The 2021 Football season

Discussion in 'On The Field' started by Joe Fan, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. Sheldon Cooper

    Sheldon Cooper 100+ Posts

    The floor for this team is 8-4 and a ceiling of about 10-2. I'll predict the middle of 9-3 with a pretty good Bowl game. Probably the Cotton.
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  2. dukesteer

    dukesteer 2,500+ Posts

    I think I agree with the floor, but the ceiling is much higher. In fact, making the CFP is the ceiling.

    We have quite a bit of talent coming back and we should exceed every school we will face in that measurement with the “possible” exception of OU. However, if coaching is king and Sark — and his staff — possesses the skill set for which we are hoping, 2021 could be special indeed.
  3. I_Dont_Exist

    I_Dont_Exist 1,000+ Posts

    Coaching isn't king. Players win football games. Saban has 6 NCs with 4 or 5 different OCs and 3 DCs. A revolving door of position coaches including his longtime S&C this past year. Saban isn't the only constant. The phenomenal recruiting classes are another. They've been #1 9/11 last years. I believe 2nd & 3rd the other 2.
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    Last edited: Feb 19, 2021
  4. LonghornCatholic

    LonghornCatholic Catholic like Sarkisian

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  5. Joe Fan

    Joe Fan 10,000+ Posts

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  6. Joe Fan

    Joe Fan 10,000+ Posts

    Some stuff from IT from Coach PK a recent clinic. He discussed defensive fronts which has been one of the questions about him. If you spend time pondering these issues, then this is for you --


    Pete Kwiatkowski is a very detailed dude, very big on fundamentals much like Chris Ash was in his presentation last year when he came to Texas. He talked a lot about the way he teaches pass rush and tackling and also a little on how he likes to structure his fronts, including against spread teams like he'll face in the Big 12.

    Kwiatkowski also broke down his process for scheming up his fronts and gameplanning opponents. They were a base 3-4 defense at Washington but rarely used it. Usually they played a "nickel front" which for them was more four-down with the "Jack linebacker" as the field side/strongside defensive end and the "X linebacker" as the weakside end/outside linebacker. He said they liked for both of those guys to be in the 6-2+ and 260-pound range but it rarely works out like that. They normally install the defense with the Jack to the field and X to the boundary but after install they'll get more flexible and move guys around based on gameplanning.

    He said they'd do the gameplanning on Sunday and Monday and then work through stopping the run and situational work throughout the week. He will have the gameplan ready early to guide practice but spend the week watching more film on offensive coordinators to get a feel for how they call plays and attack defenses during a game. He also noted he doesn't like to have too many auto-checks against certain offensive formations or motions. He wants to be able to send in a call and have all his players feel confident about it. If you start using auto-checks then teams start to know what you're in and can catch you in a bad spot. His new boss Steve Sarkisian has a lot of film proving that's true.

    He also puts a big emphasis on red zone defense and gameplanning for those moments with packages and calls. He'll match up with whatever the offense wants to do. As an example, he's had goal line packages with six defensive linemen and a single cornerback if they need to check an offense in a jumbo set.

    Those details mostly came in Q&A.

    For his presentation he focused on his drills and techniques for pass-rushing and tackling. The tackling stuff is much of the same rugby style techniques Chris Ash emphasized, aiming for the bottom of the numbers to the knees and shoulder tackling. His drills work to teach guys to make decisions on the fly and to avoid head-up tackles. Many of his drills also avoid having to take guys to the ground all the time in practice.

    Kwiatkowski's philosophy for drills is to create second nature reactions for his players with all their techniques, both in tackling and in the pass rush. He teaches a pass rush progression in which his guys start by establishing a power rush but will choose their pass rush and know their plan by their second step based on the pass set by the offensive lineman. Again, all of his drills and teaching are designed to try and make this habitual so they aren't thinking in games.

    He gets them in a sprinter stance when it's time to rush, always works on bending, and he has a bunch of NFL players he's coached he draws on for examples. The same clips he shared with us are surely being sent to recruits.

    The defensive philosophy in the pass rush is oriented around containing and affecting the quarterback, when they rush three they teach the guys to contain or move the quarterback. Even though he's having them explode from their get-off he's not going to let them blow by the quarterback.

    It sounds like he's going to rely on the defensive front to do a lot of work for the defense, which is a good way to go against spread teams.
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  7. RainH2burntO

    RainH2burntO 2,500+ Posts

    Ala Tampa Bay the way I read it.
    To make it work well you need stellar LB play and linemen very athletic for their weight...and cover guys who walk the line on pass interference

    Edit: David's big red X made me go re-read the piece. He may be right. I was basing my comment off of something I read about PK wanting to try and stop Big 12 offenses basing off a heavy reliance on simple 4 man fronts doing yeomans work and clogging up passing lanes behind. That is from where my Tampa comparison was derived...what it takes to stop high powered offenses while relying on basic 4 man fronts. I can see how this piece specifically does not necessarily indicate that approach and why Dave wouldn't agree. Thanks Dave....and welcome!
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    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  8. Sheldon Cooper

    Sheldon Cooper 100+ Posts

    We have some talent returning but don't get ahead of yourself. We lost our top runningback, Receiver and QB on offense, we lost several DBS, our top defensive player in Ossai and a few other guys. We do have some good stuff coming back, but blOwU, ISU, TCU, and even Louisiana and Arkansas all return a lot more than we do. Don't sleep on Louisiana as they basically return their whole team and they will be a legit top 25 team next season.

    blOwU and ISU are likely going to start the season as top 10 teams.

    We do have some good starters but Casey Thompson is no sure thing as a starter and we will be breaking in both a new offense and defense.

    I will say this, once this team gets going, they are going to be hell to stop I see us killing teams in the 2nd half of the season.
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  9. dukesteer

    dukesteer 2,500+ Posts

    Not sure I agree with you.

    RB: Bijan Robinson is our top running back and there isn’t a close 2nd.

    WR: Joshua Moore was our top receiver and he’s back. Eagles was inconsistent. Additionally Omeire is supposed to be special, and he will finally see the field in 21.

    QB: While I loved Sam, I am not convinced that the offense will not be more explosive with Thompson. We will see but I am optimistic based on what we saw in the Alamo Bowl.

    On D, Ossai is a huge loss but I expect for players like Collins to break out. In the secondary, I am not convinced that the losses will be that significant. For example, Sterns was an underachiever and he probably negatively impacted the attitudes as well. Lastly, don’t underestimate Kwiatkowski. If he is as good as reported, he will raise the performance of the entire unit.
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  10. NRHorn

    NRHorn 1,000+ Posts

    Aggie would have a heart attack, understand that the GA, FL, Bama would be similar quality like USC, PSU and ND.
  11. NRHorn

    NRHorn 1,000+ Posts

    You beat me to every point.

    Another key this year is going to be team unity, and I’m not talking about the woke stuff, I’m talking about Sarks management style
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  12. WorsterMan

    WorsterMan 10,000+ Posts

    Yes, team unity will be critical IMHO, especially after last season.

    I think Sark will do a much better job than TH toward building team unity - "duh" you may say. His approach and management style will leave no doubt he is serious and on a misssion.

    His expectations of the individual player & team have & will be clearly stated and understood by all.

    He will acknowledge and speak positive about social justice concerns that were present in 2020, without dwelling on it or overdoing it. He will probably state the players concerns were not only heard but many positive actions were taken by the administration.

    Then I suspect he will switch gears to state some things like: "we are a team and we are building toward and focused on winning championships."

    He was already asked once about THE EYES... he had a short and correct answer, then he shut up.

    I suspect he will re-state the same answer if asked again:

    "It's our song and we will stand & sing it." :hookem:
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    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  13. RainH2burntO

    RainH2burntO 2,500+ Posts

    You both make valid points and I can see it going either way.
    Duke, your points are valid and quite possible. . But we rank low in returning production (and a few counterparts rank unusually high) and, when combined with a new coaching staff, few teams become elite [10+ wins, winning conference etc] in the first year of these combined circumstances. It would be beating some pretty strong odds, but I am w you on your points and can see it happening.
    I'm in the 9-3 or 10-2 camp, 2nd or 3rd in conference, and then becoming a real force in year 2.
    Good discussion and interesting subject.
  14. Sheldon Cooper

    Sheldon Cooper 100+ Posts

    I'm very optimistic about Texas once we get the ball rolling, but I'm not going to anoint Casey Thompson just yet, I want to see what he does when defenses have the opportunity to prepare for him.

    Louisiana and Arkansas are both going to be dog fights, winning both is going to be a tough task. I also agree that Coach K is going to be great at Texas, but keep in mind there is a learning curve to any defensive unit and these early games will be critical.

    I also agree that Bijan is an incredibly good back and someone we should feed about 15 to 20 times a game, but I don't want to over feed him, we need Roshon to get about 10 to 15 touches a game as well. Keeping both healthy is a top priority especially with our offensive line. Remember it is still the weakest part of our offense.

    As I said, come the 2nd half of the season this team is going to be killing some people and I expect to see those video game numbers we saw at Alabama. We have to get through the first half of the season to get to that 2nd half.
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  15. theiioftx

    theiioftx Sponsor Deputy

    That “top” running back dropped his transfer papers as he entered the portal.
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  16. beijinghorn1

    beijinghorn1 500+ Posts

    Funny thing, when Toneil Carter displayed the same ball security issues he was basically shown the door (In my opinion, the appropriate move by a coach). Wonder why TH changed?
  17. Sheldon Cooper

    Sheldon Cooper 100+ Posts

    He was our most productive running back last year, and if he ever gets his head on straight, he will be a good back in the Pros. His problem right now is between his ears and has nothing to do with his talent or production.

    And we all know that Bijan is a better player in every sense of the word, but he shouldn't be run into the ground by Sark, we need to keep him healthy and the best way to do that is keep his carries under 20 per game.

    I don't doubt the talent on the team, I'm talking about the learning curve of the new system. If Texas can find a way to not lose the early games, when we get things figured out this team is going to be tough to beat. If we get into the Big 12 title game, we will win it. That is how good this team will be. Key is to keep the early losses down.
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  18. theiioftx

    theiioftx Sponsor Deputy

    Outside of the woke a-holes who have tried to destroy the program, I don’t generally call out players. I think your assessment of his issues might be spot on. I hope he does well at USC and goes on to be a successful Pro.

    I also think the Charlie Strong/Tom Herman era needs to be purged as much as possible. I think Sark is starting with a good base of talent, I like his recruiting so far and I believe the mentality of his team will be like the 2000’s Horns. Good times are coming.
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  19. Horns11

    Horns11 5,000+ Posts

    I was thinking about what Mack had in January 1998 versus what Sark is getting in January 2021. I consider the Strong/Herman years just a more recent version of the McWilliams/Mackovic years, with no need to account for what they inherited.

    QB - About even. James Brown was gone, but was rather ineffective and injured throughout the year before. Mack was getting Richard Walton and a backup battle between Cicero and Applewhite. We didn't know what we had in pretty much any of them. I think that's about the same as Thompson/Card. While everyone loved what they saw in the Alamo Bowl, it's difficult to temper that with expectations against "actual" defenses and not CU's. Murphy might be a whole new level, but we're not there yet.

    RB - Better for Mack. Call me crazy, but because of how the game has changed, I don't think 2021 is a huge disadvantage compared to 1998. Don't get me wrong, Mack still had it better with Williams and Mitchell, but Bijan and Roschon can hold their own. If Bijan was around in 1998, he'd be getting more carries and accolades.

    WR - Big ups to Mack. McGarity/Cavil might be one of the top-5 best WR combos we've ever had. While Sark's depth is far easier on the eye test, Mack was easily inheriting a duo that would combine for 109 catches (something that took 5 WRs in 2020) with a QB who was a virtual unknown. Today, it's expected that every college football team have like 15 WRs on the depth chart, and I think it's more difficult for good-but-not-great ones to shine. I think Sark will be ok with the position, but Mack still had it a little easier based on the offense we ran.

    TE - About even. Derek Lewis was still highly regarded for "the rollout," but the TE main responsibility in 1998 would be blocking for Ricky anyhow. Our TE depth in 2021 will be better than the others we had in the rotation back then.

    OL - HUGE ups to Mack. Pretty much all of our 1998 guys could have been considered all conference, especially on the right side. They had played pretty well in 1997, paving the way for Ricky to be considered the best back in the nation before Mack arrived. C was our only question mark going into the season, and Gaskamp did that very well. Now? Meh. I think if Kerstetter had become more of a force earlier in his career on the interior instead of T, we might be able to have a better comparison to 1998 in the rest of the line. While all of the guys now have a season's (or more) worth of starts under their belts, I don't think anyone really believes they compare favorably.

    DL - Again, HUGE ups to Mack. It would have been closer if he hadn't spun Aaron Humphrey down to DE, but he inherited Hampton and Rogers, arguably two of our best DTs ever. Woodard was a good tweener. Sark's also going to have a transitional period where we move people around between those positions, and guys like Collins are going to bring it eventually, but I don't see our DL shutting down teams like the 1998 version did against NU and A&M.

    LB - Push. Mack was basically forced to use Dusty Renfro as the leader of a D that had been decimated the prior year. DD Lewis was a freshman who switched positions. Aaron Babino was a junior who switched positions. Anthony Hicks was a future NFL'er but I don't think anyone quite knew that about him. The talent is about the same now, but the LB position isn't what it was in 1998 due to the spread and changes to how LBs are forced to play. I think Overshown is more talented than any of the 1998 guys, but our depth isn't quite there. Carl Reese had an easy scheme for LBs. We'll see what Coach K and Choate have in store.

    DB - Sark wins on depth alone. While Mack had Jammer, who had shown flashes in the year before he arrived, there was virtually nothing else for the 1998 team to hang their hat on. Tony Holmes and Joe Walker were pretty big liabilities, which led to some pretty nervous playing time for freshmen Hill and Brooks, both of whom are like 5'5". Jamison and Thompson alone are steadier than every one of those 1998 options, while Adimora is expected to be that Budda Baker role that Coach K used in Washington. Heck, even Foster, who has been much maligned by this board, would have been superior to every other safety in 1998 not named Jammer.

    ST - Was going to call it a push, but I think it's a slight edge to Sark. We didn't know that Stockton would be as reliable as he ended up at K (and sometimes P). We know what we have in Dicker, and our returners are FAR better now that whatever Mack thought he would put out there. 1999 would end up being the "WTF" year for special teams, not 1998, leading to the first of many years on Hornfans with "When are we going to get a special teams coordinator?" posts.

    So, by unit, it's 4 for Mack, 2 for Sark, and even for 3. But those 4 Mack "wins" are more important units in my opinion. The 1998 team ended up 9-3 with a bowl blowout win, and its only losses to great teams (UCLA and KSU both had shots at the national championship until they both **** the bed in the final weekend) and a should-have-been-better Tech team that had lost 3 straight to ranked teams before finally beating us. I think we'll have similar success in 2021, and wouldn't be surprised with 3 losses.
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  20. Joe Fan

    Joe Fan 10,000+ Posts


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  21. Joe Fan

    Joe Fan 10,000+ Posts


    Best of luck to him - that injury was so awful

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  22. p_town_horn

    p_town_horn 1,000+ Posts

    Huge for the 2021 season if he is healthy. As in possibly the difference in winning or losing a close game or two. Not that I expect Kerstetter to win any all-conference awards, but he doesn't need to for his impact to be huge next season given our experience and depth at o-line and a new starting QB.
  23. Joe Fan

    Joe Fan 10,000+ Posts

    If healthy = my guess

    LT -- Karic
    LG -- Angilau/Johnson
    C -- Majors
    RG -- Hookfin/Johnson/Kerstetter/ Okafor
    RT -- Kerstetter/Jones/Hookfin

    I would not mind seeing Tyler Johnson force himself into the mix at OG
  24. theiioftx

    theiioftx Sponsor Deputy

    Nice analysis.
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  25. Vol Horn 4 Life

    Vol Horn 4 Life 5,000+ Posts

    You can't game plan saying you're only going to give your best back less than 20 per game. One of the reason's Herman got fired is because he refused to play the best running back on the team more than 10 carries per game. If you need him you use him however many times you need to as long as he's in good enough shape to do it. If you can rest him because of a big lead then rest him...don't carelessly keep him on the field when you don't need him.
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  26. Horns11

    Horns11 5,000+ Posts

    I still think the only way that Kerstetter shines is in the interior. And he's not moving to LG any time soon, so C or RG it is. While I doubt intentions sometimes, I've heard enough to believe that he wouldn't move to RG unless it was an absolute necessity from the coaches/depth, and with Okafor pledging to return...

    I just don't see him anywhere other than C unless there was a huge string of injuries.

    Hayden Conner is also an early enrollee. Would he have needed to if he was playing anything other than tackle? Maybe, maybe not. I think the coaches see him as a Cosmi type of guy... 4-year starter in HS with huge upside but played in a "system" so he got ranked lower.

    I think it's the following:
    LT - Karic, Garth
    LG - Angilau, Parr
    C - Kerstetter, Ghirmai
    RG - Hookfin, Okafor
    RT - Jones, Conner
  27. RainH2burntO

    RainH2burntO 2,500+ Posts

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  28. OrangeShogun

    OrangeShogun 500+ Posts

    No T. Johnson anywhere in the two deep? How you could list Ghirmai before Majors at Center is beyond my comprehension.
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  29. Joe Fan

    Joe Fan 10,000+ Posts

    I think he is a poor center but decent RT
    But we might have to take his rehabbed leg into account wherever he ends up
  30. Joe Fan

    Joe Fan 10,000+ Posts

    Agree, Major is probably the center for the next 3 years
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