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Longhorn safety Deshon Elliott frustrated with Texas staff, but going pro means thinking like one

Elliott put the staff on blast, but he needs to reconsider his frustration.

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NCAA Football: Texas at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Deshon Elliott has been unloading on the Twitters.

Deshon Elliott had a terrific junior season for the Longhorns, his first year as a starter, grabbing 6 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, and finishing 2nd on the team in tackles. He also scored two defensive touchdowns against USC and Baylor. No Longhorn defender had a more productive year in the box score.

He declared early for the NFL draft on a body of 12 games of work - unwisely, which I said at the time - and then sat out the Texas Bowl against Missouri to preserve his health and imagined upper round draft status. A business decision that is, and will continue to be, all too common in the future. He eventually sank to the 6th round to the Baltimore Ravens, a great destination, but not a fulfilling slot financially. He was the 190th pick and probably expected that he would be in the Top 100, more likely the Top 50.

One of my many problems with “advisors” who show up to woo you, hope to enrich themselves, with no actual skin in the game. You end up drafted four rounds later than their sales pitch.

No doubt Elliott is frustrated and his desire to better his family economically is real. He also considers himself a good citizen and a program guy who got word that the Texas coaches used the fact that he and other players chose to skip the bowl game as a motivational tool for their current team. He also learned that some of his teammates bought in on that narrative wholeheartedly. So he unloads in anger, with a real sense of betrayal. Understandable. But he’s thinking as a college kid; which he stopped being the day he declared for the draft. He needs to start thinking like a pro.

The job of the Texas coaching staff is to get the team that they have ready. Football is a game of the willing. Next man up. The Horns defense didn’t play well enough late in the season and gave up some big passing plays against an ordinary Tech offense. They had a crisis of confidence as new starters struggled. Then they learned they’d be without their two leading tacklers against Missouri in their bowl game. The staff’s message: You don’t need those guys. If they don’t want to play with you, forget ‘em. Though an F word other than forget was probably used. Consider the real pressure that the staff is under at this juncture; a winning season and staff credibility on the line; only to have a player that you featured in your system, that you’ve advised not to go pro for sounds reasons, inform you he’s sitting out with two other teammates to preserve NFL draft status. The coaches have one job to do and that’s the psychological preparation of the team that’s going to play, not dancing around the feelings of those that are on the sideline. Which means rallying around the willing and conveying a message of solidarity and defiance within a depleted team. The result was a spirited bowl win led by the defense.

Deshon, you made your business decision: to preserve your health, and use twelve games of film for a draft status you thought you had secured.

The Texas coaches made their business decision: to motivate a football team that lacked self-belief being told they’d be blown out without their stars.

Welcome to the professional world. And good luck in the NFL.


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