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July 30, 2012

Ketch's 10 Thoughts From The Weekend

In an instant late Friday afternoon, a reminder of the sometimes fragile nature of college football was issued to Orangbloods everywhere.

Perhaps the only news worse in life than bad news is uncertain news. Actually, if we're being honest about the human condition, oftentimes uncertain news is worse than bad news because of what we can do with our brains when we view a situation through endless possibilities. The same brain that turns every common cold into the beginning of a disease without cure was challenged with the task of sorting through the David Ash injury news like a rational, patient, well-spoken adult.

Easier said than done for many.

If the worst of what our brains could create is true, a true game-changing event in the 2012 season narrative might have occurred without so much as a single public eye witnessing it. At best is a situation that requires a little bit of rehab and a lot of monitoring, but perhaps no real competitive setback. Those are the two extremes and the unknown reality might very well call for a meeting somewhere between the two, even if some initial reports have downplayed the severity of the situation.

More than anything, Friday's online version of a 1930s bank run here in Austin was a cold glass of water into the face. After a 13-12 run the last couple of years, nothing can be taken for granted heading into this season. Stuff happens. Injuries happen. Nine months of planning can fly out the window faster than a parking ticket in a convertible.

The 1997 season went off the rails with an injured James Brown. The 1998 season turned on a dime when The Richard Walton Project crashed down five seconds into flight. A national championship was lost because of a fluke hit. Of course, no one can forget that nine months of off-season planning was set on fire six quarters into last season.

You'll have to forgive people if they lost their mind on Friday because history hasn't always been kind to them. The good news is that almost all indications have this David Ash injury as being a one- or two- week deal, although the risk of reinjuring the hammy is always a lingering concern.

Yet, that's the kind of prognosis you'll gladly take versus the kind of news that Jordan Shipley received about his hamstring before a snap was played in 2005. Also, I think it provided a real sense of what is important for the quarterback position for UT with five weeks to go before the season starts. Like a man who receives a deadly scare, suddenly all of the important things have come into focus.

For me, four truths out of this situation absolutely surfaced to the top of my attention.

1. David Ash can't afford to miss reps.

At the most basic level possible, Ash is such an unproven commodity that he needs every single rep afforded to him between now and the time games begin. Even if this was a two-week injury that limited him in the first week of workouts, a lost or semi-lost week of work would be quite unfortunate for a team with such high aspirations. It needs him healthy and on the field.

2. The importance of Case McCoy's return can't be stressed enough.

McCoy might not be the best starting quarterback in the league, but you can make a case that no team in the conference has the confidence in its back-up that the Longhorns have in McCoy. He might just be the best back-up quarterback in the league. If anything, Friday's injury news reaffirmed how close the team is to having him in the saddle at the most important position on the field. I know there are a couple of true freshmen on the minds of some, but those kids need to redshirt if possible.

3. Pandora's Box has been opened.

David Ash has taken essentially every first team rep in bowl workouts, the Holiday Bowl, spring workouts and in the spring game, but Mack Brown has maintained as recent as this week that he doesn't have a starting quarterback. If Ash was to miss the majority of the first week or two of August drills, the door would appear to be open for McCoy to push through for the kind of playing time that wasn't anticipated a week ago. All things being equal, Ash was leading the quarterback race, but things aren't equal any more. If Ash is limited at all at the start of camp, anything could become possible at the position over the next month. Given that even a minor hamstring injury could linger for a few weeks, there's no question that Ash's hamstring will suddenly become the most scrutinized leg injury in the Lone Star State.

4. The Longhorns need Ash healthy.

No offense to anyone, but the key to this team reaching the next level includes Ash taking the next steps in his development as a player. The ceiling is higher with him on the field. His importance has never been more obvious than when it appeared for a brief moment that he might be lost for extended time.

No. 2 - Scattershooting on the Longhorns…

… Just sit tight on the Anthony Fera situation. The family wants some quiet time to reflect on the decision, but people from State College believe his farewell is inevitable. Assuming he was happy with the visit, the Longhorns have to be considered the favorite, especially in the eyes of some close to him.

… In the coming weeks when the Longhorn offense is still trying to find the rhythm it needs to help this team compete for a Big 12 title, consider these wide receiver numbers via the connections made with the current Longhorn quarterbacks

Mike Davis with David Ash: 45 Targets, 26 receptions, 294 yards and 1 touchdown
Mike Davis with Case McCoy: 30 Targets, 17 receptions, 210 yards and 0 touchdowns

Jaxon Shipley with David Ash: 35 Targets, 21 receptions, 215 yards and 2 touchdowns
Jaxon Shipley with Case McCoy: 30 Targets, 18 receptions,319 yards and 0 touchdowns

Marquise Goodwin with David Ash: 31 Targets, 14 receptions, 207 yards and 1 touchdown
Marquise Goodwin with Case McCoy: 27 Targets, 18 receptions, 200 yards and 1 touchdown

… Am I the only one somewhat worried about Jackson Jeffcoat's return from a torn pectoral muscle? It's one thing to have recovered from the injury and it's another to have it at peak elite-of-the-elite condition. My expectations are that he'll be able to make plays on key downs, but the Longhorns need as much defensive end depth as possible.

… Reggie Wilson, are you reading? Are you paying attention? The time is now.

… The best thing about the Longhorn defensive line is that few people, if any (including Longhorn fans), are talking about junior defensive tackle Ashton Dorsey. That's a little odd because he does lead all returning Big 12 interior linemen in tackles for loss from a season ago. That's exactly the kind of depth you want.

… Hearing more and more Marcus Johnson talk.

… Speaking of true freshmen, I had one person within the program this week tell me that there might not be a better reserve defensive back in the Big 12 than Duke Thomas and that he's better right now as a freshman than Carrington Byndom was in 2010.

… USC picked up a commitment from Alief Taylor pass rusher Torrodney Prevot and all things considered, that's a win for the Longhorns. If they weren't going to get a kid with so much off-the-edge potential, then it's best if none of your main rivals in recruiting do, either. With Prevot theoretically off the board, the attention (not that it hasn't been already) needs to be on finding a stud edge-prospect to finish off this class.

… 33 days and some change until the home opener against Wyoming. 33 days…

No. 3 - The Summer Olympics… when table tennis becomes interesting …

I don't know about the rest of you, but it's been only two days and I'm already on Olympic overload. I've watched basketball, handball, gymnastics, swimming, table tennis, cycling, soccer and probably a few other sports that I just can't remember. I've watched the action live and on tape delay.

Apparently, I'm all in, even if NBC doesn't care if I watch or not.

Here are a few of my observations after 48 hours of action.

1. LeBron James and Kevin Durant on the same floor together is just too much fun. The best part of the Olympic basketball experience is that we don't have to watch LeBron with the "lack of a championship" storyline still hovering. Instead, we get to enjoy the beauty that is his skill set and it was on full display Sunday against France. For those that love to hate on LeBron, do everything you can to let it go for two weeks. Trust me, you won't regret it.

2. Even the best players in the world on the same team doesn't make me want to watch any more women's basketball than I have to.

3. Ryan Lochte was slower in the last lap of his 400 meter IM on Saturday than 18-year old Ye Shiwen was on Sunday in taking the women's gold. Wow. She's the No. 1 story of the Games thus far.

4. It's not quite as cool of a story as Shiwen, but former Longhorn Brendan Hansen's bronze medal in 100-meter breaststroke four years after retiring a medal-less 2008 Olympics was a pretty huge moment in its own right. He called it his favorite medal in a career full of them. Right on, my man.

5. She didn't medal, but 16-year old fencer Lee Kiefer might have been my favorite athlete of the weekend. The angriest I found myself after any event this weekend was when Italian Arianna Errigo shouted, screamed and tossed her helmet off her head 100 times in a straight set win over the precocious American in the quarterfinals of the women's foil. Errigo took home the silver.

6. NBC needs to feature Michele Beadle more.

7. After winning eight golds in 2008, my only expectations for Michael Phelps this year is for him to enjoy the Olympic Village every single night of the next two weeks. If I'm being honest, I want him making a slew of super babies so that we'll have something to combat the Chinese with in 2036. Is that selfish? Sorry, but it's his American duty.

No. 4 - It's the sport of kings, better than diamond rings, That's why we're here to sing, football Sunday in the snow, referee's whistle blows, We've been warriors toe-to-toe…

… Ladies and Gentlemen, the 2012 Dallas Cowboys !

… He's baaaaack. Jamaal Charles that is, after a season-ending ACL injury in week one last year . "I feel I've got my swag back. My legs feel fresh. I've been out from football for (10 months) so it feels real good to be out on the field again," Charles said this weekend.

Sergio Kindle is finally doing some work down in Baltimore.

… Andre Johnson hurt his groin on the first day of practice. Of course, he did. There's no way in hell he's on my fantasy draft board again this year. Noooooooooooo way (said like Buford T. Justice)!

… ESPN is going to ruin the return of Peyton Manning. It's like they are channeling Jo-Jo the idiot circus boy with his pretty new pet. They are stoking it, petting it and massaging it. They love that naughty little pet. Eventually, they are going to smash it and mutilate it for all of us. It's very Favrian of them.

… Fantasy sleeper of the year: Randall Cobb

… Uh… Tim Tebow took his shirt off this weekend in the rain and all of the Big Apple lost its mind.

No. 5 - Gentlemen, start your MLB engines…

… The trade deadline is hours away and the market is full of action. Hanley Ramirez has already been moved. Zach Greinke, too. In fact, the White Sox were so desperate…er… motivated by the Greinke news that they acquired the ghost of Francisco Liriano 24 hours later in hopes he has a chance meeting with Doc Brown and Marty at a Chi-town mall. Team executives are reportedly shocked by the amount of prospect value that has been moved, which means the prices for whatever remains is steep… and the Yankees presumably haven't even made their final move… yet. The last 24-36 hours or so should be wild. For those that are selling, this represents the best part of the 2012 season.

… The Rangers need another piece. I know that's not what some Rangers fans want to hear, but when you look at their pitching staff right now, I'm just not sure they're constructed in a way that will help them win three playoff series. This team will win a lot of games in the regular season, but I just don't know that Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland are going to win you a World Series. This is a team that seems so close, but getting over the final hump can be one hell of a last task.

… The Angels just look better than the Rangers right now, at least on paper.

… Mike Olt better be really good.

… It must be a hell of a thing for Cubs fans right now to have to share the city with a team like the White Sox, who are not only better than you, but desperate to win. What do you even tell a Cubs fan right now?

… Chase Headley feels like the biggest prize left on the market, unless Josh Johnson is moved.

… The Pirates are fun. Andrew McCutchen + Starling Marte = good times on the MLB ticket.

… The Braves ended my 2012 baseball season this weekend. R.I.P. 2012 Philadelphia Phillies

No. 6 - If you have a few minutes to spare …

Here's the best online content I read this weekend:

FORDE: Deja in France costs the USA gold

WOJNAROWSKI: NBA owners want to kill Olympic format to protect investment in international players

WETZEL: Jordyn Wieber's surprising Olympic pain proved to be Aly Raisman's unexpected Olympic gain

ROBINSON: Swimmer Dana Vollmer puts demons of 2008 behind her en route to world record and gold medal

LUDDEN: Kevin Durant leads Team USA past France in Olympic opener

PASSAN: Angels' acquisition of Zack Greinke is a leap of faith that puts a chill in the Rangers, A's

No. 7 - Tweet tweet: The best on my timeline this week …

10. " Congrats to @ryanlochte ... Way to keep that title in the country where it belongs!!"

9. "Southern lady: Where did you get that perm? Me: In the desert over 5000 years ago. "

8. " I can't believe Obama let the first lady this close to Tony Parker."‬‬

7. " Diff btwn Tex Schramm and Jerry? Tex said (1986) "I wanna get back to being arrogant." Jerry said (today) "I want me some glory hole." "

6. " NBC: Will Pearl Harbor be attacked? Find out tonight in primetime! #nbcfail "

5. " Italians appear to be awesome at swordfights and archery, which explains their military record for the last hundred years. "

4. " After I switched to the Dark Side, my wife realized she went looking for love in Alderaan places."

3. "The NCAA is the worst part of college football"

2. "Quote of the day: "I want me some glory hole." -- Jerry Jones "

1. "If this was a SEC school, fans would definitely be tailgating before the NCAA announcement "

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

… Movie Trailer of the week: This ain't no comic book movie

… Sign that the apocalypse is upon us: Penis stolen by thieves in the middle of the night

… DECLARATION: I like Robert Pattinson MORE with the news of the Kristen Stewart's no-good, cheating ways. We should all handle news with such class and dignity. No ugly public remarks? Check. No communication with Stewart? No communication with the cheater? Check. Refusing to engage in the games? So far… check. Just wondering though, if Stewart had cheated with Jacob, would everyone be upset?

… Hottie of the Week: Some are calling Leryn Franco the hottest Olympian in London . Don't believe me? Just ask Yahoos! Sports .

… Hottie of the Week II: Introducing Dasha Konovalova

… 100-WORDS OR LESS MOVIE REVIEW: Moonrise Kingdom (B)

Absolutely charming. I'll be the first to say that I don't always get Wes Anderson, but he delivered the goods with a really touching story about a pair of precocious, 12-year old kids experiencing true love, trust and freedom all at the same time while the world around them is a little scrambled. The cast is star-studded, but all of the performances are understated and nuanced. If you need a movie that will make you genuinely smile, this is one of the better escapes you'll find this summer. In fact, it's my favorite Wes Anderson film.

No. 9 - The List: Otis Redding

Don't ask me how it could have possibly happened, but after all of these weeks, it would appear that I haven't done a List yet for Otis Redding. I thought I had, I really did, yet when I started investigating why his list hasn't been archived after all of these weeks and months, I couldn't find it anywhere.

Basically, any other plans for a possible UGK, Frank Sinatra or anyone else that might have been in mind were put on hold immediately.

If you were to seek the root of my musical soul, you'd find Otis. If I were stranded on a deserted island and could only listen to one artist, you'd find Otis. If I could go back in time and see anyone perform… well… you get the picture.

As far as I'm concerned, Otis songs are as untouchable as any in music. The man didn't just sing songs, he attacked them and sweated them out of his pores with every ounce of heart and passion he had in his body. He was Sam Cooke, Janis Joplin and Hank Williams all rolled into one. From song to song, you think to yourself there's no way the next one can have as much human emotion and feeling as the last one, and you'd be wrong.

Let's get on with it…The Otis List

Just missed the cut: Cigarettes and Coffee, Mr. Pitiful, That's How Strong My Love Is, Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song), Love Man and I've Got Dreams to Remember

10. That's What My Heart Needs

It's not one of the most well-known pieces of Otis' songbook, but in the back-half of the song, he visits that place that only Otis could visit when expressing his heart's desires.

"I'm calling you out loud and clear, baby, oh baby
I love you, yes I do
And I wanna be near you, oh baby
That's what my heart need."

9. Respect

Yes, it's the anthem song or Aretha Franklin and her version is regarded as one of the top-five songs of all-time, but originally it was an Otis joint and his version is damn good in its own right.

"Hey little girl, you're so sweeter than honey, And I am about to just give you all my money
All I'm asking for, Is a little respect when I come home"

8. For Your Precious Love

Otis wrote a lot of great songs, but some of his best work occurred when he covered someone else's work. That's definitely the case with

7. Pain in My Heart

You give Otis a girl that he can't find and he's going to turn into a song here he the agony of his need for her love is going to pour out.

"Another day, as again it is though
I want you to come back, come back, come back, baby, 'till I get enough
A little pain in my heart just won't let me be
Wake up at restless nights, Lord and I can't even sleep"

6. Change is Gonna Come

There's only one person on the entire planet that I allow with permission to sing this song outside of Sam Cooke and its Otis. The two things that both men had in common was the ability to dig into a deeper place to find the music and never is that more apparent than in what both men give to this song. It's a haunting performance.

5. Satisfaction

It's a hell of a thing to suggest that someone can out-Stones the Stones, but Otis is at his out-of-his-mind-with-the-music best with one of the most iconic songs ever written. Man, what I wouldn't give to have seen Otis do a show with the Stones.

4. I've Been Loving You Too Long

Whatever a human can give of himself into a song, that's where Otis sends himself in this all-time classic. It is one thing to say the words and it's quite a different thing to live and breathe them until your mind is at its end, which is what this song is all about… all-out exasperation. Legend has it that his performance of this song at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival (see above) left Jimi Hendrix in awe.

"I love you with all of my heart, And I can't stop now
Don't make me stop now, Please, please don't make me stop now
Good god almighty I love you
I love you, I love you, I love you
I love you, I love you"

3. (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay

For all of the flair he could give any song, his music was often most beautiful when controlled by its amazing simplicity. A few days before he died in a plane accident, he finished recording a song that began with him relaxing on a boat near the San Francisco Bay, writing/singing about life. Little known fact: everyone knows that the song ends with Redding whistling, but had he lived he planned on returning to the studio and finishing the song with words.

"I left my home in Georgia, Headed for the Frisco Bay,
Cuz I've had nothing to live for, And look like nothing's gonna come my way

So, I'm just gon' sit on the dock of the bay, Watchin' the tide roll away, ooh
I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay, Wastin' time "

2. Try a Little Tenderness

The song starts so controlled and so tender, as Otis paints a picture that would that would make Michael Angelo blush. Then, as if motivated by a moment in life once lost, he takes us to church, imploring all of us to take the leap. It's an entire generation's blueprint for what to do in the backseat of a car. Ps: Make sure and watch the video clip of this life performance because he literally drops the mic and leaves the stage.

"oh she may be weary, them young girls they do get wearied wearing that same old miniskirt dress, but when she gets weary, you try a little tenderness"

1. These Arms of MIne

I consider this song music perfection. It's probably my favorite song of all-time and whatever my musical soul is created with, it's at the epicenter. There's just so much powerful emotion packed into such a simple song, as if he's able to channel the souls of desperate, broken men. My all-time top five song list will change from mood to mood, but this song is never removed from the No. 1 spot.

"Come on, come on baby
Just be my little woman, just be my lover, oh
I need me somebody, somebody to treat me right, oh
I need your woman's loving arms to hold me tight
And I...I...I need...I need your...I need your tender lips"

Previous Lists: 2-Pac, Beastie Boys, Biggie Smalls, Boyz II Men, Chuck Brown, Jeff Buckley, Cartoon themes, Eva Cassidy,Phil Collins, Sam Cooke, Joe Ely, Al Green, Guns N' Roses, Hall and Oats, HBO Shows, Jimi Hendrix, Whitney Houston, Kool and the Gang, Metallica, George Michael, Mo-Town, Bill Murray, Willie Nelson, Stevie Nicks,Prince, Outkast, Queen,The Rolling Stones Scarface, Sexiest Women of All-Time, Snoop Dogg . Gary Stewart , George Strait, TV Themes, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Hank Williams Sr.

No. 10 - And finally…

We'll end things with the question that has haunted me all day… how exactly did Alan Rickman not win an Oscar in 1989 for his role in Die Hard as Hans Gruber? Even the 1972 men's Olympic basketball team thinks that was a highway robbery.

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