Among my favorite finely cut archetypes on the sports internets (along with Everyone Is A Douche/Everything Sucks Man and Socially Awkward-Fat-Dude-Who-Must-Explain-Why-Any-Attractive-Female-Celebrity-Is-Actually-Ugly) is the man who wrestles with how Texas can possibly offer more than seven football scholarships next year given the current scholarship allotment.
Class is gonna be tight, guys. I say we go 1 QB, 2 OL, 2 WRs, 2 DBs. We'll just have to play 2015 with 8 starters on defense.
Though they have been beaten into submission over time, they still crop up challenging any and all who dare to opine that the Longhorns can offer 20 scholarships with only 11 seniors graduating. THE MATH DOES NOT WORK, PEOPLE. ROSTERS ARE IMMUTABLE.
In their minds, program attrition - something which happens with more predictability than our sun rising and setting - is unlikely, and they cannot possibly conjure any scenario in which a player will get in trouble with the law; a player could get injured playing a violent game and not want to continue; coaches will tell a 4th teamer he'll never play here; or that Billy Joe can't make it to his Introduction to Sociology: White People Are Quite Mean class every Tues/Thurs.
Maybe it's because we never talk about it in realistic terms. We tip toe around the issue of attrition: for fear of offending the sensibilities of college age "kids"; because of our society's increasing discomfort with telling people "these are the standards, you're not good enough"; because of our unease acknowledging the truth that a college football program is more machine than family.
Just where does healthy roster churn stop and calculated Sabanization begin?
Seventeen players have transferred from Texas over the last 11 months. And we'll see another 2-3 before August.
Eighteen members of the 2009 and 2010 classes are already gone - gratuitous evidence of what we already knew: we were passing out scholarships with the due diligence of titty bar canvassers on the Vegas strip and our player development scheme could have been approximated with a membership at Gold's and a DVD of The Longest Yard.
This attrition, then, is a good thing. Resolution - even the unpleasant kind - always is. It's life's palette cleanser that lets you move on to the Chicken Vindaloo without dwelling on the Tikka Masala.
Carter Strickland of HornsNation nails it, IMO:
Of the 17, only two, Calvin Howell, who was forced to leave Texas after an arrest for possession of a controlled substance, and Nolan Brewster, who had to quit for medical reasons, might have contributed in 2012.
The staff can push harder and if an older player who is used to coasting wants to leave, so be it, it will not adversely affect the product on the field. Essentially, the staff is telling the players they now have to prove their worth each and every day. In the past there was an attitude that if a player had received a scholarship, he was worthy enough to be a part of the team. Judging from the numbers, that attitude was pervasive.
We should hold a parade. Give the dragworms kazoos and the feral teens streamers. Shower these transfers in the Kerbey Lane pancakes that they never delivered on the field. Put these men on flatbeds and celebrate them as they make their way to Sam Houston State, Missouri, or a lucrative car detailing job in Duncanville. We should trumpet proper fits and second chances, and not speak about them in embarrassed, hushed tones.
No one is getting the trapdoor, SEC-style, either. Lack of talent, lack of maturity, a bad back, or acts of bitch-kicking all suss these things out. If you're not good enough, but you're willing to work hard, keep your nose clean, and your ego can deal with seeing true freshman leapfrog you on the depth chart, you can stay and graduate. If you're hurt-ish and realize that the soul-crushing grind of big time college football isn't for you, the medical redshirt is college football's equivalent of an honorable discharge.
No one will contend that attrition in our coaching staff was a bad thing. The same logic applies to the roster.
I say keep us just short of Sabanization (Saban short joke!) and far from the business as usual of the previous five years and the product will take care of itself.