• Rachel McCoy talks boosters, agents at UT

    During Colt McCoy’s college career, he was twice named an All-American, scored a school-record 102 touchdowns and won a NCAA-record 45 games. McCoy was the quintessential Longhorn quarterback – talented, productive and likable. But his wife, Rachel, made some controversial comments Tuesday, claiming that boosters frequently approach student-athletes at the University of Texas with improper invitations.

    Rachel McCoy called in to ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” to discuss relationships between boosters and football players, as well as between agents and her husband. She asserted that athletes were offered things like “a dinner, a hunt, a fishing trip,” also adding, “At Texas, you’re taught to take absolutely nothing.”

    University of Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds swiftly responded.

    “We take compliance very seriously at Texas,” Dodds said Wednesday in a statement. “We have procedures in place that enable our coaches, student-athletes and administrators to make the right choices. We are performing our due diligence as always to make certain there are no outstanding compliance issues.”

    The comments made by Rachel McCoy and the statement issued by Dodds come on the heels of fiascos unraveling at Ohio State and the University of Southern California, where improper benefits were given to star players and punishments were retroactively handed down. Between the two programs, 30 scholarships, two years of bowl eligibility, a Heisman Trophy, a national championship, a head coach and a starting quarterback were lost. Incidents like these lead many to believe that a culture of corruption characterizes college athletics, especially in college football.

    “People in Texas are just being friendly, they don’t mean anything by it at all,” she said. “You cannot expect 19- to 20-year-old kids to say no to free stuff when they’re in college.”

    While there could not have been much malice behind her words, it remains baffling as to why she would randomly call into a radio show (one of the nation’s most-listened to radio shows, at that). What’s even stranger, however, is what she said once she made the call. She questions what “grown, adult men with law degrees” would get out of extending a dinner invitation, but fails to realize the dire consequences that could befall a program (see Ohio State and
    USC) if those invitations are accepted.

    “It’s hard because you have adults who you respect and who you think will know what’s right and wrong,” Rachel McCoy said. “My joke is that my biggest competition with Colt is not girls, it’s 40-year-old men who just want to say, ‘Hey, I did this with Colt’ and ‘Hey, I did this with his teammates.’”

    This is not to say that Rachel McCoy is a bad person or even what she did was all that bad — it was merely startling and ill-timed, considering the violations and sanctions that have dominated college football headlines recently. More importantly, her comments are unlikely to trigger investigations or consequences like they did at Ohio State and USC. Nevertheless, the call and the comments made during the call should not have been made.

    Rachel McCoy and Cowherd spent six minutes wondering why boosters wave perks under student-athlete’s noses or why agents kept bugging Colt when he was in college. Now, Texas fans are left wondering what compelled Rachel McCoy to have that conversation in the first place.

  • Austin Regional in review

    The Longhorns just finished up the Austin Regional, beating Kent State 5-0 in the elimination game to advance to the Super Regional, which will be held in Austin. Arizona State will be the upcoming opponent, but there’s all week to talk about how Texas matches up with the Sun Devils. For now, let’s close the book on a wild and crazy weekend of baseball.

    Austin Regional Tournament Team

    Pitcher – Cole Green, Texas
    Pitcher – Andrew Chafin, Kent State
    1B – Tant Shepherd, Texas
    2B – Derek Toadvine, Kent State
    SS – Brandon Loy, Texas
    3B – Kyle Kubitza, Texas State
    OF – Mark Payton, Texas
    OF – Bret Atwood, Texas State
    OF – Ben Klafczynski, Kent State
    DH – Kevin Lusson, Texas


    Most Outstanding Player: Tant Shepherd, Texas

    Personally, I think the snub of Sam Stafford is the biggest complaint with the All-Tournament team. On my ballot, I had Stafford as the MOP. In two games, the junior left-hander started twice, pitching 10.2 combined innings of one-run ball. If it wasn’t for his gutsy effort Monday against Kent State, I’m not so sure the Longhorns would have won, as they really had nobody else who could have effectively started and lasted three or four innings.


    Inside Augie’s Mind

    I’ve transcribed head coach Augie Garrido’s comments from today’s post-game press conference, in which he explained how he worked all six pitchers in the game.

    “The way that their lineup breaks down, they have more lefts than rights. We were trying to get Sam Stafford [a left-hander] through the top of the order twice, and that’s what we did. We felt if he did that, he had done his job. Then the numbers added up and we made switches from there. Depending on if it was a momentum-shifting moment or not, which it was when we brought him in, we were bringing in Milner. If we had had five or six runs, we would have put in Andrew McKirahan. Either way, we wanted to throw a lefty. When the lineup turns over to righties, we would have taken them out for Carrillo, if there were runners on base, or Nathan Thornhill, if it was a clean inning.

    Cole Green and Taylor Jungmann committed to an inning, so we could work backwards from Corey Knebel. We thought he could throw two innings if we needed him to. He didn’t, because Sam went farther than we had thought he would. So what that did is put Knebel into one, so we were able to pitch Cole and Jungmann one inning each. Between Cole and Jungmann, Jungmann is more effective against left-handed hitters than Cole is. That’s how we staggered the pitching changes.”

    Got it?


    Impressions of Kent State

    Color me impressed with the quality of play that the three-seed Golden Flashes brought to this regional. They gave the Longhorns all they wanted and more. Head coach Scott Stricklin made it a point to acknowledge how well the Austin crowd treated his team.

    “I want to say how much we enjoyed our week here in Austin. This is the fourth regional that we’ve been to in the last five years and I can say that it’s done right here. The fans were unbelievable. They got on us but they got on us the right way. They cheered for their team. They cheered for our players when they made good plays. That’s the first thing our kids were talking about last night how good the fans are here and how good the people are. That’s the first thing I want to say, how much we enjoyed our stay here in Austin.”

    While his coach was a class act, I’m not sure Kent State pitcher Andrew Chafin made any friends this weekend. I’m not talking about the gem he twirled against the Longhorns on Saturday night.

    On Sunday, Chafin and his teammates were walking across the field into the dugout a few hours before the game began, and Chafin looked up at the press box and dragged his pointer finger across his neck — the “throat slash.” Not sure what he’s got against a bunch of guys with laptops and tape recorders.


    Lusson goes long

    Kevin Lusson has got to be the story of the weekend. The junior designated hitter, who came into the regional hitting .190, had quite a series. Saturday night, he hit a ninth-inning, three-run home run against Kent State that brought the Longhorns within two. The momentum carried over Sunday when Lusson, with a runner on third, slapped the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth against the Bobcats. The ball hopped over the right field wall. In any other case, it would have been a ground-rule double, but in walk-off situations, nothing else counts once the winning run crosses the plate.

    In the nightcap, he launched another bomb over the right-field wall to distance Texas’ lead against Kent State in a must-win game.

    His approach this week?

    “Hit bombs.”

  • Expert breaks down Texas’ chances

    After its 7-5 loss to Kent State tonight, Texas must now win three consecutive games to come out alive in the Austin Regional. The Longhorns will play Texas State Saturday at 1 p.m. and if they win, will face Kent State a few hours later, at 6:30 p.m. If they come out on top in both of those games, they’d play Kent State on Monday for the regional championship.

    Had a chance to speak with Perfect Game USA analyst Kendall Rogers after the game. Some highlights:

    Texas’ chances at coming out of the Austin Regional:

    “It’s an uphill battle. Texas State probably doesn’t have the pitching to get by in the morning game against Texas. For the Longhorns it’ll be interesting to see whether they can build off what they did in the final inning tonight (three runs in the ninth)."

    On the possibility that the Golden Flashes finish off the Longhorns tomorrow:

    "David Starn, their number three pitcher is probably as good as a one or two guy. The big key for the Longhorns is to get off to a hot start offensively because they can’t let Starn get into a groove."

    On the Golden Flashes:

    "They’re a pretty solid club. It doesn’t surprise me that they’re doing well. People expected them to do well in this regional."

    On the Austin Regional:

    "On the surface, it’s probably the second or third weakest regional. Texas State was a weak two, obviously not a good four-seed here (Princeton), but Kent State is proving that there’s at least one worthy team in this thing."

  • America loses friendly to Spain

    Commonly referred to as “La Furia Roja” (The Red Fury), the Spanish national football team lived up to their nickname quite well in Saturday’s international friendly against the U.S. The defending World Cup champions showed their collective strength, as they cruised to a 4-0 victory over a short-handed U.S. side.

    From the start of the match, it was obvious the U.S. would have a tough time keeping up with the speed and ingenuity of Spain. Within the first ten minutes, Spain had already laid an assault on the goal, and U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard was visibly frustrated with his team’s lack of defense.

    It wasn’t long before his frustration turned to outright anger. Howard could be seen yelling at his teammates for letting Spain get shots on goal with relative ease. As is normal for a Spanish soccer squad, it controlled the midfield with short, precise passes that allowed for larger areas to open up for them. Spain capitalized on nearly every goal-scoring opportunity that presented itself, and at the conclusion of the first half it held a 3-0 advantage over the U.S.

    Without some background on the circumstances that were in play Saturday, the final score could come as a shock to some.

    Spain has been a very good team for some time now, but it is not invincible. In fact, it was this U.S team that ended Spain’s 35-game unbeaten streak with a 2-0 victory in the 2009 Confederations Cup. However, due to the CONCACAF Gold Cup, many key players from that U.S. side like Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, and Carlos Bocanegra were on the bench for the start of Saturday’s match. Dempsey and Bradley came on in the second half of the match, and were able to shore up the defense and only allow one additional goal.

    The Gold Cup begins Sunday. It is a tournament composed of 16 teams from North and South America, as well as the Caribbean, that determines the champion of the region. Canada, Panama, and Guadeloupe are paired with the U.S. for the group stage. The U.S. will take on a solid Canadian squad Tuesday, and with the extra rest for some of the best U.S. players, it should be an easy victory for the U.S.

  • Nowitzki leads furious comeback, emerging as all-time great competitor

    Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki pumps his fist as Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade falls on the floor at the end of the second half of Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketball game Thursday, in Miami. The Mavericks defeated the Heat 95-93. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
    Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki pumps his fist as Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade falls on the floor at the end of the second half of Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketball game Thursday, in Miami. The Mavericks defeated the Heat 95-93. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

    When Dwyane Wade sunk that three pointer from the corner of the floor with around seven
    minutes to go, I was already preparing to write a post on his greatness. A player with 36 points,
    six assists, five rebounds, and seemingly enough monster dunks to fill an entire dorm room full
    of posters, deserves all the media credit. But alas, Dwyane Wade, your efforts, as valiant as they
    were, were nothing compared to the dramatic conclusion the Mavericks wrote at the end of this
    would-be laugher of a game.

    I’ve used a lot of words to describe Dirk Nowitzki in my lifetime. Of the ones that can actually
    be mentioned for the world to see, the list includes adjectives like soft, cry-baby, flopper, one-
    dimensional, choke-artist and boring, just to name a few. Giving him credit for any victory at any
    time in his career was sacrilegious for me. In the past, I would have said Miami collapsed rather
    than Dallas mounted a true comeback. But after last night I had to take a long hard look at myself
    in the mirror to come to grips with the truth — Dirk Nowitzki is a true competitor.

    Sure, he still flops like a fish out of water, only plays defense when he wants to, and didn’t quite
    show up until the second half of the game yesterday, but you could see how much he wanted,
    nay, needed yesterday’s game. The haunting memory of the epic Finals loss four years ago to a
    very different looking Heat team is engrained in the back of his mind. He won’t even watch a
    single game from that series.

    So the fact that Nowitzki ended the game with an elementary left-handed lay-up after a stellar
    move to get around Chris Bosh, was the icing on the cake to the Mavs’ 15-point, seven-minute
    comeback. He’s a fundamental player with a fundamental problem eluding him from entering
    the discussion as one of the game’s best to ever play: he needs a ring. But he is certainly close.
    Yesterday he took an underdog Mavericks team by the leash, and helped them cap off a 22-5 run,
    including the team’s last nine, over the last seven minutes of the game.

    Jason Terry, the Mavericks’ only remaining player from the 2006 Finals debacle, looked at
    Nowitzki in the huddle right after Wade’s huge three and told him he didn’t want to go out like
    that. He didn’t want to see Miami take this veteran team and dunk over them, celebrate after
    every shot, and jam the lead down the Mavericks’ throats. He pleaded for Dirk to help save them,
    and the Big German responded, hurt left hand and all.

    On paper, his stat line was average: 24 points, 11 rebounds and a block. It was more of a been-
    there-done-that type of game for him. But each one of those points, especially the last nine, were
    fueled by the notion that he can’t be counted out. That despite all his team's post-season failures,
    despite his lack of flair, despite his continual inability to groom himself, Dirk Nowitzki will not
    let his team lose without a dogfight. Not again. Not to the Heat.