Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel topped the initial Scripps-Howard Heisman Trophy poll of the season, released Thursday. Manziel is followed, in order, by four other quarterbacks: Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater. The nation’s longest-running Heisman poll has correctly forecast the winner in 22 of the last 26 seasons, including Manziel’s victory last year.
Junior quarterback David Ash practiced Wednesday, a Texas spokesman said, and will continue to be evaluated throughout the week.
He is still questionable for Saturday's game against Kansas State but the fact that he practiced for the first time since suffering a concussion and injuring his right shoulder two weekends ago against BYU is an encouraging sign for the Longhorns.
Case McCoy started in his place last week, going 11-for-13 with 104 yards and a touchdown pass in the first half before the offense sputtered after halftime. He did not throw an interception in the game but Texas didn't score in the second half, falling to 1-2 for the first time since 1998.
"I thought he did a great job," co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite said. "In the first half, he was spitting the ball out there... In the second half, we weren't running the ball as well and they were tightening some of those things outside. We could've done some things in the run game to make that easier."
Texas ran for only eight yards in the second half after totaling 116 rushing yards in the first half and tailback Malcolm Brown caused the only turnover committed by the Longhorns in the loss to Ole Miss when he knocked the ball loose from McCoy's hands in the fourth quarter.
"There were some things that didn't go our way," junior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley said. "There was a fumble that happened between him and [Brown]. Obviously we can't have turnovers. As far as the passing game goes, we didn't do the greatest job but that's something we pride ourselves on, playing pitch and catch.
True freshman Tyrone Swoopes, who coaches considered playing last week before McCoy's solid first-half performance, has a chance to see the field again this week. Swoopes has yet to play this season and is still eligible to redshirt but, if Ash is unavailable again, Swoopes will be the backup quarterback.
"We talked about it last week," head coach Mack Brown said. "We've got a limited package for him. We had him ready to go the other day. He got really set back because he missed most of preseason and that kind of got him out of the mix at that position because we were too far down the road. Now with David's injury we've had to go back and ramp him back up."
Texas Tech and the University of Houston have agreed to a four-game football series starting in 2017 in Houston and concluding in Lubbock in 2022.
The series begins in Houston on Sept. 16, 2017, and returns to Lubbock the following year on Sept. 15, 2018. Following a two-year break, the Red Raiders will travel to Houston on Sept. 18, 2021, and the series will conclude in Lubbock on Sept. 10, 2022.
Like this year, Texas went into last season with Big 12 title hopes. Early October losses to West Virginia and Oklahoma prevented the Longhorns from capturing their third conference championship under head coach Mack Brown. But they had a chance to deny Kansas State the Big 12 crown last year when they wrapped up their regular season in Manhattan.
The Wildcats reeled off four straight touchdowns at one point, beginning with a John Hubert two-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the first half, to beat Texas, 42-24, and win the Big 12. Linebacker Tre Walker said at Big 12 Media Days that Texas "laid down" in that game and implied that Kansas State did a better job of playing with a chip on its shoulder.
"Texas sometimes lets their name get them in a pickle," Walker said. "We fight like we have something to prove. We don't have the players but, at the end of the day, we fight. If it comes down to it, we'll roll our sleeves up and get with it."
The Longhorns, who are looking to snap a five-game skid against the Wildcats, responded to Walker's comments this week.
"It stings, man," defensive end Cedric Reed said. "It's a hard thing to hear knowing the tradition of this defense, knowing this is one of the toughest defenses. It's tough to hear."
Texas has lost two of its first three games for the first time since 1988, in large part because of its lackluster defensive performance. The Longhorns have allowed the third-most rushing yards in the country and are dead last in the Big 12 in total yards allowed and points allowed.
"He's not here with us every day," linebacker Jordan Hicks said of Walker. "He doesn't see what we do. He doesn't know. Anybody who's not around has their own opinion and that's his opinion. We're not worried about him."
"I try not to pay attention to all of that," defensive lineman Chris Whaley said. "We know what we do. We know how hard we work. I really don't listen to what anyone else has to say."
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel received four national honors today, including his selection as the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Week, after passing for a school-record 464 yards in Saturday’s 49-42 loss to top-ranked Alabama. Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, led the Aggies to the most yards ever recorded against an Alabama team (682) and the most points allowed (42) by a Nick Saban-coached team. Among other honors, Manziel was selected as the National Offensive Player of the Week by the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award.
For the second straight week, David Ash was declared questionable as he tries to shake off a concussion and Daje Johnson was ruled out with an ankle injury.
Mike Davis, who hurt his ankle in the first half of Texas' 44-23 loss to Ole Miss last Saturday, was also listed as questionable. He was in a walking boot following Saturday night's game.
Ash did not attend that game, watching it with his family so as to avoid a gameday atmosphere that could be damaging to someone with a concussion.
"We'd like him to be on the sideline with us," Texas head coach Mack Brown said. "[The doctors] wanted him isolated. They did not want him in the heat. They did not want him around all the moving parts of gameday. They did not want him around the lights. They did not want him around the movement."
Brown said that Ash could not practice until 48 hours until after he has been medically cleared. Ash attended Sunday's practice but did not participate in it and will practice Tuesday if he does not show any more lingering symptoms from the concussion.
Davis will also be monitored and evaluated to see if he can practice Tuesday. He hurt his ankle at the end of the first half but returned after halftime and made seven catches for 46 yards and a touchdown on the day.
Johnson hurt his ankle in the loss to BYU two weeks ago and missed the entire Ole Miss game. He'll also be out this week against Kansas State.
IRVING -- Three players who made an impact on the NCAA athletic scene in the 1980's said it's high time for the NCAA to get off its high horse and start paying college athletes.
In town to help promote the 2014 NCAA Final Four -- it'll be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington from Apr. 4-7 -- Mark Alarie, Pervis Ellison and John Williams all insist that student-athletes need to get paid more than just their scholarship for all the millions of dollars they're helping stuff into the college's bank accounts.
"I don’t think a scholarship is a fair trade for a number of players,'' said Alarie, who played for Duke from 1982-'86. "I think that their likeness is being abused.
"I also think that money they can make based on who they are shouldn’t be policed by some non-governmental agency. I don’t understand why you should be able to prevent someone from earning a living.''
Pervis Ellison, who led Louisville to the 1986 NCAA title and played for the Cardinals from 1985-'89, noted that recent allegations surrounding whether Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel got paid for signing autographs is a clear indication that the days to pay the athletes has arrived.
"I think that's obvious with the revenue that’s being generated,'' Ellison said. "And you have situations where you have kids like Johnny Manziel went through a situation where there were rumors that he had been paid for doing autograph signings.
"And that same day the NCAA actually had him doing autographs signings. Things like that, it's unfair to the athlete.''
Williams, who played for LSU from 1984-'86, also believe the NCAA isn't playing fair with its student-athletes.
"I know the universities are giving us a full scholarship, but times are different now,'' Williams said. "Times are much harder now than it was back then when I was in school.
"And then you have these athletes getting into trouble for signing a jersey -- or anything. I think they should open the books up and start giving the players some of that money and you won’t have much to talk about then.''
While Greg Drieling doesn't actually support college players getting paid, the ex-Kansas center thinks the athletes should be compensated financially in some way.
"If there’s a chance to make things a little more comfortable during the school year when they’re not allowed to work, then I think that would maybe be a good idea,'' said Dreiling, who was on the Jayhawks' squad that played in the 1986 Final Four in Dallas. "I’d hate to see kids have to look for outside sources of income, if you know what I mean.
"Maybe just up the stipend a bit.''
A stipend, Alarie said, is more or less a way of putting a band-aid on the controversial situation.
"I don’t understand why if (college athletics is) such a big business, why some of that money shouldn't be shared with the participants in the sport,'' Alarie said. "And I don't think it's being shared in a fair way.''
IRVING -- To Pervis Ellison, it seems like only yesterday that he was leading the Louisville Cardinals to a 72-69 victory over Duke in the 1986 NCAA national championship game.
That contest was played in Reunion Arena, marking the first and only time Dallas has hosted the NCAA Final Four.
"It was a wonderful time, the city was wonderful and we had great weather,'' Ellison said Friday during a luncheon at the Irving Convention Center. "But it doesn't seem like 28 years ago, I'll tell you that.
''It went by quick.''
North Texas will host its second NCAA Final Four when the four-day festivities will be held Apr. 4-7 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Texas men's athletics director DeLoss Dodds is planning to step down at the end of the year, according to a report by Orangebloods.com.
Dodds would reportedly move into a consulting role and earn his regular $1.1 million salary. According to the report, Dodds recommended Big 12 commissioner and former Stanford athletics director Bob Bowlsby to be his replacement to school President Bill Powers.
A Texas spokesman denied the report, claiming that "whoever is saying that is wrong."
Dodds has been in charge while Texas has consistently laid claim to the most profitable athletics program in the country. The Longhorns have led the nation in merchandise sales eight years in a row and their football program recently became the first to generate $100 million of revenue in a single year.
Since Dodds took over the Longhorns' athletic program in 1981, the Longhorns have won 108 conference titles and 14 national championships. A two-time recipient of the National Athletic Director of the Year (2005, 2011), Dodds was also essential to the establishment of the Longhorn Network, an enterprise that will earn Texas $300 million over 20 years via its contract with ESPN.
Dodds has seen his three biggest programs -- football, men's basketball and baseball -- struggle as of late.
Mack Brown's football team is 23-17 in its last 40 games, the Texas basketball team is coming off its first losing season since Rick Barnes took over as head coach in 1998 and the Longhorns baseball team, led by NCAA all-time wins leader Augie Garrido, has missed the NCAA Tournament each of the last two seasons.
"There are likely big changes coming," a source told Orangebloods.com. "And DeLoss knows it and doesn't want to stand in the way of progress."