Category Archives: High School Football

Gypsies and SEC Talent Headed For DKR

It’s been less than a month since it began, thankfully for most, and yet the hemorrhaging from the University of Texas football program continues. In the short time since the Longhorns ended their disastrous 5-7 season, head coach Mack Brown has gone from an in-control-of-the-program CEO to looking like Scotty Smalls trying to make friends and play backyard baseball in The Sandlot. In other words, he’s got some work to do…and fast.

Up until last week, the Longhorns had seen four coaches depart since November – offensive coordinator Greg Davis, offensive line coach Mac McWhorter, defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, and defensive line coach Mike Tolleson. But, to put a wrapper on 2010, wide receiver coach Bobby Kennedy expectedly resigned on Dec. 30 to make a lateral move to be the University of Colorado’s wide receiver coach. Make that five.

Throughout a tumultuous December, Longhorn fans across the country spread coaching hire rumors as fast as they could drink a bottle of Salt Lick BBQ sauce. They threw around more names than Santa Claus could rattle off reindeer names. And yet the New Year passed with nothing from the halls Belmont. What exactly was Mack Brown doing over there? Had we been naughty and not nice?

Darrell Wyatt

On Monday and Tuesday this week, fans began to get some answers – albeit not quite the names or coordinator-level titles fans were expecting. The first presser of 2011 brought us Darrell Wyatt as the new wide receiver coach and co-recruiting coordinator, and you can watch Wyatt’s introductory press conference here. Wyatt is a Texas-born Kansas State alumnus who is a get-to-the-point coach with credible Big 12 Conference experience and has been both a wide receiver coach, offensive coordinator, not to mention recruiting extraordinaire. The problem might be, he’s a gypsy of sorts – making his rounds year-after-year – to different schools around the country, including Kansas (most recently), Baylor, oklahoma, and Oklahoma State…and those are just his Big 12 Conference stops. In fact, he’s coached at 14 different universities in his 21 years of coaching. That said, Wyatt can downright get kids to come play for him and turn them in to top-tier talent – see also Adrian Peterson (oklahoma), Mark Clayton (oklahoma), Rashaun Woods (Oklahoma State), and Mike Thomas (Arizona). He’s recruited from Texas for most of his coaching tenure, including the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, Houston and East Texas, and Central Texas. It’s an exciting addition, and ‘Horns fans can be assured that Wyatt will turn out as much talent to the next level as former offensive coordinator Greg Davis ruined. Another positive for Wyatt – his youth and energy. Brown’s talked about it, and now it’s coming to fruition – a much-needed addition to the retirement home-bound staff that had been residing in Austin the past few seasons.

Bo Davis

In addition to Wyatt, Mack Brown also announced Bo Davis, who has served as a Nick Saban disciple at LSU, the Miami Dolphins, and Alabama, is joining the Texas Longhorns staff, making a lateral move to become the ‘Horns defensive line coach. During his tenure with the Crimson Tide, Davis has had a top-10 defense year-in and year-out in one of the toughest conferences in the country, and he has had several defensive lineman become all-conference or all-American players. Prior to joining the ranks of Saban’s various staffs across the southeast, Davis spent several years coaching at Galena Park North Shore High School in Texas, including coaching former Longhorn DE Cory Redding, and has relationships with high schools across the state. Given his background as an LSU alumnus and assistant, Davis also brings inroads to the top high schools in Louisiana.

The question now becomes whether Brown is making random hires that he hopes work well together under his tutelage. It seems odd, to this writer anyway, to hire position coaches when the coordinator positions are still up in the air. At least, publically still up in the air. Maybe Brown’s got his CEO house in order, has lined up more than we know behind the scenes, and has everything but signatures on the dotted line. Maybe he’s building a staff based on input from those to-be-named resources.

Rumors are circulating that leading candidates for the offensive and defensive coordinator positions are also in Austin interviewing this week. While many expected Teryl Austin (Florida), Everett Withers (North Carolina), or even former Longhorn Jerry Gray (Seattle Seahawks), to be leading defensive coordinator candidates, it appears as though Brown is after another young, energetic SEC coach instead – none other than Mississippi State’s Manny Diaz. Diaz would be an interesting hire, but to look at what he’s done with a middle-of-the-road SEC team only means he could flourish with the talent in Texas. On the offensive side of the ball, many have considered Boise State or Wisconsin’s coaching gurus to be the focus of the search, and that seems to be more or less true, as the Badgers offensive coordinator Paul Chryst is supposedly the top target. But, don’t rule out the Broncos’ OC, although it sounds like he wants some of his boys (namely, his offensive line coach) to come along for the ride if he signs a contract to come to Austin.

Only time will tell, but as the college bowl season wraps up and the recruiting window opens up again leading in to Signing Day in early February, it’s due time to name some coaching talent and get them in Austin and on the road solidifying what is and could still be the #1 recruiting class in 2011.

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Filed under Big 12, Buffaloes, Cowboys, High School Football, Jayhawks, Longhorns, NCAA Football, NFL, Sooners, Wildcats

Week 4: Big 12 Football Updates

Updated 9/30: Texas A&M wide receiver Jeff Fuller out 4-6 weeks with broken leg. More in Comments.

As with every week so far this college football season, some highlights and lowlights from week four. Unfortunately, most of the news out of the Big 12 Conference this week isn’t good. Let’s look in to what’s going on.

Baylor QB Robert Griffin Injured, Out For The Season
Very early in the game against Northwestern State, star quarterback and leader of the Baylor Bears football team, Robert Griffin, injured his knee. While he was taken to the sideline and briefly sat out, Griffin returned to the game in the first half with his knee heavily wrapped to throw for 226 yards and three TDs. At halftime, another examination of his knee revealed a slight tear of his ACL, and he will be out for the remainder of the season. With the lifeblood of the Bears offense out, what looked to be optimism in Waco has suddenly turned in to despair. Filling the QB void will be senior Blake Syzmanski, who looked decent in the second half, was 3-for-5 for 58 yards and one TD. The Bears won the game handily, 68-13, to go to 2-1 on the season, and they take on Kent State on Saturday.

Texas Tech Suspensions…and Twitter
Not only has head coach Mike Leach put a ban on his players using Twitter due to a player’s Tweet that he shouldn’t have to be at a team meeting when the coach was running late, but starting offensive lineman Brandon Carter has been suspended indefinitely for breaking team rules. So far, no additional details have come out on his suspension, but we suspect he might have used too much face paint during last week’s game. OK, not really, but that guy is scary for many reasons. The lack of Twitter content coming from Lubbock is a huge setback for the growing Eyes Of…Twitter resource on this blog for sure. Can you imagine how awesome it would be to have Leach Tweeting? It’d be journalistic gold.

‘Horns Set Big 12 Conference “Player of the Week” Record
After another spectacular defensive performance on Saturday, the ‘Horns were rewarded with another surprise early this week. Safety Earl Thomas was tabbed the Big 12 Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week after tallying two INTs against UTEP. It’s the third week in a row that a Texas defender has been named the conference’s player of the week – a conference first, no matter the category – and Thomas follows Lamarr Houston (Wyoming game) and Rodderick Muckelroy (Texas Tech). There are 12 players on defense, and more than 12 weeks in a good football season…hmmm. Who’s stepping up against Colorado?

New York Yankees…Bowl Game?
Yep, you read that right. The New York Yankees have announced that, beginning in the 2010 bowl season, the new Yankees stadium will host a college football bowl game. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to play a bowl game in New York City in December when its cold, rainy and possibly snowing? What will they call it? The Steinbrenner Bowl? The Salary Cap Bowl? The Raise Money To Get Another Yankee Hall of Famer Bowl? Rumor has it that the bowl will be tied to the Big East and Big 12 Conferences, so expect to see a middle-of-the-road Big 12 team (probably the #7 conference team) taking on a Big East wannabe (#4 conference team) – can you feel the excitement in the air? If a Big 12 team isn’t eligible, then the Yankees would defer to Notre Dame. Does that mean NBC will broadcast it? In addition, the Yankees organization has signed up Army to play four regular season games at the stadium over the next five years, including tilts against Notre Dame and Rutgers.

Texas Longhorns Denied NCAA Reinstatement
While defensive back Deon Beasley was recently reinstated by the NCAA for academic ineligibility in advance of the Texas Tech game, his fellow ‘Horns were not so lucky. Safety Christian Scott and wide receiver Brandon Collins were denied their appeals to the NCAA on Monday, and will not play for the Longhorns this season. They will still be allowed to practice with the team, and both have two years of eligibility remaining – Scott is a redshirt sophomore, and Collins is a junior. Luckily for the ‘Horns, the offense has begun to click with quarterback Colt McCoy getting comfortable with wide outs John Chiles and Dan Buckner, and the defense has looked extremely solid despite the lack of Scott, although fans might see less nickel packages against the Big 12’s potent passing attack from defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. Barring any injuries this season at those critical positions, head coach Mack Brown’s squad should be able to get by just fine without those players.

Texas, no…Baylor, no…an SEC school?
Standout Midway (Waco, TX) High School safety Ahmad Dixon, who initially verbally committed to play for the Texas Longhorns in February 2009, and later switched his commitment to the Baylor Bears in May 2009, is now apparently taking visits to some SEC schools, ESPN reports. Dixon is the #15 player on the ESPNU top 150 list. To be a fly on the wall when Dixon is trying to pick out what to wear to school each day – it’s amazing he ever makes it to class.

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Filed under Aggies, Bears, Big 12, High School Football, Longhorns, NCAA Football, Red Raiders

Texas, THE State for High School Football

In no small part due to its history, and with a little help from Hollywood, the Texas high school football landscape leaves little to wonder about who many college football fanatics will see on the playing field on Saturdays in the coming years. They call it Friday Night Lights for a reason – because these kids shine week-in and week-out in a state that calls football religion.

There are doubters, of course, reining from California, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Florida and Ohio – but there are few states in which all colleges come calling to find their next big stars. Weekly, throughout the fall, Rivals.com will publish and update their list of the top 100 high school football teams in the country. This week’s rankings can be found here.

Which Texas schools stack up this year? Here a list of the Texas boys that have made the grade so far this season, 12 of the top 100 high school football teams – the most of any state:

Katy, Texas
Cedar Hill, Texas
Longview, Texas
Allen, Texas
James Madison (San Antonio), Texas
North Shore (Houston), Texas
Hightower (Missouri City), Texas
Garland, Texas
Stony Point (Round Rock), Texas
Cy Creek (Houston), Texas
Skyline (Dallas), Texas
Trinity (Euless), Texas

In comparison, the other states with multiple teams in the top 100 include: Alabama (2), Arkansas (1), Arizona (3), California (8), Colorado (2), Florida (11), Georgia (6), Iowa (1), Illinois (1), Kansas (1), Kentucky (2), Louisiana (3), Massachusetts (1), Maryland (3), Michigan (4), Minnesota (1), Missouri (1), Mississippi (3), North Carolina (2), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (2), New Mexico (1), Nevada (1), Ohio (6), Oklahoma (2), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (4), South Carolina (2), Tennessee (2), Texas (12), Utah (2), Virginia (4), Washington (3), and Wisconsin (1).

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising, then, that the typical top college programs also come from the top high school football states – Texas, oklahoma (with Texas recruits), LSU (with Texas recruits), Florida, Florida State, USC, and Ohio State.

Truth be told, though – if Eyes Of TX uses their own high school as an example – the kids are simply bred from birth to cherish and learn the game of football. In 6th grade, we began running the varsity playbook – albeit a cut down version – learning the formations, running those plays to perfection, and building out the playbook over the next 7 years of our lives. That dedication and work led to numerous district championships, deep playoff runs, and a state championship in this blogger’s tenure. This is also the same culture in which this blogger’s community, rather than build a new high school to support the growing number of students, decided that it was best to keep the football team together – so they built a 9th grade center instead. This is how we were raised – to be the best, no matter the cost. At the end of the day, we may not have been the biggest, or the fastest, but we had heart, grit and a work ethic that drove us to be successful.

Something to be said for what they feed those kids in Texas – and we’re not talking about the food.

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