Kansas Pre-Game

Catch Up Football

Since the disappointing loss to UCLA game the week before a bye week, I took the liberty of taking time off from my Willie Earl duties to do some soul searching and conduct an agonizing reappraisal of myself and the Longhorns. Ha! Just kidding, I haven’t done any soul searching or agonizing reappraisals since I shot 96 at Morris Williams about a month ago. Anyway it’s been too long since we’ve talked Longhorn Football so here we go.

One Toke Over the Line

Kennedy Estelle became the ninth player of the Charlie Strong era to be dismissed from the team. The reporters, bloggers, and talking heads that claim to be “in the know” tell us that Estelle was dismissed for having a third or fourth positive drug test for marijuana. We may never know for sure that was the reason and it’s interesting to note that he was suspended before last years’ Alamo Bowl for academic reasons. Maybe Estelle hadn’t been attending class regularly. If so, being a repeat offender would be another one of Charlie Strong’s dismissible offenses.

It’s been interesting to me that some commentators and fans have been critical of Strong for being too harsh a disciplinarian evidenced by the nine dismissals since he arrived in January. Well, two of the nine (Kendall Sanders, a projected starter, and Montrel Meander a valuable back up) were dismissed for felony sexual assault. Joe Bergeron, the veteran running back with 1,392 career rushing yards, and now Estelle were dismissed, according to unconfirmed reports, for multiple failed drug tests. Linebacker Deoundrei Davis was dismissed for stealing. I wonder which of those five dismissals Strong’s critics would disagree with?

Strong commented on this latest dismissal at a press conference Tuesday after practice. Here are some highlights of his comments as reported by Barking Carnival.
The blue print of this program has been and always will be the change in helping direct the lives of young people. I’m sorry that another player had to be dismissed, but when you’re told something over and over again…
We continue to develop young men. We will continue to ask them to follow our core values, which all of them have been brought up on. They understand what the core values are. When you are asked to do something and you are part of a team, and when you don’t do it then you affect the whole team, and you affect the whole program.
Young people want discipline in their lives, and it’s our job as a coaching staff to make sure that we provide him with discipline. I always look at it like this – right now, they are laying a foundation for 10 years from now. That foundation is the house they are going to live in, the wife they are going to pick to marry, their children and how they’re going to provide for them and how they’re going to raise them. If that foundation is provided for them now, 10 years from now they’ll just be able to lean back on it and look back and say ‘That’s the life that I want to live.
Any time a player is dismissed from this program it hurts me because we are here to help young men. We are not here to run young men off; that’s not our job. We’re here to help them, and it just bothers me. When you’re given an opportunity, you want to make sure you have every resource and everything available to help them be successful.
I always look at it – sometimes you see someone that has given so much and achieved so little and then someone that has given so little and achieved so much.
I’m not hard at all. Those guys have more fun around me then they will ever have around any coach, and that’s just the atmosphere that I provide for them. I give them a lot of chances to get it right because I want them to still be successful.
When you say you’re going to do something, it’s just like your own child, they’re going to challenge you. Now when they do challenge you, then what are you going to do about it? It’s not so much the program, it’s just that young men sometimes want to make a decision where they feel like it is their prerogative to do whatever they want to do. It just can’t happen here.

Good stuff in my book.

And while we’re on the subject of discipline, Thursday morning Chip Brown of Horn’s Digest reported that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association Director Maurice Smith are coming to Austin this Sunday to talk with Strong about his five core values. In the immortal words of L.M. Boyd, “interesting if true.”

What do you suppose Charlie Strong would do with Jameis Winston?

Seen but not Heard

Tyrone Swoops has played admirably. He has, as the scouts like to say, “arm talent” and he throws the short passes to the flat and the sidelines very well. I’m not being sarcastic about the short passes. If you’ve noticed the Greg Davis specials have actually been effective since Swoopes began playing because his timing, accuracy, and zip on those throws are excellent.
All that being said, for at least two reasons, Jerrod Heard has to play this year and there’s no better place to start playing than Lawrence, Kansas. The first reason is that this offense needs all the help it can get. Heard brings a running dimension from the quarterback position to the offense that Swoopes can’t deliver. The second reason is you don’t want Heard’s first action to be an unplanned emergency situation brought on by an injury to Swoopes. Can you imagine Heard coming in for an injured Swoopes in the Oklahoma game having not played a down? The last coaching staff made the mistake of not getting game experience for a backup quarterback. Can we please not have this staff make the same mistake?

Clock Management

After recovering the UCLA fumble with 4:17 left and having a four point lead, the coaches should have been sure to run the ball three times and run the play clock all the way down before each snap, right? I guess, but I’ve done the math and if Texas had done that, and not made a first down, they would have punted with 2:02 left. Let’s say for some magical reason that hasn’t been explained, that under those circumstances, Texas covers the punt effectively. Let’s say the punt play took eight seconds. That leaves UCLA with the ball on around their 30 yard line and two timeouts with 1:54 left. I don’t think that situation guarantees a Texas victory. I don’t care how loudly you scream at me.

The reason I muse on this point is that I don’t feel like throwing a coaching staff under the bus that, went for it on fourth and eight, resulting in a first down on the UCLA eight yard line, leading to a touchdown, and somehow kept their team in the game with a quarterback and four offensive linemen making their second career starts against the #12 team in the country. I think the coaching staff did I nice job in the UCLA game.

Play Heard and beat the hell outta Kansas.

HooK ‘eM,

UCLA Over/Under Results

It looked like Reed Ramlow was about to take home his second straight victory but alas it was not to be. The High Plains Drifter was nipped by Wade Wallace’s stunning comeback in a contest that was decided on the point differential in the tiebreaker. Both of the lads answered seven questions correctly.
There was a six way tie for third that included, Mick Archuleta, Mike Frank, Greg Swan, Al LoCascio, Mark Stephan, and David Frink.

8 Comments to “Kansas Pre-Game”

  1. W.E., nice plays with the words, yet again. I continue to envy your ability to tune into Texas football most fall Saturdays, even if the game is with Kansas. Out here, we aren’t in Kansas anymore, for sure, but we do have some action with Navy and Air Force vs. Islamic State, along with the “coalition partners.” Here’s a shout out to Emirates’ female team captain, Major Mariam, who pledged to send an AGM-65 Maverick up the caliph’s *** on behalf of women everywhere. I think Charlie Strong’s stand bodes well and is timely. Values may well yield victories. Let’s give ‘em all hell.

  2. I noticed you mentioned our inexperienced QB but called UCLA the #12 team in the country without mentioning they played with an even less experienced QB, who was thrown in unexpectedly without the advantage of practice reps and game planning.
    I do have a problem with a coach in 2014 drawing a line in the sand over marijuana. I wonder how that is going to effect recruiting. That being said, the players, knowing that line has been drawn, are even dumber for trying to cross it.

    • Unless a player has previously tested positive he’s unlikely to be tested more than twice in a year. Estelle and Bergeron tested positive at least 3 times. Players get multiple strikes but yes you can’t smoke dope every day and expect to remain on the team.

  3. Re UCLA with 4:17 left: Harris has had a very good first three games, but he can’t drop that pass. That was the key that totally fubared it.

    • Harris dropping that pass was very disappointing. He did make that circus catch in the first half to keep Texas in the game on 3rd down though.

      WE- I bet we don’t see Heard unless Swoopes goes down.

      Am I the only one concerned that Texas doesn’t seem to be making effective second half adjustments on either side of the ball?

      • Strong made a comment in his Monday press conference that hinted Heard will play soon.

        Your right about adjustments but against Ucla the problem was the Hicks missed tackle on the first play of the second half that resulted in the long run and their score not the lack of adjustments on D

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