Impossible to screw up. Imagine you're in charge of coordinating Vince Young's Saturday night jersey retirement at DKR. As you sit down with your staff to brainstorm the final plan, you know wiggling around and through various set-in-stone game elements is unavoidable, of course, so you decide to launch the conversation into orbit via a perfectly safe starting point: "So long as we don't have the ceremony before kickoff, this will be hard to mess up."
Naturally, the actual celebration Saturday night will be at 5:35 p.m., a half hour before kickoff. Because I'm in too good a mood to go on and on about this, I'll quietly hope that it was Vince's schedule which required the early time slot.
Can we at least make sure he's in the locker room before kickoff?
Related: The athletic department is issuing new programs for this year's games, going so far as to re-brand them the Texas Football Playbook, featuring "rosters, depth charts, standings, player features, color photographs and much more." The first cover will commemorate Vince Young and the first 30,000 through the gates Saturday will receive a free copy.
Crack for Longhorn fans. The Statesman's Alan Trubow has a feature on Will Muschamp which contains absolutely nothing you and I don't already know about him. The Muschamp feature story is always the same boilerplate; the only real difference in most of these stories is the quotes...
Which is precisely why we read them! Your Muschamp-related quotes of the day:
"I didn't think I was going to respect him," [Dolphins linebacker Zach] Thomas said. "I mean, he was about the same age as me and never had coached in the NFL. I was really surprised, because I would have run through a brick wall for him after about a week. He's got this infectious personality. He's intense, but he's also honest and sincere, and you just don't want to disappoint him."
"You see a difference in the defense," Texas quarterback Colt McCoy said. "There is an intensity there that's hard to describe, but it's there because of Muschamp."
"I didn't have as much experience as the other coaches I was going against, but I knew I could outwork everybody," Muschamp said. "I just figured that coaching was all about working hard, preparing and relating to people. That's really what this business is about: relating to your players."
I made a gentleman's wager with Orson on the radio last night that Texas would beat FAU by 21+ points. Though I remain tentative about this offense, my confidence in this Muschamp-led defense really couldn't be higher. Texas, 45-17. The defense scores one.
Pay-per-view details announced. Partner cable companies carrying Texas' season opener on pay-per-view have been announced:
A shrinking violet? The much ballyhooed--here and elsewhere--18 returning starters from Florida Atlantic's strong 2007 season is down to 13. The Palm Beach Post breaks it down, including confirmation that center Nick Paris (foot), tight end Jason Harmon (knee), and defensive end Robert St. Clair (knee) will all miss Saturday's game against the Longhorns.
As is clear from my game prediction above, I feel great about this game three days before kickoff, in part because it feels like Florida Atlantic managed to peak sometime early this month. The closer we get to game day, the worse things seem to be getting for FAU: Injuries are sidelining key players while Howard Schnellenberger's aggressive remarks to the press have shifted media attention and, remarkably, even pressure, the Owls' way.
Not good for the road team.
Mack looking for 10th season opening win over non-BCS foe. This will be Texas' 11th home opener during the Mack Brown era, during which the Longhorns have gone 9-1 to kickoff the year. The 'Horns' only season-opening loss the past decade came in 1999, when Texas played NC State, its only BCS-conference opponent. Mack Brown's nine week one victims have been Arkansas State (2007), North Texas ('06, '04, '02), Louisiana-Lafayette ('05, '00), and New Mexico State ('03, '01, '98).
Florida Atlantic joined Division 1 in 2004 and won two of their four season openers. In 2004, their inaugural Division 1 season, the Owls upset Hawaii on the road in overtime 35-28. Schnellenberger's squad then lost to a pair of BCS opponents in 2005 (Kansas) and '06 (Clemson), before winning last season's opener 27-14 over Middle Tennessee State.
Malcolm Williams hitting a wall? Both Chip Brown and Greg Carlton report that Malcolm Williams closed out camp struggling a bit, including missed blocking assignments and a few dropped balls. Greg Davis suggested the staff may have pushed Williams too hard after he started fall practices so strong. "We've seen something that really has caught our attention. But we're looking for consistency. Malcolm really started off well. We may have put too much on him early cross-training him."
I began singing Williams' praises before fall workouts even began, but his end-of-camp struggles highlight why--even for the most talented of freshmen (redshirt or otherwise)--it's an uncertain bet to expect greatness on a consistent basis. Football at this level requires both skill and repetition; few can perform at a consistently great level right from the get-go.
What's important is that the coaches let the most talented play on the field, pick up reps, and make their mistakes. On multiple occasions during his freshman and sophomore seasons Deon Beasley had his ankles broken in the ugliest of fashions, but he's ready now because of it. Malcolm Williams will need to be pushed and tested, as well, including especially when he makes mistakes.