After Texas coach Mack Brown was burned in his preseason analysis of the 2010 team, he's been markedly more guarded about announcing his optimism about his teams. But Brown was certainly positive about the way his 2013 squad looked through the first half of spring practice.
"Go back and review the first eight days, it's obvious that we are more talented than we've been in the last three years," Brown said. "We have more team speed than we've had the last three years. We're older, have more competition at each position, and better leadership.There's more energy because of all of the above, and I think that was evident for those that came to practice last week."
Energy and fitness has been a major emphasis this spring with Texas going to a more up-tempo attack. And Brown said the staff was taking clips of guys who were "in less than top condition" and giving them to Jeff Madden and Bennie Wylie so that those coaches can help their fitness levels over the summer.
"And it's really significant for the off-season program to show them that you're a ten-play guy right now because you can't play 12 plays in a ballgame because you're out of shape," Brown said. "So it answers a lot of questions for parents, and it answers a lot of questions for the guys because the big guy in the sky don't lie. You got it right there. So you can show them. But I'm really excited about our offense. I think we'll be the best offense since Colt left. And I think that's without question and I'm excited about that."
In addition to upgrading the team's fitness to run an up-tempo attack, Brown talked about the need for the staff to develop the talent on hand.
"Our coaches need to take the average players and make them good, and take the good players and make them great," Brown said. "And that's what we are telling them. If you think your guy is playing good, that's not good enough. He needs to be a great player, if he has that ability. If he's young and not playing well, make him play well. As a coach, that's your responsibility, and mine, as well."
One area where the Longhorns didn't recruit or develop as well — leading to one of the reasons for the offense's downfall circa 2010 — was on the offensive line. But Brown said he thought Texas was trending up at that position.
"I think our offensive line is headed in the right direction," Brown said. "This group we signed this year is the best I've ever seen us sign. You know Kyle Hix got hurt, he's playing for the Patriots. So there's a few guys that have been around that haven't — we didn't get to redshirt a lot of these guys and that hurt us. Hurt them because they were a year behind. But I do think in our future we are going to have some.
"I think we are going to get back to draft choices," Brown said. "I'm really excited about where we are and where we're headed. Just about everybody is back that played last year and took their lumps for the last two years. And at Texas nine wins is lumps. We understand that, so we are excited about having a chance to win every game. And to do that we've got to upgrade both lines of scrimmages."