• Championship berths aplenty for Longhorns in Columbia

    All-American senior Mark Anderson and freshman Grayson Campbell punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, with both claiming top-seven finishes in the one-meter finals at the NCAA Zone “D” Diving Meet in Columbia, Missouri.

    Anderson claimed an additional berth with a second place finish in the three-meter finals, and Campbell followed suit with an eighth place finish.

    On the three-meter platform, freshman Jacob Cornish claimed a top-15 finish as a non-qualifier, delivering yet another NCAA Championships berth for Texas.

    For men’s head coach Eddie Reese, these berths are a product of a relentless, yearlong work ethic.

    “(We) want to have a good summer season, want to have a good regular season, and just keep going, getting better each time,” Reese said. “That’s the name of the game.”

    On the women’s side, freshman Alison Gibson posted a top-ten finish in the three-meter finals to punch her ticket to Indianapolis. Sophomore Meghan O’Brien added to the depth of the Championship roster by clinching berths in the one-meter and three-meter finals.

    Gibson also claimed a berth in the one-meter finals, making the cut with a 12th place finish.

    With the group set, Texas will have a week’s break before their trip to the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis.

    “We work all year to go to the NCAAs and compete with everybody there,” Reese said.

    The qualified divers join 15 Texas Swimmers who will get their shot as part of the entourage to Indianapolis, where the NCAA Championships are set for March 22-25 for men and March 15-18 for the women’s team.

  • Herman stresses winning culture as spring football begins

    A new era of Texas football will be ushered in Tuesday. The Longhorns will finally begin practicing under first-year head coach Tom Herman.

    The NCAA mandates that teams must train without pads and equipment in the first two spring practices. This will allow the Texas players and coaches to familiarize themselves with the young roster. 

    “The first two practices won’t tell us much other than the two things that I think are really important,” Herman said. “The two things that we demand in this program — that we don’t coach, we don’t teach, but we demand — are effort and ball security. If a guy doesn’t go hard, that’s hard to fix, so we want to see guys that go really hard.”

    Texas returns 17 offensive and defensive starters from 2016’s 5–7 campaign, but the team’s veterans are willing to adapt to Herman’s new methods in order to avoid a fourth-straight losing season.

    “I think our guys are embarrassed,” Herman said. “They understand that change is necessary in order to achieve some of their goals.”

    The revamped coaching staff plans to implement a winning culture at Texas, which Herman believes created in spring practices.

    “You have to set the expectation level early when developing a culture and developing a program,” Herman said. “I would hope after 15 practices, they would know what that expectation level is.”

  • Longhorns earn Big 12 honors

    The Longhorns claimed four Big 12 Conference awards Wednesday after churning out a 15-3 conference record and 22-7 record overall in the 2016-17 regular season.

    Brooke McCarty became the first player in program history to earn the Big 12 Player of the Year honor. The junior guard averaged a team-high 14.1 points per game this season while shooting 43.3 percent from beyond the arc. 

    Senior guard Brianna Taylor captured the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year award after leading the Longhorns on the defensive end this season. This is the second consecutive year a Longhorn has won the award as Imani Boyette won a share of it last season. 

    Joyner Holmes snagged the Big 12 Freshman of the Year title after winning seven Big 12 Freshman of the Week honors this season and carrying the Longhorns in the post. The forward led all Big 12 freshman in scoring, rebounding and double-doubles. Holmes was a unanimous selection to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.

    Head coach Karen Aston joined her players with an honor of her own, claiming the Big 12 Coach of the Year award in her fifth season in Austin. 

    Junior guard Ariel Atkins joined McCarty and Holmes on the All-Big 12 First Team, and joined Taylor on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team. Senior center Kelsey Lang received All-Big 12 Honorable Mention.

    The Longhorns are looking to continue their success in the Big 12 Tournament this weekend in Oklahoma City.

  • Smart grants Tevin Mack release from program

    Head coach Shaka Smart announced Monday that sophomore guard Tevin Mack will be granted a release from the program. 

    “I really didn’t have a choice,” Smart said. “It was my decision. For the long term growth of our program, and where we are trying to get culture-wise, it was not much of a choice.”

    Mack had been suspended twice this year for violations of team rules. The guard’s first suspension forced him to miss the Longhorn’s season opener against Incarnate Word. 

    Mack was then suspended after Texas’ 64-61 loss to TCU on Jan. 11 and missed the team’s last 13 contests. 

    At the time of his second suspension, Mack was leading the team in scoring, averaging 14.8 points per game. The guard displayed huge offensive improvements from his freshman season, where he only averaged 5.1 points a contest. 

    The sophomore signed to play with VCU in 2014, where Smart was coaching at the time. When Smart departed to join Texas, Mack was released from his National Letter of Intent and followed the coach to Austin. 

    “Tevin is a very talented player,” Smart said. “He’s got a lot going for him, but right now the guys that are wearing a Texas uniform are the guys that need to be wearing a Texas uniform.”

  • Longhorns head into spring season sustaining two injuries

    Texas will enter spring drills without two contributors from the 2016 season. Junior tight end Andrew Beck and sophomore punter Michael Dickson sustained injuries during off-season workouts and will be sidelined when spring drills begin.

    Beck suffers from a broken left foot, and Dickson sustains a right hamstring injury.

    Beck saw action at tight end last year, accumulating 82 yards on four catches. He additionally scored two touchdowns, including the final touchdown in Texas’ comeback to beat then-undefeated Baylor on Oct. 29. Beck led all tight ends in production in 2016, but the position may see a larger role in Tom Herman’s new offensive system.

    “(Tight ends are) a critical role in our offense,” Herman said. “We are a pro-style offense. We run run-plays that are just like the NFL. I think there was one year at Ohio State where we played like 98 percent of our snaps with one back, one tight end and three wide receivers because that tight end was so versatile.”

    Dickson starred as one of the top Longhorns in 2016. The Australian punter earned All-American honors and recognition as the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year. Dickson, averaging a program-record 47.4 yards per punt, stood as one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award in December. However, Utah’s punter Mitch Wishnowsky, 47.7 yards per punt, was selected as the recipient.

    There is no timetable for either player’s return.