Four Downs: The hamstring fallout

Each week, Sean Adams take a look at topics around Texas and college football.

1st Down: Can a program hinge on a hamstring?

Short of using the term broken and the dreaded three letters of ACL, the injury that most athletes dread is anything having to do with the hamstring. It is such a large and vital muscle to most athletic movement that it almost guarantees change because it is so difficult to play with.

David Ash’s reported hamstring strain has Longhorns fans worried. He has been given a day-to-day prognosis, but recovery for an injury like this is different for every single person based on history, position, ability to heal and stress applied to the hamstring.

I have had a dozen or more hamstring injuries and they all healed in a different way. Sometimes a hamstring strain is fine going forward with a week of adjusted workouts and daily massage and muscle treatment. I have also had hamstring strains that limited my ability to compete at a high level for up to six months.

Ash should be able to practice at a successful level without his hamstring being 100 percent. I do not see him running from the pocket for 20 yards anytime soon but he should be able to practice at a level where the offense can grow.

2nd Down: The hamstring fallout

It is amazing how a tweak of a hamstring can put a lot of opportunities in flux. The general assumption was that Ash was the leader in the clubhouse. Case McCoy was the backup but would still be a factor after having a great summer and offseason. Freshmen Connor Brewer and Jalen Overstreet were candidates for redshirts while commit Swoopes will help the position when he arrives with the 2013 recruiting class.

A tweak and a limp later, there is a question associated with the depth chart that has Longhorns everywhere wondering if Brewer and Overstreet will still redshirt.

In fact, any opinions now are just guesses. There will be decisions made over the next 10 days based on Ash‘s commitment to rehab, his body’s response to rehabilitation and everyone’s patience.

If there is a good thing that comes out of this seemingly slight setback, Brewer and Overstreet have been put on notice that repetitions in fall camp matter because they might be called upon. Having freshmen that will more than likely redshirt engaged fully in practice is a struggle for every staff around the country. Brewer and Overstreet will be fully engaged.

3rd Down: My regular route to positivity

Before Ash’s hamstring strain, I was fully on my yearly pilgrimage to positivity. There is a lot to be positive about. The Texas defense has one question -- How will Steve Edmond play at middle linebacker? They have, essentially, four players with starting experience in the defensive backfield, star power on the defensive line and two other solid linebackers in Jordan Hicks and Demarco Cobbs.

On the offensive side of the ball, there is depth and talent at running back, both starters back at wide receiver, and while Donald Hawkins is the only new starter on the offensive line, he will be one of the best linemen on the team.

Taking the Ash injury out of the equation, all news that we have tells us that both quarterbacks have improved in huge ways and the position as a whole will be noticeably better in 2012.

I am still leaning towards this being a good year for the Longhorns. Are their issues with depth at certain positions? Yes. Is there some worry about the structure and flow of the offense? Yes. Is that slowing down my run towards the positive? Not a chance.

My glass is half full when thinking about the 2012 Longhorns.

4th Down: Adams’ Aug. 1 Big 12 Power Poll

1. Oklahoma: I am not as high on them as some of the national analysts but they have their best offensive line since 2008, a proven quarterback, a running game and a defense that has impact players.

2. Texas: The Ash injury has not slowed the Texas momentum for me.

3. West Virginia: They are the team that can make a big move down or up. Their offense is going to be really good but they have a handful of questions on defense.

4. Oklahoma State: I am a believer in Mike Gundy. The Cowboys have a good running game and will have a really good defense in 2012, not just an opportunistic defense.

5. TCU: The offense will be really good, returning three running backs who rushed for more than 700 yards and a quarterback who threw 25 touchdowns against 7 interceptions. The defense has to be better in 2012, right?

6. Kansas State: I am begging to eat crow putting the Wildcats this low. They have two 1,000-yard rushers including quarterback Collin Klein and return their top four pass catchers. They return all-everything linebacker Arthur Brown but will have to build around him.

7. Baylor: It is hard to replace RGIII, but if Lache Seastrunk can play to his high school projections, he will help this team maintain some of its offensive output. The defense will be much better.

8. Texas Tech: Can the Red Raiders play defense and will the junior college transfers add enough to the defense to get Tuberville off the hot seat?

9. Iowa State: I like the team and really like head coach Paul Rhoads, but they just don’t have the personnel to play at a high level in the Big 12. They will sting someone’s season this year though.

10. Kansas: KU has so far to go but Weis and Crist were impressive at Big 12 media days. The Jayhawks have two studs on defense in Toben Opurum and Bradley McDougald but they need the other nine to step up.