Texas Longhorns: Five Offensive Players Poised for Break-Out Seasons This Fall
Texas Longhorns: Five Players Set to Break-Out in Texas Longhorns Offense
The best news that Texas Longhorns fans received during the off-season was that Mack Brown, along with new co-offensive coordinators Major Applewhite and Darrell Wyatt, would be returning to the high tempo, spread offense. In the last few seasons, the Longhorns inexplicably decided to transition to an old-school power running game, and since then, the Texas offense has not fared well.
Sure, much of that could be attributed to youth and inexperience on the offensive side of the ball; regardless, the Longhorns offense, once one of the most high-powered in college football, was stagnant, ineffective much of the time, and downright boring to watch.
Heading into fall, thankfully, all of that will soon change.
Fans got a glimpse of what the new offense will look like in the second half of their Alamo Bowl victory over the Oregon State Beavers. It was then that David Ash was finally called upon to use his legs to make plays as well as spread the ball around the field. It was the best the Texas offense has looked in the last three seasons.
The Longhorns have always had the playmakers to field a dangerous offense, but for whatever reason, it seems they were handcuffed, unable to use their strengths. Now, fans are hoping that the handcuffs will come off and the offense will soon return to the style of offense they fielded when the Longhorns were routinely among the best in the country.
Here are five players who are poised to have breakout seasons this fall, and will likely thrive under the new Texas Longhorns offense.
David Ash, Quarterback
Last season, David Ash showed tremendous growth from his true-freshman season. Though he certainly had some games that he'd like to have back, he showed fans that he indeed has what it takes to lead this Texas team back to national prominence.
This marks the first season that Ash has been named the definitive starter, and he will be the leader during the team's summer work-outs. Additionally, he will be the most experienced quarterback in the Big 12 conference this year. As a result of these facts, he should have the confidence he has seemingly lacked in his first two years. Ash should thrive with Applewhite calling plays this season, particularly now that he has gotten the green light to make plays with his legs, a strength that has been vastly underused in the young quarterback up to this point.
Mike Davis, Wide Receiver
You could make the argument that Mike Davis had a bit of a breakout season last year. He was no-doubt the team's greatest threat at the receiver position, though at times he lacked consistency. This year, in the spread offense, look for Davis to become one of the best receivers in not only the conference, but the nation as well. Davis made the decision to come back to Texas for his senior year, and the spread offense should give him the opportunity to finally shine.
Johnathan Gray, Running Back
Johnathan Gray is just one of many outstanding Texas running backs, but many will tell you that he's likley the one with the greatest potential. Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron are also great running the ball, but this could be the year that Gray shows the nation why he was thought to be the best in the country coming out of high school.
Trey Hopkins, Offensive Line
Trey Hopkins (pictured above, far right) is the Longhorn's best offensive linemen on a squad that has shown improvement under coach Stacey Searels. Hopkins is no doubt a leader on this team and already has some scouts in the NFL talking. He will certainly benefit from playing in the new offensive system as well as from another year under Searels.
M.J. McFarland, Tight End
It's been a long time since the Longhorns have had a strong receiving tight end, but M.J. McFarland could finally be what they've been missing for the last few seasons. Though underutilized in the last three years, under the new passing attack it's believed that the tight end will once again become a key part of the offense and McFarland has been making a lot of noise in the off-season as the guy that will step in and finally fill that role.