#16 Texas Football 2017 Preview


Texas Longhorns


Overall Rank: #16

#3 Big 12

After three losing seasons with Charlie Strong leading the program, Texas will hope for better things for Coach Tom Herman. He spent two very successful seasons at Houston and should be able to turn around an offense that has struggled for too long. The program needs to gain some footing and consistency, but there is no such thing as long term goals when it comes to the Longhorns. They expect to win now. And there is a veteran team for Coach Herman to work with and, of course, plenty of talent too. Whether or not that results in wins remains to be seen.
2016 Record: 5-7, 3-6
2016 Bowl: None
Coach: Tom Herman (0-0 at Texas, 22-4 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Tim Beck
Defensive Coordinator: Todd Orlando
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Chris Warren, RB, 366 yards
Passing: Shane Buechele, QB, 2,958 yards
Receiving: Armanti Foreman, WR, 420 yards
Tackles: Anthony Wheeler, LB, 65
Sacks: Breckyn Hager, LB, 6.0
Interceptions: Edwin Freeman, LB, 2; P.J. Locke, LB, 2
Other Key Returnees: WR Devin Duvernay, WR Dorian Leonard, OL Connor Williams, LB Malik Jefferson, DL Poona Ford, S Jason Hall, S John Bonney, P Michael Dickson
Key Losses: RB D’Onta Foreman, WR Jacorey Warrick, WR Jake Oliver, DB Dylan Haines
Quarterback Shane Buechele had a great freshman campaign, throwing for 2,958 yards and 21 touchdowns. If the spring is any indication, Buechele has matured since last season and expect him to make smarter plays as a sophomore. He should be a great fit for the new up-tempo spread offense. Receivers Armanti Foreman, Devin Duvernay, Collin Johnson and Jerrod Heard will benefit from the new offensive scheme as well. Texas lacked a go-to receiver last year, with seven players tallying between 266 receiving yards and 420 receiving yards, but there is a lot of experience. If somebody is going to emerge as a big time playmaker at receiver, it could be Johnson. The 6-6 sophomore had a very promising spring and showed some of what he could do during the 2016 campaign as well. The offensive line should be better with six players with starting experience back in the mix. Tackle Connor Williams is one of the best in the country and likely a future first round draft pick. Losing D’Onta Foreman hurts. There were times when the running back was the only offense Texas had. He rushed for 2,028 yards and 15 scores in 2016. Chris Warren III is a good back, but he needs to stay healthy.
The defense allowed a dismal 31.5 points per game last year. By most numbers, that was the worst defense in Longhorn history. There are ten starters returning though so it will not get any worse. The new staff will switch to a 3-4 scheme and build around a front line consisting of Malcolm Roach, Poona Ford and Chris Nelson. At linebacker there is a slew of experience. Anthony Wheeler led the team with 65 tackles last season, but could be replaced in the starting lineup by junior college transfer Gary Johnson. Naashon Hughes, Malik Jefferson and Breckyn Hager are all proven upperclassmen. The key for the unit will be finding the best fits in the new scheme. The secondary appears to be more settled despite the loss of a few starters. Jason Hall, DeShon Elliott and Brandon Jones will handle the safety spots, while P.J. Locke, Kris Boyd, Davnate Davis and Holton Hill will be the main cornerbacks.
The Bottom Line:
Few head coaches at a program like Texas get to step into a situation with so much talent. If the new staff can bring everything together, the Longhorns could be in for a huge season. With games away from home against USC, Oklahoma, TCU and West Virginia, the Longhorns are not going to shock the collegiate football world by going undefeated, but they can remain competitive in the Big 12 title race and get back to a bowl for the first time since 2014.
Projected Bowl: Camping World Bowl
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 239.3 (17th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 252.0 (50, 8)
Total Offense: 491.3 (16, 5)
Scoring Offense: 31.9 (46, 6)
Rushing Defense: 189.8 (76, 5)
Pass Defense: 258.5 (105, 7)
Total Defense: 448.3 (94, 7)
Scoring Defense: 31.5 (90, 8)
Turnover Margin: -0.25 (85, 5)
Sacks: 3.42 (5, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 2.67 (101, 9)
Madness 2018 NFL Draft Rankings:
#5 Connor Williams
#7 Malik Jefferson
Madness 2017 Recruit Rankings:
#96 Toneil Carter
#170 Sam Ehlinger