - Texas Longhorns

North Carolina will have its third road game in as many weeks when they travel to Austin, Texas to play the Longhorns. Could Texas be one of the teams in the Rose Bowl? They have the talent.

Texas Longhorns

Big 12
2000 Record - 9-3, 7-1 Big 12
Bowl Game - lost to Oregon, 35-30
Coach - Mack Brown

Pre-season rank - USAToday/ESPN Coaches Poll -- # 6


Key players returning - WR Roy Williams, WR BJ Johnson, QB Chris Simms, C Matt Anderson, G Antwan Kirk-Hughes, T Mike Williams

Key players lost - RB Hodges Mitchell, LT Leonard Davis, K Kris Stockton

Strengths - Arguably best wide receiver corps in the country, with super 6-5, 210 Roy Williams leading a deep and talented group.  Offensive line will have five players on the roster who have started seven games or more.

Weaknesses - Hodges Mitchell came on very strong and finished as a 100+ yard per game rusher in 2000.  He could be replaced with a committee of tailbacks.  


Key players returning - DE Corey Redding, DE Kalen Thornton, CB Quentin Jammer, LB De'Andre Lewis 

Key players lost - DT Casey Hampton, DT Shaun Rogers, FS Greg Brown, P Kris Stockton

Strengths - Linebacker corps returns everyone from 2000's two-deep.

Weaknesses - Losing both standout DT's will hurt defensive line, and the loss of DE Cole Pittman, who died in a car crash in February, hurts depth at that position.  

Special teams

Mack Brown had his best year as a head coach with special teams last year.  The 'Horns lost only two punts blocked last year.  Kris Stockton, who was both the punter and kicker, will have to be replaced.   Victor Ike is a good kickoff return man, but someone will have to replace Hodges Mitchell as the punt return man.  

On balance

Many experts believe that it is only a matter of time before the recruiting classes brought in by Mack Brown produce a national championship.  Some think this could be the year. 

Quarterback Chris Simms will be throwing to the best receiving corps this side of the NFL, and he finished the season strong last year (actually led Big 12 in passing efficiency).  They have the experience on the offensive line to protect Simms as well.  With all the talent that Brown has recruited, it would be a surprise if one of those players did not step up at running back.  This could be the number one offense in the NCAA next season.

Defensively, they have a deep linebacker corps and will be good on the outside of the defensive line.  If experience counts, the Longhorns could be vulnerable in the middle of the defensive line and the middle of the secondary, where all four 2000 starters are gone (both DT's and both safeties). 

There is no question that Texas is one of the most talented teams in the country, and with a favorable schedule, Texas could be one of the teams in the Rose Bowl next January.   



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