Coach's Look: Take a Deep Breath

There is nothing I hate more than a bye week. It seems like the Longhorns haven't played in months, and last Saturday's televised games were horrible. However, bye weeks give the players a time to catch their breath, catch up on their studies, nurse some injuries, and relax. It's also a good time (especially coming right before conference play) for the Longhorn coaches to evaluate their team. With this week's column, I'm going to bring to light seven points of interest to me so far this year:

  1. Vince Young is a better passer this year. However, I don’t think he is any better mechanically than he was last year. The main difference is that Greg Davis seems to be calling plays to his strengths: play action mixed with the occasional deep throws. Young still makes some bad decisions, but you have to take the good with the bad. If he tried to eat the ball every time he was in danger, the Longhorns would probably have not won the Rose Bowl.
  2. The defense will be better than it was last year. The defense isn’t there yet, but I didn’t feel that the defense really came together well until the Texas Tech game last year. The only concern that I have is the pass defense against the long throws. When you play aggressive man-to-man, you are going to give up some long throws. I think the Longhorns could face some trouble if they go up against a balanced team that can successfully throw the deep ball (but what team wouldn’t be in trouble?).
  3. The offensive line is the best I have seen at Texas, and I feel that they will only get better as the season progresses. Not only is the first line good, but there are adequate backups as well. There will be at least one All-American from this unit, and probably two (Blalock and Scott). They have really caught on to the zone blocking schemes involved in this offense, and they have enough power to open up seams against any line.
  4. Brian Robison is underrated. Severely. I could see him making the transition to a defensive end in an NFL 3-4 scheme. He has the size and power to take on tackles, and the burst to get a good rush. Right now, I would say that he is the Longhorns' best defensive lineman, and that’s no slight to Rod Wright or Frank Okam.
  5. If Texas doesn’t beat OU this year, they may not beat them for a while. OU is down, and Texas has a senior offensive line. If you don’t think it makes a difference, just ask OU if it does. The one common denominator for all national championship teams is an experienced offensive line, and next year, the Horns won’t have one.
  6. Aaron Harris is no Derrick Johnson, and it’s not close. To hear many fans and pundits this offseason, Aaron Harris was supposed to make us ask, "Derrick Who?" Has he played well? Yes, and he does some things better than Derrick Johnson. I think he does take on blocks better than Johnson. However, he isn’t the playmaker that Johnson was, but not many are.
  7. Jamaal Charles is better than Selvin Young. He is better than Selvin Young when Selvin before any ankle injuries, and he is definitely better than Selvin Young now. In coaching football, I’ve had a lot of players and parents complain how it wasn’t "fair" that their son didn’t play more. The worst travesty in sports is playing someone who doesn’t deserve to play ahead of someone who does. THAT is unfair. I will be disappointed in Mack Brown if Selvin Young starts on Saturday. He hasn’t done anything to deserve it, and Jamaal Charles has done everything to deserve it. Give Jamaal 20 carries, and Selvin five. That would be the fair and right thing to do.

Mark Kissinger has coached high school football in Texas and Tennessee, coaching OL, TE, WR, DT, DE, and serving as both an offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator. In high school, he was coached by the legendary G.A. Moore. Mark recently retired from coaching and received his M.B.A. from Rice University and is in his third season of writing for IT. His 'Coach's Look' column appears after each game during football season on

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