KOD: Swoopes, Boykin, T Rob to Troy?

ALL ABOUT SWOOPES: No one will say it publicly, but Thursday’s game against TCU and UT’s bowl game will be big-time auditions for Tyrone Swoopes to continue on as the quarterback at Texas in 2015.

Swoopes has had ups and downs in UT’s three-game winning streak, with maybe his most complete game coming in a 28-7 victory at Oklahoma State (24 of 33 passing for 305 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs).

The sophomore’s three best games this season by rating (and by eyeball) have come in wins against Iowa State (145.2), Texas Tech (141.8) and OSU (170.4).

Those are three of the worst teams in the Big 12 this season with a combined record of 10-22.

Now, the question is if Swoopes will resemble the QB in those three wins or the QB who flat lined against Baylor, Kansas State and in the second half against West Virginia. Swoopes was 3-of-15 passing for 36 yards in the second half vs WVU as UT’s offense ground to a halt.

Charlie Strong said last week the offense will go as Swoopes goes.

“When he plays well, we play well,” Strong said.

On Monday, he said the TCU game won’t just be about how well Swoopes plays.

“It has to be more than Tyrone,” Strong said. “Tyrone just needs to manage the offense and don’t turn the ball over. Make sure we guard the football. If we don’t get behind on the chains, we always have a chance.”

Asked Monday, if he felt like he was auditioning to keep his job going into 2015, Swoopes said, “No. Just trying to focus on the here and now.”

Ideally for Texas, if Swoopes does that, everything will take care of itself for 2015.

SPEAKING OF BOWLS: If Texas ends up in the AdvoCare Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium in Houston on Dec. 29, don’t be surprised if the Longhorns’ SEC opponent is Arkansas.

A source told me Monday the Razorbacks are a team the SEC would love to put up against Texas in the postseason, because Arkansas was picked by most to finish last in the SEC West and is now playing impressive football.

The Razorbacks ended a 17-game, SEC losing streak with a 17-0 shutout of LSU and followed that up with a 30-0 waxing of Ole Miss on Saturday.

The Hogs, who only have two senior starters on offense and five senior starters on defense, became the first unranked team in FBS history to post back-to-back shutouts of AP-ranked teams.

Arkansas junior QB Brandon Allen (16 TDs, 5 INTs) left the Ole Miss game with a hip injury in the second quarter (with the Hogs leading 17-0) and didn’t return.

The Hogs, who last played Texas in 2008 (UT won 52-10), finish the season at Missouri on Saturday.

TEXAS RB COACH Tommie Robinson CANDIDATE AT Troy: Charlie Strong basically confirmed Monday that Texas RB coach Tommie Robinson is a candidate to replace Troy head coach Larry Blakeney, who is retiring after 24 seasons leading the Trojans.

Strong said Monday he’ll do whatever he can to help Robinson and his assistant coaches become head coaches.

Robinson, a 29-year assistant coach, including stints in the NFL with the Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals, played at Troy (Class of 1985), located in Troy, Alabama, and a member of the Sun Belt Conference.

Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown, a former offensive coordinator at Troy and Texas Tech, is also among those being considered for the job, according to reports.

Michael Vick II?: Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford compares TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin to Michael Vick.

Boykin is completing 59.3 percent of his passes with 24 TDs and 5 INTs while rushing for 54.8 yards per game (4.5 ypc, 7 TDs rushing).

“We’re really concerned about him athletically,” Bedford said. “When you have all his receivers covered, he can pull the ball down and run it for 30 or 40 yards. It’s a tough situation for us – for anybody.”

Charlie Strong said the key will be for the defensive line to keep Boykin in the pocket and for linebackers Jordan Hicks and Steve Edmond to make sure TCU’s backs – Aaron Green (8.3 ypc, 6 TDs) and B.J. Catalon (5.0 ypc, 10 TDs), who is doubtful with a back injury – don’t get loose.

DAJE’S CONTRACT: Charlie Strong said Monday he wrote a contract for receiver/running back Daje Johnson in August outlining what Johnson had to show Strong in order to remain a part of the Texas program.

“'If you get that done, we’re going to shake hands, hug, and you’ll be a part of it,’” Strong recalled telling Johnson, who was suspended the first four games of the season but has 6 carries for 83 yards the last three games (13.8 ypc).

“I’ll tell you what, he’s done everything I asked him to do. It’s amazing just to see him change.

“A lot of people were telling me there’s no way he’ll change. I said, ‘He will if it’s important to him. He’ll get it done. If it isn’t, he won’t.’ I’m just so happy because that’s a young man with a lot of ability.

Strong said he wanted Johnson to look into his future when he handed him the contract in August.

“I told him, ‘Let me tell you something: There are a lot of young men like you with a ton of ability, and where do they sit? They're sitting somewhere on Eighth or Ninth Street talking about where they were or what they did. I was the best.

'Okay, you were? Look at you now.’

“I don't want you to be that person. You know what I want to happen to you? I want you to drive by them one day and they're yelling at you, and you blow your horn at them and keep driving (and say), 'You know what, that's not ever going to be me.’”


... UT officials said Tuesday roughly 5,000 tickets remain for Thursday night's game against TCU.

… Senior DE Ced Reed said Charlie Strong convinced him to load up on classes over the summer and in the fall to complete his sports management degree in December and graduate before moving on to the NFL Draft.

“Coach Strong convinced me about the importance of getting my degree in three and a half years, before the spring semester (when Reed will be preoccupied with the NFL combine and the draft),” Reed said.

“So I took 18 hours in the summer and 15 hours this fall. It’s been a grind, especially having to wake up early for workouts. But it’s going to pay off when I walk that stage next month.”

… Fifth-year senior LB Jordan Hicks got the vote from teammates as the senior who will be the most emotional on Senior Night against TCU Thursday.

“He’s been through the most, so it’s understandable,” said senior S Mykkele Thompson.

Tyrone Swoopes finds inspiration in the story of TCU QB Trevone Boykin, who bounced between QB and WR his first two seasons and now is one of the top QBs in the country.

“Looking at him tells me I can do it as well,” Swoopes said.

Quandre Diggs said Monday players used to “complain a lot about the work we used to do. Now, we just respect the work we have to do.”

… Ced Reed said TCU has the same offense as Oklahoma State: “They just have a great athlete at quarterback and at the skill positions.”

Added Quandre Diggs: “All the offenses (in the Big 12) are similar. They all go to the same clinic. They (TCU) just have a dual-threat quarterback who can use his feet to make plays.”

… Swoopes said QB coach Shawn Watson spent lots of time on Swoopes’ footwork after UT’s victory over West Virginia, when Swoopes went 3-of-15 passing for 36 yards in the second half and failed to set his feet against WVU’s constant blitz pressure.

“Coach Watson is really detailed in everything he does,” Swoopes said. “He worked on my technique with my feet to throw more accurately. Once I got that fixed, things have gotten better.”

… TCU opened as a 6.5-point favorite over the Longhorns on Thanksgiving night.

Texas players were asked repeatedly if they found inspiration in being the underdog or in the opportunity to ruin TCU’s season? To a man, they said the TCU game is about Texas finishing the season the right way.

“This is about us,” Reed said.

… Diggs said he doesn’t have a doubt that Charlie Strong will get the Texas program turned around.

“These guys will go out and get tremendous talent here,” Diggs said. “And they’ll coach it up.”

Mykkele Thompson said: “In three to four years, I expect Texas to be competing for it all again.”

… Vance Bedford said DT Malcom Brown is the best player in the Big 12, let alone the Big 12 defensive player of the year. Charlie Strong seconded that: “He’s my guy, so I’m going to support him.”

Quandre Diggs said he takes partial credit for helping to recruit Brown to Texas.

“I lobbied for him to come here, because he killed me in high school. I knew how competitive he was, and I wanted him on my team,” Diggs said.

Asked if he’s been approached by Brown to babysit Brown’s two small children, Diggs said, “I like kids. But I don’t babysit babies. But I’ll tell you being married and having kids has made him a mature fella. He’s competing for his family, for his kids.”


#1 … TCU has the nation’s longest streak of 12 consecutive games with at least 30 points scored.

Hard to see either team scoring 30 in Thursday's game with these defenses.

#2 … QB Trevone Boykin has the nation’s longest current streak for not throwing a second-half INT at 185 attempts.

Even after some shaky starts, such as the West Virginia game, Boykin has found his groove and protected the ball when it mattered.

#3 … TCU kicker Jaden Oberkrom delivered a 37-yard FG as time expired for a 31-30 victory at West Virginia and has shown the ability to come through for the Horned Frogs at crunch time:

- 42-yard FG with 18 seconds left to force OT vs Texas Tech in 2012

- 53-yard FG with 2:42 left to give TCU the lead vs Michigan State in 2012

- 45-yard FG with 19 seconds left to force OT vs West Virginia in 2013

- 56-yard FG with 2:13 left to give TCU the lead vs Kansas State in 2013

- 37-yard FG with no time left to beat WVU in 2014

#4 … TCU has three players who have returned either a kickoff or punt for a score:

- Cameron Echols-Luper 69-yard punt return vs Kansas last week

- B.J. Catalon 94-yard kick return vs Baylor this season - B.J. Catalon 100-yard kick return vs LSU in 2013

- Deante’ Gray 70-yard punt return vs Grambling State in 2012

#5 … TCU is first in the Big 12 and No. 3 nationally in turnover margin (plus-14).

- Samford (E)

- Minnesota (+3)

- SMU (+3)

- Oklahoma (-1)

- Baylor (+2)

- Oklahoma State (+1)

- Texas Tech (+4)

- West Virginia (+3)

- Kansas State (+1)

- Kansas (-2)


- Without PG Isaiah Taylor (broken left wrist) for at least a month, the man who will undoubtedly pick up the scoring load in the short-term (and maybe the long-term) is senior F Jonathan Holmes.

Holmes has been a beast so far this season, including a 21 (points) and 13 (rebounds) performance in UT's win over Cal without Taylor.

- No one has hit 60 points against UT (4-0) yet this season. Doubt St. Francis gets to 60 Tuesday night.

But UConn on Sunday in Storrs, Conn., might be a different story.

- Fearless win by the now 6th-ranked UT women in OT (87-81) at then-No. 1 Stanford.

Incredible second-half performance from star forward Nneka Enemkpali, who was just 1-of-1 shooting in the first half but exploded to go 7-of-10 from the floor in the second half.

Even more impressive was UT not getting complacent on a West Coast road trip and handling business in a 75-65 win at UCLA three days later.

Texas freshman guards Ariel Atkins and Brooke McCarty, who both came up big on the California road trip, are the kind of tough-minded, aggressive leaders the UT program has been lacking for years.

Credit coach Karen Aston, a recruiting machine, for stocking the program with talent once again.


#1 … I'm hearing there was a significant development that may have ultimately led to Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine's explosion for 427 yards rushing in a 44-7 waxing of Kansas on Saturday.

Everyone is talking about the Pflugerville Hendrickson star breaking Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon’s one-week-old FBS, single-game rushing record of 408 yards.

But the seeds of that performance may have been planted by a come-to-you-know-who blowup by Mike Stoops at halftime of the OU-Texas Tech game in Lubbock.

The Sooners were trailing, 14-7, after running the ball just 19 of 36 plays in the first half (Perine carried 11 times for 31 yards in the first two quarters) against Tech’s league-worst rush defense.

Mike Stoops, I’m told, blew up and told Bob Stoops to demand that offensive coordinator Josh Heupel start force-feeding the run against Texas Tech’s porous run D or the Boomers might just lose the game.

After falling behind 21-7 in the third quarter, OU ran it 11 of 13 plays in the 3Q and 21 of 22 plays in the 4Q (32 of 35 plays in the second half) as OU out-rushed Tech 384-93 yards and pulled away for a 42-30 victory.

Perine ran it 14 times for 182 yards in the second half, finishing with 25 carries for 213 yards, including two, second-half TD runs of 64 and 11 yards.

Against Kansas a week later, of OU’s 68 plays, the Sooners ran it 55 times with Perine getting 34 of those carries for 427 yards (12.6 ypc).

#2 … Anyone catch that Kansas State ran 29 times for 1 yard in its 26-20 victory at West Virginia?

Jake Waters came through by completing 22 of 34 passes for 400 yards and 1 TD with 1 INT. Tyler Lockett also delivered a 43-yard punt return for a TD. That helps.

#3 … Speaking of Tyler Lockett, he is about to overtake his father, Kevin, as the all-time leading receiver at Kansas State.

Kevin Lockett played at K-State from 1993-96 and set the Wildcats’ career records for receptions (217), receiving yards (3,032) and TD receptions (26).

Tyler has already passed his father in career receiving yards (3,269) and, with two regular season games left (vs Kansas and at Baylor) as well as a bowl game, is about to pass him in receptions (213) and receiving TDs (24).

Great story.


… Is there tension on the OU coaching staff between the Stoops brothers and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel over Heupel’s failure to run the ball (especially in a 48-24 loss at home to Baylor, when Samaje Perine had just 5 carries for 21 yards)?

And is any possible tension complicated by the fact Heupel’s sister, Andrea, is married to OU president David Boren’s son, Dan?

One person familiar with the situation says it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Another person who knows Stoops said Stoops won’t leave Norman and probably won’t coach much more than the six years left on his current contract, which expires in 2020 and will average $5.7 million per year.

“I think Bob enjoys his family life and doesn’t feel like his identity is wrapped up in coaching,” one source said.

… I’m hearing Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris, the former head coach at Lake Travis, continues to be the leading candidate for the SMU job with Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman running a close second.

I’m hearing Clemson’s Dabo Swinney is a candidate at Florida. Not sure where he is on Florida AD Jeremy Foley’s list. But if Swinney was to get the UF job, there’s a chance Morris would be the leading candidate to replace Swinney at Clemson, opening the door for Herman.


#1) Alabama

We’ll see if the Tide keeps rollin’ at home vs Auburn

#2) Oregon

Oregon State stunned Arizona State in Corvallis. Can they stun the Ducks in the Civil War? (Ducks have won 6 straight in the series.)

#3) Florida State

I’m calling my shot right now: The Gators get the Noles this week. Will Muschamp’s parting gift to Gainesville.

#4) Baylor

The Bears got their wish: a K-State victory over West Virginia. Now, the Bears just have to keep winning.


Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia


Mississippi State (-1.5) at Ole Miss … Does Bo Wallace have one more good game left in him? Me thinks so. Upset Saturday!

KOD PREDICTION: Ole Miss 20, Miss State 17

Auburn at Alabama (-9.5) … Gus Malzahn gives Nick Saban fits and is part of the reason Saban brought in Lane Kiffin. But the Tide rolls.

KOD PREDICTION: Bama 23, Auburn 20

Florida at Florida State (-7) … Treon Harris and the Florida defense end the Noles’ odyssey as Muschamp walks off into the sunset.

KOD PREDICTION: Florida 20, FSU 17

Minnesota at Wisconsin (-14) … The winner plays in the Big Ten title game against Ohio State.

KOD PREDICTION: Wisconsin 31, Minnesota 20

Oregon (-20) at Oregon State … The Ducks have won six straight in the Civil War, but this one will be close.

KOD PREDICTION: Oregon 30, Oregon State 24

LSU (-2.5) at Texas A&M … The Tigers can run the football. Say no more.


Georgia Tech at Georgia (-13) … Win or lose, Georgia Tech and its triple option will meet FSU in the ACC championship game and will be a handful for the Noles.

KOD PREDICTION: Georgia 31, Georgia Tech 28


… I had a great time with my kids in Los Angeles last weekend, but I think I lost my driver’s license at Universal Studios, which made for an interesting flight home.

When you don’t have a driver’s license or passport to board a flight, you have to produce another picture ID (fortunately, I had my Costco member card, which has my picture) as well as any and all forms of other ID that includes your name (insurance card, credit cards, work ID, etc).

Then, they do the extended search that extends just short of your cavities with the dreaded warning from the TSA agent, “When I touch a private area, I will be using the back of my hand.”

Ultimately, I was allowed to proceed through to the gate, board the flight and fly home.

A bit of advice if you’re in Austin and need to renew or replace a driver’s license, go to the new DPS office in Pflugerville on 216 Wells Branch. It’s so new and so well staffed, they were ready for me before I had even finished my paperwork.

I was in and out in 10 minutes. I felt like I was getting away with something, despite being a complete baffoon and losing my license!


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