Culpepper: Notes From Coaches Convention

Here is some football information from the 2007 American Football Coaches Association Convention held in San Antonio earlier this week:

1. The Texas staff, including Coach Mack Brown, were very upbeat. The Alamo Bowl win was hard fought and helped ease the pain of the last two regular season losses. With Colt McCoy healthy, they felt like the Alamo Bowl win was significant, and represented the first win in the 2007 season.

Mack and Sally Brown were at the Texas High School social get together and if you don't understand why Texas recruits so well, you should see the Texas high school coaches flock around the University of Texas' No. 1 couple. Coach Brown sincerely enjoys mixing with the high school mentors; the smile and handshakes are for real.

Offensive line coach Mac McWhorter is enthusiastic about the challenge of young players trying to replace Lyle Sendlein, Justin Blalock and Kasey Studdard. He called off a handful of untested but strong candidates. I liked his positive attitude and that will carry over to the players he is coaching.

Running back coach Ken Rucker is determined to get the Longhorn ground game back on track. The Texas runners better get ready for some tough going this spring.

Tight end coach Bruce Chambers, with a smile on his face, told me that Jermichael Finley was still "a work in progress" after the redshirt freshman had eight big catches in the Alamo Bowl.

2. The commitment of G.J. Kinne, the son of Baylor linebacker coach Gary Joe Kinne, was a complete surprise to the Longhorn staff. It is a classic example of recruits at the quarterback position being aware of what is going on from one school to the next. John Brantley turns his back on the Longhorns and out of the blue Texas gets a call from an in-state, 210-pound gem at the signal caller position.

Texas made sure the youngster had informed his parents as well as the Baylor coaches about his change of plans. Once the Longhorns were assured that all parties were aware of what had happened, a scholarship was set aside.

Believe me, this is a touchy subject with the Baylor staff -- not toward Texas because they know the kid contacted the Longhorns, but that one of their own coaches couldn't recruit in his own home.

Of Kinne, one Longhorn coach told me, "He's tougher than Brantley."

3. An SEC coach told me he felt Jevan Snead made a bad decision going to Ole Miss. He felt Snead would be there longer than the head coach Ed Orgeron!

Coach Art Briles of Houston was really disappointed when Snead decided not to go with the Cougars. Briles' program is on the rise after an outstanding year and a near miss against South Carolina in the Liberty Bowl.

With senior ex-Stephenville quarterback Kevin Kolb leaving, Briles had big plans for Snead in a redshirt year and then with him as the gunner for the Cougars for a couple of years.

The SEC has some great teams as we all learned watching the BCS Championship Game, but Ole Miss is not one of them.

I wish the best for Snead but I know how much Art Briles wanted him at Houston.

4. Texas A&M staff members let it be know that California was far better than anybody they played in the Big 12 this season.

5. By coincidence, on the day of the national title game I was eating breakfast by two coaches that recruit the South Florida high schools. They told me some of the worst high school basketball in the country is played in that area because the athletes stay with football year-round. That night, with a huge overload of South Florida ex-high schooler up front, the Florida Gators dismembered an Ohio State football team ranked No. 1 all season long.

According to my buddies, the high school coaches in Texas are better but the athletes in Florida are better in football than the Texas kids because of the emphasis year-round.

6. I talked to coach Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State and he admitted that his team was intimidated when they played Texas. He said Bobby Reid held the ball far too long and got rattled by the Longhorn defense.

Coach Gundy felt had Reid not had a shoulder injury that kept him from a crucial goalline series, the Cowboys would have had a good chance to beat the Sooners.

6. I did not see one Oklahoma football coach, which was probably wise because I'm sure they are already tired of hearing about the upset loss to Boise State.

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