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Romancing each other since 2004

Updated: 2017-12-18T09:49:04-06:00


Texas to face Tennessee State in front of dozens of family and friends


The game tips in Austin at 8 PM CST, and airs on ESPN2. For the Texas Longhorns, the non-conference schedule winds down this week. Shaka Smart's team faces Tennessee State today and Alabama on Friday. It gives the Longhorns two more chances to pick up wins before heading home for Christmas break. The Longhorns get to experience the thrill of the rare buy-game national telecast — an honor usually reserved for Duke and Kentucky — as Monday's slate of games features a Creighton vs. UT-Arlington match up on FS1 and little else. So the Longhorns land on ESPN2, because after all they have to put something on all of these channels, terrible bowl games don't start to fill airtime until Tuesday (it's Akron vs. Florida Atlantic in the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl — this isn't even a joke), and Texas vs. Tennessee State surely gets better ratings than show jumping. (Please don't come at me horse Twitter. I don't have any beef with you.) The Tigers come into Austin with a 5-4 record after finishing last season with 17 wins and landing in the middle of the pack in the Ohio Valley Conference. Head coach Dana Ford is in the middle of his fourth season as the Tiger's head coach. Ford was a good basketball player for Illinois State a little more than a decade ago, and after making a brief run at a pro career he got into coaching. His first job was as a grad assistant on Gregg Marshall's staff at Winthrop. After that, Ford followed the typical path of an assistant basketball coach, spending some time as an assistant Tennessee State before later landing again on Marshall's staff at Wichita State. He would return to his alma mater for his final two years as an assistant before hiring on as head coach of the Tigers shortly before his 30th birthday. That isn't too bad of a career progression. Ford has a reasonably experienced team that is perimeter-oriented and thin in the front court. 5'10 junior Armani Chaney functions as the team's point guard. He will shoot, but plays more as a facilitator. He has been somewhat up and down this season, with a few high turnover games (including giving the ball away 9 times in an OT loss to Lipscomb) that he would just as soon forget. Matt Coleman is likely to cause Chaney some heartburn. 6'3 senior Delano Spencer is the Tiger's best offensive player. He has a nice stroke from three, and has been good this season at creating contact that he uses to earn trips to the free throw line, where he is 30-34 on the season. Also rotating through the perimeter will be Darreon Reddick and Kamar McKnight. On the interior, Tennessee State gives most of the minutes to 6'9 junior Christian Mekowulu and 6'9 senior Ken'Darrius Hamilton. Mekowulu is more of a traditional big man, and is pretty tough on the glass, while Hamilton will occasionally step out away from the basket to shoot from the perimeter. As a pair, this duo isn't too bad, but there isn't much depth to speak of backing Mekowulu and Hamilton up. The Longhorns will likely be looking inside to Dylan Osetkowski early in this game, following the pattern that they established in a win over Louisiana Tech. The Tigers are a team that have a lot of trouble scoring, but they have been pretty solid defensively. They get after opposing ball handlers, force a few turnovers, and are good on the glass. If the Longhorns are sloppy with the ball, the Tigers will be more than willing to take said ball away. But in the end it isn't likely to matter. The game tips in Austin at 8 PM CST, and airs on ESPN2. [...]

Meet Hutto QB Chase Griffin, one of the most underrated talents in Texas



The 3-star 2019 prospect brings more than enough to the table, but holds only one offer to date. Expect that to change in the near future.

“He knows football better than any kid I’ve ever been around.”

Coming from the mouth of someone such as Core Speed Elite trainer Chux Nwabuko II, who’s helped develop numerous elite prospects over the years, such praise for Hutto quarterback Chase Griffin isn’t taken with a grain of salt.

When discussing the game with Griffin, though, it doesn’t take much time to realize why Nwabuko’s praise isn’t far-fetched.

Standing at just 5’10, Griffin doesn’t boast prototypical height for a quarterback and he’s well aware of that. As Griffin told Burnt Orange Nation, he may not be the most athletically gifted talent of the field each time out, but he strives to be the most prepared and mentally polished.

"I try to be the smartest person on the field each week," Griffin said, adding that he makes a checklist for every game based on what the defense has displayed on film.

"I try to adhere to that, that way if I know I need to get a completion, I'll be able to steal one,” Griffin said. “So having that on the field and having an operating system where I can use my accuracy and my pocket ability and all that really comes into fruition as far as efficiency goes, which I got a lot better at."

The efficiency Griffin strived to improve throughout his junior campaign came in the of a 67 percent completion rate, and more notably, a 10:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, as the 2019 field general totaled 40 passing scores and just four picks.

After committing to the Longhorns during the summer as Florida product Justin Watkins was wavering with his commitment, Moore began to seriously consider staying closer to home in September and made an unofficial visit with the Boilermakers in October.

Moore’s official visit to Texas followed the subsequent week and the concern about an imminent flip seemed to diminish as the 5’8.5, 174-pounder considered his options behind the scenes.

However, Moore’s visit to Purdue and the Texas offer last weekend to Crosby all-purpose back and Baylor commit Craig Williams, who would play a similar role as Moore for the Longhorns, the threat level is once again heightened.

But while Jeff Brohm has the Purdue program on the rise, the Boilermakers don’t especially offer a faster path to playing — the team’s second-leading receiver is redshirt freshman slot Jackson Anthrop. With redshirt freshman Reggie Hemphill-Mapps and sophomore Lil’Jordan Humphrey at the position for the ‘Horns, comparing the two depth charts seems like a wash.

So the major advantages for Moore in flipping to Purdue are competing with less talent across the depth chart and staying closer to home.

Head coach Tom Herman as in Louisville on Tuesday in an effort to keep him in the class. Will it be enough?

Texas depth chart updates for the Texas Bowl



Tom Herman expects both quarterbacks to play against Missouri.

During a post-practice media availability on Friday, head coach Tom Herman provided insight into how the depth chart is shaping up as players return from injuries and the coaching attempts to replace departed standouts Connor Williams and DeShon Elliott.

One of the biggest competitions, however, is still going on at quarterback, where sophomore Shane Buechele starts practice with the first team for the first series, then gives way to freshman Sam Ehlinger for the second series with the first team. Herman described the battle as even and expects both players to see time in the Texas Bowl.

In the last two games of the regular season, that meant only limited playing time for Buechele, even though he started against West Virginia, but Ehlinger failed to secure the job with his fourth-quarter meltdown against Texas Tech.

Along the offensive line, junior left guard Patrick Vahe is back practicing in full pads after suffering a sprained MCL against the Mountaineers, while junior Elijah Rodriguez is “doing great” after missing the entire regular season following a high ankle sprain that required surgery.

When Herman last provided an update on Rodriguez, he was playing inside at guard, but will likely be at tackle in the bowl game if he earns a starting spot. Whether that would be at right tackle or left tackles remains to be seen.

Other than how well Rodriguez performs, Herman’s choices at tackle will come down to his comfort level with sophomore Denzel Okafor playing on the left side and freshman Derek Kerstetter playing on the right side.

On the defensive side of the ball, junior P.J. Locke III is back playing at safety after returning from an ankle injury that has kept him out of the last four games. Locke started his career at safety before moving to nickel back as a sophomore. So he’s currently the replacement for Elliott next to sophomore Brandon Jones and could remain there next season.

Locke hasn’t shown the expected improvement this season and doesn’t have the ball-hawking ability of Elliott, so

With Locke at safety, senior Antwuan Davis has continued to play at nickel back, where he’s performed well since Locke’s injury, while senior Jason Hall is still in his role as a box safety/dime linebacker.

Texas LB Malik Jefferson day-to-day with first-degree toe sprain



The junior still hasn’t made a decision about the NFL.

Junior linebacker Malik Jefferson may not be done playing football for the Texas Longhorns, as head coach Tom Herman said on Friday that Jefferson hasn’t made a decision about the NFL and could play in the Texas Bowl against the Missouri Tigers.

However, he’ll have to get healthy to do so — Jefferson is currently day-to-day with a first-degree turf toe sprain. Of the three grades of turf toe injuries, Jefferson’s is the least serious. Given the amount of time between the game against Texas Tech and the Texas Bowl in 12 days, that should be adequate rest for him.

So if Jefferson is capable of playing against the Tigers, it appears that he may do so, regardless of whether he decides to leave the NFL in the immediate aftermath. Herman said that he expects to sit down with his junior this weekend and discuss their decisions about leaving school early.

Jefferson led Texas with 110 tackles and added 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, and five quarterback hurries.