Who is this? What are you wearing, “Jake from State Farm”? She sounds hideous:
- It’s about to turn. Football Magazines are coming very soon, meaning there will be football to talk about.
- If you like to dabble in betting lines, Texas has opened as a 42-point favorite over New Mexico State.
- That game is in 14 weeks. Not that I’m counting.
- Nick Saban was called “Satan himself” by Florida’s o-line coach and “Nicky Satan” by Vandy’s James Franklin. When asked about those comments, Saban said he was “incredibly disappointed.” Both coaches are now on fire and melting into damnation as we speak.
- Mike Gundy is limiting the transfer options of quarterback Wes Lunt. According to NewsOK.com Gundy “won’t release Lunt for a scholarship from any school in the Big 12, the SEC or the Pac-12, plus Central Michigan and Southern Mississippi.” So take THAT, Wes Lunt. How dare you decide that your career is over at Oklahoma State and want to go elsewhere! HOW DARE YOU. I know Mike Gundy flirted with Tennessee and Arkansas in the off-season, but that doesn’t mean you get to do the same thing. Where does this kid get off wanting to go play for Todd Monken, the man who recruited him to Oklahoma State, at Southern Miss? The nerve of some kids, huh? I applaud you, Mike Gundy, for standing up to this nonsense. Some coaches are above being petty, controlling and acting like a complete jerk to a kid that doesn’t want play for them anymore, but not you.
- Say what you want about Mack Brown, but when someone decides to transfer he’s granted an unconditional release. If you are worried about one player beating you then your team has bigger problems.
- Least surprising revelation ever: Baylor had an issue with Brittney Griner’s personal life. You don’t say? This is the school that didn’t allow dancing until 1996 (and when they did it was Big Band-era music). So yeah, hard to not see that coming.
- Just when I thought the Miami Heat had turned the corner, they do this. Indiana coach Frank Vogel, sounding very much like every other coach in the world in the playoffs, said “They’re just the next team that’s in our way and that’s how we’re approaching it.” Somehow this coach speak has made LeBron James mad. I think: “We’re not just another team. I don’t understand what he’s saying. But we’re not just another team. It’s not true. He said we’re just another team in their way. We’re not just another team. We’re a great team. We’re very confident. We’ll be ready for them. But if we’re just another team, you really don’t prepare for just another team. We’re not just another team. You got to be prepared for us.” You don’t understand what? What are you trying to say? I have no idea what you are trying to say, LeBron. I don’t even think you understand what you are trying to say. You are not, in fact, another team? You are the same team, but in a different city? You are great team, but not another team? How do you not understand you are another team? This sounds like something one of those kids in the AT&T commercials at the table talking to the guy with the tie would say. Are you a werewolf, LeBron? Tape a cheetah to her back? You can’t really be mad about this, can you? You are upset they aren’t kissing your feet and praising the Heat, even though they want to beat you? Are platitudes what you want? This is dumb and the arrogance leaking off you is visible, but as is often the case, this attempt to sound tough is artificial, poorly executed and awkwardly delivered.
Around the 40
The No.4 ranked softball team will host Florida State in a best-of-3 Super Regional this weekend at McCombs Field. Game one is Friday night at 8 and will be aired on ESPNU. Games two and three will be Saturday. Here are the details.
The No.3 ranked men’s golf team finished third at the Fayetteville Regional and advanced to the NCAA Championships. It’s the seventh straight year Texas has been to the NCAA Championships and the Horns are looking to defend their National Title. The title defense starts on May 28th at the Capital City Club in Atlanta.
Come and take it.
Track & Field
Congrats to both the men’s and women’s track teams on winning the Big 12 Outdoor Title two weeks ago. Both squads are preparing for the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon in two weeks.
Bring home some rings!
Case McCoy announced via Twitter that he will go on a missionary trip this summer, lasting 10 weeks. As the official No.2 quarterback, that’s a big deal. It means he’ll miss the entire summer workout program and all the throwing and catching that is so vital to developing chemistry in the summer. This isn’t an accident it happened this way, folks. McCoy had not officially been supplanted in the spring by incoming freshman Tyrone Swoopes, but unofficially it was done. The staff expects Swoopes to be the No.2 going into the season and McCoy surely saw the writing on the wall. McCoy’s absence over the summer means more reps for Swoopes and more reps for Connor Brewer and/or Jalen Overstreet, who are suddenly back in the mix. I think McCoy returns in August and will resume his role as the long-term back up if David Ash goes down with a significant injury, but barring that he’s going to be a counsel for Swoopes, a sounding board for Ash and his playing time will be little to none. It seems McCoy knows that and he’s made plans for life after football, and I have no problems with that at all.
I am not looking forward to this next part, so let’s get it over with.
The Longhorns needed a miracle to make it to post-season play last weekend. They needed the Major League scene where Tom Berenger drops a bunt and beats out the throw at first on his bad knees as Willie Mays Hays slides in safe at home to win the game. But this wasn’t a movie. Texas lost to TCU, 5-1, on Thursday and coupled with Texas Tech’s win over Baylor that same night, it officially eliminated the Longhorns from any post-season play.
A 9-3 loss on Friday was secondary to Texas getting three people ejected — Augie Garrido, Skip Johnson and closer Corey Knebel — late in the game. The Horns were emotional, frustrated and angry, and I think it had very little to do with the game itself. The issues from the entire season boiled over Friday, much to the delight of TCU player Boomer White and the home fans.
Texas responded with a win on Saturday to avoid the sweep, but it would be the last game of the 2013 season.
As Geoff Ketchum at Orangebloods.com pointed out, Texas didn’t win a single conference baseball series this year. NOT. A. SINGLE. ONE. Last season Texas was left out of the NCAA Tournament, but this year they were left out of the Big 12 Tournament, finishing dead least in the league. What happened? How did we get here?
As usual, the Texas pitching was great. The Horns led the league in ERA with a team 2.63. But the bats were just not there as the team average of .259 was second to last in the league. Mark Payton had a wonderful season, leading the league with a .393 average, but as Pedro Cerrano said “bats are afraid.” Looking down the lineup, I see .250, .272, .226, .247, .183 … and that just isn’t going to cut it no matter how good your pitching staff is. You have to score runs to win games and Texas just didn’t score enough. The Horns didn’t hit for average and had no power, totaling only 12 home runs on the year. The philosophy at Texas has always been small ball, meaning play good defense and pitch well and manufacture runs here and there, but you still need power and when things are going well Texas has quite a bit of power. Texas was crushing the ball in the Title years: 2005 Texas hit .302 as a team and had 56 home runs; in 2002 it was a .304 average and 68 homers. Two times Texas got to the Championship Series and lost, but the plate production was still there: 53 home runs and .288 average in 2008 and 54 home runs and .289 average in 2004. To reiterate 2013: .259 batting average and 12 home runs. I know the bat has been deadened and things have changed, but that number needs to be twice that at the very least and the batting average needs to be 20-25 points higher.
Three other key factors in scoring runs are walks, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Texas was 185th nationally in walks, totaling only 166 in 48 games. By contrast, Texas State had 230. The Horns were 207th in on-base percentage at .345 and 195th in slugging percentage at .350. Add all that up and you get the 273rd best offense in college baseball, averaging 3.9 runs per game. There are 296 that play Division I college baseball, so let that sink in for a minute.
You just cannot beat teams on a consistent basis if you can’t score more than 3.9 runs a game. But there is more to it than just that: Texas ranked 55th nationally in fielding percentage with a .973 ranking. A team that relies on pitching and defense has to be at the top the ladder as far as fielding the ball goes and .973 isn’t it. Still, there is more.
There was nothing clutch this year. Texas didn’t rally to win a big game late, or have a pitcher step up and throw a 4-hitter to get Texas over the hump in a series. Timely hits, timely walks, timely strikeouts, turning a double play late, a great assist from the outfield to preserve a lead …. All these things happen to good teams because they make them happen. Texas couldn’t make those things happen this year, plain and simple. Their inability at the plate wore them down on the field and on the mound, leading to things like the 5-1 loss to TCU. Texas had one on with one two outs and CJ Hinojosa struck out to end the top of the first. TCU had one on with two outs and a timely single scored the run in the bottom of the first. The tone was set and the Frogs won the game going away as the TCU staff got stronger and the Texas staff pressed. The result was the same as it was many times this spring — a loss.
Football season! I kid, I kid …Texas will no doubt have a fine staff next year, but they need to address their issues at the plate. They need to go find some pop in the lineup to help that staff out and, if the plan is to continue with small ball —it is — they need to get better in the field.
They need to get better. I know that sounds silly and generic, but it’s true. They need to get clutch, get timely and get … better.
If anyone can turn it around, it’s Augie Garrido. Let’s do it, coach.