Game Week: 10 Questions On Texas

SEP. 12 -- Chip Brown from Horns' Digest joins us to answer ten questions about the Longhorns...

1. How do you view the start of the culture change at Texas, and is Charlie Strong on the right path with the dismissals/suspensions?

You couldn't have a more 180 approach to everything the past four years than how Strong has approached everything.

Even though he's dismissed 8 players (4 of whom would have been big-time contributors) for violating team rules or one of his five core values (1 - Tell the truth; 2- treat women with respect; 3 - no drugs ; 4 - no stealing ; 5 - no guns), he gave multiple warnings to each one.

Four players remain suspended, including starting OTs Desmond Harrison and Kennedy Estelle; RB/WR Daje Johnson ( a 4.3 guy with great playmaking skills) and senior S Josh Turner (although Turner said on Instagram this week he'd be back in action vs UCLA - that is unconfirmed by coaches).

The suspensions and dismissals combined with injuries to QB David Ash (head injury) and senior C Dom Espinosa (ankle) have decimated the offense and eliminated depth.

Some Texas fans are so sick of struggling that they are already questioning Strong as coach. But the senior leaders are bought in, and the defense has shown signs of being very good this season.

2. What is the team's spirit/mindset like after the loss to BYU?

It's hard to say. Charlie Strong took blame for not having the team ready for BYU, but he really went after the seniors Monday for not doing enough to bring along younger teammates in terms of film study, etc.

We'll see how the players bounce back (or not), because it's hard to find hope on that offensive line based on how badly it was whipped by BYU last week.

3. Is there a chance we see Jerrod Heard this year (assuming no more injuries) or is he likely redshirting?

The coaches want to redshirt Jerrod Heard. He did not go through the spring and is still learning (and from what we've heard still has a long way to go to handle all of the offense).

If Heard plays, it would likely be a worst-case scenario.

4. In hindsight, are there any regrets in and around Texas about not joining the Pac-12?

There are regrets among the fans for sure. They'd much rather be playing UCLA, USC, Oregon and Stanford than Iowa State, Kansas, TCU and West Virginia.

But there are no regrets from university officials who are cashing checks for $15 million per year from ESPN for the Longhorn Network, helping to make Texas the top revenue producing athletic department in the country.

5. With all the injuries/suspensions/dismissals, which younger players should we keep an eye on in this game?

Texas fans are still waiting to see these names, too, but we've heard great things about sophomore WR Jacorey Warrick (No. 11) and freshman WRs Armanti Foreman (No. 83) and Lorenzo Joe (No. 84).

6. How much of a grace period will Strong get with expectations so high in Texas?

That depends on who you ask, but looking at how the QB scholarships have been mismanaged; the lack of talent and depth on the offensive line; and all the seniors Texas loses after this season, it's probably going to take 3 years for Strong to rebuild the program.

I'm told Strong will get three years.

But Texas athletic director Steve Patterson, who ignored the input of big-money donors on Strong's hire, may only have three years to prove himself, too, or less.

7. Is there a worry about Texas A&M and Baylor surpassing Texas as a destination of choice for high school recruits with their success over the last few years?

The continued rise of Texas A&M and Baylor - and the way they're winning - with explosive, up-tempo offenses and athletic, quick defenses, has compounded angst among Texas fans exponentially.

Strong has told top, in-state recruits, especially on defense, to wait to make a decision until they see Texas' product. Well, if it keeps looking like last week (vs BYU), Strong will struggle to win in-state recruiting battles and may have to keep pulling from Florida and his former, out-of-state hotbeds.

Texas fans fear Strong will bring an old-school, SEC mentality of winning with defense and special teams with a conservative, pro-style offense that won't be able to contain/keep pace with the top teams in the Big 12.

Patience is hard to find these days. Fear and apprehension are in wide supply. The only cure is winning.

8. What are the expectations for the team this year in terms of wins and losses, given the attrition?

After last week, a 6-6 record is starting to look like the high end of aspirations this season.

9. Are all the principals from Texas as hot as Tami Taylor, or nah?

Only nine out of every 10.

10. What's your prediction for the game?

I think Texas' defense and pass rush may be good enough to help keep the Longhorns in it for the first half and maybe even through three quarters. But UCLA is a far more complete team, and barring a rash of turnovers by the Bruins, I think UCLA pulls away in the fourth quarter for the victory. If Texas turns the ball over like it did against BYU (4 times), UCLA will win big.

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