A “GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS” FOOTBALL UPDATE
The good news for Horns’ fans is it’s looking like UT may not be done adding to its 2016 recruiting class after Wednesday’s commitment by 4-star speedster WR Devin Duvernay (Scout’s No. 41 prospect for 2016).
Amazingly, Duvernay was available to commit, because Baylor somehow failed to file his letter of intent with the national letter of intent office. (I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of that before.)
It’s interesting how things play out. Shane Buechele talked to our Greg Powers at the Elite 11 last summer about how he was trying to recruit Duvernay to Texas.
It didn’t work initially. But Buechele’s efforts ultimately were not in vain.
A half dozen other 2016 Baylor recruits who did have their LOIs filed with the national office, are awaiting their release from BU after the school’s 30-day response time expires (at the end of this week).
CB Parrish Cobb
RB Kameron Martin
OL Patrick Hudson
OL J.P. Urquidez
WR Jared Atkinson
CB Donovan Duvernay
Even though Texas hasn’t been allowed to contact any BU recruits seeking to get out of their 2016 letters of intent - I don’t think there’s any doubt Devin’s twin brother - CB Donovan Duvernay - wants to attend school with his brother.
OLs Patrick Hudson and J.P. Urquidez as well as RB Kam Martin were all recruited by Texas before signing with Baylor. So was Parrish Cobb, but Cobb was committed to OU before signing with Baylor.
Atkinson, a 6-3, 199-pound, 3-star WR, had offers from Texas Tech, Iowa State and SMU, among others, before signing with BU.
I told HD colleague Taylor Estes today if Texas ends up with Kam Martin, he should just add a "D" to his big "BU" tattoo on his shoulder say he's going to "DBU." (Hilarious, I know. Two drink minimum. Tip your waitresses.)
Initially, I was told by a Baylor source that BU would release these kids after the school’s 30 days to respond to their requests, in large part, because Jim Grobe indicated it would be the right thing to do.
I was told by a Baylor source Wednesday that BU officials have been watching matters closely as it pertains to any contact these signees might be having with other schools interested in signing them.
Contact by schools directly with the Baylor signees is prohibited until they are released from their letters of intent. It’s unclear if Baylor will deny certain releases because BU officials think there was inappropriate contact by schools trying to recruit them.
Baylor isn’t making any friends in the conference right now by failing to disclose more than the “Findings of Fact” it has released with regard to the Pepper Hamilton investigation into BU’s handling of Title IX rape and assault claims made on campus.
If BU digs in its heels and fails to release these half-dozen kids - some of whom may want to go to Texas and/or Oklahoma because of the (bleep) storm going on in Waco - it will undoubtedly be noted by the leadership of those schools. Right or wrong, that’s the truth.
(More on this in a second …)
As for the bad news I referred to earlier, if the Longhorns end up adding to their 2016 recruiting class, it’s unlikely Texas would have a scholarship available for a kicker.
When I asked Charlie Strong Wednesday about the possibility of adding a kicker in the fall, Strong basically said the kickers UT finished spring with were likely to be the kickers in fall camp.
Of course, there could be a walk-on who emerges, but it doesn’t sound like a scholarship kicker will surface the way punter Michael Dickson surfaced last summer.
BIG 12 BOARD OF DIRECTORS SERIOUS ABOUT BAYLOR
Here’s the bottom line on Wednesday’s public statement from the Big 12 Board of Directors in which it was made clear commissioner Bob Bowlsby was “once again” requesting a “full accounting” of BU’s handling of sexual assault cases on campus.
By publicly articulating that it has already unsuccessfully made this request, the Big 12 CEOs basically put Baylor on notice that it doesn’t plan on taking no for an answer.
So Baylor’s response - a statement from BU spokeswoman Tonya Lewis on behalf of interim school president David Garland - saying Baylor had released all it was going to release was NOT appreciated.
Three Big 12 sources made it very clear to me the league’s presidents could vote to sanction Baylor if they feel like they are not getting any cooperation about how the school is handling a very serious situation in what so far has been a very messy way.
The Big 12 isn't messing around here, and Baylor doesn't appear to have a lot (if any) allies in the league right now - especially with Ken Starr and Ian McCaw gone and no one communicating directly with other league executives.
If the Big 12 Board of Directors feels like BU isn't being forthcoming or is no longer being a cooperative member of the league, it could vote to sanction BU.
With eight of 10 votes (a “super majority” excluding BU’s vote), the Big 12 presidents could:
- Fine BU by reducing its cut of revenues distributed by the conference
- Impose TV appearance bans
- In the most extreme case, the board could even vote Baylor out of the conference
No one is suggesting that right now. But as David Boren told The Norman Transcript on Tuesday, “How do you express approval or disapproval if you don’t have all the fact?”
One connected Big 12 source said if Baylor is purposefully failing to disclose information that could prove to be embarrassing for the conference or cause a lack of trust among member schools, it could be very damaging for BU’s relationship with the rest of the league.
“Because Baylor is a private school and doesn’t have to disclose information under open records laws the way public schools do, there is a heightened sensitivity to being transparent,” the source said.
“Lack of transparency, of course, can lead to lack of trust. And no one can allow that to happen.”
Baylor is in a tenuous position right now because the rest of the conference isn’t exactly sure who is leading the university.
When I asked who in the Big 12 would stand in support of Baylor right now, the source said, “I’m not sure who would do it. Not trying to be callous. I just don’t know right now.”
TEXAS BASEBALL COACHING SEARCH CONTINUES …
The Texas baseball coaching search is starting to feel like the recruitment of Jarrett Allen … it just keeps going … and going …
and going …
I was told Texas was likely to wait until the completion of the College World Series before making a final decision/announcement.
I’m told Texas was very interested in Florida’s Kevin O’Sullivan and that O’Sullivan was very interested in Texas (because he was sick and tired of a lack of movement on facility upgrades at UF).
And then Florida gave O’Sullivan a 10-year contract extension, and Texas wasn’t ready to offer a 10-year contract.
I’m told Texas has offered the job to only one person, and that was Oregon State’s Pat Casey, who ultimately declined a 6-year offer because his family wanted to stay in Corvallis (where he won the 2005 and 2006 national titles).
The guy Texas has wanted all along - I’m told - is Vanderbilt’s Tim Corbin. But Corbin, thus far, hasn’t been persuaded. There is also a contingent of DFW boosters pushing hard for TCU’s Jim Schlossnagle. But I’m told Schlossnagle’s new contract extension with TCU has been agreed upon.
Would UT officials take a chance on a rising, young coach like UC Santa Barbara’s Andrew Checketts, whose team is in the CWS?
(Checketts’ bio … http://ucsbgauchos.com/sports/m-basebl/coaches/Andrew_Checketts?view=bio )
Or go with someone with proven Texas ties like Tulane’s David Pierce or Houston’s Todd Whitting - both of whom talked to Texas over the weekend?
It makes no sense to break dishes over this search until we find out who the coach is. It shouldn’t be much longer.
A FEW NUGGETS FROM CHARLIE STRONG
Here are some of the most relevant quotes from Charlie Strong's Wednesday press conference:
Strong weighs in on the Longhorns satellite camps
"They said we couldn't go out as a head coach and evaluate in May, but then you had a satellite camp so you have a chance to go out in June and evaluate. You look at Houston, and we didn't have a large amount of numbers because with the satellite camps, there are so many now, so many guys are going to so many, plus there were 7-on-7s going on.
"One of the guys, I asked if he was tired and he said, "Yeah, coach, this morning we had our morning workout, and then I came out here to camp in the evening." We go up to Dallas, and you run into the same thing. You have more numbers, but it's really a grind on a lot of the kids.
"Now they want to be seen so they're coming to all these camps and everyone is trying to showcase their program and be around it. I just think that we could do a better job with the satellite camps. Even if you just limit the number where only so many could be done, I don't know how you can do it, but really good ones who are being recruited aren't coming to the satellite camps anyway.
"You probably could go in and find one or two who are being recruited and has a really good day that day, but we just have to find a way where we can help the student-athletes and those who are participating where you can kind of limit the number so they don't get worn out. "
How is the team's attitude different this year?
"When you talk about the attitude, it's just overall how they're working right now. Even the players have a sense of knowing that this is what we have to get accomplished, knowing that, hey, in order for this to happen, we're going to have to work, we're going to have to build and come together as a team.
"When you talk about leaders, sometimes it may not always be a starter, but I get a guy like Tim Cole, who has the respect of his teammates, and Tim is an unbelievable leader. On the offensive side, [Kent] Perkins never says anything, but guys just watch how he works. I just think that now, when you end the season with that Baylor game, knowing that they didn't have another game, now it's like, 'Hey, we know we're a better football team then what we've shown, so let's go work and prove it.'"
How is Shane Buechele as a leader?
"The quarterback position is always a position where you're going to see a leader emerge from that group. [Tyrone] Swoopes is doing a good job of working hard, and Jerrod [Heard]. This summer, those guys are out there and around one another, so they know who Shane is and how hard he works and what he brings to the team. All three of those guys are doing a good job, so it's just hard to say it's just one guy who is stepping forward."
Did Shane Buechele call you for the keys to the Bubble?
"Buechele did. He gave me a call and wanted to go throw. He and Collin [Johnson] are always together, and they just wanted to get out and get some throws in. I just told him, 'The lights are out, but tomorrow morning they will be on.' He said, 'No, coach. We can go now.' I said, 'Ok, I'll meet you guys over there.'"
When will Strong choose his quarterback?
"I would like to think we would get it done earlier in camp, so we can get the guys with the ones and move on. When I look at it now, and just the way we're trying to build the team, I just like to say that we have enough bodies now where we can play with units on both sides of the ball.
"If you get the practice in, then you're able to get some snaps early, then if a guy was to get an injury, now you've played them enough where they can go in and play and you feel comfortable with them."
Is there more talk around the Notre Dame game than Oklahoma?
"The buildup right now is kind of just easing its way. As we get closer, it's really going to build up. I told our players, I really didn't think I did a good job last year with that game because I made too much about it early, but now we're just going to approach it like any other game. They're going to hear so much about it, not much needs to be said."
"We always talk about players getting worn down and we're talking about playing a lot of plays on offense, so you're going to have to play a lot of players just to keep them fresh. We go out in practice, and I was telling our coaches, 'If we're in practice, we have to give them opportunities to play.'
"Plus, it builds within your team, and now they start feeling good about themselves and they have confidence because they know they're going to play.
"The worst thing to do is have a bunch of players who are sitting on the sideline. If they're not playing, they're upset, and you don't want to start feeling that within the team. Now you have a chance to go out. I don't know how many plays a game it's going to be, but let them go out there and compete. Then we give our other guys a chance to rest and freshen up."
What needs to get done between now and fall camp?
"You have to come together and build as a team. When you talk about the speed training, it's going to be critical because you talk about getting them bigger, stronger, faster, it will come into how fast we practice. It will depend on the tempo and if that can translate to the football field.
"You want to watch guys continue, and some guys still need to take some weight off, some guys we need to put some weight one. When you get to the second session, then it's time to start cutting them down so they can transition right into fall camp."
Why was it so hard for the defense to stop the run last season?
"When you give up big runs, it's about gap control and getting off of blocks and making sure you come down and when you put an extra guy in the box, the front is slanted one way. It's all about control and guys getting off of blocks.
"We didn't do a good job of stopping the run and making a team one-dimensional, we never did that last year. Usually when a team is able to run the ball on you, they're being more physical than you and tougher. That's what we can't allow. We have to improve our run defense.”