Horns back to square 1 at TE
Smythe’s decision to pass on UT brings alltoo-familiar frustration.
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