While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. Augie Garrido learned Tuesday he’ll be inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, which becomes at least the eighth hall to add the deserving Texas coach. “It just lowered the value of the building,” Garrido joked. He’s the third Longhorns coach to be inducted, following Cliff Gustafson and Bibb Falk. These days, Garrido is waxing eloquent as a Longhorn Network/ESPN analyst at the regional Little League championships in Waco. When asked if this represents his next career, he joked, “The judges are still evaluating.” After a rough, injury-filled season during which the Longhorns had to win the Big 12 Tournament to even make the NCAA field and then lost two straight games as a regional No. 3 seed, Garrido is eager to put last year behind him. Thirty of his past 31 signees have made it to school the past three years, although pitchers Blake Goins and Andy McGuire are transferring out. Four of Texas’ top five hitters return, as do most of the best pitchers, save Parker French. “We’re going to have to be more disciplined and more efficient in run-scoring,” Garrido said. “The negative experience the team had last year should go a long way to inspire them to play at a higher level.”
2. So much for Team Florida. Charlie Strong is learning a valuable lesson Mack Brown never forgot: Recruit mostly in your backyard. That message hit home Tuesday, when the news broke that three-star linebacker Cecil Cherry decided to transfer, turning the original Florida Five recruits into the Florida Flameouts, with only defensive back Davante Davis actively part of the team since tight end Devonaire Clarington still has academic issues to resolve. Of course, Strong’s hand may have been forced as Baylor, TCU, Texas A&M and Houston pried away top in-state recruits. Even without Cherry, however, Strong would be smart to still, uh, cherry-pick select top recruits from out of state.
3. I saw hope Sunday and not just for 2016 after watching the second of UT’s open football practices. The offensive line looks meaner and nastier. Malik Jefferson and Duke Thomas look like defensive playmakers, but more are needed. I saw good running backs, although quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson just blistered running back Johnathan Gray for not sitting down in an area to give his quarterback a clear target. I also saw a more confident Tyrone Swoopes. At this juncture, I’d put at least four Texas freshmen among the team’s best 22 players. They are Jefferson, offensive tackle Connor Williams, tight end DeAndre McNeal and wide receiver John Burt, a recruit from Florida who’s staying put. All bring an attitude and edge to the team.
4. Ran into former Longhorns assistant football coach Steve Kazor at Texas’ practice Friday. He has scouted for the St. Louis Rams for the past nine years and raves about how new Rams quarterback and Westlake ex Nick Foles “has fit in so well.” Kazor once coached current Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford in Austin as well as new Longhorns receivers coach Jay Norvell at Michigan. Asked to describe Bedford, Kazor said: “He was very quiet (as a player). I know, I know. Back then he was, though, and he played tight man-for-man with really great run support. He was great on special teams. He would knock your socks off.” Kazor described Norvell as “a very intense linebacker who was very versatile. I used to tease him and say, ‘I don’t know if you’re going to hit them or one of ours, but you’ll hit ’em hard.’ ”
5. On still-surfacing rumors of Big 12 expansion, Texas Athletic Director Steve Patterson said: “I don’t get the sense there’s any great movement afoot. It’s up to the CEOs.” League Commissioner Bob Bowlsby’s reaction Tuesday to any progress on that front? “Haven’t discussed,” he texted back. … Patterson said the full-cost-of-attendance payments of $4,310 will go to Longhorns athletes in monthly installments, which is smart. Asked about financial advice for the recipients, Patterson said the school is already offering 10-step tutorials “on everything from career planning to dating advice.” Norvell should invite one of his former Sooners pupils to speak to the Longhorns wideouts. Ryan Broyles, who is working on a $3.6 million contract with the Detroit Lions, told ESPN he and his wife live off a $60,000 budget to save for their future. They both drive Mazdas, and he still has the 2005 SUV he drove at Oklahoma. Smart man.
6. Patterson said he’s not aware of any revelations out of the independent investigation into the academic transgressions that came to light from the Rick Barnes basketball era at Texas. “We’ve turned over all the documents we’ve been asked to turn over, and we’ve had interviews conducted. I don’t know of any timetable. I don’t have any information otherwise.”
7. Formerly suspended Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito took Roger Goodell to task recently and criticized the “absolute power” of the NFL commissioner’s office. I agree with him. I favor a five-person panel to hear arguments and mete out any discipline. The panel would include two former players, two former NFL front-office types and a current high-ranking member of the NFL office.
8. No way brash wide receiver Terrell Owens is not a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He almost single-handedly – OK, double-handedly, along with quarterback Donovan McNabb – led the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl.
9. Loved “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.” Didn’t drag for one solitary minute. May be my favorite of the “Mission Impossible” movies. Less reliance on the stupid mask gimmick. Terrific female lead. Gave it 8½ ducks.
Crazy prediction: Bryce Petty will win the New York Jets starting quarterback job by December.
Contact Kirk Bohls at 512-445-3772.