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Escaping the shearing shed

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Basketball:

I present the scores of the last 6 meetings between Texas and Texas A&M occurring in Reed Arena, College Station.

81-66, 80-63, 100-82, 46-43, 76-43, 69-59.

Those are the scores moving backwards in time from last season to the 2003-04 season. All are Aggy victories with the exception of the 69-59 victory earned behind a 6,10,7 from Royal Ivey. As we are all familiar, if we take the time to drag the rotten memories out of the deep places in our mind where the 4rth quarter of the 2002 RRS is kept, Texas plays Texas A&M in Reed Arena every season. None of the current seniors have won there.

It became a difficult task in 2003 when Ford led the Longhorns in a 95-87 shootout that was in question throughout most of the contest. After the senior squad Ford left behind kept the streak alive every Barnes' squad has failed. This should be obvious to point out but that includes 2 elite eight teams and groups featuring Aldridge, Durant, and DJ Augustin.

Why should this season be any different? No reason, really. The last team to accomplish this goal was perhaps the most similar to the current team as it was very deep, no true point-guard, and led by a class of seniors. That squad also had a successful identity, consistent defense and a weaker foe.

You can read up on this year's Aggy team over at SpenceParkSoapBox where you can be sure that the fall from the top for Texas has been as puzzling for them as for us. The Box Score for the last game (Texas slipping by in OT) is here and it saw Texas escape by means of double-doubles from James, Johnson, and Brown if you are hazy on the details.

Rick Barnes had some interesting quotes from an article in ESPN the Magazine. Also buried in that article was a quote by Dexter Pittman:

Between J'Covan and Jordan, I really wish one of them would always start on the wing, because that would help me with spacing. They can't sit on the bench. I really need one of them.

Shocking confession. Pittman is probably looking back to his 4 point 2 rebound performance in round one of this series. Texas desperately needs Dexter to pay back Brian Davis in a big way, stay away from foul trouble, and impose his will physically on the game. The Aggies have always imposed themselves inside in Reed Arena and emerged with more teeth in a few bloody defensive struggles. If the dominant Dexter we've seen sporadically over the last few years shows up in this game I think that will provide Texas their best chance at coming away on top for once and virtually redeem the conference season.

Football:

GhostofBigRoy has his spotlight up on Joe Bergeron, the first intentionally recruited fullback I can remember since I've followed Texas recruiting. Unless Dedfischer is right that this is all an elaborate scheme to bring in Malcolm Brown and then continue to do exactly as Greg Davis wishes, which seems to be throwing the ball all day long, it looks like the move towards the 2-back offense is a serious one.

Most of Texas' O-line recruits fit into that mold better than the shotgun-zone offense that has been used the last few years since McWhorter is stocking up on enormous maulers. We'll see what practices and further interviews indicate as far as running scheme.

Chris Brown has another interesting schematic foray up detailing Jim Tressel catching up to Greg Davis in offensive philosophy and running an offense that will better utilize Terrelle Pryor. If you give a guy like Pryor a few easy short reads to beat zone defense combined with the ever present threat of simply tucking and running if things don't open up it creates a hell for defensive coordinators to scheme against. Even with simple routes repeated throughout the game it's tougher to stop than their power-runs where Pryor is uninvolved in the play. Uh, the type of running plays that we are now calling for here.

Greg Davis, meanwhile, is learning from Boise State in how to befuddle the visor and co. You can find Mack talking about this in his press conference and it seems that the "multiple" nature of the BSU offense has drawn the attention of the Texas coaching staff. Who could be behind this?

If by "trick plays" Mack means some kind of misdirection in the offense than I'm excited. I'm pretty sure the call for trick plays has been the common theme in spring talk from Mack for the last 238 years though so I'm not holding my breath.

You can watch highlight video from day 1 of practice at mackbrown-texasfootball.com. There isn't much to be gleaned from it really. Aaron Williams dominates, the linemen seem to be practicing combo-blocking, we won't be able to say much before open practices and the spring game and only the vanilla then.

Baseball:

Texas started off the series with a 6-0 shutout. Jungmann has been a deserving ace already locking down his first 2 contests. The 2nd contest starts at 2 with Workman getting his 2nd chance to show the stuff of starter in "deepest rotation" Augie has ever seen. Of course we'll want to see Ruffin in more late-inning situations but if Stanford is incapable of keeping the score close enough to apply pressure we can always learn more about Chance later.