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April 5, 2013
The TicketCity Locker Room
Q: (D2000 Horn) - What would you do if you were the Athletic Director of UT and you were on your way to retirement like Deloss? Stay put? Clean house? Make one change? He is obviously taking heat from the fan base as having one foot out of the door and not caring. Is it possible that Deloss has been told that he can't fire any of the big 3 so his successor can make those hires ( I know that it is rumored that Deloss doesn't want to make changes, but I'm wondering if it is not his choice at this point)?
Finally, if you were going to clean house, in what order would you fire the big 3 and how important would you rate firing each coach on a scale of 1-10?
A: That's a tough question because as hard as I might try to put myself inside the frame of mind of a 73-year old athletic director who will turn 74 before the start of the football season (and has lived things in life that a man half his age just couldn't comprehend), I probably can't. If I'm being honest, the hope here is that I don't have to do much at 73, except figure out which shirt I want to go fishing in or which 21-year old waitress I plan to flirt with at lunch/dinner that day. The 36-year old version of myself tips a cap in Dodds' direction for still having some fire at his job when the rest of us cringe at the idea of punching a time-card into our 70's.
The perspective I really have a hard time grasping is the one that Dodds must constantly find himself wrestling with the most on a daily basis, which is the fact that heading into this decade there wasn't a bigger athletic director pimp on the planet that the man steering the Longhorns, but things have flipped on their heads in an unpredictable way. Seriously, can you imagine being at the top of your profession with all of the pistons firing the way they appeared to be firing in 2009 and looking forward to a victory lap of a retirement party, only to have the strong foundation you thought you had built emerge as a mirage?
It reminds me of the scene in Unforgiven when Little Bill is dying on the floor of the saloon and says to William Munny, "I don't deserve this... to die like this. I was building a house."
There is something about what has happened to Dodds' narrative that seems unfair because from his perspective, I'm sure he feels like he's done his part and it's not his fault that Mack, Rick and Augie have all failed to live up to the standards they created under him. The Longhorn Network and saving the Big 12 were going to be among his final acts of a legacy that seemed firmly cemented… except it is not cemented at all as it turns out.
The end is nearing and he has three major men's athletic programs are that are performing far outside of the established bar. The goal is to be the best, but football, basketball and baseball are all performing well below elite standards. Suddenly, how he leaves this school when he leaves very much impacts his legacy when it didnt seem like a threat a few years ago.
The one thing I know I wouldn't want to do is let me get in the way of something that is much bigger. The moment that making tough decisions becomes impossible because you don't want to undermine your successor or create waves on the way out the door or make any changes at all because you're simply too stubborn, you've stayed too long. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, but pride is one of those seven deadly sins and there's so much of it in the Texas athletic department that they've suffocated from it in recent years. Walking inside of Dodds' shoes is a complicated task and the complexity of some of these situations is such that I feel for Dodds the same way I felt for Little Bill when he was dying in a pool of his own blood, but the bottom line is that those are the chances you take when you play a sport that has folks like William Munny in them.
There's no way to answer your question about rating these issues on a scale of 1-10, other than to say everything is at a critical stage. Whatever number on the 1-10 scale translates to critical, that's the number.
Q: (WeenHorn) - How would you rate UT's chances to land the following 2014 recruits:
In regard to the 2015 class, is Texas recruiting Jacorey Walker, James Locke, or Patrick Carr? I ask because each is rated pretty high in the 2015 LSR and I did not see any mentioned as Sophomore Day or Spring Game attendees/invitees.
Of the 2015 class, are there any recruits that you would describe as Texas leans at this point?
A: It's very hard to handicap Texas' chances in the 2014 recruiting class because they don't seem to be slam dunks with many of the elite prospects, which is so unlike Texas, but this 2014 trouble has loomed for a while so it shouldn't shock anyone that has been paying attention to the fact that the Longhorns haven't landed an impact prospect in the class since Thanksgiving of last year. Of the group of 2014 prospects you listed, if you made me bet a mortgage payment on the players that will sign with Texas, I'd choose Adams and Watkins, but neither is showing their hand in recent months, so I realize that's a mortgage payment I could lose. Bonney is another that could end up in burnt orange, but he seems interested in testing the waters in recruiting and I wonder if he takes his time through December and January if there's still a defensive back spot left. Springs is a total wild-card at this point. Thomas is a tougher guy to read because he seemed to have his list narrowed down to a few (with Texas looking like the overall favorite), but it seems like all the movement has stopped, as he considers what his true options look like. As for Cannon, he's another guy that the Longhorns could easily land, but predicting where he'll end up is just guesswork at this point.
As for the 2015 prospects you mentioned, it appears at this point that the Longhorns have targeted other prospects at those positions and they just are not showing a lot of early interest in Walker, Locke and Carr, although it is important to note that it is still very early and things could change suddenly at any point.
Finally, the Longhorns appear to be in much, much, much better shape in the 2015 recruiting class than they've ever been in the 2014 class, as least with the top of the in-state recruiting board. I'd list the Longhorns as the leaders for Plano West running back Soso Jamabo, Mesquite Poteet linebacker Malik Jefferson, Sulphur Springs athlete Larry Pryor, Cedar Park wide receiver Demarkus Lodge, Keller offensive lineman Tristan Teuhema, Fort Bend Ridge Point Cameron Townsend, Fort Bend Marshall quarterback J.W. Ketchum… honestly the list is long. At worst, they are co-favorites with the likes of Gladewater defensive tackle Daylon Mack, Fort Bend Marshall cornerback Kendall Sheffield and a host of others.
Q: (MrTaylorDuck) - Two-parter here if that's ok.
What specific position group needs to take the biggest step in order for the Longhorns to have success next year? Let's exclude QB to make it a bit more interesting.
Will I get my posting privileges back?
A: I'll choose the big guys on both sides of the ball, especially offensive line. It's time to stop playing to the median and start playing to a higher bar.
As for the second question, I've been leaning towards no since the last time you told me you'd chill on the board, only to go off on another self-indulgent run of nothingness. I'm not saying never, but you made me look bad the last time we danced by stepping all over my feet.
Q: (hook_em27) - Rutgers has had 5 players transfer in the past year. Texas, and Rick Barnes, are looking at 3. We all know what Coach Rice was doing behind the scenes, which obviously explains the five transfers. But we have no idea what's going on at Texas and with Rick Barnes to cause three of his players to leave within a calendar year. I don't recall a major basketball program losing so many prominent players in one season. A few years ago he touted these players as the type of "four year guys" to build a solid foundation for a serious run in the NCAA tournament ? similar to his teams in the early 2000's. Now those same players have decided to transfer after two seasons. If Rick can't secure the elite, NBA talent, and his four year players transfer for unknown reasons, why is he still the head coach at a program like Texas?
I'll hang up and listen.
A: See above. The leadership in the athletic department has complete trust in Barnes and is not in the frame of mind that would allow for significant change. That's the answer in under 50 words.
Q: (Hornswin) - How do you see the disbursement of snaps for the backup quarterbacks as the season progresses? Assuming Case is the number 2 and Swoopes is number 3, do you believe that the staff will give Swoopes meaningful snaps ahead of Case unless the game is on the line?
A: Two thoughts…
1. There's a lot of things that can happen over the course of the next four months before the tea gets together in August, so let's wait to see what happens with all of the young quarterbacks on the roster during this time before we start talking about reps in the fall.
2. If Case is No.2 and Swoopes is No.3, then I expect the coaches to give Swoopes a ton of No.2 reps because they'll feel like Case has the stuff down he needs and that process already started this spring.
Q: (thar0902) - How should Texas close recruiting for 2014 if…
There are 23 available scholarships.
There are no de-commits.
The only available options are those listed below.
RB Donald Catalon (Committed)
RB Daniel Gresham (Committed)
RB D'onta Foreman
QB Jerrod Heard (Committed)
OL Demetrius Knox (Committed)
OL Terrell Cuney (Committed)
OL Ty Barrett
OL Conner Mayes
OL Immediate 2-deep caliber JUCO
OL Immediate 2-deep caliber JUCO
TE Koda Martin
TE Anthony Jones (LA)
TE Immediate 2-deep caliber JUCO
WR Lorenzo Joe (Committed)
WR Roderick Bernard (Committed)
WR Armanti Foreman
WR KD Cannon
WR Dorian Leonard
DL Trey Lealaimatafao (Committed)
DL Courtney Garnett (LA)
DL Cedric Johnson
DL Derick Roberson (Committed)
DL Jake McMillion (Committed)
DL Jarrett Johnson
DL Solomon Thomas
DL Sione Teuhema
DT Immediate 2-deep caliber JUCO
DE Immediate 2-deep caliber JUCO
LB Cameron Hampton (Committed)
LB Otaro Alaka
LB Zach Whitley
LB Andrew Beck (FL)
LB Dillion Bates (FL)
DB Darrion Johnson
DB Jamal Adams
DB Nick Watkins
DB John Bonney
DB Jermaine Roberts (LA)
A: K.D. Cannon, JUCO tight end, JUCO Offensive lineman, JUCO offensive lineman, Soloman Thomas, Sione Teuhema, JUCO defensive tackle, Zach Whitley, Otaro Alaka, Jermaine Roberts, Darrion Johnson and Jamal Adams.
A few thoughts on my decision-making process:
1. If you had given me better running back options, I might have chosen another running back.
2. Who wasn't Jovan Pruitt among my options at offensive tackle or defensive tackle? I'd have picked him as an offensive lineman. I wasn't really a fan of the offensive line choices given to me. That's bad, right?
3. Thomas and a JUCO defensive tackle seemed like obvious calls, given Thomas' talent level and versatility, along with the need to provide some immediate inside depth with the loss of a couple of players from the depth chart following this season.
4. I'm taking Teuhema because I think he can play for Texas as a pass rusher and I want the packaged deal that brings his brother.