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April 15, 2012

Ketch's 10 Thoughts From The Weekend

No.1 - Scattershooting on Longhorn football…

… I can't decide which of the freshman wide receivers stands the best chance of making the biggest impact in 2012. A case can be made for Cayleb Jones, Kendall Sanders and Marcus Johnson, which tells me two things. First of all, this is a talented group of receivers coming to Austin, and second, the guys on campus that can't seem to separate better get it together… or else. So, who is the smart money on among the three fish? I'm going to lean towards Sanders.

… Speaking of things I can't decide, I'm torn going into the rest of the off-season about what the staff should do with true freshman Camrhon Hughes. On one hand, the team really could use an upgrade in talent/athleticism on the second-team offensive line, but the former Harker Heights really could use a redshirt season to add strength to aid his development. This is a decision that doesn't need to today and he's a player that might look much more ready for prime time after another four months with Bennie Wylie, but the question itself is an indicator of how thin the depth at tackle really is. I have to think the quick development of Josh Cochran last season could motivate the coaches to get Hughes on the field.

… What happens if the offense doesn't score a touchdown in the first half of the first test of the season on the road at Ole Miss? If David Ash had a couple of turnovers and things just weren't happening on that side of the ball, would they pull the string and bring in McCoy? What would it mean for the next game in two weeks if McCoy came in and helped lead Texas to a win on the road?

… Can you imagine a world where the 2012 Texas tight ends represent the best group in the conference? Yeah, keep reading… I think there's a good chance that D.J. Grant will be named first-team All-Big 12 in the pre-season. That's how down the position is across the board in the league.

…. I can't shake this suspicion that Demarco Cobbs is going to be a guy that is going to be forever banged up as a player and that we might not truly get a glimpse of what a 100% of Cobbs looks like for an extended time. If I'm wrong and he stays on the field in 2012, the Longhorns could add a playmaking weapon at linebacker that Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho never consistently provided.

… If all of the defensive tackles are relatively close to each other right now in their competition and the starting jobs are going to be determined by the work done between now and the start of September, I don't know how you bet against Desmond Jackson. Nobody is going to outwork that kid. I'm almost ready to write his name in ink into the starting line-up.

… I had a UT insider tell me this weekend that as improved as Reggie Wilson was this spring, the light switch still hasn't flipped on. "If he ever decided that he wasn't going to get outworked by anyone on this team, there would be no stopping him. He's still learning to be desperate."

… If the Longhorns missed on every single one of their remaining offers and the coaches were forced to replace those offers with other in-state offers at the same position, I'd offer Pearland Dawson running back James White (committed to A&M), West Mesquite wide receiver Eldridge Massington, San Antonio Madison defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, West Mesquite linebacker/safety Kameron Miles, Houston Bellaire Devin Lauderdale (committed to Tech) and West-Orange Stark cornerback Colin Janice.

No.2 - Ranking the Big 12 offensive personnel …

Last week in 10TFTW, I ranked the Big 12 quarterbacks coming into the 2012 season, which led me to thinking about the rest of the position groups across the board. With step one of the process out of the way, I'm going to go ahead and rank the rest of the offensive position groups today and the defensive side of the ball/special teams next week.

Returning starters are in bold

Quarterbacks

1. West Virginia (Geno Smith)
2. Oklahoma (Landry Jones)
3. TCU (Casey Pachall)
4. Kansas State (Collin Klein)
5. Texas Tech (Seth Doege)
6. Kansas (Dayne Crist)
7. Texas (David Ash)
8. Iowa State (Jared Barnett)
9. Oklahoma State (J.W. Walsh)
10. Baylor (Nick Florence)

Running backs

1. Oklahoma State (Joseph Randle/Jeremy Smith/Herschel Sims)
2. Texas (Malcolm Brown/Joe Bergeron/Johnathan Gray/DJ Monroe)
3. TCU (Ed Wesley/Matthew Tucker/Waymon James)
4. Oklahoma (Dominique Whaley/Roy Finch/Brennan Clay)
5. Texas Tech (Eric Stephens/Deandre Washington/Ronnie Daniels)
6. Baylor (Glasco Martin/Jarred Salubi/Lache Seastrunk)
7. Kansas State (John Hubert/Angelo Pease/DeMarcus Robinson)
8. West Virginia (Dustin Garrison/Shawne Alston/Andre Buie)
9. Kansas (James Sims/Tony Pierson/Brandon Bourbon)
10. Iowa State (James White/Jeff Woody/Shontrelle Johnson)

Wide Receivers

1. West Virginia (Tavon Austin/Stedman Bailey/Ivan McCarthy)
2. Baylor (Lanear Sampson/Terrance Williams/Tevin Reese)
3. Oklahoma (Kenny Stills/Jaz Reynolds/Trey Metoyer)
4. Texas Tech (Eric Ward/Darrin Moore/Alex Torres)
5. Texas (Mike Davis/Jaxon Shipley/Marquise Goodwin)
6. TCU (Josh Boyce/Skye Dawson/Brandon Carter)
7. Oklahoma State (Tracy Moore/Isaiah Anderson/Josh Stewart)
8. Kansas State (Chris Harper/Tramaine Thompson/Tyler Lockett)
9. Kansas (Kale Pick/Daymond Patterson/D.J. Beshears)
10. Iowa State (Josh Lenz/Aaron Horne/Albert Gary)

Tight ends

1. Texas (DJ Grant/MJ McFarland)
2. Oklahoma (Taylor McNamara/Sam Grant)
3. Kansas State (Travis Tannahill/Andre McDonald)
4. Kansas (Jimmy Mundane/Trent Smiley)
5. TCU (Corey Fuller/Stephen Bryant)
6. Texas Tech (Jace Amaro/Cameron Wright)
7. Iowa State (Kurt Hammerschmidt/Eric Brun)
8. Baylor (Justin Akers/Jordan Najvar)
9. Oklahoma State (Justin Horton/Blake Jackson)
10. West Virginia (None)

Offensive line

1. Oklahoma (Lane Johnson/Gabe Ikard/Ben Habern/Tyler Evans/ Daryl Williams)
2. West Virginia (Quinton Spain/Josh Jenkins/Joe Madson/Jeff Bruan/Pat Edgar)
3. Texas (Donald Hawkins/Trey Hopkins/Dom Espinosa/Mason Walters/Josh Cochran)
4. Oklahoma State (Michael Bowie/Jonathan Rush/Evan Epstein/Lane Taylor/Parker Graham)
5. TCU (James Dunbar/John Woolridge/James Fry/Blaize Foltz/Tayo Fabuluje)
6. Baylor (Cyril Richardson/Cameron Kaufhold/Tim Smith/Jake Jackson/Ivory Wade)
7. Kansas State (Cornelius Lucas/Nick Puetz /BJ Finney/ Boston Stiverson/Cody Whitehair)
8. Kansas (Riley Spencer/Gavin Howard/Trevor Marrongelli/Duane Zistnik/Tanner Hawkinson)
9. Texas Tech (LaAdrian Waddle/Brian Thomas/Deveric Gallington/Terry McDaniel/LeRaven Clark)
10. Iowa State (Carter Bykowski/Ethan Tuftee/Tom Farniok/Jacob Gannon/Brayden Burris)

No.3 - The Good, Bad and the That Can't Happen from the Disch…

The Good: The goal each weekend is to win the series and after dropping the first game of the home conference season on Friday night, the Longhorns showed a lot of internal fortitude by coming back and finishing their remaining business. Meanwhile, the Longhorns have been leaning on the offense for a while, but the pitching this weekend was top-notch. If Nathan Thornhill and Parker French can reproduce their game one and game two starts the rest of the way, this team becomes very dangerous. Cross your fingers, but the pitching seemed to take a step forward this weekend… five runs in 29 innings is getting it done. As for the offense, Mark Payton did a lot of heavy lifting, driving in runs in all three games and accounting for three of the eight extra-base hits the team hit on the weekend.

The Bad: They are still looking for more consistency from Ricky Jacquez in game three, but Dillon Peters came up huge late in the game when it mattered and you have to wonder if Peters might get the ball against Kansas next Sunday. Outfielder Jonathan Walsh went doughnut for 12 in the three games combined, while hitting in the clean-up spot each game. Meanwhile, the three-hole hitter Eric Weiss went 2 for 12 for the weekend which means that the combined resume of the 3-4 hitters this weekend for the Longhorns was 2 for 24 with one walk and one extra-base hit.

That's can't Happen: When the pitching has rarely been stout in Big 12 play, it's almost a deadly sin to waste one of Thornhill's best performances of the season, especially when you are trying to chase down a Baylor squad that threatens to run away with the league title. With Thornhill essentially getting the team through seven innings with a lead, the Longhorns have to win that game. That makes two weekends in a row that the Longhorns have choked on a late-inning lead and given away a game.

Two stats that McComas might not even know…

1. In trying to decide who should start on Sundays, consider that batters are hitting a full .104 better against Jacquez (.280) than Peters (.176). The mark that Peters has combined is better than anyone on the team (20 innings minimum), slightly besting Corey Knebel. (McComas might know that)

2. You might look at Erich Weiss and think that his season is almost identical to last year, considering his .351 average is only a shade better, but when you combine his slash (.351/.449/.557), along with his nine steals, it becomes important to note that the last player in a Longhorn uniform to hit better than .350/.440/.550 and finish with double digits in steals in the same season was Curtis Thigpen (.378/.465/.568) in 2004. (I'll bet McComas didn't know that one, though)

No.4 - The NFL sure has been quiet lately…

It seems like a whole day, maybe even two, has passed without the NFL having some story in the headlines that absolutely dwarfs all else going on in the sports world. I'm a little disappointed in you, Roger.

Oh well, the NFL Draft is 10 days away, which is just in time to suffocate all attention reserved for the NHL playoffs and looming NBA playoffs. If the league can come up with another scandal or Tim Tebow story in the next few weeks, it might just wipe those other sports off the front page forever.

I kid… kind of. In the meantime, here are my NFL thoughts coming out of the weekend.

… Speaking of Tim Tebow, there's this thing involving Pats all-world tight end Ron Gronkowski. It seems Gronk was asked to speak at an event at Rhode Island University (seriously) and someone in the audience asked him to play the "F, marry and kill" game involving Betty White, Rex Ryan and Tim Tebow. You'll never guess what's coming next. Yup, a Tebow virginity blast.

… Isn't naming an interim head coach that is suspended for the first half of the NFL season a little like having your wing man live with your wife after she throws you out of the house for cheating on her?

… Whatever Todd McShay's rep is right now, you better believe that whatever happens to Ryan Tannehill moving forward is going to greatly impact it. There's going out on a limb and then there's whatever McShay is doing this spring with his constant show of love for a quarterback that has shown very little as a quarterback, especially against very good competition. They don't make Baylor defensive backfields in the NFL… well… except for the Cowboys when Terence Newman was on the field.

… You want some Mock Drafts? Here's the latest after some hunting on the Internet. Apparently, a lot of folks believe Dallas is taking Mark Barron.

Rosterwatch.com (4/15)

Cowboys (No.14): South Carolina defensive end/outside linebacker Melvin Ingram
Texans (No.26): Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill

Lance Zierlein (3/27 on the Sidelineview.com)

Cowboys (No.14): North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples
Texans (No.26): Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright
Cowboys (No.45): Iowa State offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele
Texans (No.58): Marshall outside linebacker Vinny Curry

NFL.com Mocks from Charley Casserly (4/13), Charles Davis (4/11), Albert Breer (4/9) and Chad Reuter (4/6)

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama safety Mark Barron (unanimous)
Texans (No.26): LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle (Casserly), Stanford offensive tackle Jonathan Martin (Davis) and Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright (Breer and Reuter)

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com (4/12)

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama safety Mark Barron
Texans (No.26): Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com (4/12)

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama safety Mark Barron
Texans (No.26): Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright

USA Today Mocks from Jarrett Bell, Jim Corbett, Nate Davis (4/13) and Wes Bunting of the National Football Post

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (Bell), Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw (Corbett), Alabama safety Mark Barron (Davis) and LSU defensive lineman Michael Brockers (Bunting)
Texans (No.26): Georgia offensive lineman Cordy Glenn (Bell), Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright (Corbett), Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill (Davis) and LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle (Bunting)

NFLDraftCountdown.com (3/30)

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama safety Mark Barron
Texans (No.26): LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle

Mel Kiper (4/4 - ESPN Premium)

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama safety Mark Barron
Texans (No.26): Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright

Todd McShay 5.0 (ESPN Premium)

Cowboys (No.14): Memphis DT Dontari Poe
Texans (No.26): Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill

SI's Don Banks (4/11)

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama safety Mark Barron
Texans (No.26): Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright

WalterFootball.com (4/13)

Cowboys (No.14): Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe
Texans (No.26): Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill

No.5 - Five pieces of MLB randomness…

a. I'm really, really worried about my Phillies. It's early…. VERY early… but things just don't feel right. It has a very 2010 Longhorns feel to it if I'm being 100 percent honest. I hope like hell I'm wrong. Only one team in the National League has scored fewer runs. Poop. Oh well, at least I have Roy Halladay every fifth day.

b. I think Matt Kemp wants a dad-gum MVP and he wants one right now. Wow, that dude is playing in the altitude right now. He'll be dating a Kardashian soon enough.

c. I was really hoping that St. Louis would take a nosedive with Prince Albert gone, but they look like the real deal right now. The National League is going to be a wild ride.

d. Hu-hum, the Rangers look like the Class of the American League and Josh Hamilton looks like a possible MVP candidate. Man, that team is scary when it's on.

e. It might be time to test David Ortiz… just saying…

No.6 - Thoughts from The Association …

a. Dunk of the weekend: KD with the lob to Westbrook… OH MY!

b. Speaking of Durant, he dropped 43 on the T-Wolves on Saturday and made some kid's life complete with a high five.

c. Carmelo Anthony looks like he's going to be a handful for whichever team gets him in the first round of the playoffs. I have my fingers crossed for a Miami/Knicks playoff series.

d. Dallas greatly misses Tyson Chandler. Imagine what Oklahoma City would look like with him instead of Kendrick Perkins.

e. Andrew Bynum is playing at such a high level down the stretch, I'm starting to wonder if he might steal first-team All-NBA honors away from the injured and image-stained Dwight Howard when the dust settles. Howard averaged 20.6 points, 14.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks, while shooting .573 from the floor and .491 from the free throw line. Meanwhile, Bynum is averaging 18.6 points, 12.1 rebounds and 2.0 blocks, while shooting .564 from the floor and .680 from the free throw line. Howard's PER is sixth best in the NBA at 24.27, while Bynum ranks 10th at 23.21. The answer to my wondering is that Howard likely gets the call, but it's much closer than I would have first thought.

f. Sunday's game against the Nuggets was a huge one for the Rockets. Right when it seemed like they were making a push to scare anyone they'd play in the first-round, the brakes have been slammed with a pair of losses, including a disappointing home showdown with hard-charging Phoenix. So, what happens? They got drilled by Denver in a really important game for their third straight loss, which might as well be a free-fall when you have six games left to play and your playoff lead stands at one game over the same Suns team that whipped you on Friday. Monday's return game against Denver and Wednesday's road game at Dallas look like must-win games at this point.

g. Games to DVR this week:

Monday: Oklahoma City at LA Clippers (NBA TV)
Monday: Denver at Houston (league pass)
Tuesday: Boston at New York (TNT)
Tuesday: San Antonio at LA Lakers (TNT)
Thursday: Chicago at Miami (TNT)
Friday: LA Lakers at San Antonio (ESPN)
Sunday: Oklahoma City at LA Lakers (ABC)

h. If the season ended today, the first round match-ups would look like this (with my predictions):

Eastern Conference

No.1 Chicago vs. No.8 NY Knicks (Bulls in five)
No.4 Boston vs. Atlanta (Celtics in seven)

No.2 Miami vs. No.7 Philadelphia (Heat in four)
No.3 Indiana vs. No.6 Orlando (Pacers in five)

Western Conference

No.1 Oklahoma City vs. No.8 Houston (Thunder in five)
No.4 LA Clippers vs. No.5 Memphis (Grizz in six)

No.2 San Antonio vs. No.7 Denver (Spurs in five)
No.3 LA Lakers vs. No.6 Dallas (Lakers in six)

i. MVP watch

1. Kevin Durant (27.9 ppg/.503 FG%/.383 3PT%/.853 FT%/7.9 RPG/3.5 APG/44-16 record)
2. LeBron James (26.8 ppg/.530 FG%/.361 3PT%/.763 FT%/7.9 RPG/6.4 APG/42-17 record)
3. Chris Paul (19.5 ppg/.484 FG%/.378 3PT%/.857 FT%/3.5 RPG/9.0 APG/37-23 record)
4. Russell Westbrook (24.3 ppg/.466 FG%/.331 3PT%/.822 FT%/4.5 RPG/5.4 APG/44-16 record)
5. Tony Parker (18.6 ppg/.474 FG%/.250 3PT%/.798 FT%/2.8 RPG/7.6 APG/42-16 record)

g. Ketch's weekly NBA Power Poll

1. San Antonio (last week: 1)
2. Oklahoma City (last week: 2)
3. Chicago (last week: 4)
4. Miami (last week: 3)
5. Memphis (last week: 7)
6. L.A. Lakers (last week: 5)
7. Boston (last week: 6)
8. Indiana (last week: 8)
9. LA Clippers (last week: 9)
10. Dallas (last week: 10)

No.7 - They said what?…

A look at my 10 favorite Tweets from the last week.

1. @bomani_jones
skip's right, though: it was unprovoked. jalen was like a cat with a Z in scrabble, ITCHIN to play. even if just for "zoo."

2. @TFLN
(570): I'll never be able to have sex on these sheets. I'd have to cover up the eyes of every single Elmo.

3. @dkberman
551-day-old Instagram is worth $1 billion. 116-year-old New York Times Co.: $967 million.

4. @greggdoyelcbs
I asked Mattingly, "Ever gonna bring back the 'stache?" (Shaddup.) He said no - his wife doesn't like it. Sigh.

5. @GaryParrishCBS
Only Axl Rose could turn a Hall of Fame induction into a complete mess. Might be the most Axl Rose thing ever, and that's saying something.

6. @EricStangel
While pretty awful, North Korean rocket not nearly the implosion we saw from Bobby Petrino..

7. @KBergCBS
Overheard on MSG usher's walkie-talkie as Boyz II Men crooned national anthem: "Is someone going to come up here and clean up that vomit?"

8. @BasseyworldLive
I just got back from Target and I spent less than $20. I was honestly expecting some sort of prize or balloons or something. #Nothing

9. @corey_wallace_
@HPbasketball WHY DOES CHANDLER NOT LIKE DINOSAURS!!?!

10. @JimmyJohnson
@YRN70: Would you have allowed Hard Knocks to film the Cowboys? I'm a Falcons fan and concerned...no but our owner would

No.8 - Pop goes the culture because the culture goes pop.…

… Movie trailer of the weekend: Looper. That looks like that could be kind of good.

… Saturday Night Live Gold: Game of Thrones

… DECLARATION: Is Britney back? I'll play Twister with her.

… WTF Headline of the weekend: Catholic Group Condemns 'Three Stooges' For 'Trashing Christianity'.

… DECLARATION II: Hermione is growing up.

… Hate all you want: Cameron Diaz is getting her workout on these days.

… One last hottie: Malin Akerman covered up by an ape . I dig her.

No.9 -The List: Guns N' Roses

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Guns N' Roses this weekend without music's ultimate jerk rock star in attendance, which just seemed like a perfect time to break down Axl, Slash and the gang in this week's List, a group that could have been its generation's Rolling Stones if Axl wasn't so Axl.

9. Mr. Brownstone
8. Rocket Queen
7. Out Ta Get Me
6. Knockin on Heaven's Door
5. November Rain
4. Paradise City
3. Live and Let Die
2. Sweet Child O' Mine
1. Welcome to the Jungle

Coming up next week: Queen

Previous Lists: 2-Pac, Biggie Smalls, Boyz II Men, Jeff Buckley, Cartoon themes, Eva Cassidy,Phil Collins, Sam Cooke, Joe Ely, Hall and Oats, HBO Shows, Whitney Houston, Kool and the Gang, Metallica, George Michael, Mo-Town, Bill Murray, Scarface, Sexiest Women of All-Time, Gary Stewart , George Strait, TV Themes

No.10 - And finally…

I think the most entertaining read I came across this weekend might have been this article from Salon.com on the media underworld that was captured at the Final Four. Man, what a bunch of egomaniacs we are.


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