While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. Five-time Pro Bowler Darren Woodson told the Longhorn Network he thinks 5-foot-10-inch former Longhorn Earl Thomas might be the best safety in the NFL after making 10 interceptions in three seasons. “He’s the ultimate playmaker,” said Woodson, who sees a lot of similarities in New Orleans Saints rookie Kenny Vaccaro, who I think will be a finalist for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He says Thomas “on a confidence level plays like he’s 6-4, 240.”
2. West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck knows Geno Smith has his work cut out for him but still has faith in the former Mountaineer quarterback, who was drafted by the New York Jets. “He’s a very talented kid,” Luck said. “Now he’s in a tough market. That’s a hard place. But he’s a tough kid.” As for his son, Andrew Luck, Oliver didn’t miss one of his games with the Indianapolis Colts last year and doesn’t plan to this season. “I’m not sure anybody expected ’em to win 11 games,” he said. “I think the hardest thing any quarterback has is winning over the locker room. But Robert Griffin did; Russell Wilson did. Even Brandon Weeden did.”
3. UT-San Antonio football coach Larry Coker said he’s still not over his Miami Hurricanes’ loss to Ohio State in the 2002 national championship game, thanks to a late pass interference call. “And I don’t believe I ever will be,” he said. “I was talking to (the late) Coach (Darrell Royal) one time, and he was talking about the two national championships he didn’t win. I felt we had the better team, even though Ohio State had 14 kids drafted. I’ve moved past it, but you don’t get over it.”
4. I can’t help but think the San Antonio Spurs might be rooting for Miami over Indiana in Game 7. The Heat seem, if not broken, much less dangerous with little offensive help for LeBron James. The Pacers are well-coached, have plenty of weapons and can flat out dominate in the paint.
5. You can look for more schools to follow West Virginia’s lead and start selling beer at their football games. Luck said his school generated $750,000 in beer sales last season. Since the Mountaineers started it two years ago, he said about five others have joined the club, including Minnesota, Texas-El Paso, Toledo and Akron. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said, “It’s kind of a commonly held perception that NCAA has rules against it, which is not accurate. But I think it’s been successful at West Virginia. Their incidents of alcohol-related behavior are much less than in the past.” Luck said police have told him it’s a much calmer scenario than having students “chugging hard liquor.” Texas is still considering whether to sell beer at Royal-Memorial Stadium.
6. Bowlsby put in his support for wrestling to remain an Olympic sport ahead of baseball and squash — squash? really? — when the final decision is made in September. “Wrestling is fighting for its life in the Olympics,” said Bowlsby, a former college wrestler. “I expect it will be restored, but there’s a lot of work left to do.” I favor two Olympic changes. Use our college kids in basketball, and rather than bankrupting cities, anchor the Olympic sites in places that already have the necessary facilities. … Bowlsby hinted he would never succeed Mark Emmert as NCAA president, saying, “I’m here to stay, until my death do us part.”
7. Hear about the “NCAA violation” by a female golfer at a small West Coast school who was penalized $20 for an extra-benefits violation when she washed her car on campus and was seen by one of the school’s officials, who reported it? A secondary violation was ruled to have occurred because the water and hose were not available to regular students. Talk about the heights of absurdity. Actions like this are exactly why the NCAA rank and file are fed up with their own association. Emmert acknowledged the growing dissatisfaction and need for change.
8. A warm goodbye to Jim Vick, longtime math professor and vice president for student affairs, who is retiring after 43 years at UT. Class gentleman with huge smarts. Vick, 71, served on the Texas athletic council when it hired a young administrator out of Kansas State named DeLoss Dodds in 1981. “He was on top of all the questions we asked,” recalled Vick, who was honored by the Big 12 last week. “Title IX was a very serious topic then. So was the lawsuit involving NCAA TV rights. I was confident DeLoss had the experience. He learns quickly. I’d be surprised if our annual budget (now $163 million) was over $10 million then.”
9. Big Will Smith fan, but his “After Earth” was very average. Not all that suspenseful. Be a better rental. Gave it five ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: Ohio State President Gordon Gee will “quit” within one year and be hired at Rutgers.