- May 29, 2001
On a weekend when there were so many burnt orange reasons to smile, all I have in me is positivity.
The Texas baseball team won the Big 12 Championship. The women's tennis team won a natty. It's almost summertime, and we're not locked up inside.
Saul Goodman, baby, Saul Goodman.
By the time I'm done, you might be drunk on a pitcher of burnt orange Kool-Aid. Here's 20 reasons to feel really, really good about the upcoming 2021 football season.
1. Let's start with the coaching staff, which is regarded as an upgrade over the last decade or so. This isn't a staff of guys who’ve only known success at smaller programs. Including head coach Steve Sarkisian, this is a staff with seven coaches that have coached in the college football playoffs. Five have national title-winning experience. Two seasons ago, that number with playoff experience stood at three, with two being Tom Herman and Tim Beck.
2. Sarkisian is a legit quarterback whisperer. This isn't a guy that has been riding the coattails of being lucky to be in the right place at the right time with a great player or head coach around them. Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Mark Sanchez, Jake Locker, Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones are just some of the college quarterbacks he helped develop into legit NFL talents. Whatever happens from here, it will be with the Texas quarterback position coached by arguably the best in the sport.
3. Hudson Card is the second-most physically gifted quarterback (behind Vince Young) that I have witnessed in nearly three decades of covering this program. In terms of throwing the football, I think he's the best. Barring injury, it's only a matter of when in my mind and not if.
4. If you take Card out of the equation, I'd probably say that Casey Thompson looks like the best potential first-year starter the Longhorns have had in a decade.
5. With all due respect to the other running backs in the conference, I wouldn't trade Bijan Robinson for any of them. I also wouldn't trade him for the 2016 version of D'Onta Foreman. Or any other running back that has been on this campus since Jamaal Charles bid farewell 14 years ago.
6. The wide receiver position might not be a team strength, but Jordan Whittington has the talent to be a star on this offense. He's just a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses and if he stays healthy, it would be a disappointment if he's not a 70-catch receiver at a minimum.
7. Another thing about the wide receivers - it might not have a ton of consistency, but it does have players that have played big at times in their career. Joshua Moore is capable of the spectacular. Jake Smith has played big on the road against a ranked team in a key road win. Kelvontay Dixon has a 73-yard touchdown in a bowl game.
8. Troy Omeire is back.
9. Newcomer Xavier Worthy is exactly what this offense was missing coming out of the spring game and don't be shocked if he ends up on the field as a possible big play specialist in this offense. He's a legit Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year candidate.
10. It remains to be seen what it means in terms of value, but the tight end position is as deep right now as it has been in years and I'm not even talking about the possible emergence of true freshman J'Tavion Sanders.
11. His return has probably been somewhat underrated because he missed the spring, but senior Derek Kerstetter is regarded as one of the best pass-protectors in the Big 12 according to Pro Football Focus.
12. The offensive line in the last two games of the season is proof that Texas has the pieces of a line that can get the job done. Surely, Kyle Flood can get at least as much out of this group of players as Herb Hand.
13. Texas is stout up front on the defensive side of the ball. It's the one place where it could probably survive an injury or two up front and not really see a ton of drop-off.
14. I'm not sure anyone in the conference has a young defensive lineman like Alfred Collins. He's another player that it feels like is a matter of when and not if.
15. DeMarvion Overshown is on the verge of being one of the best defensive players in the Big 12.
16. Newcomer Devin Richardson is a significant talent upgrade at the linebacker position for this team. The combination of Overshown and Richardson could be one of the best 1-2 punches in the conference.
17. D'Shawn Jamison is as electric of a returner as anyone the school has seen in some time. The coaches have to find a way to get him more touches.
18. Jamison and Josh Thompson give this defense potentially one of the best cornerback options in the conference. Both are Sunday players.
19. Pete Kwiatkowski is actually the defensive mastermind that Todd Orlando and Chris Ash were supposed to be.
20. Cameron Dicker can win a big game for you. If he walks out on the field with the game on the line, you can rest easy knowing that he's been in all of the pressure situations possible at this point in his career.
Just sunshine from me today!
No. 2 - A few more thoughts about Jaydon Blue's decision...
... I'm probably with everyone else that would like to see Jaydon Blue play his senior season, but I have a hard time judging a young man that sees a potential NFL future down the road for himself eliminating a year's worth of physical pounding at the position on the field that takes the most when there's not a ton out there outside of the romanticized value of a senior year in high school. His scholarship is earned. He doesn't play for a program that's going to challenge for a deep playoff run. Realistically, the most important thing he'd accomplish this season was staying healthy if we're going to keep it 100, and this decision accomplishes that mission without any of the pounding taking place.
... This is a bigger deal to everyone in this state because it's football, but if this happened to be someone in baseball, basketball, gymnastics or golf, I just can't believe anyone would care that much.
... Get used to this. It's going to happen more and more in the future.
... Jaydon Blue doesn't owe his high school teammates anything. I'm sorry... he just doesn't. This idea that young athletes are somehow obligated to make life-changing decisions based on what's best for dozens of their peers that don't remotely have to take the same risks is a concept that I simply cannot support. Athletes make decisions for themselves all the time. Caleb Burton didn't stab his old high school teammates in the back by going to Lake Travis. I've been an advocate for Maalik Murphy transferring to a high school in the state of Texas because I think it would be in his own best interests. Murphy isn't some sort of indentured servant to his teammates at Serra High School. We all have to make decisions that indirectly impact other people in negative ways in our lives, and that's as much a part of life and becoming a man as playing in your senior season.
... There's been a lot of conversation about Blue's personal character all over the Longhorns Internet spectrum based on a bunch of half-pieces of rumor and innuendo, potentially from untrustworthy and jaded sources with skin in the game. I find some of the harsh opinions I've seen from people this weekend completely unfair. It's one thing to be judgmental, but it's another to do so without a full and complete set of details.
... Back in 2004 when I walked into Grapevine High School to do an interview with Henry Melton, I had one of his high school coaches tell me that I needed to get back in my car and forget all about him because he wasn't a quality dude. While Melton was at Texas, I can't really recall him ever having anyone say a bad thing about him and that same coach that trashed him all those years ago probably has a photo of him on his desk somewhere.
... Some of the conversation about this sounds like it came from the screenplay of Dazed and Confused. It really sounds like some of you believed that Pink should have signed that pledge sheet.
... Personally, I'd love to see Blue play this season. I think he's a kid with five-star ability that could have reached that status with a great senior season. Selfishly, I'd love to see him play.
No. 3 - Speaking of Maalik...
The Texas quarterback commit put on a show on Sunday at the Rivals West Coast Five-Star Camp, earning an invite to the Rivals National Camp in the process.
Here's some of his best bits... serving as a reminder of the kind of upside he brings to the table.
No. 4 - One mission down, multiple more to go ...
It says a lot about the history of the Texas baseball program that as soon as the Longhorns wrapped up a come-from-behind conference title on Saturday evening, in part because of a walk-off home run by Kansas State over TCU, my mind turned to the next, most important mission...
Get to Omaha. Texas baseball is about Omaha.
But, before we all turn our focus to the next thing, let's take some time to give these fellas some due because...holy cow...they did it!
With all due respect to this team, I thought they might have missed their chance when they mishandled a series against Texas Tech a couple of weeks ago. I thought they might have done the same thing when they lost on Thursday night after TCU had opened the door for them to close the entire gap that remained.
But, this Texas team wouldn't give up., Neither did the Horned Frogs, a team seemingly determined to allow the Longhorns to catch up or pass them.
It hasn't come easily for Texas head coach David Pearce, but this team is 54-16 in its last 70 games and Pierce appears poised to have the Longhorns in contention for a national title. This team has a legit chance to get to the finish line this season.
At the very least, the expectations will be to get to Omaha.
Or that conference title won over the weekend won't mean quite as much.
No. 5 - National Freaking Champions...
If you haven't seen this video, enjoy.
No. 6 - Hot damn, Phil!
I've never hid the fact that I love Phil Mickelson.
That's my guy.
It's been that way for a long time, but especially after he donated a Masters flag to our Cole Pittman Golf Tournament more than 15 years ago. When he's in the mix at the top of a leaderboard, especially for a major, I'm all-in.
As you might expect, I enjoyed the hell out of watching him win the PGA this weekend. It's historic on a lot of levels and changes the way we're going to remember his entire career. Winning that bad boy at 50 is a major feather in his cap that no one else in the sport has ever claimed.
I've said for years that I thought Lefty might have another major still in him, and it came to fruition on Sunday. It might not be his last.
No. 7 – BUY or SELL …
B/S - Jaydon Blue will SIGN and play for the Texas Longhorns.
(Buy) IN Sark, you trust, right?
B/S Going into the season Bijan has a 25% chance to win the Heisman 5 games into the season it increases to 50%
(Sell) The Heisman winner and front-runner typically comes from one of the nation's best teams. 25-percent feels like a crazy number for me at this point.
If 5 or 6 other Longhorn commits announce they are sitting out their senior season as a business decision, Ketch would see it as an unmitigated disaster and a heaviy dilution of their potential to meaningfully contribute on the field early during their tenure at Texas.
(Sell) I just don't see these situations remotely as problematic as you seem to. It's really a case by case deal, but if you look at the current commitment list, there's not a player on it that I think would be more devastated by not playing than by playing and suffering a serious injury, which we've seen happen quite a bit in recent classes.
B/S: Bijan has a greater chance to rush for 1,650 yards than any WR on our roster totaling over 1,000 yards receiving.
(Sell) I think Whittington has a better chance at 1,000 yards than Bijan has at 1,650 rushing yards.
Congrats Longhorn Baseball team on Big12 Championship. \m/
B/S: Omaha bound? Specifically, not one of the first 2 teams to exit.
(Buy) I really like this team.
B/S Sark will lose his first two games of the year and struggle with four losses in his first year.
The heat will be big time year two. Also what’s your opinion so far of this current coaching staff in recruiting.
(Sell) I think there's a better chance that they start 2-0 than 0-2, although neither is out of the realm of possibilities. Overall, I really like this staff as recruiters thus far, but they can't turn water into wine with regards to this program's place in the national power structure right now.
B\S- Texas will sign one OL transfer who will be a starter by the TCU game.
(Sell) It feels more likely not at this stage.
A spin-off question to Drew’s (will the average margin of victory big >10 points), I would like to know;
B/S: Texas will (1) be comfortably ahead (Ketch, you define what this is) in at least six games this season and (2) will take advantage of this comfortable lead and play the QB2 and back-ups to give them meaningful quantity of game snaps (and this will make for a happier team)!
(Sell) I'm ok with the first part of that question, but I've never really seen the second part in all the years I've been covering the team. It just never really happens the way coaches talk about wanting it to happen.
B/S Charles Wright is QB2 this season.
(Sell) But, it's possible.
B/S By year 3, Sark will be 12-0 and headed to the playoffs
(Sell) That feels very aggressive from an expectations standpoint.
We are done recruiting transfer players for the upcoming season.
(Sell) This Texas staff is going to look until they can't look any longer.
No. 8 - Scattershooting on the sports weekend...
... It just occurred to me that I live in an area that will air Texans games over Cowboys games on the local level when the moment calls for a decision to be made.
... Watch out, the GOAT is coming for more gold.
... Nice performance, Sixers. I was a little worried about the Wizards in game one on Sunday, but I'm feeling very good about this team. The Process is going to bring it every night. If we can get an 80-percent version of Tobias Harris from Sunday for the rest of the playoffs, we're making the Finals... maybe.
... Kevin Durant looked fantastic on Saturday. I've never rooted against Durant, but we might get there in the Eastern Conference Finals.
... Oh, man, can you imagine a Sixers/Suns Finals with Kendall Jenner sitting court-side for each game? I'm afraid to know how Ben Simmons might handle such a thing.
... Nikola Jokic better get out of the first round of the playoffs or his MVP is going to be tainted, fair or not.
... Did you guys hear that Luka Doncic is a bust? Someone on OB told me that.
... Hot damn, Liverpool did it. Making the Champions League after all of the adversity saved a season that I just didn't think could be saved. Well done, Reds.
... I will miss you, Gini. You will never walk alone.
... Luis Suarez scoring the La Liga-winning goal to spite Barcelona is probably the most Luis Suarez thing ever.... other than maybe biting someone.
No. 9 - My Top 10 Best Movie Quotes of All-Time...
Sadly, I'm afraid to admit how much time I've spent thinking about this topic all weekend.
In the end, all I could do was stay true to myself.
10. "Yippie-ki-yay, motherf—er!"
9. "I'll have what she's having."
8. "He's worried! You cut him! You hurt him! You see? You see? He's not a machine, he's a man!"
7. "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."
6. "You talking to me?"
5. "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."
4. "You're going to need a bigger boat."
3. "You can't handle the truth!"
2. "Here's looking at you, kid."
1. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
No. 10 - And Finally ...
Congrats to all of the new graduates of The University of Texas and here's to holding graduation at DKR forever more.
This was an awesome spectcle.