Good morning. Breakfast is served.
It’s August 26th — 238 down, 127 to go.
And 9 till the NFL season opener.
YESTERDAY: Texas held its first game-week press conference of the season. The U.S. Open kicked off, as Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova both won in straight sets. Attention, fantasy footballers — Matt Cassel is the Vikings’ starter, Wes Welker remains concussed and the Steelers are thinking about suspending running backs Le’Veon Bell and LaGarrett Blount. Tiger Woods fired his swing coach.
TODAY: More U.S. Open, as Serena Williams and Roger Federer play first-round matches. And UT beat writers Brian Davis and Ryan Autullo will hold their weekly live chat (11 a.m., on Bevo Beat).
TOMORROW: We’re expecting to see Texas’ first depth chart. Mack Brown will celebrate his 63rd birthday. And Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden will hold their weekly columnists chat (11 a.m., again here on Bevo Beat).
Aug. 26 has a sports history. On this date, the Longhorn Network launched (2011); we lost Jim Wacker (2003); Dallas’ Michael Johnson beat Butch Reynolds’ 11-year-old world record in the 400, three years after Johnson beat the world record in the 200 at the Atlanta Olympics (1999); Kansas City Royals pitcher Brett Saberhegen no-hit the White Sox (1991); the NHL voted to expand to 18 teams starting in the 1974-75 season (1973); the Astros named Leo Durocher their manager (1972); and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 5-2 in the first televised baseball game ever (1939).
Last year on Aug. 26, Tracy McGrady announced his retirement from the NBA and top U.S. tennis player James Blake announced he’d call it quits after the U.S. Open.
Today’s sports birthdays: James Harden (25), Elvis Andrus (26), David Price (29), Jamal Lewis (35), Morgan Ensberg (39) and Stan Van Gundy (55). Other notables: Macaulay Culkin (34) and Melissa McCarthy (44).
TODAY’S TRIVIA: Jim Wacker coached both the Southwest Texas State Bobcats (1979-82) as well as the TCU Horned Frogs (1983-91). At which school did he win more games? (Answer’s at the end of Breakfast.)
TODAY’S LEAD: TEXAS FOOTBALL. Charlie Strong’s first game-week press conference lasted about 25 minutes — five more minutes than we media types had heard he’d go, far short of Mack Brown’s weekly pressers. Strong seemed at ease, gave us a little news, had some hits, had some misses.
Catching you up:
Senior receiver Jaxon Shipley has begun working out again, in a limited way, as he continues to nurse a sore hamstring. He’ll be a game-time decision Saturday.
No depth chart. Yet, anyway. Strong says he may release Saturday’s two-deep tomorrow.
Based on what Strong said, you can keep your eye on three particular freshmen in the opener: safety John Hall, who may get the start, and receivers Armanti Foreman and Lorenzo Joe, who’ve looked good throughout camp and probably will get more targets with Shipley possibly out and Daje Johnson definitely out.
We will see some starters playing on special teams.
We won’t see the all-white Penn State helmets. Strong told players over the weekend that they’d earned their logos back.
Strong was at his best with good, analytical answers to questions on offensive identity (Texas plans to run the ball), the pro style offense (balance is key), on what to expect Saturday in terms of effort (“By game time, we will have this team ready to play”), and on Texas’ deficiencies (depth, and the lack of a big-play receiver).
Strong wasn’t so good on a couple of other questions, which he either chose not to answer, or to answer without answering — what one thing on this team does Strong think the fans or media might be sleeping on; and just how will the game-day playcalling work between co-offensive coordinators Shawn Watson and Joe Wickline.
Our staff takeaways from Monday:
Kirk Bohls: “I love my electronic brethren, but hate sharing one press conference with Charlie Strong with the golden throats, when we writers used to have our separate one with Mack Brown and were able to pepper him with more questions. It’s all Longhorn Network-friendly now, complete with microphones and a staffer calling on reporters to ask questions. It’s a far too formal affair with no allowance for follow-up questions, and the 20-plus minutes may be the only time we talk to the Longhorns head coach all week until post-game.”
Cedric Golden: “Besides the obvious historical significance of Charlie Strong’s first game at Texas, the offensive makeup is the most interesting facet of this attack because of Ship’s hammy, Ash’s noggin and J. Gray’s Achilles. To that end, I won’t be surprised if one of the freshman wideouts — Armanti Foreman or Lorenzo Joe – will catch a touchdown in their first college game. Besides that, how cool is it to be talking about a real football game coming up?”
Brian Davis: “What’s the difference between this year and last year? ‘Everything,’ defensive end Cedric Reed said. Linebacker Jordan Hicks said in previous years, when the offense had a bad practice, ‘it was a bad day.’ Now when the defense had a bad practice, Hicks said everyone has a bad day. The head coach is preaching toughness and defense. Everything else is secondary, to some degree. But fans have heard all this before over the years. The fans, media and everyone around the college football world want to see toughness on Saturday. Toughness may be hard to quantify, but you’ll know it when you see it.”
Ryan Autullo: “We’re learning more and more that everything about this program is different under Charlie Strong. Linebacker Jordan Hicks said it best. Under Mack Brown, it was a good day at practice if the offense dominated. Strong’s temperament, on the other hand, swings on the play of the defense. One thing doesn’t change: Expectations. Strong was hired to win, to buck a string of mediocrity. As of this week, he’s officially on the clock.”
UPDATE ON ‘THE STREAK’: Sunday’s Breakfast, which led with a UT fan living in Minnesota who has a 382-consecutive games attended streak for all Texas football games dating back to 1982, sparked a fair amount of correspondence from fans out there pointing out Austin’s Frank Denius, Austin’s Scott Wilson and Dallas’ John Davis. Denius and Davis have been going to Texas games since 1946, though Denius apparently did miss one as recently as 2012. Wilson, though, says he has been to 448 straight games, dating back to the last one he missed — the 1977 Arkansas game, in Fayetteville.
So, what’s being written out there about the Longhorns?
New coach, new philosophy, new offense, new defense. Just what will we see from this 2014 team? We took a look at Texas’ offensive identity today, while Bohls’ column addressed how things are different this year defensively. The Dallas Morning News wrote about the start of Texas’ new era and Ash’s thoughts on taking a hit again. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote about the depth chart (or lack thereof).
AROUND THE BIG 12: Monday was the first conference coaches teleconference. Here’s our coverage, which centered on lingering roster questions around the league. Who’s going to start at quarterback for TCU? Head coach Gary Patterson says you likely won’t find out till Saturday whether it’ll be Matt Joekel or Trevone Boykin, the Star-Telegram reports. Over in Waco, Baylor’s trying to stay focused amidst all the hoopla over shiny new McLane Stadium, the Waco Tribune-Herald writes. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal wrote about transfer players, and got receiver Devin Lauderdale‘s thoughts on playing his first game as a Red Raider. Remember Blake Bell? Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops says the Sooners have a package in place for the Belldozer, the former quarterback turned tight end who apparently will play a little quarterback again, too. And the Daily Oklahoman also wrote about Oklahoma State’s Tyreek Hill, who might be the Cowboys’ next great offensive weapon. The Kansas City Star wrote about Kansas’ first-week bye — and how head coach Charlie Weis couldn’t be happier to have another week of practice. And over in Manhattan, it looks like redshirt sophomore Charles Jones will be Kansas State’s tailback this season.
OPPOSITION RESEARCH: What’s up with North Texas? Well, first of all, the Mean Green won nine games and played a bowl game last year, so the program wants to continue to grow, the Denton Record Chronicle wrote in its team season preview. And North Texas’ starting quarterback against Texas will be … former Navarro standout Josh Green.
AROUND THE FORTY ACRES: A quick sweep of UT teams.
Football: Offfensive lineman Rami Hammad, who left the team earlier this month, is transferring to Baylor. Former Horns standouts Jackson Jeffcoat (Seahawks) and Mike Davis (Raiders) have been released. And speaking of TCU, Amon Carter Stadium is going to be more fan-friendly this year, with improved wi-fi and tailgate plans. More good news for the Horned Frogs: former Nebraska defensive tackle Aaron Curry Jr. will transfer to TCU, perhaps as early as today or tomorrow, the San Antonio Express-News wrote.
Soccer: Whitney Jaynes‘ unassisted goal in the 73rd minute led Texas to a 2-1 win over Hawaii on Monday night in Honolulu. Texas is 1-0-1. Next match is the home opener, Fridayu against Arkansas (7:30, Myers Stadium, LHN).
ON AUG. 26 …
1986: Ted Knight — of “Caddyshack” and “Mary Tyler Moore” fame (and sure, “Too Close for Comfort,” too) — died.
1978: Pope John Paul I was elected to the Papacy. But he’d end up serving only 33 days, as he died on Sept. 28.
1920: Women got the right to vote, courtesy of the 19th Amendment.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Former Southwest Texas State and TCU coach Jim Wacker won more games with the Bobcats (42-8 from 1979-82) than he did with the Horned Frogs (40-58-2 from 1983-91).
TODAY’S LITTLE NUMBER: 4. Days till Texas’ season opener.
TODAY’S BIGGER NUMBER: 382. Consecutive Longhorns games that Texas fan Dan Weatherly has attended, going back to the 1982 bowl game.
TODAY’S BIG NUMBER: 448. Consecutive Longhorns games that Texas fan Scott Wilson has attended, going back to the 1977 regular season.
OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.
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