Bevo's Daily Roundup - March 3, 2010

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This sums up Texas recruiting pretty well:

Texas owns recruiting in February, and has for years.

Junior Days makes a big difference in the recruiting process.

"We weren't doing any junior days," Brown said. "All of the sudden, we were way behind. We were trying to build our junior day around our spring football game in April. But other schools were having junior days at their bowl practices and having them before national signing day. We just felt like we were so far behind."

The Longhorns are definitely ahead of the game now. With the ink barely dry on the national letters of intent that 25 high school seniors signed with Texas on Feb. 3, the Longhorns already have 17 junior prospects verbally committed to sign with them in February 2011.

 

Spring Football

A new era has begun.

While the Colt McCoy era of Texas football unexpectedly ended just a few plays into the national championship game in January, the official Garrett Gilbert era has now arrived.

Just as McCoy had to deal with replacing a legend in Vince Young, Gilbert now has to replace McCoy, who is college football’s all-time wins leader.

"I try not to think about that," Gilbert said. "I’m just trying to be myself."

We are witnessing a philosophical shift.

It's spring football. Moving Garrett Gilbert under center represents a philosophical shift in the thinking of coach Mack Brown and offensive coordinator Greg Davis, but just because you water a plant one way in the spring doesn't mean the watering technique will stay the same come fall.

Hey, it was fun to see a Longhorns quarterback executing play-action fakes that were actually designed to make the defense believe the team might run the ball. Those fakes were effective Tuesday because Texas did run it well, albeit in a controlled environment.

It is Sam Acho's time.

Over the past couple of seasons, there has been a certain symmetry to Texas' defensive front.

In 2008, defensive ends Brian Orakpo and Henry Melton created havoc. They moved on, and in 2009 it was tackle Lamarr Houston's and end Sergio Kindle's turn.

In 2010? Well, it wouldn't be quite accurate to say Sam Acho is next in the line of succession.

The defensive end actually cut in line in a big way last season as a junior.

The receivers have something to prove.

Upgrading the receiving corps, including the vanishing tight ends, could be one of the most significant offseason issues facing what figures to be a preseason top 10 Texas team, especially with the loss of Mr. Reliable, 116-catch star Shipley.

Split ends like Shipley who catch passes for 1,485 yards and 13 touchdowns don't come around often, but Texas has produced more than its share of big-time receivers and desperately needs a new one.

Let us hope...

Perhaps this is the year of the offensive line. Both Michael Huey and Kyle Hix looked to be in good shape. And the linemen were much more physical and were sometimes (not often) winning battles with the defensive line. There's a good chance for some improvement.

Chris Whaley is huge. He looks like he could play on the offensive line. But he's not fat. At least he doesn't look it in his uniform. Having him and Cody Johnson in the backfield would be a lot of muscle for short-yardage situations. I wouldn't move him to tight end just yet.

The Statesman has a Q&A with Malcolm Williams.

How will the team replace Jordan Shipley?

Jordan was a great player, so somebody will have to step up. Whenever somebody leaves, somebody else has to step up, and that's just what has to happen.

Really? Texas needs to improve the ground game.

Texas needs to be more of a smash-mouth team. The Longhorns opened spring practice Friday, and the No. 1 priority better be improving the rushing offense.

Texas was mediocre running the ball this past season -- it was 61st in the nation in rushing offense -- but it didn't matter because Colt McCoy was running the offense. McCoy was a savvy quarterback who could handle having to carry the offense. But McCoy is gone, and there's no way Texas coaches can put the same burden on new starter Garrett Gilbert.

Who's hot, who's not.

What about the new guys?

Connor Wood, QB

Fairly impressive.

For a freshman, the early enrollee looked pretty good. He was inconsistent to be sure — once, he zipped a nice pass to Chris Torbert on a curl route to the right, then followed that up by overthrowing his receiver to the left on his next snap — but showed some nice touch and placement in 11-on-11 drills. At 6-4 and 209 pounds, he's got that prototypical size you want back there.

 

Basketball

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Jordan Hamilton is producing more.

He posted the first double-double of hiscareer, scoring 12 points on very efficient five-of-seven shooting and yanking down a season-best 11 rebounds.

"Yeah, I would have thought I would have had one before now," Hamilton said sheepishly.

"But I've been producing more lately."

The Horns looked like a cohesive team.

In the first half, the Longhorns seemed to forget that the Sooners bombed them for 10 3-pointers in an earlier victory in Norman, then rallied from 13 down to trail by only two at the half.

Texas played dumb the first four minutes of the second half to give up nine consecutive points.

But here's the rub -- the Longhorns then actually -- dare I say it? -- began to look like a team, and rallied to win going away.

Rick Barnes is not obsessed about titles.

"We would love to win a national championship, but we’re not obsessed with it because we’re obsessed with these guys trying to live their NBA dreams," Barnes told ESPN writer Elena Bergeron. "What’s happened to Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, T.J. Ford – I’d give up a national title for all of our guys to be able to live their dream."

But time is running out...

When he was asked how he felt about his team's performance in relation to their recent struggles, he (Damion James) looked the media dead in the eye and said, "It's a new month. The past is in the past and we're moving forward."

 

Some other stuff

We will never get rid of little brother.

Texas is not going to the Big Ten. Sorry if I hadn’t mentioned it in the last 10 minutes. But if Texas were to leave, Texas A&M would be joined at the hip and every other place. "I can’t imagine we’d ever be separated," Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne told me Saturday. "But then I thought the stock market would go up to 12,000. I’m happy where we are right now. I think we’ve built a helluva conference."

Time to move on.

Colt McCoy knows he has been a former Texas quarterback for two months. Hearing that spring practice had begun without him came as "a shock," McCoy said Monday night at the Oklahoma-Texas basketball game. "I had no idea they were already putting the pads back on, already getting started. It was really early. And part of it, I was sad. I’ve been doing that for five years. It’s tough. But I know that my greatest football is ahead of me."

Is this really relevant to an NFL career?

McCoy also got the inevitable outside-the-box questions during his team interviews. The strangest: he was asked whether he would rather be a dog or cat. McCoy confirmed himself as a dog person.

Our condolences to Mack Brown on the death of his mother.

 

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It would help if your quarterback could throw a football.

Nebraska is still debating what they want in a quarterback.

Build an offense around the talents of the dual-threat guy, or buyer beware. While Auburn runs a pure spread, it puts a high premium on accuracy and down field passing. LSU never trusted Shepard once with a pass. While he could turn out to be a terrific wide receiver, it’s exceedingly hard to switch these kids to different positions with great success.

That lesson needs to be heard by Nebraska, who’s suffering through some growing pains with its own dual-threat guy, Cody Green, while signing Brion Carnes for 2010 and Jamal Turner for 2011.

The Land Thieves are gearing up for the 2010 football season. Crimson and Cream Machine takes a look at the running/full backs. They also have some information on future pilferers, the 2011 recruiting class.

Like the kid is known for deviant behavior and lying. Maybe this was an honest mistake? And they want to know when Colt McCoy ran a 4.6 forty.

Just in case you didn't get enough of the Land Thieves today, go visit Bob's web site. Quite impressive.

Tommy Tuberville has big plans for the Red Raiders.

While many Tech fans were angered by the December firing of Mike Leach, others are warming up to his replacement. Speaking Tuesday to a crowd of about 700, Tommy Tuberville got hearty applause when he vowed to win multiple championships for the Red Raiders.

The CU Independent asked students what they thought of a move to the PAC 10.

"CU is in a very good region, it’s very competitive, and the games are always exciting to watch," Handing said.  "But I think it is a little unfair to be competing against teams like Texas, Nebraska and Missouri. I feel like their football programs are a lot stronger, and it might just be coaching."

"A move could probably improve our record because the Big 12 is a pretty tough conference," Marcus said. "We have some pretty tough teams like Texas who went to the national championship, so I think we could probably have a better chance of winning with some of the Pac 10 teams."

 

This is about as exciting as it gets.

Has this kid ever been to College Station?

"[The Texas A&M offer] was a big one," he said. "You hear about the Stanfords and Washingtons, then when Texas A&M comes into the picture, you are like, 'Wow.' They are a big school, and I'll be sure to check them out. My eyes are open to everybody, and I'm going to take trips for a while. I've heard that most quarterbacks commit early so they can get to school early and pick up a system, but I'm not sure. I'm looking at everybody right now, and my eyes are wide-open."

 

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What does a million dollars do for you?

Here's what 50 investors can get nowadays if they put up $1 million apiece:

• A luxury townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

• A Pablo Picasso painting. (Maybe.)

• Nicole Kidman and Leonardo DiCaprio for one film.

What they shouldn't be able to get is control of a public university's athletic department.

More is not always better. Expanding the NCAA basketball tournament field to 96 teams isn't necessarily a good idea. Some conferences still lose out.

According to the Web site, Wright State out of the Horizon League (seventh on the NIT bubble), Buffalo and Akron out of the MAC (ninth and 10th) have practically no chance at making the field. In a 96-team NCAA Tournament, it seems the above teams -- projected second- and third-place finishers in solid midmajor conferences -- would have little chance of making that field, either.

Even in a 96-team tournament, it appears the Horizon League, the MAC and other conferences like those would likely still be one-bid leagues.

Schools now turn to executive search firms when they hire a new coach.

Over the last decade, the college coaching profession has undergone a dramatic and fundamental change as it relates to how coaches are hired and fired. In past years, when an athletic director decided to let a coach go, finding a proper replacement did not require a process outside of the traditional notions of how a regular individual was hired by an employer to fill a position. The formula was simple: find a group of candidates that have shown a requisite level of competitive success, interview the candidates, determine which have the relationships and know how to build a successful program, and hire the last candidate standing. Yet the status quo in college athletics has been altered dramatically in recent years. As the games themselves have evolved, the risks involved have changed accordingly. In a day and age where millions of dollars in athletics revenue and booster money is at stake, mediocrity on the playing field is no longer acceptable. Athletic directors are forced to manage multi-million dollar athletic budgets and staffs of hundreds of people while simultaneously dealing with the tremendous pressures of administration, alumni and the media.

When all else fails, hire a consultant for a study.

Advocates of Big Ten expansion now have a report to back them up.

An analysis prepared by a Chicago-based firm looked at whether the addition of five schools would generate enough revenue to make expansion worthwhile, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"The point was: We can all get richer if we bring in the right team or teams," a source told the Tribune.

Should everyone just leave?

It is time to look at a side issue to conference realignment with overtones far more significant than teams changing dancing partners on their schedules.

The persistent rumor of super conferences has been around for decades. The idea is that the top conferences might split off and form a new league. The conferences involved in this idea? The same ones operating the BCS. After the jump I will outline how a shift might come about.

The real question is would this be a bad thing?

UTSA starts their football program in 2011.

UTSA has a million reasons to celebrate. Okay, maybe they don't exactly have a million, but they do have 25 to be exact. Twenty five represents the number of recruits that are set to aid UTSA's football team explosion onto the scene in 2011.

Former Baylor coach Guy Morriss is proud of his team for stealing.

Sometimes you simply can't make these stories up. Former Baylor and Kentucky football coach Guy Morriss, now the coach at Texas A&M-Commerce, is proud of his team for stealing student newspapers.

The reason for the theft: The student paper published a story titled "Football Players Arrested in Drug Bust." "I am proud of my players for doing that," Morris is quoted as telling the police. "This was the best team building exercise we have ever done."

Isn't it hard to believe Baylor fired this guy?

 

And finally...

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I know how much y'all love beer. Someone over at the Bleacher Report has compared the top 10 college football coaches to beer. Mack Brown is La Fin Du Monde.

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