Flight of the Owls delayed. The Rice Owls left Nashville on Monday after being stuck there after their Saturday loss against Vanderbilt. With Houston ravaged by Ike, the Owls spent Sunday in Nashville starting their game week preparation for the Longhorns. It will be interesting to see if the devastation at home in Houston and the shortened game week will impact the play of the Owls on Saturday. Mack Brown, ever the gentleman, offered use of the Longhorn's facilities to the Owls for practice this week, noting that "this is a time bigger than football." Indeed. The Longhorns began preparation for Rice on Thursday, but the players took Friday and Saturday off. With so many players from the Houston area, the players need to re-focus after their time off. This may be a time when football, and sports in general, can be a needed refuge.
As VY's world turns. The Vince Young saga enters its second week. On Monday, Titans coach Jeff Fisher disputed claims that it was the team's psychologist who said that Young had contemplated suicide last week, instead blaming it on Young's marketing manager, Mike Mu. The team psychologist, Sheila Peters, and Jeff Fisher met with Young last Monday evening before deciding everything was fine and leaving. It was Mu who called Fisher concerned that Young had a gun and had talked about suicide, prompting Fisher to call the police. Fisher also mentioned that Young may not have his starting job when he returns from his MCL sprain, saying it may benefit Young to watch Kerry Collins lead the team. The latest development is that Adam Schefter of NFL Network's NFL GameDay Morning reported on Sunday morning that Young asked out of the Titan's playoff game at halftime last year in their loss to the Chargers. Not the best time to be a Vince Young fan. Here's hoping that he can resurrect his image and find the success that appears to be eluding him right now.
Already a Major impact? IT's Bill Frisbie speculates about the early impact of Major Applewhite on the Texas offense. Chris Ogbonnaya mentioned that Applewhite places great emphasis on ball security, something Jamaal Charles struggled with during his time at Texas, consistently failing to maintain the crucial three points of contact--forearm, bicep, and chest. As a former quarterback, Applewhite has also helped the running backs with what Obgonnaya terms "eye exams." That involves the running backs' pre-snap read of the defense to identify their blitz pick-up responsibilities. However, Applewhite's influence extends beyond the running backs. Colt McCoy credits Applewhite for helping him check down to the running back when no receivers create separation downfield. All that is well and good, but I think Longhorn fans, myself included, are more interested in hearing about the impact of Applewhite on the offensive play-calling. Unfortunately, that's exactly the type of news unlikely to leak out of the program. Mack Brown controls the message coming out of his team about as well (and as tightly) as the Bush administration. I mourn again my inability to be a fly on the wall during offensive game-planning meetings.
Wear black today, for Block. Michael Griffin played in the Titans game Sunday against the Bengals with a heavy heart. While he intercepted his first pass of the season against Carson Palmer, Griffin arrived late to Cincinnati after one of his beloved pit bulls, Block, died Saturday evening. Fortunately, Griffin was able to play the game with the knowledge "my dog is looking down on me." Good thing that all dogs go to heaven. Longhorn fans may recall that Griffin breeds pit bulls and watches Animal Planet in lieu of Sportscenter. While Griffin's loss diminishes somewhat with news of the devastation along the Gulf Coast beginning to trickle out, I'm sure every Longhorn fan who has lost a pet can identify with Griffin's pain. I know I can.
From the land of Miscellany. No changes to the depth chart this week...Adam Ulatoski's nickname is "Mumbles."...Barking Carnival has two great posts up, one about the 1965 Orange Bowl against Alabama and the other about UT quarterback great Bobby Layne...Cedric Golden ranks the top 5 quarterbacks who've played at Texas under Mack Browns...ESPN's Tim Griffins calls the Longhorns the biggest losers in the Big 12 this weekend after Ike's postponement of the Arkansas game.