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January 22, 2013

Here's what's in Chip Brown's notebook ...

1. Let's not make too big a deal out of this, but David Ash took the microphone at halftime of the Texas-Kansas basketball game and said, "The bar is set high for next year."

Just a couple of things on this: First it was announced during the first half that Mack Brown and the football team would make an appearance at halftime with the Alamo Bowl trophy.

But Mack Brown remained in his seat at halftime, next to his wife, Sally, and athletic director Deloss Dodds, while Ash took the microphone. (I was told later the football coaches usually stay off the floor when teams are honored.)

Vince Young said on the Longhorn Network Saturday that he also told Ash to email his receivers and tell them they will throw three days a week - starting immediately.

MY TAKE: Any step Ash can take to be more of a take-charge leader, whether it's public speaking or throwing in the off-season with teammates, is a positive for the Longhorns.


2. So if the latest junior college commitment, 6-8, 305-pound offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, lives up to the hype of being one of the best JUCO prospects in the country, who moves to make room for him?

The early speculation is that Donald Hawkins could move inside to battle Dominic Espinosa at center if Harrison is indeed an upgrade at left tackle. But don't be surprised if Stacy Searels opens all jobs on the line declares, "Best man wins."

Searels and Bo Davis led the charge on Harrison.

MY TAKE: Mack Brown needs to recruit nationally on offensive and defensive linemen. I know I'm a broken record on this. But Mack's loyalty to Texas high school coaches does not need to extend to the big fellas. Go find the best in the country at these positions and recruit all the skill talent from Texas.


3. The potential for realignment is heating back up again involving the Big 12.

I hope to have more on this later in the week. I can't even talk about what I know right now because I've been sworn to secrecy and will have to get more information from other places.


4. How about NCAA presidents basically de-regulating contact between coaches and recruits starting with the class of 2014?

The new guidelines sound like an ad for a phone plan: unlimited calling and texting. No more dead periods.

Basically, coaches are going to be able to call and text as much as they want. It will be up to the recruits to control the amount of conversation. But there will be no off-time for coaches, who will feel the pressure to be in constant communication with kids.

MY TAKE: Coaches have felt like they don't really know the kids as well as they should. Also, the schools that were skirting the rules were getting an advantage by texting and calling anyway, so now all the schools are on an even playing field. Let the paranoia and overkill on contact begin.


5. Late turnovers sank the Longhorns in a loss to Kansas, while early turnovers (eight in UT's first nine possessions) sank Texas at Oklahoma on Monday. And now leading rebounder Jonathan Holmes is out indefinitely with a broken bone in his right hand.

But at least Sheldon McClellan had a solid game at OU, scoring 25 points on 10-of-20 shooting, being aggressive and drawing praise from Rick Barnes after the game.

MY TAKE: A lot of things need to happen for Texas to continue to improve as this bataan death march of a season wears on. One of the most significant things is for McClellan and Barnes to be on the same page, like they were Monday night. Without Jonathan Holmes, Connor Lammert will get more minutes and a chance to shine.


6. Right now, the Texas men are on the outside looking in at an NIT bid.

Rick Barnes' school-record streak of 14 straight NCAA Tournaments at Texas will come to an end this year unless Texas miraculously wins the Big 12 Tournament. That's its only hope right now.

With the loss to Division II Chaminade and not one single victory over a marquee program on its resume (don't say North Carolina, because the Tar Heels are a bubble team this year), the Longhorns will have to win four games in four days in Kansas City March 13-16.

MY TAKE: Texas' odds of winning the Big 12 Tournament are probably 50-1. But, hey, Myck Kabongo should have some fresh legs come mid-March. And Holmes hasn't been ruled out for the season ...


7. The Texas women's basketball team has lost 8 in a row under first-year head coach Karen Aston (0-6 in Big 12 play), and has brought new meaning to turnover-prone.

Oh, and junior guard Chassidy Fussell, the team's leading scorer, and sophomore forward Nneka Enemkpali, the team's leading rebounder - two players on the team who actually contribute - will not be with the team at Kansas Wednesday due to a violation of team rules.


The Texas women turned it over 25 times in a loss at home to Texas Tech last week and 23 times in a road loss at Oklahoma on Saturday.

Are you ready for this? The Texas women are averaging 21 turnovers per game this season. That's not a typo. Texas is ranked No. 312 of 343 Division I basketball programs in turnovers per game.

MY TAKE: Last week comes the news that senior forward Cokie Reed and junior wing player Chelsea Bass, two big-time contributors, are retiring from basketball due to medical conditions.

Now, the news on Fussell and Enemkpali being suspended. When their eligible, Fussell can score and Enemkpali and Imani McGee-Stafford can block shots and rebound. But Fussell can't guard anybody.

And newcomer guards Empress Davenport and Ashley Roberts have had a rough transition to big-time basketball. UT's perimeter defense is awful. Everyone hits 3s against Texas. And nothing will improve until this team stops averaging 21 turnovers per game ... and players quit leaving the lineup.


8. If you missed the story on ESPN's Hannah Storm being badly burned on her head, hands and chest while trying to re-ignite her gas grill (and her daughter calling 9-1-1), it's truly horrifying.

She now wears a wig, has painted on eyebrows and fake eyelashes because of her injuries, but has not lost her upbeat personality.

Here's the link:

Hannah Storm's tragic story

MY TAKE: I'm an even bigger Hannah Storm fan now.


9. Is Jerry Jones seriously about to sabotage his coaching staff by forcing Bill Callahan as the offensive play caller on Jason Garrett (after lauding Garrett's play-calling when naming Garrett the head coach)?

I covered the Dallas Cowboys when Jones took the advice of Bill Walsh (former coach of the Cowboys' biggest rival of the Jones' Era, the SF 49ers) and hired Bruce Coslet as offensive coordinator with disastrous results in 2002.

Coslet was such an egomaniac he wouldn't even give a script of plays in practice to defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, so Zimmer could see how his players should react.

It drove Zimmer crazy.

If Jones is really going to do this, it has to be with a play-caller who works seamlessly with Garrett - not someone with the ego of Bill Callahan.

And have you seen this headline making waves right now?

Tim Brown accuses Callahan of sabotaging the Super Bowl

MY TAKE: Maybe Callahan is a new man. But he was a stubborn stooge at Nebraska, who forced his passing game on an option offense his first year with historically bad results (among other embarrassing lowlights) and left the Raiders as a punch line.

Why am I not surprised Jerry Jones is the guy still finding value in Callahan, just like Jerry was the only guy finding value in Bruce Coslet back in 2002?

Jerry Jones the owner is brilliant. Jerry Jones the GM is the definition of insanity.


10. I have no idea who is going to win the Super Bowl.

MY TAKE: And I don't care. I just want to see two, well-coached teams, led by passionate, smart coaches with rock-em, sock-em defenses, seemingly with great stories at every position beat each other's brains out for three and a half hours while I stuff my face.

Former Longhorns CB Tarell Brown and OG Leonard Davis are on the 49ers. The Ravens have CB Chykie Brown and K Justin Tucker.

(OLB/DE Sergio Kindle, the 43rd overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, was cut Jan. 7 from the Ravens' practice squad and is now a free agent.)






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