Honestly, it is very hard to get that vision of 54 yards of total offense in the bowl loss to Arkansas out of my head. It may have been something that Texas head coach Charlie Strong was trying to erase from his memory as he had a hard time remembering starting quarterback Tyrone Swoopes' name this past spring.
Texas does return Johnathan Gray as a senior. He is an outstanding running back that has had some injury issues that have set him back some. The offensive line returns four of five starters but Texas will need to find some flagship receivers.
Over on defense, coordinator Vance Bedford, a very creative mind, will need some of his best creations to scheme as the defense breaks in at least six or seven new starters and looks for some of them to develop into the kind of playmakers lost such as tackle Malcolm Brown, end Cedric Reed, linebackers Jordan Hicks and Steve Edmond, and corner Quandre Diggs. Those guys were really good players.
The Longhorns have recruited well and the new starters, most of them, have played significant reps but just haven't proven to be all-league caliber players.
Texas has kicker Nick Rose back, and he is solid and they need to develop a new punter. Overall, last season special teams weren't too special for the Longhorns, so they need to improve overall in this area.
The schedule is front loaded with a tough swing of hosting Oklahoma State, who has won three in a row in Austin against the Horns, at TCU to face the conference favorite that beat them 45-10 in Austin last season, and Oklahoma in Dallas. There is no open week until after the OU game. That trio of games could set the tone along with the tough opener at Notre Dame.
I think Texas takes a step back before they can take any forward.
Texas Longhorns (5-7 / 3-6)
9/5 @Notre Dame - I would love to see Texas win this to help the conference but I can't see it as Notre Dame prevails 23-20.
9/12 Rice - Texas comes home and beats a tough Rice team 27-17.
9/19 California - The Bears can score and throw it around but turnovers help Texas win 27-24.
9/26 Oklahoma State - Gundy and Company wish they had started Rudolph at QB last season against Texas as they would have won and they win here 31-10.
10/3 @TCU - Horned Frogs have too much for Texas and cruise 43-14.
10/10 OU in Dallas - The old Cotton Bowl is spruced up but Texas is worn down and need the open week as OU wins 35-28.
10/24 Kansas State - Wildcats come in and shock Longhorns in battle for possible upper division 17-14.
10/31 @Iowa State - Halloween in Ames and the Cyclones continue to rain on Longhorns stuggles with a 36-27 upset.
11/7 Kansas - Texas is back in business with 20-7 victory.
11/14 @West Virginia - It is all starting to come together for Texas as they knock off Mountaineers 28-17.
11/26 Texas Tech - Thanksgiving proves to be very bountiful with a close, but exciting 34-31 win.
12/5 @Baylor - Bears looking for CFP credit and Longhorns fight hard but Baylor survives 38-31.