Texas' confidence is high as camp opens

AUSTIN, Texas -- Nobody knows where the Texas quarterbacks stand. Not the players, David Ash or Case McCoy.

“I couldn’t really tell you,” McCoy said.

“I’m not the coach,” said Ash.

Well, the coach said he doesn’t know who the quarterback will be, either. But everybody, for the first time in quite some time, knows where Texas stands headed into the 2012 season -- No. 15 in the first preseason poll and as a possible BCS bowl game contender.

“This thing is headed back in the right direction,” Brown said.

Now everyone just has to figure out when Texas might get there.

To listen to the players tell it, Texas might get there this season.

“We went 8-5 last year and we’re looking for something much greater this year,” McCoy said.

“We have all the pieces; we’ve just got to put the puzzle together,” said safety Kenny Vaccaro.

The Longhorns very well could have all the pieces. But the general thought is that Texas is still looking for that critical piece that completes the whole picture. You guessed it, the quarterback.

The lack of a starter is not exactly dampening enthusiasm. Not among those awash in the burnt orange. And as Brown correctly points out, Alabama was not exactly scintillating at quarterback in 2009 or 2011.

Decent point. One quickly followed up by another made by Ash.

“We’ve got a great team around us,” he said. “Whenever there is a quarterback and all you have to do is delegate who gets the ball and they do the rest, that makes it a lot of fun.”

“We would like to have the Colt [McCoy] and Vince [Young] performances,” Brown said. “But I would like to take some pressure off that position. And if he has a bad day then we don’t lose the game.”

There will be a bad day or even two. History, two full years’ worth, has taught even the most ardent supporter that. But the coaches were taught that lesson, too. Now, to hear Brown tell it, they have learned.

Now Texas has depth across both lines -- not as much on the offense as it might like, but enough -- three running backs who would start on just about any team in the Big 12, solid wide receivers, three scholarship kickers and another five on the roster, playmakers out of the backfield and a defense saltier than the Dead Sea.

“We’ve got a lot of weapons,” Vaccaro.

That is not to say Texas will just blaze through the year. There are going to be Everest-like peaks on fans and coaches’ EKGs at times. But, by and large, Texas has become a team deep enough and good enough that wins are not angina-inducing, three-hour affairs.

Texas’ true advantage this August as opposed to last season is that the Longhorns now know their talent.

The coaching staff can look around the room and it understands what each player can do and what his limitations might be. Therefore the coaches have a more comprehensive understanding of how to utilize that player and maximize his potential.

Last season, everything was done on the fly. And that’s why some games flew out of control. The coaches didn’t know the players. The players didn’t know the coaches.

Time has changed that.

“We are so far ahead of even where we were at the Holiday Bowl because we know so much about each other,” Brown said.

So right now Texas is ahead. But again it comes back to where Texas will be when the season is over? If Texas is indeed back?

And it’s a question no one will find out the answer to for another few weeks.

“You still don’t know until that first game that we put on the pads,” Vaccaro said. “But as far as work ethic goes in the summer, we worked like a national championship team.”