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Around the Horns

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Football:

Scipio chimed in late with thoughts on the spring game, both offensive and defensive.

He also gave us a thesis on Malcolm Brown, the great hope for the Muschamp offense era (power running and play-action), who he forecasts as being about a level higher on the sure thing than Traylon Shead or Chris Whaley. If Texas brings in 1 guy of that caliber every year though and the occasional spread-made 3rd down back like Newton then you can count on watching more consistency at the position than we've seen in the last few years.

Speaking of the last few years, they have apparently weighed more heavily on Vondrell's mind than the transition to the Jack'n'Jill offense as he elected to take the path travelled less than sober.

He may be attrition at this point, a real pity since he could have been in position to lock down the starting spot with a strong spring and fall campaign in a scheme that allows him to hit the holes at a pace that suits him.

Certain attrition has also arrived from former star recruits Russell Carter and Ben Wells. You might have read Scipio's description of Carter as good but not Texas good in his spring game report and his departure is clearly affordable. Wells on the other hand is clearly reacting to his failure to pass Brewster, Gideon, Scott and now Vaccaro on the depth chart at safety. I actually think there could have been a future for him at nickel next year after Aaron Williams leaves for millions but he never seemed to get it. Again though, it's a position where Texas can afford to bleed some. If Chykie Brown were to transfer we would have a situation.

Chris Brown at Smartfootball has a post on the evolution of the spread, basically incorporating more reads and more man-blocking into the equation. I think Texas might settle on a 20 personnel look with an H-back and 3 receivers if Davis is willing to subject someone besides Malcolm Williams to press coverage. His 21 twins package does a lot to preserve Texas staples like the levels and stick plays that benefit from more than 1 credible receiving threat on one side. That's the stuff that burned OU before Stoops and Venables took a year to figure out how to stop it (and they were aided by not dealing with Shipley in the slot).

Basketball:

Durant and friends couldn't get a win in LA but the trends are not totally unfavorable. Kobe is doing exactly what you would hope, shooting 38% for the series and only 42% on his 39 point performance last night.

Granted none of the Lakers have shot particularly well against the Thunder defense but that's hardly bad news either. Two wins in Oklahoma City could quickly change this series but anything less than that and I suspect it ends in game 5. Another positive note is that Bynum and Gasol weren't allowed to to own the paint and combined for only 1 block whereas Ibaka contributed 7 to the Thunder's overall output of 17.

Beating the Lakers with Bynum and Gasol really centers around contesting Kobe and not being dominated in the paint by their abundance of 7 foot players who excel (and we aren't counting Mbenga). It's frustrating to think about what might have been if the Thunder had grabbed Marcus Camby and been even better equipped to handle the 3 headed monster that brought down Dwight Howard in the finals last year. Rest assured though that the Cavs should be equipped with O'Neal, Varejao and Ilgauskas while Lebron asserts his superiority over Kobe in your likely Finals matchup.