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November 29, 2012
The TicketCity Locker Room
Q: (Senor Chang) - Question # 489 on the subject. But ...... Mack? Stay or go? What's your opinion and why? I personally believe he is coming back and will retire after next year regardless of how we perform. But I seem to be in the minority. I wouldn't be upset if he left this year, but also won't give up my tickets or lessen my support if he comes back.
Question 2: Staff stay intact? Do you see anyone getting offers to leave? If so, who would be your guess? I imagine Manny's phone won't be ringing off the hook. Harsin? Applewhite? Any position coaches?
A: I have contacted a half-dozen program sources that form a variety of levels in the last 24 hours and the general feeling is that there's a lot of uncertainty about what happens in the next few months. While there is a lot of discontent within the program, the vibe that I trust is that there will not be a push to move Mack Brown out and that it's not a realistic idea at this point. DeLoss Dodds is going to give Mack another year and I haven't heard that his support has wavered at all.
The wildcard in all of this is Mack and what is rolling around in is head. From what I've heard, he's all-in on this Kansas State game and not a lot of time has been spent on thinking about the future beyond Saturday night. When the regular season ends, he'll have the time he needs to consider his mindset and the state of the program. Could he hit the eject button after the season and might he find some encouragement from those high up the food chain if he asks for their input?
I don't discount anything at this point. I also don't know that I know how to handicap things moving forward. If you held a gun to my head, I'd say he stays for another year because he's already given too much energy into this rebuild project to abandon it, especially if he believes this team is closer to the elite than many of us do.
I'm reminded this week of a scene from Unforgiven after William Munny shoots Little Bill.
Little Bill: I don't deserve this ... to die like this. I was building a house.
Will Munny: Deserves got nothin' to do with it.
As for your second question, this is the scene I'm waiting to watch around and after the bowl game. If there's a mass exodus, it'll give you some insight what the true feeling is from within regarding the state of the program. If everyone stays, the same thing applies. In the past, this hasn't been a school that coaches leave for sideways jobs, so we'll have to see what the market looks like this month. I'm watching e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e.
Q: (jmfmike) - 1. Everybody is talking realignment again, Louisville has been asked to the ACC, Florida State now lists Big 12 as their 4th choice according to what I read. What do you think they do and how long can the Big 12 wait to make a move? Who do you think comes to the Big 12?
2. How can Mack hire a good DC if everyone thinks he is leaving next year and how will he keep who he has?
3. Players wanting to leave; how many, any names you can give, and is it about playing time or something else?
A: First, I think the Big 12 continues to stand pat with the hope that all of this unrest in the ACC sends Notre Dame back into play. Outside of that, I haven't sensed that anyone in the Big 12 is itching to add teams right now. This sentiment seems to be built under the philosophy that it's easier to play for a national title at 10 teams than 12+. That might be true in the short term, but you have to wonder if the long-term viability is compromised for the short-term gratification of skipping an extra step in competition.
Second, money talks, my man, money talks. Plus, if you turn it around at Texas at a key coaching position, the pathway towards a head coaching job will present itself.
Third, I think everyone needs to let things settle down after this final game before getting too deep into the guessing game. If I were writing The Complete Idiot's Guide to College Football Transfer Talk, these would be the key rules.
1. How many quarterbacks are on campus? Considering that only two usually take the majority of the snaps, who is the odd man out if there are more than three vying for snaps?
2. Are there any running backs on the roster that aren't getting playing time? Is the path for playing next year likely blocked to the point that getting on the field will be difficult to accomplish?
3. Ask yourself the same question about the wide receiver position. Who can't get on the field? Who is the odd man out of the top five or so at the position? Has anyone been passed by younger players?
4. Tight end is usually a last chance position for some scholarship players. Are there any guys at this position where that law applies?
5. Are there any offensive linemen that appear to be light years away from playing, rather than a year or two? Anyone that can't get on the two-deep (10 players) is a possibility.
6. Are there any young players in the front seven that can't get into the two-deep and don't appear to have a changing outlook for at least a year?
7. Take all of these rules of thumb from Nos. 1-6 and apply them to linebacker and in the secondary.
8. Has anyone made public rumblings?
9. Who are the injured guys? Circle all of their names.
10. Who are the highest rated prospects in any given position that can't get on the field?
Q: (SyberLan) - Do you believe there is a more complete depth chart for the OL scout team than the actual game chart?
How many (approx.) jucos do you think the staff would like to sign? How many do you think they should bring in?
Is Jake Raulerson putting on the football weight needed to play next year? Do you think he may need to RS?
A: I don't believe the Longhorns truly have a two-deep that they can line-up and play with. The hope has to be that there are dynamic changes in 2013 with the evolution of some younger players.
Second, I think the staff will sign as many 2013 impact JUCO prospects as it can find. It's all hands on deck.
Third, Jake Raulerson will be ready to contribute when he walks through the doors. He only knows one speed … all-in.
Q: (memhorn) - The offensive line seemed to have an up and down year, often struggling against top flight defenses. Next year, what can we reasonably expect from a starting line of Hawkins, Hopkins, Espinosa, Walters, and Cochran? Will they ever be better than "OK"?
Do you expect Flowers, Porter or Ashcraft to be quality backups and fill in adequately in the case of injury? Have you seen the other backups play enough to know how good they might be in the long run. Or stated another way, who would you project the starters to be in 2014 and even 2015?
A: Man, I'm tired of talking about the offensive line because it makes me feel like the little boy who cried wolf. Seriously, it seems like we're having this discussion each year, so I don't know what to say.
I do think Hopkins has emerged as a really good player and Espinosa shows flashes of being a true standout before his career is over. I'm starting to think that Walters is as good as he is going to be, but those tackles haven't reached their ceilings. On paper, that should be a very good line.
It's guesswork at this point with the back-ups. I've been waiting for Flowers to assert himself and it just hasn't happened yet. He had zero impact this year and that was unexpected. Ashcraft is an older guy that the coaches don't seem to trust for heavy snaps. Same with Porter. Both of those guys can play in a pinch, but they aren't the answers for improvement in the depth situation. This area of the team is a major question mark and it's too early to answer the 2014 or 2015 questions.
Q: (weenhorn) - In regard to the 2014 Texas recruiting class, are there any prospects which you would consider a Texas lean at this point?
Has Texas offered Cameron Hampton or Zach Whitley? Where are we with those recruits?
If Texas has not offered Brandon Simmons or Darrion Johnson, why not? Do you expect that they will get offers?
A: I'd list Lewisville Hebron defensive back Jamal Adams and possibly Arlington Martin defensive end Myles Garret. It's not like it used to be.
Yes, Hampton and Whitley have offers on the table from the Longhorns per their coaches.
Finally, the Longhorns just haven't been as quick on the trigger with Simmons, which might indicate that they prefer a few others right now. With Johnson, I think they want to watch his progress on and off the field this semester, but I'd bet that an offer arrives soon.
Q: (a_hornsfan) - Why do you think Art Briles gets no mention/very little mention as a potential candidate for the Horns? Seems he has a shown a consistent ability to get the most out of his teams, is a great evaluator of talent (especially offense) and has a great track record with Texas coaches?
Do you think Applewhite went above and beyond in his defense of Brown in his interview yesterday with Suchomel? Was that well planned?
If you had to project which two positions will be hit with transfers, who you picking?
Of the four QBs on campus, which one ends up 1st team all-conference at some point? Yes, you have to pick one.
Better wrestler including mic skills: Mr. Perfect Curt Henning or Chris Jericho (pre haircut)
A: There are a few reasons that Briles isn't a serious candidate at this point as Mack's replacement, with his natural allergic reaction to coaching defense being one of the main issues.
Second, I believe that all of the coaches are sensitive to the heat directed at players throughout the season and I think Major instinctively defended one of his players, but I've also learned that there are no accidents in life and Major doesn't get tricked into saying anything.
Third, I'd watch wide receiver and defensive backs.
Fourth, I guess I'll go with David Ash, although my gut says none.
Finally, this is an easy one to answer…. it's Jericho by a lot.
Q: (V-TOWNHORN) - Assuming Mack is back next year, do you see him taking a more hands on approach with recruits and the recruiting strategy of Texas? I have the impression that because our recruiting has been a "lay up line" as you worded it for so many years, that he really hasn't been that heavily involved with the hands on work of recruiting since his early years at UT. In other words, he started the pipelines through the high school coaches in Texas and relied heavily on all of his assistants to do the player evaluation and communication until he needed to be the "closer" with a few. I would think with the recent success of A&M and the landscape of recruiting changing with the influx of the SEC now in the state of Texas, that Mack would look at it as a personal challenge to go out himself and try and reel in some of the top recruits in the state despite the changes. Thank you for your thoughts.
A: I don't know if this old dog is going to be learning a lot of new tricks at this point. His lack of desire to engage in hand to hand recruiting combat just scares you to death some times. That is going to need to change.
Q: (JimsTexas) - Ketch I have not done this before and you have a great site. I have been a member for a long time. But sometimes it's like you explain things in a riddle like below.
"1. There's been a lot of discussion about the recruiting dynamics in the state heading into the Class of 2014 and after taking to a number of coaches across the state this week, I'm not sure there is a true consensus about the true impact of the climate changes that have taken place, but everyone agrees that the Longhorns are going to have their hands full with A&M on the recruiting trails in ways that haven't existed in a while. In conversations with six different coaches, each one of them felt like the two in-state powers would be on fairly even footing when the 2014 hand-to-hand combat really begins to intensify after signing day.
2. One coach actually described the 2014 recruiting battles between Texas and Texas A&M that loom on the horizon as "must-see TV"."
What does that mean yea I think the aggies are going to get better. But really how good are they this year? Playing in the SEC conference that by all rights is in a down year. Then add the aggies and their hurry up spread offense, something the SEC has not played that often helped the aggies.
You have the perfect situation that helped the aggies have a successful season in there new conference.
What helped the aggies in recruiting is their coach showing off by flying around the state in a helicopter that impresses the young kids.
This is the first winning season the aggies have had in years and now Texas high school coaches are ready to hail the aggies as equal to Texas in recruiting.
Before you sources start saying the aggies are on a level playing field with Texas in recruiting they need to win on the football field for a couple years. They need to stop making up bogus championships they have not won.
Please tell me how the coaches figured that the aggies can compete with Texas after one winning season in recruiting.
Thanks and this is old man writing so ignore the spelling and sentence structuring and y'all have a good weekend.
A: First of all, I apologize to anyone that thought I was writing in riddles because I wasn't going for that, so I appreciate you seeking clarification. Your emails are always welcomed.
With the first section that you cited, I simply mean as a matter of fact that the dominant position the Longhorns have owned in recruiting for a decade is over as of right now. That's not to say it cannot be reclaimed but the Longhorns have lost a lot of leverage and conversations with the high school coaches on the ground floor indicate that Texas A&M is a major, major player in recruiting that they have not been in a very long time.
With the second section cited, I simply mean that the coaches I spoke with don't believe the Longhorns are going to get the lay-ups from the elite players like they have grown accustomed to and that the recruiting battles will feature sparks flying that haven't existed in more than a decade. It is a perfect storm for the Aggies, no doubt, and perhaps it won't sustain itself, but those aren't the vibes coming from the coaches.
I kind of disagree with your point about what my sources need to be saying and when they need to say it. A&M has changed the dynamics by joining the SEC, becoming competitive quickly in the SEC and by producing a near-lock for the Heisman. These sources aren't giving into hyperbole, they are on the ground floor with these kids, coaching and listening to the elite prospects in the state, and then passing along the vibes in the wind that they hear. It wasn't an attempt on their part to scream, "Fire!" in a crowded message board.
Q: (DBlock539) - Who would Mack go after if given basically a mulligan at D-Coordinator?
A: It will be the least risky hire in the history of his hiring of coordinators. He's going to want someone with a proven track record and a proven history of teaching the basics. I don't think money would be an option and I believe that he might turn his eye to the NFL. With one last hurrah on the mind, my instincts say that Mack will turn to someone he thinks he can trust and with whom he could find loyalty.