Self-awareness is a good thing. As I get back into the flow of things following a vacation that I need a vacation from, it has occurred to me that way too often when I talk about the Texas football team, I sound a little too much like some sort of combination of Statler and Waldorf from the old Muppets show. Statler and Waldorf 2.0, perhaps. What I might call the voice of reason, some might call the voice of focusing on too many negatives. Trust me when I tell you this, but I want to write about happy things. I enjoyed the hell out of the last decade. Rose Bowls created forever memories. Hell, even Holiday Bowls were fun. I met my wife the night before the Big 12 Championship game in 2005. It took Texas football being good for the serendipitous events that took place that led to me having my current family. Oh, and it's really good for our Orangebloods family and the business of Orangebloods. Covering a losing program during an eight-year abyss is not the recipe for rapid growth in this industry. Therefore, I'm going to come back today with the biggest keg of tapped burnt orange Kool-Aid you've ever consumed. This simply won't be the place for any discussion of unproven quarterback, offensive linemen and offensive coordinators. This is about getting your ass drunk and allowing you, if even for a brief moment, to regard me as the anti-Statler and Waldorf. I give you 50 reasons to feel good about the 2018 Texas Longhorn football team six weeks before the season starts (and more than half of the 50 are things about the offense!). Quarterbacks 1. On paper, this is probably the deepest stable of talent the Longhorns have had at the position in the last decade. Too often this program has entered a season with numbers being a massive issue, but in theory this is a team that shouldn't "have" to play any true freshmen this year because of the presence of an experienced returning sophomore AND junior. 2. With 25 starts between Shane Buechele (19) and Sam Ehlinger (6), the Longhorns actually have the most starting/playing experience of any team in the Big 12. 3. At his best, Ehlinger became only the second player in school history (Vince Young is the other) to pass for more than 275 yards and rush for more than 100 yards in consecutive games. No Texas player outside of Ehlinger and Young have ever accomplished the feat. 4. If what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, then it should be noted for the record that Ehlinger made starts against the likes of USC, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State as a true freshman and was a top five player on the field in two of the three. 5. Ehlinger led the team to a 14-play, 91-yard drive in the fourth quarter on the road at USC, completing a 17-yard TD strike to Armanti Foreman with 39 seconds remaining to give the Longhorns the lead. It was his second career start. That seems notable. 6. While we might have differing opinions of Buechele's upside, the facts remain that he's a guy with 4,000+ career passing yards on his resume. 7. Casey Thompson is such a good prospect as a true freshman that Alex Dunlap has already started weekly meetings as fan club president. 8. Fellow freshman Cameron Rising might be even better and he doesn't have a fan club yet. Running backs 9. You can make the case that the Longhorns have the deepest roster of talented running backs of any team in the Big 12, especially when you consider the addition Tre Watson and the apparent return to full health by Kirk Johnson. There are running backs coaches on the Texas schedule that would shank someone for a chance to swap out groups. 10. As a player, Watson fills the role of all-purpose back as well as anyone Texas has had in a few years, possibly since Fozzy Whittaker. He's an experienced player who can create match-up issues for defenses in passing situations. He simply fits this Texas offense. 11. True freshman Keontay Ingram is a young man with so much promise as a player that Tom Herman has told him to be ready to do heavy lifting from day one. 12. By the end of last season, Daniel Young was the most critical component to the Texas running game as a true freshman and he was getting better with each passing game. If you take his starts from last season and project them over 12 games, he would have been a player who produced more than 1,000 all-purpose yards as a running back. 13. If Kirk Johnson is truly 100-percent healthy, he could be the 2006 version of Jordan Shipley on this team. 14. Stan Drayton is regarded as one of the best running backs coaches in the country and a future head coach by his boss. Any coach that is that talented at his craft should be able to make some magic happen with this stable of backs. Wide receivers 15. Collin Johnson and Lil'Jordan Humphrey were both named to Sports Illustrated's top 100 rankings for the best players in college football heading into this season. Top 81, actually. 16. As inconsistent as Johnson was last season, he was only 250 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season and it's important to note that on a field full of future NFL players, Johnson was one of the top three players in the Texas-USC game last fall. 17. No Texas player has ever had as many receiving yards on the road as Johnson did with his 191 yards at USC. Again, still a sophomore. 18. As for Humphrey, his skill set is so immense that some have described him as poetry in motion. He has a chance to be one of the mostly unique skill position players in the entire Big 12. 19. John Burt is good for at least two or three big-time home run plays in his final year. 20. So might Devin Duvernay be in his junior year. 21. We're five receivers deep and we haven't even mentioned Jerrod Heard, who might be a senior rising waiting to happen, or any of the true freshmen on the roster. 22. Oh, about those true freshmen ... Brennan Eagles might be the best NFL prospect on the team from the heralded 2018 recruiting class. Throw in Josh Moore and Al'Vonte Woodard and we're talking about perhaps the deepest wide receiver unit the program has seen in a long time. Tight ends 23. Andrew Beck is back and Tom Herman loves him so much that he's going to Big 12 Media Day. 24. Cade Brewer will be back from injury and he looked like a future impact player in spots as a true freshman. 25. Reese Leitao is no longer a freshman and likely much more ready to provide play at the position. 26. Malcolm Epps might be better than all of them, whether we're talking sooner or later or both. Offensive Line 27. The addition of Calvin Anderson allows the Longhorns to line up with one of the best, most-proven left tackles of any team in the Big 12 entering the season. That seems important. 28. No returning offensive lineman in the Big 12 has made more career starts than Anderson. That seems important. 28. For the most part, this position is in excellent health entering the pre-season. 29. Texas actually has as much returning starting experience along the offensive line as any team in the Big 12. Between Calvin Anderson, Patrick Vahe, Zach Shackelford, Elijah Rodriguez, Denzel Okafor and Derek Kerstetter, there's 102 career starts with which new OL coach Herb Hand can work. 30. Speaking of Hand, he represents a massive upgrade for the team at the offensive line coaching position. That seems important. 31. Shackelford and Okafor are all upperclassmen for the first time in their careers and come to the table with a lot of experience for players that in a perfect world would be asked to make heavy contributions only after their first two seasons in the program. Defensive line 32. Chris Nelson not only didn't transfer, but he's officially a team leader if we're to believe Tom Herman is taking his team leaders to Big 12 Media Days. It means that one of the most irresponsible rumors of the off-season regarding a possible Texas player transferring proved to be wrong. It's why everyone should be more careful when discussing these things out in the open. None of it is fair to the players. 33. Speaking of Nelson, he seems to be screaming to be the senior defensive player who takes a massive last year leap and emerges as a damn good player who creates confusion when we can't explain why more NFL teams don't like him as much as we do once the season ends. 34. Breckyn Hager will play like a wild man all season and could emerge as the double-digit pass rush guy this team needs. 35. No team in the Big 12 has a better defensive line trio to build around than Texas has with Nelson, Hager and Charles Omenihu. Only injuries will keep this line from being one of the best, if not the best, defensive line in the Big 12. 36. The young talent on this team would start for a number of Big 12 teams. It's only a matter of time before the likes of Taquan Graham, Marquez Bimage and the incoming freshman defensive tackles start making larger impacts. Linebackers 37. Gary Johnson should be healthy and a healthy Gary Johnson might be an all-American this season. 38. Malcolm Roach is healthy ... I repeat .... Malcolm Roach is healthy. Oh, and Todd Orlando knows exactly what he wants to do with him. 39. Jeffrey McCulloch might be the most talented linebacker in the Big 12 that isn't starting. 40. Ayodele Adeoye is a future destroyer that might not be able to kept off the field. 41. Anthony Wheeler seemed to be playing the best football of his career at the end of the season and throughout the spring. 42. I'll go ahead and say it ... Texas has the best group of linebackers in the Big 12. 43. Todd Orlando is in charge. Defensive backs 44. Kris Boyd might be the best cornerback in the Big 12. 45. Every player Jason Washington coaches eventually makes an all-conference list, which means Davante Davis is about to have a really big year and few people are talking about him. 46. Brandon Jones has a ton of starts under his belt and is entering his third year. You can make a strong case that the light is about to come on in a big way. 47. Caden Sterns. B.J. Foster. Josh Thompson - all NFL-type athletes just waiting to get on the field. 48. P.J. Locke was one of the best players in pass defense in the Big 12 as a sophomore, but his play dipped as a junior, which means he enters this season with a proven higher ceiling than his play last year indicated. Special teams 49. There is an Aussie on the roster and he's related to Michael Dickson. 50. Joshua Rowland made five 40+-yard field goals a season ago and seemed quite confident and comfortable in the spring. Guzzle away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No. 2 - Just for the record ... It's still safe for me to drive, even with all of that Kool-Aid pouring. I'm still at 8-4 with my regular-season prediction. No. 3 - Three things on this weekend's elephant in the room ... I can't completely duck the uproar created by Lil' Jordan Humphrey's remarks on race in America via social media, can I? Ugh. Here goes. 1. I don't believe this is as big of a deal as some people on this site made it out to be in the 24 hours after his remarks were posted. My guess is that Tom Herman will have a conversation with him about the responsibility and spotlight that comes with making political remarks. I'm sure the two will find common ground in that discussion and I think the matter will be squashed internally, if it even needs to be. 2. I'm reminded how important a good editor is to a writer. Words matter and I think an editor might have gone over a small section of what he wrote and ask him if there's a different and better way to word that section. I don't know if a second set of eyes were used or not, but a good editor could have made that potentially less explosive to some, while still getting through the message he was trying to send. Shout out to the editors out there. 3. It would do us all a world of good if we listened to each other a little more than we've allowed the standard norm to become. Even if you strongly disagree with every word that Humphrey wrote, an urge to better understand what he's saying as someone who potentially comes from a different life dynamic seems more helpfully functional than the alternative. Personally, I'd like Humphrey to have a better chance to explain his complete thoughts at some point and it's fair that those who might have had some questions about the remarks get a chance to to seek further clarification. Expanded conversation with some give and take is healthy. Earlier in the year, I was reading a discussion about race when someone said something I thought was pretty smart. I'm paraphrasing, but the person quoted said that half of the race discussion doesn't want to have race discussions ever again, while the other half feels like they are waiting on a good race discussion to finally take place. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I can see a path where the situation from the weekend turns into a large positive instead of a negative, but it's going to take some listening ... by everyone. We have to be able to talk to each other. No. 4 - Story-time with Uncle Ketch... This happened a long, long time ago, but it's one of my favorite official visit stories. On a December night during the Mack Brown era, a player who would turn out to be a career back-up made his official visit to Austin. At about 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, I was standing at the far end of the bar at a 6th street club called The Drink when this kid walked in with pretty much the entire football team. All I'll say about the condition of his physical and mental state is that he came into town that weekend ready to throw down. Towards the end of the night, I watched as he gave his phone number to a very lovely girl just before leaving to go back to his hotel. The next afternoon, I was following up with the prospect for a recruiting update when I inquired about the girl to whom he had given his number. It turns out that this potential romance went off the rails from the very moment it started on the tracks. Instead of giving the girl he'd met at the bar his cell phone number, he accidentally gave her his girlfriend's cell phone number, which means that when she called this player 15 minutes later to get his hotel room number, she actually woke up the sleeping girlfriend. When the sleeping girlfriend answered the call and asked who was calling her, the other end replied, "(Insert player's first name) told me to come to his room." "I'm a dumbass without a girlfriend," he told me. "But, I think it's safe to say I'll get one when I get to Austin." No. 5 – A question for each Texas player at Big 12 Media Day ... Andrew Beck: "You don't have to tell us, but maybe nod your head forward if you know who the starting quarterback against Maryland is going to be? Breckyn Hager: "What are your thoughts on Lil’Jordan Humphrey's Tweet?" I kid, I kid ... no, seriously ... "Do you fantasize about hitting Kyler Murray as hard as Brian Robison hit Rhett Bomar?" (Note: I fully expect him to understand that reference). Chris Nelson: "What are your thoughts on speculation that you were going to transfer, and is it something you considered?" Patrick Vahe: "On a scale of 1-10, how good do you think the offensive line play has been the last two years and on that same scale, how good can it be this year if everyone stays healthy?" No. 6 – Buy or Sell … BUY or SELL: Texas is 3-2 going into The Red River Shootout? (Buy) I think Texas loses two of three out of USC, TCU and Kansas State. BUY or SELL: The offense will be able to use Lil’Jordan Humphrey to exploit the middle of the field this year? (Buy) Sooooooo ... BUY or SELL: You think Tom Herman is permanently calling plays by the USC game? (Sell) I think he would view that today as a panic reaction and he doesn't strike me as a guy that wants to be seen as panicking. BUY or SELL: Kirk Johnson gets 40+ carries this year? (Sell) If that happens, watch the hell out because everyone believes in him if he can stay healthy. BUY or SELL: OB can’t honestly tackle stories like the LJH tweet without compromising essential relationships? (Sell) As I stated earlier, I don't find it to be a big deal, but I think we can still tackle the subject matter responsibly, even if that isn't met with 100-percent agreement. Anything that is politically themed in 2018 is going to be tricky territory. Even if we try to handle responsibly, I'd contend the most essential relationships we risk compromising are the relationships with subscribers. BUY or SELL: Media days blow but we’ll watch anyway? (Buy) Oh yeah... BUY or SELL: Texas’ ceiling is higher than A&M’s this season in terms of wins? (Buy) Absolutely. BUY or SELL: Patrick Hudson will be healthy and will be a starter on the OL? (Sell) I don't have those types of expectations for him ... this year. Maybe in 2019. BUY or SELL: Toys R Us closing was a bigger gut punch to your childhood than Blockbuster closing? (Buy) Going to Toys R Us on 360 is one of my first memories of moving to Austin in the 80s. Hell, the giraffe is named 'Geoffrey". No. 7 - A Few Things on the World Cup ... France won the damn thing and I'm not even sure if they really played better than B- ball the entire tournament, which says something about the talent on that team. A repeat in 2022 seems really possible. If they can survive group play ... A few scattershots: a. Loved that the Golden Ball (best player of the tournament) went to Croatia's Luke Modric. What a player. b. Harry Kane won the Golden Boot, but I'd argue he didn't play well in any of the non-group games, which takes some shine off the accomplishment for me. England has the pieces to make a deep run in 2022, but it has to add some creativity in its midfield going forward. This team missed The Ox. c. Paul Pogba is a made man after this tournament. If it ever comes down to Pogba or Jose Mourinho, Manchester United would be wise to side with Pogba seven out of seven days of the week moving forward. d. N'Golo Kante is a beast of a player, but he had his hands full with Modric (was replaced before the 60th minute) and the rest of the Croatian midfield, which speaks to how good Modric and the rest of that midfield is. I would contend that Jordan Henderson has done a better job against Modric the last two times he's seen him than Kante did today. I'm not saying Henderson is better than Kante because he's not, but I would say it shows how underrated Henderson is as a player. e. Kylian Mbappé is scary in his sport the way Russell Westbrook is scary in his. No. 8 – Eternal Randomness of the Spotty Sports Mind … ... Manny Pacquiao knocked a dude out for the first time since Colt McCoy was the quarterback for the Longhorns, which means I'm pretty sure you'll never be able to convince me that he pulled it off without a little help. ... Serena Williams played a poor championship final, but being in the final 10 months after a pregnancy that almost killed her is pretty freaking incredible. ... I'm always sad when Rafa loses ... so I'm a little sad. ... I really can't explain the Philadelphia Phillies. Surely, this team finishes closer to .500 than 11 games over .500 by the end of the season. No. 9 - The List: Top 10 Keith Whitley songs ... Once a year, I'll do a Keith Whitley deep dive and this was that weekend. 10. It Ain't Nothin' 9. Homecoming '63 8. Ten Feet Away 7. I Never Go Around Mirrors 6. I'm No Stranger to the Rain 5. I Wonder Do You Think of Me 4. Miami, My Amy 3. Tell Lorrie I Love Her 2. When You Say Nothing At All 1. Don't Close Your Eyes (one of my favorite songs of all-time) No. 10 – And Finally ... I wanted to take a moment to pay respects to my paternal grandfather, who passed away this week at the age of 97. A member of this nation's greatest generation, he served 10 years in the Navy, survived two plane crashes (one as the sole survivor) along the way and was in Hawaii during Pearl Harbor. After marrying my grandmother in 1943, he finished up law school, became a lawyer for three decades, raised horses and basically lived as much in 97 years as the rest of us might squeeze into 970. As I enter my eighth year or marriage this year, it's hard to even comprehend the idea of being married to someone for 75 years, but he and my grandmother pulled it off. If he was a football player, we'd call him a guy that always left it all on the field. At least, that's who he is to me. Rest in peace.