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Big 12 Media Days: Texas Questions
Texas coach Mack Brown: What's the potential of this team? True, that question might just get you a coach-speak answer back. But if we're getting honest — and clear — answers here, I'd love to hear Brown say what I believe, and what I think a lot of people do: this team has a chance to make a real run at things. I'll give Brown credit for this: he and his staff not only haven't shied away from expectations, they've taken them on, with defensive coordinator Manny Diaz stating this spring that a Big 12 title is the expectation. Texas quarterback David Ash: How have you continued to work through the summer? Championships can be won or lost in the offseason, and the word around the program is that Ash has had a splendid summer, not just as a player, but in terms of cutting up with the team and continuing to find himself as a leader. Ash doesn't have to be an All-American for this year's team to win. But he does have to continue to play well, and to have the team believe in him in close-game situations. Texas offensive lineman Trey Hopkins: The experience level is there. Now, how can the line morph into a dominant force? I haven't counted up the offensive line starts for every team in the country, but I do know that Texas's number of starts would have put the Longhorns No. 1 in that category last year. Texas has all the pieces. And you can't argue that the line lacks talent, as four of the five starters were ranked four stars or higher out of high school. But for whatever reason, Texas has struggled at times — especially in running the ball — against higher level competition. That has to stop. What can the Longhorns do to take that next leap from a decent-to-good offensive line to a great one? Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat: After two freak injuries, can you stay healthy? It's a blunt question, but an important one. A healthy Jeffcoat unlocks the potential of what could be the Big 12's best defensive line. Unfortunately, even in Jeffcoat's outstanding sophomore year, he just hasn't been able to stay healthy. Two ruptured pectorals have gotten him the past two seasons, and he had an ankle injury as a freshman. Can Jeffcoat stay healthy and emerge as the first-round NFL Draft pick that many believe he has in him? Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks: How much better will the linebacker position be this year? Hicks had two excellent games and was playing well against Ole Miss when he went down with an injury. Just like that, the Longhorns didn't have a single linebacker with real relevant game experience. And it showed. The players looked thrown into the fire as they missed assignments and often just didn't play aggressively. The group got better over the course of the season, and now the Longhorns are loaded up with players who took their lumps a year ago, and Hicks, who should be raring to go. Could Texas see a major leap in production at this position?
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