clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Texas Longhorns falling behind in in-state football facility arms race

It doesn't take long to fall behind these days.

Stacy Revere

As the Texas A&M Aggies and Baylor Bears work on their renovated and brand-new football facilities, respectively, the Texas Longhorns are contemplating the future for Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, which is no longer the class of Texas college football.

On Friday, athletics director Steve Patterson again confirmed plans to keep up with the Joneses through renovations of the Texas football facilities in an interview for SiriusXM's Camp Tour.

But first, here's what the 'Horns are competing against with the 55,000-seat McLane Stadium on the Brazos:

In addition to in-stadium WiFi meant to solve the ever-present problems of carrier overload in packed stadiums, the Bears have also created an app to improve the experience and provide fans with up-to-date statistics.

And that's beyond the physical amenities that exist in the stadium, which include a room for recruits visiting during games that features a viewing area of the tunnel the team will use to enter the field and its own tunnel to access the field.

Photos of that lounge are available here.

While Baylor wasn't especially ambitious with the seating capacity for the stadium, it's a beautiful facility that should provide a significant home-field advantage because all of the fans are close to the field and will have their cheering amplified and contained by the overhangs around the stadium's bowl.

Out in College Station, the Aggies are finishing the Phase 1 Kyle Field renovations that will make it the largest stadium in the state of Texas with the largest collegiate scoreboard in the country, a fact that makes the Godzillatron at DKR seem increasingly outdated.

Not only is the video board the biggest in college football, it's also the first to use full 1080 HD resolution.

By the start of the football season in 2015, Phase 2 of the project will be complete, which will feature an entirely new west side of the stadium and finished construction on the south end zone.

In all, the construction will eventually result in a new strength and conditioning facility, a new locker room, and a new recruiting room.

Good Bull Hunting has photos of the renovations, which should make Kyle Field an even more hostile environment for opponents, especially since the updates there also include the installation of overhangs for the upper deck to provide shade from the sun and to keep sound in the stadium.

Meanwhile, the Horns are unquestionably falling behind.

Renovations to the south end zone of DKR are on tap for Texas as part of $750 million in facility upgrades across sports, which will likely include the demolition of the Moncrief Neuhaus facility that currently houses the football offices, locker room, strength and conditioning facility, and academic center.

Preliminary plans associated with the Dell Medical School appear to show a new south end zone and new football offices for the Horns.

So while the renovations to the south end zone aren't expected to significantly increase capacity, if at all, the Godzillatron will likely be replaced with a newer scoreboard and there will likely be more suites, as those suites provide a significant source of revenue for the athletic department.

Head coach Charlie Strong cautioned against putting too much stock into facility improvements in his own interview with Sirius XM's Camp Tour.

"I'll tell a kid, 'Hey, we have a nice training room but at night you're not sleeping in that training room,'" Strong said. "You're going to go off to your dorm room or go wherever you go.

"If a young man is coming here for a facility he's coming here for the wrong reason," he added. "I want him to come here because he loves the University of Texas. I want him to come here because he wants to get an education, a great degree from a great university and that he wants to play for this great university. That's what it's all about."

Fair enough, but it may also be the case that having impressive facilities may be the first step in seriously attracting the attention of a visiting recruit, allowing the staff the opportunity to make a pitch about why a prospect can benefit from playing football at Texas by getting a quality education and becoming a part of the program's storied history.

In the end, though, Strong sounded resigned to the realities of the situation.

"You don't always want to make it about facilities. But that's what it's really coming to."

And in a world where facilities matter and the Horns are coming off four straight disappointing seasons, Texas needs all the help it can get to restore the program to its former heights.

Problem is, Strong may have to make those inroads on his own, as the facility improvements won't be fast in coming.