Each week, Sean Adams will offer up four observations about the Texas Longhorns and college football.
1st Down: Texas is fine!
Every week I do my chat, my radio show and receive e-mail after e-mail and it seems that every Texas Longhorns fan is living in fear of the 2012 season. Listen to me now, hear me tomorrow or pay the consequences this fall -- Texas is fine.
Feel good about the offense. Feel better about the quarterback (David Ash). Feel great about the defense and the commitment of the coaching staff.
Mack Brown has spoiled the Texas fan base and the last few years of things not playing out to expectations has the Texas fan base worried that Brown and his “newish” staff might not be the group to get this turned around.
Here is what I know -- The Longhorns are either going to answer the bell or not. Texas has continued to recruit well, has worked hard in the offseason and has made a commitment to fix problems. They even dipped into the junior college ranks to fill holes on the offensive and defensive lines.
This program needed everyone on the same page from the stem to stern; the program has done what they can to do that.
Now all they have to do is go win.
2nd Down: Texas, in general, should avoid offering sophomores
There are some schools that need to offer sophomores and some schools that do not. Texas is one of the schools in the group that does not.
The “first to market” concept matters. There is a reason that many schools around the country try to be the first, or at least in the first group, of teams to offer a recruit. In order to get in that group, sometimes it takes giving an offer early in the junior year or late in a sophomore year.
The elite group is the schools that are considered the great options. Without disrespect to TCU, which is going to be a great addition to the Big 12, that is a school that needs to do great evaluation and try to be first in the mind for some of the best athletes in the state of Texas.
TCU was able to secure the commitment of one of the best athletes in the 2012 class in Daje Johnson. He was committed to them for a number of months until a better option in Texas came along and he switched his commitment.
Not every school has the luxury of not having to get in the mind of the recruit first. Truth of the matter is recruits have to be made aware, in most cases, of programs and they learn about programs through the recruiting process.
Everyone knows about Texas, USC, Oklahoma, Florida, Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, Alabama, LSU, and the other national programs. As in the case with Johnson, their presence will always be there.
3rd Down: General information on offering sophomores
There is a general concept about the more football you watch, the more you know about a recruit. If that concept is true, and I believe it is, what can truly be learned with two more seasons of football to play.
There was a time when seniors were the kids that were recruited. Then there was the spring evaluation period and juniors were offered. Because of the size, strength and speed of high school players, these days many sophomores are finding themselves starting and starring on great high school teams. College coaches are doing their evaluations on players earlier in their career and are deeming them worthy of scholarship offers.
That process seems easy enough. I believe that the earlier you commit to a player, the higher the probability that the player could bust. The earlier you evaluate a player the higher the probability that the player can lose his zeal and passion to be great because he has already received the carrot.
Part of the evaluation process is projecting where a player is going to be by the time they get on your campus. If you are offering a senior, the player is on your campus in six or seven months. If you are offering a junior, the player will be on your campus in 16 to 17 months. If you are offering a sophomore, you are offering someone who won’t be on campus for more than two years.
The longer out a coaching staff has to project, the higher the probability that the coach is wrong.
It is a risk.
4th Down: Do you believe Vegas?
As a general rule, I don’t bet on sports. Period. In fact I laugh at people that do bet on sports, especially college sports because you are risking your hard-earned money on a player that might have a bad game because his girlfriend sent him a Dear John letter from across the campus.
I do love looking at the odds to get a feel of where the public sentiment is on certain teams and games. According to Las Vegas, Texas will be favored in every game on the 2012 schedule save for two. Texas is listed right now as a three-point dog at Kansas State and a 5.5-point dog against Oklahoma in Dallas.
Does Las Vegas respect Baylor? Baylor is slated right now as an 11-point dog in Austin when they take on Texas.
Side Note: Replacing Robert Griffin III is one of the most interesting stories in the Big 12.