Good morning. Breakfast is served.
It’s April 20th — 110 down, 255 to go.
And 2 till this year’s ACL lineup is announced.
YESTERDAY: Texas played its annual Orange-White Game. Alabama and Auburn played their spring games too. The NBA playoffs tipped off (Hawks 101, Pacers 93; Warriors 109, Clippers 105; Nets 94, Raptors 87; Thunder 100, Grizzlies 86). Texas baseball got swept, by TCU. Texas softball lost its series at Oklahoma as well. The Vandegrift girls had to work overtime again, but won a Class 4A state soccer title.
TODAY: It’s Easter Sunday. In other news, the Spurs and Mavericks open up their first-round series (noon, TNT), one of four NBA playoff games (Charlotte at Miami, 2:30, ABC; Washington at Chicago, 6, TNT; Portland at Houston, 8:30, TNT). And former Longhorns slugger/current San Francisco Giants slugger Brandon Belt celebrates his 26th birthday.
TOMORROW: The first Game 2s of the NBA playoffs — the Grizzlies at Thunder (7 p.m., TNT, OKC leads 1-0; Warriors at Clippers, 9:30, TNT, Golden State leads 1-0).
April 20 has a sports history. On this date, Danica Patrick became the first female driver to ever win an Indy car race, at the Indy Japan 300 (2008); Mark McGwire became only the fourth player to homer onto the Detroit Tigers’ left field roof, joining former sluggers Frank Howard, Harmon Killebrew and Cecil Fielder (19979); the Chicago Bulls won their record 72nd game (1996); Michael Jordan set an NBA playoff record with 63 points in a game (1986); future Hall of Famer Tom Seaver won his first career game, a 6-1 Mets victory over the Cubs (1967); future Hall of Famer Bill Shoemaker won his first horse race (1949); the Cleveland Browns were formed (1945); future Hall of Famer Ted Williams recorded his first career hit — a double (1939); and historic ballparks opened — Boston’s Fenway Park (1912, only five days after the Titanic sunk), Detroit’s Tigers Stadium (1912, ditto) and Chicago’s Wrigley Field (1916).
Last year on April 20, sixth-ranked Texas beat top-ranked Oklahoma in softball, 4-2.
Today’s sports birthdays: Itula Mili (41), Ben Weir (44), John Carney (50), Don Mattingly (53) and the ol’ ball coach, Steve Spurrier (69). Other notables: Carmen Electra (42), Jessica Lange (65) and George Takei (77).
TODAY’S TRIVIA: Who did the Chicago Bulls beat that day Michael Jordan scored an NBA playoff record 63 points in 1986? (Answer’s at the end of Breakfast.)
TODAY’S LEAD: TEXAS FOOTBALL. Ten observations from yesterday’s Orange-White Spring Game:
(1) What to think of this Steve Edmond issue? The “Baylor sucks” rant that came after the scrimmage wasn’t induced by someone’s question. There were four reporters around him, including our own Brian Davis. “I really don’t like Baylor. I still think they’re trash and stuff like that. I feel like just bad luck happened to us. Baylor sucks. Y’all think it’s funny, but I’m dead serious. I don’t like Baylor.”
It would’ve helped had Edmond played in last year’s Baylor game. Or if he’d had a better spring game performance. But he’s one of the leaders of this team, and he obviously wanted it out there.
Baylor at Texas, by the way, is Oct. 4. One week before Texas-OU.
(2) Spring game winners: Malcolm Brown, Malcom Brown, Jaxon Shipley, Josh Turner, Jalen Overstreet, Caleb Bluiett and Dalton Santos.
(3) Spring game losers: Joe Bergeron.
(4) They helped themselves: Overstreet, Montrel Meander, Geoff Swaim, Marcus Johnson, Shiro Davis, Bryson Echols, Turner, Mykkele Thompson, Johnson and Brown.
(5) They didn’t: Edmond, Quandre Diggs, any kicker.
(6) Regardless of how you felt about Texas’ quarterback situation heading into the spring game, you should definitely be worried about it now. Here’s what you’re facing:
David Ash will be the starter come Aug. 30, but you can’t feel comfortable with relying on him to make it through an entire season. Maybe he will, and he certainly can, but there’s no way you can feel confident about it. Tyrone Swoopes just doesn’t look ready to quarterback Texas to wins if he has to. Didn’t get enough experience last year, looked off on his mechanics Saurday, and just looks too raw. Jerrod Heard won’t arrive till this summer. He’s an intriguing possibility based on what he did at Denton Guyer, but who knows (a) how he’ll translate to the college level, (b) how ready he’ll be come August, and (c) how comfortable Charlie Strong and Shaun Watson will be in trusting the freshman.
Swoopes’ first big test? A third-and-26 play on his first drive. It didn’t work out so well. On a blitz, he overthrew Shipley on a crossing route over the middle, and Dylan Haines, a walk-on safety from Lago Vista, picked it off. Plenty of zip on the pass. It just zipped off-mark. By quite a bit. On third-and-12 later, his pass was deflected at the line.
Watson, at halftime, to the Longhorn Network, on Swoopes: “He’s really got his first time with significant duty, in terms of starting. He’s had a little deer-in-the-headlights look early, but he’s settled down. He’s kind of finding himself right now. He got him in a little rhythm. So it’s just one of those learning steps in the process.”
Who impressed Watson? Brown. “We know what we’ve got with him.”
What did Watson mean by “He’s kind of finding himself right now. He got him in a little rhythm?” Swoopes started the day 2 of 9 for 9 yards and a pick. He ended up with a respectable line — 17 of 30 for 229 yards, 3 TDs and one pick. But it wasn’t a team-inspiring performance.
(7) Third downs were a cause for concern. There were a couple of third-and-unrealistically long situations. Even when it’s all first-teamers trying to convert them, third-and-23s and third-and-17s are hard to pull off in the fall.
(8) Give Daje Johnson, not Swoopes, the credit on that Hail Mary touchdown on the final play of the first half. Swoopes showed he can fling it on the run, but it was a prayer for sure. It was Johnson, however, that impressed on the play; he jumped up and found that ball, in a small crowd and fighting off safety Adrian Colbert.
Texas needs Johnson to be a consistent playmaker. He can be given the opportunities — a couple of carries, some flares out of the backfield, lining up in the slot, returning a kick or punt — but he’s got to turn those touches into productive plays. The Longhorns look like they’re going to be short, not long, on big-play weapons. He’s one of them, along with Malcolm Brown, Johnathan Gray, Marcus Johnson and Shipiley.
Said defensive coordinator Vance Bedford about the play, to the Longhorn Network: “You have 12 seconds to go before the half is up, everybody should play deep and we need to go and attack the ball. We gave up a cheap touchdown. They haven’t moved the ball the entire game except for the first series, and we give a guy who just throws a jump ball up for a touchdown. We’ll get that corrected. We’ll get that corrected in two-a-day camp.”
(9) Who’s the starting tailback come the season opener? Malcolm Brown. Bergeron’s in the doghouse — for the second straight year, this time with a new coaching staff. Gray was last year’s starter, but missed the spring and is a big wild card in terms of how much of of his old self he’ll really be coming off the Achilles surgery. Will the speed be all there? Or that same cutting ability? Or confidence? Brown, who reportedly had a strong spring and certainly had a strong spring game, is the safest, and best, option. Plus, Strong and the offensive coaches already trust him. You can’t say the same thing for the others.
Brown fumbled in the third quarter. He went on to score a touchdown in the same quarter, but running backs coach Tommie Robinson still made him do 10 push ups immediately after the score — because of the earlier fumble. Consequences. Nice.
(10) Looks like there were no injuries Saturday, or new ones, anyway. That’s good for Texas. There were 14 Longhorns who weren’t able to play the game — Bergeron (suspended) and 13 others who are hurt. Too bad. Would’ve liked to have seen some of them play in order to get a clearer sense of what to expect this fall. How has Ash really looked this spring? Where does TE Greg Daniels fit on this depth chart? What kind of shape will Gray be in? Is Jordan Hicks going to impress, disappoint or just be so-so? WR Jake Oliver had a great prep career. What can he bring to the table? Is this Kent Perkins’ year to establish himself? And what can LBs Tevin Jackson and Kendall Thompson add to the linebackers unit?
We won’t know till the fall.
Kind of like the team in general. And the real answers won’t come till October, Texas’ make-or-break part of the schedule.
How was the Orange-White Game covered? We sent three to it — Kirk Bohls opined on Swoopes’ down-and-up day ($), and how it plays into the Longhorns’ quarterback situation; Cedric Golden revisited Strong’s past intention of matching up first-teamers on first-teamers for the game before abandoning that idea Saturday. Why? Because at this point, building confidence was more important than evaluating the roster, at least to the coaches ($); and Brian Davis broke down Texas’ day on defense ($). We also ran a game notebook, which led off with Edmond’s post-game rant. That confidence angle was the focus of the Dallas Morning News’ story as well. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote on Swoopes’ Jeckyll-and-Hyde halves. The San Antonio Express-News went big picture, which it’s calling pretty blurry at the moment.
So, what else is being written out there about the Longhorns?
TCU 3, Texas 1. The Horned Frogs made their sweep of Austin complete Saturday. Wasn’t it supposed to be Texas’ pitching staff, not TCU’s, that’s the class of the Big 12? TCU’s starters shined the past three days. Here’s our game story ($) as well as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s, which billed the sweep “historic.” The loss dropped Texas (30-11 overall, 9-6 in the Big 12) into third place in the conference race and the win moved TCU into second, right behind Oklahoma State.
Saturday’s Big 12 results — TCU 3, Texas 1; Baylor 3, Kansas State 1; Oklahoma State 5, Kansas 3; West Virginia 9, Oklahoma 5; Texas Tech 13, Prairie View 0.
The top four teams in the conference race — Oklahoma State (10-4, 28-11), TCU (10-5, 26-13), Texas (9-6, 30-11) and Texas Tech (8-7, 32-11).
Brian Davis dug into Texas’ athletic department pocket books and came up with an interesting look at where the Longhorns are financially ($). It’s not as good a situation as you’d think. Texas may still be the Joneses, but the athletic department needs help from deep-pocketed donors to maintain the athletic lifestyle to which it’s become accustomed. The Mack Brown exit and subsequent search and hiring of a new coach was costly, men’s athletic director Steve Patterson told Davis during a recent two-hour interview, but Texas will still end the year in the black.
AROUND THE BIG 12: The Waco Tribune-Herald had complete coverage of Saturday’s Michael Johnson Dr Pepper Classic, the final college track meet at Baylor’s 52-year-old Hart-Patterson Track and Field Complex. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Don Williams wrote about Texas Tech’s rash of quarterback exits — five have left the program over the past four months — and how that reflects on head coach Kliff Kingsbury. (Hint: It doesn’t look good.) In the FWIW department, Texas Tech’s baseball team just swept Prairie View A&M. The Raiders, however, are right behind Texas in the Big 12 race, so they’re worth watching. Here’s a nice read from the Daily Oklahoman on former Lake Travis and Texas Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield, who had an impressive spring game performance for Oklahoma. The story details how Mayfield grew up a Sooners fan despite growing up in Texas’ backyard. The paper also had a nice feature on Oklahoma State defensive standout Jimmy Bean, who’s another Denton Guyer product. The Tulsa World examined the 911 tapes in the sexual assault case involving Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon.
AROUND THE FORTY ACRES: A quick sweep of UT teams …
Football: Orange-White Game was yesterday. See above.
Baseball: No. 6 Texas was swept by TCU, falling 3-1 in Saturday’s series finale. Nathan Thornhill was tagged with his first season loss (6-1). Next up: Texas-Pan American, 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Disch.
Softball: One night after run-ruling Oklahoma, Texas was shut out by the Sooners 8-0 on Saturday in Norman to lose the series. Lindsey Stephens extended her streak of consecutive games reaching base to 46. Next up for Texas is a road game at Texas State on Wednesday.
Track and field: It was a good day in Waco. The No. 16 Texas men and the No. 3-ranked women each won eight titles at the Michael Johnson Dr Pepper Classic. Men’s winners included Zak Bilderback (400), Ryan Crouser (discus, shot put), Basil Fares (long jump), Eduardo Rodriguez (5,000) and Chris Irvin (200). Women’s winners included Kendall Baisden (400), Ashley Spencer (200), Kaitlin Petrillose (pole vault), Megan Seibert (5,000), Melissa Gonzalez (400 hurdles) and Shanay Briscoe (high jump).
Men’s tennis: No. 7 Texas beat Texas Tech on Saturday in Lubbock, 5-1, clinching a share of the Big 12 regular-season title. The Longhorns are now 20-4 overall, 4-1 in the Big 12. It was Texas’ first regular-season title since 2010. Texas shares the title with No. 6 Baylor (21-5, 4-1). No. 2 Oklahoma (20-2, 3-1) also can claim a share with a win over Oklahoma State today. The Big 12 championships are April 24-27 at TCU.
Women’s tennis: No. 20 Texas will be the No. 3 seed at the Big 12 championships, which open April 25 in Fort Worth. Texas (11-11, 6-3) plays TCU (12-11, 5-4) in the quarterfinals. Texas has won the last two Big 12 postseason tournaments.
Rowing: Two scheduled sessions Saturday at the 21-team Clemson Invite regatta were forced to be moved to early this morning instead, because of poor racing conditions. Texas got a victory from its third varsity eight boat, manned by coxswain Teresa Nguyen, stroke Kimmie Winder and crew Emily Jones, Lauren Nail, Naili Woelper, Lauren Studey, Arie Guerra, Allie Baker and Sarah Gutberlet.
ON APRIL 20 …
2010: BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 and creating an oil spill that would last six months.
1999: The Columbine High School massacre, in Colorado. Thirteen were killed, 24 others were injured.
1961: The U.S.-backed Cuban exiles’ Bay of Pigs invasion failed, in Cuba.
1918: Manfred von Richthofen — also known as Germany’s “Red Baron” — shot down his 79th and 80th victims. He would get shot down himself and die, however, the next day.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Trick question alert! Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls didn’t win the day he scored an NBA playoff record 63 points. Chicago fell at Boston in double overtime, 135-131. Should’ve scored 68, Mike.
TODAY’S LITTLE NUMBER: 5-12. Texas softball’s record vs. ranked teams this season.
TODAY’S BIGGER NUMBER: 33. Points scored by Kevin Durant in last night’s Oklahoma City Thunder win over the Memphis Grizzlies. He was the only former Longhorn in NBA playoff action Saturday.
TODAY’S BIG NUMBER: 80. Consecutive games that Texas outfielder Mark Payton has successfully reached base. That’s the longest streak in the country.
OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.
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