BEVO BEAT

Breakfast with Bevo: Ashes to Ashes?

Posted September 2nd, 2014

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Good morning. Breakfast is served.

It’s Sept. 2nd — 245 down, 120 to go.

And 2 till the NFL season opener — Packers vs. Seahawks.

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YESTERDAY: Texas’ season was placed on the brink with the news that quarterback David Ash has another head injury. Center Dominic Espinosa’s likely out for the year too. The Astros fired their manager. Three Phillies pitchers no-no’d the Braves. The Round Rock Express ended their season with a 70-74 record. The Texans signed J.J. Watt to a six-year deal. Charlie Strong‘s old team, Louisville, beat Miami in the Cardinals’ ACC debut. Serena Williams moved on at the U.S. Open. Oh, and it was Labor Day.

TODAY: This week’s AP poll is released. Team USA meets New Zealand in the FIBA World Cup (10:30 a.m., ESPN2). The U.S. Open continues, with Roger Federer and Carolina Wozniaki playing. And Brian Davis and Ryan Autullo will hold their weekly live Longhorns chat, at 11 a.m.

TOMORROW: The Mariners and A’s play an important one in the AL West. The U.S. Open continues in New York. And Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden will hold their weekly live chat at 11 a.m.

Sept. 2 has a sports history. On this date, Colt McCoy made his first career start as a Longhorn, a 56-7 win over North Texas (2006); 39-year-old Jimmy Connors won his 4-hour, 42-minute marathon fourth-round match over Aaron Krickstein at the U.S. Open (1991); Toronto’s Dave Stieb pitched a no-hitter (1990); the Philadelphia 76ers signed free-agent center Moses Malone to a six-year deal worth $13.2 million (1982); the Falcons’ James Mayberry, playing in his first NFL game, intercepted a desperation pass in overtime by Saints punter Russell Erxleben after a wild snap and returned it for the winning score, 40-34 (1979); both Connors and Chris Evert won their first U.S. Open matches (1971); the Cubs’ Ernie Banks hit his 400th career homer (1965); and future college basketball coaching legend Adolph Rupp was born (1901).

Last year on Sept. 2, the Round Rock Express closed their season with an 8-4 loss to the Omaha Storm Chasers, finishing with a 73-71 record. Also, former heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison died at the age of 44.

Today’s sports birthdays: former NFL quarterback Tommy Maddox (43), Lennox Lewis (49), former Rangers pitcher Jeff Russell (53), Eric Dickerson (54), Jimmy Connors (62) and Terry Bradshaw (66). Other notables: Salma Hayek (48), Keanu Reeves (50) and Mark Harmon (63).

TODAY’S TRIVIA: Actor/birthday boy Mark Harmon, before his appearances on “The West Wing” and “NCIS,” was a major college quarterback. Name the school. (Answer’s at the end of Breakfast.)

TODAY’S LEAD: TEXAS FOOTBALL. So we’ve arrived at the Longhorns’ worst-case scenario, after only one game. Losing Dominic Espinosa would’ve been bad enough, especially with the uncertainty over this year’s offensive line. He was, after all, its one constant. But losing David Ash — he’ll miss Saturday’s game for sure, and Charlie Strong wouldn’t speculate beyond that — for any length of time is, well, a season changer.

It was an eventful day. Catching you up:

Ash is out for the BYU game. Perhaps, or probably, longer.

The official reason? UT’s calling it a “head injury.” Ash took five big hits against North Texas, skipped the post-game press conference, and later complained of headaches and dizziness. Sound like a concussion to you?

Tyrone Swoopes will start against BYU. Jerrod Heard moves to No. 2.

Senior center Dominic Espinosa suffered a fractured leg late in the UNT game. He’ll have surgery on Wednesday. Redshirt freshman Jake Raulerson will start in his place.

Offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, who was suspended for the opener, will play against BYU. He’ll likely start at right tackle, in place of Marcus Hutchins, who started there in Week 1.

Texas’ two other suspended players — receiver Daje Johnson and safety Josh Turner — remain suspended and will miss the BYU game. Strong wouldn’t say how much longer they’ll be banned.

Texas began the day as a 4-point favorite over BYU. By the end of Monday afternoon, Vegas had taken the game off the board.

Our staff takeaways from Monday:

Kirk Bohls: “I was impressed with Charlie Strong’s demeanor after announcing David Ash will miss the BYU game, if not the entire season. He didn’t flinch. He never got defensive with the media. He answered every question. He did bury the lead by opening his remarks with comments about center Dom Espinosa’s upcoming surgery on his leg instead of Ash’s concussion-related injury. When Strong’s entire world was being shaken, he remained rock steady.”

Cedric Golden: “The season has taken a dramatic turn, and expectations of a quick revival under a great new coach have literally taken a hit to the head. All of a sudden, the Horns are at a crossroads and this thing just got started.”

Brian Davis: “You could tell the handful of Texas players who did attend Monday’s press conference truly did not know about David Ash’s status until they arrived at Bellmont. And to their credit, they didn’t act like the world was coming to an end. In fact, they sort of scoffed at every question intimating such. Quandre Diggs and Desmond Jackson both had the ‘Next man up’ mentality. Backup quarterbacks Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard are both on scholarship, they figure, so they must be good enough to handle getting thrown into the fire. It’s only Week 2. They’re not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Let’s see how the week plays out and see what happens Saturday against BYU.”

Ryan Autullo: “Charlie Strong ordered max protection for his quarterback, keeping it a secret until Monday afternoon that David Ash had possibly sustained a concussion Saturday. Surprised by the news were Ash’s teammates, including Jordan Hicks and Quandre Diggs, who didn’t know anything was up until the media started asking them questions.”

Suzanne Halliburton: Mack Brown lost his quarterback early in his first season at Texas when Richard Walton broke his hand against UCLA. One backup was hurt and the other was Major Applewhite. Charlie and Mack have a lot in common. But does Charlie have a Ricky Williams and an offensive line dominated by fifth-year seniors?”

So, what’s being written out there about the Longhorns?

Ash’s concussion — er, head injury — obviously took center stage. Our main story explored what’s next for the Longhorns ($), while Kirk Bohls thinks it’s time for Ash to retire ($) for his own good and Cedric Golden makes his case for starting Heard ($), not Swoopes. And our Longhorns notebook ($) covered Espinosa’s injury (and also what was up with that game-day drone flying over DKR). The San Antonio Express-News broke down Ash’s head injuries in timeline form. Like Bohls, the Dallas Morning News’ Rick Gosselin thinks it’s time for Ash to give up football. Ditto for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which points out that three concussions in three games is too much for any player.

AROUND THE BIG 12: The best way to color Saturday’s close losses/near upsets for Oklahoma State (Florida State) and West Virginia (Alabama)? A moral victory for the conference, the Star-Telegram wrote. The paper’s TCU notebook also details Gary Patterson‘s plans to start Trevone Boykin but still play two quarterbacks. And how’s this for a switch: Folks (including the Waco Tribune-Herald) out there are talking about Baylor’s defense, not its offense, after the season opener. Quarterback Bryce Petty, who suffered two cracked bones in his back Sunday night against SMU, is the big story moving forward, though. Texas Tech is still fuming over its 7-point win over Central Arkansas, writes the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. In Norman, Sterling Shepard‘s mom isn’t so keen watching her son return kicks for Oklahoma, writes the Daily Oklahoman, while the Sooners wait for a decision on linebacker Jordan Evans‘ targeting ejection. That may come out today. The Oklahoman also wrote about Mike Gundy‘s desire to keep airing the ball out at Oklahoma State despite quarterback J.W. Walsh‘s ability to run it. The Oklahoman also examined OSU’s defense and how it played in the 37-31 loss to the Seminoles.

How the Power Five conferences fared in Week 1: the SEC was 8-1, the Big Ten was 12-2, the Pac-12 was 10-2, the ACC was 9-3 and the Big 12 was 6-3.

OPPOSITION RESEARCH: BYU. No shocker here, but BYU quarterback Taysom Hill (remember him?) was the best player on the field in the Cougars’ opener, writes the Salt Lake Tribune. He was against Texas last September in Provo, too. And Bronco Mendenhall put his spin on Ash’s injury, warning to be careful what you wish for as he talked up Swoopes.

ON SEPT. 2 …

1973: J.R.R. Tolkein — author of the Lord of the Rings saga — died.

1901: Theodore Roosevelt — as Vice President — uttered his famous “Speak softly and carry a big stick” line.

1789: The U.S. Department of the Treasury was founded.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Harmon was UCLA’s starting quarterback for the 1972 and 1973 seasons, leading the Bruins to an upset over two-time defending national champion Nebraska in his first game. UCLA went 17-5 in his two years there.

TODAY’S LITTLE NUMBER: 10. Games that David Ash missed in 2013. Texas was 6-4 without him.

TODAY’S BIGGER NUMBER: 22. Ash’s career starts.

TODAY’S BIG NUMBER: 40. Career starts for Dominic Espinosa, which leads the team. He likely won’t make it to 41.

OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.

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