Bohls: MLS should consider major soccer options for Crew, Austin FC


While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:

1. While Austin FC works to make its new home here, the Major League Soccer franchise has so much on its plate that it can’t even see the plate. Precourt Sports Ventures is pushing its relocation as fast as it can but has to deal with legal issues in Columbus and find a temporary stadium and training facility in the Austin metro area at the same time it tries to move its entire operation starting in November. Not impossible when the season starts next March, but a Herculean feat, to be sure. The best move would be for Columbus to find deep-pocketed, local ownership that could finance a new stadium and have MLS plop an expansion team there. Crew owner Anthony Precourt is fine with the team name and colors remaining with Ohio. It’s clear that MLS has and will explore every option, probably even one distasteful to Precourt. There’s one resolution that he might never be willing to accept: Under that plan, his move to Austin would be delayed for two years, he would start anew with an expansion team and let the Columbus Crew stay where it is while that city finds a legitimate ownership group that could come up with the $150 million franchise fee up front and another $200 million for a new stadium. Austin FC could breathe. It could spend two years marketing a new brand and start fresh in its new stadium at McKalla Place. Unfortunately, Precourt would forfeit bringing a seasoned, playoff team to Austin and might lose revenue for two years, and that probably would be unacceptable.

2. There’s not a more candid athlete at Texas than defensive end Breckyn Hager, whose from-the-gut responses are honest to a fault. I love his spirit and his passion, but he also had just two tackles and didn’t play well. On the loss to Maryland, he said, “I’ve already buried it mentally.” But he also said he was struck by the “real hostile environment.” That struck me as odd, given the fact Longhorn fans made up more than half of the 47,641 spectators at FedEx Field. Hager also said he was “real confused at first” by the outcome, but said he observed his teammates’ faces and expressions and concluded “they were all really hurting more than ever” and said he saw “determination and reborn looks in their eyes.”

3. Sam Ehlinger comes off as a confident quarterback who knows part of his job is to look, well, confident and in control. He pointed out he thought he played better in “protecting myself, sitting in the pocket and finding guys downfield who were not his first progression. Mentally, my game has advanced.” I’d totally agree with that assessment, but he needs to close out wins if he hopes to win over his team and fan base. He also said he ran by design only two or three times, in part because Maryland used a linebacker or safety as a spy on him. He probably needs to run more often to truly be effective, but that’s risking injury. … Rice transfer Calvin Anderson played every snap at left tackle, and three of his fellow offensive linemen did as well. Anderson said he heard he was projected as a fourth or fifth-round NFL draft pick, had he come out last spring, but he loves being at Texas after graduating with a degree in mathematics economics.

4. When did the Big 12 become the Big 3? Other than Oklahoma, West Virginia and TCU, opening week was a colossal dud for the league. Losses by Texas, Texas Tech and Kansas were crushing defeats for the conference’s national perception. The SEC is off to a dominant start and bullied foes like they were a sideline reporter. The league went 13-1 as Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi State and Texas A&M won big, Auburn got past Washington, LSU punked Miami, Ole Miss was impressive against Texas Tech, and only Tennessee faltered, albeit against Top 25 West Virginia.

5. Did Jeshaun Jones join the early Heisman race? The Maryland freshman wide receiver was eye-poppingly good. Texas can at least be glad he didn’t go to Iowa State as someone whom the Cyclones recruited. … Keep an eye out for Boston College. … Loved the reaction of Tennessee’s Jeremy Pruitt after his first-game loss to West Virginia when he said, “How your team plays tells you what kind of coach you, and their team played better than our team today — so that’s on me.”

6. I know the Oakland Raiders got two first-round draft picks for Khalil Mack, but I just don’t think you trade perhaps the premier pass-rusher in the game. Even first-rounders flop. Mack has played in every game for his four seasons and posted 40 1/2 sacks and forced nine fumbles. Wonder if John Gruden’s ego couldn’t take another superstar in the locker room. .… We love candor and honesty, but I can’t help but think Jalen Ramsey is going too far in ripping players far and wide. He’s called A.J. Green “soft” and “a punk.” He said Rob Gronkowski is overrated. He calls the past Texans quarterbacks “trash,” but he may have a point there. But I can’t help but think he’s going to get a cheap shot from someone who’s felt his venom. Oh, and he’s also chided Jimbo Fisher, calling his former Florida State coach “OK.” Heckuva endorsement.

7. Texas wideout Collin Johnson stood up for Nike’s decision to make Colin Kaepernick the new face of its ad campaign. “He’s standing up for what he believes,” Johnson said. “He stands up for that even if that requires losing everything. I’ll always respect that.” … Johnson had two exceptional catches in Maryland, but didn’t block well. Nor did his fellow wideouts, which crippled those hitch passes. Devin Duvernay had the catch of his life with a fully extended grab of a touchdown pass. “It was epic,” he said. “My teammates were calling me ‘Superman.’”

8. Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to Marty Cherry, the most famous third-string quarterback in school history who got discovered during a 66-3 rout by UCLA in 1997 and became a fashion model and the face of Chaps by Ralph Lauren. If you know his whereabouts, email me at kbohls@statesman.com.

9. Check out the 13-episode docu-series, “The Staircase,” on Netflix. It’s about a suspicious death of a woman in North Carolina in which her husband, a novelist, was accused and convicted of murder. Needed editing, but still captivating. Gave it seven ducks.

10. Crazy prediction: Colt McCoy will become a college offensive coordinator by 2022.



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