Every other Friday, the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football staff will answer some of your questions from Facebook and Twitter, so if you’ve got a question, be sure to ask it through our social networking channels!
Now, let’s dive into your questions!
Can Houston finish the year undefeated? Their schedule doesn’t look too tough. — Stephen Blake via e-mail
Greg Tepper: Can they? Absolutely. Not only do they have a ton of talent coming back from last year’s campaign (QB John O’Korn, WR Deontay Greenberry, LBs Derrick Mathews and Efrem Oliphant chief among them), but as you mentioned, the schedule is very manageable. The first thing I look at when evaluating a schedule is at the tough road games, and really, there are only two that are truly concerning: at BYU on September 11 (a Thursday night affair) and at Cincinnati to finish the year. The rest (with all due respect to SMU) should favor the Coogs. But let me point out two home games that are worth keeping an eye on: UTSA to open the season and Central Florida on a Thursday night in early October. UTSA, as you may have read in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, is a squad that we expect big things from, and they’d love nothing more than to ruin the grand opening of Houston’s new stadium. And, of course, there’s Central Florida, fresh off a surprising Fiesta Bowl victory over Baylor. Granted, the Knights aren’t last year’s squad — gone is all-everything QB Blake Bortles and RB Storm Johnson — but they’re still the king of the AAC, and until someone knocks them off, they wear the crown. So there are your four games to really keep an eye on: Aug. 29 vs. UTSA, Sept. 11 at BYU, Oct. 2 vs. UCF and Dec. 6 at Cincinnati. DCTF doesn’t predict the Coogs to go unbeaten, but the schedule sets up that with the right plays at the right time, it could happen.
After filling 10 slots, what is SMU’s biggest need in this recruiting class? — @dfw175 via Twitter
EJ Holland: One position SMU has really failed to address in the last two classes is nose tackle. When you run a 3-4 defensive scheme, having a stout nose tackle in the middle is imperative. Usually nose tackles in this scheme are anywhere from 6-0 to 6-3, but SMU has been forced to convert bigger defensive ends like Spencer Hollie and Andy McCleneghen to interior defensive linemen because the staff has failed to land quality nose tackles in past classes. SMU is off to a good start in this class, but again, it lacks a nose tackle. So far, the Ponies have offered Southwest Mississippi C.C. product Terrien Steele and Bishop Dunne’s Darrion Daniels, but it’s unlikely either will pick SMU. I would suggest trying to steal Dallas Skyline’s Zach Abercrumbia from Rice and offering or at least taking a closer look at DeSoto’s Bryce English, South Oak Cliff’s Jalen Goss and Duncanville’s Sami Awad.
Will Aledo repeat as state champions? — Brett Ming via Facebook
EJ Holland: Aledo certainly has the firepower to win it all again. The Bearcats return a handful big time playmakers from an offense that rewrote the record books and caused plenty of controversy last season. I mean come on, this team put up over 70 points on a weekly basis, so Aledo shouldn’t be lacking in the offensive fireworks department. Wide receiver Ryan Newsome is the main man to know. One of the most explosive players in recent memory, Newsome did a little bit of everything for Aledo on offense last season and is inarguably the best return man in the state. Quarterback Luke Bishop will once again feed him the ball after a stellar junior campaign. Also, keep an eye on 1,500-yard rusher Jess Anders, a UTSA commit, and athlete Johnny Durham, who will make an impact on both sides of the ball. I think Aledo is definitely a favorite to win it all, but the Bearcats must grow up quickly on defense in order to do so — only one starter returns.
Who do you predict will take the 4A championship? — Henry Rivas via Facebook
EJ Holland: You can find out exactly which teams we expect to take home titles on the 4A level when you pick up you summer edition of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football! It’s on shelves now so make sure to buy a copy. Now that I’m done promoting the best product in the state, I’ll list some contenders. In Division I, we really like Stephenville. Aside from Kyler Murray, Jarrett Stidham is the best quarterback in the state and should put up monster stats for the Yellow Jackets. We also like Argyle. Even though the Eagles lose a load of FBS talent, Argyle is going to do what they do best — pound the rock with Arizona State pledge Nick Ralston. Down in Division II, West Orange-Stark has the best secondary in the class, headlined by Alabama commit Deionte Thompson while La Marque has perhaps the best rushing attack, so those two teams should definitely be in the mix.
Why the UIL realignment every two years? At least they could have done it correctly this year. —Jaren Phelps via Facebook
Greg Tepper: Well, first of all, I think the UIL did an OK job with the realignment this year — it’s a terrifically difficult task, with a ton of moving parts, and one that won’t make everyone happy, but overall, I think the UIL did an OK job. As to why it happens every two years, it’s simple: Texas is a growing, shifting state. Folks move in, folks move out, folks move around. By realigning the teams every two years, it helps to keep the competitive balance — that is to say, schools will play teams with similar enrollments. And if you think enrollments are not so volatile as to necessitate realignment every other year, think again. Beyond that, new schools are being built all the time; not only does realignment fit in those new schools, but it also adjusts to the changes in enrollments that those new schools cause.
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