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Bevo's Daily Roundup - November 5, 2009

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"Our theme now will be to play to the standard of the best team in the country," Brown said. 
"We want to be the best in the country, and we can improve in so many areas.
We are good right now, but we can get better. "The other thing that we have
challenged our guys with is if you are going to be a great team that goes
undefeated, you have to be excited to play every week, and that's
hard to do. A lot of people can't do that, but that's part of the magic of
being a great team. You have to be able to get rid of Oklahoma State today,
and you have to be able to get ready for Central Florida. If you can't do that
then you are not one of the best teams in the country.

The Longhorn special teams have their own club. Colt McCoy can't even join.

"We actually like to say that you buy a membership," Akina said. "Recently Curtis Brown decided to buy a membership when he blocked a kick against Missouri. He had been debating whether or not to join, and he finally did. We were excited to get a new member."

"We've got seven current members," Akina said. "The most we've ever had in one year is 10, and that was 2005."

The unit has become so popular that even the biggest of stars want to be a part of it.

But despite being a Heisman Trophy runner-up, McCoy's not welcome as a member of the block party.

More motivational techniques. This time they are using sticks.

"We took little sticks this week at the pregame meal and we had each individual player break his stick," Brown said.

"Then we had them put the pieces together in a plank to let them know that together we can be strong. We've got to keep that mind-set."

Team Automatic. Hunter Lawrence is accurate.

There’s a reason the Texas coaches refer to them as Team Automatic. The Longhorns haven’t been quite perfect in kicking field goals this season, but they’ve been pretty close.

Kicker Hunter Lawrence has made 16 of his 18 attempts, seeing one blocked and one 54-yard attempt hit the crossbar.

He’s also made 36 of 37 extra points.

"Hunter’s been so accurate," said Texas head coach Mack Brown. "He’s done everything we’ve asked; he hits them right down the middle."

Colt McCoy won't say it, but you can probably go ahead and book that flight to Pasadena.

After helping his team rout Oklahoma State 41-14, the Texas quarterback was asked this week if it's difficult for the No. 2 Longhorns to not look ahead, not just to the Big 12 Championship but also beyond.

"I think it's hard for y'all not to think about it," he said. "For us, we understand that there is a lot of football left to play. We are through the first two parts of our season. I don't know if Coach (Mack) Brown told you about the first four and second four, and we have four more now, and it's the most important part right now.

"We've got to finish, and it's just one more step to that."

Mack Brown talks to Jim Rome about the season.

Barking Carnival is not impressed with the the University of Central Florida.

First of all, screw these guys.

I hate their erector set stadium, their fan base too dumb to gain entrance into Florida State, their resume-padding ruddy-faced coach, their color schemes, the sprawling sack of flatland swamp theme park offal of Orlando, and the fact that Kevin Smith tore our ass two years ago when we still played defense like Truman Capote. I also hate the fact that I confuse them with South Florida, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Stetson, and, oddly enough, The Colorado School of Mines.

 

This week's opponent: UCF

Tackling has been an issue and now there's coverage. But the good news is that you have three more days to work on this before you meet the No. 2 team in the country.

While the Knights' veteran front seven have put heavy pressure on opposing teams, the secondary has given up a lot of deep passes.

O'Leary said UCF's defensive backs are shadowing receivers properly but waiting too long to break up passes. He blamed the pass coverage problems on youth and inexperience.

"We're there to make a play, we're just not playing the ball," O'Leary said. "We're too involved with the man all the time. So that's been a big work point this week in practice."

 

Basketball

It's time.

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On Avery Bradley: "I've never seen a guy have that many put-back dunks at 6-foot-3," 
senior forward Damion James said. Adds coach Rick Barnes: "He guards the
basketball as well as anybody you'll ever see."

Damion James is impressive. But you knew that.

Damion James, the Longhorn forward who auditioned for NBA teams last spring before opting for a senior year in college, has returned as a more mature, efficient player.

That was evident during a scrimmage the Longhorns had with Davidson on Saturday in the Erwin Center.

We don't have any concerns, either. Texas is going to be good this year. Damn good.

Texas was going to be plenty good anyway. But two days before the NBA draft withdrawal deadline, Damion James sid he'd play for Texas as a senior and upgraded the Longhorns' expectations in the process.

This could be Rick Barnes' best team, one so good that Barnes shrugs when asked what worries him about this bunch.

"I don't know if I'd say I have any concerns right now," Barnes says. "You know, I love the fact that we're going to have great competition."

Rick Barnes has stockpiled talent.

Not only has he been stockpiling talent in Austin for 11 years -- including such players as LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin -- but if you check his teams' records, you'll find the hoops 'Horns have hooked 'em best when they've been deeper than Durant's pockets.

Barnes' only Final Four team, in 2002-03, had nine players who averaged double-figure minutes and a 10th who averaged 9.9 minutes per game. His Sweet 16 team the next year had a whopping 11 players who averaged more than 10 minutes. Everyone on his 2005-06 Elite Eight team played at least 5.4 minutes.

Get the feeling he can manage the minutes? "It's a situation I'd rather be in," Barnes said. "It's pretty simple. When you have a lot of guys who deserve to play, then everyone is accountable. If you do it in practice, then you're going to play. I'm not one of those guys who believes in players who do it only when the lights come on. You have to show up every day."

We're deep. Texas' depth and talent put the Horns as one of the best teams in the nation.

The bottom line is that no one has more overall talent up and down the roster than the boys in Austin.

Dexter Pittman and the Horns have a goal.

"People may say we're a great team right now, and we've got a lot of good players and stuff," Pittman said. "But there's a lot of areas where we need to improve. We're all dedicated and we're all going for one goal, and that's the Final Four."

Texas Sports interviews freshman Shawn Williams.

What are your thoughts on being part of what some say is one of the best freshman classes to ever come to Texas? It feels good. It's always good to be considered one of the best. I'm looking forward to it.

What are you going to have to do to earn playing time?
The main thing is playing defense. That's always a key factor. If you can't stop anybody, you're not going to play anyway, no matter who you are. That's what I'm working on right now.

Rush The Court previews the Big 12 Conference.

 

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Linebacker Von Miller leads the nation in sacks. And horse-collars?

Miller, a pass rusher from Dallas, leads the nation with 13.5 sacks through eight contests — with four regular-season games and probably a bowl game to go. Green, now an associate vice president with the university's 12th Man Foundation, owns the school's single-season sack record with 20, set in 1979.

 

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Athlon Sports tries to figure out what is going on in the Big 12 North.

The Big 12 now plays defense. The defenses have made this year very unpredictable.

It’s a new year in the Big 12. An unpredictable year. A year that has seen the once seemingly unstoppable offenses stopped, and the after-thought defenses step up.

Drama in Lawrence. Is there dissension between Mark Mangino and Todd Reesing?

"I think (the media) make it a big deal," Mangino said. "It’s not a big deal. When you look at the circumstances and what has taken place over a period of time, it was the appropriate thing to do."

But Reesing told the Lawrence Journal-World he viewed the situation differently.

"It was a big deal to me," Reesing told the Journal-World. "It is what it is. It’s above my pay grade. It’s his decision. (But) I’m still the starting quarterback here, there’s no doubt about that. This job is not up for grabs. I’m going to move forward."

"I guess you can take it for what it is," he said. "I don’t know if he was trying to send a message, or if he just wanted to let Kale play a little bit. I don’t have an explanation. It happened, it’s over, we’re moving forward."

The Kansas City Star's Jason Whitlock did not approve of Reesing's benching.

Mangino’s decision to bench Todd Reesing late in the Jayhawks’ loss to Texas Tech signals that the 12-1 season of 2007 and the Orange Bowl victory mean nothing in 2009. Not to Mangino, the Janet "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" Jackson of college football coaches.

Who cares that Reesing saved Mangino’s job and reputation and earned his coach additional millions by leading Kansas to a magical 12-1 season and top-10 ranking? Who cares that Reesing is the best Kansas quarterback since John Hadl?

And who really cares that the only way Kansas was going to erase Tech’s 14-point advantage was Reesing catching fire in the final seven minutes

A while ago a Kansas win over Kansas State was a given. Not any more.

In the last three weeks, the Jayhawks have plummeted. They were shockingly defeated by a bad Colorado team, and although it’s not exactly shocking that they lost to Oklahoma and Texas Tech, the way they lost those games was certainly surprising. Whereas quarterback Todd Reesing had earned a reputation of taking good care of the ball — he threw only seven interceptions all season in 2007 — he has become a turnover machine with seven of them in just the last three games, and that has been the biggest shortfall in KU’s pitfall.

Meanwhile, K-State has awakened from their slumber and has everyone thinking that the giant might be back. The Wildcats looked like they’d be a joke this year after barely winning by four over Massachusetts (who lost to Delaware by 16), losing to Louisiana (who lost to Florida Atlantic by 22), and getting pummeled by 52 against Texas Tech. Left for dead, KSU mystified everyone by beating Texas A&M by 48 for a one-week, 100-point turnaround, and then they proved it wasn’t a complete fluke by beating Colorado and only losing by 12 at Oklahoma.

Bill Snyder just wants a little balance.

"We have to become a more balanced football team," he said Tuesday with preparation under way for Saturday's 11:30 a.m. Big 12 North showdown with rival Kansas at Snyder Family Stadium. "I think that's important to our program, at least in my eyes."
   But, the fact remains that the Wildcats' bread and butter so far has been a rushing attack that ranks third in the league and 32nd nationally with 182.3 yards a game. They're last in the conference in passing at 175 a game.

Dan Hawkins is in a must-win situation in Colorado.

Colorado coach Dan Hawkins returned to normal this week at his media luncheon today. There was no long, introspective opening statement, reading of letters of support or acknowledgement of mistakes made as was the case a week ago.

Hawkins stayed with a business as usual approach in discussing last week's homecoming loss to Missouri and this Saturday's home game against a Texas A&M team he called "very electric."

The Buffs are in must-win mode for the rest of the season. Another loss would eliminate them from the postseason.

Zac Robinson will surpass Mike Gundy's passing record at Oklahoma State.

So now you tell us. Bob Stoops just wasn't as optimistic about his offensive line as his offensive coordinator.

He was "a lot more so than I was," Stoops said Tuesday during his weekly press conference. "You never heard me that way."

Before the season, Wilson publicly built up the potential of the Sooner line, even though only two of its members, tackle Trent Williams and guard Brian Simmons, had played meaningful snaps in their careers.

More from Bob on that offensive line:

"Little bit of everything in it. We got caught thin with a big graduating class. Not often do you have five guys that leave all at once. It’s fair to say, sure, we’ve had guys leave or had to remove guys because they didn’t go to class or don’t do what the team requires them to do. Then development, a lot of that’s on those guys. Certain guys have a better work ethic than other guys to get themselves ready to play. Overall, this unit’s got caught thin, got caught inexperienced, development isn’t what it needs to be. It’s a little bit of everything."

Did someone tell Sam Bradford?

Does Stoops want Nebraska to become a powerhouse program again?

"I'd rather they didn't," Stoops said with a chuckle Tuesday.

 

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No one wants Boise State. The Broncos want to schedule a BCS team in 2011, but no one is biting.

WAC commissioner Karl Benson told the Idaho Statesman on Wednesday that Boise State is struggling to schedule a BCS-conference opponent for 2011 — even with the help (and exposure and money) of ESPN behind the effort.

The Broncos are not asking for a return game in Boise. Just one road game. And about 10 teams have turned the Broncos down, according to Benson.

"They're running into a situation where nobody will schedule them, nobody will take them," Benson told the Statesman's Chadd Cripe.

No one is naming names, but here are some teams that have openings in 2011, according to nationalchamps.net: Michigan, Oklahoma, Arizona, Texas A&M, Alabama (though the Crimson Tide plays at Penn State in 2011), Texas, Oklahoma State

Among the teams whose schedules are full for 2011: UCLA, Penn State, Tennessee, Florida, USC

A TCU-Boise State match up in a bowl game? Not likely.

As for the TV ratings, it’s hard to imagine the Fiesta people being anxious for a return showing in the Idaho market. When Boise State beat Oklahoma in that memorable overtime 2007 game, it drew the third-lowest TV ratings for a BCS game ever.

There’s the problem. If Congress or the Mountain West Conference or anybody wants to "fix" the BCS, it needs to amend the selection procedure so that the most deserving teams get invited to the other four games, rather than the teams that will make the bowls the most money.

It is all about the money. Iowa State gets a bigger payday on ABC, but it is really just about the exposure.

ABC television picking up Saturday's Iowa State game, and scheduling it for 2:30 p.m., means $301,000 for the Cyclones' athletic department - considerably more than the $175,000 gained if the Versus Network picked up the game.

"We're just glad to get television exposure on a regional basis across the country," Pollard said. "I'm sure our fans will appreciate having an afternoon game."

This could only happen in California. Cal's faculty wants to end subsidies for athletic programs.

With the University of California rocked by an economic crisis, a group of faculty members is calling on the school's athletics department to get its financial house in order and for the school to stop subsidizing the athletics budget.

Brian Barsky, a professor of computer science, and seven other faculty members have written a resolution that calls for Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau to end the school's subsidization of athletics, draw up plan for the athletics department to pay off its debt and mandate that the department stay out of the red.

Lots of spin. Athletic departments use PR to make their case in the BCS.

There's been plenty of stumping and spinning this week that had nothing to do with Tuesday's elections. About a month before the final Bowl Championship Series standings are released, some college football programs have cranked up their campaigns.

The talking heads do not like Iowa. The Hawkeyes do not get national respect.

Some national pundits have turned the University of Iowa's bid for college football perfection into a punch line.

On Web sites, radio or television, someone often is aiming a zinger at coach Kirk Ferentz's team - the only 9-0 team in the country.