Bohls: Texas Longhorns are oozing with running back speed; pickleball is going big-time
While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. Fast enough. Keilan Robinson is fast. Really, really fast. Watching him zoom into the end zone from 65 yards out on Texas’ third offensive play of the second half, I thought he looked as swift-footed as any back I’d seen in 50 years. Up there with the Johnny “Lam” Joneses and Eric Metcalfs and Herkie Wallses. Bijan Robinson impressed, too, and he can move as quickly as any. So when I asked him Monday who’d win a footrace between them, Bijan said, “I’m not going to lie, Keilan might win it. He’s a fast dude. But he wouldn’t beat us by a lot.” And who’d be the hottest on his heels? “Oh, I’m second,” he said proudly. You’re up, RoJo. … This trio of backs, accompanied by freshman Jonathon Brooks, are damn impressive and give Steve Sarkisian a lot of options. Expect all of ‘em to continue to be used in a variety of ways. After all, Johnson scored his 72-yard touchdown out of the Wildcat, springing free from five Rice defenders, and Keilan Robinson blocked an Owls punt for a safety. That, my friends, is versatility and athleticism. The depth could also help ease any excessive workload for Bijan and save wear and tear on him.
2. Move over, MLS. MLP is here as well. Soon. Major League Pickleball is coming to Austin in a new, elite pickleball league with the world’s best 32 professional players of 16 women and 16 men. They’ll compete in a live-streamed nationally broadcast team pickleball competition over four days at Dreamland in Dripping Springs from Nov. 5-8. I was introduced to pickleball for the first time during a vacation at my son's in-laws lake place north of Minneapolis, and I can vouch for how fun the game is. In MLP, the eight teams will compete for the Pritchard Cup, named after the founder of pickleball, Joel Pritchard. The first MLP draft will be held in Dallas on Oct. 1 as the eight MLP team owner groups each select four players. Pickleball, if you haven’t experienced it, is all the rage. It has been called “the fastest-growing sport in America” by The Economist as more than four million people play. Participation rose 21% from 2019 to 2020. I can’t wait to start my MLP fantasy league. … There are three pickleball courts at Dreamland, which also has two more under construction. ... The eight teams will compete in women’s and men’s singles and doubles, as well as mixed doubles, and has a format similar to Ryder Cup play. The $150,000 prize pool will include cash payments to the players and an equity stake in MLP, allowing them an ownership stake. The MLP president, by the way, is Mellie Price, an educator and investor who founded Front Gate Tickets and Purposeful Capital and also teaches entrepreneurship at the UT McCombs School of Business.
3. The real Ryder Cup. Pumped to watch the 43rd Ryder Cup because expectations are high with all the potential heckling and jeering from U.S. fans. And that’s just those directed at American Bryson DeChambeau. We kid. Hopefully, the patriots on hand at Whistling Straits will be in full force behind the Americans, who are trying to wrest the Cup away from Europe, which has won seven of the last nine competitions, including the last one played in 2018. … DeChambeau, the 2020 U.S. Open champion and an eight-time PGA Tour winner, was asked Tuesday about his very public feud with Ryder Cup teammate Brooks Koepka that has boiled over for more than a month. DeChambeau said all the right things and said he and Koepka have “had some great conversations” and even shared a dinner Monday night. He even hinted that the two might announce a future fun event like maybe one of the exhibitions that have become more commonplace. Asked if the Ryder Cup offers an opportunity for him to change public perception of him, DeChambeau said, “I’m not trying to change anybody’s perception. Whether they like me or not is up to them. I do want to show people who I am. But this isn’t about me. It’s about getting the crowd behind us and riled up to help us win the Cup. I guess potentially it could change, but if I make a hole-in-one on every single hole, there will still be some people who think whatever.” … Part-time Austinite Sergio Garcia prepares for his ninth Ryder Cup to further cement a career that includes 22 wins and a record 25 1/2 Ryder Cup points. “I’m very proud of it,” Garcia said, “but I’d rather go 0-5 and win the Cup than 5-0 and lose it.”
4. Ryder Cup lovefest. DeChambeau spoke highly of Cup captain's pick and former Texas Longhorn Scottie Scheffler, who will play in his first Ryder Cup perhaps with DeChambeau in some pairings against Euros that have three rookies, including former Oklahoma State Cowboy Viktor Hovland. Scheffler called DeChambeau “a fantastic guy. I think everybody has an opinion on him. I have an opinion on him as well. I think he's a fantastic guy. I've known him since college. He's always been nothing but gracious and kind to me, and he means really well. I think sometimes people take little tidbits of what he says and try and beat him down a little bit, and I think that's kind of what happens in sports is people get built up and then they get torn down once they reach the top. When people make it really big like Bryson has, I think some people try and tear him down a little bit. Fantastic guy, he's got a heart, and I really have nothing but good things to say about him.” DeChambeau continued the lovefest and said, “This guy’s a stud. His wedge play and putting are incredible. His long iron game is incredible. He’s a good all-around player and is going to win a lot of tournaments.” … Scheffler, who is No. 22 in the world, may change some perceptions of himself. “People say I’m not emotional,” he said. “My wife would say just the opposite. I cry a lot, and I’m pretty emotional.” For the record, he says he cried while watching “Miracle” and “Stranger Things.” … Look for a great showing out of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, who went 3-1 together in the 2018 Cup.
5. Wide open? I’m really starting to think there’s not one great college football team this season, and truthfully that might signal one terrific College Football Playoff. Alabama suddenly looked vulnerable after almost blowing a 21-3 lead to Florida. Clemson’s defense has given up just one touchdown in three games this year, but its offense is No. 105 nationally, averaging 22 points a game. What’s going on with Ohio State these days? Oregon struggled for a half with Stony Brook. Biggest climbers are Penn State, Iowa and Cincinnati.
6. NFL stuff. Tony Pollard is really good. What a burst the Cowboys running back has. He looks so much more explosive than Zeke Elliott and figures to get more snaps all the time. … Is Derek Carr for real? Looking like an MVP candidate. … He may not be the quintessential NFL quarterback, but damn is Lamar Jackson fun to watch. … Didn’t Patrick Mahomes talk about going undefeated this year? His Chiefs are 1-1 and barely won their opener. … When will Tom Brady realize how old he is? Still an MVP front-runner. Boy, Ben Roethlisberger sure looks done. … I know I’m in the minority, but I don’t mind the taunting penalties that have been a point of emphasis in the NFL. The officials have called 11 such infractions already equaling last year’s number. I like it being enforced. Celebrate your butt off, NFL players, if you wish. Taunting is not celebrating. We all know the trickle-down effect of taunting down to the college and high school level. I know, I know. And yes, I want some NFL players to get off my lawn.
7. Random hits. I really thought that was one of the worst Rice teams I’ve seen in a long while. So little speed. … Did you notice Louisiana has rebounded strong since losing to Texas? The Ragin' Cajuns crushed Ohio 49-14 with 562 yards. … Texas State lost to Incarnate Word? Really? Yikes. … Don’t sleep on Fresno State. The Bulldogs just may be the best Group of Five team behind former Washington quarterback Jake Haener after knocking off UCLA and losing by only seven to Oregon.
8. Scattershooting. While wondering whatever happened to Longhorns backup quarterback Greg Lott from Lubbock High. He backed up Marvin Kristynik in 1965, ran back the game’s opening kickoff against his hometown team in ’66 and also played some running back. Oh, and he may have been best known for having dated UT coed Farrah Fawcett before she found Ryan O’Neal.
9. At the box office. Saw “Reminiscence,” but can’t say it’s a great flick. This film about supernaturally rediscovering memories hidden deep in one’s subconsciousness tries hard to provide a sci-fi thriller and offers terrific on-screen chemistry between stars Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson, but it ultimately fails to deliver. Gave it five ducks.
Crazy prediction: Scottie Scheffler will score at least three points in the Ryder Cup.