Bohls: Texas quarterbacks, golfers, volleyballers, coaches, etc., aiming for greatness
While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. QB or not 2 QBs? Like most, I saw no separation between Casey Thompson and Hudson Card in the Texas quarterbacks battle, but to me, Longhorn Nation should be relieved because both look more than capable of being a winning quarterback. Neither is a finished product by any means. Thompson, 22, has more experience in the room, if not so much on the field, but redshirt freshman Card could make that up in short time since neither has a college start. I do think Card has the stronger arm, but Thompson has a poise and a feel for the offense, and that makes both of them strong candidates to win the job. I’m guessing Card might have gained a small edge Saturday in the Orange-White spring game if only because Thompson’s gaffe on the pick-six is the one mistake a quarterback cannot make, especially in the red zone. Steve Sarkisian has said all spring he wants his quarterbacks to avoid negative plays and to be less robotic. It may still be a draw, but Card might even have a little more appeal with four years of eligibility left to Thompson’s three if they both want them.
2. Putting down the hammer. Helluva run by the Texas men’s golf team to come back from an eight-stroke deficit to tie No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 4 Oklahoma State for the lead in the Big 12 championship entering the final round Wednesday. Cole Hammer blistered the Prairie Dunes course for a 5-under score as the best card of the day and sits in a tie for first with golfers from Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. "Cole played very well," coach John Fields said. "He got it going early and kept his foot on the gas all day." How athletic is this golf squad? Consider that Fields’ redshirt freshmen Mason Nome and Travis Vick and current Longhorns outfielder Doug Hodo Jr. all played on the same 12-year-old select baseball team out of Houston Memorial. Besides being a pitcher, Vick was also a quarterback and linebacker until he gave up football for golf after his junior year. Nome, who shot a terrific 2-under par Tuesday to sit in sixth place in the individual lead, committed to Texas as a seventh-grader.
3. Band together. So the University is going to make the Longhorn band play “The Eyes of Texas.” What a concept. I’m all for it. It is, after all, the alma mater. And the school will start an alternative band that doesn’t have to play the school song if it doesn’t wish. Fair enough. But if Mick Jagger asks me to join the Rolling Stones, I’ll assume he’ll insist I play “Satisfaction.” Athletes, don’t sing it if you don’t want to. You weren’t recruited to sing “The Eyes.” But the band should play the song that its school recognizes as its official anthem.
4. King of Olympic sports. If you’re into day trading, buy Texas stock. Now. No, sooner. I know the old saw that nothing matters except football, but Longhorns athletics are entering a new golden period not unlike the first decade of this century when they were good in every sport and even made the Sports Illustrated cover. Consider that Texas' spectacular volleyball team just played for the national championship before falling short to Kentucky. Eddie Reese’s men’s swimmers and divers won the natty, his 15th. Female hoops reached the Elite Eight. David Pierce’s baseball bunch sits atop the Big 12 after winning 16 of its last 17 and touting ace Ty Madden, who is projected as the eighth pick of the the summer draft and is Texas’ best MLB pitching prospect since Taylor Jungmann in 2011. Chris Beard’s recruiting is on fire, and I’m told he’s looking at a small forward on Mars. Pierceson Coody is the No. 2 amateur golfer in the world after rising to the top spot and leading the men’s team to a second-day tie for the lead in the Big 12 championship. Men’s and women’s track won the Big 12 indoor, both rank in the top seven nationally and Tara Davis can jump to the moon. Rowing — yeah, rowing — is ranked second in the nation. Get your oars up as well as your Horns. Softball may be the best team in 49 states (we see you, Oklahoma). And the football team hasn't lost to Kansas in ages, and nobody got hurt Saturday. So there’s lots to celebrate this spring.
5. Missing Mulkey. Speaking of hoops, did Vic Schaefer scare off Kim Mulkey to LSU or was it a deserved money grab by the former Baylor women’s coach? Regardless, it’s a win for Texas and the rest of the conference with regard to their title chances but a severe blow to the Big 12’s prestige and perhaps teams' RPIs if Baylor drops off. Me, I’m very sad to see the outspoken coach go because we will be deprived of some delicious rivalry games between her and Schaefer. “It’s always special to go home,” Schaefer told me Tuesday. “Like myself, she’s 60 miles from where she grew up. It’s a special opportunity, once in a lifetime, really.” And will he play her LSU Tigers? “Sure, at some point.”
6. Pro-expansion. I've long favored an expansion of the College Football Playoff from four to eight teams, thinking a bigger field would open it up to Power Five teams besides Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State and maybe, just maybe a rare Group of Five team because the current format has gotten stale. I'd think all coaches would favor more teams because they'd get more bonuses for reaching the postseason and an eight-team bracket doubles their chances. Asked about it, Sarkisian said, “I think ideally a real, defined playoff probably has more teams than four. What that exactly is, I don't know. I'm no expert in that field, but I do think we would all like to see an expansion of some sort. I do think we're trending in the right direction."
7. OT oh no. The NCAA has changed overtime rules yet again for football. Me, I’d prefer starting the overtime with the ball at the opponents’ 40 and move the ball half the distance closer to the end zone each ensuing possession. But make an offense earn getting into field goal territory. Why arbitrarily penalize great defensive teams? So the rules committee is saying teams must go for two after the second overtime period. What is so damn sacred about the second period? If the goal is at least partially to enhance player safety by shortening games, make 2-point conversion attempts mandatory after every overtime, starting with the first one. And coaches, please, please, please go for two when you have a chance to win the game in the final minute of regulation. It makes no sense not to, especially if you’re the underdog. The ball is in your hands. Go for it.
8. Scattershooting. While wondering whatever happened to former UT third baseman Trey Salinas, who played on Cliff Gustafson’s final team that won the 1996 Southwest Conference title. … Learned Glen Halsell, who basically defined the linebacker position at Texas as a tri-captain on the 1969 team, became an attorney in Odessa, the same city where he starred alongside running back Billy Dale for state champion Permian. Dale wrote of Halsell on his terrific Texas Legacy Support Network website that helps former Longhorns in financial need, “He has spent 30 years building a compound in Fort Davis similar to a missionary retreat. Inside the compound are six 600- to 900-square foot homes, a place of worship, a commissary and a library. ... Darrell Royal once said Glen was a rolling ball of butcher knives. He was so good at his skill set that he was the only defensive player that got away with throwing the game plan into the trash when he left the meeting. He told the coaches that all that information just confused him. He said his game plan was to tackle the ball carrier,” something he did 263 times in his college career, yet he's still not in the school's Hall of Honor.
9. On the couch: Loved the “Imposters” series about two young men and a woman getting conned by a super attractive female, then becoming con artists themselves as they track her down. Gave it 9 ducks.
Crazy prediction: The best non-quarterback to come out of this year's NFL draft will be Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins.