- May 29, 2001
Is it April 1 yet?
I don't know about you, but I'm ready to address the elephant in the room -- Texas waiting until the first of the month to talk to Texas Tech coach Chris Beard about the UT vacant basketball job.
Tech knows it's coming. Beard knows it's coming. Beard's agent knows it's coming. Hell, we all know.
The silence while we wait is very telling. Honestly, we're just killing time, aren't we?
Let's address it all.
a. I had a top-level administration source that didn't blink on Friday when I asked if Texas would dare pay the basketball coach more money than the football coach. All you need to know is that there is a serious vibe that the program needs someone that is not only going to pack the new arena with fans, but also bring a buzz. I'm fully prepared to see Texas pay Chris Beard more money than it currently pays Steve Sarkisian to become the school's coach. It will be a moment that symbolizes significant intent.
b. Texas Tech was already talking to Beard about giving him more money than Sarkisian is making BEFORE Shaka Smart left for Marquette, which means that the Longhorns might have to give Beard more than a million dollars per year over what they are paying Sarkisian just to get in the game. There have been rumblings that Tech could offer him a Jimbo Fisher kind of long-term contract that would double what Texas would likely want to come to the table with in terms of total dollars and total years.
c. Beard has ALL the leverage in this. The fact that Dana Altman is a name being mentioned as a candidate, despite a track record that reads like a missing Pepper Hamilton report, should tell us all we need to know about the pecking order here. Beard has been lusted after. He will fill seats. A guy like Altman is a fantastic coach, but his name alone isn't selling out a new arena. Most Texas basketball fans will barely know who he is.
Ultimately, if Tech wants to give him some sort of a lifetime contract with a truly outrageous amount of money and control, Texas isn't going to match it. It might meet somewhere in the middle, but it's not going to money-whip a Tech athletic department that has every reason to go to the mattresses on this with a bunch of poison pills in a new deal.
If Beard is going to come to Texas, he's likely going to have to turn some cash down. He'll probably need to give up some power as well because I can't see Chris Del Conte giving any coach in any sport complete freedom from his supervision.
Just how badly does Beard want to be in Austin during his career?
We'll find out in the coming days.
No. 2 - About Royal Ivey...
I've been on Team Royal for more than a year. I was doing podcasts about his candidacy more than 14 months ago.
We're talking about a young (future) NCAA head coach potentially coming home with an army of past Texas hoops legends supporting his cause in the name of lifting the program up to the levels he once built. I love the story. I love the idea of him as a recruiter. I love the fact that the NBA believes in his chops as a basketball mind.
I just don't know if he's a guy that's going to create the buzz that Texas is talking about wanting.
If it were to happen, I'd 100-percent be on board with it because Ivey is one of my top 5-10 favorite Texas hoopsters of all-time. Guys like Kevin Durant and T.J. Ford would go to war for him. So, I'm down.
There's just a part of me that wonders if he's just the distraction for the program to use as cover while it kills time before making its move with Beard.
No. 3 - Did Chris Del Conte make it rain this weekend?
Let's just be honest ... Shaka Smart leaving Texas for Marquette was worthy of some expensive bubbly.
Sources close to the program were telling me that Del Conte did not want to fire Smart after a top-10 regular-season finish and a first-ever Big 12 Tournament Championship, but he wasn't going to come within a 100-foot pole of offering an extra dollar or year to his contract in the form of an extension. It felt like a huge game of chicken and you had to know Smart would follow his agent's advice to get the hell out of town if a legitimate job came up.
Enter Marquette to solve all of the problems.
I loved the fact that Smart and Texas were able to separate like a college basketball version of Jack White and Karen Elson, able to essentially have a Divorce Party in the parting of ways.
You'll forgive me if I was happy the relationship ended before the Texas rumor mill got control of things; the next thing you know there are hypothetical rumors of alcoholism and infidelity in the name of getting out of an expensive buyout.
Whatever you think of Tom Herman as a coach on the field, the off-field gutter talk about him was trashy. It cheapened a fan base that prides itself on being above the kind of stuff that might happen in the SEC. The fact that none of it was true and innocent families were forced to deal with the collateral damage created by a by-any-means-needed approach to forcing change revealed some hard truths about some elements of the Texas fan base.
Also, don't fall into the trap of believing it was just riff-raff pushing the dangerous narratives. It was being repeated on all levels of the food chain. I've been covering the Texas football program on a professional basis since 1994, and I can't say I've ever seen anything quite like what happened at the end of the Herman Era. Those rumors hurt people. Those rumors hurt kids.
You'll also have to forgive me if I'm glad that the events from this weekend allowed us to avoid anything potentially similar with Smart. Given the circumstances, it ended in the best way possible. Considering that these things almost always end ugly, let's just celebrate the rare Divorce Party event with a raised glass.
When good luck falls into your lap, just freaking appreciate it.
No. 4 - Four spring football ponderings ...
... I was really hoping that we'd make it to this point of spring workouts with something more positive than the Jake Smith injury to talk about after the first week, but COVID concerns rendered almost the entire week as an unwanted lull in the proceedings, which makes Smith's injury the top story thus far. As he gets ready to enter year three on the 40 Acres, it's impossible to ignore that the first 24+ months have gone about as poorly as he could have dreamed of when you consider the expectations and hope with which he arrived. One of the things kids often need more than anything at this stage of their careers is Jordan Shipley-levels of patience and they don't all have it. Smith will need to keep his chin up and channel his inner-Shipley if he's going to get over the roadblocks at some point in the future.
... It feels like a huge role in this offense is on a plate for Jordan Whittington if he can stay on the field. If it's ever going to happen, you'd think it would start happening right now.
... Speaking of guys you'd expect to start seeing it happen for, let's continue the discussion with third-year offensive lineman Tyler Johnson. Typically, I don't want to have to ask offensive linemen to be ready for major action before year three unless they are absolute freaks, but now that Johnson is in year three, it really is time to start seeing his talent take off and it sounds like he might be on the cusp of exactly that. When we think of the best offensive line in school history (2005), most of the guys in that group from Jonathan Scott to Kasey Studdard to Lyle Sendlein all redshirted and really started to take off as players in their third years. Well, here we are. It's time.
... Here's hoping the Texas coaches honor more of the school's legends like this throughout the year. It's a really nice way of paying respect to the greats, while also showcasing the school's history.
No. 5 - Vic doing Vic things ...
The best thing I can say about the Texas women's basketball team following its win over Maryland, which sent it to the Elite 8 for the first time since 2016, is that the win was not an accident.
While the Terps landed the opening blows in the game, the Longhorns were the better team in each of the final three quarters of the game. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, it just felt like the Terps had entered a knife-fight without a knife. They simply didn't have as much junkyard dog in them.
Texas rarely gets done to it what it did to Maryland, which tells you all you need to know about Longhorn head coach Vic Schaefer.
His teams are a bunch of junkyard dogs by the time March rolls around every year, no matter where he coaches.
As Chris Del Conte prepares to hire a coach of similar quality on the men's side, it's a reminder that this world mostly gives you what you pay for. In the case of Schaefer, it paid for a dude that knows how to win big in March. Therefore, his program is winning in March. Sometimes it's just that simple.
No. 6 - Tara Freaking Davis!
For the second time in a few weeks, Davis gets her own section. She's a bad woman, y'all.
No. 7 – BUY or SELL …
(Buy) I think Del Conte knows how to spend UT's money well.By Friday AM Texas will have a new mens' BB coach... AND we will be pleased.
(Sell) He is in the top 1% of his profession, but I think a case can be made that Texas is looking for someone that is in the 99.9-percentile and not in the 99.0 percentile.Royal Ivey is among the top 1% of his profession, therefore he's definitely qualified to coach at Texas.
(Buy) I have no doubt that Del Conte will contact someone not currently on the radar. That dude knows everyone.There is a coach out there that is under consideration to replace Shaka, but no one yet knows his name (other than a few true insiders).
(Sell) Hell no, I will not jump on that grenade.Marquette makes the Sweet 16 before Texas
(Sell) But, yeah... it'll likely be quiet for a bit.No more commits until at least June.
(Sell) Not yet ... the problem with a second choice is that he might not be a realistic option. Who is on the realistic option tree as a second choice. I'm starting to lean Ivey until I know for sure that a better alternative is available.Has the price tag for Beard become too much for BMD to chase and who would be your second choice for coach?
(Sell) I don't know that he wins a Heisman and that's what it would take to sit alongside them.Bijan Robinson eventually becomes mentioned alongside other great RB's at UT like Earl and Ricky?
(Buy) He isn't a proven college head coach at the very highest levels yet, which makes it hard to expect others to talk about him as such.On Stewart Mandel's list of the top 25 college head coaches, Steve Sarkisian was not listed. His omission is more of an indictment of his past head coaching experience, and is not exactly telling of the potential Steve Sarkisian has at Texas.
(Sell) That feels a little too ideal. I think Card emerges as the starter and I'm just not sure Thompson sticks around.Hudson Card and Casey Thompson are both with the program first game of the season?
(Buy) In Sark and Card, I trustUT has 3 receivers this season with more than 600 yards and 4 TD's
No. 8 - Scattershooting on the weekend...
... The Texas baseball team keeps raising the bar, but eventually it needs to figure out a way to win some of these Sunday games. It's interesting that both the Longhorns and Red Raiders are both going to be on the road in the state of Kansas this weekend in conference play. These are the three-game sets that create the margins that either win or lose the conference title.
... Kelvin Sampson can coach some basketball.
... Lamarcus Aldridge goes to the Nets and I'm starting to wonder if my Sixers are going to match them player for player. It feels like a tall ask. Anything short of a Lakers/Nets Finals will be a massive disappointment for the league.
... What Miami has been able to make out of the Laremy Tunsil trade is nothing short of mind-blowing. I'm jealous.
... I don't even know where to begin with the Deshaun Watson situation, except that of the 100 things I thought might have knocked his career sideways, this probably wouldn't have been among them. Maybe top 200, but surely not top 100.
... Does anyone else have just a little bit of doubt about Trevor Lawrence? Just a little?
... I woke up at 3:30 a.m. this morning and read that Ibrahima Konate was close to joining Liverpool next season and I could never go back to sleep.
... Consider me not overly bothered that the USA Under-23s failed to qualify for the Olympics.
... Just want to take a moment and give some love to Stipe Miocic. What a champion he's been in the heavyweight division in the UFC. That dude is 39 years old. The cliff was bound to be around the corner at some point.
... Call me crazy, but I want to see a Jon Jones/Francis Ngannou fight. Sign me up.
No. 9 - The List: My current Academy Award Rankings
The big night isn't until next month, and I still have some movies to watch before I've seen them all, but here's where things currently stand.
1. Sound of Metal
2. Judas and the Black Messiah
5.. The Trial of the Chicago 7
Still Need to See: The Father and Promising Young Woman
Overlooked Snub: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
1. Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)
2. Lee Isaac Chung (Minari)
3. David Fincher (Mank)
Still Need to See: Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round) and Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman)
Overlooked Snub: Darius Marder (Sound of Metal) and Shaka King (Judas and the Black Messiah)
1. Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
2. Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal)
3. Steven Yeun (Minari)
4. Gary Oldman (Mank)
Still Need to See: Anthony Hopkins (The Father)
Overlooked Snub: Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods)
1. Frances McDormand (Nomadland)
2. Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
Still Need to See: Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman) and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)
Overlooked Snub: Yeri Han (Mianari)
Best Supporting Actor
1. Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah)
2. Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7)
3. Lakeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah)
4. Leslie Odom Jr. (One Night in Miami)
5. Paul Raci (Sound of Metal)
Overlooked Snub: Alan S. Kim (Minari)
Best Supporting Actress
1. Yuh-Jung Youn (Minari)
2. Amanda Seyfried (Mank)
3. Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm)
Still Need to See: Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy) and Olivia Colman (The Father)
Overlooked Snub: Olivia Cooke (Sound of Metal)
No. 10 - And Finally ...
Talk about saving the best for last. Just after winning his 15th national title and 42 consecutive conference titles, the legend of all legends is hanging them up.
The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.
Enjoy retirement. We can't say enough things about his greatness over the years. Eddie Reese makes Brett Hart blush.