While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. Some clarification on Mack Brown’s future: The Texas football coach told Pat Forde last week that he’d like to coach through his current contract, which runs through 2020, and that he doesn’t think he is in any danger of being fired. Brown told us local scribes the same thing off the record earlier this month and now is comfortable with that revelation being out there. In fact, when I told him it sounds as if he’d like to coach another 10 years, the almost-62-year-old coach said, “Yeah, I would.” He’s also said he would quit if he felt he wasn’t getting the job done. And so everyone knows, he has the complete support of the UT administration. Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds and President Bill Powers are firmly in his corner. Powers, in fact, told a large number of Longhorn donors recently that Brown’s presence the past 15 years has helped raise more than $1 billion for the school. That’s a pretty strong endorsement.
2. New Mexico State might be a tad overmatched in its season opener with Texas on Saturday, but it will earn this game. Texas is paying a $950,000 guarantee to the Aggies.
3. You can expect senior Chris Whaley to be one of the defensive tackle starters this week. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz says the former running back “flashes more and more” and has emerged as one of the Longhorns’ team leaders. One of the nicest Longhorn players, too. “He’s played better inside the last two weeks,” Diaz said. He also raves about the rapid development of defensive backs Adrian Colbert and Bryson Echols and said he expects sophomore Malcom Brown to “become more destructive.” Like Diaz’s promise this year: “We’re going to play fast and without fear.”
4. Our fantasy draft is in six days, and here are a couple of sleepers for you: Saints receiver Kenny Stills, the former Sooner, and Cardinals receiver Andre Roberts. I would stay away from Chiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe because of quarterback Alex Smith, but I really like Bengals running back Giovani Bernard and Packers tight end Jermichael Finley in a bounce-back year.
5. Ryan Swope is helping the Texas A&M football team when he can as an unpaid volunteer, and the former Aggie receiver whose NFL career ended prematurely because of concussions goes on and on about sophomore Mike Evans, who is probably the best receiver in the state. (Sorry, Dez Bryant is No. 1; Evans might be No. 2.) “He’s looked awesome,” Swope said of Evans. “He’s got great hands, and he is so physical. He’s going to be an animal.” Swope also expects an immediate impact from freshman tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, a one-time Longhorn commitment. “He’s a big ol’ receiver at 6-6. He’s huge and looks good. I think he already gets the speed of the game.” … On whether he’d let his own kids (when he has them) play football, Swope said, “That’s a good question. I think I would. But I’d let them decide. I’m not going to tell them they can’t. I’ll just let ’em know it’s a physical game and what the risk is.”
6. Get ready for the All-Lake Travis Bowl. When SMU hosts Texas Tech on Friday, former Cavalier quarterbacks will be all over the place. Garrett Gilbert is a senior for the Mustangs and will face off against another Cav ex in Red Raider walk-on Baker Mayfield, who is stepping in for sophomore Michael Brewer. Brewer backed up Seth Doege last year and was prepared to take over until he suffered a stress fracture of a vertebra. He will miss several weeks but does not need surgery and will not redshirt, I am told.
7. Former Longhorn quarterback-turned-college football television analyst Chris Simms sees some similarities between himself and David Ash. “I do, yeah. He’s got some redeeming qualities. Those things are evident when you watch him. Now it’s about playing, learning the game and being a leader. He does some things I like. He’s just got to continue to perfect the position. He’s got some skills to make it work.”
8. Look out for Patty Fendick-McCain’s UT women’s tennis program, which has produced three top 10 NCAA finishes and won the past two Big 12 Tournament titles. The Longhorns’ Breaunna Addison reached the NCAA semifinals last May. Joining the team are Ratnika Batra from New Delhi, India, and Pippa Horn of West Harling, England. At age 14, Batra, became India’s youngest women’s national champion, and she has reached the second round of the girls’ singles draw at the 2012 Roland Garros (French Open) Junior Championships. Batra has been as high as No. 39 in the ITF world junior rankings. Horn competed at the past three Wimbledon Junior Championships and represented Great Britain at the 2011 Junior Fed Cup finals. Horn was Great Britain’s 18-and-under national singles champion in 2010 and its national doubles co-champion in 2011. She’s been playing international tennis since age 12 and has been as high as No. 202 in the ITF world junior rankings.
9. Found “The Butler” to be a thoroughly compelling historical drama with a likely Best Actor nomination for Forest Whitaker playing the part of White House butler Eugene Allen (the real name), who served eight presidents for 34 years at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Strong roles by Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo and Cuba Gooding Jr. Gave it nine ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: Kansas’ Bill Self will leave college basketball in the next few years and take an NBA job in Oklahoma City, San Antonio or Los Angeles.