He Said, He Said: Focus in on which Position?

Q: What is the position concern that not enough people are focused on right now?


Chip Brown’s Take

With the arrival of punter Michael "Outback" Dickson fresh from Australia, everyone is hoping the punting chores go from huge question mark to potential strength.

There just seems to be this faith we all have in Australians and punting (see former Cowboys' P Mat McBriar, now with the Chargers) because kids grow up in that country punting like crazy - because their version of football calls for punting as a way to pass the ball.

Nonetheless, if Dickson is as good as hoped for, I'll move from punting to the position battle of receiver.

Losing Gilbert Johnson to academic ineligibility was a big blow in my mind, because I thought he could come in right away and challenge for the X-receiver position held by John Harris last season.

Now, we're hearing Lorenzo Joe and Dorian Leonard are really going at it to replace Harris. Joe was the more sure-handed of the two in the spring game.

At the other outside WR position, Marcus Johnson is getting competition from guys like John Burt, Ty Templin and DeAndre McNeal.

At the slot WR position, you've got Daje Johnson, Armanti Foreman and Jacorey Warrick and Ryan Newsome.

I love Foreman as a receiver, but his quirky personality has made him a bit of a loner on the team. Coaches want him at the head of the line in drills (because his talent justifies it), but Foreman prefers to drift to the back of the line.

Les Koenning couldn't get through to Foreman, and it contributed to Koenning getting let go (in addition to Charlie Strong wanting a better recruiter).

I think the Jay Norvell hire was a great value pickup. Norvell got a lot out of the receivers at OU, such as Malcolm Kelly, Juaquin Iglesias, Manuel Johnson, Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills.

Now, Norvell needs to do the same with Foreman - getting the most out of him - and the entire WR group - in 2015.





William Wilkerson’s Take

Long gone should be the days where Texas simply puts a sure-handed player back to return punts [Jaxon Shipley] only to be sure that the ball ends up staying in UT’s possession.

The whole playing-it-safe bit needs to be long gone. It’s time the Longhorns go for broke on punt return, and kickoff return, to try and give their offense a spark.

Texas averaged 8.0 yards per punt return compare to 10.2 for its opponent.

UT averaged 19.6 yards per kickoff return compared to 30.1 for its opponent./p>

That’s terrible. Sorry. That’s terrible.

You can’t tell me that the Longhorns don’t have the playmakers on this roster, and the creative minds on the coaching staff, to turn this into a strength.

Jeff Traylor will change things up. He’s a risk-taker, the definition of really. He’ll try some things to give Texas’ speedsters some open lanes.

But who should get the first opportunity to field punts and kick returns? To me, I’d go with Ryan Newsome.

The stage will never be too big for the confident freshman. He gets it. Not to mention he wants the opportunity to be the guy in the return game. He told me so shortly after committing.

And he’s plenty capable. He’s got exceptional change-of-direction ability, has quick feet and is elusive. He’s also sure-handed and tough.

He’d be my guy there as well as one of the guys on kickoff return along with Daje Johnson, Armanti Foreman, and Roderick Bernard (whenever Bernard is deemed healthy enough).

There are plenty enough playmakers on this roster and creative minds [Traylor] to get the return game moving in the right direction.

Gone have to be the days were UT is playing it safe back there.




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