November 26, 2013

10 For Tuesday: Mack rumors ... Terry Saban ...

#1 … There is a rumor circulating Mack Brown plans to announce on Dec. 2 that he's stepping down as coach at Texas.

I've been told repeatedly by people close to Brown this is not true.

Those people say Brown is fixated on giving everything he has to beating Texas Tech on Thursday and then focusing on a road trip to Baylor on Dec. 7.

"Mack would never do something like that before the end of the season and take away from the players," one school source said.

This is obviously a fluid situation, and we've said there's a movement that's been working since early in the season (when it appeared Mack was not going to get things turned around) in the direction of a new coach.

#2 … Terry Saban tells the Wall Street Journal "We're staying. We're not going anywhere."

She went on to say of Tuscaloosa: "We feel more like it's home, like we are a part of the community and pulling up stakes again would be difficult.

"We are trying to educate ourselves, to change ourselves," Terry Saban said. "We can't change expectations or change lack of appreciation. We have to change our mind-set. We have decided: this is where we are going to end our career."

Either Terry Saban is going to become the fall person if Saban ends up at Texas or the speculation about Saban-to-Texas has gotten to be too much for Nick and Terry.

(In my jaded, cynical mind, I thought of Roger Clemens' wife telling Congress the HGH Brian McNamee said he sent to the Clemens' house was used by her for a Sports Illustrated swimsuit photo shoot.

In this case, you could see Nick telling Terry if she wants to go to Austin, she has to do something to throw everyone off the trail - especially after all the talk of Terry Saban house-hunting in Austin.)

I'm truly fascinated, exhausted and dizzy from the Saban-to-Texas speculation.

#3 … David Ash will not play football again this season after having a "recurrence of concussion symptoms."

But Mack Brown and Ash's teammates say Ash definitely wants to try to keep playing football next season.

"I hope he does get to play again," said senior OG Mason Walters. "He has a passion for the game."

Added Mack Brown, "If the doctors approve him, I know he wants to play again."

Senior Case McCoy said Ash has to do what's best for his future.

"Me and David are friends, and that's a serious deal for someone," McCoy said. "It's not just about football, it's about their life."

#4 … Asked Monday if burning Tyrone Swoopes' redshirt was a waste, Mack Brown strongly disagreed.

"We don't think it's been a waste at all," Brown said. "We're excited about the progress he's made.

"He gets 50 percent of the reps in practice every day. It's been easy to see his improvement. Whether he plays in the next three games or not, and we'd like for him to, because we think he's ready to, he's a viable guy in the spring to compete for the job with David (Ash)."

Swoopes is 4-of-7 passing for 18 yards with 10 carries for 40 yards.

"We're not second-guessing our thought at all," Brown said. "We think it's working. He's making progress, and we might even see him play some Thursday."

#5 … Mack Brown was asked if the rash of injuries this season - Jordan Hicks (Achilles), Johnathan Gray (Achilles), Chris Whaley (knee), Josh Cochran (shoulder), Sheroid Evans (foot) and David Ash (head injury) - were simply bad luck or ineffective strength and conditioning.

"I don't know. I'm really frustrated with it, because we've had it for three years," Brown said. "It's not a this-year thing. We're looking as hard as we can at every little angle.

"I've never had a player that had a torn Achilles, and we've got two great athletes who are in top shape that are leaders on our team with torn Achilles and didn't touch anybody.

"So you just go back and look at the injuries we've had, it's a huge factor for us. We've got to figure it out, and we've got to fix it."

#6 … True freshman Kent Perkins has apparently made enough strides that he's listed first as an either-or starter at right tackle with Kennedy Estelle.

Perkins, who is 6-6 and 310 pounds, has impressed senior right guard Mason Walters.

"He's big - bigger than I am," Walters said. "During combination blocks, I'll think a guy is slanting, and it's really just Kent taking over and drive-blocking the guy, which is a good feeling."

#7 … Mason Walters and Case McCoy have West Texas ties and take any game against Texas Tech personally.

"I'm from Lubbock, so there's no way I'm going to overlook anything having to do with Texas Tech," Walters said. "If we don't take care of business this week, those trips home get a lot longer."

Added Case McCoy, "I'm not a Tech fan. I'm from that neck of the woods, and most of my high school is there. I'll remember this game the rest of my life. In my household, this is a game we get up for. I'm excited to play in it."

#8 … Big 12 Power Poll …

1. Oklahoma State

Next up:
Oklahoma, Dec. 7

Cowboys are one win away from the Fiesta Bowl.

2. Baylor

Next up:
at TCU

Bears need some guys to get healthy and for Bryce Petty to quit tripping over field paint.

3. Texas

Next up:
Texas Tech

Mack Brown has never lost to Texas Tech in Austin - ever.

4. Oklahoma

Next up:
at Oklahoma State, Dec. 7

Reports of OU's demise were greatly exaggerated leading up to their trip to Manhattan, Kansas (thanks mostly to Brennan Clay, who ran 31 times for 200 yards and 2 TDs in a 41-31 victory).

5. Kansas State

Next up:
at Kansas

Bill Snyder's team can finish the year 7-5 with a win in the Sunflower Showdown

6. Texas Tech

Next up:
at Texas

Tech's defense has given up an average of 297.3 yards per game on the ground in the Red Raiders' four-game losing streak: Oklahoma ran for 277 yards; Oklahoma State ran for 281; Kansas State ran for 291; and Baylor ran for 340.

7. West Virginia

Next up:
Iowa St, Friday

This game was supposed to be for bowl-eligibility for the Mountaineers. That was until WVU lost to Kansas on Nov. 16.

8. TCU

Next up:

TCU won at Baylor 49-21 last season. What a difference a year makes.

9. Iowa State

Next up:
WVU, Friday

You've probably stopped reading by now.

10. Kansas

Next up:
Kansas State

You've definitely stopped reading by now.

#9 … National college football … the Heisman race …

Jameis Winston is probably the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy after throwing for 225 yards and four touchdowns as Florida State broke a school record for points in a game in an 80-14 victory against Idaho.

Winston's season totals for the undefeated Seminoles: 69.6 comp rate, 3,163 yards passing, 32 TDs, 7 INTs

(And Winston was a monster in one of college football's biggest games this year, throwing for 3 TDs and running for another in a 51-14 win at Clemson, who currently sits No. 6 in the BCS standings.)

Authorities are saying no action is likely before Thanksgiving in an investigation into an allegation of sexual assault against Winston. And who knows how that will end? Or if Winston could face suspension for being charged with a felony (there is an exception to that rule at FSU if the president of the school chooses to exercise it)?

At this point, you just hope the truth in that situation comes to light as soon as possible.

MAGIC MANZIEL WITHOUT THE MAGIC: With the cloud of suspicion hanging over Winston and the fact Manziel is finishing the regular season on the road against ranked opponents (LSU and Missouri), Manziel could have seized control of the Heisman race starting last weekend.

But Manziel had his first game in which he completed less than 50 percent of his passes (39 percent, 16 of 41 for 224 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs) and didn't make up for it enough with his legs (12 carries, 54 yards, 4.5 ypc).

I thought Manziel would run the ball at least 20 times in that game to keep LSU's defense off-balance.

Manziel can still make a big statement at Missouri, but it would probably require a huge performance in an upset of the Tigers.

Who'd a thunk so much would be on the line (Mizzou's SEC East chances and Manziel's Heisman hopes) between the two former Big 12 schools?

WHO ELSE? The Iron Bowl should be an opportunity for Bama QB AJ McCarron (68.6 comp rate; 2,399 pass yds; 23 TDs, 5 INTs).

When last seen, Oregon QB Marcus Mariota was leaving the field after taking a knee to the back of the head while trying to make a tackle after throwing one of two interceptions in a 42-16 loss to Arizona.

Mariota, who says he passed concussion tests and will play Friday against Oregon State, still has great numbers (64.4 comp rate; 3,127 pass yards; 27 TDs; 2 INTs along with 529 yards rushing; 7.1 ypc; 9 TDs).

But he'll need a big game in a victory against the Beavers, who started out well but have flamed out (6-5, 4-4), because the Ducks have lost 2 of their last 3 and are now seen as a disappointment.

WHO ELSE? PART II: Is it time to start taking a serious look at Boston College RB Andre Williams (the nation's leading rusher) for a BC team that went 2-10 last year and is 7-4 this year with victories over Virginia Tech and Maryland?

Williams has 2,073 yards rushing and is averaging 188.5 yards per game and 6.5 ypc.
He also ran for 339 yards on 42 carries in a victory over North Carolina State.

In his last three games (all victories), he's run for 295 yards on 30 carries vs New Mexico State; 339 vs NC State; and 263 yards on 32 carries vs Maryland.
That's an average of 299 yards rushing per game and 8.6 yards per carry. Talk about finishing strong.

What about Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch, who is completing 66.3 percent of his passes for 2,418 yards with 21 TDs and 5 INTs while also rushing for 1,434 yards (6.5 ypc) and 17 TDs on the ground? Lynch has done it on a team that is 23-2 the past two years.

QB Derek Carr, of undefeated Fresno State (and the younger brother of former Houston Texans QB David Carr), has completed 69.7 percent of his passes while throwing for nearly 4,000 yards (3,943).

Carr leads FBS in TD-to-INT ratio with 39 TD passes and 4 INTs and just threw 7 TD passes in a 69-28 victory over New Mexico.

I'm watching Arizona RB Ka'Deem Carey, who led the nation in rushing last season and is No. 4 this year, against Arizona State Saturday.

Carey ran for 206 yards and 4 TDs in Arizona's 42-16 victory over Oregon and now has 1,559 yards rushing (5.4 ypc) and 16 rushing TDs.

Last season, Carey ran for 1,929 yards and 23 TDs. (He was also suspended for the first game of this season after initially being charged in a domestic dispute with a girlfriend who was pregnant with his child at the time. The charge was later dropped.)

#10 … The TMZ in me and other notes (mostly NFL) …

A … 
I still can't get over the Broncos getting out to a 24-0 lead on the Patriots and giving it all back before losing 34-31 in OT.

B … Trying to determine which personality of the Dallas Cowboys will show up from week to week is like trying to determine if anyone is telling the truth when it comes to the Sabans. Solid win for the Boys at the Giants with some gutsy third-down conversions late - 16 overall targets for Dez Bryant seemed to be a good thing as well.

C … The Houston Texans' implosion is as surreal as all the talk about the Sabans and Texas as Mack Brown still holds out hope of claiming at least a share of the Big 12 title.

Now, the Texans are going to be in position to land a top QB in next year's draft. Manziel? Derek Carr?

D … If the Detroit Lions had any kind of a head coach to go with all of their talent, they'd be running away with the NFC North, which has Scott Tolzien playing QB in Green Bay and Josh McCown playing QB in Chicago.

Instead, they fail on fake field goals when they have a lead and the Pittsburgh Steelers on the ropes in the fourth quarter and find ways to lose at home to the Tampa Bay Bucs.

E … In an 86-82 loss to BYU in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City Monday night, the Texas basketball team appears to be more of the same from recent seasons.

The Longhorns have some talent (PG Isaiah Taylor looks like a player) and grit.
But they still struggle to score - whether it's from 3 (6 of 24, 25 percent), from 2 (28 of 74, 37.8 percent) or from the FT line (20 of 31, 64.5 percent ).

And Rick Barnes' team still struggles to finish games (UT was up 4 with 5:17 left and started settling for 3-pointers and missed all 6 of them down the stretch).

F … But the No. 1 and defending national champion women's volleyball team is a perfect 14-0 in Big 12 play and probably has the best game-day atmosphere on campus.

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