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Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Midseason review: Texas

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Texas Longhorns

Record: 3-2 (1-1 Big 12)

After losing Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley -- a.k.a., Texas' offense -- we knew 2010 would be somewhat of a rebuilding year in Austin, but the building blocks looked to be in place to keep the Longhorns streak of nine consecutive 10-win seasons alive. A defense full of experienced impact players returned, and Garrett Gilbert would have what Texas hoped was a productive power running game to give him time to develop. The running game has largely flopped, and though Texas ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 in total defense, one bad half against UCLA and a bad first quarter against Oklahoma have added up to two early losses. Now Texas travels to No. 5 Nebraska on Saturday. Texas has the talent and potential to rebound over the second half of the season, but to do it, the offense has to improve and stop relying on the defense to carry them. A revolving door of 3-4 running backs hasn't helped the case, but coach Mack Brown has to play the back who produces. Repeats of the flashes we saw from Garrett Gilbert to bring Texas back to within a possession in the national title game haven't been very frequent in his first year as starter.

Offensive MVP: WR James Kirkendoll – There wasn't much to choose from out of the offensive group, but Kirkendoll has been the team's most productive receiver and had his best game of the season when the Longhorns needed it, a six-catch, 122-yard breakout in a win over Texas Tech in Lubbock. He's played well while Texas has struggled, with 20 catches in his past three games, and a touchdown. The numbers are unimpressive, but there's been fewer passes to go around this year. Through five games, Gilbert has thrown four touchdowns. Here's guessing freshman receiver Mike Davis, who should return this week from a knee injury, occupies this spot at season's end.

Defensive MVP: DT Sam Acho – Despite Texas struggling against UCLA, Brown said Acho played the best game of his career at Texas. He was dominant against Texas Tech as well and turned in another solid performance against Oklahoma. Through five games, he has 3.5 sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss and has forced two fumbles.