• UT president backs Mack Brown, says he will keep his job as Longhorns head football coach

    University of Texas president William Powers Jr. expressed his support for Longhorns head football coach Mack Brown on Thursday, ensuring everyone that is job security is not in question.

    "Now that the Longhorns football team has finished its regular season, there has been an increase in media speculation about Coach Mack Brown's future," Powers wrote on his Tower Talk blog Wednesday afternoon. "I'd like to state unequivocally that Coach Brown has my full support as well as the support of Men's Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds. Put succintly, Mack Brown is and will remain the Longhorns' head football coach."

    Brown has served as Texas' head football coach since the 1998 season, going 149-43 (.776) in 15 years. After nine consecutive 10-win seasons, which included the program's fourth national championship in 2005 and a national title game appearance in 2009, the Longhorns have posted a 21-16 record over the last three seasons.

    The Longhorns (8-4) will face Oregon State (9-3) in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

    "Coach Brown restored Texas' winning tradition," Powers continued. "He embodies the Texas character, is a superb ambassador for The University of Texas, and runs a program that is both winning and clean, a program that all alumni and fans can and should be proud of."

    Powers isn't the only one to publicly voice their support for Brown recently. Prominent UT booster Red McCombs told The Daily Texan last Wednesday that he did not anticipate Brown leaving any time soon.

    "I think we've been blessed to have Mack Brown as our coach," McCombs said over the phone. "I expect him to be the coach for many years. In any event, if he were to leave the coaching job, I'd expect that to be his perogative and not somebody else's. Any reports to the contrary are unfounded."

    Brown, who made $5.3 million this year, agreed to a contract extension last year through 2020. If he were to be fired before Dec. 31, his buyout would be $3.5 million. If Brown was fired, before the end of 2014, he would be owed $2.75 million, a number that goes down to $2.25 million at the end of 2016 and $2 million at the end of 2017.

    "Mack cares about the young men on the team as people, students, and as players, in that order, and he models the kind of leadership that will serve our players for the rest of their lives," Powers wrote. "I look forward to watching this young team win the Alamo Bowl and continue to grow in the seasons to come."

  • Falcons' Tandem Flops Versus Weak Saints' Secondary

    For many fantasy owners, this past week determined playoff seeding and even playoff spots.  In need of some breakout performances, many owners were let down by these players when they needed it most:

    1) Julio Jones & Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons

    White and Jones, Atlanta’s fearsome wide receiver duo, were expected to have an explosive outing on Thursday against the New Orleans Saints, whose pass defense is amongst the worst in the league.  Instead, both struggled to get much of anything going, combining for a paltry six passes for 68 yards.  Although White and Jones have feasted on opposing defenses and fantasy owners for most of the season, the roles were reversed this week.

    2) Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

    Over the past three weeks, Fitzgerald has hauled in a mere five passes for 65 yards, his lone catch this past week going for twenty three yards. To be fair, he can’t be blamed much for this lack of production, as the Cardinals’ rotating carousel at the quarterback position has failed to provide any kind of offensive spark and has led to eight straight losses.

    3) Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets

    For those who started Sanchez on Sunday against the Cardinals, I feel for you.  Marky Mark registered negative fantasy points in his latest outing, passing for 97 yards and tossing three interceptions before being benched in the first half to make way for former ‘Bama QB Greg McElroy.

  • Rookie QB's Light Defenses Up In Thrilling Fashion

    In this all or nothing, make or break fantasy football world that we live in, the difference between victory and defeat often comes down to a single player.  With their teams and fantasy owners alike in need of touchdowns late in the game, a couple rookie quarterbacks led the way in comeback victories:

    Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

    Luck had yet another huge game for the Colts on Sunday, throwing for 391 yards and four touchdowns, including one as time expire that gave the Colts a 35-33 win over the Detroit Lions.  Although he did throw three interceptions, he was able to pile up more than enough yardage and scores to overcome his mistakes.

    Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

    In a game that many people, including myself, believed he would struggle, Wilson had possibly his best game as a professional, passing for 293 yards and two touchdowns and running for another 71 yards against a very tough Chicago defense.  Like Luck’s, a late touchdown pass boosted Wilson’s fantasy performance, as he threw a thirteen-yard score to Sydney Rice in overtime.

    Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

    Though the Vikings lost to the Green Bay Packers 14-23, Peterson did all he could to rally his team, racking up 210 rushing yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. After returning from an ACL tear he suffered late last year the former Oklahoma Sooner continues to exceed expectations this season, rushing for 100-plus yards for the sixth straight game.  

  • UT recruits win playoff games

    Despite the Texas football team’s on-field struggles, future Longhorns continue to excel as the high school football season nears its conclusion.

    2013 Cibolo Steele safety Erik Huhn and 2014 dual-threat quarterback Denton Guyer Jerrod Heard each won their playoff games this weekend. Huhn and Heard are the only Texas commits whose teams are still in playoff contention.

    Huhn led a suffocating Cibolo Steele defense to a 38-0 victory over North Edinburg in Kingsville on Saturday. Huhn has been a true difference maker in the Steele secondary since returning from an early season leg injury. Steele has surrendered only 5.7 points per game since Huhn’s return to the lineup – nearly a touchdown and extra point better than the 12.5 they gave up without him. Huhn and Steele will play San Antonio Brandeis next Saturday at the Alamodome in the state quarterfinals.

    Heard continues to shred 4A competition on the ground and in the air. Heard rushed 20 times for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns to go with 122 yards and 1 touchdown through the air. In all, Heard accounted for 71% of Denton Guyer’s total yards in the 38-30 victory over Amarillo. Guyer will need an equally impressive output from their quarterback in their state quarterfinal game next week against Birdville.

    Last week’s biggest recruiting victory, however, came on Monday, when Fort Worth All-Saints offensive lineman Demetrius Knox committed to Texas. Knox, a member of the 2014 class and teammate of fellow 2014 commit running back Daniel Gresham, is rated as a four-star prospect by rivals.com. He is widely regarded as one of the best offensive linemen in Texas, and is the first one to commit to UT for 2014. Knox chose Texas over committable offers from schools such as Alabama, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. The 6-foot-5 300-pound prospect has the size and potential to be an elite bookend on the Texas line. He is the sixth commitment of the 2014 class.   

  • Unanswered questions

                                                                                                                               Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon

    MANHATTAN, Kan. — ­­­­Collin Klein took a knee, Kansas State fans rushed onto the field, the Big 12 Championship trophy was lifted and Texas went home. Thirty minutes after the game, a fog descended on Bill Snyder Family Stadium. A thick, impenetrable, unintelligible mass that hung in the air long after any fans hung around.

    Perhaps it’s fitting that Texas’ regular season came to an end under such murky conditions.

    In a game that meant almost nothing to the Longhorns in terms of standings, they would have finished third in the Big 12 either way, Texas put on a dazzling show of mediocrity in its 42-24 loss to the Wildcats, ending its perfect road record and finishing its regular season with almost as many questions as when it began. Who will start as quarterback? Case McCoy, starting for the first time this season, was brilliant at times and inept at others, throwing an interception on his second pass of the game before beginning a stretch of 17 straight completions, second in school history behind his brother, Colt McCoy. What of the coaches? Recruiting?

    Mack Brown is as much an institution as Rick Barnes, as Auggie Garrido, the untouchables as they might be called. He’s not going anywhere. Brown has already cleared the benches with his staff, it would be hard to see him doing it again without putting some of the blame on himself.

    Texas will always produce top recruiting classes, but the trend may be shifting. Texas’ top prospect, Ricky-Seals Jones, already de-committed and is heading to the less-glamorous (but much more entertaining) Texas A&M, now the darling of the national media and an emerging force in the Southeastern Conference. The  times are changing and yet a quick glance at this year’s results and the story could be oh-so-different.

    Maybe Texas’ defense holds Tavon Austin to one less touchdown in its four-point loss to West Virginia. Maybe one of those David Ash interceptions becomes a touchdown and Texas Christian University goes home with its horned tails under its legs. Maybe Case McCoy gets points on his first drive against K-State, points for Texas instead of gifting a touchdown to the Wildcats on a crucial interception that put them a yard away from a score. Maybe instead of 8-4, a record only one loss better than last year, Texas is 11-1 and  playing in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. “Maybe” could have been asked many times this season, too many times for a program supposedly as powerful as the once mighty Texas. 

    What have we learned this season that we hadn’t seen in the past three? Nothing, really. Texas Football, flashes of brilliance among long stretches of mediocrity. Unsure of itself, unsure of its identity, caught in a three-season-long state of flux. “We Are Texas,” the saying goes, though I can imagine that nobody, not even the players, are quite sure what that means anymore.