Texas Big 12 Media Day Notes

From the quarterbacks to young players to watch, here are 10 thoughts from Texas's time at Big 12 Media Days.

1) Mack Brown remains a larger-than-life character. He came up to the podium for the print interviews trailed by a bevy of Big 12 cheerleaders, then proceeded to tell the reporters that he would direct all tough questions their way. So the first question was addressed directly to the cheerleaders: which Longhorn quarterback should start? Brown sized up the lineup, which was made up of mostly Texas opponents, and noted that they would probably pick "the worst one."

2) And of course, the quarterback question was far and away the most-asked question to Brown and the trio of Texas players he brought along: offensive lineman Mason Walters, linebacker Jordan Hicks and cornerback Carrington Byndom. As for Brown's take:

"Everything I'm hearing is that Case isn't giving up. He's in better shape, he's bigger, stronger. He's really fighting this summer and he's had a great summer. So I think this thing's a lot closer than … you all never ask me about Case, you always throw David out there because you've already made your decision, but I think you're wrong. I think you need to wait and see. Because from what I'm hearing, I think it's a battle. I don't think it's a done deal."

3) Overall, Brown said the passing game should be in better shape than it was last year. He pointed out that injuries and the quarterback shuffling, especially early in the year, nipped last year's passing game before it could get started. But the true freshman could be needed early this year at wide receiver, particularly with Marquise Goodwin, Miles Onyegbule and Bryant Jackson missing the summer for various issues (Goodwin for track, Onyegbule and Jackson with injuries).

4) While Byndom said the Longhorn running game was capable of taking Texas "as far as we want to go," Brown said that Texas would like to find a way to get more balanced. Brown pointed out that in 2004, Texas was a top-five rushing team and 106th in passing heading into the Rose Bowl. So the Longhorns certainly have precedent for being a run-heavy outfit, though Brown said he would prefer Texas find some balance. The Longhorns were 65-35 in run-pass ratio last year, he said, and he wanted Texas closer to 55-45, if not 50-50.

5) Texas is in the process of finding the right trigger guy for the Wild formation — called the Wild Fozzy by many Longhorn fans — and Brown said Texas potentially wouldn't run the formation if it couldn't find the right guy? Who that player could be is still a mystery. Brown mentioned running backs Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron, Johnathan Gray (Brown said Gray weighs at least 205 pounds after summer conditioning) and Daje Johnson as possibilities, and true freshman quarterback Jalen Overstreet could also be the guy. But that's one of the situational positions up for grabs heading into fall camp.

6) Toughest defensive lineman to block? Walters said that would be Desmond Jackson. Walters said that Jackson's strength, quickness and ability to come off the ball low and hard made him a likely breakout candidate this year.

7) Walters is one of the better interviews on the team. Not only does he answer questions honestly, but he's capable of having a little fun as well. Walters said he and the offensive linemen occasionally give offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin trouble about wanting to run a "guard around" pass. Who would throw said pass? Walters said he was the best passer, and said he would likely try to throw the pass (naturally conceived to go to another lineman) to former tight end Luke Poehlmann. Walters said Poehlmann's touchdown catch against Baylor was "the only awesome thing about that Baylor game."

8) For now, both Caleb Bluiett and Greg Daniels will stick at tight end. Brown said it was important for the Longhorns to fix their tight end issues, and as a result, Texas needs all hands on deck. It was encouraging to hear linebacker Jordan Hicks mention M.J. McFarland as one of the stars of 7-on-7 play, and the burly former high school receiver spent the whole summer working on his blocking technique and strength.

9) Speaking of Bluiett, he was singled out by Walters as an offensive freshman who could surprise and find his way onto the field. Walters mentioned Bluiett's size and speed, but also his tremendous work ethic as factors. And while Johnathan Gray was a popular pick for all of the players, so too was Marcus Johnson. Brown described Johnson as "quick," "powerful" and a "gym rat." Defensively, Hicks said the freshman linebackers came in ready to play, especially Dalton Santos, while defensive end Torshiro Davis and safety Adrian Colbert were also mentioned by the Longhorn players.

10) Near the end of his "one-on-one" time (put in quotation marks because it's more like one-on-20, but still more secluded than the morning's press conference), Brown gave a near State of the Union. It read:

"I really feel good about this team right now and where we're headed. We've got the obvious questions. I think the biggest ones are: how do we separate the quarterbacks and who plays? That's easy. We've got an obvious question of wide receivers. We have to get more consistency there. We've got the kicking questions that we've got to get done, and we've got some experience questions. But other than that, I think we're pretty talented at every spot. And that's why I think we'll have a chance to get back to where we need to be."

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