RB Jamaal Charles (PHOTO CREDIT: Jim Sigmon/Univ. Of Texas)

2005 Statistics

Coach: Mack Brown
83-19, 8 years
2005 Record: 13-0
National Champions
at Ohio State WON 25-22
RICE WON 51-10
at Missouri WON 51-20
vs. Oklahoma WON 45-12
at Oklahoma State WON 47-28
at Baylor WON 62-0
at Texas A&M WON 40-29
vs. Colorado WON 70-3
vs. Southern California WON 41-38

2005 Final Rankings
AP-1, Coaches-1, BCS-2

2006 Outlook

Everything that was said last year about how good USC would be after winning the title the prior year (2004) applies this time around to Texas. As some say, this team is reloading, not rebuilding. Even with the departure of arguably the program’s greatest QB, there is little drop off in most areas. In making the prior statement, we ostensibly concede that losing Vince Young means a step or two back at the QB position. But there are so many returning starters with real game experience at all the other positions that whoever wins the QB battle will have only himself to blame if he cannot then get the job done. The talent levels of those competing are high enough collectively that there is little need to worry in Austin.

Mack Brown really only loses impact on offense. The defense will likely improve and it was really good already (10th total, 8th scoring D). What the Longhorns lose moreover is Young’s ability to improvise, a skill that panicked LBs and safeties as a guy that fast rolled out. What he opened up will not initially be there, so again, UT’s offense will earn their yards. The running game can “carry” itself, but the passing formula(s) have to be established, though it won’t be difficult with experienced, quality snarlers. It is the loss of TE Dave Thomas that will hurt the second-most. If the middle cannot be opened up, foes will quickly make Texas look human.

The game everyone will base their early judgments of UT upon is Ohio State. But the trap game is against Iowa State, an upstart that has many heads turned – both of those are at home. Oklahoma is going to rebound nicely from their woeful ’05 effort, and games at Texas Tech and Nebraska are not sure wins until the Longhorn machine proves its ’06 worth. Texas will shut opponents down and will win with less points, but the bandwagon keeps rolling and Texas makes the BCS in some capacity.

Projected 2006 record: 10-2
QB - 2.5 DL - 4.5
RB - 5 LB - 4.5
WR - 4 DB - 4
OL - 4 ..

Passing: none

Rushing: Jamaal Charles, 119 att., 878 yds., 11 TD

Receiving: Limas Sweed, 36 rec., 545 yds., 5 TD

Scoring: Ramonce Taylor, 15 TD, 90 pts.

Punting: Greg Johnson, 2 punts, 42.0 avg.

Kicking: none

Tackles: Michael Griffin, 124 tot., 67 solo

Sacks: Brian Robison, 7 sacks

Interceptions: Michael Griffin, 3 for 0 yds.; Aaron Ross, 3 for 40 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Ramonce Taylor, 15 ret., 29.4 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Aaron Ross, 34 ret., 14.7 avg., 2 TD


DE Tim Crowder (PHOTO CREDIT: Susan Sigmon/Univ. Of Texas)
OFFENSE: Ahmard Hall-FB, Brian Carter-WR, David Thomas-TE, Jonathan Scott-OT, Will Allen-OG, David Pino-K, Vince Young-QB (NFL)
DEFENSE: Larry Dibbles-DT, Rodrique Wright-DT, Aaron Harris-MLB, Cedric Griffin-CB, Michael Huff-SS, Richmond McGee-P

Many will look at the surface of this unit and wonder whether Vince Young’s early departure will damage its ‘06 impact. Only a fool could think that losing the guy who led UT to a National Championship won’t affect them. But how far back they step will surprise most, for the raw group coordinator (and QB coach) Greg Davis currently has to mold is both hungry and worthy. Already on board for a season so far is Colt McCoy, a pocket passer with decent speed who is a proven leader and quick study. A proven in-state (Tuscola) 2A prospect, Colt will remind many of Major Applewhite, but this ex-hurdler (110m) has a stronger arm and an extra year of Davis’ system under his belt. Enter Sherrod Harris, another smarty (1310 SAT) who spurned Stanford (where he probably would have eventually started) for his outside chance at running the Longhorn’s offense. His speed is exciting when he has to leave the pocket, and with Harris arriving for spring ball, any needed development for him is jump-started. Then there is the guy most think will succeed Young, this recruiting season’s No.3 dual-threat prospect (Rivals.com) Jevan Snead. The word on Snead is both about how tough he is and how precisely he throws. And then there are his deceptively quick feet. Snead outperformed the QBs rated in front of him in the Army All-American Bowl, and Longhorn fans will see his natural pocket presence immediately. Davis’ only problem will be once the depth chart is set; this much talent will likely mean (least of all) the third-stringer – since any of them is good enough to start at another I-A school – eventually transfers. A step back from Young won’t damage the prowess of Texas’ offensive power for long.

Running Back
It is almost unfair how many quality backs Texas has with real-game experience that have already been developed (most are still underclassmen, too). These guys are vying to see who becomes the next household name in Austin. Then there are the lists of highly-recruited reserves who gladly wait for the chance in Davis’ inclusive approach – four RBs had over 75 carries last season. With all four of those backs returning, it seems like things will continue (and possibly get even better) for what was the nation’s second-best rushing attack. Jamaal Charles and Ramonce Taylor are similarly sized and are the quicker of UT’s tailbacks, with Taylor used on third-downs due to his soft hands. Both can run outside, but Charles really stood out by the end of last campaign and has the inside track with his 7.4 per carry average. Selvin Young is a step up size-wise, but loses little speed compared to Charles and Taylor. Young pounds opponents inside, when needed, but look for the senior’s role to expand Then there is another “insider”, Henry Melton, a goal line guy who, at 270 pounds with 4.6-40 speed, only lost two yards on 87 carries. Quickster recruit Vondrell McGee will vie for the rock, too. In the end, expect more of the same – on-the-field competition that can only make each back better for earning their place in the Longhorn’s relentlessly stacked rotation.

Just as impressive is the Longhorn’s wealth at receiver, and again, they have already developed underclassmen who are prepared to emerge on the national scene. We will see just how far this unit can go, which will ostensibly depend on the QBs’ progress. Limas Sweed is the top returning snarler. At 6’5”, he can get those jump balls and tough yards. Fellow junior Billy Pittman’s 22+ average-per-catch led the nation’s top 100 WRs. We look for ex-QB Pittman to emerge from the slot as an outside starter and become an every-down guy. Quan Cosby (23 year old sophomore) will now dominate in the slot like Pittman did. A prep champ in the 2A 100- and 200-meters, this Mart-native came back after he signed with Texas in 2001, only to then play minor league baseball…until last year. Cosby will push Limas and Pittman, a competition that can only help. RS soph Jordan Shipley, George Walker, and Myron Hardy all await their turns (since 2004), let alone the haul brought in this recruiting effort. It all adds up to appalling depth and success for whomever has the pigskin hurled at them. Speedy and well-sized, this group is good enough to, if needed, bring up the quality of the entire offense and help with any struggles at QB.

Tight End
If you really want to know how to win a national championship, just see how Texas uses the TE as a constant variable, making for that extra needed dimension that keeps defenses reeling. Having to cover Longhorn TEs was one of their keys to success – already overmatched safeties and LBs had to keep an eye on now-departed Dave Thomas (50 catches led team), or else. Not much will change if Jermichael Finley is developed. He is really a big WR, but if employed early in Davis’ system, he can keep that extra man or two off of the receivers and /or out of the box. Lucas-native Neale Tweedie is the blocking TE who may surprise opponents with more touches this campaign. Pete Ullman and a few others look like they could contribute on multiple levels, too, so this is just another area within which Texas seems unfairly stacked.

Offensive Line
There is a lot of beef to work with here, even with two all-americans gone. Tackle Justin Blalock may soon get his traveling papers – so he can go from the right side to the left. The all-conference first-teamer’s superior footwork and adaptability are two reasons why this Lombardi candidate will keep making pancakes wherever he is placed. Ex-LB Lyle Sendlein is the most mobile of the returning starters, and with depth available, this inside slot can pull and/or string a play out with even the most athletic DTs. Their other returning starter, LG Casey Studdard, means Texas has three seniors around which to build. Recent recruiting classes have been modestly stocked, but 2006’s bunch yielded the nation’s third-rated tackle in J’Marcus Webb. This converted-TE will push for playing time with his athleticism. Even with all of the talent listed here, this area is a marginal concern until proven otherwise. We look for UT to need a few games to tweak exactly who should be where and backing up whom, so that makes the OSU home date a crucial trial-by-fire that just might exploit this area early. We will let you know how things develop after spring ball.

Obviously, there will be both cosmetic and wholesale changes from what was seen on that prolific championship team. But just how long it takes the Longhorns to rebound from losing all-world Vince Young will dictate what we see as OC Greg Davis plays his ’06 hand. The key element to watch for: how much will they be able to spread the field? As stated above, UT’s poignant stabs with their TEs are most crucial for opening up different areas of the field. Jermichael Finley, a quick true freshman whose tout is he can catch just about anything, could be the Longhorn’s elixir. Foes would be wise to concentrate on stopping the Texas running game, something no one could do with Young touching every snap. Unproven QBs have the prep accolades to shine, but until proven, these hurlers (or at least one of them) will have to prove themselves before anyone will respect their abilities. Dual-threat Jevan Snead heads a capable group, to say the least. Sophomore Colt McCoy is the elder and a drop-back guy, but don’t ignore Sherrod Harris is the most prototypically like Young, and the competition is wide open at this point. Developments here are essential, but just as essential will be the reshaping and replenishing of the line. There is plenty to build around and work with, but until Ohio State is a by-gone memory, we won’t know much as to how far this group can be thrown. A marginal weakness in run-blocking is the moist probable problem on the horizon, but the depth at RB and constant rotations Davis runs mean ground acquisition will continue for Mack Browns ball handlers. With receivers just as deep as the RBs, talent positions are the least of this offense’s concerns. Now, can they get that talent the ball in the open field for big plays…that’s what will make the Longhorns sizzle again.


OT Justin Blalock (PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Moakley/Univ. Of Texas)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Colt McCoy-Fr (6-3, 195) Jevan Snead-Fr (6-3, 215)
FB Marcus Myers-Sr (6-3, 250) Chris Ogbonnaya-So (6-1, 220)
RB Selvin Young-Sr (6-0, 215) Jamaal Charles-So (6-1, 190)
WR Limas Sweed-Jr (6-5, 219) Myron Hardy-So (6-2, 210)
WR Billy Pittman-Jr (6-0, 198) Jordan Shipley-So (6-0, 184)
WR Quan Cosby-So (5-11, 200) Nate Jones-Jr (6-2, 195)
TE Neale Tweedie-Sr (6-5, 265) Jermichael Finley-Fr (6-5, 220)
OT Tony Hills-Jr (6-6, 295) Brett Valdez-Sr (6-4, 305)
OG Kasey Studdard-Sr (6-3, 305) Chris Hall-Fr (6-4, 280)
C Lyle Sendlein-Sr (6-5, 315) Dallas Griffin-Jr (6-4, 285)
OG Cedrick Dockery-So (6-4, 320) Charlie Tanner-Fr (6-4, 280)
OT Justin Blalock-Sr (6-4, 335) Adam Ulatoski-Fr (6-6, 300)
K Greg Johnson-Sr (6-1, 195) Hunter Lawrence-Fr (6-0, 180)



Defensive Line
Senior tackles Brian Robison and Tim Crowder will return to bookend this team strength. Though the group ranked 33rd in run stuffing, three of the four starters back mean improvements will occur for optimal effect. Robison has incredible upper body strength (set AAU Junior Olympic national record for discus; still throws discus and shotput for Longhorn track) for explosiveness with which most opponents struggle (15 TFLs, three FFs), while Crowder’s 20 QB-hurries modestly speak for the potential he levees. Highly-recruited NG Frank Okam will take up two hats along their foe’s line as he has come into his own, and depth developed there so he can stay fresh while Roy Miller holds down the middle. Derek Lokey will step up big as he replaces phenom Rodrique Wright inside. Lokey has the talent to make this line just as strong, and will have to as UT has little depth inside. Outside, they are fine as five-star recruit Eddie Jones and Lamarr Houston join the team by fall. We see this unit improving against the run, for they were already getting consistent pressure, and that spells doom for most outmatched foes.

Like the line, only one major departure here bodes well. Aaron Harris will be missed for his numerous tackles, and junior Rob Killebrew has to slide to the middle from his strongside spot. Killebrew has the speed to succeed in any facet and can play all three LB slots, if/when needed. Look for Rashad Bobino to really take off in his development. After starting on the weakside as a little known RS frosh, Bobino cannot hide his specialty in the running game (freshman all-American, Sporting News). Juniors Drew Kelson and Eric Foreman compliment the corps well. These former-DBs can run with most WRs, let alone TEs and backs, so poignant rotations (depending on the down, distance and game situation) will continue to optimize the talent(s) of each/all. Even with so much talent, the group will have to prove it can operate at similar, top levels without Harris, and that may take a bit. This unit will be back to its old self by conference play, at the latest.

Defensive Back
Any time the second and fourth leading tacklers depart from a secondary that ranked 4th nationally in pass efficiency defense, a team usually takes a step back at those positions, if not regression of the entire unit. But fifth-year senior Michael Griffin and brother Marcus (now a true senior) anchor a well-sized, hungry-for-their-chance group that won’t reflect any major drop-off. Both Griffin free safeties are playmakers who learned well from now-gone brother Cedric, and both are strong in run support (ask Pete Carroll). Matt Melton has the inside track at the other safety spot, and his extensive experience says there will be little-to-no adjustment time for those playing. Returning starter Tarell “T Boogie” Brown is almost a shutdown corner, so expect his progress (as he becomes one) to pay off huge for UT. Senior Aaron Ross (4.4 speed) also has seen many real-game reps and should step into his new role as starting CB well. Non eof those listed so far is under six-foot. Many four-star recruits are awaiting their turn(s), so any steps back here will be short-lived, if there are any at all. The Buckeyes will definitively tell us quickly if the quality potential here is close to being realized.

To put it simply, seven of the eleven starters that were on the national championship defense are back, with each area boasting at least two. Add in a bunch of well-seasoned backups and several top 10 recruiting classes and what you get is a defense that should improve. These Longhorns definitely know how to win with D, and a championship swagger on top of so much talent should equal UT being in the top ten of categories across the board. Stealing co-coordinator (and now LBs coach) Gene Chizik away from Auburn after they went No.2 in 2004 was the right move, as he has teamed with coordinating partner Duane Akina (also DBs coach) and taken the entire squad to the next level. Texas will again not give up anything through the air (4th ranked in pass efficiency defense), forcing foes to prove they can run before the Longhorns will commit extra DBs into the box. Cutting down foes’ 3.7 yards per rushing attempt is about all we can recommend for improvements. Hey, only eight teams allowed less yards per play than UT’s 4.39, so if it ain’t broke and the talent level(s) appear the same, no reason to adjust or fix what we know works.


DB Michael Griffin (PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Moakley/Univ. Of Texas)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Brian Robison-Sr (6-3, 267) Aaron Lewis-So (6-4, 275)
DT Frank Okam-Jr (6-5, 315) Thomas Marshall-Jr (6-6, 293)
DT Derek Lokey-Jr (6-2, 275) Roy Miller-So (6-2, 300)
DE Tim Crowder-Sr Brian Orakpo-So (6-4, 238)
SLB Robert Killebrew-Jr (6-2, 230) Sergio Kindle-Fr (6-4, 225)
MLB Rashad Bobino-So (5-11, 230) Roddrick Muckelroy-Fr (6-2, 230)
WLB Drew Kelson-Jr (6-2, 215) Jeremy Campbell-So (6-2, 220)
CB Aaron Ross-Sr (6-1, 192) Ryan Palmer-So (5-10, 185)
CB Tarell Brown-Sr (6-0, 200) Brandon Foster-Jr (5-9, 180)
SS Michael Griffin-Sr (6-0, 205) Matt Melton-Sr (6-0, 210)
FS Marcus Griffin-Jr (6-0, 195) Erick Jackson-Jr (6-2, 185)
P Greg Johnson-Sr (6-1, 195) Trevor Gerland-Fr (6-2, 190)




Johnson is also listed as the “by default” placekicker, and he should be the kickoff guy again (95 KOs in one season!). But the nation’s second-best PK recruit, Hunter Lawrence, will be a true frosh and could easily win the job once he can show his wares. And with foes only earning 19 yards per return, look for field position battles to again be won most often by Texas.

Greg Johnson will likely improve on what was one of the only marginal areas on this team. The freshman all-American transfer from Vandy has been waiting his turn and should add five yards to the team’s average. Net results will also remain strong with so many quality reserves looking to prove some worth on this stacked roster.

Return Game
Ramonce Taylor will again run back kicks, while Aaron Ross is experienced and can break a PR with no notice (two TDs in ’05). Tarell Brown and Quan Cosby rotate in when needed, so UT is stacked here, too. Michael Griffin (four kick blocks in ’05) and Rob Killebrew (three) seem to make special teams another advantage for the Longhorns.