Kirk Bohls

American-Statesman Staff

Column

9 Things: Expect Texas RB Johnathan Gray to get a lot of carries

Soaking up the atmosphere at Big 12 media days.

Posted July 22nd, 2015

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DALLAS — While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:

1. Johnathan Gray will have no restrictions when it comes to carrying the ball. With Malcolm Brown gone to the St. Louis Rams, the senior will be Texas’ workhorse. “If I can give J-Gray the ball 35 times a game, I would,” coach Charlie Strong said Tuesday. “I don’t worry about him because he takes care of his body.” Gray never had more than 17 attempts last year. Texas still hasn’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since Jamaal Charles in 2007. Shocking.

2. Was thoroughly impressed with new Kansas coach David Beaty. He grew up in Dallas as a devoted Cowboys fan and will never forget their 1993 Super Bowl win over Buffalo because his stepfather died at 2 a.m. the night before. “I always use that moment to celebrate my stepfather,” he said. His birth father died when David was 5. B.L. Beaty had been a Dallas police officer who was in the background when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot in police custody on live television. “My dad helped lift Oswald on the gurney,” Beaty said.

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3. Art Briles stole the show. Asked his strategy for cutting back on penalties after having almost 10 a game a year ago, he said,”Trying not to commit ’em.” … On Baylor’s new gunmetal gray helmet, he said,”It’s a little wordy for me.” … Speaking of unis, when Strong was asked about having the Longhorns dress out in an alternative outfit, he laughed and said,”If I walk out there with a black uniform, tell me what would happen. You know that and I know that if I walked out there with a gray uniform (people would say), ‘What is he doing? Oh, my goodness. That’s way too dangerous. We have a uniform;  let’s stick to our uniform. Who does he think he is to change our uniform?’ ” Smart man, that Charlie Strong.

4. Gary Patterson couldn’t be any more ready for the upcoming season. The TCU football coach seemed totally jacked up about his team, which is picked to win the Big 12 after sharing last year’s title with Baylor. Asked how he deals with those expectations, Patterson reminded,”They’re also the ones to pick us seventh last year.” Patterson does admit to some trepidation. “It’s like getting married,” he said. “When she’s walking down the aisle, you’re hoping she doesn’t say no.” … The biggest question facing his team is the lack of experience at linebacker, although he raved about the football IQ and athleticism of his young players there. Four of his five linebackers are redshirt freshmen. … Patterson did have a bone to pick with the league office. Although the Frogs finish the season with a blockbuster showdown against the Bears in Fort Worth on Nov. 27, Patterson had hoped his team might be matched against Oklahoma the following weekend, in December, when the other leagues stage their championship games. … Patterson said he felt he needed 25 dynamic playmakers when TCU played in the Mountain West. Now? “We need to have 40. I don’t think we’re at that point yet.”

5. The Rangers clearly should be sellers before the trading deadline. Of course, they’d love to unload the $102 million, five-year contract of weak-hitting outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, but who wants a.226 hitter? A more likely piece Texas could move would be first baseman Mitch Moreland, who’s having a breakout season. Texas could trade Moreland for help in the bullpen or rotation and free up first base for Joey Gallo, who’s not a third baseman. Bolder move still? Find a buyer for Adrian Beltre.

6. When I asked Walt Anderson if the NFL had overturned the incomplete call of the Dez Bryant “catch” against the Packers yet, the NFL referee said the league actually used that play as part of its film for 2015 training camps “to be emphatic.” Anderson, who doubles as the Big 12 officiating supervisor, said, “So all 32 teams will see that play this summer. And it’s still incomplete.” … Anderson added that targeting calls were way down last year in college football. Big 12 refs called targeting just eight times last season, and four of those were overturned upon review.

7. Strong was razzed Tuesday about not remembering Tyrone Swoopes’ first name during depositions of the Oklahoma State vs. Joe Wickline trial. Strong dismissed the faux pas and said,”I couldn’t even remember my address.”

8. Lance Aldridge, executive director of the Austin Sports Commission, is squiring around town the owner of the U.S. Corporate Games, offering Austin as a potential site for the event, which will be staged from June 30 to July 3 next summer. “They’re pitching this first-time event in the USA,” Aldridge said. The event, which includes 15 sports like softball, flag football, poker and darts among employees from all sizes of companies, has long been held in Europe and is designed to improve fitness, morale and esprit de corps in the workplace. San Francisco also has shown interest. Events could be staged from Zilker Park to the Onion Creek Soccer Complex.

9. Watched “Still Alice” during my family’s flight from Europe last week. I found it very intense and incredibly well done with a deeply honest portrayal of the painful heartbreak of early onset Alzheimer’s. Julianne Moore nailed it. I did find the ending a bit abrupt, but otherwise a solid 9 ducks.

Crazy prediction: Becky Hammon will be an NBA head coach in three years.

Contact Kirk Bohls at 512-445-3772.

Twitter: @kbohls

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