Horns back to square 1 at TE

Smythe’s de­ci­sion to pass on UT brings all­too-fa­mil­iar frus­tra­tion.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Jeff Howe Hookem.com

Durham Smythe’s de­com­mit­ment last week was the lat­est punch in the gut to the Texas Longhorns at the tight end po­si­tion.

Whether it’s knee in­juries to Bo Scaife, Blaine Irby and D.J. Grant or guys like Smythe and Zack Pianalto ul­ti­mately de­cid­ing not to sign or miss­ing on a guy like Jace Amaro in re­cruit­ing, that po­si­tion at Texas con­tin­ues to be a Ber­muda Tri­an­gle.

There have been more what ifs and might have beens in the Mack Brown era at tight end than per­haps any other po­si­tion, in­clud­ing quar­ter­back.

Smythe, a 6-foot-5-inch, 233-pound prospect from Bel­ton, is the state’s top-rated tight end on the Amer­i­canS­tates­man’s Fab­u­lous 55.

What the Longhorns lost when he called UT de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Manny Diaz on Wed­nes­day to of­fi­cially part ways with Texas was the hope that he would be the long ex­pected an­swer at tight end.

There’s no guar­an­tee that Smythe would have been the an­swer. But his com­mit­ment now goes to the same grave­yard as Jer­michael Fin­ley’s pro­duc­tion af­ter the 2007 Ok­la­homa game and the 2009 sign­ing class that yielded Bar­rett Matthews and Trey Gra­ham, and the Longhorns have to fig­ure out their next step.

Texas can’t re­place what Smythe might have been, but with Ma­jor Applewhite and Dar­rell Wy­att now call­ing the shots as co-of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tors, per­haps the tight end po­si­tion doesn’t need an all­world dif­fer­ence maker. Applewhite and Wy­att both have spread back­grounds, and if the mul­ti­ple tight end look that former co-of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Bryan Harsin loved is no longer the base of Texas’ of­fense, the tight end could be ef­fec­tive sim­ply by be­ing a side dish, not a main course.

That’s be­cause the Longhorns can take a Money­ball ap­proach with the pieces they have; they might not have a com­plete, in-line tight end in the pipe­line right now, but they’ve got the pieces in place to repli­cate what one does. Per­haps the two best things to come from the po­si­tion this sea­son have been the block­ing of Greg Daniels and some big plays from M.J. McFar­land.

Daniels might have been the most pleas­ant sur­prise on the en­tire ros­ter. McFar­land had huge catches against West Vir­ginia and Bay­lor. So that’s a proven block­ing tight and a proven pass

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