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Burnt Ends (3-2)

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The point on a brisket is typically the fattiest cut. Pitmasters often trim the point and select edges off a whole brisket and return them to the smoker.


Are burnt ends tough, chewy worthless cuts of meat, or are they a heavenly bites of smoky goodness? I suppose it depends on who you ask...


Rather than discard trimmings and fat, we chose to savor all the information that flows through the site. So, sit down and help yourself to some burnt ends.






We spent a lot of ink in Burnt Ends clarifying what did and did not happen between Kyler Murray and the Texas baseball program. When reports broke on Saturday that the newest 2016 commitment, quarterback Shane Buechele, indicated to multiple reporters that he hopes to play baseball at Texas, we immediately approached our top source at the Disch to get the low-down.


We confirmed that conversations between Buechele and the baseball program have taken place. Everything has been informal and by phone thus far, but the talks happened.


Keep in mind that none of this is a guarantee that Buechele ever plays for the baseball program. Our conversation didn’t even range into whether the folks at DFF think Buechele is good enough to contribute at Texas.


Regardless of Buechele's enthusiasm, it is extremely difficult (and rare) for a player to realize his full potential at multiple sports in college. We plan to check back with our sources to get more detailed information as the situation develops, but, for this week, we at least wanted to confirm that conversations took place.




We had a pretty humorous exchange with one of our football contacts who was feeling a bit chippy regarding some of the reports that are floating around the web regarding the football team. Rather than try to set the stage for the conversation, we’ll just share what was said:


“Anybody hinting at movement on the depth chart or at certain players 'looking better in drills' is only trying to sell an agenda, a subscription, or both. These guys are busting their ass in the weight room, not playing football. There is plenty of hard work being done, but even the drills that involve a football are primarily conditioning-related.”


He continued:


“Look, there’s gonna be a time and place for actual practices. It’s coming soon and the players all know it. Until then, don’t be ridiculous and join the ‘Player X is outperforming Player Y’ talk. From the inside looking out, those sites should be embarrassed.


Do you really think the coaches are making depth chart moves based on stuff that happens in the weight room? I can tell you this – anybody that believes that’s happening doesn’t know these coaches very well.”




After hearing that rant, and knowing how much time players are spending in the weight room, we asked a friend what’s typically involved in a Spring training program. As a former Division 1 player, he had quite a bit of insight to share…


“For players, the first year with a strength coach is always the hardest. It's also tougher on the new coach - they have to set a precedent as well as a tone for the program.


That's not to say the second year is easy, but having those elements in place allows workouts to become more complex and football specific - more moving parts start getting incorporated. For example, in year one a coach may have his players doing heavy back squats. In year two, they'll be doing heavy back squats with chains and a 1/2 count hold at the bottom.


Chains are added to weights to simulate acceleration. As the bar moves upward, chain links come off the floor and make the bar heaviest at the top and lightest at the bottom. If you can move the bar smoothly even after the chain is added, you are ‘accelerating’.


Conditioning sucks...all the time. Especially in the morning, and especially when it's cold. If you practice hard enough you shouldn't need to condition but every team does it in season. (smiling) I'd rather condition or practice, preferably not both.


The open competition is something every coach says, always – even if there are clear starters. It’s nice to have a superstar that doesn’t have to go through every drill, you can rest him, etc. but competition brings the best out of people, which is exactly what coaches want.


Most of the "open depth chart" is in reference to special teams. People always forget there aren't just 22 starters in a game, there are also kick-off teams, kick return teams, punt, and punt return teams too. Players want to play, and that includes being on special teams – especially if you are a reserve elsewhere.


Also, most players know when it's their time to start. Very few players think they're going to be the clear starter and then don't play. A large majority of Division 1 football players are fully aware of their skills and their teammates’ skills. Depth chart moves almost never take players by surprise.”




One of the bigger names that was unable to make it to Austin for Saturday’s Junior Day is West Mesquite wide receiver Dee Anderson. With the winter weather that took place up around the metroplex, several players were unable to make the commute.


Anderson is already committed to LSU, but when the Tigers’ Wide Receivers coach, Adam Henry, left to take a position with the San Francisco 49’ers in February, Anderson hinted that he may revisit his decision. As Mike Roach wrote in his preview of the Junior Day, Anderson is first cousin to 2015 Longhorn signee DeAndre McNeal.


Given that connection, many are making the leap to assume that UT would be on any new list of schools that Anderson develops. With Reggie Hemphill and Collin Johnson already committed at his position, the number of spots available looks slim.


Regardless of those facts, HornSports reached out to several folks connected to Anderson to get some details on his skillset. The question we kept asking was, “Is he Texas good?”


Here is what someone that played against him had to say:


“He needs some work on route running, but you’ll never have to worry about grades. He’s crazy athletic and will dunk on you. As a wideout, one of his best attributes is that he won't let you put your hands on him.”


And this from a coach in his district:


“He's tall and thin, but not skinny. He’s actually deceptively strong for his build. Dee is a game changer - very talented. He’s got great Size for a wide receiver.”




Last week, we connected with a high school coach and shared names of two recruits that are poised to rise up the rankings following Spring camps and evaluations – Bubba Hall and Chase Bridgeman. We checked back in with the same coach and heard about three more guys that are ready to break onto recruiting radars.


Vernon Scott: Defensive back –  6’2, 200 (Mansfield Summit)

Scott is one of the largest corners you will find in the state.  On film he plays a lot of press coverage and uses his size to advantage to harass receivers. He also plays with a nasty attitude and is solid against the run. His hips and transition out of his break could use some work, but he will be a good option at any spot in the defensive backfield for some lucky school.  Coach Owens from CoachORecruiting.com said, “He is a physical corner with natural instincts and has the size and length Division 1 coaches are looking for at the corner position.”


Jonathan Brantley: Quarterback – 6’2, 190 (CE King)

Brantley is a dual threat quarterback with a big arm from the East Side of Houston. When talking CE King football, most conversations start with Trayveon Williams, but make no mistake, Brantley makes that offense go.  Without him they are a 5-5 team instead of Co-District Champs. Brantley does most of his damage on plays that break down, but also has the ability to stand in the pocket and deliver great deep balls.  Opposing teams have a hard time sacking him as he is a strong kid and has solid pocket presence.  With all the coaches and scouts on campus to see Williams, it won’t be long before Brantley’s name is rising.


Traver Vliem: Defensive end – 6’4, 230 (Midland High)

West Texas kids don’t normally get a ton of love but Vliem could be an exception this year. A pass rushing defensive end that gives teams fits of the edge, Vliem also does a good job using his hands to defeat linemen. He has a very high motor and it shows with the amount of plays he runs down from the back side. Vliem has a long frame and could add 20 pounds and still keep his burst. He is starting to hear from coaches all over the country and will be at the Texas State Junior day this weekend.


And if you’re looking for even deeper sleepers, coach gave us three more names to keep an eye on: Wide receiver, Shane Hudson (Crosby); Quarterback, Timmy Ware (New Caney); Quarterback, Nick Starkel (Liberty Christian).




As we continue to highlight prospects from the HornSports 2016 Top 50, this week’s focus is on one of the bigger visitors on campus this past weekend:  Alief Elsik linebacker Dontavious Jackson, who ranks 21st on the latest rankings. The bulky defender has a personality even bigger than his frame, and at 6’2, 240 pounds, that’s saying a lot.


Jackson is a classic inside linebacker suited to play the “Mike” position and come downhill against the run.  If you follow Jackson on twitter (@DCinco_5) you can see he’s popular among the state’s other top recruits.  With his signature mini afro and big smile, he is the type of player that could become an infectious recruiter for whichever team he chooses. 


Jackson has been on the scene since last year, accumulating an impressive list of offers including Texas, Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oregon, TCU, and Texas A&M.  Although he hasn’t tipped his hand early on, Jackson appears to like Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M. 


Texas took a big haul at the linebacker position last season, but Charlie Strong has again identified and aggressively pursued the top prospects at the position early this cycle.  Jackson will remind some Texas fans of Steve Edmond as he uses his big frame to get into running lanes before causing train wreck-like collisions.  However a look at his film shows that Jackson is more than meets the eye and may be more useful than a typical early down run stuffer. 


Jackson has average speed for a player of his size, but above average change of direction shines in his coverage skills.  At the point of attack Jackson can do it all: shedding blocks, avoiding blockers, and keeping his feet when being cut.  Jackson’s best trait seems to be his awareness on the field and ability to diagnose plays quickly.  Jackson also flashes a second gear he uses for short range burst to close on the ball carrier.  He is a sturdy and sometimes violent tackler who plays the game angry but manages to look like he’s having fun doing it. 


Jackson might remind some of Buffalo Bills inside linebacker Preston Brown, who starred for Strong at Louisville. As a rookie with the Bills, Brown burst onto the scene, accumulating 109 tackles on the season. 


Jackson seemed to enjoy his time in Austin this past weekend and spent some time with early enrollee Malik Jefferson.  Before the event Jackson tweeted that he was looking forward to picking Jefferson’s brain once he arrived on campus, and it looks like he got his wish as Jefferson tweeted that he enjoyed the time spent with Jackson and the other juniors after the event.  Jackson has a busy spring ahead of him with visits, but pencil him in as a guy that Texas will be in on throughout the coming year.




Hightower High School (Missouri City, TX) defensive tackle Darius Anderson attended the Texas Junior Day last weekend, and Charlie Strong’s Longhorns made quite an impression on the 6-2, 300 pound junior.  When we spoke with him as a spectator at the Pearland vs. Manvel District 22-6A Championship Game last November, he told us TCU and Mississippi State were at the top of his list.   After his visit to the 40 Acres, Anderson left thoroughly impressed with the football side of things, but that wasn’t what grabbed his attention the most.  Anderson told us his interest in Texas has increased, primarily because of the emphasis the school and coaches put on academics.


Anderson doesn’t have a list of top schools, but tells us he likes Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Houston, Texas Tech and Mississippi State.  Look for his offer list to increase when his senior season at Hightower kicks off.


With some of the state’s elite talent playing defensive tackle, recruiting fans will definitely want to keep an eye on Texas and Anderson. Seeing how heavily the Horns pursue Anderson may be an indicator of how the staff feels about their standing with other prospects.

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I'm glad you guys addressed all the talk surrounding players out performing others at this time of the year. Yes, getting stronger and faster in the off-season is important but those factors do not always lead to vast improvements on the field. We had a guy that was a beast in the weight room and looked great in shorts and shirts. Once we strapped pads on, it was a different story. Toughness, technique, and field intelligence are just as important as agility and strength. We will have a better gauge of improvement after that get pads on and start playing ball.

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You and me both, Coach.

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