The Charlie Strong regime is up and running at Texas, and, well, this may take some time. It usually does. It took Nick Saban three years to win his first national title at Alabama, and he lost to Louisiana-Monroe in his first year at Tuscaloosa.
Patience is difficult at superpower programs such as Texas, especially when the disappointment has been building since 2010. Strong didn’t exactly win over the base when he told about 950 Texas fans a football tour stop that the Longhorns will be limited this season. “Right now, we won’t be in the national championship game,” he said. “Over the summer, who knows where we’re going to be?”
Honest, for sure. And a lackluster performance in the spring game didn’t exactly inspire. Starting quarterback David Ash didn’t play because of an foot injury and Tyrone Swoopes, the next Vince Young some say, didn’t look good until the end. True, Strong promised a vanilla approach to the game, and that’s what Texas delivered.
Still, there is plenty of talent on the roster, a solid backfield and the defensive line should be among the league’s best. The offense overall figures to be a work in progress and the starting quarterback might not even be on campus now. Texas appears to be leader for Southern California transfer Max Wittek. He attended the Longhorns’ spring game.Top Heisman candidate
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty is so much this guy, not sure who is No. 2. He passed for 4,200 yards and 32 touchdowns (and three interceptions) last season, and is likely to put up similar numbers this year with good weapons around him.Upwardly mobile
Seems odd to consider Oklahoma a team on the rise. When haven’t the Sooners been near the top? But last season, Oklahoma rallied in the season’s final month to forge a second-place tie, a game behind Baylor in the Big 12 standing. Then the Sooners pulled off the league’s best postseason victory since, what, Texas’ Rose Bowl? The Sugar Bowl triumph over Alabama prompted an on-field photograph by the Sooners. That’s usually only reserved for national championships.Step back
Oklahoma State had overcome its early upset loss at West Virginia, thumped Baylor and was on its way to a Big 12 title when it was derailed at home by Oklahoma. The Cowboys started six seniors on offense and seven on defense in the Cotton Bowl, and coach Mike Gundy will have to call on the program’s depth to fill holes. A likely bright spot: junior college transfer Tyreek Hill, who before putting on pads won the Big 12 indoor 200 in school-record time. He figures to line up at running back and perhaps will get snaps at wide receiver.Quarterback notes
A year ago, quarterback was a revolving-door position in the Big 12. Eight teams started more than one quarterback, and one that didn’t — Kansas State — used a two-quarterback system with Jake Waters and Daniel Sams most of the season. This spring K-State was one of two programs that shifted a quarterback to another position, clearing the way for an unequivocal starter. Sams went to wide receiver, and Oklahoma’s Blake Bell, who started eight games at quarterback last year, has shifted to tight end.
Texas Tech’s Davis Webb and Kansas’ Montell Cozart were chosen starters after spring games, and although Oklahoma State didn’t name J.W. Walsh the starter, all signs point to the most experienced quarterback on the roster.
A guess at this season’s starters:
Clint TrickettToo early 2014 prediction
3. Kansas State
4. Oklahoma State
6. Texas Tech
7. Iowa State
9. West Virginia