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January 31, 2010

TEXAS TECH LOOKING GOOD POST-LEACH

It's been a few, short weeks since the Mad Pirate was dishonorably discharged from duty, but the Texas Tech Red Raiders have done everything right since then to keep the ship headed in the right direction.

The future looks bright in Lubbock for a variety of reasons.

1) - The Red Raiders' 2009 recruiting class had an emphasis on defense.
With names like Will Ford (Cooper), Pearlie Graves (Tulsa) and Myles Wade (Arizona), more than half the 2009 class was made up of defenders.

2) - Tech hired James Willis as Defensive Coordinator.
I wouldn't liken it to Dennis Erickson taking over Jimmy Johnson's Miami team in the late 80s (that talent base had no choice but to win it all a couple of times), but Willis has a plethora of big-time defensive talent in his tool box.

He's a no-nonsense guy who's played and coached his whole life in the SEC, and he's fresh off a national championship. I don't know of a better hire they could have made. If he can make Tech more than just "decent" on defense...look out.

3) - Tech hired Tommy Tuberville as Head Coach.
This, coupled with the two coordinator hires, was a big-time move. It could all fall apart and not be as great as it looks now, but on paper it's hard to argue that Tech should be very, very dangerous over the next few years.

Not only from a motivational or X's and O's standpoint, but hiring all these guys with SEC ties is HUGE in recruiting. Just look at the 2010 commitment list:

Kadron Boone (4-star WR): 6-1, 190 lbs from Ocala, FL (37.4 miles from Gainesville). That's like from Abilene to Sweetwater. And I know UF is probably stacked at WR, but they probably don't have anyone in this year's class that has more potential than Boone (UF has three 4-star WR commits on this year's list). Note - Boone is visiting LSU soon but the Raiders feel confident in his decision.

Shawn Corker (3-star WR): 6-1, 185 lbs from Fort Lauderdale, FL (35 miles from Miami). A solid commit since last summer, Corker is another one Tech stole out from SEC and Miami country.

I know what you're thinking: "but Leach and his staff got these guys to commit in the first place."

True.

These guys were committed to Leach and his crazy antics and offense, but if Tech administration doesn't bring in SEC-type guys to replace the old staff, Corker and Boone could have de-committed in half a second (and probably would have). Tuberville has "street credibility" in that part of the country.

Other 2010 commits from SEC country include DB Urell Johnson (New Orleans), OL Eric Lawson (Olive Branch, MS), Athlete Benjamin McRoy (Lakeland, FL) and DB Brandon Smith (Raceland, LA).

4) - Tech retained Benny Wiley.
The Strength and Conditioning coach at Tech for the last several years, Wiley's presence will keep some familiarity in the locker room and especially in the weight room (where the important off-season activities happen). That was a big move to keep the players happy.

5) - Tech hired Sonny Cumbie as Inside Receiver coach.
This goes along the same lines as keeping some familiarity in the program as Cumbie has been around the program in the media and most recently as a GA since he left the team as a player in 2004. It's also good in recruiting to have a younger guy (28) who is able to relate with players and recruits. And he's from Snyder so that's always good, too.

6) - Tech hired Neal Brown to take over the offense.
This is pretty much a given, but Brown won't make drastic changes to the offense which means you won't have a ton of "spread-offense" guys wanting to transfer or not come to Tech anymore because they won't fit in. It'll be business as usual on the offensive side of the ball for the Red Raiders.

Of course, all these things will have to transfer to the field, and if they don't, it will just validate the country's perception that you can't recruit to Tech and can't win at Tech.

But if the cards keep falling right, you never know what can happen. I'm not saying Tech is going to immediately and perennially start dominating the Big 12 South. I'm just saying you might see seasons like Tech's 2008, 1-loss season start popping their heads up with a little more frequency.
  • mark rogers
  • January 31, 2010 10:29 AM

NATIONAL SIGNING DAY RAPIDLY APPROACHING

It looks like Florida is going to easily come away with the nation's #1 overall recruiting list. Texas made a mad dash on Friday by signing a couple of 5-star recruits in Jackson Jeffcoat, son of former Dallas Cowboy Jim Jeffcoat, and Jordan Hicks, a big, ridiculously fast LB that the Horns stole right out from under Ohio State.

But it would take some seriously dramatic de-commitments from the Florida list to let anyone catch up.

The Gators nabbed three of the top seven overall recruits in the nation...and they're all defensive lineman (two tackles and an end).

It's tough to put a quantitative value on these kinds of ranking because there will always be players who don't live up to the hype, don't make the grades or get thrown in jail, but it's always fun to look at the players and where they stack up against other players from around the country.

If NSD (National Signing Day) was today, here's the breakdown of the Rivals.com rankings.

Florida at #1: they have four 5-star recruits (only 26 in the entire country), 16 4-stars and four 3-stars for an average of 3.92 stars per player.

You may find it odd that 3.92 is not the highest overall average. The rankings are decided by the total points for the entire class, and UF has the highest total (more points are given out for higher stars).

So who has the #1 overall average? Not surprising...USC at an even and intimidating 4.00.

But the Trojans are listed at #8 right now because they only have three 5-stars (one more than UT), eight 4-stars and only 14 overall commits as of today.

Texas is #2: with two 5-stars and a whopping 19 4-stars (most in the nation), Texas has a higher average than Florida at 3.96 (second only to USC) and could definitely be argued to be the top overall class this year. My vote still goes to UF because of how many of the top 10 they were able to commit.

On Wednesday Texas was a victim of the recent "Great-Texas-Running-Backs-Head-to-the-Northwest" pipeline when Lache Seastrunk of Temple gave Oregon a solid commitment.

He joins fellow Texan LaMichael James (Texarkana) on the Ducks' roster. And if you look across the state at OSU, you'll find former Houston-ites Jacquizz (RB) and James (WR) Rodgers wreaking havoc against Pac10 defenses.

As of today, Auburn is the only school besides UF and USC to have more than two 5-star commits. They're sitting fourth overall right behind in-state rival and defending national champion Alabama.

OU is fifth and are one of only three teams in the top 10 without a 5-star commit (Tennessee at #7 and Penn State at #9 are the other two).

LSU is at #6 and Georgia rounds out the top 10...as of today.

On Thursday morning we could all wake up and see these rankings exactly as they are today, or we could have some serious shakeups in the list.

The "stability" of all this rests in the hands of a bunch of 17 and 18 year old kids so anything can still happen.

And unless you're already enrolled at the school, nothing is guaranteed.

10 of the top 50 on the Rivals100 rankings still haven't committed so depending where they end up, we could have some rumbling around in the teams ranked from #3-20.

Other Big 12 schools and where they rank today:
#11 - Texas A&M
#16 - Missouri
#24 - Oklahoma State
#30 - Nebraska
#34 - Texas Tech
#40 - Baylor
#51 - Iowa State
#56 - Colorado
#57 - Kansas State
#58 - Kansas



January 24, 2010

PHILLIPS DESERVES EXTENSION

Jerry Jones said something funny in the press conference regarding Wade Phillips' two year contract extension.

To paraphrase, he said something like, "No I don't think he's overpaid. If anything, he's not paid enough."

If your the owner and GM and don't think the coach is getting paid enough...PAY HIM MORE!

Just something funny. I don't care how much Phillips gets paid.

It's like me saying, "If I could reach the remote, I could change that channel so I'll have to keep watching Lifetime Movie Network."

I have the power to reach the remote...just get up and grab it and change the channel.

Anyway...that was just a side note.

Despite getting demolished in the Divisional playoff game, the Cowboys got the December and playoff monkeys off their backs and are headed in the right direction.

And if Tony Romo is anything like his idol, Brett Favre, he'll be playing for another 39 years so we have a chance to keep winning.

The core of the defense should return which is good considering there were maybe one or two defenses in the league playing as well as we were the final five or six games of the season.

The core of the offense should return which is good because we were really hitting our stride before aiming our loaded Super Bowl Bound gun at our feet and pulling the trigger a half dozen times against Minnesota.

And our coaching staff will return intact. Stability is always good when trying to build a champion.

But, alas, the Cowboys season is over and the Super Bowl champs will either be the veteran Colts or the giddy, deer-in-the-headlights Saints.

Did anyone catch the differences in the conference championship trophy presentations tonight?

Drew Brees and Sean Payton held the George Halas trophy over their heads like it was the trophy symbolizing their dominion over the Earth and its seven suns.

Peyton took the Lamar Hunt trophy, kind of smirked a little, and handed it down the line.

Peyton and the Colts know what's at stake. There's one more game to go. Today was just another regular season win to them.

That's why I'm afraid the Saints are going to get manhandled in a couple of weeks.

It's like the Cowboys being so relieved to have just WON A PLAYOFF GAME!!! WE DID IT!!! 13 YEARS LATER!!! YIPEE!!!!

Oh wait...we have another game to pl-     and the Vikings game was over before it even started.

That's what's happening to New Orleans. That whole city thinks the Vince Lombardi trophy is headed to their town. Trust me, I was there last week. To that whole city, the game is already over...they've won.

Only problem is, they don't know what that's like...never been there.

Peyton and the Colts have. They know what it takes and are ready to win another one.

OK, kind of got side tracked.

Just wanted to say that Wade Phillips has won more NFL games in the last handful of years than all but a handful of really good NFL teams. He won a playoff game and the NFC East in come-from-behind fashion.

And to me? That's good enough for two more years.
  • mark rogers
  • January 24, 2010 11:45 PM

BRETT FAVRE IS AN ALIEN

I have to admit I was more than a little disappointed to see Brett Favre and the Vikings lose the way they did in New Orleans tonight.

After watching the Vikings treat the football like a wet bar of soap, it was amazing that they even had a chance to win late.

I would be even more sad knowing that Favre's last pass of the 2009-2010 season was an interception that may have cost Minnesota the game and a chance for a Super Bowl appearance...but that's before I realized something: it's not Favre's final throw in the NFL.

He'll be back next year and the next and maybe even the next. Why you ask?

Because he's driven? No.
Because he's a competitor? No.
Because he's a great QB who isn't ready to walk away from the game? No.

It's simple really...if you just stop and think about it.

Brett Favre will be back next year and the next and maybe even the next because he is not human.

Brett Favre is an alien.

That's it. The truth's out. He's not a human. He's not a robot. He's not some sort of prehistoric relic come back to life after being frozen in the Smithsonian for a thousand years (we have pictures of him as a smaller version of the alien he has grown into).

He must be from another planet.

The guy is 40 years old. He's started 309 straight NFL games. He got absolutely leveled several times tonight and didn't miss a snap. His whole right side was bruised last week and it didn't even faze him.

I don't even care about his stats or how many NFL records he has. That stuff doesn't even matter anymore.

What's more amazing is what he does week in and week out at 40 YEARS OLD!!!

Let's try to put 309 games into some sort of perspective.

I played football for nine years. From sixth grade to my sophomore year in college. A total of 93 games. And I didn't even hardly play 10 of those (my junior year when I backed up John Dutton's son at OLB at Plano).

Nine years is a long time. 93 games is 30% of 309.

309 games is just over 19 full NFL seasons (at 16 games a pop) if you don't count in playoff games (which he's played a ton of and has completed more post-season passes than anyone in history.

309 games is just under 13 DAYS of football...not counting overtime.
If 309 games were monthly payments on a car, you'd be paying the car off for 26 years.

I don't know how else to say it...309 games...no, 309 CONSECUTIVE games is the most ridiculous and impressive stat in all of sports.

I'm serious.

You'd have to make some kind of serious case to convince me of another stat that's more impressive. And there a lot of impressive stats out there...

Nolan Ryan's 7 No-hitters.
Emmitt's 18,355.
Hank's 756.
Kareem's 38,387.
Michael's 30.1.
Cy Young's 511.

I could go on and on. 309 (and counting by the way) is the most impressive and most likely to never be broken in my opinion.

But there is one caveat that needs to be noted in this case, and it should be noted with an asterisk for all time.

It's something that's unfair to all the great sports heroes in history. Unfair to Nolan, Emmitt, Michael, Kareem, Cy Young, Hammerin' Hank and all the rest.

An unfair advantage that all those other guys could never fully compete with.

It's the fact that they're humans.

And Brett Favre is an alien.
 
  • mark rogers
  • January 24, 2010 11:05 PM

COLT McCOY'S LETTER TO THE CITY OF AUSTIN

This was published in an Austin newspaper last week...in case you haven't read it:

To the City of Austin and Longhorn fans everywhere:

My time at the University of Texas has been filled with countless memorable experiences, from the 45 wins I was fortunate enough to be a part of to the Big 12 championship this season.

You have been there for me through everything and have shown your unwavering support. You have always believed in me, and for that I will be forever grateful.

As much as I am looking forward to the next chapter in my life, I am also saddened by the thought of leaving. I have loved being a student and an athlete at the University of Texas, and every second I wore the Longhorn uniform was special to me. This school and this city hold a special place in my heart that words can't describe, and I intend to remain an active part of this community that has given me so much.

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will carry your cheers and support with me always. Regardless of where my next stop may be, I will forever be a Texas Longhorn.

COLT MCCOY

  • mark rogers
  • January 24, 2010 11:02 PM

January 16, 2010

COWBOYS PREDICTION

Dallas: 31
Minnesota: 24

Felix Jones goes over 100 yards.
Romo throws for 280 and 2 TDs.
Defense continues to dominate.
Vikings will take an early, two-possession lead, but Dallas will rally late and continue its recent surge.

Oh, and I was in New Orleans on Monday. That town is already celebrating a Super Bowl win. According to all the radio stations and street vendors, the Vince Lombardi trophy is already headed to NOLA...

...based on how they looked tonight, they could very well be right. But it could also be a major jinx. We'll just have to wait and see.

TEXAS TECH MAKING SIGNIFICANT STRIDES

When I heard the news that Mike Leach was officially leaving Lubbock, my first thought was that Texas Tech would soon spiral from its "overrated" status and fall back to the depths of Spike Dykes-dom. A good program, but no real threat.

But with what has happened over the last two weeks, I'm beginning to think the rest of the Big 12 should be very, very scared.

New head coach: Tommy Tuberville. 110 wins at Ole Miss and Auburn combined including a 13-0 campaign in 2004 in Auburn. His worst season was 5-7 (his last at Auburn). He's posted winning seasons in 11 of 14 years as a head coach. Pretty good when you consider he's coached his entire career in the SEC West.

New offensive Coordinator: Neal Brown. 29-years old, the youngest OC in college football the last two years at Troy. Before that he was the Inside Receivers coach at Troy. He played one year under Mike Leach at Kentucky so he shares many of the Pirate's offensive philosophies. He is clearly one of college football coaching's bright, young, future stars.

New Defensive Coordinator (and this is the kicker): James Willis. Associate Head Coach and Outside Linebackers coach at Alabama. Tubs stole him right out from under Nick Saban. How is this possible you ask? Willis played and coached (two different stints) under Tubs at Auburn. He also had a lengthy NFL career. He's a stud and is an absolutely huge hire for the Red Raiders. Sorry Ruffin.

All these guys either have major SEC ties or (in Brown's case) have coached in SEC territory and know the type of football played down there. I think the Willis hire will end up being one of the best moves of this off-season of any program. We may not see it for a few years...just a prediction.

The only thing to really worry about now are all the recruits. Lubbock-land has heard lots of talk of guys de-committing or choosing other places in the wake of the Leach fallout, but I'll be very surprised if Tech doesn't end up with an equal or greater class than what was projected.

And that's based purely on the HC, OC and DC hires. Once guys on the bubble see those names on the program, they'll want to stay.

You may lose a few guys who were committed to and/or had bonded with Ruffin McNeil or another position coach, but overall, I think you'll see few major changes in the class.

Another important thing is that Tuberville retained strength and conditioning coach Benny Wylie. Most players have a deeper bond with the S&C coach than any other coach on the staff. That'll make a lot of players happy. Plus, Benny is a freak of nature.

So here are the biggest changes I think you'll see with Texas Tech:
  • A professional aura around the program. Tuberville is professional, direct and doesn't screw around. He won't be as witty or goofy as Leach, but who the heck cares about that?
  • No more 10 foot wide splits on offense. Thank goodness. That just didn't look like football to me.
  • Great defense...and let's not forget that the 2009 class was LOADED with big-time defensive talent that is just waiting in the wings.
The Leach saga may drag on for several months from now if not longer, but at least the team, coaches and recruits can get on with their lives...and apparently it seems like they're going to keep winning a lot of games if not become a real contender in the South.
  • mark rogers
  • January 16, 2010 9:53 PM

January 10, 2010

MY ROSE BOWL EXPERIENCE

I was informed that I was headed to the Rose Bowl to watch Texas and Alabama play in the BCS Championship over Christmas Break.

After juggling some things around in my work schedule, I decided the only way I could attend is if I flew out of Abilene on Thursday morning and arrive home on Friday night.

The earliest I could make it to LA was 1 PM. Game starts at 7:30 PM...plenty of time. I booked the tickets.

A week later (and about two days before the game) my brother-in-law called to inform me of something that he just thought of...that the game starts at 7:30 PM CENTRAL time...5:30 PM Pacific.

Great.

It's 30 miles from LAX to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. If I'm delayed at all or miss a connection...I'm history.

And not only that - I have the tickets...and Ryan (my brother-in-law) is already in LA.

Not good. And to top it all off, the Abilene area was expecting arctic winds and below freezing temperatures on Thursday morning (game day) so any precipitation would mean no Rose Bowl for me.

Alas, the moisture never came and I made it to Dallas on time. There were what seemed like hundreds of Texas and Bama fans at my gate. And one other vaguely familiar face that happened to catch me eye.

Is it? Could it be? Yes...Nastia Liukin, the Olympic Gold Medalist from the 2008 Summer games. Sitting all by herself. She was headed to LA to attend a Lakers game and visit a friend.

I took the seat next to her. Got an autograph for my mom and wife and took a picture. Cool way to start the trip.

The plane touched down in LA about twenty minutes early. I walked out of LAX with my back pack, tickets and autographed pictures of Nastia Liukin, and Ryan pulled up in the Chrysler rental.

I hopped in, and we were on the road.

Traffic wasn't too bad and we made it to the stadium in about 90 minutes. Three hours to kickoff.

OK...where do we park?

Nearby residents were selling parking spaces in their driveways for 150 dollars...there were four of us...that's too much.

We drove around looking for parking until we slowly inched past on older couple holding a sign. It said $50. We pulled in. Paid the man and started our walk to the stadium.

Some friends of Ryan had some friends who had some friends and we ended up at a pretty big tailgate party that was ensconced in the middle of a golf course about a half-mile from the stadium.

My brush with celebrities continued as I got pictures with Texas Rangers Chris Davis and Taylor Teagarden (my picture with Teagarden was taken by Chris Davis himself...ha).

We made our rounds, took some pics and headed to the stadium.

It was a mass of burnt orange and crimson. Reminded me of a Texas/OU game on steroids.

Our seats were directly behind the Texas endzone about halfway up the stadium.

A stadium with more history than any other football stadium in the world:
The first post season football game ever - 1902 (Stamford vs Michigan)
OJ Simpson
Jim Plunkett
National Championships
Vince Young
Ron Dayne
and on and on and on...

We watched pregame warmups and stared, wide-eyed as the national anthem was performed followed by an earth-shattering fly over of some really powerful looking and loud airplanes.

We all know what happened on the first drive. Colt goes down...#3 Garrett Gilbert goes in.

At first, no one really knew what was going on.

Colt got his bell rung? Garrett in for just a few plays is all...Colt will be fine. No worries.

Then as people began checking their phones, word began to spread.

"Concussion? He doesn't know where he is...It's a stinger. Separated shoulder. He's questionable. Headed to the locker room? Oh great...his dad was called out of the stands? Gilbert's going the distance???"

It was mass confusion in the stands. But when it became official the Colt was done, Texas was only up 6-0 after some very opportunistic plays and the Crimson Tide was just warming up.

The metaphor that came to mind was two prize fighters in the ring, equally matched. One fighter takes an initial swing and really connects one...right in the kisser.

But the punch breaks the fighter's knuckle in the process rendering his right fist useless.

All he can do is sit back and wait for the sleeping giant to attack...and there will be nothing the injured fighter can do but try to protect himself and get in a few shots here and there if he's stills standing before the bell rings.

I know Texas made it close in the end (3 down with 3 minutes to go). But, in my opinion, Bama had just eased up its mental edge for about 15 game minutes since they had such a big and cushy lead.

It was all over when Marcel Dareus hit Colt McCoy on the right shoulder, effectively ending his career at UT.

Dareus should have been given the game's MVP because he also returned an INT for a TD with 15 seconds to go in the half. And THAT was the real nail in the coffin.

Nobody in the stands said it, but we all were thinking it...as soon as news spread that Colt was out for good, our chances of winning went right out the window.

There was a change in the atmosphere in the stands. You could see a change on either sideline. You could see a change on the field. Everything changed.

And mad props to Garrett Gilbert who heroically came in and nearly pulled off the unthinkable. He started gaining some confidence and swagger about 10 minutes too late. I'm excited about what that experience will mean for his progression as a starter next year. He's some kind of poised and collected player...anyway.

After Longhorn nation's hopes were slightly and shortly picked off the mat for two seconds, we watched Bama storm away with the win and all quietly exited the stadium.

And I don't think Nick Saban was wrong for scoring that final TD. He didn't run anything fancy or tricky. Straight ahead. Power football. If you're UT, you WANT them to do that so you have a chance to get a fumble or some other type of momentum swinging play.

If they kneel right there, sure you only lost by 10, but there were still about two minutes left and I've seen A LOT of crazy stuff happen in the last two minutes of the game.

I've always thought, if you don't want them to score...don't let them score.

So we headed back out to the car and drove back to our hotel in Hollywood. We went upstairs to get cleaned up and go cruising around LA, but we all ended up falling asleep and never left the room.

I left the hotel at 530 AM the next morning and finally made it back to the house in Abilene at 8 PM...that was a long two days. Made to feel especially longer after what happened in the first five minutes of the game I traveled thousands of miles to see.

Oh well...it was a great experience. I'm glad I got to go. I wonder if I'll ever go to another college football championship game as long as I live. I sure hope so...but you never know.

COLT McCOY...A TRAGIC AND UPLIFTING STORY

I was on the sidelines of Colt McCoy's first game of his junior season at Jim Ned.
I was in the press box at the end of that season when the Indians were defeated in the state championship game.

I was present at the first game, a handful of other games and one pep rally during the regular season of Colt's record-setting senior year.
I was in the middle of the celebration huddle when Colt broke the Texas HS Class 2A passing record.
I was sitting on the floor underneath the basket at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin when Colt and the Indians basketball team lost to Kountze in the State Championship game.

I was in Austin at DKR Memorial Stadium to watch Colt McCoy in his first start as a Texas Longhorn (they crushed North Texas).
I watched from the field as Colt marched down the tunnel at the Cotton Bowl to prepare for his first start against Oklahoma.

I was at the 2009 Big 12 Championship Game in what would end up being Colt's last full game played as a Texas Longhorn.
And I was at the Rose Bowl on Thursday.

I watched Colt warm-up and prepare for the biggest game of his life.

I watched him go to mid-field as the team captain...the winningest college QB in the history of the sport.

I watched him as he began to take control of the Championship game.

I felt the building and volatile energy of the Texas faithful in attendance as the first few minutes unfolded before us.

And then I watched as it all came crashing down around him.

Five years preparing for this moment. No. Not five years. 23 years preparing for this moment.

The pinnacle. The biggest and most prestigious stage you could ever hope to play on as a college football player.

He came from practically nothing. From Class 2A. Amidst ridicule and doubt. Attempting to fill the great Vince Young's shoes.

No one believed in him except himself and his family. But he did what no one thought possible.

He left the University of Texas as the greatest QB in the school's long and illustrious history...period...case closed...no argument.

Five plays into what was to assure him a spot in the Hall of College Football Demigods. Higher and more prestigious than the Hall of Fame. Where only a few men have ever been invited to go: Archie Griffin, Doak Walker, Red Grange, Herschel Walker, Glenn Davis, the Gipper...

Five plays into the game that would earn Colt a spot in the 1st or 2nd round of the NFL Draft.
Five plays into a game that would end with the Longhorns' fifth national championship.
Five plays into a game that would end with Mack Brown hoisting a crystal football over his head and spitting burnt orange confetti from his mouth.
Five plays into a game Colt McCoy has dreamed of since he was old enough to dream...

It was over.

Just like that.

All over.

His career at Texas. His dream of performing heroics on The Stage. His goal of leading his team to a national championship. The buzz and electricity that had generated in the thousands upon thousands of Texas' fans in and around the stadium. The hopes of an entire nation of Longhorn supporters and Colt McCoy well-wishers.

One hit.

I can't think of a more sickening, upsetting and confusing way for a player's career to come to a screeching halt.

It was surreal. No one wearing burnt orange at the Rose Bowl verbally announced their thoughts...but everyone in that stadium...everyone...deep down...knew the game was over.

Even with 3 minutes left down just 3 points with true freshman Garrett Gilbert settling into a rhythm. It was too little too late against a juggernaut that might have been overcome had Colt been leading the charge.

He tried to throw a pass in the locker room at half time. He tried to get back on the field. But it wasn't meant to be.

Texas lost. Colt's career as a Longhorn ended as abruptly and viciously as anyone could have ever predicted. And Colt will never get to know what might have happened had he played in that game.

But I'll tell you why I'm such a big Colt McCoy fan...

It's not his catchy name.
It's not his absurd completion percentage or his 132 touchdowns accounted for.
It's not his career rating of 155.0
It's not his win total...45...the most EVER.
It's not his arm.
It's not his legs.
It's not his smarts.
It's not that he's from Tuscola.

I'm such a Colt McCoy fan because of who he is as a person and the perspective he has on life.

And it was all summed up with Lisa Salters on the sideline immediately following the game.
Colt could have said a number of things into that microphone.

He could have said that Texas would have won had he not gotten hurt, he could have said how mad he was at the situation or just turned and walked away.

I find it inspiring that he even came back onto the field after he was taken out for good. It must have been awfully tempting (would have been for me anyway) to stay in the locker room and curl up in a heap of misery and self-pity.

But that's not what he did. Colt took a moment to compose himself and told the reporter and the millions of people watching that sometimes things just happen. That he's taken that hit a thousand times before. That he was disappointed and would have given anything to play...but those are the breaks.

I tell you what...at that moment and even right now, I could care less how many touchdowns Colt threw or ran for, how many games he won, how close he was to winning two Heisman trophies or a national championship.

But I do care about one thing...that if I ever have a son, I want him to be EXACTLY like Colt McCoy the person. Not the football player. The human being.

I wrote an article five years ago about my prediction for Colt's career at Texas. I said that if given the chance, he would write his name into the UT record books.

I was proud of Colt then and the fact he was from West Texas.

I could not be more proud of Colt now...for what he accomplished and for how he handled his successes. But more importantly...how he handled his defeats.

More was revealed of Colt's character in that first quarter injury than what would have been revealed had Colt hoisted the crystal trophy after the game.

And if we all could stop and take a lesson from Colt McCoy and gain a little perspective on things...that would mean more to us than a win.

Easy to say things like that when you lose, and I'm not saying there are such things as moral victories. This goes beyond that...not even the same ballpark.

I've witnessed first-hand Colt McCoy performing in a lot of sporting events over the years. I've seen him do some pretty remarkable things with my own eyes and on TV.

But I have never been more proud of Colt McCoy then I was on Thursday night at the Rose Bowl.

Thanks Colt. You'll be missed on the field as a Longhorn.

But we'll never forget what you taught us or how you performed on the sideline of the biggest game of your life.