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July 27, 2013
Ash, Stoops, TX-OU, all on the line ...
1. A lot of people have asked me what I thought of David Ash at Big 12 Media Days, and I will admit I thought he seemed more mature, poised and said all the right things.
I remember Colt McCoy the summer of 2006, trying to fend off Jevan Snead. Before that summer, McCoy sounded like he was unsure. After that summer, McCoy sounded like the guy. Ash, to me, sounded like the guy on Tuesday.
But sounding like the guy and being the guy are totally different. Still, I think he has absorbed a lot from his time with Major Applewhite, Vince Young and Colt McCoy.
And Ash takes great pride in the QB tradition at Texas that he says dates back to "Major Applewhite." (I'd include James Brown in that timeline as well, but he's probably a little before Ash's time.)
Ash also seems comfortable in his own skin when talking about Tyrone Swoopes and how Ash wants to elevate the QB position and program to where Swoopes can come in after Ash "and just keep things rolling."
Mack Brown seems convinced that Ash can take a big step as quarterback this season and next season before handing things off to the talented Swoopes.
You definitely get the sense from Brown that if the Ash era transitioning into the Swoopes era goes the way Brown hopes, the program will get back to the stellar QB play experienced under VY and Colt McCoy.
2. Bob Stoops gets a two-year contract extension, through 2020 (now matching the contract years left for Mack Brown).
OU officials said they wanted to show their appreciation for Stoops.
Some former Oklahoma players, such as Spencer Tillman and Jamaal Brown have questioned the direction of the OU program after a blowout loss to Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl (even though Stoops won a share of his eighth Big 12 title in 14 years last season).
3. When Texas extended Mack Brown's contract four years through 2020 after the 2011 season it was to combat rumors being used for negative recruiting that Brown was close to stepping down or being out at UT.
Don't be surprised if OU's move was along the same path.
It's clear the OU administration wanted everyone to know Stoops isn't going anywhere, so any negative recruiting aimed at Stoops possibly being on the way out would come to an end.
Stoops is undoubtedly finding it more difficult to recruit in Texas with the increased competition for players in the Lone Star State from Texas A&M, the SEC, TCU and Baylor.
If you think Texas is feeling the pinch in recruiting because of all these competitors, it's even harder for Oklahoma, because if all things are equal, Texas kids would probably like to stay home, in-state.
When Stoops was asked this week if it's getting harder to recruit in Texas, he replied, "It was never easy."
4. This year's Texas-Oklahoma game seems to have even more significance for both coaches.
It's almost as if the coaches' support from their fans in both programs is riding on this game.
Mack Brown has to stop the bleeding after three straight losses to his top rival, including back-to-back blowouts by an average of 40 points to less-than-upper echelon OU teams.
Bob Stoops now is feeling the heat to continue his dominance over Brown (9-5), because OU fans have come to expect that dominance, and Stoops needs it for whatever recruiting edge he can find in the state of Texas.
The loser of this year's game could really struggle to hold onto his fan base.
5. With 21 commitments for the class of 2014, you have to wonder that if Texas has the kind of season Mack Brown is hoping for and wins 10 or more games if some bigger names like Jamal Adams, Tony Brown, Soloman Thomas and more might decide for Texas.
Has Texas left itself enough wiggle room for marquee players who might want to be a Longhorn if UT can have a big season and capture some critical momentum?
And will this class be considered a success without some more defensive backs in a great year in the state of Texas for DBs?
6. Look for Duke Thomas and Daje Johnson to be the kick returners for Texas this season.
That should be a lot of fun to watch and should make for some explosive plays.