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Breakfast with Bevo: What Mack Brown had to say about Texas, Herman, and Ehlinger vs. Buechele

Posted April 23rd, 2018

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Good morning. Breakfast is served.

It’s Monday, April 23rd.

On April 23, 1989 the Dallas Cowboys took UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman with the first overall pick of the NFL draft. The year before, Dallas took Miami wide receiver Michael Irvin with the 11th overall pick; the year after, the Cowboys traded up to draft Florida running back Emmitt Smith at No. 17.

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Aikman was the only first-round quarterback in 1989.

Also on this date: The very first YouTube video was published, titled “Me at the zoo.” Twelve years later, it has more than 48 million views (2005); on that same day, the San Francisco 49ers took Utah quarterback Alex Smith with the first pick of the NFL draft (2005); Howard Cosell died at the age of 77 (1995); after eight years away from tennis, Bjorn Borg returned to professional tennis (1991); Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played his final game — his 1,560th — and scored 10 points in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 121-117 win over the Seattle SuperSonics at the Forum (1989); on that same day, Texas Rangers pitcher Nolan Ryan lost his bid for a no-hitter in the ninth inning (1989); Coca-Cola changed its formula and came out with “New Coke.” Bad idea (1985); Houston Colt .45s right-hander Ken Johnson became the first pitcher in baseball history to lose a game in which he pitched a complete-game no-hitter (1964); Hank Aaron hit his first career home run — 754 more would follow (1954); George Mikan scored 40 points to lead the Minneapolis Lakers to a 110-95 win over the Syracuse Nationals, securing the Lakers’ 4-2 series win for the first championship of the new NBA (1950); and the first baseball game was played at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, then known as Weeghman Park (1914).

Happy birthday, Aaron Williams (28).

Texas fans cheer during the Texas Orange-White spring football game in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, April 21, 2018. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

How ’bout them Horns?

For the record, Team White beat Team Orange 20-13 in Saturday night’s Orange-White spring game.

Neither Shane Buechele nor Sam Ehlinger showed separation in their quarterback competition. So it’s on to the summer. No running back stood out. Toneil Carter fumbled once, recovered an Ehlinger fumble another time, and averaged 2.5 yards a carry. Daniel Young had only three carries but one of them went for 16 yards. Collin Johnson (6-91-1) and Lil’Jordan Humphrey (7-100) shined in the passing game, Reese Leitao was targeted five times and the offensive line looked just OK.

The defense, as expected, won the day since the offense is still a work in progress. Jeffrey McCulloch had three sacks, Malcolm Roach had two, Kris Boyd had two pass breakups, there were nice open-field tackles throughout. Embattled 2017 kicker Joshua Rowland nailed a 50-yard field goal and Ryan Bujcevski — Michael Dickson’s cousin — had eight punts, including a 59- and a 50-yarder.

Coverage of the spring game: Brian Davis’ main bar ($) examined the two different places that the Texas offense and  defense find themselves in. Kirk Bohls wrote about the possible breakout seasons to come for Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey ($), who were impressive Saturday night, and Cedric Golden took a dive into the ongoing uncertainties over Buechele and Ehlinger ($). Danny Davis followed the freshmen who were making their debuts.

New Texas head football coach Tom Herman, left, talks with former Texas coach Mack Brown following a news conference where he was introduced, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Austin. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

There were some 35,000 (estimated) on hand at Royal-Memorial Stadium. But watching the game on Longhorn Network provided the rare chance of hearing former UT coach Mack Brown share his thoughts on various Texas football topics, from the Ehlinger/Buechele quarterback battle to Tom Herman’s running of the program.

Mack generally plays it close to the vest when it comes to public comments about UT head coach Tom Herman, or Charlie Strong before him, or how things are going on- and off-field with the program he ran so well for 16 years.

But in his role as analyst and color commentator on college broadcasts with ESPN and ABC, he was there at DKR to work the game for LHN. The game took about two hours and Mack had plenty to say.

So, here are selected Mack quotes on …

  • How Tom Herman can instill a “learn how to win” philosophy: “You know, people use the word ‘culture,’ they use the word ‘alignment.’ All that means is you gotta get all your guys to believe in the plan that you have. And that’s hard to do. These young guys have had 27 assistant coaches since I left. That’s a lot of different messages. ‘And this is the way you do it.’ ‘No, this is the way you do it.’ ‘No, this is the way you do it.’ So what Tom’s gotta do is get the players, most of which were recruited by coach Charlie Strong, a few that I even committed still here, get ’em all  believing in the same plan and moving forward.

“Last year they lost four tight games by an average of 7 points. To have a good season you’ve got to win the close games.”

  • Sam Ehlinger’s 44-yard completion on the first drive: “Really good play-action too that held those linebackers, that holds that defensive line. He stepped up and threw it in a small window — and that’s what they’re wanting to see: Tighten the release up a little bit, throw those darts.

“… I think Sam is such a competitor and he tries so hard to make the play every time. What he’s got to learn is the play’s not there every time.

  • What’s most important when evaluating quarterbacks: “There’s only two. There’s decision-making, which is not turning the football over and keeping the right to kick, and scoring touchdowns. We used to tell quarterbacks if you want to stay in, score. It’s like make it, take it. We like scoring. So don’t look at me when you’re not moving the ball because it’s his job to motivate the other guys to get ’em in the right place.”
  • Quarterback controversies: “Well, we had dominant performances out of Vince but he had a competition with Chance Mock, and Chance Mock was leading the nation in passing at one time. And with Colt, he had it with Jevan Snead early and then Colt kind of took over, and then at the end of my career here we had two or three different quarterbacks in there. And it’s always very, very difficult. It’s a confusing message to the players. So there’s no doubt if you can  get one, its better. But if I’m coach Herman, I take both of these through the summer, let ’em compete, let ’em compete in the fall ’cause you want them both to stay here and he needs them both to play in the fall.

“The other thing that we’re missing though is both of these quarterbacks have been injured, and all of a sudden you make the decision to go with one, one transfers, you’ve talked about it — you have to play a freshman. That’s not good if the other one gets hurt. So you want both of them here. If one of them’s going to get hurt, you have to keep the other one alive. So it’s a problem until you get somebody who’s so much better than the other one, you know he can take over and win the Big 12.”

  • Sam Ehlinger: “Let’s go back and look: Vince Young was redshirted. Colt McCoy was redshirted. Sam had to come in and play immediately, so there’s a tremendous amount of pressure on him, and he showed great promise for the future. Was the leading rusher on the team and he can’t use his feet as much today because it’s not a running day for a quarterback; they don’t want him to get hit. And Shane Buechele was a freshman when he played. So playing young freshmen quarterbacks usually doesn’t work very well.

“Sam’s tough, he’s big, he’s strong. But you don’t want to have your quarterback end up being the leading rusher. And you also don’t want him beaten up so much; they say he makes poor decisions— well he’s worn out at the end of the game, and you don’t want your quarterback in that position.”

  • Shane Buechele: “That’s where people talk more about Sam, because he’s the runner. Shane’s as accurate as a guy like Colt McCoy, and you give him time — I’ve seen him thread the needle and get it everywhere. He’s not as strong a runner, so he’s got to get stronger. And I think one of the problems they have right now is they’re going to have to call different plays for Shane than they do Sam. And it works better with two quarterbacks when you can call the same play.”
  • The impact of Tom Herman becoming more involved in play-calling: “Well, I was a play-caller for a long time till I got my job. And what you do, you don’t have enough time to call the plays if you’re gonna do everything else you need to do at the University of Texas to be the head coach. So what you do is you’re in every meeting, and you’re sitting there talking to him during the game and you’re on the headset. So Tom will be very, very involved in play-calling ’cause he was one of the best — at Ohio State he took three different quarterbacks in a single year and won the national championship — so he will be very, very involved. I’d say more involved his second year because he knows his team better, but he’s not going to take over play-calling and call every play. That’s why you hire assistant coaches.”
  • Texas heading into the fall: “The biggest question mark for me is the offensive line and the running game, because to be great with younger quarterbacks, you’re going to have to run the football. Looks like the defense is gonna be good again. I wouldn’t worry about the young punter because he’s not Michael Dickson. He doesn’t have that experience and he’s not going to change field position like Michael did and can; it’s just not feasible to do that at a young age. But you’ve got to have some running game and your offensive line has to get better because you can’t get into third-and-long situations all the time not being able to protect and keep your quarterbacks healthy.”

NEWS FROM SUNDAY

Baseball falls: No. 21 Texas fell to New Orleans 4-1 in their series finale at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, though the Longhorns (28-15) did win the series. Blair Henley (5-5) took the  loss; Texas’ lone run came on a Ryan Reynolds solo homer. Here’s Danny Davis’ game story ($).

Softball drops series: Texas fell to No. 24 Oklahoma State at McCombs Field, 4-1, and also lost the series 2-1. It was Senior Day for Texas, which honored pitcher Kristen Clark, catcher Randel Leahy, pitcher Erica Wright and pitcher Paige von Sprecken before the game. It was the largest crowd of the season (1,103).

Another Big 12 title: No. 7 Texas won its second consecutive Big 12 women’s golf conference championship, becoming the first league repeat champion since 2009. Three Horns finished in the top 10 individually — Emilee Hoffman (2nd), Kaitlyn Papp (tied for 4th) and Sophia Schubert (tied for 8th). Oklahoma State and Baylor tied for second, eight shots back.

“I think it says a lot about our team currently,” said UT coach Ryan Murphy about the repeat. “We had a great team last year. We probably have a lot better team this year if you just look at the numbers — stroke averages and rankings — top to bottom. Our top five can compete with anybody in the country.”

Next up for Texas: The NCAA regional, May 7-9 at the UT Golf Club. The complete Austin regional field will be announced Wednesday (4:30 p.m., Golf Channel).

Men’s tennis earns first-round bye: No. 15 Texas shut out No. 23 Baylor 4-0 in Waco in the regular-season finale. The Horns (15-6, 3-2 Big 12) earned a first-round bye at this week’s Big 12 championships. The win placed Texas in a tie for second place with Oklahoma but the Longhorns hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Sooners.

San Francisco Giants’ Brandon Belt, right, reacts after hitting a foul ball during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, April 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Around the Horns

Baseball: Texas hosts Houston on Tuesday (7 p.m., LHN, 104.9) before hitting the road for a Big 12 series at West Virginia. … And check out what former Longhorn Brandon Belt did on Sunday. The San Francisco Giants star had a 21-pitch plate appearance in the first inning against Angels rookie Jaime Barria. That’s the most since records for that began in 1988.

Men’s basketball: Former Texas guard Jacob Young announced Saturday that he’s transferring to Rutgers. Here’s Brian Davis’ piece on that.

Women’s tennis: No. 5 Texas is the top seed for this week’s Big 12 championships, which begin Thursday at the Texas Tennis Center. Texas will play on Friday against the winner of Thursday’s TCU-West Virginia match.

Around the Big 12

Where have all those Big 12 quarterbacks gone, mused Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News, and how will that impact the league’s CFP chances this fall? … The Waco Tribune-Herald wrote about Baylor’s Matt Rhule’s belief that his Bears can make a bowl game. … And the Tulsa World took a look at Southern Hills, the Tulsa golf course that’s hosting this week’s Big 12 men’s championships. The course is about to get a $19 million makeover this summer.

OK, Breakfast is over. Back on Tuesday.

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