Last season's record: 5-7
Returning starters/letterwinners: 13/46
Key losses: Malcolm Williams, WR; Sam Acho, DE; Aaron Williams, CB. Malcolm Williams had nine starts and was expected to be a key part of this Longhorn team, potentially as a field stretcher at H-back. He was among the country's best special teams players, but left the team to deal with family issues. Acho was an All-Big 12 player and winner of the Campbell and Wuerffel Awards. More importantly, he was a key leader with a knack for big plays. Aaron Williams was a playmaker at cornerback and nickel back, where he hit and blitzed like a safety and served as one of the team's top cover men.
Key returnees (just three names, ditto above): Mike Davis; WR; Kheeston Randall, DT; Keenan Robinson, LB. Davis serves as the best weapon on an offense searching for ways to be more explosive. He set the Texas freshman record for receptions a year ago despite missing time with a leg injury. Randall is the Big 12's most active defensive tackle and should thrive in defensive coordinator Manny Diaz's attacking scheme. Robinson is among the country's top linebackers and led the Longhorns in tackles a year ago. He'll slide inside after playing on the outside a year ago.
Best game: Oct. 8, vs. Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas
Projected finish: 8-4, fifth in Big 12
Outlook: The Longhorns look to rebound from a worse-than-expected 2010, though a tough schedule that includes BYU and UCLA in non-conference play and a full Big 12 slate — the league is now playing a full round-robin — could stand in the way of a full bounce-back. Texas will boast a lot of young, but talented, players, and could again take a few lumps on their way to becoming what should be a strong 2012 team. This is a team that should be much better at the end of the year than they are at the beginning.