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Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Four Downs: Texas' changed attitude

By Sean Adams

AUSTIN, Texas -- Each week, Sean Adams looks at a few topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.

First down: Why early offers are perfect

Texas has started offering younger prospects than it ever has before. The Longhorns are doing the right thing. If they want to be in the conversation for some of the best high school players in the country, they must be in that first group of identified schools that are in communication with the player.

Mack Brown
Mack Brown and the Longhorns offered a 2017 athlete last week, the earliest they have ever offered a recruit.
Imagine you are an eighth-grader and some of the best programs around the country have already offered you a scholarship. Texas or another school that you might be interested in tells you that they don’t offer scholarships until after the junior season.

When it comes time for camps, watching games on TV, relationship-building and such, where would you concentrate your efforts? With the schools that made themselves part of the conversation early in the process with an offer.

If you have seven or eight offers, why would you worry about a school that wouldn’t make you a priority as opposed to the schools that did?

At this point in recruiting, putting yourself in play is a must if you want to recruit the best of the best.

Second down: Why the SEC being 'better' than the Big 12 does not matter

For all of the bravado of the SEC and the foolish statements from OU coach Bob Stoops about the SEC, reality is that the SEC is the best college football conference. The string of national championships and NFL draft picks outnumbering every other conference should be enough to stand on by itself.

The only real value of a conference in the modern age of college football is to make the money that keeps all members of the conference competitive. The Big 12 is doing that. The other characteristic of a healthy conference is based in one very simple question: Can you win the conference and have the opportunity to play for the national championship?

If the answer to that question is "yes" and you are making comparable money with other schools in your cohort group, then everything else is just window dressing.

The Big 12 might be ranked behind the SEC, but the conference is just fine in the big picture.

Third down: Why the Texas attitude will be different in 2013

This season, Texas can improve on defense, the offensive line and play-calling, but the elephant in the room is that, except in small spells, the Longhorns just did not play with passion in 2012. They did not have the collective attitude of playing at a level that fosters greatness.

The main reason why things will be different in 2013 is that there is very little residue of large-level success in the program. While players in the program have been to and won the Holiday and Alamo Bowls, nobody on this team has won a conference championship or played in a BCS game. This might be the first year that the team is hungry to do something great. Texas has had great players but it did not always have great leadership.

The leaders in 2013 are a hungry group of young men who still feel like they have not achieved much and, more importantly, do not feel like they have restored the order to Texas football. There is still a lot of work to be done.

Fourth down: Stoops needs football more than most think

In April, Stoops ran into some problems with his comments about players receiving stipends. Last week he talked about the Big 12 being a deeper conference than the SEC and that the SEC was built on propaganda. This week, Stoops was back in the news talking about the BCS and how his team was not a part of it in 2012.

"Going into the bowl games, Northern Illinois had one loss; we had two," Stoops was quoted as saying in the Tulsa World. "Theirs was to Iowa, right? Ours were to Notre Dame and K-State. And they're ranked ahead of us - well, they got the bid to the BCS bowl ahead of us."

This is only a conversation if OU had not been crushed by former Big 12 member Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. There were plenty of other teams ranked higher than them that fell victim to the BCS rules as well, namely Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina who were also unable to play in a BCS game due to the fact only two teams from each conference are allowed to play within the system.

Stoops needs to coach his football team and maybe stop talking to the media for a while. The media will have enough to cover in the fall and the coverage might not be good unless Stoops gets a lot of stuff done between now and then.