23 Texas - Sports Illustrated Vault | SI.com
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23 Texas

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OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE

Tom Herman inherits some really talented receivers. During warmups, it's like, Look at those guys! Collin Johnson [a 6'6", 215-pound sophomore] is the biggest, and he really started to come on last year. He could be special. Their running backs are big, and they can make you miss. Their O-line improved as last season wore on. You could see them working together, which hadn't always been the case. [Junior] Connor Williams [6'6", 315 pounds] is the best left tackle we saw. He's athletic, has the wingspan, and he's nasty. [Sophomore QB Shane] Buechele was green and had a lot of pressure. He didn't look the same after he took some big hits early on. I don't think he has a great arm, but he can throw the quick stuff and take some shots.

Todd Orlando's D at Houston was good at getting pressure. He will blitz from all angles and cut off any easy stuff on the outside. A lot of people hype [6'3", 240-pound junior linebacker]Malik Jefferson and he can run, but we didn't think he was that good. He doesn't play physical. [Sophomore DE] MALCOLM ROACH [6'3", 270 pounds] is better. He's a load, but he moves well. [Junior tackle] Charles Omenihu [6'7", 270] looks like what Texas should have up front. Safety Jason Hall [a 6'3", 220-pound senior] is a long kid and can cover slots. He was key because the corners are inconsistent.

OFFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % (100TH)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT (56TH)

COMPLETION % (44TH)

YARDS PER CARRY (17TH)

SACKS ALLOWED (94TH)

TURNOVERS LOST (94TH)

POINTS PER DRIVE (61ST)

YARDS PER PLAY (58TH)

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % ALLOWED (51ST)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT ALLOWED (93RD)

COMPLETION % ALLOWED (90TH)

YARDS PER CARRY ALLOWED (50TH)

SACKS (12TH)

TURNOVERS GAINED (60TH)

POINTS PER DRIVE ALLOWED (74TH)

YARDS PER PLAY ALLOWED (60TH)

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RATING

58

Texas is probably a year away from making a run at the Big 12 title. It first hosts Maryland (9/2) before visiting USC (9/16). (Tom Herman is 6--0 against Top 25 opponents.) In conference the Horns have a nasty back-to-back: Oklahoma (10/14) and a visit from Oklahoma State (10/21).

THE PLAYER TO KNOW

Sophomore quarterback SHANE BUECHELE's season totals—2,958 yards passing, 60.4% completions, 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions—are eye-catching for a true freshman in a Power 5 league, but the slender 6'1" 185-pounder seemed to run out of gas late in the year. He threw two TDs against five picks in the Longhorns' last three games, all losses, though an injured right thumb and a broken rib certainly didn't help. New coach Tom Herman has been impressed by Buechele's accuracy and believes he's a good enough runner to keep defenses honest. Still, Herman thinks the signal-caller needs to develop into a more vocal leader, especially since Texas has only one senior projected to start on offense.