[sniff] I smell change. Two practices in the books and the presence of Will Muschamp is making a big impression on Texas football:
Beasley certainly understands that better now. After he displeased the boss on one play, Muschamp lit into him, exploding, "Get your (butt) ready to play." A few seconds later, the coach screamed, "Jog off the field, 7."
Beasley promptly did.
Muschamp also can play the good cop. Minutes later, he slapped Beasley on the helmet after a play well done.
Well that sure is refreshing, and a welcome carryover from Mack Brown's apparent priority shift following the ugly loss in College Station. Accountability, tough love, and higher standards are in. Country club seniority is out. Excepting the Vince Young era, this is as energized as I've ever seen Texas football.
The Michael Beasley Show. As Chip Brown writes, Michael Beasley is facing an uphill battle to win national Player of the Year honors, in part because another superstar freshman won the honor last season. Kansas State's first year coach Frank Martin thinks it's more than that, however, arguing, "The Big 12 has always had high-level freshmen, it's just unfortunate that as a conference, the national writers don't give the coaches, the players and the teams the same kind of respect they give the ones out east."
Now that I don't really buy; not with a Texas player winning two of the past five honors and with so many conference games available on TV these days. This is especially true for the Big 12, which has a strong TV deal with ESPN. If Beasley were in the Pac 10, with its pathetic TV contract, that argument might hold more weight.
Even so, writers were somewhat hesitant to give Durant the award until some of his monster performances on national television down the stretch last season. Otherworldly performances against Texas Tech, Kansas, and throughout the Big 12 tournament cemented his status as National POY. I suspect Beasley could do the same if he's similarly impressive during Kansas State's next two games - tonight against Texas and Saturday at Kansas - both nationally televised. The national writers will be watching.
Sweeeeep. Texas baseball started its season the right way, sweeping Virginia Commonwealth over the weekend. Sunday's win featured the successful return of Kenn Kasparek, who gave Texas five solid innings of two-hit ball, striking out five against just two walks. During Saturday's 17-4 romp, Kyle Russell picked up where he left off last season, going 2-4 with his first home run of the year. Russell set a UT single season record while leading the nation in home runs in 2007.
No Frannypants? No game! Arkansas (perhaps since Frantana is no longer with Aggy?) has asked Texas to move back the scheduled 2009 football game because it fears playing both the Longhorns and Aggies in the same season. UT Athletic Director Deloss Dodds said Texas has agreed to the move, which will likely bump the game back to 2014. That leaves Texas scrambling to find a 2009 non-conference opponent to supplement its slate against UTEP and Central Florida. Texas still doesn't have a home opener scheduled for 2009 as of yet.
Amen, brother. Mark Cuban is spot on with his critique of the NCAA and its vault of rules and restrictions. I attended a fascinating sports law seminar last week featuring two attorneys from Notre Dame's compliance office in which I learned all sorts of fascinating tidbits about the complexities involved with staying within all the NCAA's rules. Even at Notre Dame, which works vigorously to comply with every rule in the book, the university self-reports some two dozen minor violations per year to the NCAA.
I'll have more on this, including some interesting information on the Jim O'Brien wrongful termination lawsuit, in a future post.
Quick Hits. Get your K-State info at Bring On The Cats... If Gillispie was Chicken Wings, can we say Turgeon is Whiney Pants? Here's a hint, Coach. When discussing leadership and blame, start at the top... Greg Davis to get his gadget on more in 2008. The top comment beneath the news blurb cracks me up... NFL Combine news, if you care...