As Texas Longhorns fans continue to wring their hands over an 9-4 finish in 2012 — which many teams’ fans would be perfectly content with — the new hot topic is the apparent intent of head coach Mack Brown and offensive coordinator to install an Oregon Ducks-like up-tempo offense on the Forty Acres this spring in preparation for it to be the default set in 2013.
While this is great in theory, it brings a painfully obvious question to the surface:
Does Texas actually have the skill player depth and talent to pull it off?
On paper — yes.
In terms of quantifiable results — maybe.
With the return of wide receivers Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley, junior quarterback David Ash will have two dependable talents of a different feather upon whom he can depend if Texas does indeed turn to the no-huddle, or the quick hit passing game which has been so successful for programs like Oregon.
Depth at running back is a major element of any up-tempo attack — given that an increased number of carries comes with the territory and you have to have the backs to handle it — and Texas definitely has the tools in this instance. Any combination of carries shared between Joe Bergeron, Malcolm Brown and Jon Gray should be enough to get the job done.
The underlying factor here is the necessity for a team to be at its collective peak in terms of conditioning by Week One, and able to maintain that peak for 13-14 grueling weeks. To reach this level of conditioning, a team needs not only a superhuman strength and conditioning coach who is a master motivator, but also a leadership unit which can push those who may not be as self-motivated through the dog days of summer to get their butts in the weight room and on the track when they may want to least.
Texas has some vocal upperclassmen leadership, but not as vocal or convincing as leaders in the past — especially given that two of these guys were Jordan Hicks and Case McCoy — who lost some respect from their teammates following the odd happenings during Alamo Bowl weekend which ended up not amounting to much.
Moving to an up-tempo scheme for Texas will certainly please the fans in theory. It’s something that’s been called for around Austin for some time now.
Will it actually work?
Ask me about September 30th.