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Anticipating 40 minutes of hell

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Football/Recruiting:

Vasherized HenryJames went a little further than me and gave some thoughts on the whole class as it stands at 13. Following that is some of the typical doom and gloom about OL recruiting, RB recruiting and so on. Our recruitment and execution of a running game is very puzzling to me but I know we have a lot of pieces on board already and aren't going to have a free-fall at OL. Anyways, there isn't a long way to fall down in the running game.

I think the underrated transition towards futility in run-blocking came with the departure of Cedric Dockery and his replacement by Michael Huey. Huey is a more imposing and physical lineman who is simply a bad fit for zone-blocking. Dockery was a great zone-blocker who mastered the timing and pulling of the various plays. Texas hasn't had good guard play since he left.

Texas has loaded up on interior OL in recent years though with guys we haven't seen yet. Mark Buchanon, Thomas Ashcraft, probably Tray Allen and should improve a lot at Center this year with Snow taking all the practice and game snaps. There is a lot still on roster before Texas becomes destitute on OL.

Of course, if we end up with this class taking on the starting roles they need to pan out strong but I think it's easy to forget the previous classes who could still emerge. Most of the guys we take have seen blurbs from people like Scipio saying "give them a shirt and a few years and they can contribute". In a few years we'll know a lot more.

TaylorTRoom wrote about what it might take to keep the Big 12 together. The more I read from better informed writers the more I find the Texas problems with the Big 12 to be fairly petty while the advantages of joining a super-conference appear more and more as goals worth actively striving for. From a financial perspective it should be obvious that what's most exciting for college football fans will not fail to generate money without regarding the research grants or TV contracts currently in place.

Basketball:

Peter Bean wisely invited Rock M Nation to give some insight on Missouri basketball and what Texas faces Wednesday night. The emphasis is on Missouri's "40 minutes of hell" philosophy or "fastest 40 minutes of basketball" as they have apparently now come to know it.

I wrote yesterday that Missouri's desire to press and race the court and eschew half-court play falls right into Texas' wheelhouse. I almost wish they were a motion-offense so Texas could look to build on the habits that made them so successful against Nebraska but those tests will come soon enough.

Yesterday afternoon, eschewing the winter olympics, I found a replay of Texas A&M and Kansas on ESPNU. Since I hadn't actually watched the game or followed the box score I watched with interest to determine the winner. Much like you probably did during its initial telecast. I was struck by a few things in this game:

1). Brian Davis is probably one of the more hated Aggies I've ever seen. From the grumpy frown on his 47 year old head to the way he manages to foul out of every major game but only after multiple rebounds and defensive possessions.

2). Kansas is really a legit no. 1. They have some ugly performances but those include 2 road wins on the resume that came in extremely difficult places. Winning in College Station is something Texas has failed to do the last several years while winning in Austin has been near-impossible for Kansas for a similarly long stretch. They are like a machine in the way they grind out these games.

They get good offensive possessions late in the game through ball movement and posting up Cole Aldrich and they make most points extremely hard to come by with their traps, help defense and Aldrich's interior shot-blocking. Texas was able to lock down their 2 best scorers (aldrich by Pittman and Collins by Balbay) and still gave up 80 points and a loss. I'm not betting against Kansas in the tournament without seeing a compelling reason.

Bill Simmons has his annual trade-value column up here and here. This is one my favorite gimmicks of his and I'm usually a sucker for "greatest" lists. He lists a certain former Longhorn as being the no. 3 most untradeable player in 2010. I'll let you guess who...you guessed Kevin Durant right? That's the answer, it's Durant...just checking.

Baseball:

Burntorangenation wraps up there baseball preview with the pitching and the defense. Having Cox and Street available for multiple games to lock up CWS contests was probably the strongest trait Texas had in their victories earlier in the decade and it looks they have that again with Chance Ruffin stepping into that role. If he can keep the ball down and not over the fence I like him as another durable, multi-inning closer. You need that guy to have overpowering stuff and Ruffin has demonstrated that in 2 years here.