Texas announced Monday that the Longhorn Network would air the Longhorns' game against Kansas on Saturday Nov. 2. The Longhorn Network will also air games against New Mexico State on Aug. 31 and Ole Miss on Sept. 14.
Longhorn Network's GameDay will begin two hours prior to kickoff, broadcasted from DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Sophomore wide receiver Cayleb Jones has elected to transfer, Texas announced Wednesday night. Jones, an Austin native who graduated from Austin High School, was given an unconditional release by Texas.
"We've really enjoyed being a part of the Texas program," Robert Jones, Cayleb Jones' father, said in a press release Wednesday evening. "We've talked about the situation as a family and we think it's best for Cayleb to get a fresh start and transfer to another school."
As a freshman in 2012, Jones played as a backup receiver in 11 games and finished the season with one 10-yard run and two receptions totaling 35 yards.
"Cayleb is looking for a fresh start," Texas head coach Mack Brwon said in a press release Wednesday. "We understand that and are appreciative of everything he did for Texas. We will support him as he moves forward and wish him the best of luck in the future."
Cayleb Jones was suspended in June after an incident in downtown Austin. Jones allegedly punched fellow Longhorn Joseph Swaysland, a tennis player who was dating Khat Bell, a volleyball player who had been in a previous relationship with Jones. Swaysland, a junior, had a fractured jaw.
Jones was originally charged with felony assault, but the charge were dropped to a misdemeanor this spring. He was suspended indefinitely from the team, but when the charges were reduced, Jones was only suspended for the 2013 fall opener against New Mexico State.
DALLAS -- Going into last December’s Alamo Bowl against Oregon State, Texas was coming off losses to TCU and Kansas State to end its regular season. Although it was not publicly known, David Ash was nursing broken ribs.
But he wasn’t going to let that keep him from helping the Longhorns end the season with a thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Beavers. Before erasing a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit that night, Ash sat down with head coach Mack Brown, a conversation he remembers vividly.
“Who’s your favorite pro quarterback?” Brown asked.
“I really like Tom Brady,” Ash said.
“Well, why do you like Tom Brady?” Brown asked his sophomore quarterback.
“Well, I just think he’s good,” Ash responded.
“You’ve bought into him. You think he’s going to win the game,” Brown told Ash. “You have to make your teammates buy into you just like everybody buys into Tom Brady and you have to do something that makes them think that something good’s about to happen.”
After two years going back and forth between backup and starter, the team is his. It’s been his since the 31-27 triumph over Oregon State when he channeled his inner Tom Brady and solidified himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12.
“His comeback in the Alamo Bowl really helped with our team, with his confidence, and I think he’ll have a big year,” Brown said. “He’s leading the team much better and they believe in him right now.”
The only two quarterbacks to lead Texas to a Big 12 title and national championship game appearance – Vince Young and Colt McCoy – made tremendous leaps from their sophomore to junior seasons.
Young threw for 1,849 yards, 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing 59.2 percent of his passes as a sophomore in 2004 before drastically improving his passing numbers the following year. In 2005, Young became the first Division I-A quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards and run for another 1,000, completing 65.2 percent of his passes while throwing 26 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. Texas won its first national title in 35 years that season.
McCoy threw for 22 touchdowns and 17 interceptions while completing 65.1 percent of his throws – all career-worsts – as a sophomore in 2007. The next year, McCoy was brilliant, posting a 76.7 completion percentage while racking up 3,859 yards, 34 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
“There were times last year he played like Colt and he played like Vince and looked as good as anybody in the country,” Brown said. “And then there were other times when he struggled some. But we think we’ve got better players around him now. We should be better in the offensive line. He is much more confident than at any time.”
Ash worked with McCoy and Young this offseason, refining his mechanics and taking valuable advice on his leadership skills. He’s hoping to make the same improvement between his sophomore and junior seasons that McCoy and Young did.
“To be mentioned in the same sentence as those guys would be quite an honor,” Ash said. “[Vince] said you don’t have to be anybody you’re not. You just have to be you. Just make sure you’re always visible and you’re available to your teammates…With Colt, I learned a lot about fundamentals. Colt’s a technician with his feet. We have a similar style. He’s a footwork guy. He’s accurate. He’s got good timing. He’s smart. He makes plays with his feet. That’s the same way I want to play.”
Ash is one of two quarterbacks with 18 career starts under his belt, the other being TCU’s Casey Pachall, who returns to the Horned Frogs after unenrolling from the school and completing a substance abuse rehabilitation program last year. Pachall was not among the two quarterbacks at Big 12 Media Days this week (Ash and Kansas’ Jake Heaps, who has yet to play a down for the Jayhawks since transferring from BYU in 2011).
“A lot of the teams have had their guy and now they’re starting to work on a new guy,” Ash said. “That doesn’t mean that guy’s not going to be good. It just means he hasn’t earned the right to come to Big 12 Media Days. That’s all that means. That means I’ve been here two years. I’m thankful my coaches thought I’d earned the right to come to Big 12 Media Days.”
Texas has lofty goals this season, winning the Big 12 and contending for a national title among them. These are feats accomplished by the Longhorns only with Young and McCoy under center. Ash has taken their advice to heart and is looking to deliver Texas to the same heights they did.
DALLAS -- Lache Seastrunk ran into one of his boyhood heroes at Big 12 Media Days on Tuesday when Eddie George introduced himself to the Baylor running back.
“I’m not going to lie. I was [star]struck,” Seastrunk admitted. “I was stoked to meet Eddie George. I played with Eddie George on Madden 02 because his face was on there.”
Like George did in 1995, Seastrunk is aiming to win be the second Baylor player to win a Heisman Trophy in the last three seasons. Seastrunk exploded in the second half of last year for the Bears, running for 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 7.7 yards per carry in 2012.
He has since guaranteed that he will win the Heisman in 2013 during an interview with Sporting News last December and confirmed that goal this week in Dallas.
“Why not?” Seastrunk said. “I feel like I’m the best player in the country, the fastest player in the country because I apply myself. I work hard. I just want to be great. Why not? Why be good when you can be great?”
George asked Seastrunk in the Omni Hotel hallway if he was shooting to run for 2,000 yards this season. Seastrunk expressed his confidence in his ability to reach that mark as well.
“I want to get close to Barry Sanders’ record,” Seastrunk said, referring to the former Oklahoma State running back’s single-season record of 2,628 rushing yards in 1988. “For my size, I’m probably supposed to be able to squat 500 pounds. I squat 720 pounds. Not a lot of running backs can do that and still be blazing fast and do everything they’re supposed to do. When I set goals, I achieve my goals.”
Along with Kansas State’s John Hubert, Seastrunk was named to the preseason All-Big 12 team. But he has his sights set on winning a Heisman Trophy, a feat once thought impossibly by a Baylor player. That was before Robert Griffin III amassed nearly 5,000 total yards while completing more than 70 percent of his passes and boasting a 37-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio en route to capturing the coveted stiff-armed trophy.
“You have to do phenomenal things in phenomenal moments and that’s what [Griffin] did,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said. “Lache has some qualities that give him an opportunity. He’s a dynamic football player that’s very engaging, and those are good qualitites to have. They help you with the voters. I’d much rather have players wanting to win the Heisman than clap for the one that does.”
DALLAS – Prominent preseason prognosticator Phil Steele, who claims to have the most accurate preseason magazine in the country over the last 15 years, picked Texas No. 4 in his rankings this year.
This is the same Longhorns team that was picked to finish fourth – in the Big 12 – in the conference’s preseason poll.
“I really like the first guy better,” head coach Mack Brown joked. “When you look at us being voted fourth, I thought what we saw is the numbers are really, really close, and people are confused on who they think may win this conference championship, and that’s a compliment to our league.”
Oklahoma State, who won its first Big 12 title two seasons ago, was picked to win the conference for the first time in school history. Kansas State won the Big 12 last season and was picked sixth for the second straight year. Oklahoma has captured a league-best seven conference championships and was picked second, followed by TCU at No. 3 while Baylor rounded out the top five.
“I think we have the most balanced league in the country right now, top to bottom,” Brown said. “You saw in the SEC the top seven beat the bottom seven 30-0, and that’s not happening in our league. Our league is very challenging. At one point, there were two or three teams that were better than everybody else, and that’s not the case anymore.”
Not many are making the argument that the Big 12 is a better conference than the SEC, which has won each of the last seven national titles. But SEC supremacy is not a unanimous view.
“I’m a Big 12 guy. I think it’s the best league in America without question,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said. “It’s just a tough league to go unscathed in. I think defenses are very talented, very good in our league. I think offenses are very talented. I think the style of play dictates a lot of times how one side of the ball is predicted. In the Big 12, there’s guys on offense trying to score every snap.”
Unlike the 14-team SEC, the Big 12 uses a round-robin conference schedule with each team playing the other nine squads in the conference. The parity in the Big 12 has served it well, although played a part in keeping it from being represented in the last two national championship games.
In 2011, Oklahoma State was upset in Ames by Iowa State on a late November night, squelching their national title hopes. Last season, Kansas State was on its way to playing for a national championship before also falling in late November as the Wildcats were blown out on the road by Baylor.
“I think our conference has maintained a good balance over the years,” Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder said. “I think maybe there are some years where there might be a little more balance or more teams that are prominent than other years. But, by and large, I think year in and year out it’s a very consistent conference.”