THE DAILY TEXAN PRESENTS
AUGUST 30, 2013
VOL. 8, ISSUE 2
BACK IN ACTION page 12
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2 FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013
Lawrence Peart / Daily Texan file photo
Linebacker Tevin Jackson celebrates after one of the Longhorns’ Alamo Bowl-record 10 sacks. They’re hoping to ride the momentum from last December’s win over Oregon State into this season.
Cover photo: NO. 33 Steve Edmond / Elisabeth Dillon / Daily Texan file photo
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THE DAILY TEXAN PRESENTS
AUGUST 30, 2013
VOL. 8, ISSUE 2
Double Coverage Editor.........Christian Corona Design Editor............................Natasha Smith Photo Editor.............................Elisabeth Dillon Writers..................................Garrett Callahan ..............................................Peter Sblendorio ................................................Evan Berkowitz .................................................Chris Hummer .................................................Brittany Lamas ....................................................David Leffler ....................................................Wes Maulsby ...............................................Darren Mitchell ...............................................Stefan Scrafield ....................................................Matt Warden ..............................................Rachel Wenzlaff
BOYER COINS SLOGAN
After returning from Afghanistan, long snapper and former Green Beret Nate Boyer comes up with this year’s team motto: For the man on my left and on my right.
O-LINE GIVES HORNS BIG ADVANTAGE
Could arguably the most experienced offensive line in the country get even better in 2013? With the implementation of an up-tempo offense and the arrival of Desmond Harrison, it could.
WHO WILL BREAK OUT THIS SEASON?
Tailback Malcolm Brown, finally healthy after battling injuries the last two years, and cornerback Duke Thomas, who makes his first career start this week, are poised to have great years.
QB MCDONALD GETS NOD FOR AGGIES
He’s only completed one pass for New Mexico State, but senior Andrew McDonald will start for the Aggies this weekend. So will walk-on linebacker Clint Barnard.
LINEBACKERS LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK
Jordan Hicks was hurt and later suspended. Steve Edmond was inconsistent. They’re both back to lead a group of linebackers eager to redeem themselves this year.
EDITOR’SNOTE Going 9-4 at most programs would be considered a successful season. Not at Texas. Losing 16 games over a three-year span is unacceptable and the Longhorns are working to right the ship this season. With an FBS-best 19 returning starters, Texas is poised to contend for both a Big 12 and national championship. First on the Longhorns’ schedule is a heavily overmatched New Mexico State team.
3 FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013
Military man Boyer coins Texas team motto By Garrett Callahan @CallahanGarrett
A theme can be defined as a specific and distinctive quality, characteristic or concern. Every year, Texas votes on one theme. That theme will become the specific and distinctive representation of what the team stands for and strives for. This season, Nate Boyer, fresh off a trip to Afghanistan, nominated a theme he’s used to hearing. Based on a military background, the long-snapper suggested “for the man on my right and the man on my left.” “What that means to us in the military is all the training you’re going through, everything that you’re doing when you’re in combat or in a situation, it’s about making sure the guy next to you is successful, keeping him safe, keeping him alive,” Boyer said. While this new motto has a military basis, it directly applies to football. Similar to the military, according to Boyer, there is a tight brotherhood in football. Since it’s such a rough sport, athletes create a bond through the grit and toughness they
MOTTO page 11
Marisa Vasquez / Daily Texan file photo
Fresh off what he jokingly called an “internship” with The National Guard in Afghanistan this summer, Nate Boyer returned to the Longhorns and came up with their team motto this year: For the man to my left and on my right. The slogan, heavily influenced by Boyer’s military background, was immediately embraced by his teammates. The 2012 Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year, Boyer seeks to help Texas improve on its 9-4 record last season.
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4 FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013
Seasoned offensive line adjusts to up-tempo offense By Peter Sblendorio @petersblendorio
Elisabeth Dillon / Daily Texan file photo
Senior guard Trey Hopkins fields questions at last month’s Big 12 Media Days. One of five returning starters on Texas’ offensive line, Hopkins can play guard, tackle or center if needed.
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As Texas employs its revamped up-tempo offense for the first time on night, much of the focus will be on how quickly the Texas skill players can get down the field and score. While the running backs and receivers prepared all offseason for offensive coordinator Major Applewhite’s scheme, the offensive linemen could very well be the ones forced to make the biggest adjustment. The linemen have spent the offseason sprinting to the line between plays and practicing getting the snap off quickly in order to keep the fast-paced offense in rhythm. Senior guard Trey Hopkins said that quarterback David Ash is adamant on running through plays as quickly as possible to keep defenders on their toes, and he believes that the difference will be evident in Week 1. “I feel like we have David pushing us in the backfield saying ‘Come on, let’s get up to the line,’” Hopkins said. “We’re really limiting the amount of time, squeezing every last second out of the amount of time we can get from snap to snap. I think
that’s something that will be really noticed in the season.” Hopkins joins fellow senior Mason Walters as a starter at guard for the first game at left guard, with Dominic Espinosa lining up at center. Josh Cochran and Donald Hawkins bookend the line as the starting tackles. Junior college transfer Desmond Harrison recently received clearance to practice after being deemed ineligible due to taking a course through BYU over the summer. Despite Harrison’s lack of practice time, head coach Mack Brown expects the junior to see considerable playing time at left tackle against New Mexico State. “We still expect him to play quite a bit on Saturday night,” Brown said. “We’re just going to put him out there and turn him loose. We still feel like he needs to be out there and he needs to continue working on his conditioning and learn what to do and be ready to go by the time we get to Big 12 play for sure.” The Longhorns’ veteran line figures to be among the best in the conference due to its depth and experience. Even though Texas only allowed 16 sacks last season, Hopkins wants the team to
play with greater consistency and dominance in 2013. “Our goal for the offense line is to be dominant in every phase,” Hopkins said. “I think last year we had glimpses of where we were dominant against certain opponents or we had a really great run game or we had really great protection one game but could never really sustain that throughout the whole season and that’s one thing we have as our goal is to maintain consistency throughout the season no matter who our opponent is.” Junior running back Joe Bergeron believes that the offensive linemen work well together, and this should help open for holes for him in the running game come Saturday. “All of them are in sync,” Bergeron said. “All of them are working together. All of them are communicating better. It definitely it is a good feeling knowing that you’re going to hit in one place, and just like you practiced you should hit in the game.” The Longhorns offense expects to score early and often under the new offensive scheme, and the continuity and depth of the offensive line is a major part of that. Texas offensive linemen have combined to start 124 career games -- the most in the nation.
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5 FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013
With Okafor gone, Reed must have productive year By David Leffler @texansports
1. DE CEDRIC REED (JR.)
With Alex Okafor now in the NFL, Reed is the man expected to fill the void at defensive end for a Texas defense that has plenty to prove this season. Fortunately for the Longhorns, he enters the season with some experience under his belt after filling in when Jackson Jeffcoat went down with a season-ending pectoral injury against Oklahoma. Although Reed had his best performance of the season against Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl, racking up three solo tackles and 1.5 sacks, Texas needs him to build off of last season and provide consistent pressure against opposing offenses. With Jeffcoat playing opposite him and likely to draw double teams from New Mexico State’s offensive line, Reed should get plenty of opportunities to start the 2013 season off with a bang.
2. RB/WR DAJE JOHNSON (SO.)
Coming off a freshman year filled with several highlight-reel plays but also inconsistent play, the speedy Johnson has shown that he is more than capable of providing a spark for Texas’ offense. With Jaxon Shipley’s status for Saturday’s game in doubt due to lingering injuries and New Mexico State weary of senior Mike Davis, Johnson should see an increased workload. In a game where the Longhorns are expected to score early and often, look for Johnson to break out against the Aggies’ paltry defense.
3. S ADRIAN PHILLIPS (SR.)
Elisabeth Dillon / Daily Texan file photo
After running for 128 yards and two touchdowns in the Longhorns’ win over Ole Miss, Malcolm Brown was either injured or ineffective for the rest of this season. Texas needs him healthy in 2013.
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Much has been said this offseason about Texas’ desire to turns things around on defense this year after a horrendous showing in 2012. In order for that to happen, the Longhorns need Phillips to step up as the leader of the secondary now that Kenny Vaccaro is no longer around. That means Phillips, who struggled at times last year with tackling, will need to show he is the full package. Although the Aggies by no means represent the biggest challenge Phillips and the Longhorns defense will face all year, it’s crucial he comes out confident and plays aggressively.
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4. RB MALCOLM BROWN (JR.)
Brown was one of several key Longhorns who spent much of the 2012 season on the sideline due to injuries and, as a result, saw his touches reduced when he returned to the lineup at the end of the season. With Johnathan Gray and Joe Bergeron still around, Brown needs to stand out in a crowded backfield and show he can still contribute at a high level. With a healthy ankle and plenty of motivation after last year’s frustrations, Brown should come out with a full head of steam.
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AFTER READING YOUR COPY
6 FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013
Thomas, Brown poised for breakout seasons Duke Thomas
By Christian Corona
By Chris Hummer
Double Coverage Editor @christianc0rona
Daily Texan Sports Editor @chris_hummer
By its standard, Texas’ secondary struggled mightily last year. Longhorns defensive backs occasionally looked like they had cement in their cleats trying to make tackles. Texas, accustomed to fielding some of the nation’s best secondaries since Duane Akina arrived 12 years ago, posted mediocre numbers. Enter Duke Thomas. The sophomore from Copperas Cove will make his first career start this weekend against New Mexico State, edging out older players like juniors Sheroid Evans and Leroy Scott. And he’ll provide the spark that keeps the Longhorns from having another second-rate secondary. He’s been getting glowing reviews from his teammates and coaches ever since he enrolled early last spring. Thomas was even once considered an option at wide receiver, playing both ways in this year’s spring game. For now, he’ll work on shutting down opposing wideouts. “He’s a hard worker,” senior safety Adrian Phillips said. “If you’re a hard worker and you understand the
Texas’ backfield is made up of thunder (Joe Bergeron). lighting (Jonathan Gray) and Malcolm Brown, well, he’d be the tornado. Deadly when in form, but when hampered by a minor elemental change, tends to fall apart. For Brown, that’s not wind speed or temperature, it’s almost a literal Achilles heel: a body prone to injuries. Expect that to change in 2013. Brown is primed for a breakout season and will finally shed the injury label that’s nagged him throughout his time at Texas. Brown entered Texas as a consensus five-star recruit and ranked in the Top 10 nationally of many best of lists. He flashed that potential his freshman year, dashing for 635 and five touchdowns in his first seven games. At that point, Brown appeared as a force. His fellow freshman back Joe Bergeron was a mere afterthought. Brown was destined to be the next Longhorn in line for a legacy that includes Earl Campbell, Ricky Williams
THOMAS page 17
Illustration by Cody Bubenik / Daily Texan Staff
Texas, accustomed to fielding some of the nation’s best secondaries since Duane Akina arrived 12 years ago, posted mediocre numbers. Enter Duke Thomas.
Brown is primed for a breakout season and will finally shed the injury label that’s nagged him throughout his time at Texas.
BROWN page 18
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FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013
RYAN HADDOX DAILY TEXAN STAFF
Speedy Johnson should get more touches in 2013 RB/WR Daje Johnson (So.)
By far the most explosive player on the Texas roster, the returning sophomore running back/wide receiver is primed for a big year. Johnson’s maturity was questioned during his freshman campaign and even missed a game due to suspension, but the light switch appears to have come on for the blazing speedster. After averaging 7.5 yards per carry in 2012, Major Applewhite has vowed to get the home run hitter more touches, and they will be electric.
OT Desmond Harrison (Jr.)
The junior college transfer could end up being the difference between a great Texas team and a good Texas team. The left tackle is a behemoth at 6-foot-8, 310 pounds and could be the anchor of an offensive line that can be described as average the past few seasons. An academic transcript issue kept him out most of August, but he has been cleared and is back with the team. If Harrison can be the force Stacy Searels believes he can be, David Ash and the stable of running should be very productive.
Elisabeth Dillon / Daily Texan file photo
Sophomore Daje Johnson averaged 11.5 yards per touch as a freshman. He wants to be Texas’ version of Tavon Austin.
UP LB Steve Edmond (Jr.)
Before the 2012 disaster on the defensive side of the ball, redshirt sophomore Steve Edmond’s hype was through the roof. Comparisons to Derrick Johnson were being thrown around before he spent a single snap as a starter, and it just never came to fruition. Not even close. After Jordan Hicks’ season-ending hip injury, Edmond looked lost, getting swallowed in traffic too many times to make an impact. The redshirt junior lost weight in the offseason, but so did Dalton Santos, who is waiting in the wings to take the middle linebacker job from Edmond if he doesn’t right the ship.
TE M.J. McFarland (So.)
The former high school receiver was recruited to Texas to play tight end and has a build like former Longhorn Jermichael Finley. McFarland hasn’t panned out yet, and he’s listed third on the tight end depth chart heading into the weekend. Hope isn’t lost yet for the athletic freak, but hopefully it all comes together soon because he could add a game breaking dimension to the offense.
Elisabeth Dillon / Daily Texan file photo
M.J. McFarland, listed behind Geoff Swaim and Greg Daniels on the depth chart, is part of an underachieving group of tight ends.
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9 FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013
McDonald named NMSU’s starting QB, Davis will play as well By Evan Berkowitz @texansports
Senior Andrew McDonald will be tossing spirals when the New Mexico State Aggies kick off their season Saturday in Austin. But he may just be a placeholder. At least until freshman King Davis III is ready to take over. McDonald, the son of former USC and Cleveland Browns quarterback Paul McDonald, has completed just one pass in his Aggie career since transferring from Santa Ana College, yet is still the most experienced quarterback the Aggies have. “His dad was a great college quarterback,” first-year head coach Doug Martin said. “He was raised on college football. He manages games very well. I think he gives us a real stable influence.” Martin is also interested in the dual-threat ability McDonald brings.
“He is a lot more mobile than people think,” Martin said. “He runs really well.” But Texas shouldn’t just be paying attention to the starter, because Davis will play. “King Davis will certainly play,” Martin said. “And it will be in the game early.” Davis has just as strong of an arm and is just as accurate as McDonald, if not more so. But Davis is a raw talent. He is exciting, but raw. And the main reason Davis isn’t under center week one is because of his own upside. “The thing about a young quarterback is more are ruined than made early in their career,” Martin said. “I can’t just throw him out in Austin. Whether or not he was ready, we wouldn’t start him. We can bring him off the bench and nurture him.” But eventually, more than likely by mid-season, Davis will be the Aggie starter. “King has the most potential to really become the quarterback you can build a program with,” Martin said.
LB Banard goes from overlooked walk-on to starter Most walk-ons never see the field. And in football, most walkons never even get the chance to travel with the team. But on Saturday, redshirt junior Clint Barnard, a walkon, will be lining up opposite of David Ash. Just like many other Division I athletes, Barnard was an all-state high school player and led his team to two state championships. But the 6-foot-2, 215 pound linebacker didn’t play the same type of football you watched on Friday nights. His town has a population of less than 700. The high school football program there wasn’t big enough to have 11-on-11 football, so Barnard had to play in an eight-man league. “When I played in middle school, it was actually just six-man football,” Barnard said. “I didn’t play eight-man football until my freshman year in high school, when
Photo courtesy of New Mexico State Athletics
Andrew Barnard’s high school was in a town with a population of 700 and wasn’t big enough to play 11-on-11 football. But he shined in the eight-man league and eventually walked on at New Mexico State, earning a spot as a starting linebacker for the Aggies this season.
the state changed us from six to eight, but football is football no matter if its six-man, eight-man or 11-man, the fundamentals of the game never change.” The eight-man league means less talent, less exposure and a less of a chance to play Division I football. Despite being named allstate at both quarterback and linebacker, only Division II schools showed any interest. “I had lots of offers from Division II schools,” Barnard said, “but my mentality was always that I was going to make it, somehow, some way.”
Barnard accepted a scholarship to Division II New Mexico Highlands — as a quarterback. But he wasn’t good enough to crack the starting lineup or even travel with the team and ended up being redshirted. And when a new coach came the following year and moved Barnard to the defense, he began to shine. “I had a good year as a redshirt freshman at Highlands and that is when I decided to come to New Mexico State,” Barnard said. “I wanted to prove to myself and to others that I could play at the
D-I level.” One year later, after continuing his impressive play during spring practices and becoming eligible, Barnard has positioned himself to become the Aggies’ starting middle linebacker this season. “This was always my goal, to become, not just a starter, but a real force,” Barnard said. “I don’t want to just make it, I actually want to do something with it and make my mark. One thing I always tell myself is that I never want to just settle, for anything.”
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FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013
BRITTANY LAMAS DAILY TEXAN STAFF
Live and Learn
Junior David Ash will be the definite starter for the first time in his career, having gone 12-6 as a starting quarterback over the last two years. Ash finished last season with 19 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 67.3 completion percentage. Senior Andrew McDonald was named starting quarterback for the Aggies this fall, after only playing in one game last season, completing only one pass for three yards.
RUNNING BACKS Texas will return both sophomore Johnathan Gray, who averaged 4.9 yards a carry for 701 yards and three rushing touchdowns in 2012. The Aggies will be led by redshirt senior Germi Morrison who was the team’s leading rusher last season with 767 rushing yards and 63.9 rushing yards per game.
WIDE RECEIVERS Senior Mike Davis led the Longhorns last season with 937 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 16.5 yards per catch. New Mexico State will be without last year’s leading receiver Austin Franklin, a junior who had 74 receptions for 1,245 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He was declared academically ineligible earlier this month and will miss the 2013 season.
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OFFENSIVE LINE New Mexico State’s offense gave up 42 sacks for 272 yards last season while Texas managed to only concede 16 sacks for 123 yards. Last season, Texas converted 49 percent of third downs and 47 percent of fourth downs. The Aggies were slightly less efficient, converting only 33 percent of third-down attempts and 36 percent of fourth-down tries.
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FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013
BRITTANY LAMAS DAILY TEXAN STAFF
Senior Jackson Jeffcoat and junior Cedric Reed will lead the defensive line. Jeffcoat sat out part of last season because of a torn pectoral, but still recorded 31 total tackles, and Reed played in all 13 games and had 46 total tackles. The Aggies defensive line will feature senior Kevin Laudermill, who recorded 35 total tackles last season, senior Nick Oliva, who had five total tackles in four games played and redshirt sophomore Stephen Meredith, who redshirted after knee surgery.
Texas will have junior Steve Edmond, who was second last year in total tackles with 103 and will need sophomore Peter Jinkens, who played in all 13 games as a true freshman and recorded 29 total tackles. The Aggies will also have their second leading tackler, junior Treshaun Nixon, who had 96 total tackles last season and their fourth-ranked tackler from 2012, Bryan Bonilla, who had 78 total tackles.
MOTTO continues from page 3 experience. “There’s nothing like the camaraderie like what there is on a football team,” Boyer said. “Maybe it’s the nature of the sport. It’s a very physical game. You earn your respect by how tough you are basically on the field. That holds true in the military, as well. I think that’s why that bond is so strong.” Boyer wasn’t the only player to suggest a theme for this new—hopefully revamped — Texas season. “I think most of the players ended up voting for it, which is really cool,” Boyer said. “I was able to explain to them what it meant actually right before we voted. So maybe that helped. I think it’s a strong theme. It’s selfless which is important if you want your team to be successful. It can’t be about individual successes, it’s got to be about 11 is 1 basically.” Most Longhorns are ex-
cited about this new motto. Universally, the coaches and players think it’s an appropriate way to look at their training camp and season. “It’s true,” senior Mike Davis said. “If the man on your right doesn’t do his job it’s really hurting the whole team. With the man on the left it’s the same thing. If we all do our jobs we will be successful. We really like it so we’re gonna keep pushing it.” The Longhorns have adapted multiple themes through the past three seasons. In 2011, to signify rebuilding, Texas stapled in a new motto of “brick by brick.” Last season the Longhorns created the acronym R.I.S.E, meaning Relentless, Intensity, Swagger (or sacrifice) and emotion. Both themes had a solid foundation and meaning but as the results show, neither produced the real outcomes expected by the program.
“Over the last number of years we have told the players, if they want a team theme, it’s up to them, but it’s not something that our coaches care about, it’s theirs,” head coach Mack Brown said. “If they’re going to have it, they need to live by it.” Boyer couldn’t help but hammer in the fact training for football is similar to military training. Brown agreed with him, adding the fact that at practice last week, three active marines talked to the team and mentioned how a football team is similar to a military division. “When you line up in football you literally line up with guys on your right and left and you have to be able to trust them,” Boyer said. “You’re playing for that guy and to make him successful. In the military, it’s all about the guy next to you. Everything you can do to keep him alive.”
DEFENSIVE BACKS Seniors Adrian Phillips, who had the third-most total tackles last season, Carrington Byndom and juniors Mykkele Thompson and Quandre Diggs have each earned at least two letters and will be expected to use their combined experience this season. New Mexico State will have all seniors, including its 2012 leading tackler Davis Cazares and third-leading total tackler George Callendar.
SPECIAL TEAMS Last season, Texas hit 11 for 19 field-goal attempts and in managed 43 kick returns for 996 yards and 123 yards on 14 punt returns. Senior Anthony Fera is listed as the punter and placekicker, even though he went 2-for-4 last season on field goal attempts. New Mexico State junior Maxwell Johnson went 11-for-11 as the field goal kicker last season, and Cayle Chapman-Brown will return as the punter.
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BACKING THE LIN
Hicks earns team’s respect back following suspension By Peter Sblendorio @petersblendorio
It is no secret the Texas linebacker corps struggled last season. The position was marred by injuries and inconsistency, and it was largely at fault for a Texas defense that surrendered 29.2 points per game. The Longhorns believe that those struggles could be behind them, though, and they are optimistic about their stable of linebackers heading in to 2013. Head coach Mack Brown pegged Steve Edmond, Jordan Hicks and Peter Jinkens as starters for Saturday’s season opener against New Mexico State. The trio is eager to improve on the play of last year’s unit, which played a major role in Texas allowing 192.2 yards rushing per game. Edmond received the most playing time of the three last season, putting up solid numbers but was inconsitent and a poor tackler at times. He was second on the team with 103 tackles, including four double-digit tackle performances, and recorded a pair of forced fumbles
and an interception returned for a touchdown. Edmond dedicated the offseason to shedding weight in order to increase his quickness and has been impressive in practices thus far. The senior figures to play a big role as the middle linebacker in Texas’ base 4-3 defense, and Longhorns head coach Mack Brown expects Edmond to be much improved over last season. “Steve started gaining respect in the offseason by losing a lot of weight and he’s had a very good camp,” Brown said. “It will be fun to watch him on Saturday night because I think he’ll be so much better than what people saw last year. They’ll be very surprised and pleased.” Hicks also returns to the starting lineup after missing all but three games last season with a hip injury suffered in Week 3 against Ole Miss. The redshirt junior made 11 starts the last three seasons and gives Texas another athletic player to line up at weakside linebacker. Saturday’s matchup against New
Mexico State will be Hicks’ first game since being suspended for the 2012 Valero Alamo Bowl. He and quarterback Case McCoy were linked to a sexual assault accusation in which no charges were filed. Hicks was reinstated in January, and Brown says that Hicks has earned back the respect of his teammates after a quiet and productive offseason. “Jordan had to earn [his teammates’ respect] back and he was able to do that by working every day and keeping his mouth shut and being a really good player,” Brown said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that [he has] earned that respect back.” Despite the drama that surrounded him in December, Hicks expects to resume his role as one of the leaders of the Texas defense. As one of the veterans of the linebacker corps, Hicks said it’s not his style to put down teammates after making a mistake, and he envisions himself as a teacher for the younger players to learn from. “I’m more of a teacher because I lead by the way that I respond,” Hicks said.
“I respond better with teaching, just personal one-on one type deal. No humiliation stuff. I like to make sure they know what they did wrong, that’s more my style.” Sophomore Peter Jinkens rounds out the Longhorns starting unit at linebacker. He played in all 13 games of last season, starting three, and recorded 29 tackles, with three being for a loss. Jinkens finished last season on a high note, registering 13 tackles, a sack and an interception in his final two games of the season. The sophomore boasts 4.5 40-yard dash speed that should allow him to hang with most running backs, and he enters the season with significant expectations as the Longhorns starter on the strong side. While much of the offseason focus revolved around the Longhorns’ adjustment to a revamped up-tempo offense, Texas needs superior play from its defense for a realistic shake at the Big 12 title. The first step will be improving at the linebacker position, and the Week 1 starters seem ready for the challenge
Edmond slimmer, solidifying himself as starting linebacker By Garrett Callahan @CallahanGarrett
th Dillon | Daily Texan file photo
Expectations have risen. Effort isn’t good enough this year for Texas but, especially on defense, results need to be made. Linebacker Steve Edmond has risen with those expectations. The junior has established himself as a starter on this Texas team and has proven himself as a leader on the defensive side of the ball since practice resumed this summer. “Steve has that sense of urgency now,” defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. “He realizes he’s a junior now and he needs to buckle down on what exactly he needs to do every time he’s supposed to do it.” Edmond walked into his sophomore season with much hype but he struggled after nonconference play. While finishing second on the team in tackles (103), he was unable to help the Longhorns stop the run game.
During spring practice, head coach Mack Brown and Diaz decided to set their starting lineup based on what the players had done in the offseason. What they did last season wasn’t relevant. Well, sophomore linebacker Dalton Santos came back slimmer and quicker, leaving Edmond behind. The 245-pound linebacker, however, found that urgency as spring ball came to a close and passed Santos up. “In April we went back into the weight room and now Steve started realizing these weights are changing him,” Diaz said. “He saw his body change. He saw the way he moved around change and felt all that change his life.” That work has paid off. Edmond is now a faster, quicker, more aggressive player that is able to run down opponents from across the field. His teammates and coaches through fall camp have all praised Edmond. “We had a lot of position battles this
camp and spring,” senior Carrington Byndom said. “Steve has really come along and progressed. Its good for us.” In addition to this new fitness, Edmond has gained more experience since his freshman year. After Jordan Hicks was unable to play most of last season with a hip injury, Edmond was given the opportunity to grow in his position. “When you have more experience, I think that allows you to play faster,” Byndom said. “When you play faster you’re able to go sideline-to-sideline so I think one more year of experience for him [Edmond} is helping him and is helping him to play that much faster.” Edmond, along with Hicks, has the ability to end the defensive struggles that Texas had last season. New depth and versatility has been added to the Longhorns lineup. Preparation has been crucial for Edmond and his squad to put up more solid numbers.
“Now you need to find what’s real, tangible,” Diaz said. “What’s different now that makes me feel I have success in areas I didn’t have in the past? I believe that’s in the preparation of our players. I think it’s the way they’ve attacked our offseason program. I think it’s the way they’ve attacked our 15 spring practices, how many we’ve had so far through fall camp.” Edmond and Hicks will assume the role as leaders on the linebacker crew. The duo has the chance to teach their younger counterparts and the rest of their defense how to be competitive as a Big 12 team. “I would say the leadership of our team is better than it was a year ago,” Diaz said. “That’s not a knock on those guys. Just the type of people we have. Really you can divide it into corner, safety, linebacker, tackle, you have a great leader in all of those stations, which was not true last year, and almost not the year before.”
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MARQISE LEE Junior WR, USC
A player from the West Coast hasn’t officially won the Heisman since 2004. (2005 Heisman winner Reggie Bush was stripped of the award). A lack of exposure being on the West Coast and of an experienced quarterback are working against Lee. But the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner will garner some Heisman attention. He just has to make sure it is enough attention to get him to New York.
JADEVEON CLOWNEY Junior DE, USC
Like Manziel, Clowney has history working against him. There is a reason that Charles Woodson is the only defensive player to win the Heisman and that is because he had a big role on Michigan’s special teams. Clowney will need unreal stats to win the Heisman. He will need the wins in order to take home the Heisman. Manti Te’o got close last season, but still came up short on his bid, despite leading his team to the national championship game. Clowney will need something special to take it home this season.
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The unquestioned leader for the Heisman this season should be someone that no one is talking about. Mark Ingram, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel all came from nowhere to win the award in their respective seasons for the past four years. The streak may very well continue this season. There is a lot standing in the way for leading candidates. Somewhere out there is a guy gearing up to have a breakout season. He may not be a household name yet, but he will be in a few months. Whoever he is, he is the frontrunner for the Heisman.
WES MAULSBY DAILY TEXAN STAFF
JOHNNY MANZIEL Sophomore QB, Texas A&M
The reigning Heisman winner has history working against him now. He may have been the first freshman to take the award home, but he will have to put together one heck of a season in order to take it home again. It has only had one two-time winner, and that was largely because there wasn’t anyone else to give it to. That shouldn’t be the case this season. He has already defied the odds and beaten history once. If there is a man to do it again, it is Manziel.
Rogelio V. Solis / Associated Press
A.J. MCCARRON Senior QB, Alabama
Quarterback? Check. Leading the top team in the country? Check. NFL potential? Check. By all accounts McCarron should be the unquestioned leader of the pack for the Heisman heading into this season. But he doesn’t get the credit for wins that a quarterback normally gets. He is not seen as the main man on his team but if he can overcome this stigma, he may have the easiest road to the award out of anyone.
Dave Martin / Associated Press
FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013
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DON’T PLAY DOWN TO THE COMPETITION Perhaps the only way Texas can lose its season opener against New Mexico State is if it plays down to the Aggies’ level. Despite a few slip-ups last season Texas never played down to the competition, finishing 8-2 against unranked opponents and 1-2 against ranked foes. Texas will be energized in its season opener as it looks to build on a 9-4 season that it feels should have been better. New Mexico State has showed problems in all areas of its defense which should play right into the hands of the No. 15 ranked Texas Longhorns. The biggest key in this football game will be for the Longhorns to play their game, whatever that may entail.
KEEP RUNNING A key to any game for the Texas Longhorns should be to establish the running game early and keep pounding away the entire game. The Longhorns finished last season 54th in the nation with 171.5 rushing yards per game and have more quality running backs than the Aggies have quality offensive players. Johnathan Gray, Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown all averaged more than seven carries per game for Texas last season, which shows its ability to spread the ball around. The Aggies will never have a chance to get comfortable and adjust to a rushing attack because the Longhorns can slide a different player in on any play. It’s not broke so the Longhorns shouldn’t fix it.
PUT THE BALL IN DAVID ASH’S HANDS This is the season that David Ash needs to establish himself as the Texas Longhorns’ star quarterback. Ash had an up-and-down season in 2012 but posted solid numbers: 67.3 completion percentage, 2,699 passing yards, 19 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. Ash has struggled in crunch time during some parts of his Texas career but has shown all the qualities of an elite quarterback. The only way to get him to rise to the occasion is to force him to make plays. Whether it’s running more draw plays that force him to pull it back or hand it off in an instant or running more passing plays to make him find his receivers instead of relying on yards from the running backs, the Longhorns need to do it. Ash needs to gain confidence early and know that his success isn’t a fluke. If the ball is put in Ash’s hands to make plays then Texas will see much success in this game and all games moving forward.
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BIG 12 POWER RANKINGS
FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013
STEFAN SCRAFIELD DAILY TEXAN STAFF
The Cowboys home schedule includes Oklahoma, TCU, Baylor and Kansas State, with their only road challenge coming in Austin against the Longhorns. While the Pokes bounced between inexperienced signal-callers last year, the quarterback position figures to be a strength this year. That, combined with the usual slew of offensive threats and seven returning starters on defense, will make OSU a tough team to beat.
With 19 returning starters and the most experienced starting quarterback in the Big 12, Texas is, without a doubt, the strongest team in the conference on paper. But football isn’t played on paper and, as Longhorn Nation has seen over the past few years, a high preseason ranking and plenty of preseason hype doesn’t always translate to success on the field. However, youth and inexperience are no longer a factor in Austin, so expect big things from Mack Brown and his team this year.
OKLAHOMA Bob Stoops and his staff surprisingly picked Trevor Knight over Blake Bell as the Sooners’ starting quarterback this year. There will be growing pains for the redshirt freshman, but, according to his teammates, Knight’s dual-threat ability makes him a great fit in Oklahoma’s new read-option offense. And if the offense can be great, an average defense should be enough for the Sooners to contend. Expect OU to be near the top of the Big 12 standings once again in 2013.
TCU The Horned Frogs are expected to have the best defense in the Big 12, with nine starters returning from last year’s stingy squad. But TCU’s tough schedule begins with a neutral-site matchup against SEC powerhouse LSU. If the Horned Frogs survive that test and get consistent play from senior quarterback Casey Pachall this season, they could finish at the top of the Big 12.
Baylor finished last season as the hottest team in the conference and once again features a high-powered offense, this year led by junior quarterback Bryce Petty. It will come down to their defense. Baylor returns seven starters from last year’s unit that was second in the Big 12 with 18 interceptions, including a conference-high three returned for touchdowns. If Baylor survives a late-season stretch that includes OSU, Texas, TCU and Oklahoma, they could win the conference.
The departure of Collin Klein and only two returning starters on defense would lead many to believe the Wildcats are destined for failure in 2013. Not so fast. A strong offensive line and some great playmakers on offense should keep K-State in contention. And with Bill Snyder returning for a 22nd season in Manhattan, the Wildcats will be well coached.
33-year old Kliff Kingsbury’s success as a first-year head coach will depend on his quarterback. With Seth Doege out, sophomore Michael Brewer is set to take the reigns in 2013. But the Red Raiders may be forced to open the season with a true freshman behind center if Brewer’s back problems keep im on the sideline. If Texas Tech isn’t able to establish consistency at the quarterback position, it could be a long year.
After losing its three biggest offensive threats, Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, to the NFL this offseason, it will be a rebuilding year for the Mountaineers. The defense will be improved and the offense will rely on Houston transfer Charles Sims to carry the load on the ground.
The inability to establish strong quarterback play and light up the scoreboard has defined Paul Rhoads’ tenure at Iowa State. Despite a poor 3-6 record against conference opponents last year, the Cyclones gave up a mere 248 points against Big 12 teams, trailing only Kansas State and Oklahoma. If sophomore Sam Richardson can’t turn things around, Iowa State will find itself at the bottom of the Big 12 again.
KANSAS Jayhawks head coach Charlie Weis said last month that Kansas didn’t deserve to be placed anywhere better than last. While fans in Lawrence shouldn’t expect much from their team this year, the Jayhawks are sure to improve on last year’s dismal 1-11 record. Led by junior quarterback Jake Heaps, a BYU transfer, Kansas will look to work its way out of the Big 12 cellar in 2013.
GAMES TO WATCH
FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013
RACHEL WENZLAFF DAILY TEXAN STAFF
No. 12 LSU vs. No. 20 TCU
No.1 Alabama vs. Virginia Tech
No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 8 Clemson
Mississippi St. vs. No. 13 Oklahoma St.
Cowboys Stadium, Arlington Saturday 8 p.m. TV: ESPN
Georgia Dome, Atlanta Saturday 4:30 p.m. TV: ESPN
Memorial Stadium, Clemson Saturday 7 p.m. TV: ABC
Reliant Stadium, Houston Saturday 2:30 p.m. TV: ABC
A decent amount of scandal surrounds this matchup. TCU quarterback Casey Pachall will make his debut following his indefinite suspension for a DWI incident that occurred in October of 2012. Between Pachall, TCU star defensive end Devonte Fields, who was suspended for violating team rules and LSU’s Jeremy Hill, who was arrested for punching a man outside a bar, the teams seem pretty evenly matched in the scandal department. Yet the favorite for the score board is LSU. But if Pachall returns and Fields is allowed to play, the Horned Frogs may stand a chance to knock off the national title contender.
Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide hope to kick start the season with a victory over Virginia Tech. Alabama needs a big win build the momentum that will allow them to work their way through an SEC schedule with much tougher games down the road. Close to 40 percent of Virginia Tech’s players are either true or redshirt freshmen. Watching such a young team try to hold its own against a defending national champion is what makes this a game to watch.
The game snags the No. 1 spot on this list. The only Top 10 matchup of the weekend, these national title contenders will face off in primetime Saturday night. Although Georgia is favored, with two of the best offenses in college football and two of the best quarterbacks in the nation, this one could go either way. Aaron Murray and Tajh Boyd are Heisman contenders this year looking to lead their teams to an undefeated season.
Mississippi State failed to live up to expectations last season and is seeking redemption. Knocking off Oklahoma State, the Big 12’s top-ranked team, would be the jump-start they need to the season. Look for Bulldogs quarterback Tyler Russell to lead a high-powered offense that Mississippi State hopes can put enough points on the board to come out on top.
THOMAS continues from page 6 game, you have a chance to play here. He tries to do everything right and that’s what you want from a young corner. He wants to come in and make a big impact.” Normally, the Longhorns depth chart features four starters in the secondary – two cornerbacks and two safeties. But Texas made room for Thomas, moving two-year starter Quandre Diggs from cornerback to nickel. This gives the Longhorns the flexibility to move Diggs around and match up better against prolific passing attacks. And it also gives them the chance to put their best young defensive back on the field early and often. “He’s a guy I always thought would be a great player for us,” Diggs said of Thomas. “I love having Duke on the field just because of the fact that I know he’s going to know exactly what to do. He’s going to come with 110 percent on each and
every play.” After showing promise in 2011, the Texas secondary took major steps backward in 2012. Opposing quarterbacks averaged 7.9 yards per attempt (No. 99 in the FBS), posted a collective 131.7 QB rating (No. 64) and completed nearly 60 percent of their passes. The talent has always been there. Diggs and Carrington Byndom have been mainstays in the Longhorns secondary for the past two years, with Phillips emerging as a bona fide starter last season. Seven Longhorns defensive backs, including Thomas, made the Rivals250 cut coming out of high school. He’s done everything right since the moment he stepped on campus. He hasn’t gotten in trouble with the law, hasn’t complained about being moved around or even suffered an injury. He’s made the most of every opportunity presented to
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—Quandre Diggs, defensive back
him, playing in every game last year and making 12 tackles, eight of them on special teams, the second-most on the team. Thomas made three catches for 27 yards in this year’s spring game when his coaches wanted to see what the high school quarterback could do at wide receiver. Less talented secondaries outperformed Texas’ secondary last season. Guys like Byndom, Diggs and Phillips have heard the criticism all offseason long. They’re ready to prove they can silence those critics. And Thomas is ready to prove he belongs.
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PLAYERS TO WATCH
FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013
MATT WARDEN DAILY TEXAN STAFF
WR Jerrel Brown (Sr.)
New Mexico State had a tough time doing anything right last season. Despite a disappointing 1-11 season, the Aggies finished No. 59 in the NCAA in passing yards and receiver Austin Franklin had a lot to do with that. Franklin led the team last season with 74 catches, 1,245 yards and nine touchdowns while amassing 100 yards in seven games last season but was ruled academically ineligible and will miss the entire 2013 season. Jerrel Brown will be the man to fill those shows. Brown finished last season with a modest 18 receptions for 239 yards, but his 13.3 yards per reception gives the Aggies something to work with. Brown is similar in size and speed to Franklin and has the potential to fill in perfectly in his absence. Replacing a No. 1 wideout is a difficult task and it is likely that Brown will get a lot of looks Saturday.
FS Davis Cazares (Sr.)
After finishing as the No. 120-ranked scoring defense last season, the Aggies established themselves as a defense that cannot defend. While the defense appeared balanced in its protection as it allowed 27 rushing touchdowns to 28 passing touchdowns, 39.4 points per game against a team pokes holes in a defense’s ability. Safety Davis Cazares was a bright spot for this defense, however, leading the team with 116 total tackles on the year. Although leading a team like this in tackles isn’t a huge accomplishment, his numbers are about as consistent as anyone would like to see. Cazares showed the ability to dazzle last season with his versatility, racking up almost 10 tackles per game while forcing a fumble, breaking up a pass and blocking a kick last season. Texas will likely bulldoze the Aggie defense, but Cazares will be at the top of the stat page when the game ends.
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RB Germi Morrison (Sr.)
His numbers won’t jump out at you but Germi Morrison was the workhorse for the Aggies offense last season and should be a player to watch this season. Morrison led the team with 159 carries for 757 rushing yards last season while putting the ball in the end zone two times. Morrison is a bigger back, standing at 6-foot, 215 pounds, which should allow him to pick up big yards if the Aggies can make it to the red zone against the Longhorns. He averaged 13.3 carries per game last season so the ball will be in his hands often against Texas. He may not pick up an astounding amount of yards but Morrison will get his opportunities in Saturday’s season opener.
BROWN continues from page 6 and Cedric Benson. Then the injuries started to creep in. A turf toe issue kept Brown out of the next two contests and hampered him the remainder of the season. Before the foot issue, Brown was on pace to break the Longhorns freshman rushing record. After it, he averaged just 2.6 yards per carry. Brown’s tale spun similar in 2012. Actually, the start of his season was odd. He rushed for 105 yards in Texas’ first game, then received only two carries in the next contest, before rushing for a team-best 128 yards against Ole Miss. But his injury history caught up to him once again, and he missed the Longhorns’ next five games with a sprained ankle. At that point, freshman Johnathan Gray gained favor in the Texas backfield, and when Brown returned, the carries
weren’t there. Now, Brown enters 2013 as the forgotten man. Gray, a five-star recruit and highschool record-breaker himself, is the lead back on the depth chart, and head coach Mack Brown raves about his toughness. Gray will have a successful season. He’s publicly stated his goal is to gain 1,500 yards, and will require a large bulk of the carries. However, Brown is healthy and poised for a 1,000-yard season himself. The 6-foot, 220-pound junior back spent the offseason working through targeted muscle strengthening drills, everything from stretches to even a little yoga, which he describes as his least favorite exercise, by far. Fact is, he’s feeling healthy and if Brown stays that way, he’ll be effective. The Longhorns new up-
tempo offense will create an additional 12-15 snaps a game, meaning each back will get numerous chances to shine. Texas’ top trio of backs will have a set rotation, and will each see the field with consistency. That’s all Brown will need. He’s the most complete back on the roster; big enough to plunge through the middle of the line, fast enough to sweep to the outside and shifty enough to make people miss in the open field. It’s a potent combination, and something that will force offensive coordinator Major Applewhite to give him the ball. Bothersome feet held Brown back his first two seasons, but expect the same limbs to carry him to greatness this go-around. After all, without their feet, how can anyone expect to move forward?
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Manziel suspended for first half of A&M’s opener against Rice By Stefan Scrafield @stefanscrafield
Texas A&M and the NCAA have finally come to a decision in the Johnny Manziel autograph scandal. The Aggies star quarterback has
been suspended for the first half of Texas A&M’s season opener against Rice this Saturday. Manziel will assume his starting duties in the second half of the game. Manziel, accused receiving payment for autographs on
multiple occasions, reportedly met with NCAA officials for several hours on Sunday. The NCAA and Texas A&M released a joint statement Wednesday stating they had no evidence of Manziel being paid for the autographs.
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The half-game suspension is due to him violating an NCAA bylaw stating “student-athletes cannot permit their names or likenesses to be used for commercial purposes, including to advertise, recommend or promote sales of commercial products.” A&M coach Kevin Sumlin will have to decide between junior Matt Joeckel, the brother of former Aggie and second overall pick Luke Joeckel, and freshman Kenny Hill, who are currently in a position battle for the backup spot. Either one could get the start on Saturday.
In this Jan. 7 file photo, Alabama head coach Nick Saban is doused with Gatorade in the final seconds of the BCS National Championship game against Notre Dame.
USC quarterback battle still undecided USC will start the 2013 season without a No. 1 quarterback. Athletic Director Pat Haden told ESPN the Trojans will wait until after the first or second game of the season to name their starter. Max Wittek and Cody Kessler are still competing for the job. Wittek, a redshirt sophomore, was Matt Barkley’s backup at USC last year and also succeeded him as the starting quarterback at Mater Dei High School, prior to signing with the Trojans. Wittek made news last fall after predicting a victory in his first career start against No. 1 Notre Dame. USC lost that game, 22-13, and Wittek threw for just 186 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Kessler, also a redshirt sophomore, was the thirdstring quarterback for USC last year and also served as the holder on field goals. Despite having no experience as a starter and only throwing two passes in his career, Kessler has kept pace by demonstrating exceptional play making ability throughout camp.
Oregon debuts new football facility Oregon is set to kickoff the 2013 season in style with its brand new “Football Performance Center.” The 145,000-square-foot facility, which opened in early August, features several jaw-dropping amenities including a private barber shop, two-story theatre, skybridge, new weight room and big screen display composed of 64 separate 55-inch televisions. Most notable in the new facility is the incredible attention to detail and branding. The signature Oregon “O” can be found just about everywhere in the building. Whether it’s on the backrests of each chair, on the legs of the pool table or the buttons in the elevator, there is no mistaking whose turf you’re on. Another obvious theme is the focus on team building throughout the facility. The multiple players’ lounges offer pool tables, foosball tables, TVs, game consoles and more, giving the players many reasons to stick around and spend time with each other. The locker room is also specially designed to
Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press
facilitate conversation among the players. Locker doors open and slide into the locker, removing any walls that may make communication more difficult. Nick Saban discusses national championship The legend of Nick Saban just keeps growing. In a GQ profile of the Alabama head coach, known for his maniacal approach, Saban had the following to say about last year’s national championship game: “That damn game cost me a week of recruiting.” Saban went on to explain that while he was spending his time preparing for the title game, other coaches were talking to his recruits, trying to win them over and gain an advantage on the recruiting trail. The GQ profile, written by Warren St. John, gave fans a rare glimpse into the life of the two-time reigning national champion. While he has recently been called “Nicky Satan” and “the Devil himself ” by a couple of his coaching colleagues, the article illustrates Saban in a more positive light, highlighting his family-first lifestyle and “coal miner’s” work ethic.
21 FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013
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Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, front center, sits with some of his players as a team picture is organized by the director of football operations, John Ballein, center left in gray shirt, during the team’s media day in Lane Stadium on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va. on Saturday, Aug. 10.
Texas will win, but not by 42 By Darren Mitchell @texansports
New Mexico State at Texas (-42) Texas is going to win, but by 42 points? The Longhorns have gotten off to slow starts in season openers the last couple of years, beating a subpar Wyoming team by only 20 points a year ago. They haven’t won a season opener by this large of a margin since 2008. David Ash and Co. need a little time to shake off the rust from the offseason. Texas easily gets the win, but the Aggies cover the spread.
Lock of the Week Alabama (-20) vs. Virginia Tech Its tough nailing down a lock in Week 1, but Alabama is always a safe bet to get off to a quick start. Last season in their opening game they demolished a much better Michigan team, 41-14, en route to their second straight national championship and third in four years. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Hokies, who are no longer the college football power they once were. Frank
Beamer’s squad finished last season 7-6 and three of those wins came in overtime. Expect Alabama to continue their dominance. Upset Alert Penn State vs Syracuse (+8) The Orange lost their quarterback (Ryan Nassib) to the New York Giants and their head coach (Doug Marrone) to the Buffalo Bills. But new head coach Scott Shafer will keep the defensive intensity high for
a budding Syracuse team that finished last season with a dominating 38-14 victory over West Virginia and Geno Smith in the Pinstripe Bowl. Penn State, still feeling the effects of the historic punishments levied by the NCAA, has yet to even name a starting quarterback for Saturday. The Nittany Lions started last year in a rut as well, being upset by Ohio and Virginia in the first two weeks of the 2012 season. Syracuse is poised to pull an upset.
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FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013
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