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Horn Sports members, welcome to the March 26th Crossfire with McPhaul update. We've got a ton to talk about in this release including the work going on at Spring Camp, recruiting updates in two major sports, and how recruiting and academics at UT under Coach Strong have taken flight. As always we'll catch up with FOB later on after all our member-questions are answered. Let's get going.... SPRING PRACTICE UPDATE We are not used to hearing the word physical when it comes to describing our practices in the past but, that is the first word out of everyoneâ€™s mouth that has witnessed the few practices we have had. Gone are the terms of finesse, thud technique, wrapping up and the alligator roll. This team is hitting with mean intentions. If there is one area of improvement we all will notice next year it should be our tackling. The defensive line has received the most accolades so far with the offensive line slightly trailing. This is to be somewhat expected because the defense is usually a head of the offense early in the spring. It is way too early to say the offense is struggling because they are once again, learning a new scheme. The bright spots on the offense have been at running back with Malcolm Brown and the several wide receivers that appear to be taking their game to the next level. The team is really feeding off of the new staff and how involved they are with every drill. The team has now accepted the fact that if they have come up short on technique or effort, they will be repeating the drill with a coach in their face and on their tail. Every report we have heard talks about how the players are really buying in to the new coaching staffsâ€™ philosophy. It is very telling when all the players being interviewed are stating â€œthis is what we neededâ€. The days of coddling are over. If you are injured, you spend practice in S&C Coach Pat Mooreâ€™s pit and that can be harder than a physical practice. SPRING PRACTICE INJURY UPDATE Offensive Tackle Kent Perkins went down with what appeared to be a serious knee injury and had to be carted off the field. The preliminary report is the injury is not as serious as most thought it was going to be. This is great news because OT is one position in which we lack depth. NEW COMMITMENT Houston Westfield Left Tackle Toby Weathersby committed Texas last weekend. Weathersby is 6â€™5 & 290 pounds and is rated as the second best offensive lineman in the state. This one caught the coaches by surprise because Weathersby was strongly considering OU, A&M and several other top programs. This was the second head-to-head recruitment that Coach Strong has won against Coach Sumlin so, slowly but surely, Texas is staring to gain some momentum. Keep in mind that Coach Wickline was not accustomed to receiving commitments with this level of potential/talent at his previous school (OSU). Weathersby gave his commitment to Wickline after practice last Saturday and Coach Wickline was so surprised, he made Weathersby repeat himself twice. When Coach Wickline and Weathersby informed Coach Strong of the commitment, Coach Strong showed his exuberance by jumping on Weathersbyâ€™s back. Thatâ€™s Texas Strong. RECRUITING & ACADEMICS Usually these two terms are not mentioned hand-in-hand, but you better get used to it now. We have heard that one of Charlie Strongâ€™s rules are that his players must attend every class, sit in one of the first two rows and introduce themselves to their professors. In speaking with someone that works on the academic side of the house for Bellmont we have been told that Coach Strong meets with the Academic Advisors on a weekly basis and in those meetings they cover every one of his playersâ€™ academic statuses. The Advisor went on to say how much they have enjoyed working with Coach Strong and in some ways believed they received a bad rap in the past when a kid flunked. The Advisor also said that the academic side of the house is not doing anything different than they have in the past as far as reporting the status. The only thing that has changed is the new staff is actually aware of an issue before it becomes a real problem due to the weekly meetings. There was more shared on this topic, but sometimes the past is better left in the past. Now, what does this have to do with recruiting? We are already hearing from parents of some of the stateâ€™s top recruits that feel like when speaking to other schools about academics, they receive nothing but â€œlip serviceâ€ compared to what Texas is showing. TEXAS RELAYS Are scheduled for March 26th â€“ 29th at Myers Stadium on the Texas campus. Come out and see the top High School & Collegiate track stars as they compete in the 87th Texas Relays. BASKETBALL RECRUITING As reported a handful of months ago by HornSportsâ€™ own â€œShaunsters,â€ Texas is the favorite to land the No.2 rated player in the nation in 6â€™11 power forward Myles Turner. Joining Turner will be 6â€™6 small forward or shooting guard Jordan Barnett form Missouri. Barnett led his team to the Missouri 5A State Championship by pouring in 43 points from all over the court. Rumors are that UH 6â€™7 shooting guard Daniel House would be interested in transferring to Texas if UH head basketball coach James Dickey does not return. Dickey resigned last night, so this is one to keep an eye on. Rumor has it that former OU &n Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson is the front runner to replace Dickey. Sampson is currently the bench coach for the Houston Rockets. Q & A WITH HORNSPORTS MEMBERS Q) Who is the next recruit to commit? A) What I and everyone else are learning is; itâ€™s a crap shoot guessing which recruit is going to pull the trigger next. I will go out on a limb and say Rockwall Heath Running Back Chris Warren is a Texas lock. Q) Any updated status on Jonathan Gray's recovery... Opinion on whether he will seek a med. redshirt, or try to play this year. A) From what I have heard they are leaning towards a red-shirt although Gray is holding out hope that he will be ready to play at some point next year. Q) How are verbal commits going to be handled under Strong? Seems we have 60 - 70 offers out. Does the recruit have to visit in person...bring parents? Whoever verbals first gets the spot? A) I myself have raised this question and this is what I have been told. We have all heard of the term soft commit. Well, we can now get used to hearing the term soft offer. Not all the recruitsâ€™ situations will be handled in the same manner. Some the recruits have been asked to participate in camps so the staff can get an up-close evaluation. Other recruits have been told that the staff will attend their games to evaluate them in action against competition. And last but, not least, others have been told that we will follow their academic standing & off-field issues. Q) Whatâ€™s the word on Malik Jefferson and Daylon Mack? A) As you know, Jefferson and his parents made the trek to Austin to take in Texasâ€™ first spring practice with pads. Malik came away very impressed with the way the practice was conducted. Being a linebacker and seeing how physical the Texas defense is going to be has to be very enticing for any defender. In addition to watching the practice, both Malik and his parents came away very impressed with Charlie Strong and his staff. It is safe to say Texas is back in the picture and in a big way. This one is going to be an epic battle between Strong & Sumlin. Q) I'm wondering about Daylon Mack as well. A) Until Texas getâ€™s Mack on campus, there is nothing to report. For what itâ€™s worth, I do believe will get Mack on campus and when we do, we will back in the thick of things with Mack. Q) Which linebackers are looking the best so far? A) It is still early but, Iâ€™m hearing that Steve Edmonds and Dalton Santos have both had their moments. Q) Also, was Harrison actually shot over spring break and that's the reason for his leg injury? Any more details on that? A) The word on the street is Desmond was grazed by a bullet at a spring break party in Cali. Q) To piggyback off of ChapalaHorn's question, is Dalton Santos an answer at the linebacker position and, how has he responded to Coach Strong's way? Same question regarding Jordan Hicks. A) Santos & Edmonds are going to be our answer at linebacker so, letâ€™s hope they take to the new system well. I have been told that both Santos & Edmonds have embraced Strongâ€™s way but, you never know until we go against another team. The news on Jordan is he seems to have recovered well from his injury but, has some rust to knock off. Q) Can Jaxon Shipley be an effective possession receiver? A) Absolutely. Shipley is the best receiver we have regardless of where he lines up. Q) How does Erik Huhn look as a Longhorn? Kid was a good player in high school. A) Huhn looks very impressive on the hoof but, I have not heard or seen enough of him to comment on where he is going to be on the depth chart. He injured his ACL in his high school senior season and redshirted last at Texas year due to a shoulder injury. Q) If you had to pick a leader on both sides of the ball, who are the players that other players follow? A) Cedric Reed on defense and Malcolm Brown on offense. Q) Has Mack Brown decided to give his endorsement of Charlie Strong to HS coaches across the state? A) Talk about a statement that took on a life of its own. This was not meant to be a shot at Brown. You very seldom hear an endorsement from a coach that was reassigned. I donâ€™t think we will hear one until Mack is on TV and is asked about Charlie Strong. Q) Saw that nugget last weekâ€¦..or are he and Sally still going through UT withdrawal? A) This is going to take some time. Q) BTW- I'm excited about CS and staff, and all about moving forward but couldn't resist to ask. "Physicality" seems to be the buzzword various blogs are running with this springâ€™s practices. I want to feel good but I've been disappointed by similar claims the last three spring practices under Mack. I havenâ€™t been motivated to go to a Spring Game since 2009, so how can I believe again and feel the desire to go back to a Spring Game? A) You owe it to yourself to let the past go. There is a new Sheriff in town and even if our record does not indicate improvement, you will indubitably recognize that this is a different team. Concerning the spring game, MBHORNSFAN is in charge of the tailgate party and I have heard that he hosts one helluva tailgate on campus. My understanding is we are going to have some special guests in attendance. Come out and meet all of us in person! 1. just how BIG is this proposed state "tour" that "coach strong" is preparing to be participating in? obviously, this is indeed a great idea by all accounts... since it shall allow for new and prospective "fans" as per strategic areas throughout the state of texas, to "come and get to view up close and meet our new head coach" per se. what is your most honest view regarding this "tour" darrell? could this prospective "tour" be also designed to build a bit of "swagger" surrounding our new head coach in lieu of "sumlin" as well as "bob stoops" already highly recognized images? A) I remember attending Mack Brownâ€™s tour sixteen years ago. The tours are designed to be an up-close introduction to the new staff and rouse some excitement amongst the fans and alumni. Iâ€™ll be hitting several of Coachâ€™s stops on this circuit too. 2. Darrell, would it be possible to acquire the "view" as per our "friend of bevo" upon what he really thinks of this forthcoming "tour" featuring our new head coach "strong"? i would really enjoy viewing his "pros vs cons" regarding this prospective "tour". A) There are no cons, only proâ€™s. Every new head coach at a flagship university plans a tour like this. Q) What were the reactions from the prospects on hand for the full pads practice this past weekend? A) Every prospect ranted & raved about how physical the practices were. They also mentioned how impressed they were with the coachesâ€™ participation. Q) Which team from the ACC inquired about joining the Big 12? A) Louisville. Louisville came up one vote short (OU) when we spoke to them last time. OU wanted WVU Q) What's the real story with Ronald Jones and UT's recruitment of him? A) Itâ€™s early and other schools have shown Jones more attention than we have. Q) Is Rick Barnes in a "must win big or you're gone" situation next year? A) I seriously doubt that Patterson has had that talk with Barnes at this time. Q) If so, does Patterson already have names on tap for a new basketball coach? A) Every AD has a list and you can bet Patterson has a good one. Q) From Shaggy: Ronald Jones put out his top 6 and we aren't in it. Supposedly we sent him a letter addressed to "Roland Jones" and he wasn't too happy about it. A) I have not heard that. With as many as letters as we send out, mistakes are bound to happen. Q) I heard we are moving up on Ronald Jonesâ€™ list maybe even to number one. What changed? Is there truth to this? He reminds me of Jamal Charles a lot. A) We moved up because we finally offered. He reminds some of J. Charles but, Iâ€™m not going to be so quick to give him this tag. I donâ€™t think most realize how strong Charles was/is. Q) If the cheating is exposed on A&M, would the NCCA do anything or be forced to do anything if there is evidence they can't be pushed aside. A) The NCAA let the Manziel autograph evidence be pushed aside. Until I see it, I have little or no faith when it comes to the NCAA enforcing rules unless it comes against a school like Texas A&M Kingsville. INSIDERS? I think this is important to mention. The term â€œinsiderâ€ is way over used & tremendously overrated. For those of you that have followed & corresponded with me throughout the years have always heard me say that I am not an â€œinsiderâ€. To me, an â€œinsiderâ€ is someone that either works for The University in some capacity or participates in a sport for the university. For various reasons these sources cannot be revealed and it is silly to even ask who the source is. The Friend of Bevo information can come from a former coach, trainer, manager, BMD or someone that has a close relationship with someone in the program. We at Hornsports serve as a â€œconduitâ€ to our members with the information we receive. With todayâ€™s thirst of information pertaining to your favorite team, HornSports is fortunate to have these sources that take the time out of their schedules to share what we feel is relevant information with us. RUMORS CONCERNING HORNSPORTS' GROWTH There are several rumors circulating about the future of Hornsports and what direction we are taking? We are always looking for ways to serve a better product to our membership. HornSports is like your neighborhood â€“ you can always borrow an egg or a cup of sugar (or beer) from us. Recently we added Coleman Feely a former Div. 1 offensive lineman from UNT that was a part of Todd Dodgeâ€™s first recruiting class. Coleman also does color commentary for The Mean Green Network. Coleman hosts the HornSports â€œRoundtable Podcast with Feeley and McPhaulâ€ every Tuesday night in addition to contributing articles on the site. If you have not had the pleasure of listening to the Roundtable, do yourself a favor and catch the next one. Coleman offers a playerâ€™s perspective to the podcast that is unique and unmatched. Marian Hinton has recently joined Hornsports as a staff writer. Many of us recognize Marian by her moniker name of hookedâ€™76. Marion has written for Rant Sports for several years and has been a long time favorite on the message boards. Mike Roach is another talented staff writer that is relatively new and has posted some fantastic articles and recruiting updates. Hornsports is lucky to have the Roach on-board. UPDATE: Hornsports has recently placed an ad with the UT Journalism School for an intern to cover on-campus recruiting and a host of other duties. These new additions along with Johhny Whisenant, Chris Flanagan and Mike Barnesâ€™ Orange Report podcast are just a few ways Hornsports intends to serve a better product to our membership. Hold on to your hat because to best is yet to come. A CONVERSATION WITH FRIEND OF BEVO McPhaul: Boy, you want to talk about leaving me hanging on the last phone call. What have you heard about expansion? FOB: I have been told that countrywide realignment is in a holding pattern as long as the Maryland situation has not been resolved. If it goes Marylandâ€™s way, the gates will swing open and, more importantly, that includes the Big 12 - for additions and subtractions. I would really love to know what the subtractions meant? There are two players out there that covet the Big 12 ($), or so my guy has been told. One, of course, is in the ACC and it is the biggest of the players there. Clemson was not the school. I was also told to keep an eye on Louisville - who was an OU vote away from being in the Big 12 instead of WVU. That would be ironic, wouldn't it? McPhaul: Okay, keep your ear to the ground and keep us all informed. FOB: Will do. McPhaul: The other bombshell you dropped on us was pertaining to Texas A&M and recruiting allegations. Can you elaborate more on this? FOB: As far as the recruiting infractions committee is concerned, some information regarding "insurance policies" has come to light. No, I was not told what that meant other than (recruits name) & family may be involved. This is really sensitive and explosive info and may need a lid kept on it. We'll have to be patient and see what develops from this. McPhaul: Ah, I want to ask you more about this but, I will refrain for now. FOB: Be patient. McPhaul: What were your thoughts on our basketball teamâ€™s performance in Milwaukee? FOB: I was happy we did not let the ASU game slip away from us. Getting out of the first round was a very nice step in the right direction. This will give the team something to build off of. McPhaul: The game against Michigan was not pretty. FOB: No it wasnâ€™t but, what can you do when a team hits fourteen three pointers off of you? Michigan knew we were weak in defending the outside shot and they exploited it every chance they got. McPhaul: I was happy to see Texas make somewhat of a run of it in the second half. FOB: Just like the first game against ASU, once Barnes sat Felix, the team went on a run. If you care to go back and watch the game again you will see Michigan made a concentrated effort isolating anyone Felix was guarding. McPhaul: No, I saw enough not to want to watch it again. FOB: When Felix is on, he can be a spark but he is too streaky on offense and is a liability on defense. If this team is to go any further next year, they have to have someone step up and take minutes away from Felix. McPhaul: With everyone returning next year and the addition of Myles Turner, this team should go further than the second round. FOB: So should have Duke, so Iâ€™m not counting chickens before they hatch. I know Turner is receiving all the hype and rightfully so, but donâ€™t overlook Jordan Barnett. That kid hit 43 points in the Mizzou 5A State Championship game and I can see him receiving at least 10 minutes a game his freshman year. McPhaul: Will Barnes be under heavier pressure to win more next year? FOB: From a fans perspective he will but Iâ€™m not sure Patterson will make that move if we falter. I am also not implying Patterson would not. or the first time, I can see Texas being the B12 pre-season favorite. McPhaul: I can only hope this team responds to being a favorite like we did the underdog this year. FOB: We shall see. McPhaul: I know you mentioned to me that you had not heard anything about being excluded from practice, but Iâ€™m reading on other sites that all the BMDâ€™s have been told to stay away. FOB: Look, Charlie has requested a little room to work with this year. Charlie did not come off as abrasive or anything like that. You have to keep in mind that some guys thought it was their right to be down there on the field talking to Mack the whole practice while others would sit in the stands and would mingle amongst ourselves. Charlie just wants to assure that the old culture does not pick up where it left off. McPhaul: Thatâ€™s understandable. FOB: I remember Coach Muschamp shaking his head and muttering out loud that this is not suppose to be some â€œGD social event,â€ itâ€™s suppose to be work time. McPhaul: Any news on attrition? FOB: Unfortunately there are a couple of potential starters that are still straddling the fence. There are also a couple of guys that are going to have to finish up strong academically and attend summer school if they want to be eligible next fall. McPhaul: Canâ€™t name any names? FOB: I can but, I wonâ€™t. I will say that these are positions of need. The ballâ€™s in the kids court. FOB: I got a question for you. McPhaul: Whatâ€™s that? FOB: You told me that there was going to be some big announcement on your site this week, did I miss it. McPhaul: (Nervous chuckle) No sir, it has been delayed but, only for a couple of days. FOB: Ok, I will keep looking. I gotta run. McPhaul: I appreciate ya and thanks.