Drug Testing the ‘Horns

A couple of days ago, we mentioned Charlie Strong’s scrubbing of the Texas Longhorn roster. Yesterday, we found out the deal:

Data obtained by the Statesman indicates that a total of 188 drug tests have been administered in the first eight months of Strong’s tenure. From 2010 to 2013, Texas administered an average of 104 drug tests per year under former coach Mack Brown.

Strong has dismissed nine players from his program since taking over in January and currently has two more players suspended from the team for undisclosed rules violations.

According to data the newspaper acquired through an open records request, Texas drug tested every player after spring break in March. Players who were considered at-risk were then subject to more frequent testing.

Many schools just do the bare minimum related to drug testing, so testing all the players after spring break?  All you can say to that is…wow.  Strong clearly means business about cleaning up the Longhorn culture and you definitely have to applaud his actions.

Killing the ‘Horns

I have to say, work is whipping me right now.  It’s hard to focus on blogging when there’s a pile of work on the desk, but this did catch my eye:

Junior offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle was dismissed by Texas for violating team rules Tuesday, becoming the ninth player kicked off the team by coach Charlie Strong this season.

Nine players getting kicked off of a team is hard to believe.  It would seem that the Texas Longhorns, at least in the view of Charlie Strong, are rotten to the core.

On one hand, his approach to law and order in Austin appears admirable.  There are many, many teams that needed a few less players than they kept around.

But on the other hand, it makes you go hmmm.  Nine players getting kicked off of a team?  That’s over 10% of your scholarship players.  If the players couldn’t get in line, then I agree with Charlie; they had to go.  But why aren’t they getting in line?  Are they not buying what he’s selling?  Are they just that bad of characters?  It all kind of seems strange.

I think it makes a difference, because he’s going to need continued support to keep his job.  When you lose that many players, it will make a big difference in how competitive your team is.  As I said above, the law and order approach is admirable.  I just hope it’s appropriate and that it works.

More Auburn Cheerleading from Scarbinsky

Don’t Mess with Texas

This time, Kevin Scarbinsky tries to convince us that Auburn is just as good of a job as Texas:

That might baffle some people, but only if they haven’t been paying attention or they’re intentionally twisting the truth. The truth is, if you know what you’re doing, you can do anything and everything at Auburn you can do at Texas.

He even uses numbers and stuff:

You want to recruit really good players? From 2010 through 2013, the average Texas recruiting class finished No. 8 in the nation in the Rivals.com rankings. The average Auburn recruiting class finished No. 7.

Go back and add 2009, and the average Texas class finished No. 7. The average Auburn class finished No. 9.

Auburn’s current class is ranked No. 8. The Texas class is No. 11.

What’s that, you say? Texas has been forced to recruit through the turmoil of Mack Brown’s declining years? See the Gene Chizik era at Auburn. That was unsurpassed turmoil with a capital UT.

And bling:

You want to win conference championships? Brown was the Texas coach for 16 years. At a program with more resources than anyone else in a relatively weak league, Brown won two Big 12 titles.

In contrast, Auburn has won three SEC titles in the last 10 years, more than any other program in the league, during the greatest period of collective success the league has ever experienced. Auburn has won those titles under three different head coaches.

Conference championships not good enough for you? You want to win national championships?

Texas has won exactly one of those since 1970. More recently, the Longhorns are 1-1 in the BCS Championship Game since 2005. By comparison, in 20 days Auburn will play for its second national championship since 2010.

I think he’s serious, too.

Is Malzahn a serious candidate for the Texas job?  I have no idea.  Would some serious Texas cash turn his head west?  Maybe, or maybe not.  Remember back in 2010 when he supposedly turned down huge cash from Vanderbilt to stay at Auburn?  (Yeah, I’m not sure if ole Gus’ calculator works.)

I think there are certain arguments to make for Gus staying at Auburn vs. taking the Texas job.  But Auburn being a better job than Texas isn’t a valid point.

You know why?  Because it isn’t.

Auburn may win a conference or national championship every now and again, but the school will always be “little brother” to the University of Alabama.  The perpetual second fiddle, if you will.

Texas, meanwhile, is the biggest fish in a very big pond.  Win or lose, they command the state of Texas and they rule their conference no matter their on-field record.

And they are a major player in the college football world.  If the ‘Horns wanted to hook up with the Pac-12 or ACC, the commissioners of those conferences would make it happen in a snap.

Auburn isn’t any of those things.

Scarbinksy laments:

Unless Malzahn wants to replace Nick Saban circa 2006 as the ultimate coaching Pinocchio, he’s already chosen what he has at Auburn over what he might have at Texas.

Uh, wrong.

If Malzahn – even with signed extension in hand – jumped to Texas, every reasonable college football fan in the world would totally understand.

 

Chip Kelly and the Texas Job

Hop in, Chip

Now it’s Chip Kelly’s turn in the media barrel:

“I understand you have to ask the question,” Kelly said Monday, “but I’m not involved in any jobs. I’m the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. I’m going to prepare for the Bears and prepare for the Cowboys after that. Hopefully we have an opportunity to go to the playoffs and I’m going to be here for a while.”

Hey, I don’t mind a few web hits, but I’m afraid I don’t have any inside information about the Kelly-Longhorn connection.

I will say this, though:  if you’re an athletics director at any big time football program, his number should be in your cell phone.  Sure, he’s got a little NCAA trouble to finish up, but in this era of hurry up offenses, he’s clearly a thought leader.

Despite the NCAA problems, this would be a home run hire for the ‘Horns.

How Anders Killed the Longhorns

This right here is a great write-up of how Eryk Anders blew up the Texas football program.   Ahhh this is a good memory:

With 3:08 remaining in the game, Alabama’s 18-point halftime lead had been reduced to a mere 24-21 advantage. UT had the ball at its own 17-yard line. Anders said he believes the Longhorns had no chance of mounting a game-winning or tying drive against the Crimson Tide’s vaunted defense, but Gilbert had proven himself capable.

He’d completed 10 of his last 14 passes for 120 yards, and on his previous possession had marched the Longhorns 65 yards for a touchdown. Even if he couldn’t reach the end zone again, all he needed was 50 yards to put UT within Hunter Lawrence’s field-goal range to force overtime.

But as the Longhorns lined up in a five-receiver formation, Alabama’s defense called an audible. Anders stood in front of UT’s left inside receiver Dan Buckner as if he was going to cover him, but blitzed Gilbert instead.

Earlier, the Crimson Tide had twice run a similar play from Gilbert’s right, with Mark Barron on the blitz. In both of those instances, Gilbert recognized it and avoided the sack. This time, though, Anders was coming from his blind side.

“Their tackle (Adam Ulatoski) wasn’t even looking at me,” Anders said. “And Gilbert’s back was to me. He never saw me. I said, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s too good to be true.’”

That’s right.  Too good to be true.

It’s easy to hang Texas’ woes on Anders.  Right or wrong, I don’t really care.  What I do know is Anders saved Bama’s bacon.

Texas clearly had the hot hand and the momentum at the time and the Tide’s 24-21 lead looked pretty iffy.  But that all changed in the blink of an eye…

 

Gilbert’s Season Finished

Garrett Gilbert’s season at Texas is over:

Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert underwent shoulder surgery Tuesday morning and is out for the remainder of the season, the school announced Tuesday.

 

“The injury appeared to occur during the [season-opening] Rice game,” Texas trainer Kenny Boyd said. “He had symptoms, but was not affected in practice leading up to BYU. After that, it got progressively worse. We did an MRI on the shoulder last week, and after our medical staff looked at the results, we recommended that he have surgery. He spent some time talking with his family and they agreed that was the route they wanted to go.”

Hard to believe the high point of this kid’s career was his coming out party against Alabama in the 2009 BCS Championship Game.