It's not exactly a secret that junior Texas Longhorns wide receiver Mike Davis had a tough season in 2011, failing to follow through on the tantalizing promise made by his freshman season, catching fewer passes last year and scoring but a single solitary touchdown.
Moreover, his production decreased as the season went along, when he was essentially a non-factor late, showing as little interest in blocking as he did catching the ball -- that's just re-hashing things that are talked about all the time around here with him.
On Friday, Davis, who asked to be allowed to wear the word "Magic" along with his last name on his jersey back in the spring when he was shot down, spoke candidly but did not go into the specifics of his "personal issues" last season, widely attributed in the blogosphere, and this space in particular, to his highly toxic roommate, disgruntled malcontent Darius White.
There is a legitimate reason that Davis wanted it on there -- it wasn't just for flamboyant or cocky reasons. No, his middle name actually is Magic. Says so on his birth certificate.
Davis began by saying that he's now a "better person, and a better player" because he has his "head on straight" now. His head was definitely somewhere last season, but on straight was definitely not where it was.
What were those problems, anyway?
Well, it was a lot of personal issues, a lot of distractions, a lot of problems going on, and some other things that I would prefer not to talk about.
With his head on straight now, Davis said that he's feeling much better:
I feel loose, focused, energized, and just happy to be out there. I love playing the game that I love playing and enjoy doing every day at practice. With my role, I am really not a vocal guy and I just lead by example. I just do what I am told and do it the best I can.
Davis manned up and admitted that at times his focus on the field was not there, a likely explanation for why his hands suddenly deserted him and he began to drop passes that he had never dropped before in his career. Even sophomore wide receiver Jaxon Shipley noted how unusual those drops were last season.
More than just being energized and happy to be out there, Davis went a step further later in the interview when talking about how he uses the negatives to fuel his now-rekindled fire for the game:
Actually I like hearing it now. I feel like my mind slipped away from me [last year]. I am just trying to play my game and am not trying to prove any points. I just want to play with passion. I just really want to show everyone that I am back, and I am ready to do this.
Some passion would be nice. And if you're still buddies with ol' Darius White, maybe give him a holler and define the word for him.
The passion was lacking last season to the extent that Davis considered giving up the game of football, but prefaced the statement by saying that he's "not a quitter." Instead of "running away from it" and trying to play basketball, which he has apparently always had a passion for, Davis decided to stick with the Texas program, and stick with football.
Even publicly, there were serious doubt about whether he would be with the team in the spring.
Davis stuck with it, reportedly had a good spring, and blocked better than he ever had in his life in the spring game, a good sign of his renewed focus. He's now holding himself to a high standard again:
I feel like if I'm going to be Magic, I have to make magic plays. I've got to hold myself up to that standard.
A standard that Texas fan held him to last season. Standards which he did not even come close to reaching. Now, all that's left is to go out and make the plays on the field, which he will have an opportunity to do in 15 days against Wyoming
To sum things up on where he is, Davis said, "I'm better today."