While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. Spring football has come and gone, and the Longhorns don’t look all that different to me this April than they did last season. I see a better-than-average team, but not a breakout one filled with dynamic playmakers. Texas looks more like a team that will win eight or nine games, but the Longhorns should get help because the Big 12 appears to be down from the past couple of years. I see Todd Orlando shaping the best defense in the Big 12, one with solid linebackers in Gary Johnson, Breckyn Hager and Malcolm Roach and a young, athletic secondary that also will top the league. Such newcomers as B.J. Foster, Caden Sterns and Anthony Cook will excel along with vets Kris Boyd, P.J Locke and Brandon Jones. Will Chris Nelson be able to replace Poona Ford up front? That’s huge. I still worry about an offensive line showing little depth. Rice transfer Calvin Anderson has to be a big upgrade at left tackle. Freshman Keaontay Ingram had better be a star or the Longhorns could be very pedestrian at running back. I like the two freshman quarterbacks a lot, but both should redshirt. I’ll be stunned if Sam Ehlinger doesn’t start at quarterback, but he has to drastically improve his field awareness and his accuracy to become elite. I see better kicking and slightly worse punting if only because Michael Dickson was the second best punter in school history after Russell Erxleben.
2. Austin Country Club president Jay Howard told me he is “hopeful” about a tentative offer on the table for a four-year extension of the World Golf Championship-Dell Technologies Match Play once the initial contract expires after the 2019 tournament. “That is what they have indicated would be their preference,” Howard said, referring to PGA Tour officials. “I would expect a proposal to our membership in the next 30 days. I am hopeful we can agree to an extension that is in the best interests of our club, but do not want to speculate on how that will be received and what the vote will be.”
3. Lance Armstrong “won,” and the federal government “lost.” That’s the conventional wisdom regarding the government’s $100 million lawsuit filed to show how the Postal Service was damaged by the negative publicity associated with the doping revelations that ended Armstrong’s cycling career. Armstrong settled for $6.65 million rather than risk losing tons more in a jury trial. U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper noted that last year the government had an expert who said there were 1.5 billion negative media impressions connecting Armstrong’s doping scandal to the Postal Service between 2010 and 2014. I can see negative reaction to Armstrong, but to the already bruised and battered Postal Service, which is the landline of government agencies? Of course, I never saw the epic boon to the Postal Service either. Did anyone rush out and buy extra books of stamps during Armstrong’s run? Oh, I get the positive association Armstrong brought until his fall from grace, but I’m not sure how that translated monetarily. Did anyone start using the Postal Service instead of Federal Express because of Lance? I’m skeptical.
4. Heard Kirk Herbstreit say Baker Mayfield is the best quarterback in this draft and that Cleveland should take Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the first pick and grab Mayfield with the fourth choice overall. I totally agree. Mayfield is accurate, tough, mobile and gutsy. Barkley will be the next Zeke Elliott, maybe even be better. “Baker Mayfield will be the next Drew Brees,” Herbstreit said. Barkley and defensive end Bradley Chubb or offensive guard Quenton Nelson, if not Mayfield, would be a great draft for the Browns.
5. I asked Steve Kerr for his thoughts about the one-and-done rule, and the Golden State coach strongly endorsed a reversal of the NBA rule that forbids high school basketball players going straight to the league. “I think the time is right to eliminate the rule,” Kerr said. “The G-League is a lot more viable for players, and I love the two-way rule (that allows players to toggle back and forth between the G-League and NBA). It would give young players an opportunity to join the G-League. I think it’s the right thing to do. It makes sense for everybody.”
6. Ettore Messina has seen a few pure shooters in his time in Europe and the NBA, and when I asked the Spurs interim head coach where Klay Thompson would rank as one of the all-time best catch-and-shooters, he sighed and said, “I’d put Klay up there very, very high, but you have to ask if it’s him or Kevin Durant, which is a problem. It’s a very horrible situation. When you see that Klay’s scored 60 points off just 11 dribbles or 40 points off six dribbles, it’s difficult to guard him. They’re fun to watch. Well, if you’re watching from home on TV, not if you’re playing them.” And then he brought up Steph Curry. Oh, yeah, him. Thompson’s as good as there is and may have the prettiest shot, up there with Durant, Curry, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki and Larry Bird.
7. Congrats to Texas sophomore Emilee Hoffman, a terrific ball-striker who finished second at the Big 12 Championship for the second consecutive year and led the Longhorns to the team title. Hoffman started playing golf as a 5-year-old with her dad, Jeff, a former college baseball player at Cal State Hayward who played in three USGA Mid-Amateur Championships. Her dad taught her by letting her play every hole from 100 yards out before expanding the distance over time. At 12, she began serving as her father’s caddie in tournaments, and she was one of three college golfers who played for the gold medal-winning United States at the 2017 World University Games in Taiwan. Coach Ryan Murphy’s seventh-ranked Horns will compete at an NCAA regional at the UT Golf Club from May 7-9. They’ll be aiming for a berth in the NCAA Championship in Stillwater, Okla., which starts May 18.
8. If I ran the Dallas Cowboys, I’d draft linebacker Rashaan Evans or Tremaine Edmunds or move up to get Minkah Fitzpatrick, Derwin James or Denzel Ward for the defensive backfield. Love Fitzpatrick and Georgia LB Roquan Smith.
9. “Molly’s Game” is a terrific movie about a woman who ran high-stakes poker games for celebrities, movie stars and big shots and became caught up in an FBI investigation. Jessica Chastain kills it. Loved her scene with domineering dad Kevin Costner. Gave it seven ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: Texas will win more football games than A&M this fall.
BOHLS, GOLDEN PODCAST
Catch columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden during their weekly “On Second Thought” podcasts, which pop up on Thursdays.
HOW CRAZY WAS HE?
Looking back at Kirk’s crazy prediction from April 26, 2017 — that Oklahoma sports columnist Berry Tramel and Russell Westbrook would vacation together in Las Vegas. Nope, didn’t happen, but we hear that Tramel enjoys spending time with Ricky Rubio.