Substantive Hype: What you can count on with this Texas football team

Texas is different. It’s different in so many ways under current head coach Steve Sarkisian. The offensive guru has clearly changed the culture. More than that, he’s built and developed a complete team.
Save for a few holdouts, Big 12 media outside of Austin can see the difference. It’s not the same culture. It’s not the same talent waster. And if you can’t see it, you’ve got your head in a hole.
The 2023 roster is stacked with players of varying recruiting pedigree that developed into the Big 12’s best. Jaylan Ford went from three-star linebacker and the second-lowest rated player in his class to the undisputed best linebacker in the Big 12. Xavier Worthy, Ja’Tavion Sanders and Kelvin Banks took their elite status and delivered on their recruiting ratings.
Players of every level of talent are being developed in Austin. It’s leading to a more predictable on field product. Let’s look at a few certainties you can count on with the 2023 squad.
1
Quinn Ewers should be much improved
We won’t say it can’t get any worse than last year, because it can always get worse. What we will say is, Quinn Ewers knows the offense well enough to do what the quarterback position demands pre-snap. The spring game and practice reports lead us to believe he looks more like the quarterback that carved up Alabama and Oklahoma this offseason than the one that struggled last year. The arrow points upward for Ewers.
2
Wide receivers can beat anyone but Iowa State
Indystar Photojournalist Jenna Watson S Best Photos Of 2022
Iowa State is going to run defensive coordinator Jon Heacock’s cloud coverage and encourage Texas to run the football. I’ll concede early that the Longhorns are not going to score much in Ames. That’s just how this game goes in recent seasons. Who else is going to slow this receiver corps if AD Mitchell and Isaiah Neyor are healthy? Perhaps no one will.
3
Texas has the best pass blocking line in the Big 12
Spring Football 107786
The burnt orange barrier truly seems near impenetrable. The Texas offensive line was one of the better pass blocking lines in the country last year with three underclassmen starters. Everyone is back. Quinn Ewers should have time to throw to the most dynamic pass catching unit in the conference.
4
The secondary will limit explosive plays
Texas Longhonsrbb 82124
The Texas secondary is brilliant. That’s a welcome change compared to past secondaries that did not display high football intelligence. The smart defensive backfield simply did not get burned often last season. The Longhorns posted a respectable 6.30 yards allowed per pass attempt last season. Expect more good play from a secondary with four senior starters with multiple years of starting experience.
5
The interior defensive line will be solid
Alfred Collins – 2 sacks
The interior defensive line should be serviceable at worst. At best, it could be destructive. Byron Murphy is probably the most reliable of the defensive tackles to consistently get the job done against the run and pass. His high motor will wear out opposing lines. Trill Carter, T’Vondre Sweat and Alfred Collins figure to round out the two-deep, with Vernon Broughton as a good pass rushing option.
6
Jaylan Ford will cover plenty of ground
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
There’s not much more we can say than we already have said over the last year. Jaylan Ford is a terrific linebacker and he’s going to get the job done. A first-team All-American bid is a realistic possibility for the Frisco (TX) product.
7
Texas will show up for its most prioritized games
Syndication The Oklahoman
It’s still remarkable how well Steve Sarkisian’s offenses have performed against the Oklahoma Sooners. He has put up 48 and 49 points against Oklahoma the last two seasons. More impressive is what we saw in the Alabama game last year. I predicted the Crimson Tide would beat Texas 56-24 in the game in Austin in Week 2. Alabama won on a late field goal, 20-19. The Longhorns will show up for the games they prioritize. This year they need to finish all those games.
8
Steve Sarkisian will show up prepared
Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s most notable praise of Sarkisian as a coach went to his attention to detail. Sarkisian is not very good at in-game adjustments thus far, but you can count on him building early leads by busting opposing defenses’ weaknesses wide open. Does Texas have enough talent to hold onto those leads or does the Longhorns’ head coach need to improve in improvisational coaching?
9
Jeff Banks should continue to steal field position
AP Photo/Michael Thomas
The Texas special teams have been perhaps the most unheralded aspect of the last two seasons of Longhorns football. Jeff Banks should continue to create opportunities for his team to score or put opponents in a bind.
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