Good morning. Breakfast is served.
It’s April 19th — 109 down, 256 to go.
And 7 till the final spring game in the Big 12 (Kansas State, April 26).
YESTERDAY: Texas baseball fell to TCU. Again. Texas softball, one night after falling to No. 16 Oklahoma, run-ruled the Sooners. The Vandegrift girls — the Austin area’s lone team in the UIL state soccer tournament — won its Class 4A semifinal. David McWilliams turned 72.
TODAY: The Orange-White Game (1 p.m., Royal-Memorial Stadium, Longhorn Network, 1300, also free to go), one of three televised spring games (Alabama, 1 p.m., ESPNU; Auburn, 2 p.m., ESPN). The NBA playoffs begin, with four Game 1s — Nets at Raptors (11:30 a.m., ESPN), Warriors at Clippers (2:30 p.m., ABC), Hawks at Packers (6 p.m., ESPN) and Grizzlies at Thunder (8:30 p.m., ESPN). Vandegrift goes for a 4A state title as the UIL state soccer tourney wraps up in Georgetown. And the Texas Stars, who’ll be the AHL’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs, play their final regular-season game (7 p.m., Cedar Park Center).
TOMORROW: It’s Easter Sunday. And there are four more Game 1s in the NBA playoffs, starting with Mavericks at Spurs (noon, TNT, FSSW) and followed by Charlotte at Miami (2:30 p.m., ABC), Washington at Chicago (7, TNT) and then Portland at Houston (8:30 p.m., TNT).
April 19 has a sports history. On this date, Evander Holyfield beat George Foreman in a 12-round decision to win the heavyweight title (1991); Michael Spinks beat Larry Holmes in a 15-round split decision to win the heavyweight title (1986), the same night that Dominique Wilkins burned the Pistons for 50 points in the Hawks’ 137-125 first-round NBA playoff win (1986); the longest pro baseball game was ever played, between Pawtucket (R.I.) and Rochester of the International League. It was suspended after 32 innings, 8 hours and 7 minutes and the score tied, 2-2. It was 4:07 a.m. That game featured two future Hall of Famers — Cal Ripken Jr. and Wade Boggs (1981); the first baseball uniforms with players’ names on the back appeared (1960); and the very first Boston Marathon — with 15 runners — was staged (1897).
Last year on April 19, both the Texas Rangers (7-0 over Seattle) AND the Houston Astros (3-2 over Cleveland) won on the same day, surely a rarity given the ‘Stros’ 111-loss season.
Today’s sports birthdays: Maria Sharapova (27), Candace Parker (28), Joe Mauer (31), Troy Polamalu (33), Rivaldo (42), Al Unser Jr. (52) and 1988 Cy Young winner Frank Viola (54). Other notables: Kate Hudson (35), James Franco (36), Ashley Judd (46) and Tim Curry (68).
TODAY’S TRIVIA: The classic 1993 movie “Dazed and Confused” that was shot in Austin included three future Academy Award winners in it. Who were they? (Answer’s at the end of Breakfast.)
TODAY’S LEAD: TEXAS FOOTBALL. Has there been a more interesting Orange-White spring game over the past 20 years? This one’s oozing storylines, from the new head coach and system to a potentially new defensive philosophy to questions about key postions. Still, as we laid out in our game advance, you probably shouldn’t set the bar too high if you’re at DKR or watching it on TV. The Longhorns, with all their injuries, their problems at quarterback and working in a new system, likely will look off. Could be a nice day for the defense, though.
We asked UT beat writer Brian Davis and columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden for their thoughts on today’s game, and what they’re specifically interested in following.
What Kirk Bohls is looking for:
With so many injured players out at QB, RB, OL and LB, the spring game may be so bland that it might not even be worth watching. And with the prying eyes of television, why would Charlie Strong want to give a sneak peak of what he wants to do in the fall? I’m sure Bob Stoops and Art Briles are even more curious than the legion of Longhorns fans.
Sadly, there’s been little to no buzz surrounding spring practice because there’s been almost zero glimpses of practice and very little access to the players and coaches.
We have no idea if David Ash can survive a single game, much less an entire season, and we won’t know it until September.
We should get a short look into Tyrone Swoopes’ progression, and that could be the biggest tell out of Saturday.
I will be shocked if Malcolm Brown gets more than a handful of carries. Why take the risk?
Fans should look hard at the offensive line against the defensive line, because Strong promised “good on good,” meaning the first-team offense vs. the first-team defense.
I’m prepared to see a vanilla spring game. But then we weren’t expected to see a 12-0 team on Saturday. There’s too much work to be done before we have any sense of how good this team can be.
What Cedric Golden is looking for:
The fans I’ve spoken with over the past week don’t expect to see a whole lot of offense in the spring game, mostly because Ash broke his foot.
Swoopes has been burdened by premature, unfair comparisons to Vince Young — many in this fan base are so starved for that next transcendent talent at quarterback — but he has a long way to go in that regard.
I’m expecting offensive staffers Shawn Watson and Joe Wickline to call more pass plays than we’d expect, with receivers Marcus Johnson and Kendall Sanders testing this experienced secondary deep.
Question is, will Swoopes be able to get it there?
What Brian Davis is looking for:
If I were a Texas fan, I’d really want to leave DKR feeling good about Swoopes. The coaches already know what he can do. Watson, the QBs coach, should put Swoopes in position to make big plays and show the fans what he can do, too. We know what Brown can do, but how does he look behind this offensive line? And I’d like to see if all the hype on Johnson is justified. Let’s see him make a big catch down the sideline, or make a catch in traffic that turns heads.
Defensively, let’s see some excitement. I know they aren’t going to knock a teammate’s head off, but seeing one or two big licks wouldn’t be a bad thing. Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford wants to instill a tough mindset, and Strong wants this group to be tough, right? Let’s see it.
So, Longhorns, if I were a fan, give me a reason to get excited. Give the fans a reason to buy some tickets. Remember, the Big 12 champions live just up I-35. This year’s Big 12 favorites live even further up I-35, in Norman. Give everyone a reason not to think you’ve got 7-5 or 8-4 written all over you.
Five things I’m looking for, beyond what Kirk, Ced and Brian are?
(1) The kicking game. Anthony Fera’s gone. Who’s going to end up kicking important field goals, or trying to nail punts inside the 10 or 20?
(2) The size of the crowd. It’s not like there aren’t other options out there. It’s Easter weekend, the NBA playoffs are on, it’ll be a gorgeous Saturday and the game will be on TV. What’s the interest level out there?
(3) Daje Johnson. What’s it going to be, No. 4? Dangerous playmaker or roster worry?
(4) Shiro Davis. It can’t all just be about Cedric Reed on the other end. Texas needs a pass rush from both sides.
(5) The defensive tackles. Whether to run a 4-3 or a 3-4 depends on how settled coaches feel at DT. Step right up, Hassan Ridgeway and/or Desmond Jackson.
The Dallas Morning News’ take on today’s scrimmage? It’ll likely be a physical afternoon, which is what Strong’s been preaching.
So, what else is being written about the Longhorns?
TCU 2, Texas 0. The Longhorns fell to the Horned Frogs for the second straight night and lost the Big 12 series, which concludes this afternoon.
Friday’s conference games: TCU 2, Texas 0; Oklahoma State 7, Kansas 0; Oklahoma 5, West Virginia 3; Kansas State 6, Baylor 4; and Texas Tech 8, Prairie View 0.
These last two losses have gummed up the conference race for the Longhorns. Oklahoma State, which has won five straight Big 12 games, leads the pack at 9-4 (27-11 overall). Texas (9-5, 30-10) and TCU (9-5, 25-13) are tied for second, followed by Texas Tech (8-7, 31-11). Kansas (6-7), Oklahoma (5-6), Kansas State (4-7), Baylor (4-9) and West Virginia (3-7) trail behind.
Today’s games: West Virginia at Oklahoma, Kansas at Oklahoma State, TCU at Texas, Baylor at Kansas State and Prairie View at Texas Tech.
Oklahoma State and Kansas finish their series tomorrow, the only conference game scheduled on Easter.
AROUND THE FORTY ACRES: A quick sweep of UT teams …
Football: The annual Orange-White Game — they’re calling it the Orange-White Scrimmage this year — is today (1 p.m., DKR, LHN, 1300). It’s free to the public. The annual fan fest also returns. DKR’s gates open at 11 a.m. Bevo and Smokey the Cannon will be there for photo opps. And, if you want to invest $59, Vince Young will be signing autographs from 10-11:30 a.m. at the team shop on the west side of DKR.
Men’s basketball: Former UT assistant Frank Haith was introduced as Tulsa’s new coach on Friday. He left Missouri, where he picked up one national coach of the year award and guided the Tigers to two NCAA Tournaments in his three years.
Baseball: No. 6 Texas was shut out by TCU for the second straight night. The Horned Frogs pulled into a tie with Texas for second place in the conference race. Game 3 is today at 4 p.m. at Disch-Falk Field (LHN, 1300). It’ll be Nathan Thornhill (6-0, 0.78) vs. TCU’s Alex Young (1-3, 3.16).
Softball: Texas run-ruled No. 16 Oklahoma in six innings last night, 9-0, to even their best-of-three series. Taylor Thom hit her ninth home run and scored three times, and freshman pitcher Tiarra Davis improved to 6-1 in Big 12 games. Game 3 is at 6:30 p.m. today (Fox Sports regional).
Track and field: The No. 16 Texas men and the No. 3 Texas women compete at the Michael Johnson Dr Pepper Classic today at Baylor, at Waco’s Hart-Patterson Track Complex. There’ll be an expected 67 combined Longhorns in the field. Ryan Crouser leads the nation in the shot put, while the Texas women hold nation’s-best marks in five events, including the 100 (Morolake Akinosun), the 400 (Courtney Okolo), the 5,000 (Marielle Hall), the 1,600 relay and the pole vault (Kaitlin Petrillose).
Men’s tennis: No. 7 Texas ends its regular season today at Texas Tech (6 p.m., Lubbock’s McLeod Tennis Center). The Longhorns, who have won six of the last seven dual matches against Tech, can clinch at least a share of the Big 12 regular-season title with Baylor and also possibly Oklahoma, which faces Oklahoma State today. Baylor ended the season at 4-1; Texas and OU are both 3-1.
Women’s tennis: No. 20 Texas fell to No. 14 Baylor on Friday, 4-3, in the final women’s match at Penick-Allison Tennis Center. The match came down to the No. 4 singles match between Texas’ Neda Koprcina and Baylor’s Blair Shankle. Shankle won in a tiebreaker. … The Big 12 championships begin April 25; Texas finds out who its quarterfinal opponent will be sometime tonight.
ON APRIL 19 …
1995: The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed, killing 168.
1993: The 51-day siege of the Branch Davidian complex in Waco ended when a fire broke out in the compound. There were 81 deaths in the fire and subsequent raid.
1987: “The Simpsons” debuted — on “The Tracey Ullman Show.”
TRIVIA ANSWER: The 1993 flick “Dazed and Confused” included three future Oscar winners — Ben Affleck (2013 Best Picture, 1998 Best Original Screenplay), Matthew McConaughey (2014 Best Actor) and Renee Zellweger (2003 Best Supporting Actress).
TODAY’S LITTLE NUMBER: 1. Scholarship quarterbacks participating in today’s Orange-White Game. Because of Ash’s injury, Texas will also use walk-on Trey Holtz and converted receiver/tight end Miles Onyegbule besides Swoopes.
TODAY’S BIGGER NUMBER: 6. Longhorns in this year’s NBA playoffs field — Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, Chicago’s D.J. Augustin, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Houston’s Jordan Hamilton, San Antonio’s Cory Joseph and Houston’s Dexter Pittman.
TODAY’S BIG NUMBER: 17. Complete games pitched by UT softballer Tiarra Davis, who threw a four-hit shutout of Oklahoma last night.
OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.
News on Bevo Beat is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of Hookem.com is included with an Austin American-Statesman subscription in addition to Statesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe today at statesman.com/subscribe.