Mack Brown‘s job as Texas head coach appears safe if the president has anything to say about it. Well, the university president that is. University of Texas President Bill Powers spoke with the Associated Press and voiced his support for Brown despite recent struggles by the Longhorns on the football field.
“Mack’s our coach,” Powers said. “He gets we had a bad week and he’s trying to fix it.”
Brown made a change on his staff on Sunday, removing Manny Diaz as defensive coordinator and naming former Longhorns defensive coordinator Greg Robinson to fill the vacancy on the staff. The Longhorns gave up 550 rushing yards in a blowout loss at BYU Saturday night, dropping Texas to just 1-1 but leaving plenty of question marks hovering around the program moving forward. On Friday there were reports suggesting Texas Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds would step down from the position at the end of the year and that a sub-par season by the football program could lead to Brown following the lead and stepping down as head football coach. Some quotes from prominent Texas connections have surfaced disputing the certainty of those decisions.
The next step up the chain of command would appear to be the university president. As it stands now, on the record, Powers is saying Brown is working hard to fix the problems existing with the football program. Asked if Brown needs to lead Texas to a Big 12 title to come back as head coach in 2014, Powers said there have been no discussions regarding the future.
“Mack has my support,” Powers said.
But for how long?
There is still plenty of time this season to turn things around, or at least show signs of life. A win against Ole Miss could help ease the sting from last weekend. Ole Miss comes to Austin ranked in the top 25 after starting the year 2-0 with some young players already finding their roles on the team. Ole Miss could pull away in this one if Texas plays the way they did last week, but if Texas responds well to the drama of the past week then the Longhorns could send Ole Miss packing without a souvenir victory.
With 10 games to play, including Saturday’s game, hope is not completely lost in Austin just yet.
For the third consecutive year, Ohio State is your national champion in the all-important category that is spring game attendance. The Buckeyes once again had the largest attendance for its spring game this month despite stadium renovations cutting out 20,000 seats from Ohio Stadium. After a weekend that saw Alabama and Penn State prove to be the final hurdles necessary to clear, the Buckeyes can once again boast about having the highest attendance this spring, for whatever that is worth.
Alabama (73,426), Penn State (71,000) and Georgia (66,133) made their final push to round-out the top five spring crowds this year over the weekend. The only power conference programs remaining on the spring game schedule are Arkansas, Oregon, Virginia, and UCLA this coming weekend. If you took the combined spring attendance of each of those schools, they would collectively fall shy of Ohio State’s spring crowd total for this season.
Spring Game Attendance Top 10 for 2017 (as of 4/24/2017)
- Ohio State – 80,134
- Nebraska – 78,312
- Alabama – 74,326
- Penn State – 71,000
- Georgia – 66,133
- Clemson – 60,000
- Michigan – 57,418
- Florida – 48,000
- Auburn – 46,331
- Oklahoma – 43,723
How valuable the attendance figures for the spring game varies from fanbase to fanbase, and even within each fanbase there is a wide range of opinion on what the significance of the spring game attendance really is. It does help inject some reason to be enthusiastic about the program on the recruiting trail, but it ultimately is open to interpretation just like so many other recruiting tools. Remember, the majority of schools out there hardly make an effort to promote their spring game and make it an event fans look forward to. There may be no conference that demonstrates the wide range of affection for the spring game than the Big Ten.
The Big Ten is led by Ohio State, Nebraska, Penn State and, recently, Michigan when it comes to spring game crowds, but then there is the curious case of Wisconsin. The Badgers have a loyal following, but have not cracked the 10,000-fan mark since 2014, when I began tracking spring game attendance figures. Northwestern has never even kept track of its spring scrimmage numbers, and neither has Indiana for the past three years.
You can check the updated spring game attendance numbers and sort them by conference HERE.
Last season, Jeff James was one of seven players suspended for Miami’s Russell Athletic Bowl game against West Virginia. Nearly four months later, he’s gone.
In a press release, Miami announced that the defensive back “is no longer a member of the football program.” No reason was given for the nephew of former Hurricane great Edgerrin James deciding to leave The U.
“I talked to Jeff and we both felt it was in his best interests to get a fresh start somewhere else,” head coach Mark Richt said in a statement released by the school. “We wish him all the best in his future plans.”
James was a three-star member of UM’s 2016 recruiting class. 247Sports.com had the Orlando high school product rated as the No. 112 safety in the country and the No. 1,678 player in its composite rankings.
The defensive back played in one game as a true freshman, the season-opening win over FCS Florida A&M.
Not surprisingly, D’Antne Demery‘s time Between the Hedges was a brief one.
Earlier Sunday, reports surfaced that the 2017 Georgia signee had been arrested Saturday night in downtown Athens on misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass and simple battery. The alleged victim, the mother of Demery’s one-year-old child, accused the recruit of assaulting her twice, the first time, after a verbal argument, by “grabbing her on the back of her neck… pushing her against the wall, and also grabbing her by the hair” and the second after allegedly throwing her.
Not surprisingly, UGA subsequently announced in a press release that Demery has been released from his signed National Letter of Intent. In other words, he has been summarily dismissed from Kirby Smart‘s football program.
Demery was a four-star 2017 recruit, rated as the No. 20 offensive tackle in the country; the No. 22 player at any position in the state of Georgia; and the No. 204 on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. Th 6-5, 319-pound lineman was one of 18 four-star players in Smart’s second recruiting class at the school.
After signing in February, Demery had been scheduled to report with the rest of the incoming freshmen in June.
Tom Herman has made his share of news since his late November arrival in Austin, but Saturday evening was probably the first time his Big 12 and national rivals perked up and took notice of the new Texas head coach for something that will happen on the field of play.
The Longhorns landed a commitment from Newbury Park, Calif., quarterback Cameron Rising, which would be news in and of itself. The 6-foot-3 signal caller is rated the No. 3 pro-style quarterback and No. 52 player nationally by Rivals for the class of 2018, making him the highest-rated player in Texas’s 4-man class.
But Rising’s pledge is especially notable for where he was already committed: Oklahoma. Rising had been committed to Oklahoma since August and publicly firmed up his pledge as recently as January. “I’m extremely happy (with the decision),” Rising said at the time. “The program is so good, they’re moving in the right direction. They had a slow start but then they picked it up and it was like a warm nice through butter.”
Herman’s tweet brings up an interesting point: the quarterback Oklahoma is most likely to target to replace Rising is the other Texas quarterback pledge.
Casey Thompson, hailing from Moore, Okla., became the first Texas quarterback commitment just nine days before Rising. Beyond just living in the Sooner State, Thompson is also the son of a former Sooner and the brother of another.
In fact, Oklahoma waisted no time in reaching out to Thompson. “OU hit me up already,” Thompson told Burnt Orange Nation, but Thompson indicated Herman and company told him ahead of time Texas would sign two quarterbacks.
And in a note the Texas coaches have likely reminded Thompson of in the past 24 hours, they offered Thompson before Rising. “Me and the [Texas] coaches have a very good relationship. I knew they planned to take 2 from the jump. Their current QB room is thin!”
Oklahoma may very well retaliate to Herman’s plunder with a steal of their own. But the point is Herman has arrived in the Red River Recruiting Wars, and he’s playing to win.