Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Bohls: David Pierce sees a different, more experienced Texas Longhorn team in 2021

Kirk Bohls
Austin American-Statesman
Ole Miss players leap onto a dogpile with teammates after the Rebels won their own Oxford Regional earlier this month. Dogpiles are becoming more common at the regional and super regional level in college baseball (but not at Texas).

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

1. Dogpile delay. Love the Texas baseball tradition of no dogpiles until the Longhorns win a natty at the College World Series. Not sure when that started but love that it’s passed down from team to team. It lends credence to Augie Garrido’s comment that at Texas, “Omaha is mandatory.” Pretty close. Just love the idea of how much swagger that carries. Buck Cody famously missed the pile after Texas clinched the 2005 CWS, but the pitcher told us in an "On Second Thought" podcast that it was too dangerous because "there was a lot of money (with future major-league draftees) in that pile." The rest can dogpile after winning a regional or a super regional. The Horns? They just pile up wins and will assemble in such a body-filled celebration when they win the game that matters. ... Texas coach David Pierce said this trip to Omaha seems different from his first one as Longhorns coach in 2018 because the earlier one “was some sort of relief to do what Texas does. Go to Omaha. But I really felt like that team overachieved. The only thought we have now is going to Omaha to win this thing. You’ve got to have a little luck and stay healthy, you’ve got to calm your nerves.” … Pierce, making his sixth trip as an assistant or head coach, said he’s never taken in the city’s world-famous Rosenblatt Zoo and said he may go check it out since Texas will be there Wednesday afternoon until Sunday night before it plays Mississippi State.

Bohls:Texas baseball, College Football Playoff format both getting bigger and better

2. Roger that. The more I watch Ty Madden pitch, the more his smooth mechanics and delivery and follow-through remind me of Roger Clemens. How he comes over the top and really muscles up and gathers himself before he goes downhill. Even the way he stands on the mound. So impressed with him. ... Pierce won Big 12 coach of the year honors and should probably rival Tennessee’s Tony Vitello for the national award. By the way, Vitello started the aborted 2020 season at 15-2 and has his Vols at 50-16. And if you haven't seen the video of ex-Vol and quarterback audibler Peyton Manning calling him to congratulate him on taking the team to "Oma-ha," you've got to watch it. I really think Peyton's a better comedian even than he was a quarterback. ... After starting the season 0-3 when his team was outscored 20-4 and struck out a staggering 46 times, Pierce is to be commended for keeping this team together and cohesive. Texas also overcame losing a home series against Texas Tech and a rough Big 12 Tournament, but this is a club that never stopped believing. “We’ve been very consistent throughout the year, just take a look at what we’ve accomplished,” Pierce said. “We’ve been dominant at times, and there have been times where we’ve had to figure out different ways to win games. I think that’s pretty special.” ... There’s no better example of the team’s resilience than left fielder Eric Kennedy, who is on fire. After getting benched following the Big 12 Tournament when he went hitless, he didn’t sulk. Instead, he had three hits in nine at-bats, including the winning RBI double in Game 1, against South Florida and two RBIs in Game 2. ... Hated those steel-gray and yellowish orange Tennessee uniforms. Sorry, Peyton… Can’t help but think Rice made a big mistake by not hiring Texas pitching coach Sean Allen. Jose Cruz Jr. is a huge name and an alumnus, but so much goes into being a head coach, and Allen checked a ton of boxes. ... The SEC could have sent a CWS-record five teams to Omaha. The Razorbacks' exit reminds me so much of the 1989 Texas A&M team that was eliminated by LSU in the regional in the same year a below-average Longhorns team not only reached the CWS but finished second.

There is a proposal out there to expand the College Football Playoff field from four to 12 teams, a move that could bring up to $2 billion to college football.

3. Cheaper by the dozen? Actually, more expensive. The new proposal to expand the College Football Playoff to 12 teams could bring up to $2 billion to college football coffers. Yes, I’m glad to see college football expand the format. Four never made sense, not in this era where every sport is growing its postseason. Four was just too few and too exclusionary, especially when you have the Power Five conferences and one or two in the Group of Five beating down the door to be included. No matter what any administrator or commissioner says, a 12-team model will diminish the regular season. It will by definition. You know a bunch of two-loss teams will make it. Now they’ll argue that it keeps more teams engaged in contention. Of course it will. Double it to 24 teams and even more programs will be engaged deeper in the season. But that’s not the goal. The goal is to identify the best team. This is quite simply a money grab. The schools will like the extra revenue. The coaches will be happy because eight more of them each year will be able to say they made the playoff. And they’ll be paid big bonuses in their contract incentive clauses for qualifying. Tom Herman, for example, would have made an extra $250,000 for a CFP appearance and even $120,000 for just being ranked in the CFP's top 10. ... The expansion likely will keep fewer stars from opting out before the end of the year because eight more teams — potentially 680 scholarship players — will have more reason to keep playing and to put off their preparations for the NFL. So, yes, there are reasons to grow the size of the field. I’d just stick with eight and maybe, just maybe incrementally, increase it to 12 teams if it looks like it benefits everybody AND the overall game itself. Remember, the BCS folks screamed to the heavens forever that more than a two-team championship field would dilute the bowls and the regular season. Now they are arguing on the complete other side of their mouths. Progress? We’ll see.

Bohls: DeLoss Dodds reminisces about Aggies rivalry and job offer he turned down

4. Gus time. Got to see Cliff Gustafson — my all-time favorite Longhorns coach — and his outstanding, long-time assistant Bill Bethea at the Disch before Game 1 of the super regional. I covered Gus' teams for 20 seasons as the beat writer and almost another 10 as a columnist, and never has there been a coach more detailed in his exhaustive practices and more prepared for any eventuality in a game. He gets 10 ducks. ... Speaking of ex Longhorns coaches, former basketball coach Tom Penders reminded me that he and Mike White were teammates on the USA national fastpitch softball team a while back.

Scottie Scheffler, one of six former Texas Longhorns in the 156-player U.S. Open field, will take sights on his first PGA Tour championship this week. One of his first-round playing partners is fellow former Longhorn Jordan Spieth.

Golden: Omaha-bound Longhorns have appreciated their 10th Man support

5. U.S. Open. So who you got? Me, I'm rooting for Scottie Scheffler, one of six Longhorns in this week's field, to win his first PGA tournament and also Jon Rahm, who led The Memorial by six shots after three rounds before being sidelined by COVID-19 contact tracing.

6. Quick hitters. Congrats to the Football Writers Association of America’s Super 11 sports information staffs, which are recognized as the nation’s best: Appalachian State, Boston College, Clemson, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas State, West Virginia, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina and Penn State. Can vouch for the KSU and West Virginia folks. Always helpful and responsive in a timely fashion. ... Can someone help my Yankees? Guess they’ll be sellers, come late July. ... I read that 80-90% of MLB pitchers use some form of foreign substance to "aid" their pitches, and I was stunned. Only 90%?

7. Heave ho. The Dallas Mavs bid Donnie Nelson farewell after 24 years as GM. But not a single playoff round series win in 10 years. Mark Cuban had to get a new GM to placate fans. Maybe Cuban can go on "Shark Tank" and find a replacement who can actually give Luka Doncic a supporting cast.

8. Scattershooting. While wondering whatever happened to David Maroul, the Longhorns third baseman who was the surprise most outstanding player of the 2005 College World Series championship team. ... If you didn't know, former NFL kicker Phil Dawson is the special teams coordinator for head coach Trent Dilfer at the Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, Tenn., where Dawson's son Beau is a senior H-back. I think Dawson could be a rising star in coaching circles.

9. On the couch: Wanted to like "Greenland," because I enjoy disaster movies and love Gerard Butler, but this version of the earth-destroying comet left me a little flat and seemed too contrived. Gave it 5 ducks. By the way, we finished “Mare of Easttown.” Its twists had twists. Just sensational.

Crazy prediction: What the heck. Will Zalatoris gets a tip from Bryson DeChambeau before the final round and beats Brooks Koepka to win the U.S. Open.