Former Longhorn Earl Thomas lovin' his burnt urrange.
The Texas Longhorns spent part of their Sunday ('bout an 'our 'n' a half) playing their 2010 Orange-White Spring Game. Orange was offense and White was defense. The Longhorns were further broken down into the first team offense (Texas) and the everyone else offense (Fight)--trust me, Texas Fight makes sense to their fans. Then toward the end of the game, guys shifted to the Texas offense.
Unsurprisingly, the Texas offense won the day (34-3) as their were no defensive scores to complicate things (I swear I saw a hold in the end zone which was ignored for obvious reasons--the scoreboard doesn't hold places for three teams). Sure it was just practice, but the pass defense cannot call what happened on the field a good effort. I saw exactly one solid form tackle...on a Tight End...in the fourth quarter. Granted, there were some good hits and decent tackles made on occasion (isn't that about what we see on Saturdays during the season from every team anyway?). The secondary played a inept zone for the entire game and starting QB Garrett Gilbert accordingly shredded it (10/13 for 165 yards and 3 TDs). In the second quarter, Gilbert threw a simple 10 yard slant to WR Desean Hales that ended up going for 41 yards and a TD due to what can only be described as the utter lack of a Safety on the play. During the 3rd quarter, Tre' Newton snuck out of the backfield, got wide open, made an easy grab and went untouched into the end zone. In the 4th quarter, Sherrod Harris, who was a timid 4/7 for 24 yards on the Fight squad, switched to the Texas offense. A swing pass, many bad angles, zero tackling and 52 yards later, Harris was 5/8 for 76 yards and a TD.
Texas fans should be concerned about their rushing attack which was not very good last season. There is no number one back right now and no Colt McCoy to pick up rushing yards from the starting QB spot. Fozzy Whittaker (who went down with a minor ankle injury during the game and did not return) and Chris Whaley (25 lbs too heavy for Mack Brown's liking) were the top RBs who played. Tre' Newton did make the aforementioned TD catch but was also bothered by a minor injury. Key injuries ("more than 10 notable Longhorns") mean any evaluation of what was seen on the field should be taken with a grain of salt. Indeed, without guys such as Sam Acho, Cody Johnson, John Chiles, Vondrell McGee, there was an element of familiarity missing on the field.
Ball security was an issue which should not be overlooked. Texas and Fight fumbled four times (2 lost). WR Brock Fitzhenry coughed the ball up twice, once on a kickoff return. RB Chris Whaley put the ball on the ground once, as did QB Connor Wood. He dropped a 4th quarter snap and then picked up the ball and ran 5 yards for a first down. The play was a good improvisation by Wood (it looked like something out of rugby).
Coach Mack Brown noted that there are still many questions to be answered before the Fall. Can the Longhorns wrap up a 10th straight 10 or more win season? The schedule is pretty favorable and I'd go ahead and pencil in Texas for a win over Rice on September 4. Oh hell (barring an injury to Gilbert) give Texas that 10 win season already. Mack Brown was sensibly guarded about national title chances. And, what if Gilbert does get hurt? Let's just say it will be rough.
The listed attendance was 44,250 which was an inflated figure.
Here is the remaining televised Spring Game Schedule (ESPN360 IS NOW ESPN3) All Times Eastern
Georgia Bulldogs April 10 CSS Cable/ESPN3 2 PM
North Carolina Tarheels April 10 ESPN 3 PM
Clemson Tigers April 10 CSS Cable/ESPN3 4 PM
Auburn Tigers April 17 ESPNU 2 PM
Ole Miss Rebels April 17 CSS Cable/ESPN3 2 PM
Alabama Crimson Tide April 17 ESPN 3 PM
Penn State Nittany Lions April 24 ESPN2 2 PM
Arkansas Razorbacks April 24 COX/ESPN3 7 PM