As we head into the offseason, here are three questions facing Texas:
1. Can Tom Herman get everybody "aligned" in Year 1?
New coach Herman has begun his Texas takeover by preaching the importance of establishing a culture where everybody involved in the program is on the same page and following the same plan. You’re going to hear about "alignment" a lot over the course of this offseason -- even Matthew McConaughey is using the buzzword -- but pulling that off requires a ton of reprogramming. There will undoubtedly be roster attrition as Herman determines which players won’t buy in to his methods, and he’s already vowed that every starting job is up for grabs. So this Texas team could look quite different by the start of September.
2. Is another quarterback battle coming?
Speaking of starting jobs, Shane Buechele will have to prove himself all over again to this new coaching staff. He had promising moments throughout his true freshman campaign, but did finish No. 10 in the Big 12 in QBR. He’s not quite the dual-threat guy Herman and offensive coordinator Tim Beck usually prefer, though Buechele did rush for 320 yards on 66 carries (4.8 per carry) if you exclude sacks. Freshman Sam Ehlinger, the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the state, just enrolled and should pose a quality challenge for Buechele.
3. How will the Longhorns fit in a 3-4 defense?
New defensive coordinator Todd Orlando inherits a ton of young pieces on defense, and how he assembles the front seven will be interesting to follow. Orlando is working with a group of linebackers led by Malik Jefferson, Anthony Wheeler, Edwin Freeman and Jeffrey McCulloch who have a ton of potential, and he’ll have to find a way to utilize the talents of hybrid pass-rushers Breckyn Hager and Malcolm Roach. Hard to say who will take those three defensive line spots at this point. That Texas' staff is pursuing junior college transfers at linebacker and on the defensive line is probably a telling sign they're looking to boost the competition level.