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Taking away Rick Barnes' candy

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Basketball:

Turkish Delight has gone down and will no longer be tempting Barnes to be future king of Narnia over his brother Self and sisters Turgeon and Capel. Granted that Barnes played PG Mason and the physically challenged Jai Lucas for extended minutes but this can't keep up.

Rick's dogged dedication (Good job Patrick Bateman) to breaking down J'Covan and co. has become an extremely frustrating thing to see. You have to wonder if Brown and Hamilton are a couple of super-rebellious punks who defy Barnes in practice on a regular basis but nothing we have seen would indicate that except Barnes refusing to play them when they are obviously needed. If this doesn't pay dividends soon Barnes will have to answer to the irate fan base in explaining how he produced one of his worst teams with some of the best talent.

The Box Score tells a story we've read several times. Pittman could only be restrained by the frequent fouls he committed but the boards were dominated by Johnson, James and Hamilton. Bradley had a questionable road effort shooting poorly from the field (4-14) and Justin Mason contributed what for him would be a solid line if not for the 4 TOs.

BON thinks this will result in 9-7 conference season with Texas dropping the road games in College Station and Waco. If this team wants to build any momentum heading into the postseason than picking up one of these road games is essential. The first Texas win @A&M in several years could be a strong boost in confidence to a team that was supposed to have championship aspirations. Honestly all of Barnes' lineup yanking is making this team hard to root for. Whether it's the fault of the younger players or Barnes being overly stubborn it's hard to get excited to watch the team play basketball.

You might make either case but I could name several NBA stars who, because their presence was necessary on the floor, were made to learn as they go by their coaches. Phil Jackson in particular has had to endure that process with 2 high-profile examples. Barnes is intent on showing Brown that he isn't needed if he won't play the right way but any of us can see that he clearly is.

Looking into the NBA where young Longhorn players grow and prosper Kevin Durant is tearing up the league and BON's Billzane has a nice bit about his trip to MSG to see the Durantula at work.

Football:

Chris Brown at Smartfootball questions whether you can coach turnovers in discussing the pro potential of Taylor Mays. That freakish safety has said that he was coached by Pete Carrol to go for knockout hits rather than trying to play the ball. If that's the case then you have a ready example of how a coach can encourage turnovers, or at least how they can be discouraged.

Muschamp has made a strong point here of trying to coach turnovers and while Brown is right in saying zone-defense produces more INTs, a coach can use other schemes and lessons to encourage the players into playing in a way that will see them in place to make plays on the ball. If I were an NFL team I would be sorely tempted to take Taylor Mays high and hope that he could be coached to be used in a variety of roles like Earl Thomas at Texas or Troy Polamalu at Pittsburgh.

A safety who can be used as a weapon to attack the various schemes and strengths of an offense is worth more than any other kind of defender save for a dominant pass-rusher or defensive tackle.

Baseball:

I attended the game saturday and came away fairly unimpressed with Brandon Workman and even less so with Chance Ruffin. New Mexico looked beat until they brought in their reliever Toves and shut down Texas after a hot start and were able to fight it out over the course of the game with Texas failing to get any insurance runs.

Using a closer who has a proclivity towards giving up the long ball is always a questionable call and Ruffin immediately gave up a jack in the 9th to blow the lead before loading up the bases and creating a terrible situation with 1 out where Kyle Lusson ran out what was likely a foul ball and consequently gave up what became the winning run on the tag up from third.

Pitching and defense should be a strong suit for the team but the bats aren't looking too hot yet and winning by this formula is a dice roll if you can't count on the closer. We'll stay posted to see how Ruffin handles future back-to-back outings and close leads.