While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. Can’t overemphasize enough how important it is for Texas to get Desmond Harrison reinstated. His snafu over a credit for an English online class at BYU has dragged on interminably. Seems as if BYU dropped the ball by allowing the offensive tackle to take the class when it strictly forbids non-BYU athletes to do so, unless it can prove Harrison or someone on his behalf behaved fraudulently. If he is eligible, it would give the Longhorns a huge presence at left tackle and allow them to perhaps move the talented Trey Hopkins to center, where Dominic Espinosa remains too undersized to cope with bigger players over him. This could have even more far-reaching implications because Mack Brown has taken all of six junior- college players in his last 25 years at Texas and North Carolina. It might be a long time before he takes a seventh.
2. What swagger? Mack Brown has taken exactly the right approach to this season by saying over and over this Texas team has to do it before he can say a darn thing. When he was asked Thursday if his team had swagger — an overblown description that makes sportswriters and fans cringe, especially when a team’s done nothing to swag about — Mack said, “We won’t know till we play. You learn about your team in a tough fourth quarter. We’ve got older guys, and this team’s got a little edge to them. They want to finish right. They’re practicing with that edge. We won’t want a motto until they’re ready to live it.” Exactly. But be careful about talking about an edge, Mack. One man’s edge is another man’s swagger.
3. Wondering if Major Applewhite wasn’t dissing David Ash a little this week after what the offensive coordinator called an “uneventful” performance in last Monday’s scrimmage. No turnovers but no big plays. Maybe Ash is a little too comfortable in the job now that he knows he’s the starter. A school spokesman, however, told me that was not the case because he said Mack called Friday’s workout the best Ash has had all August and said Ash is managing the game.
4. When asked if he would play third-string quarterback Tyrone Swoopes this season, Applewhite sniffed, “Please. It’s been 10 practices.” Love Major’s feistiness, especially when he spoke in a self-deprecating manner about the rate people grow up and said, “We’re all maturing, right?” Some of us are still trying, Major.
5. Did you see where major league baseball is expanding instant replay next year? Everyone here knows 9 Things Guy is rigidly opposed to replay in general, but this does make some sense. The rule change will allow managers three challenges, two after the sixth inning, to right wrongs. I can live with that. Now can you just do one darn thing about batters stepping out of the batter’s box after every pitch?
6. Can’t wait to see what Rice’s notorious Marching Owl Band has in store for its opener against Texas A&M in two weeks. I’m guessing they’ll form a ballpoint pen or an NCAA jailhouse for everyone’s favorite quarterback. Hope A&M has extra security on hand.
7. You think Mack’s got some pressure? First-year head coach Doug Martin will try to end an 11-game losing streak and make New Mexico State competitive. That’ll be a chore. After opening on the road against Texas, these Aggies still have to play UCLA, Boston College and Minnesota. New Mexico State went 1-11 last year, has won 13 games since 2008 and hasn’t been to a bowl game since 1960, the longest drought of any FBS team. And did you check out their new helmets? Have a white stripe down the middle with guns logos on them. Uh, not the best message to be sending in these times.
8. Some rare good news for Texas baseball fans. Returning senior outfielder Mark Payton hit .300 and scored two runs to help the Cotuit Kettleers win the Cape Cod League championship, and incoming Longhorn pitcher Lukas Schiraldi won that league’s Outstanding Pitcher of the Year award after posting a 1.19 ERA. … Also hear Cameron Ridley has shed weight, “has gotten a lot stronger and is in much better shape,” one Longhorn staffer says.
9. Stop the campaigning. “Jobs” — the compelling story about the late Steve Jobs and his self-absorbed yet brilliant crusade as the founder of Apple computer, starting out in his parents’ garage — will win the Oscar for best movie of the year. And give Ashton Kutcher the Oscar for best actor. From his lurching gait on the balls of his feet to his tight-lipped countenance, he gave a dead-on portrayal of the iconic, driven genius who comes off emotionally vacant. Never knew he loved to go barefoot. Film did omit how he restored his relationship with his daughter. Gave it 9 1/2 ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: The Pittsburgh Steelers will have a losing season and not make the playoffs.