The Saturday that college football fans have been waiting for for the past 9 months has finally arrived as teams from all over the country will kickoff in their season debuts this weekend. The Texas Longhorns will kick off their season against the Wyoming Cowboys tonight at Darrell K. Royal-Memorial Field in Austin, Texas.
The Longhorns, who boast one of the top defenses in college football, are looking to forge their way back to the top, but in order for that to happen the Texas offense needs to step up their game.
Here are 5 questions that the Horns must answer heading into the season:
Coming off of a year in which the Longhorns played 3 different starting QBs, coaches have named sophomore David Ash the starter heading into this season. Will he be ready? Will the coaches keep him on a short leash, or will they let him loose? If he struggles, will we see Case McCoy?
The Longhorns don’t need an All-American quarterback this season; they simply need someone that can lead the offense efficiently and effectively, and Ash seems ready to do just that.
2. Offensive Line?
For the past few seasons, the offensive line has been a major issue for the Longhorns. Last year under new coach Stacy Searles, fans saw some improvement but the line was still a big concern week in and week out. This season, with another year under Searles, the offensive line has been looking more solid. Will they be able to be protect the quarterback and open up holes for the run game?
Though the offensive line is expected to show great improvement this season, the question of depth at the position remains.
3. Wide Receivers?
The Longhorn wide receivers have lacked consistency over the last two seasons, but fans are hoping that will change this year. Jaxon Shipley is back after a solid, but injury-plagued season, and is expected to lead the team. Junior Mike Davis has reportedly stepped up his game this off-season and is looking like the player we all knew he could be. Marquis Goodwin is back, and sophomore John Harris, who looked promising last year before an injury ended his season, has picked up right where he left off.
Additionally, there are many freshman who are expected to come in and contribute early, including Cayleb Jones, Daje Johnson (though he is suspended today for breaking team rules), Marcus Johnson, and Kendall Sanders.
4. The Kicking Game?
With Justin Tucker graduating, the Longhorns have been forced to “start over” in the kicking game. Alex King, a transfer from Duke University, is expected to take over the punting duties, and with Penn State transfer, Anthony Fera, battling a nagging injury, true freshman walk-on Nick Jordan will likely handle the kick-off and field goal duties.
The Longhorns have always had a solid kicking game; will it continue this season?
5. The Running Backs?
You may wonder why the running backs, one of the Longhorns strengths heading into the season, are even on this list. Of course, with Joe Bergeron, Malcolm Brown, Jeremy Hills, and freshman Johnathan Gray lining up at the position, there is no question of talent. The questions this year are:
a) how will the coaches use all this talent, and b) will they be able to stay healthy?
If they can, and if coaches can figure out creative ways to showcase these guys, look for this stable of young backs to be among the best in the country.
Again, if the Texas offense can find a way to raise their level of play from last season, the Longhorns could surprise a lot of people this year. The defense is there; if the offense raises their level of play, the Horns could find themselves on their way back to the top.