SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
7/26/2006 12:16:00 PM
The Texas Two-Step
Texas running back Selvin Young says that the arm of freshman QB Jevan Snead (above) is something to behold.
Photo by AP
Texas coach Mack Brown and players took their turn at Big 12 media days Tuesday, and, not surprisingly, nearly all the questions centered around a familiar theme: Who's going to replace Vince?
Coming out of spring, the two contenders, redshirt freshman Colt McCoy and true freshman Jevan Snead, remained too close to separate, with Brown acknowledging both will play early on. Not surprisingly, the idea of a quarterback platoon -- particularly that second week against Ohio State -- doesn't sit well with most Longhorns followers after their experience with Chris Simms/Major Applewhite. "We will not worry about public perception at all," Brown said Tuesday. "Our job is to win games. So because people got mad over two before, that will not affect us in any way."
According to the Dallas Morning News, tailback Selvin Young, former roommate of that other Young, has spent much of his free time this summer mentoring the new QBs. Both are considered heady, mobile (though hardly Vince-level) guys. "The one big difference is that Snead has a Brett Favre-like arm," said Selvin Young. "His arm will blow you away."
My guess is that Snead, a U.S. Army All-America selection last year, will eventually win out due to that very reason. The fact is, the defending champs are still loaded with talent at the other skill positions. You know you're deep at tailback when last year's leader in all-purpose yards, Ramonce Taylor, announces he's transferring, and the near-universal reaction is, "Oh well -- more carries for Jamaal Charles."
Therefore, UT offensive coordinator Greg Davis will likely lean heavily on the running game, much like he did during the 'Horns' 11-1 season two years ago, but he's not going to be able to count on the quarterback to make big plays with his feet the way Vince did. Those game-changing moments are going to have to come in the form of deep passes off of play-action. We know the 'Horns have the receivers -- Limas Sweed, Billy Pittman, Quan Cosby -- to do it. It would make sense that the QB with the stronger arm has a better chance of making it happen.
Austin is a grand city, UT is a grand in-city campus, and the football team's had some grand success of late. You don't have to blow a grand to enjoy yourself immensely. Now, if only Tennessee were invited to town, that would be something! "T for Texan! T for Tennessee!" Let's paint the town orange!
Here's hoping they stick to that running game on 9/9 against the Buckeyes, because our defensive front four are solid...I wouldn't want some young freshman throwing the long ball against our oh-so-green rebuilt secondary!
Forget the fact that a decision has to be made between two quarterbacks. What's really interesting is that a decision has to be made between two players who have NEVER taken a live snap. Even if Texas has the best offensive line ever assembled, there's going to be a significant amount of scary moments in the upcoming season!
Thank you thank you thank you for giving me some insight to this. All the UT articles Ive read all say the same thing "theyre both pretty good" I have personally seen Jevan Snead play, and hes good. You forgot one MAJOR reciever, the unproven Jordan Shipley. He is by far our fastest reciever. He just has them ol' Jelly knees
I look forward to the two QB's playing. It should make them both play better. I think the whole deal with Major and Simms was that, Major was a far superior QB. If one of these two young guys proves to be better and Brown refuses to let him be the starter, then it'll be Major/Simms all over again.
I can't believe that Mack Brown hasn't learned from the past. He'll look at both guys for the next month, both will play in the first game, then he'll name a starter for Ohio State (who he saw first-hand try a QB rotation last year to relative disaster). In the meantime, he will keep the heat off both guys by not saying much.
One thing about the Major/Simms shuffling. Simms was not necessarily worse than Major, in most cases, he was better. Unfortunately, Simms chose big games to have his worst performances. Major saved those for games that no one would care about, mainly against weak teams.
I love my Horns, but I'm predicting some ugly moments with the QB situation. When has a freshman QB ever been successful in this type of situation? And although the WRs are pretty good (Shipley is NOT the fastest receiver, btw) it doesn't matter if the QB isn't at least as good. In VY, we lost an extremely proficient 4th yr QB, a 1,000 yd rusher, an explosive athlete who could score an 80 yd TD, and the best leader in college football. We'll have at least 2 losses because of the QBs' inexperience.
I think Brown had to play politics with the Simms/Applewhite situation. He must have promised Phil Simms time for his son. I just never understood why he didnt redshirt Chris. It would have put him in the same class Roy, Sloan, etc and given him two years of play time after Major was gone. There will be a lot less pressure on Mack to win 10 games with a National Championship in the bag. UT has a tough schedule this season with OSU OU Neb and an A&M team that has to be better than last year. I personally i would be satisfied with a 1-3 record in those games if OU was the lone win. As far as the QB, whoever plays the best against OSU should get the job until proven otherwise.
I find the comment that Snead has the bigger arm fairly reminiscent to the argument to play Chris Simms over Major Applewhite. The last time the better quarterback was benched for better potential. College quarterbacks do not have to have big arms but they must make good decisions. The quarterback that makes the right audibles and chooses the open receiver to throw to is more valuable than the guy who can throw lasers into coverage. Since both QB's are untested it makes perfect sense to play both till one proves he is the better fit.
You know, I'm going with the guy who swam across a lake at night and saved a guy's life. Whatever can be said of physical talent, leadership and performance under pressure define a quarterback. So I give the slight edge to Colt, but I like them both. It's a good problem for now.
Up north we are hoping that Mack goes with the two platoon system that worked so well with Simms and Applewhite. No matter who plays, putting an inexperienced QB on the field will insure that there are going to be plenty of struggles (see Rhett Bomar last year). At OU we are wondering how many times Mack will mention Vince Young while talking about the poor QB play at Texas this year. The over/under is 1000.
Whoever said "They wouldn't have this problem if they hadn't insisted on running the score up on every opponent they faced. They could have easily put a backup in many of the games to get some reps" is just ignorant. Check your facts. How many 4th quarters did VY play in 2005? And the 2 QBs in the mix now were either red-shirted or in high school. Reason the horns are in this situation is simple. VY insisted he would be here his senior season and the QB recruits went elsewhere. Given what VY has done for UT, no hard feelings though...
OSU is the big challenge. I am not at all worried about OU. Petterson is good against subpar teams. he always seems to get an ankle sprain before any big game. I already forsee the headlines the Tuesday before the game. Petterson has a mile sprain of the ankle and is a maybe for the Texas game. He always seems to have an excuse for not playing well against the premiere teams. Bomar, please. At best he is a decent quarterback, but not good enough to change the entire game. Between a slightly above average quarterback, and a tailback that has phantom ankle sprains before big games I think OSU and Texas Tech are the big games. Every year it seams like Texas Tech gets better. Their spread offense is a gimmick offense, however it is difficult to keep them off the board. Texas lost a key safety. Against a team that throws the ball 95% of the time, that might hurt.
Who cares? Defense is a million times better than Major/Simms had so they have a lot less pressure on them to make big plays time after time. Plus, there is no way anyone can choke worse than those two. Get use to a lot of 13-10 games...I'll take a 7for12 game 1TD/1INT 170yards anyway, as long as he can hand the ball off all is well.
No one undstands out side of the longhorn community how good Jamal Charles is. New QBs usally seem to be confused most by the blitzs sceems of the other teams. When you have Charles in the back feild u cant just blitz the Quarter back. And even if Ohio State or OU or whoever commets to stopping the run and trying to make Jevan/Colt pass and make plays, Limas Sweed, Billy Pitman, Quan Cosby(Texas's fasted reciever), And Jordan Shipley are all big time play makers. They will greatly help Jevan/Colt. Jermichael Finely could also be a big time weapon. He is 6'5 and has the speed and hands of a receiver. Texas D is also better this year. Every thing had improved espically at linebacker I belive that is more the key of beating ou and osu(ohio) to stop Troy Smith, Ted Ginn, and Adrian Petterson.
In response to the two nay-sayers above "Evan" and "Anonymous" touting the Buckeyes and OU: First, we'll see how good the Buckeyes' front four are when they face our monster of an offensive line. As for OU, let's see what their very green, inexperienced offensive line does when they face our unbelieve defensive line that is almost 2 deep at every position. It ALL starts in the trenches... just ask Vince; yeah, he was/is amazing, but the front four from last year (3 of which are returning) didn't let anyone as much as breathe in his vicinity. Hook Em'
The Horns situation is nothing different from what Mack faced at UNC as well. He turned Jason Stanicek into one of the most proficient option/pass QBs in the country, while also rotating every other series with Michael Thomas, the formaer Parade All-American (who set all-time INT record while at Carolina). Additionally, he did this with 2 running backs - the Johnsons (no relation - each getting over 1,000 yards.
Despite Brown & Davis' many 'big-game' fumbles against OU (..along with FSU & K State), they have shown a unique and rare ability to re-shape and evolve their offensive schemes to meet the needs of their talent relative to their competition.
Perhaps, Simms just lacked the skills, capacity ormaturity to handle the situation and, more importantly, the expectations.. just as Steve Young pointed out recently about his NFL potential.