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February 20, 2009


After this media-hyped two week stretch of contract negotiations, stalemates and a whole lot of "he-said, he-said," the whole Mike Leach contract controversy came down to "Oh, yeah, no big deal, we both wanted the same thing all along" - doubt it. (that's a paraphrased quote by the way).

There's a lot more to it than that. If they both wanted the same thing all along there wouldn't have been the two week drama.

What happened was that right before contract was finalized, Chancellor Kent Hance and AD Gerald Meyers wanted to put a clause into Leach's contract that said he couldn't interview at another school.

What they finally agreed upon was that Leach would just have to let them know - or notify them - of his intention to interview with another school.

Through all this haggling back and forth, there's a very good chance that some things were said or communicated between Hance and Leach that won't be soon forgotten. Granted, it's all completely speculation on my part, but usually on something like this, it doesn't just go away with a surface-level press conference.

Also, I loved the quote yesterday by Hance:

"I've always said that Mike Leach was a great fit for Texas Tech, and I think he fits us well."

Got that? Straight from the Department of Redundancy Department.

It's great that the two sides came to an agreement, especially for Abilene native Taylor Potts. The last thing he'd need right now is a coaching change as he steps in and takes over the most prolific offense in college football.

BUT, and it's a giant BUT, when Leach leaves Tech, you can be sure that this two week stretch will be brought up or thought of in the process.

I'm not saying that's going to be anytime soon. Leach might coach at Tech until the final dust storm in Lubbock. I'm just saying if he ever leaves, this stalemate will be a factor.

Remember a few years ago at Auburn when members of the administration were seen departing a jet in Indiana to meet with a possible replacement for then-head coach Tommy Tubberville? They called it JetGate.

That came back into play later and was never forgotten by the coach, the fans, media and most likely the players, too.

It's obviously not the same thing, but if you ask me, Hance should've never brought up that clause because coaches are going to interview and look at all opportunities when given the chance...that's just the way it works nowadays.

The nature of the beast so to speak.

It wouldn't suprise me if Leach jumps at the first chance to leave Lubbock and take the first chance to rub it in Hance's face.

But that's just me...

  • mark rogers
  • February 20, 2009 10:06 PM

February 13, 2009


Now that National Signing Day is over, and we're into the 2010 classes being fought over in the college ranks, it's time for all football fans to focus attention on the NFL draft.

Since I have an insanely, frustrating love for the Dallas Cowboys, let's go over what they should be looking for in the draft and what they shouldn't...in my opinion:

Backup QB - This may be the #1 need on the team. If not #1, then it's very close to the top. Brad Johnson is no longer serviceable, and every time I want to get a good laugh I watch Brooks Bollinger's first pass as a Cowboys against the Giants. There are a lot of good QBs in this year's draft - Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez, etc...but Dallas doesn't need to get one of the prime time guys. Just get someone who can come in and learn the system just like Romo did. Maybe a Cullen Harper, Hunter Cantwell or Curtis Painter. This is a huge need.

Offensive Line - just about any team in the NFL can make a good pick by going with an O-Lineman. Flozell Adams is getting old, Kyle Kosier's had injury issues. It never hurts to have too many offensive lineman.

Wide Receiver - Sure we've got Terrell Owens, but he's 35 and nobody would be surprised if he wasn't a Cowboy next year somehow. Whether or not Romo and Roy Williams will get on the same page is up in the air. Miles Austin can't stay on the field. Isaiah Stanback and Sam Hurd get hurt a lot, too. There's been talk of acquiring Anquan Boldin, but I doubt Jerry would spend the kind of money it would take to get him after making the Williams deal last year. There are some interesting free agents out there, but I say try to get another good receiver in the draft. Hakeem Nicks? Jarrett Dillard? There are many good WRs in the draft this year.

LB - We do have two of the best, most consistent LBs in the league in Demarcus Ware and Bradie James. But there are lots of question marks in the rest of the corps. Will Zach Thomas be around or be lost to free agency? Does he have anything left? Same question for Greg Ellis. Great player, but how much longer can he go? If Thomas stays, Kevin Burnett may opt out of Dallas. Bobby Carpenter is not panning out. LBs in the draft that could be around for a while (meaning into the second and third rounds) include Scott McKillop, Jasper Brinkley, Antonio Appleby, Nic Harris, Ian Campbell and Rashad Bobino.

The Cowboys don't need any running backs. We have one of the best, if not the best, RB stable in the league with Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice.

Stay away from corners. Orlando Scandrick, Mike Jenkins, Terrence Newman and Anthony Henry will be mainstays for years with one potential exception...

...Anthony Henry. He could be moved to safety. A move I'd almost prefer. We don't need to draft a safety. We could move Henry there full-time and have Ken Hamlin and Pat Watkins in the rotation. Plus Keith Davis is a great locker room guy and knows his role in the defensive backfield and special teams. Notice I didn't mention Roy Williams.

We're also set at TE. Jason Witten may be the best all-around player at that position in the NFL. Martellus Bennett, despite being young and doing stupid stuff, is a TD magnet and big--play maching. He has the potential to be a great blocker, too.

We're set at DL. Jay Ratliff in the middle. Marcus Spears at end. Don't let Chris Canty get away in free agency, and we're set. We also have very good backups that could continue to develop.

I think that about does it. So we need a QB, WR, OL and LB or a combination of any of those positions. The draft is April 25-26. About 70 days away!!!

And by the way...the first college football game is Thursday, September 3 at 6 PM. South Carolina vs. North Carolina State!!!!! Let the countdown begin!!!



  • mark rogers
  • February 13, 2009 2:36 PM

February 7, 2009


For probably the first time ever in the history of the world, the Texas Tech recruiting class is made up of a majority of standout defensive players.

15 of the 25 signees are either defenders or will start out on the defensive side of the ball.

Safeties Will Ford (Cooper) and Daniel Cobb could play in any defensive backfield in the country. DTs Pearlie Graves and Myles Wade are beasts that could make an immediate impact. And LB Brandon Mahoney is a stud, too.

A number of factors could explain the defensive class:

1) Tech got more recognition than ever before with 11 wins, a rise to #2 in the rankings and wins over Texas and Oklahoma State on national TV.

2) Tech's defense had a very good end to the 2007 season and was pretty good all year except against OU and in the bowl game. Good defensive players are attracted to good (or improving) defensive programs.

3) Maybe Mike Leach is finally realizing that offense alone will not win you a championship no matter what. This change in philosophy could be just what the doctor ordered...especially since Abilene product Taylor Potts (who Leach said was the most physically gifted QB he's ever had at Tech) is about to take the reins...beard and all.

No matter the reasons, Tech is making a serious run towards being a very above-average defense...and that may be all it takes to win that one important game they seem to lose every year and play for a Big 12 Title.

Maybe not next year, but if things keep going in this direction, it just may happen.

  • mark rogers
  • February 7, 2009 12:34 PM


Believe it or not...junior day is tomorrow at college football programs across the country. They all just signed their 2009 recruiting classes and just four days later, it's time to start looking to next year.

Guess that's why the big-time coaches get paid the big bucks...they get absolutely NO time off.

Texas has several four and five star recruits in town this weekend including Colt McCoy's little brother, Case. He already has offers from Auburn, Arizona and A&M but the Horns feel like there's a good chance he will commit tomorrow. Certainly has the bloodlines...

One thing to note: Case is seen by many as the #2 QB of the class if Connor Wood commits tomorrow. The 6-4, 210 pounder out of Houston Second Baptist is much higher in most of the player rankings headed into 2009.

He has offers from Oklahoma, Stanford and TCU. Both are expected to commit to Texas and it would probably be the only way the 2010 class would have two QBs.

Another name to remember is Waco Midway's Ahmad Dixon. He's one of the top five recruits in Texas and has offers from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and A&M. He'll be in Austin tomorrow along with about 23 other juniors.

  • mark rogers
  • February 7, 2009 12:16 PM

February 4, 2009


National Signing Day has come and gone. On the national scene, Alabama jumped LSU for the coveted Rivals.com recruiting class title with 27 commits and 2786 total points.

The totals are based on the number of recruits and how each recruit is rated so if a school has a huge number of players, its rating is going to be much higher.

The Top 10 are Alabama, LSU, USC, Ohio State, Texas, Florida State, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

In my opinion the rankings should be based on the average rating of each athlete. Basically who has the best all-around players rather than who was the most good players.

If you look at it that way, Florida would be #1 since they have an average rating of 3.9 (based on a 5-star rating scale - a 5 is the top players in the nation). USC would be #2, Texas would be 3, then LSU and Georgia.

You could argue those are going to be the Top 5 teams in the country next year but the real evaluation of these classes won't be accurate until four years from now after we know which players in this class made an impact, which were arrested and which never panned out.

Tech ended with a good class and coaches expect Will Ford to get some playing time at either corner or safety. They like his field smarts and ability to make plays around the ball.

Stephen Warren ended up committing to Valdosta State...great move for him.

Check out the Abilene Reporter News sports page in the morning for all the local signing day action. Unfortunately I had to work today and was not able to attend multiple signings like I have been able to do in the past.

This is a big day for many high school seniors. It's the start of their journeys...a new way of life...the beginning of an era they'll never forget.

I wish every local high school athlete that will play at the next level the very best and hope they all are able to stay injury free and perform well and work hard through these next four or five years.

Next up? Spring football, then the NFL draft, then training/fall camp, then the first college football game.

And, of course, the Cowboys' world is still filled with drama. If you're not caught up on the Bob Hayes' "letter of controversy" you need to get caught up. It's pretty typical of a story involving the Cowboys...and also pretty sad.