Tag Archives: Florida Gators

The Sky Is Falling in Austin

What at first appeared to be a blessing in disguise for Texas this off-season is quickly becoming a nightmare for Texas football head coach Mack Brown and the athletic department. Following his first losing and worst season in Texas history (5-7), pressure was on Brown to replace key coaching positions on his staff where deficiencies were observed. That meant a swift “adios” to long-time offensive coordinator Greg Davis, as well as line coaches Mac McWhorter and Mike Tolleson.

Today, in the wake of Florida Gator coach Urban Meyer’s second retirement in Gainesville, athletic director Jeremy Foley has announced the Gators they’ve hired away Brown’s coach-in-waiting for the Longhorns – none other than defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.

Holy, Davy Crockett with a raccoon hat. Next, we’re going to find out the Confederacy won the Civil War, the French army is something to be reckoned with, and there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Brown’s got some big holes to fill, and just when he thought things were lining up perfectly for him to retire in the not-to-distant future. The two lead coordinator positions, plus the two line coaches – and maybe a wide receiver coach to boot – leads to a very, very busy off-season. Anyone else think 2011’s becoming a re-building year…again?!

Hey, Greg Robinson…tired of working for Rich Rodriguez and getting your door knocked on by the NCAA every other day? Hey Gene Chizik, when you’re done coaching you’re Heisman Trophy quarterback in the national championship game this year, would you be interested in coming back to coach the defense in Austin? Hey, Major Applewhite, aren’t you glad you’re sticking around…opportunities are becoming more and more available for you, my man.

It’s evident, even more so with this latest departure – EyesOfTX is quickly seeing a very, very young coaching staff taking over the helm in Austin in the next 3-5 years.

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College Football: Week 9 Viewing Guide

This week on “PTI,” Tony and Mike were asked which coach needs a win more, Urban Meyer or Mack Brown. They both have three-loss teams, both have been beaten at home by lesser ranked opponents, and both were preseason top five teams. Their argument came down to which fan base has the crazier fan base with the most unrealistic expectations. Both Tony and Mike chose Urban Meyer as the coach with the most heat at the moment. They’re probably right, though for the wrong reason.

It seems that every year Mack Brown gets another 9-year extension, and is currently on contract until seemingly 2035. The UT boosters, administrators, players, janitors, parking attendants, and field mice love him. The problem is, and always has been – in the eyes of students and alumni at least – offensive coordinator Greg Davis. In the early years of the last decade the phrase “Fire Greg Davis” was as ubiquitous as “Texas Fight” around the Forty Acres. For a time, those cheers quieted as Vince Young and Colt McCoy were able to compensate for poor coaching with superior talent. Today, the cries for Greg Davis’ job are as loud as ever, but are we any closer to his ouster now than we were after five consecutive losses to ou? His supporters can point to this season’s signature win at Nebraska as a point in his favor, and they can fault the inexperience of Garret Gilbert as a reason for the offensive struggles.

After last weekend’s loss, however, even Mack Brown had harsh words for his assistants, saying, “I told them if one of your guys is playing bad, I can change them. If three of your guys are playing bad, I change you.” For a coach known to always take the blame, shielding his players and coaches from criticism, those words carry extra weight and make you wonder if maybe his long partnership with Davis is nearing an end. What would it take? A third straight home loss? To Baylor, no less? Losing out and missing a bowl game? Or, has the damage already been done?

This week Baylor comes into Austin ranked for the first time since 1993, and hoping for their first win over Texas in 12 years. The Bears are also currently in first place in the Big 12’s South division. It’s hard to imagine that a win over Baylor could actually be a signature win on the season, but that is the situation we find ourselves in.

All rankings below are from the current BCS poll. Also, make sure to check your local listings for channel availability, and also these coverage maps for the mid-Saturday and prime-time regional games.

The games this weekend stink, so commentary is light, but if you can bear to watch, here’s your Week 9 viewing guide.

Saturday, October 30
12:00 p.m. ET
#17 Oklahoma State at Kansas State (FSN, Comcast Sports)

The next two Longhorn opponents.

#22 Miami (FL) at Virginia (ESPN)
The early games are light on intrigue.

3:30 p.m. ET
#5 Michigan State at #18 Iowa (ABC/ESPN)

One of the day’s better games, and what should be MSU’s last big test.

#6 Missouri at #14 Nebraska (ABC/ESPN)
This game should decide the Big 12’s North division champion.

Florida vs. Georgia @ Jacksonville, FL (CBS)
Has there ever been less hype for this rivalry?

6:00 p.m. ET
#1 Auburn at Mississippi, ESPN2

The top team has fallen each of the last three weeks. Don’t expect that trend to continue, tune in to watch Auburn QB Cam Newton be awesome.

7:00 p.m. ET
#25 Baylor at Texas (FSN)

See how Texas responds to their latest embarrassment.

8:00 p.m. ET
#2 Oregon at Southern California (ABC)

One of Oregon’s final tests en route to the BCS title game.

#11 Ohio State at Minnesota (ABC)
If Michigan State goes down, the top of the Big Ten will be real interesting presuming OSU and Wisconsin continue to roll.

9:15 p.m. ET
Colorado at #9 oklahoma (ESPN2)

The night cap game has ou giving Colorado a send off from the Big 12. Over/under is at 65 points for ou.

Thanks to “Lil Pete” for his ongoing contributions to EyesOfTX.

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College Football: Week 6 Viewing Guide

Well, last week was once again unfortunate. So, as Longhorn fans hope for another 10-win season and a respectable bowl invitation, we can still enjoy the best games each week. Texas is mercifully off this week, but there’s plenty else to keep you entertained.

The rankings listed here are from the AP poll until the BCS poll begins in mid-October. Check your local listings for channel availability, and also these coverage maps for the mid-Saturday regional games.

Settle in for some indifference! Here’s the Week 6 viewing guide.

Saturday, October 9
12:00 PM ET
Indiana at #2 Ohio State (ESPN/ESPN3D)

Ohio State is easily rolling along through their schedule. Don’t expect an upset, but this is an opportunity to see one of the best teams in the country.

3:30 PM ET
#1 Alabama at #19 South Carolina (CBS)

Alabama looks unstoppable based on the way they’ve dominated so far this season. Yet they struggled the last time they went on the road against a ranked team, needing a second half comeback to pull off the win against Arkansas two weeks ago. You can bet the Ol’ Ball Coach picked up some pointers he hopes to exploit.

Check the coverage maps to see where to find which regional game will be on in your area. The regional games this week include:

#11 Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (ABC)
If you can catch it in your area, A&M facing Arkansas at Cowboy Stadium should bring back Southwest Conference memories.

#17 Michigan State at #18 Michigan (ABC/ESPN)
Michigan hosting Michigan State will finally be interesting again, especially with one of the most exciting QBs in the country under Rich Rodriguez’s tutelage.

Clemson at North Carolina (ABC/ESPN)
Once again, ACC country gets a horrible game in the mid-afternoon regional lineup.

7:30 PM ET
#8 Auburn at Kentucky (ESPN2)

Auburn is yet another SEC team that’s rolling right along and looking like a legitimate threat to Alabama’s hopes for SEC domination this season. Auburn will be looking for a little payback going to Kentucky having lost to the Wildcats at home a year ago.

#12 LSU at #14 Florida (ESPN)
Urban Meyer should have asked Nick Saban for a safe word in last week’s throttling. Either the wheels have fallen off or the Gators will be looking to make a statement against unbeaten LSU.

We also have a pair of regional games in the prime time slot:

8:00 PM ET
#23 Florida State at #13 Miami, FL (ABC)

The history in this game makes it intriguing to watch every year. This is the rivalry that brought us “Wide Right” and Jenn Sterger. Both teams are on the upswing for the first time in what seems like forever so it’s nice to finally have some meaning in it once again. If you’re east of the Rockies, this will be your game.

Southern California at #16 Stanford (ABC)
For those on the West Coast, you get the PAC-10 matchup. Both teams took their first loss last week, and the memory of the drama following last year’s Stanford win is surely fresh in everyone’s mind.

10:35 PM ET
San Jose State at #21 Nevada (ESPNU)

Your night cap game this week gives you a look at suddenly surging Nevada. Could they pose a legitimate threat to Boise State later this year? Take a look for yourself.

Thanks to “Lil Pete” for his ongoing contributions to EyesOfTX.

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College Football: Week 5 Viewing Guide

After last week’s debacle in Austin, any hopes the Longhorns had of making it to the national title game went out the window. Nonetheless, there is still the prospect of playing in a BCS bowl game and for the Big 12 title. With this week’s game against ou, and Nebraska in two weeks, Texas has the ability to redeem themselves in a hurry. The ‘Horns have fallen considerably in both polls, to #21 and #16 in the AP and Coaches polls, respectively, but those rankings mean little when you’re out of the title hunt.

At this point it’s all about conference domination, but just for fun, we can hope for a late season run and focus on all the help we’ll need along the way. With more teams to root against, the rest of the season should be interesting.

The rankings listed here are from the AP poll until the BCS poll begins in mid-October. Check your local listings for channel availability, and also these coverage maps for the mid-Saturday regional games.

Now let’s get to it. Put on your “hater” hat and follow the week 5 viewing guide.

Saturday, October 2
12:00 PM ET
Louisiana-Monroe at #10 Auburn (ESPNU)

Auburn should handle business at home against an inferior team, but this game will do little to move the needle for them.

No. 16 Miami, FL at Clemson (ESPN2/ESPN3D)
Both of these teams will be playing their first conference game of the season. Expect this to be a good game with Clemson trying to make a statement at home.

3:30 PM ET
#21 Texas vs. #8 oklahoma (ABC/ESPN)

The Horns’ path to redemption begins in Dallas this weekend. Reference EyesOfTX’s game preview here. Note: This game will not be shown on TV in the mid- and south Atlantic regions. Check the coverage maps to see where you can find it in your area.

Virginia Tech at #23 North Carolina State (ABC)
Another regional coverage game. A Tech loss here only weakens Boise State’s case for their lofty ranking.

#11 Wisconsin at #24 Michigan State (ABC/ESPN)
The final of the regional trio this week has highly-ranked Wisconsin going on the road. Michigan State is getting a lot of credit for the way they’ve played the last few weeks, and they’ll prove they’re worthy of it if they knock off the Badgers. Their head coach Mark Dantonio will be coaching from the booth as he returns from the mild heart attack he suffered two weeks ago.

Tennessee at #12 LSU (CBS)
Keep an eye on what’s happening in Baton Rouge and hope for a major upset. LSU head coach Les Miles is beginning to take a lot of criticism, let’s hope it’s merited.

#19 Michigan at Indiana (ESPNU)
Michigan is finally getting on track for the first time since head coach Rich Rodriguez took over the team. A conference road game could be just what we need to see them lose their way again.

8:00 PM ET
#7 Florida at #1 Alabama (CBS)

This should be one of the better games of the season. From the standpoint of a Texas fan, there is no good scenario with this game. Both teams will remain ranked higher than Texas despite who wins here or what happens in Dallas. That said, the lesser of two evils would be for Alabama to roll on and knock Florida back a few slots, leaving the status quo at the top of the SEC for now and hoping for some other spoiler down the road.

#9 Stanford at #4 Oregon (ABC/ESPN2)
This is a similar situation to the aforementioned game, and ‘Horns fans should take the same position as before and hope for the higher ranked team to hold on to that position for the time being. The PAC-10 is usually a cluster, so it’s foreseeable that both of these teams will lose at least one more time as well.

Washington at #18 Southern California (ESPN2)
Ah, USC, how we’ve loved to hate you for these last few years. But now that you’re bowl ineligible, you can play hero. By wreaking havoc throughout the conference, USC can determine the fates of many teams this year, without taking a bowl spot for themselves. Let’s hope for an undefeated Trojans season going into their final game against UCLA on December 4th and then getting crushed.

8:05 PM ET
#22 Penn State at #17 Iowa (ESPN)

It would be easy to hope that Penn State could knock of Iowa on the road thereby removing one higher-ranked team from Texas’ path, but a victory like that would be one to vault the Nittany Lions over Texas in the rankings. For the time being that might be acceptable, being that the Big Ten has a way of knocking off all of its teams on its own. With this game, Iowa begins a four game stretch of ranked opponents and then still has to face Ohio State in late November. Penn State’s competition is more spread out and their one loss to-date was on the road at #1 Alabama. Hope for Iowa to win this one knowing that they’ll likely fall again in the next few weeks.

Thanks to “Lil Pete” for his ongoing weekly viewing guide contributions to EyesOfTX.

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Bradford, McCoy Top QB Scores On NFL’s Wonderlic Test

As opposed to the Vince Young debacle of four years ago, when the national championship-winning quarterback scored a 6 on his first attempt at the Wonderlic test, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy had a “respectable” showing in his NFL Combine Wonderlic test scores this week according to the Austin American-Statesman.

The test, composed of 50-questions and administered in 12 minutes, assesses a player’s overall aptitude, and is especially important for quarterbacks, offensive lineman, and linebackers who must make quick decisions.

McCoy had the second-best score of this year’s quarterback class with a 25, but the leading score was from oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford who scored a 36. Other quarterbacks in this year’s NFL draft class, including Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen (23) and Florida’s Tim Tebow (22) scored lower. The average player scores, on average, a 20 on the exam.

Will this increase McCoy’s draft status over the paparazzi-status of Clausen or Tebow? Could Bradford’s score elevate him to the top of the draft? It remains to be seen, but Young’s final Wonderlic score of 15 didn’t affect him being taken as the 3rd player in that draft to the Tennessee Titans (and becoming a two-time Pro Bowl selection in his first four years in the league).

Thoughts? How much impact does a player’s Wonderlic test score have on the player’s success in the NFL?

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Texas’ 2010 Football Recruiting: Locked & (Re)Loaded

If Texas football coach Mack Brown and his staff are still feeling as if they let one get away after last month’s disappointing loss to Alabama in the BCS National Championship game, then Wednesday should help put the Longhorns’ coaches in position to make another run at the success that eluded them January 7th in Pasadena.

The title of “Mr. February” has long been retired ever since Brown put to rest the stigma that he “couldn’t win the big one.” Texas’ run to Brown’s first Big 12 and national championships in the 2005 season validated him as a game day coach, and mythical titles have since been replaced by more tangible ones.

But with that said, the first Wednesday of every February is Texas’ time to shine – at least it has been since Brown restored recruiting order in Austin – and this National Signing Day was no different as he and the Longhorns’ staff secured signed letters of intent from 25 of the nation’s top prep athletes en route to another consensus top 5 recruiting class for Texas.

Among the group signees announced on Wednesday, seven were named Parade All-Americans, three earned first-team USA Today All-USA honors and two others earned second-team All-USA honors. All told, 17 players earned All-America status, 15 players were listed among ESPNU’s Top 150 national prospects and 20 were listed among all-state teams.

The 2002 class that would eventually carry Texas during Brown’s memorable 2005 season is considered by many to be the standard by which Mack Brown classes should be evaluated. It featured several impact contributors such as offensive lineman Justin Blalock, Lyle Sendlein, and Kasey Studdard, defensive back Aaron Ross, tight end David Thomas, defensive end Brian Robison and, of course, quarterback Vince Young.

And while Brown isn’t willing to rush to any hasty judgments of a group that hasn’t played a down of collegiate football, he didn’t back down from entertaining such comparisons either.

“Some will want to compare this group to some of the other great classes we’ve had at Texas and based on their accomplishments coming out of high school, they have the potential to be in that conversation,” Brown said Wednesday afternoon during his signing day press conference. “But, as a staff, we’ve been doing this for a long time and we’ll evaluate them in four or five years at the end of their run and not now.”

While the 2010 class’ legacy is yet to be determined, they do stack up well with other top classes in the country. Rivals rated the Longhorns class third behind only Florida and USC.

“Texas’ class is certainly right up there with any program in the country when you factor in how much talent the Longhorns are bringing in and how well they’ve filled their needs,” said Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Jeremy Crabtree to Jason Suchomel of Orangebloods.com. “Any other year, this would be the clear No. 1 class in the country.”

For the fourth time in the last five years, Texas finished in Scout’s top 10, also at No. 3 where they followed Florida and Oklahoma. The Longhorns’ most favorable ranking came courtesy of ESPN, which ranked Texas second behind only Florida.

Texas’ class is obviously loaded with plenty of star power capable of supporting its lofty ranking, but according to Brown, the class also carefully addressed key areas of need as the Longhorns look to improve depth throughout the roster.

“Of our 13 classes at Texas, this group addresses every position more so than any other class we’ve had,” Brown said. “We were fortunate enough to sign a talented young player at every position which is very unusual for a class.”

The intent is that improved depth will improve competition as the Longhorns begin preparations for the 2010 season with spring football rapidly approaching.

“We will prepare all of these guys to play this season and I expect many of them will,” the 12-year Texas coach continued. “This class, along with the outstanding young players we have returning next season, will provide immediate help and also be a great foundation for success in years to come.”

Also impressive is the efficiency the Longhorns staff exhibited while identifying and ultimately landing this year’s class. As Brown indicated Wednesday, the Texas coaches extended 30 total offers, and hosted just 25 of the 62 official on-campus visits permitted by the NCAA. All 25 of those official visits resulted in signatures on Wednesday.

No stranger to signing day drama and losses – uttering the name “Ryan Perrilloux” is still liable to spark bitterness among the burnt orange and white nation, Brown was happy to enjoy an uneventful signing day.

“It’s a whole lot worse to be No. 2 in recruiting than it is No. 5,” Brown said. “Because if you lose today, you not only lost the guy you lost, but you lost the guy you would have taken if he hadn’t come. So actually, you lose two or three players when you lose a guy late.

“That’s why we’ve tried to do our recruiting earlier for guys that want to come. We’re very fortunate that we didn’t have drama at the end. All of our guys were honest with us. All of our guys told us exactly what they thought from the beginning, and we really feel like none of our guys wavered. And that’s something that’s very, very important to us.”

This year’s class is predictably dominated by Texas’ top talent as 22 of 25 prospects hail from the Lone Star state. Since taking the Longhorns’ job, Brown has embraced legendary Texas coach Darrell K. Royal’s advice to reestablish ties with the state’s high school coaches, and the program continued its stranglehold in 2010 as all 22 homegrown prospects rank in the state’s top 100 according to the Lone Star Recruiting rankings.

“We look at the young men in the state of Texas first,” Brown noted of his philosophy when it comes to evaluating prospects. “If a young man in the state of Texas is equal in ability with a young man outside the state of Texas, we take the in-state player first. We’ve always done that. We feel that’s very important.”

With regard to evaluating out of state prospects, Brown said that he tries to identify a reason why such a prospect might be interested in Texas. Wednesday, the Horns received signed letters of intent from three out of state prospects, including one ofthe country’s top linebacker prospects in Jordan Hicks from West Chester, OH (his explanation of why he chose Texas). Rarely do blue-chip athletes from Ohio escape Ohio State’s grasp, but in Hicks, Brown landed the first player of his tenure from that talent-rich region.

“This is a proud moment for them, for their parents, high school coaches and teammates who have helped them get to this point,” Brown said of the class. “These kids have worked their whole lives and had a dream to go to college. This is a huge moment for these young people and we’re excited to have them join the Texas family.”

Thanks to John Haynesworth for his contribution on Texas football’s 2010 National Signing Day recap for Eyes Of TX. More to come on Thursday, with in-depth player profiles.

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2009 College Football Award Results

2009 Heisman Trophy
In the closest balloting ever in the history of the Heisman Trophy, yet another sophomore was named to the lifelong fraternity of football elites earlier this month in New York City.

Following in the footsteps of Florida QB Tim Tebow and oklahoma QB Sam Bradford when they were sophomores, the 2009 award was presented to Alabama RB Mark Ingram, but he won only by the slimmest margins (28 votes), over surprise second place vote-getter Stanford RB Toby Gerhart. Texas Longhorn QB Colt McCoy finished third in the balloting, ahead of Tebow – who made his third trip to NYC as a finalist for the award – and Nebraska DT Ndamkong Suh. While McCoy finished third overall, he didn’t take the Heisman voter’s Southwest region, which went to Suh, and even failed to win over his hometown sports reporters (the Austin American-Statesman, whom has four Heisman voters, had only one pick McCoy as their 2009 winner – there reasoning here). Here’s hoping Ingram will one day help quiet annoying former oklahoma sooners RB Billy Sims, who continues to embarrass the trophy’s name with his awards show antics of yelling or promoting “Boomer! Sooner!” during the live broadcast.

In the end, Texas fans fear not. Recent memory proves that Texas football – including players who have been runners-up for the Heisman Trophy – have extremely good luck in the bowl games against Heisman winners. Especially when the national championship is on the line. Webster defines that: “See also: 2005.”

Other notable Big 12 Conference Award Recognition
Texas Longhorns QB Colt McCoy
Maxwell Award – Honors the nation’s best all-around player.
Walter Camp Football Foundation’s Player of the Year Award – Honors the nation’s player of the year; this is the second consecutive year McCoy has won the award.
Davey O’Brien Award – Honors the nation’s best quarterback.

Nebraska Cornhuskers DT Ndamkong Suh
Chuck Bednarik Award – Honors the nation’s best defensive player.
Outland Trophy – Honors the nation’s best interior lineman.
Lombardi Award – Honors the nation’s top lineman.
Bronko Nagurski Trophy – Honors the nation’s top defensive player.

While several other Texas-state (TCU DE Jerry Hughes) and Texas Longhorn players (WR Jordan Shipley and DB Earl Thomas) were finalists for the aforementioned and other national awards, including the Jim Thorpe Award honoring the nation’s best defensive back and the Biletnikoff Award honoring the nation’s best wide receiver, Tennessee DB Eric Berry and Notre Dame’s Golden Tate won those awards respectively.

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