Texas Football: Spring Practice Storylines That Matter

    Texas football spring practice is here. The storylines that matter, what’s the big deal, what to worry about, and what’s all set.

    March 4, 2016

    Texas football spring practice is here. The storylines that matter, what’s the big deal, what to worry about, and what’s all set.

    This is the first spring of the rest of Charlie Strong’s life …

    Charlie Strong’s first two seasons at Texas weren’t fair.

    Everyone with a working brain knew that Texas had to be completely rebuilt through a few big recruiting classes, and it was obvious that it was going to take some time to make the program great again. Yet after a rocky 6-7 2014 season, and a rough 5-7 2015, Strong is likely going to get one more shot at this.

    For all the valid excuses, and even with Strong starting to get the pieces he wants in place, it is still Texas, a place that has more advantages, money and pressure than just about any other job. That’s why his team must be ready to dominate from the start and at least show that it’s on the verge of being a national superpower again.

    It’s been a very, very young team over the last two years, and that youth showed with the painful inconsistencies on both sides of the ball.

    How does a team look so good in a win over Oklahoma, come so close to beating California, and find a way to beat Baylor, but also get shut down and shut out by Iowa State and get obliterated by Notre Dame and TCU?

    To fix the inconsistencies, the Longhorns have to unequivocally settle on a quarterback, needing Jerrod Heard to absolutely, positively be the main man.

    They need the defensive front to be a rock, despite the loss of both starting tackles, and they need more playmakers on both sides of the ball.

    The first two years may have been more Mack Brown teams than Strong’s. It’s all Strong’s now.

    And this is his spring to prove it.

    No one is worried about …

    The linebacking corps. If there’s any one area on the team that has the potential to rise up and be a true difference-maker, this is it starting with super-soph Malik Jackson, likely in the middle. Leading tackler Peter Jinkens is gone, but new recruit Erick Fowler will be a factor when he arrives in the fall. Timothy Cole and Anthony Weaver are good-looking options on the outside.

    Extra attention must be given to …

    All the new coaches. Spring ball is mostly for getting everyone on the same page, including new offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, who’s coming in from Tulsa to open up the ground attack. Charlie Williams is the new wide receivers coach, Clay Jennings takes over the defensive backs, Anthony Johnson is working the running backs, and Matt Mattox, potentially the biggest key other than Gilbert, will try to make the offensive line more effective. 

    The spring practice storyline that matters most …

    MORE: Five Keys To Texas Football’s 2016 Schedule


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