March 4, 2008

Good Show, GeauxTuscaloosa

The only classy sports fan in Tuscaloosa, AL has come through with a nice piece on new LSU commitment Russel Shepard. As Texas fans, we're certainly disappointed the kid chose not to come to Texas, but obviously for us LSU is the next best place. But the reason for this quick post is to compliment Geaux Tuscaloosa for the down-to-earth, classy way he wrote today about this big news for Tiger fans:

"The only reason we were in it with Shepard is because Texas coach Mack Brown was recruiting him strictly as a wide receiver. Shepard has said he does not mind switching positions but wants to get a shot at quarterback, and will switch positions if he doesn't earn playing time at QB. That's fine with me. Les Miles has said he's a quarterback and that's where he wants Shepard. I actually give Mack Brown some credit here. He didn't just tell Shepard what he wanted to hear. He told him the truth, which is that Texas wasn't going to give him a shot at quarterback. LSU will."

This is the kind of approach that is missing all too often from college football conversation, especially when it comes to recruiting. Recruiting can be a really tough business for fans, as it's a time when we hope guys with way more athletic ability than we ever dreamed of having will decide they feel the same way about our schools as we do. It's hard sometimes to avoid the temptation of feeling like a jilted lover just because an 18-year-old kid chose to attend college at a different school; similarly, it can be hard to avoid the temptation of gloating when he does choose your alma mater.

On top of that, we have often said that we love having Mack Brown as our coach for reasons beyond winning, and Geaux Tuscaloosa here points out a fine example of that. Could Brown have landed Shepard, a lifelong Horns fan, in Austin simply by promising to give him a shot at QB? Probably. Would he then have had to either back down from that promise or not truly give Shepard a fair shot? Almost certainly. Instead of choosing either of those two bad options, Mack decided to operate with his characteristic integrity and be honest with the kid. We've said it before and we'll say it again: we're lucky to have Mack representing The University.


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