BEVO BEAT

For now, Texas will be labeled a 7-5 team, maybe 6-6

Posted April 21st, 2014

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Don’t fault Texas linebacker Steve Edmond for speaking his mind after Saturday’s spring game.

His verbal dissertation — let’s just title it “Baylor sucks” — no doubt made coach Charlie Strong and the Texas media relations department cringe. As much as fans (and reporters) eat that stuff up, the coaches never want their players giving out ready-made bulletin board material.

When asked if he was still bothered by the Baylor loss, Texas cornerback Quandre Diggs was slightly more diplomatic: “The Baylor loss, any loss, still stings.

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“Even though we lost the other games, we were 30 minutes away from going to those BCS games and being Big 12 champs,” he added. “Of course, it stings and the coaches will continue to let us have it. But you just move on and use that for motivation.”

Yes, Baylor coach Art Briles will be made aware of the comments. And it’ll be interesting to see if Edmond is allowed to do any interviews this fall, especially leading up to Oct. 4. Usually when stuff like this happens, the player goes into witness protection.

Here’s a sobering thought for the Texas optimists: Edmond’s comments were the most buzz-worthy thing that happened this spring. Oh sure, people are curious about the coaching change. But if you plan on running to the bookstore to buy Big 12 preview magazines this summer, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Right now, there’s absolutely no reason to think Texas will be anything but a 7-5 team next season, maybe even 6-6.

To be fair, the Longhorns have a large number of players expected back this August. That includes quarterback David Ash, running back Johnathan Gray, linebacker Jordan Hicks and a handful of others that will provide depth. Many expect incoming freshman Poona Ford to step in immediately at defensive tackle. There’s a few other freshmen receivers coming, as is quarterback Jerrod Heard.

What fans saw on Saturday was definitely an incomplete product. But until things change, that’s what fans, media and critics have to go on. It makes you wonder if Longhorn Network will rebroadcast the spring game as much as originally planned.

“That’s fine. I don’t care who they pick,” defensive tackle Malcom Brown said. “We’re just going to come out and play. They can pick whoever they want, but end of the day, the tougher team and the better team is going to win. So when they come to us, we’ll play them and we’ll see. When all the dust settles, we’ll know.”

The ever-proud Diggs also could care less that Texas will be a preseason pick to finish in the middle of the pack.

“That’s fine. Say what they want to say, honestly,” Diggs said. “We’ll continue to keep it closed doors and we’re going to continue to grind. In the summer, we’re going to have one of the toughest off seasons, if not the toughest summers, in the country. So we’re just going to continue to grind.

“We’re not going to say too much,” Diggs added. “Talking is cheap, so we’re going to go out and grind in these summer workouts and get ready for two-a-days.”

It seems inconceivable to think Texas actually might have regressed from its 8-5 finish last year. Ponder that for a moment. The Longhorns may have the best running back in the Big 12 (Malcolm Brown), maybe the best rush defensive ends (Cedric Reed) and a solid pair of defensive tackles (Malcom Brown and Desmond Jackson).

But there’s obviously huge questions at quarterback. And when defensive coordinator Vance Bedford openly admits the secondary lacks confidence, well, it’s really hard to pencil Texas into the upcoming playoffs.

“Only thing I can say is this,” Strong said after Saturday’s festivities. “We’re going to be a team that will go out and compete hard. We’re going to play hard. If we go compete and we go play and we play within ourselves, then we’ll see where we end up.

“People can make the predictions all they want to about you,” Strong added. “But if a team gels and comes together at the right time, who knows what can happen and level it can rise to.”

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