Good morning. Breakfast is served.
It’s Sept. 9th — 252 down, 113 to go.
And 11 till Texas’ first Big 12 game.
YESTERDAY: Ray Rice, hours after the release of an elevator video showing him punching out his former fiancee/current wife, was cut by the Baltimore Ravens. In a Monday Night Football doubleheader, the Lions beat the Giants and the Cardinals nipped the Chargers. The Houston Texans will be without Jadeveon Clowney for 4-6 weeks. SMU’s June Jones resigned. The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw won his MLB-best 18th game. And in the U.S. Open men’s final that fame forgot, 14th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia beat Kei Nishikori of Japan.
TODAY: The NFL Players Association may vote on a new drug policy. Team USA plays Slovenia in the quarterfinals of the FIBA World Cup (2 p.m., ESPN). And our own Brian Davis and Ryan Autullo hold their weekly live UT football chat, at 11 a.m.
TOMORROW: Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden’s weekly columnists chat is at 11 a.m.
Sept. 9 has a sports history. On this date, several U.S. Open tennis crowns have been won — (Rafael Nadal in 2013, Serena Williams in 2012, Steffi Graff is 1995, Pete Sampras in 1990 and John McEnroe in 1979 and 1984, Jimmy Connors in 1974 and Arthur Ashe in 1968); we lost Catfish Hunter (1999); Mike Tyson was indicted for rape (1991); Nolan Ryan recorded his 4,500th strikeout (1987); Gordie Howe retired after a 25-year NHL career (1971); and the Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax pitched a perfect game — his fourth no-hitter — over the Cubs (1965).
Last year on Sept. 9, the Los Angeles KISS — an Arena Football League team owned by the rock band of the same name — offered Tim Tebow a three-year contract. He declined.
Today’s sports birthdays: Riley Cooper (27), J.R. Smith (29), Shane Battier (36), Bob Stoops (54) and Joe Theismann (65). Other notbables: Michael Buble (39), Adam Sandler (48) and Hugh Grant (54). Oh, and Tom Wopat (“Luke Duke” of Hazzard fame) is 63. And Elliott from E.T. is 43.
TODAY’S TRIVIA: For what team was Nolan Ryan pitching for when he recorded his 4,500th career strikeout on Sept. 9, 1987? (Answer’s at the end of Breakfast.)
TODAY’S LEAD: TEXAS FOOTBALL. Which side of the hope fence are you sitting on? Are you thinking there’s still time to salvage this season behind Tyrone Swoopes, a running game powered by Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray, and a tough defense? Or are you doing the math, and seeing that the starting quarterback, center, receiver, left tackle, right tackle and safety are all banned on suspension, and see dates with UCLA, Baylor, Oklahoma and Kansas State still to go and thinking right about now, just receiving a bowl invitation would be nice?
We’ll begin to find out more Saturday, against 12th-ranked UCLA.
Catching you up on Monday’s developments:
- David Ash will miss the UCLA game. Texas coach Charlie Strong said Tyrone Swoopes (20-31-176, 1/1 in his first start) is the Longhorns’ quarterback “indefinitely,” and added that doctors would be making a decision on Ash soon — and that more will be added to Swoopes’ plate each and every week.
- Starting left tackle Kennedy Estelle: Still suspended. Starting right tackle Desmond Harrison: Still suspended. Starting center Dominic Espinosa: Still out for the year. Your starting offensive line Saturday night should look just the same as last Saturday’s.
- The status of suspended wide receiver Daje Johnson and possible starting safety Josh Turner? Cloudy with a chance of meatheads. Strong said the decision on them has not yet been made.
Oh, those pesky core values.
Strong’s Monday press conference wasn’t quite equal parts looking back and looking forward. And what’s going on right now, with all of the suspension statuses and Ash’s future. Strong used the word “embarrassed” or some version of it eight times in his 28-minute presser, including his first sentence. He was asked about why Swoopes had such a simple game plan against BYU, he denied weekend reports that he strong-armed UT’s dean of students to prevent Harrison and Estelle from getting kicked out of school, and he spoke again about the challenges of remaking this program and getting all his players to buy in. Players spoke about Strong’s post-game charge that they weren’t ready to play last week, and we got our first extended interview time with Swoopes, who’s certainly Texas’ present and maybe its future.
Our staff takeaways from Monday:
Kirk Bohls: “Tyrone Swoopes is calm and poised, but he also comes off as passive, which isn’t the best quality in a quarterback. He doesn’t sound overwhelmed by the job, but I wouldn’t put his demeanor in the Major Applewhite/Colt McCoy follow-me mode. Maybe that will come in time.”
Cedric Golden: “I respect players who answer the hard questions after tough losses, and the three who showed up to Monday’s interview session — Jordan Hicks, Quandre Diggs and Malcolm Brown — are stand-up guys in my book. The seniors have all grown tired of answering questions about losing over the last four years, but that doesn’t mean they have stopped showing up. There’s something to be said for facing the fire in tough times.”
Brian Davis: “If my transcription is correct, Charlie Strong used the word ‘embarrassment’ or some variation thereof eight times during a 28-minute Q&A session. Here’s something to think about: What if there simply aren’t enough players in the locker room who feel the same way? Quandre Diggs seemed to indicate as much. We’ll find out this week against UCLA.”
Ryan Autulllo: “Charlie Strong continues to say Texas has the talent to have a good season. Good for him for not making excuses, but that doesn’t mean what he’s saying is accurate.”
So, what’s being written out there about the Longhorns?
Bohls, who asked Strong whether the coach feels like the honeymoon is over, wrote about the still-evolving players’ buy-in to Strong ($). Our main story weighed the pros and cons of continuing to struggle on the field vs. the lure of reinstating those four starters ($). And our Horns notebook led off with Swoopes, who graded his performance against BYU a B ($).
The Dallas Morning News wrote about the continuing culture shock that Strong’s new players are experiencing. So did the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which, like Bohls, wrote about this getting-to-know-you period ($) between coach and team.
AROUND THE BIG 12: Bryce Petty will come back for Baylor sooner or later, but at least we know this, the Morning News wrote — the Bears’ quarterback lineage looks like it’ll continue with Seth Russell. The Waco Tribune-Herald updated Petty’s injury status — at least now he’s just sore, not in pain. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal wrote about Arkansas’ running game and its offensive line, all 1,600 pounds of it and also addressed some pesky organizational problems on Texas Tech’s sideline that has resulted in penalties these first two weeks. The Daily Oklahoman’s Jenni Carlson wrote that OU got it right in its handling of the cases of Sooners LB Frank Shannon and RB Joe Mixon in light of the Ravens/Rice story. Shannon, on Monday, was dealth a major blow when Oklahoma’s state supreme court upheld his suspension. And Bob Stoops played it close to the vest whether his Sooners will bust out alternative uniforms for Saturday’s game with Tennessee. Translation: Expect alternate uniforms. In the paper’s Oklahoma State notebook, Cowboys coach Mike Gundy says quarterback J.W. Walsh may not be that badly hurt after all. And our own Suzanne Halliburton explored the coach’s modern-day conundrum ($) of how to handle practice reps and game experience for backup quarterbacks. The Oklahoman did the same. How’s Trevor Knight doing? Just fine, the Tulsa World reports, while John E. Hoover questions OSU’s schedule gods for following up Florida State with … Missouri State. Speaking of scheduling, just how did Kansas State end up with Auburn this week? It took more work than you might think, the Kansas City Star explained. And West Virginia wide receiver James White doesn’t just want catches, but touchdowns, too.
Big 12 players of the week — Offense: Baylor QB Seth Russell, Kansas State QB Jake Waters; Defense: Kansas CB Dexter McDonald; Special teams: Iowa State PR Jarvis West.
OPPOSITION RESEARCH: UCLA. Brett Hundley threw a potentially costly interception last Saturday night, with 13 minutes left and the game tied, but he explained to to the Los Angeles Times that he’s not sweating it. And if you’re looking for any of the Bruins’ potential Achilles heels (too soon?), coach Jim Mora identified some of his own personal worry spots. Meanwhile, UCLA safety Randall Goforth may not even make the trip to Arlington this week, reports the L.A. Daily News, so at least there’s that.
AROUND THE FORTY ACRES: A quick sweep of UT teams.
Volleyball: Sophomore Chiaka Ogbogu was named the Big 12’s offensive player of the week on Monday. She led the league over the weekend with a .625 hitting percentage; the No. 3-ranked Longhorns beat No. 11 Florida in Gainesville on Saturday, and Ogbobu had a career-high nine blocks.
Soccer: Texas beat Montana 2-0 on Sunday, improving to 4-0-2 on the season. It’s only the second time that Texas has gone through its first six matches without an L. The Longhorns’ next match is Friday, against nationally-ranked Central Florida, at the USF Soccer Classic in Tampa, Fla.
Women’s tennis: Breaunna Addison, Texas’ two-time All-American and last year’s Big 12 player of the year, is ranked No. 13 nationally in singles heading into the season. The rankings were released Monday. Other Longhorns ranked were sophomore Ratnika Batra (81st) and sophomore Neda Koprcina (112th). Texas opens its fall season on Friday, at the Under Armour Kick Off in Waco.
ON SEPT. 9 …
1993: The Palestine Liberation Organization officially recognized Israel as a legitimate state.
1956: Elvis Presley made his first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” CBS refused to show him from the waist down. “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Love Me Tender,” “Ready Teddy” and “Hound Dog” were sung.
1791: Washington D.C., the nation’s capital, was named after President George Washington.
TRIVIA ANSWER: On Sept. 9, 1987, the night that Nolan Ryan struck out his 4,500th career batter, he was a Houston Astro. That year, the 40-year-old led the NL with a 2.76 ERA, led the league with 270 strikeouts, gave up fewer hits per nine innings than any other pitcher in the majors, and allowed more than three earned runs only three times in his 34 starts. Yet Nolie’s W-L record was only 8-16.
TODAY’S LITTLE NUMBER: 4. Texas players currently suspended. Three of them are starters.
TODAY’S BIGGER NUMBER: 8. Texas players that have been kicked out of the program since the end of last season.
TODAY’S BIG NUMBER: 10. Combined career starts for Texas’ offensive line. Five of those starts came last week.
OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.
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