Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My Take on Gundy and The Column

I've been hearing both sides of the Gundy/Carlson argument, and I've reached a few conclusions. If I were a real columnist, I'd say that either Gundy was right or that Carlson was spot on.
Unfortunately, I can't provide anything so clear cut.

I think Gundy's reaction was over the top and uncalled for. I think he should be ashamed of it, and I think he did all but one of his players a huge disservice by refusing to talk about what had just been a great win.

I think Carlson's column was poorly written, poorly researched and unfair. Using that anecdote with Reid being fed chicken by his mother in that manner was inappropriate.
She made more mistakes. Most importantly, she credited "rumors and the rumblings" for one controversial assertion. Another she began with the most bloggish of phrases — " Word is..."
From talking to sports writers who know her, I believe that the rumors, rumblings and words come from very legitimate sources. But that's not good enough. If she's going to write something this controversial, she owes it to Bobby Reid and her readers to cite her sources. If she can't get anything from a source who can be named, then she has nothing. This is especially true because her assertions are largely unprovable. If an unnamed source provides insight on an injury, we'll know on gameday whether or not the information was legitimate. In this case, we may never know if her sources were accurate.

Her next big mistake was a by-product of bad, lazy reporting. She only uses two quotes and both were taken second hand. This raises the possibility that they were taken out of context. If you read the quotes, you have good cause to be suspicious. She should have done her own reporting and avoided this pitfall.

Jason Whitlock pointed out a lot of the same things as I did, and his column on this is worth reading. The problem with Whitlock's column is that he gives Gundy a pass on his bad behavior. My guess is that it's because Jason's a real columnist and he has to have a right-or-wrong straight opinion. I don't.

Gundy's worst mistake was overshadowing his team's big win over Texas Tech with this tirade. The Cowboys are in national news for the first time in a long time because he started pointing his fingers and yelling — at a woman. It's kind of funny, Gundy is a coach for a BCS school, so he's been around awhile. But he's never gone off like this, not until a woman provoked his ire. Now, he suddenly has the guts to take a stand and stick up for his player?
I don't buy it.

He's naive and self-righteous. He talks about hurting the "kid's" feelings, but he's the guy who benched the quarterback. Think that didn't hurt?
Another thing — frankly, he sounds like a moron.
"This was brought to me by a mother — of children," he says, in case we weren't clear what kind of mother we're thinking of.
"Three-fourths of this is inaccurate," he charges.
Carlson asked him Monday to divulge where the inaccuracies in the story lie.
"I don't have to," he answered.
Yes you do, Mike, if you want to be taken seriously.
"This article embarrasses me to be involved with athletics," he said after the game.
Why? That just doesn't make sense. Maybe he should quit his job if he's ashamed about it.
Another annoying this is his use of the word "downgrade." Apparently Carlson, downgraded Bobby with her column... No, more accurately, she denigrated him. That's the word he was looking for, but never would have found, as evidenced by the fact that he stuck with the word "downgrade" throughout the tirade and even into the next few days.
Jenni denigrated Bobby. She didn't downgrade him To downgrade someone is to "assign to a lower status." For example... Oh, I don't know, making your starting quarterback your backup quarterback.
That's downgrading someone, Mike.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Texas 58, Rice 14

Texas fried Rice at Darrell K Royal Stadium, as Colt McCoy complete 20 of 29 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns. Jamaal Charles added another three rushing touchdowns while accumulating 72 yards on the ground, all of which came in the first half.
Wide Receiver Limas Sweed's stats were also confined to the first half, but that didn't stop him from setting a new career high with 139 receiving yards. His pair of touchdown receptions matched a career high.
The Owls took notice of the 6-foot 5 inch senior.
"He is one of the top five receivers in the nation right now," defensive back Ja'Corey Shepherd said. "There were a couple of plays where I should have made the play on him, but he shielded me of and made the play on the ball."
Freshmen made significant contributions for the Longhorns once the game was in hand, and no one attracted more attention than backup quarterback John Chiles. While both of his attempted passes were dropped, Chiles ran for 72 yards in only nine carries.

UT vs Rice - Halftime

Well, it looks like my prediction was wrong, unless Texas cant find any rhythm at all in the second half — which I somehow doubt. The Longhorns lead 41-7.

Halftime at any game involving Rice is worth watching because of the MOB band. Last year they formed a gun. This year they had people dressed up as Henry Melton, Sergio Kindle and James Henry. Then a trio of cop cars came out and rounded them up as they ran around the field. Next off they panned Michael Vick with a skit in which a dog made him roll over and play dead.
They ended in a '7' formation. 7 = numbers of Texas players recently arrested, Michael Vick's jersey number and the number of points UT scored against A&M last season.
Good stuff, but the Rice fans seemed to enjoy it more than the Texas faithful, not sure why....

Speaking of Sergio Kindle, he's been a breath of life on Texas' defense and special teams, but late in the first half he came off the field with an injury. We'll see if he comes back for the second half, but I kind of doubt it. He looked to be in some pain.
Brandon Foster missed today's game after aggravating a quad injury during pregame.

Henry Melton, Billy Pittman, and Kindle have all seen action today, and they've looked alright. Pittman had one ball thrown his way in the first half but no receptions.

The real story here is Limas Sweed. It seems like he's been forgotten this season — until now. He's reeled in one 48-yard reception and a 52-yard TD catch. He also made a 24-yard touchdown catch to complete Texas' scoring in the first half. His line so far: 5 catches, 139 yards and 2 TDs.
Cosby also has a TD catch, and Jamaal Charles has a pair of touchdown runs. He's gained 72 yards so far on the ground, but her dropped a perfect deep ball that almost certainly would have gone for six.

UT vs Rice - Pregame

I woke up this morning and headed out to shoot a mini-documentary on early morning tailgaters. I was nervous that they wouldn't be out with the Owls in town, but a 6:30 a.m. a trio of guys were setting up. By the time I got started, there was plenty of action.
I've never actually been tailgating, but it was all I ever thought. Beer, grilling and flat screen TVs.

Texas destroys Rice with the regularity of a second hand on a Rolex, but they haven't put a whooping on anyone this season. Either they'll break that trend today, or they'll probably be out of the AP's top 10. I'm guessing its going to be the latter... 55-13 sounds about right.

I'm not a techophile by any means, but I am something of a gearophile. To shoot the documentary and cover the game, I brought the following items.
1 Canon XL1
1 Tripod
1 pair Sony headphones
1 Sennheiser 416 shotgun mike
1 Short Robopole boompole
1 Extra XLR cable
1 Mac laptop
1 Olympus digital voice recorder
1 Konica-Minolta digital camera
1 Pentax film camera
3 Rolls film
3 Mini-DV tapes
3 Notebooks
3 Pens
2 Pair binoculars

And... I think that's about it. I'm not so dumb to think I'd need it all, but I'm dumb enough that I thought it should all be brought, just in case.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Texas' Reputation Suffering

By Ryan Killian
Daily Texan Columnist

You have the right to remain silent when asked whether or not you attend the University of Texas.
Good thing too, because you wouldn’t want to be considered guilty by association.
Sergio Kindle, Henry Melton, Tyrell Gatewood, James Henry, Andre Jones and Robert Joseph have all sat in the wrong end of a cop car since the summer, and two of those arrests happened this month.
Even Texas legends are getting arrested. Peter Gardere, the only Longhorns quarterback to beat Oklahoma four times was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving on Sept. 13.
People are noticing, and it’s not just Aggies and Okies.
Why couldn't the Longhorn get into a huddle on the football field? It's a parole violation to associate with known felons.
I came across that joke and a slew of others on a blog this week.
If Texas players were keeping it simple and getting arrested for the regular college kid stuff, I’d pretty much shrug it off. But two of these arrests are for felony charges.
Instead, according to an arrest warrant, we’ve got James Henry going into someone’s’ apartment yelling, “who narked on us?”
Then he got down to business. The warrant says he kicked the witness “6-7 times in the head, punched him repeatedly threw him to the ground, and then threw one of his shoes into a nearby parking lot.”
Reading that changed my whole perception of Texas’ problems with the law.
Gatewood’s lawyer, Jamie Balagia, would have you believe that the players are targeted by law enforcement. Up until yesterday, Mack Brown would have you believe that the arrests are overblown by we in the local media.
Something changed his mind though.
“Most head coaches in major colleges across the country have a roller coaster. Ours is more public than most, so everything we do is public,” he said. “And that’s probably good for the kids because we don’t have anything ya’ll don’t know.”
Hopefully he’s right, and either way, we find out enough that players should know to stay out of trouble.
That’s hardly the case though.
These guys are selfishly dragging Texas’ name through the mud with no regard to the opportunities they’re wasting or the embarrassment they’re bringing on themselves and the school. In Smalltown, Texas they could get away with just about anything, but here they’re just seen as crooks and troublemakers. Guilty or not, they’ve already been judged.
Playing Rice this weekend, little focus is on the game. While Texas has lost two players indefinitely to suspensions this month, they’re welcoming back Kindle and Melton. Also, Billy Pittman, who’d been suspended for a minor NCAA infraction, is eligible this week.
While the Longhorns seem to be ejecting the primary offender — Gatewood and Henry’s names are no longer on the roster — other players that recently spent time behind bars will spend Saturday on the gridiron.
They deserve the second chance, but this experience should serve as a wake-up call for them and every other Texas player. There is no margin for error right now.
Brown’s recruiting choices are being scrutinized despite the fact that just about every one of these players was courted by Oklahoma and Texas A&M. UT is being compared to “The U.”
Texas has plenty of smart, down-to-earth players like Tony Hills and Lamarr Houston, but being a good person isn’t usually newsworthy.
News is what happens on the football field or when the police are involved, and right now these Longhorns are making plenty of news away from the stadium.
With the team’s lackluster play on the field, their big headlines are coming in the middle of the week, and Texas coaches and fans can only cringe.
“I’m not trying to hide from anything,” Brown said. “We don’t do that here.”
That makes sense to me. If they were any better at hiding, maybe they wouldn’t be getting caught constantly.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Texas Tough to Figure

Saturday I missed my first Texas football game in more than a year. I was stuck watching it on TV, so this will be something of a Simmons-esque column, without the humor. Because, really, there was nothing funny about the Longhorns' three-point win over UCF.

To be fair, I never had the feeling that Texas was in trouble. Even when they fell behind momentarily in the fourth quarter everything seemed under control.

But what's the deal with this football team?

Arkansas State and University of Central Florida might be better than anyone will give them credit for, but they don't have the athletes to stay on the field with Texas - unless the Longhorns fail to execute.

Ryan Bailey tied a UT single-game record with five field goals against the Knights. Good for him - bad for Texas. Two of those field goals were 19-yarders. Alright, that yardage includes 10 yards of end zone and seven yards behind the line of scrimmage to where the ball is snapped. Kicking field goals from the two-yard line can't be avoided sometimes, but twice in a game? Since last year, this team has had more problems getting in the end zone from five yards or less than any other team I've ever seen. Remember what happened last year when Texas found themselves at the goal line against Kansas State?

For want of a yard, McCoy was lost.

For want of McCoy, that game and possibly the next was lost.

For want of a win, the Big 12 South was lost.

And all for want of a yard.

The offense has the athletes, and they're executing pretty well between the twenties. McCoy completed 68 percent of his passes. Jamaal Charles rushed for 155 yards. Three receivers finished the game with more than fifty receiving yards.

And Texas won by three measly points.

A win's a win, and parity is here to stay. That's the party line, and it has some merit; but Oklahoma has no problem mopping the floor with everyone they face. As a matter of fact, half the Big 12 teams have won by 40 or more at least once this season. That list includes Kansas, Kansas State and Texas A&M.

Meanwhile, Texas is so busy preparing ahead for Oklahoma, they beat the Indians and the Knights by a combined 11 points.

Rice, Texas' ever-faithful whipping boy, is on the schedule next. Baylor beat the Owls by 25 points. Texas Tech beat them by 35. If Texas doesn't have similar success they'll keep dropping in the rankings. This week they're No.7; the No.4 Sooners have already vaulted the Longhorns, and most likely they'll be big favorites when the two meet.

Maybe Texas will be prepared for them by then.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Alright, in two seasons of UT football, this is the only game Is should miss.
I know what I saw on TV, and as far as I can tell, there are two possibilities.
1.) Texas ain't that good.
2.) Texas spent another week preparing for OU.
I don't know what the deal was. What I found most interesting was that individual plays seemed to usually go as hoped. Colt McCoy put up the right numbers, and yet the offense struggled. If the plays were executed as well as it seemed, and the offense still struggled, the playcalling is obviously a problem. Of course, hardly anyone would disagree with that assessment. The screen plays and zone reads are getting old. I don't care if they run that zone read only twice in a game, it's twice too many.
Texas is good enough of a team to stomp UFC, but UFC came out and played their best and Texas played like no one was watching.
Wins are nice, but the occasional beatdown is expected. The Longhorns have yet to deliver one.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Texas' Overlooked Win

Last night Texas beat then-No.19 TCU by three touchdowns.
The state of Texas noticed, but it seems elsewhere people were too busy hearing about such exciting matchups like the one between unranked Oregon and unranked Michigan, or unranked Notre Dame and then-No. 14 Penn State to pay attention.
OU got well-deserved credit for obliterating Miami, but The U is in shambles. Texas Christian had a nine-game winning streak — the fourth longest in the nation — and they were coming off a 27-0 trouncing of Baylor.
If the first half showed how Texas can struggle, the second half showed in equal measure how they can dominate.
"We have a lot of veteran guys out there, and they know how to win and what it takes to win," receiver Quan Cosby said. "You just have to go out there and do it."
If they "do it" against University of Central Florida, Rice and Kansas State, you can bet their next game against a Top 25 team won't be overlooked.