CB Nathan Vasher

2002 Statistics

Coach: Mack Brown
49-15, 5 years
2002 Record: 11-2
at North Carolina WON 52-21
at Tulane WON 49-0
vs. Oklahoma LOST 24-35
at Kansas State WON 17-14
at Nebraska WON 27-24
at Texas Tech LOST 38-42
Louisiana State WON 35-20

2002 Final Rankings
AP-6, Coaches-7, BCS-10

2003 Outlook

Yes, Mack Brown does not win the huge game. Hasn't so far, anyway. But give him credit for putting Texas back on the college football map. The Longhorns have hooked consecutive Top-10 finishes after not placing there for 18 seasons. Pundits consistently have pegged Texas for a breakout season, to finally get over the national title hump, during Brown's five-year tenure. Again, hasn't happened. Yet.

With possibly the most talented roster, top to bottom, in the country, it's conceivable Texas could challenge Oklahoma and Kansas State for the Big 12 championship. And beyond that? Well, let's just say sugar cubes are a legitimate possibility.

On offense, Chris Simms will be playing on Sundays, which opens up Saturday duties for Chance Mock or Vince Young. Both will alter the complexion of the Texas offense. Fans will see a slew of new packages, including some shotgun formations and option plays. Chance has the real game experience, while Young has the size (6'5") and skills coaches love to develop. Rotations have been known in Longhorn country. Either will bring the sack total down (37).

As senior Roy Williams draws double- and sometimes triple-teams, it will open up the field for fellow receivers as well as junior runner Cedric Benson. Texas will score points.

But they'll give up some, too. Standouts Cory Redding, Rod Babers and Lee Jackson are all gone from a unit that surrendered only 16.3 points per game. The returnees, though talented, will have a hard time keeping teams to that figure. The Longhorns still will be tough to throw against, with three of their top four defensive backs returning from the nation's No. 8 pass defense coming back. When Texas' talented corners lock up outside receivers - a frequent possibility - runners and throws will be funneled toward the middle of the field, where a bunch of opportunistic athletes are licking their chops. Turnovers should be a huge factor again this season.

The coaching staff loves junior Derrick Johnson's athleticism and play-making ability at linebacker, but want to see an increased work ethic and more effort on every play. IF that happens, watch out, Big XII.

The season starts slow with non-conference games, the toughest against Arkansas. Kansas State and Oklahoma make for a tough beginning to October, with November no easier. Look for the learning curve to catch up to whichever QB by these months for mixed results. Texas would bode well with a few tougher opponents in those first few weeks, which would give the "team" more character and identity as they work through challenges. With the schedule stacked as is, Texas will do well early, only to disappoint later. Third place in the Big XII South could mean Top 20 at year's end. Good conference, huh.

Projected 2003 record: 10-2
QB Chance Mock
DT Rodrique Wright
TE David Thomas
QB - 3.5 DL - 5
RB - 4.5 LB - 4
WR - 5 DB - 4.5
OL - 4 ..

Passing: Chance Mock, 8-5-0, 44 yds., 0 TD's

Rushing: Cedric Benson, 305 att., 1293 yds., 12 TD's

Receiving: Roy Williams, 64 rec., 1142 yds., 12 TD's

Scoring: Dusty Mangum, 16-26 FG, 54-54 PAT, 102 pts.

Punting: Justin Smith, 2 punts, 38.5 avg.

Kicking: Dusty Mangum, 16-26 FG, 54-54 PAT, 102 pts.

Tackles: Reed Boyd, 123 tot., 58 solo

Sacks: Rodrique Wright, 4.5 sacks; Bryan Pickryl, 4.5 sacks

Interceptions: Dakarai Pearson, 6 for 88 yds.

Kickoff returns: Selvin Young, 12 ret., 23.8 avg.

Punt returns: Nathan Vasher, 26 ret., 14.2 avg.


RB Cedric Benson
OFFENSE: Chris Simms-QB, Matt Trissel-FB, Robbie Doane-OT, Derrick Dockery-OG, Beau Baker-OG
DEFENSE: Cory Redding-DE, Miquel McKay-DT, Lee Jackson-SLB, Rod Babers-CB, O.J. McClintock-DE, Brian Bradford-P

written by Ryan Hockensmith

Veteran starter Chris Simms is gone, but so is some of the baggage that comes with never beating Oklahoma. That forces the Texas coaching staff to alter a complicated offense to more fit the skills of their returnees. Quarterbacks Chance Mock and Vince Young, 1 and 1a on the depth chart, are mobile gunners and the Longhorns staff will accommodate those skills, which differ greatly from what Brown's had in more prototypical pocket passers Simms and Major Applewhite. Brown and staff already are salivating at the slew of available offensive choices. They'll implement the shotgun for the first time, with more quarterback draws, sneaks and bootlegs. Expect to see some option, too, and less tough pro-style quick-out patterns that Simms had no trouble zipping into receivers' hands. But both have the arm and surrounding cast to light up scoreboards by throwing 25-yard (or more) ropes down the field.

Mock threw merely eight passes, but he's had two full years to watch and learn from veterans Simms and Applewhite. He has the size (6'2", 215 pounds) to get through linebackers and the speed to avoid the rush for first downs with his feet. Most importantly, he knows the sophisticated Texas passing offense, and there's a comfort level with somebody who took a sizeable number of practice snaps a year ago. Mock will be the favorite to begin August as the starter. SPRING UPDATE: Chance Mock has officially been named the starter going into the fall after an eye-popping spring game (8-9, 200 yards, 2 TDs).

But don't count out Young, the nation's top recruit at any position in 2001. The freshman red-shirt has the athletic ability and cannon arm to break into the lineup. At 6'5", 220 pounds, coaches and teammates were stunned at how fast and elusive he is. Better yet, they love his pocket instincts - he instinctually knows when to scramble and find an open receiver, and when he should pull it down and take off. Young is too good to hold a clipboard all season, and Horns fans won't hesitate to call for the beloved back-up should Mock falter at all. We will update any changes or preseason progress.

They'll have an amazing array of talent in which to throw. Without much question, Texas brings (back) the best bunch of wide receivers, period. Roy Williams, a 6'4", 210-pound package of athletic ability that should be banned in some states, might be the most explosive college football player in the country. He draws constant attention, sometimes as much as three defenders at a time, and even that doesn't matter. In last year's Cotton Bowl, LSU geared its defense to stop him with a safety and corner … on every play! With Williams' distraction, Texas will have running lanes. Factor in sizeable (and dangerous) B.J. Johnson and Sloan Thomas, and those lanes will look like an empty Autobahn for Benson.

Benson ran for 1,293 yard but physically wore down by the end of the season. Brown and his top rusher have butted heads for the past year about Benson's desire to pursue a minor-league baseball career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which he says he'll again do this summer. Brown felt Benson entered summer practice a little tired last season, and he has a point. Both coach and player admit Benson battled through a variety of injuries, something a few months of baseball definitely would foster. Texas finished with its worst per-yard rushing average (3.5 per carry) in 14 years, grinding out a few at a time when it could have been more in chunks with a healthier Benson. SPRING UPDATE: Soph FB Eric Hall is slated to start at FB in the fall, but will most likely be backing up Ivan Williams (who sat out the spring with an injury)... coaches REALLY liked his (Hall's) performances in the spring.

He'll run behind a line that loses three of its top six, including All-American Derrick Dockery. But 6'7", 297-pound DE-devouring Jonathan Scott, only a sophomore, returns as this version's cornerstone. Scott is so good Texas will shift him from right tackle to the left side because Mock and Young are right-handed. Pancakes anyone?

The coaching staff doesn't plan on schematic changes in the run game. Instead, the Horns will stick with their favored style of gap- and zone-blocking rather than straight-ahead plow-blocking. With the receivers demanding extra attention on the flanks and possibly a spy concentrating on the quarterback, the line might not have to simply run over defensive fronts - Benson should have seams before the ball is even snapped. Look on the big gainers for these WR's quality blocks downfield.


WR Roy Williams


Returning Starters in bold
QB Chance Mock-Jr (6-2, 215) Vince Young-Fr (6-5, 220)
FB Ivan Williams-Sr (6-1, 240) Eric Hall-So (6-3, 250)
TB Cedric Benson-Jr (6-0, 205) Selvin Young-So (6-0, 195)
WR Roy Williams-Sr (6-4, 210) Sloan Thomas-Sr (6-2, 200)
WR B.J. Johnson-Sr (6-1, 200) Tony Jeffery-Jr (6-2, 175)
TE Brock Edwards-Sr (6-5, 250) David Thomas-So (6-3, 220) / Bo Scaife-Sr
OT Jonathan Scott-So (6-7, 297) Terrance Young-Jr (6-6, 350)
OG Tillman Holloway-Sr (6-3, 315) Stevie Lee-Jr (6-4, 310)
C Jason Glynn-Jr (6-2, 275) Will Allen-So (6-6, 297)
OG Mike Garcia-So (6-3, 315) Trey Bates-Jr (6-5, 300)
OT Justin Blalock-Fr (6-4, 340) William Winston-So (6-7, 350)
K Dusty Mangum-Jr (5-11, 170) David Pino-Jr (5-8, 175)



written by Ryan Hockensmith

Brown has been hording shelve-loads of defensive talent for five years, and more than capable replacements are just waiting for the opportunity.

Losing Redding hurts the front four's ability to penetrate, but the Horns still won't be easy to handle. If DE Kalen Thornton stays healthy, he should be an all-Big 12 threat and a constant backfield bother. Up the middle, watch out for tackles Marcus Tubbs and Rod Wright. That's 625 hard-to-handle pounds pushing up the gut of the offensive line, opening up hunks of area for a standout linebacker crew to roam. However, the coaching staff wants to see a few candidates emerge from a pack of youngsters to provide depth, a necessity for getting 60 fresh minutes with some of the mauling OLs Texas will see. SPRING UPDATE: Former LB Soph Mike Williams has made a very smooth transition to DE and should be a force in the pass rush this season.

Junior Derrick Johnson looks like a superstar-in-the-making. He has enough burst to follow the big boys into the backfield. But Johnson also is superb at dropping his 6'4", 220-pound frame into coverage and gluefully disrupting passes. He batted down ten and picked off four more - he gives the defense a wild card that must be accounted for on every snap. And the coaching staff says if he improves his habits and effort he could be light-years better. Quarterbacks, look out.

Johnson's explosiveness and ability to freelance are balanced out by MLB Reed Boyd, the defense's cork. With the front four funneling runners toward him, Boyd took down 123 in 2002. He is capable of plugging up the middle running lanes, which will allow his teammates to rove.

The real starting point on defense, though, is stopping the pass. Brown has churned out defensive backs (Babers, Jammer), and this group looks like another keeper. Corners Nathan Vasher and Michael Huff are good enough in man-to-man coverage to allow a safety or linebacker to blitz, or to push an extra random man (or two) up to the line of scrimmage to halt running attacks.

With outside receivers locked up, opposing quarterbacks will have to look toward the middle of the field. That's where Texas really rakes in the TOs. Safety Dakarai Pearson stole six INTs, and linebacker Johnson dropped into coverage and pulled down four. That flexibility allows Texas to shut down receivers as well underneath as they do deep, or outside. They will send extra men after the quarterback and scare off throws into the heart of the defense. That leaves scant cracks in which to fit passes, and Texas ought to be a Top-10 passing defense again (the Horns were No. 8 in the country in 2002).


LB Derrick Johnson


Returning Starters in bold
DE Kalen Thornton-Sr (6-3, 270) Chase Pittman-Fr (6-5, 265) / Kaelen Jakes-So
DT Rodrique Wright-So (6-5, 320) Marco Martin-Fr (6-4, 310) / Adam Doiron-Sr
DT Marcus Tubbs-Sr (6-4, 305) Larry Dibbles-So (6-4, 280)
DE Austin Sendlein-Jr (6-3, 265) Bryan Pickryl-So (6-5, 210)
SLB Reed Boyd-Sr (6-3, 235) Brian Robison-Fr (6-3, 240)
MLB Garnet Smith-So (6-3, 220) Aaron Harris-So (6-0, 230)
WLB Derrick Johnson-Jr (6-4, 220) Marcus Myers-Fr (6-3, 220)
CB Cedric Griffin-So (6-2, 190) Edorian McCullough-So (5-11, 175)
CB Nathan Vasher-Sr (5-11, 180) Tarell Brown-Fr (6-0, 180)
SS Michael Huff-So (6-1, 190) Matt Melton-Fr (6-0, 195)
FS Dakarai Pearson-Sr (5-10, 185) Phillip Geiggar-Jr (5-11, 205)
P Taylor Landin-So (6-2, 200) Justin Smith-Jr (6-5, 198)




Kicker Dusty Mangum is a lock inside of 30 yards, hitting on eight-of-nine FGAs and all 54 extra-point tries. But he needs to muscle up his right leg after shanking nine-of-17 from beyond 30. Remember, to line up a 29-yard field goal, an offense must drive to the 12-yard-line. Mangum's inability to convert outside that area surely doesn't evoke much confidence in a 45-yarder to win a road game. Expect to see junior Richmond McGee, who handled all KO duties, take a crack at some of the longer tries. Punter Justin Smith assumes fourth-down duties. Smith punted only twice last season, so asking him to consistently drop kicks inside the 20-yard-line might be a little much.

On returns, Texas will be good again. Vasher is consistently explosive. He averaged 14.2 yards per return, which greatly trims what the offense has to do. A nice luxury to have. Back-up running back Selvin Young carted 12 of Texas' measly 20 kickoff returns a year ago and was simply OK.

Any of these special teams' chores could cost them dearly if not kept tight against the likes of Oklahoma and A&M.


Thanks to a rigorous off-season workout schedule, RB Cedric Benson is stronger, quicker and more explosive than ever. He says he is ready for a dynamite year and expects nothing less from himself. Neither do we… Chance Mock's play this spring firmly etched him into the starter's role at QB. He was precise with his throws, wise with his decisions, and most important, he assumed his role as a leader for this team. Mock won't have the media weight that Simms did and that can translate into more focus on delivering team goals. We see this young man stepping up and producing, much like Tee Martin did in 1998 after the graduation of Peyton Manning…Coaches were thoroughly amused at the work Eric Hall did this spring at FB. He excels at lead blocking and is a load when he carries the ball. He will back up Ivan Williams in the fall.

Former LB Mike Williams has been moved to DE to help with the pass rush for Texas this fall. The Horns will bring one of the deepest D-lines in all of college football this season, which will certainly help them maintain their reputation as a demolition defense… Defensive coordinator Carl Reese has Garnet Smith and Reed Boyd each spending time at both the "Mike" and "Sam" backer positions. Our depth chart reflects where each will start come August, but knowing both positions only enhances their defensive smarts… Sticking with Mack Brown's tendency to play hot freshman early, we like the chances of true freshman Tarell Brown between the hash marks this season. He is outlandishly quick and will give the Horns yet another cover corner to help shut down opposing passing attacks…