2019 Texas Football Preview-ish

Published by David Macias

Football’s back. We’re baaaaaaaaaack. This blog is back. 

Ok, 1 of those 3 things is not like the other. Regardless, I’ve come back from a mid-2018 season hiatus to bring you fulfillment and remind you why life is worth living, or something of the like. I won't blame you for just scrolling down to the GIFs... I'm just happy you're here (fist bump emoji).

It’s 2019, Texas beat #5 Georgia handily in their last game, and our QB - our leader - is back. I won’t be making any record or end of season predictions, but per usual, I’ll be providing GIFs to show you why I think our ceiling is the highest since right before Colt left the Rose Bowl with a shoulder injury.

In short, things are good...

I’m going to start with a quick breakdown of the roster. There’s several great pieces out there about the recently released depth chart. I recommend reading all of them. If you see the simple chart below, you’ll see I’ve posted last year’s (game 1) depth chart vs. this year’s (game 1) depth chart. I’ve mainly listed starters and “key backups”, which are rotation players who will likely get some PT on a semi-regular basis. Example - Sam will be playing all snaps at QB as long as he’s healthy, but the WRs and D-line will be rotating in backups occasionally during most games.

A couple things to note. 
  1. If it’s a returning starter, I gave them a +1. Ideally, a player will improve from one year to the next.
  2. Some players were starters last year and this year, but in a different role (ex. Cosmi), so I’m measuring them against the person they’re replacing

Agree to disagree or just agree. These are just my opinions. And if you don't like math, my numbers add up to us being better on both sides of the ball. 

On the whole, I feel like the O is going to better. First off, Sam’s 3rd year as a college QB and in this system. Second, the only real key loss to me is Lil’ J, however, I think the young guys we’ll be rotating in such as Epps, Woodard, and especially true freshman/speedster Jake Smith will make the unit better overall. While we’re a little thin at RB, I thought Keontay was better than Tre, but it’ll be interesting to see how Whittington picks up RB, especially if he’s suddenly thrust into a primary role. Lastly, our best OL is moving from RT to LT - Cosmi is better than Anderson was. This unit might have a couple growing pains, but I think by end of season, they’ll be better than last year’s unit.

We lost several starters on D, more than the O. In some cases though, I think it will be addition by subtraction. Hager was a great personality, but I won’t miss him on the field. Similarly, Locke was a great leader, but Foster is a future NFLer (and potentially stud NFL player), hence the "+2". I’ll truly miss Gary Johnson and his speed in the middle, but hey, Ossai led the team in tackles in the Georgia game and McCulloch has plenty of experience. My main worry is corner, but I think Boyd and Davis were great physical corners (playing against run and wr screens), but not the best cover corners. I’m not much of a Kobe Boyce fan based on his limited experience last year, but I think the rest of the crew brings more speed and better cover skills.

All in all, I think the team has more depth than the last couple of years and definitely more speed.

To the GIFs. I pulled plays from the win over Georgia - the last game these guys played that mattered. There are plenty of returning guys who were key all year last year, and some guys who really came on late last year.

Let's start with the...


Ta'Quan Graham #49: This forced fumble by Graham was obviously a pivotal play in the game, even if it was early in the contest. I expect an all-around solid performance from him this year in that he'll be a quality pass rusher and equally good run defender (as seen on this play).

Malcolm Roach #32: He's had an up and down career so far in burnt orange. He's kind of an odd build of a player who the coaches experimented with at LB, which was clearly a failed experiment. I still think he's a great athlete who fits better at DE. He may not be your quintessential pass rushing DE, but I think he'll show a nose for the ball and be an upgrade from Hager. Watch here as he gets off the double team to keep Fromm's scramble to a mere 1 yard gain.

Keondre Coburn #99: I'm about to show you 2 plays where Coburn doesn't make the play, but stick with me here. This is the new starter on the defensive side that I'm most excited about. I have pretty high hopes for him - I really think he could end up being a bigger and better Poona Ford, potentially drafted in the first 3 rounds. There's not a lot of game tape on him, but look at his power on both of these plays. He WILL be a force. I didn't necessarily put him as an upgrade over Nelson. Nelson was solid last year, and I think we'll see Coburn's growth over the course of the season. Also, he'll be a sophomore this year while Nelson was a senior. Nonetheless, the potential is there. If the RB stutter steps for a fraction of a second longer in the backfield, Coburn would have pushed the RT right into him.

Coburn pushing the right guard into the QB. Lucky for Georgia this wasn't a play with deep routes that required more time. Coburn's strength/explosiveness in the middle is impressive.

(Brief aside on Ossai (hey that kinda rhymes), I don't have a GIF for him, but as previously mentioned, the dude led the team in tackles against Georgia and was all over place - he's right there in the Graham forced fumble GIF I showed. He has a lot to offer especially as a pass rusher from the LB spot.)

Jeffrey McCulloch #23: I wouldn't say McCulloch is a star, but I think he's quite solid. I think he can and will be better than Wheeler. No, he doesn't get any pressure on this play, and yes, Fromm likely would have been stopped by either of the other two guys, but it was still #23 who never quit on the play and made the tackle to end the drive.

BJ Foster #25: This guy has "it". I know early last year the talk was more about Caden Sterns, but as you'll see in the next 2 plays, this guy can do it all on the defensive side. I feel like if you had 11 BJ Fosters on defense, you'd absolutely dominate (obviously not true, but you get what I'm saying). The upgrade from PJ Locker to BJ Foster is going to pay huge dividends. Watch here as he pushes the right guard back a yard, and then explodes to force Fromm into a throwaway - he definitely didn't anticipate how quickly Foster would get to him.

Foster play 2. Textbook. Recognizes the fake WR screen, and plays the ball at the perfect time. He is going to be our equivalent of Sam on the defensive side. Playmaker. Beast.


Colin Johnson #9: Isn't it nice when you can just throw the ball up to you're 6'6" wr and know he's going to come down with it? The Georgia corner has CJ covered about as well as you can cover him on a go route, but the ball is perfectly placed, and alas, he's no match for number 9. I know we'll have some more speedy weapons out there this year, but I really hope CJ can take it to the next level - partly to make up for the loss of LJH, but also for the sake of his draft stock.

Devin Duvernay #6: There's nothing to fancy about this route or play, but one thing I've always liked about Duv is his toughness after the catch. He always seems to know where the line to gain is and finishes the play falling forward. I definitely don't expect LJH-type production from him, but he might become a security blanket while still providing more speed out of the slot than Lil J did. Speaking of speed, Jake Smith. Get to know him. Watch his YouTube/Hudl stuff.

Sam Cosmi #52: While rewatching the Georgia game, I noticed most of the goal line runs and big runs were to the right. The gameplay was simple - run behind your best lineman. The DE helps Cosmi on this play by stunting inside on the snap, but it was still a textbook block at the point of attack and the result was a TD.

Cosmi's 2nd nice block. This is an interesting play design. (It may be more common than I think, but then again I've never played OL and thus don't focus on them as much as I could.) I love how he gets his hands on the DE quickly, almost baits him to think the run will be inside of him, then moves his feet really well to get outside leverage allowing Tre to easily get the first down. Good blocks all around, but especially by #52. Suffice it to say, our best o-lineman is moving to the most important position on the line - the one that protects the QB's (insert lame Sandra Bullock joke) blindside. He's moving RT to LT if you're not aware.

Sam Ehlinger #11 (in your playbook, but #1 in your heart.): You know, the comparisons to Tebow are starting to beat me down, but at the same time, if his career ends with two rings like Tebow's... then bring the comparisons all f'n day for all I care. Sam may never win some offseason quarterback camp accuracy challenge, but does it matter as long as he keeps doing this on third and long? Me thinks not.

This last GIF really encapsulates what kind of player Sam is, and how this team will achieve success this year. Anyway, I'll stop with the words.... it's time.