February 26, 2008

Re-Assessing The Horns

A while back we compared this team with the most successful team in Texas history (the 02-03 Horns). At that time, Texas was 10-0 with huge wins over Tennessee and UCLA already in the bag. The post was one of the more controversial posts in 40AS history (read: not very controversial), with one poster suggesting that the thought of even discussing that comparison was "sacrilege."

On this date in 2003 the Horns were 18-5, having played 11 non-conference (9-2) and 13 conference games (9-3). Today, the Horns are 24-4, having played 15 non-conference (13-2) and 13 conference games (11-2). A month ago we were thinking about throwing ourselves at the mercy of our reader(s?) for even thinking a comparison of the two seasons could be made. Now, though, we'd like to revisit the comparisons and see what has changed.

DJ versus TJ:
In December we gave the edge to TJ. We still feel pretty confident that TJ's 15 points and 8 assists still hold up over DJ's 19 points and 6 assists. The gap, however, is closing. Even when TJ didn't score he brought important leadership and defense to the court. During a recent cold spell DJ showed that he can do some of the same things, but there's no shame in being considered second to TJ Ford. Old Edge -- TJ...New Edge -- TJ

Damion James versus James Thomas:
Exhibit A that the '07-'08 Horns are gaining in our minds is the rise of Damion James. Damion can be a huge offensive threat for the Horns, with great defensive intensity and a very solid rebounding presence. He may never be the rebounder of JT, but his offensive versatility gives him the edge in our book. Old Edge -- Slight JT...New Edge -- Slight Damion James.

Justin Mason versus Royal Ivey:
Mason went through a stretch of bad basketball that resulted in Mason losing his starting spot. The last few games we are starting to see how much Justin Mason means to this club and how he can contribute significantly to a succesful March run. Mason does not shoot the ball well, but he does pretty much everything else very well. All things considered, the assessment from December still holds true. Old Edge -- Ivey...New Edge -- Ivey.

Connor Atchley versus Jason Klotz/Brian Boddicker:

Quick, what is your first thought whenever Connor gets an open look? Yep, it's still 'shoot it, Connor!' Atchley has become one of the most important players in Texas' success, as evidenced by last night's 14 points in 13 minutes. He combines Boddicker's outside shooting with (more than) Klotz's inside presence. Old Edge -- Connor...New Edge -- Connor.

AJ Abrams versus Brandon Mouton:
Neither player really has a comparison on the other team. Both are very important cogs in each team's success. AJ has the edge in outside shooting, Brandon in just about everything else. Old Edge -- Mouton...New Edge -- Mouton.

SexyChappyWang versus Brad Buckman/Sydmill Harris/Deginald Erskin:
We've finally landed on a nickname for the threesome that is Dexter Pittman, Clint Chapman and Alexis Wangmene. Together those three are capable of giving energy, defense, rebounding, and an inside presence for a few critical minutes each night. Most importantly, each are improving and could become even better by the time the tourney rolls around. The '02-'03 trio never did that. Old Edge -- N/A...New Edge -- SexyChappyWang.

Harrison Smith versus Terelle Ross/Kenton Paulino:
Nothing new here. We feel bad for Harrison Smith who was a 4* recruit but gets no minutes under Rick Barnes. We've got nothing against the kid and would like to see him transfer for more minutes elsewhere. Old Edge -- Ross/Paulino...New Edge -- Ross/Paulino.

J.D. Lewis versus Chris Ogden:
What the hell is "Stampede"? Old Edge -- O-zone...New Edge -- O-zone.

Ian Mooney versus Drew Gresset:
One of us was at the Texas-OU game last Saturday. With Texas up big at the end of the game the fans began chanting to see Mooney in the game. It felt...wrong. Old Edge -- Drew Gresset...New Edge -- Drew Gresset.

Gary Johnson versus ??????:
In December we hadn't seen what Gary Johnson could do for this club, although even then we had an idea of what he could do for this club. It's not that he adds all that much scoring or rebounding or defense. No, the key thing to know about Gary Johnson is that with him on the court Texas can do anything. He brings toughness, he brings an inside game, he brings energy, and he brings budding confidence. There was no equivalent on the 2002-2003 team. He brings a bit of Buckman, a bit of Deginald Erskin, a bit of James Thomas, and a bit of Jason Klotz. We didn't really know what it would look like when we said he might be the difference maker for this team, now we know. Old Edge -- N/A...New Edge -- Gary Johnson.

The Final Comparison:
We'll say this about the 07-08 Horns, they have achieved enough to be judged solely by their post-season performance. It may have been sacrilege to say it in December, but this team has up to this point accomplished every bit as much as the Final Four squad had. No other team since has done as much. The '05-'06 team had 3 double digit losses by this point (including a 31 point loss to #1 Duke) and no real defining wins. This team, however, has the opportunity to define its place in Texas basketball history. For now the assessment remains in favor of the '02-'03 Horns, but it's getting awfully close.

February 24, 2008

Baseball's Back!

That's right, Texas baseball returned to the diamond this weekend. The last two seasons Texas has been a combined 1-5 after the first weekend of baseball. This opening weekend, however, was different, as Texas swept a pretty solid Virginia Commonwealth club (6-2, 17-4, 10-2). One of us was lucky enough to attend two of those games and had a few observations:

1) The biggest surprise of the weekend has to go to Kevin Keyes. This giant of a man started two games at DH and went 5-7 with 4 runs scored. The 6'4" 215 lbs freshman even stole two bases on the weekend.

2) UFCU Disch-Falk field. Wow. The newly redone stadium is awesome. Well done by the university in making the Disch into a nice, enjoyable park to watch baseball. There is a ton of open space along the right and left field lines, the concourse looks fantastic, and all the new seating makes for a beautiful setup. If only there was grass...

3) VCU was clearly overmatched, but Texas played some real nice baseball. Doing the little things right, stealing bases, playing solid defense, putting the ball in play, this is what makes Auggieball so dangerous.

4) If the starting pitching is this good, look out Omaha! We can't remember another time when so much of the pitching staff will be determined on the field. Austin Wood pitched six good innings on Friday, Kenn Kasparek did the same on Sunday in his first game in over two years, and Cole Green pitched nicely in his Longhorn debut. Throw in some nice relief work by Brandan Workman, Kyle Walker, and Chance Ruffin -- amongst others -- excites us to see how this pitching staff will develop.

5) We can't remember a year in which we a) had so many newbies in key positions, and b) felt so confident in their abilities. Michael Torres and David Hernandez are a great combination in the middle infield, Brandon Belt should do a nice job filling some big shoes at first, and Travis Tucker (new to 3b) played the position very nicely this weekend.

6) We're interested to see how the condensed schedule affects the team. Texas clearly has a quantitatively deep pitching staff, but we'll soon learn about the quality. The Horns play 8 games in the season's first 9 days, having a two-game series against always feisty UT Pan American before traveling to Houston to face Tennessee, Rice, and Houston in the Minute Maid Classic.

7) TexasSports.tv enables you to watch games live, on the internet, for free. That is awesome.

8) The next six weeks are the best of the offseason. College baseball is back, college basketball is still here. We suggest enjoying it while it lasts.

February 20, 2008

This Has Nothing To Do With Sports, But...

Apparently this intersection in Russia has a traffic camera but no traffic signals...interesting.

February 19, 2008

On Ryan Perrilloux...

As Ray Patterson said after Homer's failed efforts as Springfield's trash commisioner -- "Oh...oh, gosh...you know, I'm not much on speeches, but it's so gratifying to leave you wallowing in the mess you've made. You're screwed, thank you, bye."
Well, we really aren't much for speeches, but seeing Perrilloux fail makes us happy. We argued during this season amongst ourselves whether Lyin' Ryan had turned a corner to become a contributing member of society. That argument appears settled, for now, in favor of the negative.
We wrote about the Perrilloux situation the last time he was suspended. With him, and there is certainly a chance that he'll be back on the team, LSU is one of the most dangerous teams in the nation. Without him LSU seems an awful lot like Texas in 2006 with redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee holding the reigns.
There are three lessons we take from this story.
1) LSU can certainly bounce back, winning the SEC is certainly still a possibility
2) LSU faces Appy St on August 30, things could get interesting
3) Once again, we think Texas may have dodged a bullet here

February 18, 2008

Texas-aggy Live Blog, Part II

2nd Half:
20:00 -- Digger Phelps continues to make wardrobe and "analysis" decisions that make us wonder why the person who keeps him on the air hasn't been fired.

19:00 -- On the first possession Damion got mugged with no call, then on the other end aggy gets a ticky tack call (albeit after Texas allows a ridiculous offensive board). Then they called an offensive foul on aggy. Oy.

18:21 -- Connor almost gets the steal, then delivers the Horns' 9th block of the night. This is huge to see Texas doing well down on the glass.

17:50 -- Great possession--a missed trey, an enormous number of missed layups, then a much higher-percentage shot; namely, an AJ Abrams 3. It's clicking tonight.

17:10 -- Aggy nails a 3, but it's their first of the evening.

16:41 -- Aggy saved the ball inbounds and Connor got it in the backcourt, and the refs tried to call it over-and-back. But then they corrected it. They're still stupid. Damion gets a nice easy bucket to put Texas up by 23, 44-21.

15:43 -- It's the under 16 and Texas is up 44-23. Ron tells us that AJ Abrams is one 3 pointer away from tying the Texas record. Good for him.

14:23 -- A quick shout out to Ally Pregulman who saved Texas against Baylor by putting her Horns up on free throws at the end of the game. Some strange officiating now, very tight at times and extremely loose at others. A pair of Aggy buckets sandwiched around a Texas turnover brings the farmers within 19. Connor gets another block...Peter Bean might have something to this whole Connor is a good shot blocker theory.

13:24 -- A big three by Justin Mason puts the Horns up 24. Meanwhile, as Ron Franklin tells us that Kevin Durant spent the weekend with the team, 40AS player relations coordinator Greg Kelminson tells us that Kevin Durant's screen name away message is "Chilled with my brothers...I love yall til I die man...get this dub 2night man...Texas Fight." We've scooped ESPN once again.

11:27 -- All five Longhorn starters have a three, and Basher Chapman with 2 fouls in six good minutes. We're to the under 12, 53-31 Horns. A&M with 49 points in their last 50 minutes of basketball.

10:14 -- Justin Mason called for a foul, lord knows what for. These officials officially suck, although they seem to be sucking both ways.

9:30 -- Gary Johnson is that guy who wears short shorts, a tight t-shirt, and goggles to a pickup basketball game then plays with more energy and enthusiasm than you've ever seen. He's obnoxious on the other team but great to have on yours. Just a fantastic looking young player. Texas with its largest lead of the night up 58-33.

8:06 -- Great play by Sloan to force the turnover, but couldn't score. Gary Johnson knocks down the jumper and it's 60-35. DJ has 19 points and 7 assists for the night.

7:40-- Fran Fraschilla blames the NCAA for dredging up the Kelvin Sampson issue during the season instead of waiting until after. Because he "feels bad for the kids" whom he recruited illegally. Please. Slime is slime, no matter what time of year.

6:34-- We both find it interesting that, against such a physical (read: largely unskilled but very large) team as a&m, Texas has shot single-digit free throws. And Damion James just picked up his 4th foul. Gary Johnson delivers another 2 points and then plays great D out near midcourt as part of a double-team to force aggy to take a T.O., baby!

5:59-- Sexy Dexy launches such an awful airball from 3 feet away that Justin Mason turns it into a "swinging bunt" of an alley-oop. It's been that kind of a night for Texas. This may be cruel, but we want a 30 point win.

5:25-- Fraschilla just said Justin Mason is this team's Royal Ivey. We said that yesterday.

4:30-- Damion still fighting hard for rebounds up by 25 and with 4 fouls. Awesome.

4:00-- Both of us are wondering when the last time the Horns absolutely destroyed an opponent was. We think it was St. Mary's. This is a lot better for our blood pressure (blood pressures?) than the type of games we've been seeing lately.

3:02-- Texas is showing that they know how to be front-runners; they are breaking the futile a&m press with the pass, and using most of the shot clock afterwards. Meanwhile DJ has just gone to 1,000 points in his TWO-YEAR Texas career. He's good.

2:40-- Both of us have to work in the morning and would appreciate it if the Sheeplovers would quit fouling. 1,001 for DJ.

1:30-- It looks like we may be disappointed in our quest for a 30-point win. Alexis Wangmene and other benchies are in there. We hope and believe that Wangmene will be a good one by the time he leaves the 40 acres. And as if on cue, he rattles one home.

:00-- Ricky B calls off the dogs and Texas has a 77-50 win. If you're gonna get blown out once and blow the aggies out the other time, Texs did it right. It's better to win the late-season game than the early-season game. All in all, this was a relaxing and enjoyable game to watch as the Horns led from end-to-end and it was never really close. The Longhorns are on a roll now, and now have to be a serious threat for a one- or a two-seed in the Big Dance.

This is getting fun.

It Feels Good To Laugh Again (AKA Texas-A&M Live Blog Part I)

What a great weekend.
  • A great NBA All-Star weekend, summed up amazingly by Bill Simmons here
  • Ryan Perriloux reminds the Texas fans in us of the majesty of unanswered prayers by getting suspended from the LSU football team
  • Our old friend Ben Dorfman is finally back to blogging, although with significantly more hair and far fewer Little Vince's. With a business plan of "I can't promise anything terribly interesting, and I can't promise regularity, but I will try" how can you not see success in this blog's future?
  • Texas played its best 37 minutes of basketball against Baylor, followed by the worst 2 1/2 minutes we've ever seen
  • We're one day closer to never having to see another promo for Witless Protection
  • Finally, today is President's Day, meaning one of us (the one that works for the government) was off and able to see The American President, Shawshank Redemption, and Dodgeball all in one day on basic cable.
Thanks to all this, we're in a good mood, so we're going to give live blogging the Texas-Texas A&M game a shot. It's time to grab life by the ball:

Pregame -- We're coming to you live from the internet. We're still 90 minutes away from game time, but there are a couple of things we're looking for. We just got an e-mail from the son of the former personal assistant to the minister of mines, works and energy in Sudan asking for our help in a business proposition, so until then think about this:
1) A low scoring poorly played Big East game which comes down to the last shot and possibly overtime is taking place again on ESPN. This game will have questionable calls and make us miss several minutes of the Texas game.
2) Dickie V will (hopefully) note that they are jumping joyously in downtown Austin
3) Texas trails Aggy in the Lonestar Showdown 5-3. That is decidedly uncool.
4) The game in College Station sucked. Shooting 30% in the first half while letting a clunky poor shooting team to shoot 64% is not a good idea.
5) And finally, remember that: Baaaa Means No!
1st Half:
20:00 -- Shockingly (!) the Big East defensive crapfest that was Louisville-Syracuse ends 61-50 a full 8 minutes before Texas-Aggy is set to start. Digger says so crap about the Big East being good, there's a woman on the set saying something about basketball, a picture of the walking hack that is Joseph Jones, the top ten is shown (Texas at #7 with wins over #2, #5, and #6), and we're set to go.

19:30 -- A&M misses an open 3 to start the game and DJ knocks down an 18-footer. Both are great signs.

17:07 -- Connor Atchley takes out Damion James underneath who is replaced by Gary Johson. Connor then hits a big three, Justin Mason makes a block on the other end and AJ hits the three to make it 11-2 early.

14:38 -- DJ knocks down a three and then an acrobatic two following another stop. It's 16-4 Texas as we hit the under 16. Meanwhile, could there be a more idiotic feature then ESPN's Greatest Highlight with Chris Berman? Somewhere along the line somebody at ESPN thought it would be a good idea to take the greatest plays in sports history, tape over the historic calls with Chris Berman give something generic relating to the event, and let fans vote as though there's a way to determine whether the Immaculate Reception is "better" than the Miracle on Ice. Just moronic.

12:50 -- Deandre Jordan gets mugged underneath with no fould being called, then DJ is attacked with no foul. Ron Franklin mentions that Joseph Jones has fouled out every time he has played Texas... that sounds right.

11:43 -- Texas has gone cold, which is all that's keeping this game from becoming a blow out. 16-4 still at the under 12.

10:24 -- Texas remains cold but Damion James throws down a sick alley oop. Looked like damion went a foot above the rim to get that one.

8:53 -- A great move by Sexy Dexy followed by Damion James with a great block (goalkeeping?), then a terrific boxout by Sexy Dex on a Damion James bucket with the foul. It's 23-7 Texas.

7:50 -- It's 23-9. Texas A&M now has 27 points in the last 32:10 of basketball. Interesting.

7:03 -- Starting to see a tighter called game by the refs. Meanwhile Texas has missed 6 straight three pointers.

4:51 -- Offensive foul on Aggy. The refs are starting to get annoying even though many of the calls are on the Sheeplovers.

3:40 -- The Texas "D" has been just spectacular; Ricky B must have really hit that hard after the awful defensive game in College Station. Unfortunately, the shooting has not been quite good enough to totally put the bad guys away, but...WOW! DJ Augustin nails a three. We REALLY need him to pick up his scoring heading into the postseason so that's a big shot. A 31-13 lead with under 4 to go till half is lovely.

3:30 -- Franklin just reported that Texas has 7 blocks on the night. That is awesome. We believe Chapman's entire role is to be a basher, like in hockey. Just commit fouls and get back on the bench.

2:30 -- Aggies have been helping us out from the free throw line. It's 35-14 and DJ has just hit a lovely floater from the baseline--this has already been a MUCH better showing than in college station.

1:40 -- DJ again! He's 7-of-10 with 17 points. Looks to us like he's back. Sweet. Augustin's success offensively is Great Sign Number One, but a close second is the fact that agyy has FOURTEEN FREAKING POINTS with very, very little time left in the first half. they could double their point total and Texas could score no more points, and the Horns would still win.

1:36 -- Darrell Royal is in the house! Fiancee just said: "what a cutie!" Even when they know sports...

1:10 -- Meanwhile, Texas throws it away and allows an easy layup on the other end. Need to avoid getting sloppy with a big lead, a la Baylor on Saturday.

:25 -- DJ and Damion are at it again! They have been great in this half. The two of them have combined for 27 of the 39 Texas points.

:00 -- Another block for the exclamation point on a spectacular half of basketball! Wow. Nobody wants to play Texas in March.

February 15, 2008


We know it wasn't likely to happen, but damn would it have been nice to see this picture with all burnt orange. Either way, great for the program to see KD, D-Gib and Lamarcus all on the same court.

February 12, 2008

Why Texas-KU Rocks

The Daily Closer over at Deadspin notes that "this has become the preeminent rivalry in the Big 12, but it is conducted on a strangely hate-free level." And you know what? He couldn't be more right.

Playing Kansas is completely different from any other game on the UT schedule. Oklahoma we hate because they suck. Oklahoma State kind of hates us because they think we get some joy from pushing pregnant women. A&M seems to hate us (we love the Horns down from the players because it's such a sign of their inferiority complex...when was the last time you saw an American burning an Iranian flag?), and we like to beat them because there's some history there, but we still know that the road to any championship rarely runs through College Station.

Kansas, however, is different. Texas is a football school, Kansas is a basketball school. For the most part KU sticks to being very good in the North, and Texas does the same down South. So when the two teams meet, all that's left is typically a very important, well-played basketball game.

In Austin, the fans are far more excited about the idea of beating a top tier opponent than some overarching notion of beating Kansas, and the same more or less holds true in Lawrence (all 'Texan by birth, Jayhawk by choice of the Texas admissions staff' or 'KU basketball holds a slight edge over UT basketball, historically' comments aside).

They beat us by 25 in Lawrence, we beat them by 25 in Austin. They beat us despite Kevin Durant's heroicism, we beat them despite DJ Augustin's lack thereof. They made the world's largest pizza, so we burned down their City Hall.

There are a number of apparent reasons why this game is always so good:
  • The teams are usually pretty darned good. Since 2001-2002, Texas and Kansas have played five games that could be considered "classics," with Texas only taking one, and two Big XII title games.
  • The fans are amongst the best in the conference. KU fans have nothing to prove, and their reputation speaks for itself. We gripe as much as anybody about the lack of support the basketball team gets from Texas fans, but UT fans are pretty good once they're at the games. Listen to the crowd at an OU or OSU game, then listen to a Texas game. Bad fans boo more than they cheer, Texas fans cheer far more than they boo.
  • Both schools run clean, respectible programs. Far more of a rarity than it should be in college basketball, but it contributes heavily to the reason that the rivalry is so hate-less.

Take this quote by hopefully soon to be NBA pro Brandon Rush: "I don't see much difference. They were a great team with (Durant), and they're a great team without him."

How the hell do you hate that? That jerk didn't say how good a job Barnes has done building the program...the nerve! Without the hate we are simply left with what has become the Big XII's best once or twice a year rivarly.

Next up, Baylor.

Now there's an interesting rivalry.

Big News! (If you know us personally)

Hey everyone,

This is Abram and I just wanted to shamelessly use the blog to announce that Hannah and I got engaged yesterday. We are really excited about it and especially appreciate how the Longhorns helped us celebrate by beating Kansas last night!

So if you see a girl walking down the street in New York today who isn't watching where she's going because she can't take her eyes off her own ring finger, point her in the right direction.

February 11, 2008

VY Improves To 33-2!

With Vince Young in attendance, Texas scored its third win over a top ten team on Monday defeating Kansas 72-69. A loss would have been okay, but the win could bump Texas back into the "this could be a Final Four season" category. Texas moves to within a half-game of Kansas State for the Big XII lead and could have regained its mojo that has been gone since UCLA. More on this later, but for now enjoy possibly the biggest win of the season.

February 10, 2008

You Can't Spell Erroneous Without OU

Much credit goes to Hornfans for finally posting the screen shot below that we've been trying to find since about halfway through the second half when ESPN made this guy famous in our minds. Luckily for Texas bloggers, Sooner jokes usually write themselves.

February 7, 2008

Mack Brown Strikes Back

Do you remember the moment that Mack Brown began to show adaptation? We do.

The year was 2003. Texas had suffered through humiliating losses to Arkansas in Austin and Oklahoma by a score that continues to expand even today. The criticism against Mack after 4 straight OU losses and a lackluster season was as loud as we have heard, before or since. FireMackBrown.com had joined the internet bubble.

At midseason Mack had done the sensible thing, replacing Chance Mock's mediocrity with freshman Vince Young's potential greatness. Laugher wins over Iowa State and Baylor had given way to a tough contest against a Texas Tech squad that had beaten Texas the previous year in Lubbock.

Vince started off the game great, convincing Mack to scrap his planned qb switch after the third series. After a strong three quarters VY began to slip up and Texas Tech took the lead with just under 2 minutes to play. With the ball deep in Texas territory, Mack made probably the ballsiest move we have ever seen him make...he put in Chance Mock.

We were convinced then, and could still make the argument today, that a second straight loss to Tech may have ended Mack Brown's tenure as Texas head coach.

Instead, Chance came in, drove down the field and scored the game winning touchdown with a pass to BJ Johnson.

Since then Mack has proven far more adaptable than his detractors give him credit. When the defense wasn't working in 2003 he stepped in and got Greg Robinson to fix it. When Robinson left for Syracuse in 2004 he went out and got the hottest defensive coordinator in Gene Chizik. When his fix following Chizik's departure didn't work, he went out and again got the hottest defensive coordinator in the country (BOOM!). When VY's progress had stalled Mack became a looser coach and the team flourished.

The same has held true with recruiting. After Ryan Perriloux, Fred Rouse, and Martellus Bennett played the recruiting game a little too hard, Mack adapted by offering kids earlier and refusing to play the recruiting game except when out-of-state kids approach him (Brantley, Scott, etc).

Mack's new strategy produced two results: insanely early commitments from the majority of his next few classes and other coaches going even earlier.

Mack's recruiting schedule has now changed again with the recruitment of Garrett Gilbert. Gilbert, in case you don't know, is the 5-star QB from Austin for the class of 2009 who committed to Texas this afternoon. With the recruitment of Gilbert, Mack has done two things that he has never done before (to our knowledge). First, he offered Gilbert his scholarship through the mail, and second, he made the offer before Texas' first Junior Day.

Gilbert will be attending Texas' Junior Day this weekend, meaning that Mack seemingly would typically make a face-to-face scholarship offer on Sunday. But Gilbert got his offer through the mail, less than a week before he was set to officially meet with Mack.

We have a hard time believing this is a coincidence.

There are at least three reasons we can think of for Mack to make this move:
  1. Russell Shepard -- Mack's got his elite QB recruit he wants and knew all along he could get. We guess that Mack did not want to risk losing both QBs by pursuing them in any other manner. Now with Gilbert on-board Mack can focus all of his attention on getting the other elite QB (or "athlete") in orange without jeopardizing what he's got with Gilbert. Shepard is now target #1 for Texas, and Mack can point to Florida, LSU, or wherever else a two-qb system has worked as proof that Shepard has a role in the Texas offense.
  2. 2009 Recruiting Class -- This class could be a monster for Mack and this move starts it off with a bang. All weekend Mack will have an extra recruiter in Gilbert, which can only pay big dividends for the class.
  3. Staying aggressive -- Each year is a battle for recruits in the state of Texas between Mack Brown on the one hand, and every other coach in America on the other. By showing that he's willing to change and offer kids earlier, Mack has upped the ante for the rest of the recruiting world. Mack's not even going to risk kids entering the recruiting year now, he's not going to give the kids that want to go to Texas a chance to even think about going elsewhere.

We don't really follow recruiting until the end. It is one of the only facets of football that we implicity trust the coaching staff to do a good job and leave it at that. This may be our only post on recruiting all year (at least until the end of the weekend), but it proves an important point. The momentum for the program is positive again. Next season may not be the magical year it could have been had JC stayed, but we remain convinced that staying on Team Mack is a good long-term investment.

Just remind us of this after the OU game.

A Good Win for the Hooping Horns

Texas basketball went into Norman last night, struggled shooting the ball in the first half, but then recovered nicely in the second to end up with a 10 point victory that was admittedly closer than the final score indicates. One observation we couldn't help but make is that we are not looking forward to potentially playing seven more games against Blake Griffin. The freshman sooner is a beast down low who also has a great shooting touch and basketball IQ; and he may be a 4-year college player (although that's what we thought about PJ Tucker). For our part, we're hoping that pro scouts agree with this analysis from NBADraft.net which has Griffin as a 7 out of 10 in the category of "NBA Readiness." Go pro, young man!

As for Texas, the 3-ball returned to success in the second 20 minutes last night, as DJ Augustin, Justin Mason, and especially AJ Abrams came up with big treys to help build and maintain the Longhorns' lead. Gary Johnson began to show what a force he can be inside, and it's exciting to watch him and Connor Atchley play the post together when both are on their games. Their two styles are vastly different and compliment each other very well, with Johnson fighting hard in the down-low physical battles and Atchley playing more of an inside-out game. In other post news, Alexis Wangmene is going to be a force as soon as he learns to, um, catch the ball. And Sexy Dexy, as always, played awfully hard and gave Coach Barnes some good minutes.

But the one thing that was clear above all else in Wednesday's victory is that there will be two main keys to this team's long-term success: DJ Augustin and Damion James. When DJ is making smart decisions, not trying to do too much, and shooting the ball well, we look like a very good basketball team. Similarly, when James is a threat on the offensive end he is the big, strong mid-range and inside presence that Texas needs to compliment Augustin and Abrams on the perimeter. Last night James was not such a factor (1-6 FG, 2 pts), but DJ managed the game so well--Texas had a ridiculously low five total turnovers, only two from Augustin--and AJ's shot was so on in the second half that it didn't matter. But you can't depend on the deep ball to win every game, so we'll need Damion to look more like he did against Baylor last Saturday to have a chance in Austin next Monday against Kansas.

February 6, 2008


Darrell Scott has chosen Colorado over the Longhorns. Some posters over at BON are suggesting that all reports from the last two weeks that he was leaning Texas were, in fact, true--but that his mother stepped in over the last few days and essentially insisted that he go to Colorado. Whether that story is legitimate or not, we're unlikely to ever know--and it doesn't really matter. As we stated yesterday, there will be no ill will toward him or CU from these parts--we wish Scott success in Boulder whenever he plays against Not Texas. He seems like a great kid with a bright future.

But man...this hurts. Scott seems to be the kind of immediate difference-maker who would, at the very least, have pushed Vondrell McGee to improve into a feature back through competition. Now it will be up to the coaching staff to motivate McGee on their own (albeit with a little help from redshirt freshman Fozzy Whittaker)--specifically, it will be up to new RB coach Major Applewhite. A very early test in his glorious return to Texas.

In 2007, Vondrell showed several signs that he has the tools to be a very solid running back for the Horns. The question now is: can he use those tools consistently enough to keep the running game at a high level next season? If not, it will be a long year. If so, bring on oklahoma--who, by the way, is loaded.

February 5, 2008

On Darrell Scott...

Based on this BON diary, the collective wisdom of third-hand internet sources seems to be pointing that Scott is leaning toward Colorado now. Without reading every internet rumor out there, the summary of the rumors are this:

  • Everybody has a source with some sort of access to somebody associated with Darrell Scott
  • Darrell Scott may go to Texas because he loves Mack's program
  • Darrell Scott may go to Colorado because he wants to be closer to his family ties

None of this is new information. As a matter of fact, Orangebloods ($) has done an entire series of posts today with tantalizing headlines that essentially sum up the fact that unnamed sources don't really know where Darrell will committ tomorrow. The collective lean of sources over the internet at present seem to make us think that he is headed to Colorado. We won't be surprised if that happens.

Here is what we KNOW:

  • There may not be anybody on this planet that knows where Darrell Scott is headed
  • The chance still exists that he has not made up his mind yet
  • There is only one source on this planet that matters as far as this is concerned
  • That source has not said a word in weeks

Darrell Scott has been true to his word, he said that he would announce on signing day and has not wavered. He has not played games, he has not been duplicitous, and for that we will hold no ill-will against him should he choose Colorado. He has been so far the anti-Perriloux/Tellus that it is not even funny.

If you go back three weeks and compare what we knew then and what we know now you would realize that we have learned very little in the last three weeks. This morning if one were to follow the internet rumors then one would favor Texas, this evening things seem to favor Colorado.

With all the internet chatter, it seems to us that all the ears on the ground are hearing new things not because new information exists, but because there are lots of new ears on the ground. In the absence of any proof, we'll simply wait with anticipation for tomorrow to get here.

Oh, and Darrell, in case you're reading this...do you really want this man to be your head coach?

Darrell Scott Recruiting Update

Interesting story from a Colorado news station. To sum it up:
FOX 31 Sports has learned through a reliable source close to the Colorado football program that it’s “unlikely” the Buffs will land prized recruit Darrell Scott.
After going through the whole Perriloux recruitment, we aren't going to even begin to celebrate until he announces. But it's not looking bad right now.

February 4, 2008

What We Learned -- Super Bowl Edition

Karma. Is. A. Bitch.

Really, after watching the best Super Bowl of our lifetimes (note: it gets the nod over Rams/Titans because a) the underdog won, b) 19-0 was on the line, c) one of us went to high school with Eli), that's what it all comes down to. The Patriots deserved this one. Their fans know it, their players know it, and the fact that Bill Belichick probably doesn't know it is proof that he deserved it.

There are probably a thousand links out there that we could find for you to read and enjoy wallowing in the misery of Pats fans. Unfortunately for America, the "19-0" t-shirt and book are no longer available online for purchase. Fortunately for you, however, is this post on a Pats message board entitled "Giants Don't Know How to Win With Class".

This is what you get for disrespecting the game. Spygate, Brady throwing TDs up 52-0 in October, making a 5'9" guy from Texas Tech the most dangerous player in the NFL, those are the types of things that make the football gods mad. Throw in obnoxious fans, players and coaches, plus a (largely rightful but premature) discussion of the '07 Pats as potentially the greatest team in NFL history, and we aren't all that surprised that the Giants were the winners last night.

What made last night so great was not that the Pats lost, but that they lost in such spectacular fashion. As Bill Simmons said today "It's one thing to win a championship ... it's another to win a championship like that. You can't possibly understand unless it happens to you." That was what makes events like Super Bowl XLII and the 2006 Rose Bowl so great. As an American -- unless you were a Patriots (or USC) fan -- you felt good that the Giants won. We imagine that this is what the majority of football fans felt after Texas dethroned USC. We're happy the Pats lost, happy we got to see a great Super Bowl, happy the game ended before midnight EST.

During the gold medal game in the 1980 Olympics the U.S. was trailing Finland after the first period. During the intermission, Herb Brooks stormed into the U.S. locker room and told the team that "if you lose this game, you'll take it to your (expletive) grave." That's the Pats right now, and nothing could make us happier (unless it was the Saints getting the win).

So, here we are. Baseball tickets went on sale today, but seven long months still stand until football starts up again. Until then be sure to offer your sacrifice to the football gods, because we're due for some good karma.

February 3, 2008

Best. Super Bowl. Ever.

We'll try to get more in-depth coverage to answer hard hitting questions (like which move was more classless by Bill Belichick, running off the field with :01 left or that cut up sweatshirt he was wearing) later, for now, enjoy the greatest win in 1972 Dolphins history.

February 1, 2008

Ranking The RB Seasons -- #8

#8--Hodges Mitchell, 2000
Stats: 11 games, 224 carries for 1118 yards (5.0 ypc) and 8 tds.

The season: Micah Hart once described the fans reaction to Hodges Mitchell as pretty much being pissed off that he wasn't Ricky. That pretty much sums up everything we know about Mitchell's two years. 2000 was the last time Texas finished with under 10 wins in Mack's tenure. It included a loss at Stanford, a bowl loss to a solid Oregon team, and the first time OU would hang 60+ on Texas.

The ranking: Hodges Mitchell's two years represented a transition period for Texas as the Horns went from Ricky to Roy. 2000 was the weaker of Hodges' rather unremarkable tenure as the starting running back. Monster games against Tech and KU (229 & 264 yards respectively) seem to be outliers, placing Hodges 2000 campaign #8 on our list.