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Breakfast with Bevo, 8.7.16: History’s not on Malik Jefferson’s side

Posted August 7th, 2016

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Good morning. Breakfast is served.

It’s August 7th — 220 down, 146 to go.

And 28 till Texas vs. Notre Dame.

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YESTERDAY: Texas held its first practice of fall camp. The Pro Football Hall of Fame welcomed eight new members, including Brett Favre, Marvin Harrison, Ken Stabler and Tony Dungy. The Rangers nipped the Astros, 3-2. In the first full day of the Summer Olympics in Rio, the U.S. women’s soccer team beat France, Kevin Durant and Team USA crushed China, Venus Williams got bounced in the first round of tennis, and the U.S. won its first gold — Ginny Thrasher, in women’s 10-meter air rifle.

TODAY: It’s your first — and possibly only — chance to watch the Longhorns practice before their season opener. That starts at 9:30 a.m. at DKR, followed by Fan Day where fans can take photos with and get autographs from Charlie Strong and players. The Rangers and Astros wrap up their weekend series at 1:15, with a Yu Darvis vs. Joe Musgrove pitching matchup. The Yankees have called a 10 a.m. press conference concerning the future of Alex Rodriguez, who’s having one of his worst seasons. Gymnastics and swimming are on the schedule at the Summer Olympics, which will be all over NBC and its various entities. And former Longhorns tight end Keith Cash celebrates his 47th birthday.

TOMORROW: The Astros (at Minnesota) and Rangers (at Colorado) both hit the road. And it’ll be another busy day in Rio. Take your pick from judo, table tennis, boxing, water polo, swimming, fencing, archery and gymnastics. Team USA plays Venezuela at 5 p.m..

Aug. 7 has a sports history. On this date, Jerry Rice was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2010); Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run, breaking Hank Aaron’s record — hello, asterisk (2007); Lawrence Taylor was inducted into the Hall of Fame (1999); it was a bad day for big names at the Barcelona Olympics — Steffi Graf fell in tennis (by 16-year-old Jennifer Capriati), Jackie Joyner-Kersee finished third in the long jump, and Sergei Bubka failed to even clear a height in the pole vault (1992); the MLB strike ended — after two days (1985); the Red Sox fined Ted Williams $5,000 for spitting at Boston fans (1956); Leo Durocher hit the 2,000th home run of Dodgers team history (1938); and Walter Johnson earned the first of his eventual 416 pitching wins (1907).

Last year on Aug. 7, the NBA gave us all an early Christmas present by scheduling the Cavaliers and Warriors for a Dec. 25 rematch of the 2015 NBA Finals. Steph Curry’s Warriors beat LeBron James’ Cavs, 89-83. LeBron would get his revenge six months later, though.

Today’s sports birthdays: Texas A&M, er, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (19), Mike Trout (25), Sidney Crosby (29), Shane Lechler (40), Edgar Renteria (41), Keith Cash (47) and Alan Page (71). Other notables: Charlize Theron (41), David Duchovny (56).

Sunday trivia: What Texas linebacker has gone the highest in the NFL Draft? (Answer’s at the end of Breakfast.)

Top of today’s menu: Texas football.

A very nice read today from our own Brian Davis on sophomore linebacker Malik Jefferson, whose already fast-rising star just seems to be growing brighter and brighter. While he’s not officially being called the face of this program, for all intents and purposes, he is. And that’s not a bad choice — Jefferson was the gem of the Longhorns’ 2015 signing class as the nation’s No. 1-rated outside linebacker prospect, started nine games as a freshman and was Texas’ second-leading tackler, earned honorable mention all-conference honors and was named the Big 12’s defensive freshman of the year.

He’s never gotten into trouble, has helped influence recruits’ decisions to sign with Texas in both the 2015 and 2016 classes, and last month was named the Big 12’s preseason defensive player of the year.

Incoming freshman linebacker Malik Jefferson takes a breather during practice Sunday on fan appreciation day. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Incoming freshman linebacker Malik Jefferson takes a breather during practice at last year’s fan appreciation day. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

But is Jefferson getting the nod as the league’s preseason defensive POY a good thing or a bad thing? As far as recent history goes, it’s a bad thing: None of the last five preseason defensive players of the year ended up with the postseason award. In fact, two of those five didn’t make the all-conference team at all that season, one of them ended up on the first-team, and two were second-teamers.

  • The 2011 preseason defensive POY? Oklahoma linebacker Travis Lewis, a second-team All-Big 12 pick in 2010 after leading the Sooners in tackles. He ended up on the All-Big 12 second team, however. Iowa State LB A.J. Klein and Oklahoma DE Frank Alexander shared the postseason award, the first time the Big 12 named co-defensive players of the year (though not the last).
  • In 2012, Texas defensive end Alex Okafor — a 2011 first-teamer after a successful transition from DT to DE — got the preseason nod. But it was Kansas State LB Arthur Brown who became the third Wildcat (Terrance Newman in 2002 and Mark Simoneau in 1999) who won the postseason award. Okafor still was a first-team pick, though.
  • In 2013, TCU defensive lineman Devonte Fields was the only unanimous pick on the preseason team; he was the league’s defensive freshman of the year in 2012. But he ended up playing in only three games in 2013 because of injury, and didn’t make the all-conference postseason squad. Texas DE Jackson Jeffcoat and TCU DB Jason Verrett were the co-defensive players of the year.
  • In 2014, Fields again was the preseason pick. But TCU ended up suspending him before the season for violating the university’s code of student conduct after his arrest on a misdemeanor assault charge involving his ex-girlfriend. He sat out 2014 and has now ended up at Louisville. Another Horned Frog, LB Paul Dawson, ended up as that year’s defensive POY.
  • Last year, Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman — a two-time All-Big 12 pick who set Baylor’s single-season sacks record in 2014, was the preseason pick. He ended up as a second-team All-Big 12 selection before his career went south before this spring’s NFL Draft. The conference ended up going with co-players of the year for the third time — Baylor DT Andrew Billings and Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah.

So, while it’s great that Jefferson’s getting some preseason love, recent history tells us someone else out there may end up with the postseason accolade.

What else is being written out there about the Longhorns?

We were at Texas’ first practice on Saturday. Kirk Bohls wrote on this year’s receivers — the Horns sure have several of them, it’s just that they’re unproven. And if you’re interested in the quarterback battle, the first-team reps were shared by Shane Buechele and Tyrone Swoopes. On Monday, Brian and Ryan Autullo will break down their player and position unit observations and analysis after the Longhorns’ first two practices.

The Des Moines Register wrote about former Texas OC Greg Davis, Iowa’s current offensive guru.

Horns in Rio: Kevin Durant led Team USA with 25 points in the 119-62 win over China. He was 5 of 8 on 3-pointers and also led the U.S. in assists. In volleyball, Rachael Adams had six kills and two blocks in Team USA’s 3-0 win over Puerto Rico. Team USA meets The Netherlands on Monday. And UT notched its first-ever Olympic tennis victory; former Horn Miguel Reyes Varela won his doubles match for Mexico.

On deck for Sunday: Reyes Varela will be at it again in men’s doubles. In rowing, Kate Bertko competes in lightweight women’s double sculls in the morning, and there are lots of swimmers in action — Townley Haas swims in the 200 free prelims, Jimmy Feigen‘s in the 400 free relay prelims, Joanna Evans swims for The Bahamas in the 400 free prelims (11 a.m.-1:30, NBC), while Haas (200 free semifinals), Evans (400 free final) and Feigen (400 free relay final) all could be going at night (8-10:25 p.m., NBC).

AROUND THE BIG 12: There’s a distinct sense of CFP urgency in Norman this year, the Dallas Morning News observes. The Oklahoman is noticing a change in Bob Stoops; they’re describing it as Stoops having regained his mojo. And the Tulsa World wrote about OU’s wide receivers, who appear to be hungry this year. TCU defensive tackle Casey McDermott Vai is moving to guard, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Baylor held its annual Meet the Bears fan event at McLane Stadium on Saturday, and nearly 3,000 fans showed up. Here’s the Waco Tribune-Herald story. The Oklahoman’s Jenni Carlson had a nice read on Oklahoma State senior safety Jordan Sterns, whose journey to become a better man has in turn made him a better football player. The Kansas City Star wrote about Kansas receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez, a Texas A&M transfer, and also about Kansas State receiver Byron Pringle, who was the star of the Wildcats’ spring game. And Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register offered a team-by-team breakdown and prediction for this year’s Big 12 race. Spoiler alert: He has Texas seventh in the league.

OPPOSITION RESEARCH: The South Bend Tribune advanced the start of Notre Dame camp with a look at Irish storylines. And remember Durham Smythe, the Belton tight end who decommitted from Texas and signed with Notre Dame back in 2013? Beware — he and the Irish tight ends are growing moustaches in order to bond. And the Chicago Tribune wrote a feature on Irish receiver Torii Hunter Jr., now the veteran among Notre Dame’s pass catchers.

On Aug. 7, 2005: We lost former ABC news anchorman Peter Jennings. Wonder what he’d think about this year’s election?

On Aug. 9, 1989: A plane crash in Ethiopia killed 15, including U.S. Congressman Mickey Leland, a Democrat from Texas.

On Aug. 7, 1974: Frenchman Philippe Petit successfully crossed the World Trade Center’s twin towers 1,368 feet in the air. Some 41 years later, he’d be portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the movie “The Walk.”

9/27/08 Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN; Texas legendary players Bobby Layne and Tommy Nobis had their numbers retired in a ceremony at halftime before a large crowd in the Horns victory over Arkansas 52-10.
9/27/08 Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN; Texas legendary players Bobby Layne and Tommy Nobis had their numbers retired in a ceremony at halftime before a large crowd in the Horns victory over Arkansas 52-10.

Trivia answer: The highest-ever draft pick for a Longhorns linebacker was Tommy Nobis, the No. 1 overall pick of the 1966 draft — and the first ever pick by the expansion Atlanta Falcons. If you guessed Derrick Johnson, he went 15th overall in 2005.

OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.

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