I've got lots of thoughts today we can discuss ...
With each day, I like the hire of Tom Herman more ...
I like that he's detailed, innovative and demanding as a coach. I like that he has made demands of Texas - such as improving academic services, nutrition and sports science, among other areas, including ... hopefully ... game-day experience.
I'm fine if he brings in most of his Houston staff. Would I have liked to see Tim Brewster come back to Texas? Sure. But if it wasn't meant to be, there's a reason. One of the reasons I'm good with Herman bringing in his Houston staff is because they've got chemistry and have had success together - over big-time programs.
That's the staff that went 13-1 last year, including a win at Paxton Lynch-led Memphis with a backup QB playing for UH ...
... a win over Florida State (holding Dalvin Cook to 33 yards rushing and a forced fumble) ...
... this year was the more physically and mentally tough team in beating up OU ...
... and sacked Louisville QB Lamar Jackson 11 times and led 31-0 at halftime, when everyone thought UL would destroy Houston.
Critics can certainly go glass half-empty and focus on Navy, SMU and Memphis this year. I've seen enough in 26 games to think Herman will keep getting better and better as a coach and is a pretty darn good gamble as the head coach of Texas.
Two huge developments today that may deprive us of the best-vs-the best ...
... Sam Ehlinger's fractured wrist (expected to keep him out of Friday's playoff game vs Lake Travis) ...
I wanted to see Ehlinger try to will Westlake to victory over a better, more talented Lake Travis team the way Ehlinger literally took over in a victory against Allen last year in the playoffs and in the fourth quarter of a win against Katy to start this season.
... Minnesota Vikings' coach Mike Zimmer (eye surgery) out for tonight's Cowboys' game.
Zimmer calls the defense for the Vikings and is a special defensive coach. The Vikings may have the best defense in the NFL, and I wanted to see the NFL MVP (if the vote was right now) Dak Prescott go up against the best and show what he's got.
I still think the Vikings will be playing hard for Zim without him there and could cause real problems for Dallas tonight. But, either way, it's a must-watch. And if Prescott makes this game look easy, he will start to convince everyone he's the NFL MVP.
Here are my thoughts on Texas basketball ....
... and I felt this way even before the three-game losing streak to Northwestern, Colorado and UT-Arlington:
Long, long, long way to go - obviously (they play Alabama Friday night at the Erwin Center).
I think Shaka Smart is going to have to coach his butt off to get this team into the NCAA Tournament because I think this team has issues bigger than the lack of a point guard or someone to take over in the final four minutes of a close game.
This team has heart and toughness issues.
Tevin Mack may be the team's leading scorer at 14.6 ppg, but I don't think he's a team guy. In fact, I think he's a negative influence on guys like Kerwin Roach. (Their suspension to start the season was indicative of this, I'm told.)
On second thought, maybe Shaka Smart regrets taking Tevin Mack over Jordan Murphy (All-Big Ten as a freshman at Minnesota), who were both committed to VCU when Shaka left for Texas. Murphy, a P.J. Tucker starter kit, is all heart.
Roach is not a natural point guard. Andrew Jones is a point guard, but Mack and Roach aren't exactly seeing it that way.
Jarrett Allen is far and away this team's best player, but he doesn't hold his teammates accountable - yet.
James Banks has great energy on defense and around the glass, but is very limited on offense. And until the rest of the team's scoring becomes more consistent, Banks' minutes are probably going to be limited. Even though I'd argue you need Banks on the floor a lot, because his defense creates transition offense.
Shaq Cleare has lost 30 pounds and is down to 275. He talks tough and looks tough but misses layups instead of flushing dunks.
Eric Davis can't hit an outside shot consistently (0-8 FG, 0-6 3PT vs UTA).
This whole team can't hit an outside shot consistently.
Right now, it's a team that settles for long-range bombs/misses - 3 of 23 from 3PT range vs UTA.
I've said over and over again: If this team even makes the tournament, consider it a good season.
There's no chemistry on this team yet. Shaka has a long way to go in putting an edge in this team.
I think Shaka sees it too. Here are some of his comments after the UTA game:
"I think there are some guys on the team that thought it was going to come easier, "Smart said. "Going to have to show more resolve. My wife has a great saying. In the absence of confidence - fight. We didn't show nearly enough of that.
Also, Smart said:
"Until it becomes only about the guys around you and what goes into winning the game - not about anything else - then we're going to have struggles like we did tonight.
"Our identity has to be being more about each other."
If you're Houston, who would you hire as football coach to replace Tom Herman:
A) Les Miles
B) Lane Kiffin (another candidate for the job)
C) Dana Holgorsen (who lives in Houston in the off-season apparently)
D) Major Applewhite
E) A different choice (provide your candidate)
Thoughts, questions ... Fire away ...!!!
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