But unless some positions for several Texas universities improve dramatically, a team’s long-term success will suffer. So let’s see who needs to step up during training camp to convey confidence to his teammates and coaches.
College football training camps are in session, which means coaches will be developing talent and depth for a 12-game season with the aim of winning it all.
Texas — It’s very tempting to say true freshman quarterback Shane Buechele and any of the five defensive tackles. But instead, we’re picking punter Michael Dickson and kicker Trent Domingue, a transfer from LSU. The reason is because those two positions played a role in the Longhorns losing two games en route to a 5-7 record. Former kicker Nick Rose missed the last extra point he attempted that contributed to Texas losing to California 45-44. And Dickson mishandled a snap on a punt that allowed Oklahoma State to kick the game-winning field goal 30-27. Texas is looking for automatic plays from these positions, which are crucial for an offense that averaged 26 points and a defense that gave up 30 per contest.
TCU — Youth, youth and more youth will be featured on the Horned Frogs offense starting with the quarterback competition between Sawyer Foster and Kenny Hill. Number two running back, behind Kyle Hicks, also has to be addressed. And so does the number one receiver since Josh Doctson is now in the NFL. So with the way TCU likes to throw the ball, we’re picking KaVontae Turpin to fill the role of every-down receiver. Last year he had 649 yards and eight touchdowns and 20 rushes for 181 yards. He also contributed as a kickoff and punt returner.
Texas Tech — The only tough part about the Red Raiders was deciding which defensive player to choose. So we’re taking junior defensive lineman Gary Moore. Last season he played in 11 games and had a total of 13 tackles. But the Red Raiders suffered a huge loss when Dakota Allen was dismissed from the team a few months earlier. Moore is expected to contribute much more in 2016. Stopping the run, even in the heavy pass-oriented Big 12, is important for a defense’s success. And it won’t be easy either. The Big 12 has plenty of returning starting quarterbacks and great running backs. Still, Tech was awful defensively, so they have to start somewhere. And containing the opponents’ ground game should be a priority.
Baylor — Aside from the obvious issues that include about 70 scholarship players, the Bears must develop a new starting offensive line. The only returner is center Kyle Fuller. Mo Porter, Blake Blackmar and Dom Desouza have grips on three of the remaining spots. Still, the Bears are looking for a fifth, and that could be Ishmael Wilson. If Baylor can figure out the line, they’ll be a challenge to handle.
Texas A&M — The glaring position that has to be addressed is linebacker. With safeties expected to keep opposing offenses from being able to have an air attack and a defensive line that can control the line of scrimmage, the Aggies must find linebackers who can contain the run. In short, Texas A&M need Shaan Washington and Otaro Alaka to be the run stoppers.
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