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August 12, 2012
The Horned Frogs will once again head down I-35 to take on the Texas Longhorns. The exact date is still "officially" up in the air, but most believe (including both teams' media guides) that the matchup will take place on Thursday, November 22nd, Thanksgiving Day.
The Longhorns are coming off of consecutive down years for burnt orange standards, but many believe they may finally get back to their winning form this year, and their #15 preseason coaches' poll ranking reflects that.
Mack Brown's defense shines every year. What will make or break the Longhorns this season will be the offense's ability to put points on the board.
The best teams usually have great quarterbacks as their leaders. This season will surely test the leadership of sophomore quarterback David Ash.
Ash took over as co-starter with now-junior Case McCoy for third game of last season against UCLA. He finished the year with just over 1,000 yards passing and four touchdowns with eight interceptions. Texas finished the season eighth in the Big 12 in passing offense.
Ash started off training camp with a strained hamstring, but Mack Brown says it's nothing to worry about and he will be fine.
I expect Ash to be on a short leash, especially if he struggles to start the season. Don't be surprised to hear the burnt orange fans call for Case McCoy to take over if they are unhappy with the offense's production.
"Right now David and Case are getting along really well," Brown said at Big 12 media day. "They're worried more from what I hear about winning than they are playing, and I feel like that one of those guys will separate himself some in preseason and it will give us the other guy to come off the bench and play if need be."
Texas' lone offensive player to make the preseason All Big 12 team is sophomore running back Malcolm Brown.
Brown took over last season after senior starter Fozzy Whittaker tore his ACL. Even with the shortened season, Brown was able to put up nearly 800 yards and five touchdowns as a true freshman. If his offensive line can create some holes, I expect him to shine during his sophomore season.
Behind Brown is one of the most stacked running back corps in the country including Joe Burgeron and Johnathan Gray.
Last season's University of Texas defense ranked 11th in the country in total defense and sixth in rushing defense. The crown jewels of the Longhorns come from the ends of their defensive line.
Most college coaches can only dream about having two defensive ends of junior Jackson Jeffcoat and senior Alex Okafor's caliber on the same line. Jeffcoat and Okafor led UT with eight and seven sacks respectively, and if Okafor can put his run-in with police last May behind him, both are poised for a repeat performance this year.
Both defensive ends join senior safety Kenny Vaccaro on the preseason All Big 12 team. Vaccaro was also involved in the police run-in last May, but the Texas coaching staff expects him to be a leader on his side of the ball after totaling more than eighty tackles and two interceptions last season.
The Horned Frogs will look to improve mightily upon 2007's 34-13 second half blow up loss against Texas. Historically, TCU is 20-61-1 against the Longhorns, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the Frogs make it 21 this year.
If TCU's offensive line is able to handle Texas' defensive rush, the Horned Frogs have a good chance to come out of DKR-Texas Memorial stadium with a victory.