• In a 2000 guest column, Major Applewhite reflected on a quarterback controversy and his burning desire to win

    It was so hard not to doubt.

    A few days after I underwent surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament of my left knee, I looked at the injury, and it was swollen to the size of a volleyball. The pain was so excruciating that I could barely move and there was blood all over it because the doctors couldn’t clean my knee without hurting it.

    Imagine that. You’ve got blood all over your knee and you can’t do anything about it.

    Then on top of that, your whole quad is deteriorated from the tearing of the muscles the doctors do. The surgery left my entire left leg dead and I literally couldn’t do a thing.

    For instance, after I got done at the hospital, I went home to my apartment and I couldn’t walk down three flights of stairs to get to where my car was. That’s such a simple thing to do, yet I always took it for granted.

    I felt completely helpless, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t start to doubt my knee at that point. I mean, how could I not doubt my situation?

    I truly didn’t know what was going to happen to me, and I never knew if I would make it back. There was a chance that I had played my last game at Texas, and the thought was killing me.

    I had put a lot of time and effort into this program, and now there was a chance that was being taken away.

    It was around that point that all of those fears started to set in.

    I had them a little bit when I was taken off of the field at the Cotton Bowl against Arkansas, but at that point, questions were mostly just floating through my mind.

    I wasn’t thinking about the injury or rehab because the pain didn’t bother me as much as the immediate worries.

    I just kept asking myself, how the situation was going to pan out because it was imminent that I wasn’t going to be there for spring training, and along with that, I didn’t know what I would be like when I got back.

    I mean, I left the field a starter and now there was no question that I was going to have to compete for the job with Chris Simms, who’s a very talented quarterback.

    You know, Chris and I get along fine, contrary to what others think, but as a competitive person, I didn’t want to lose what I had as a starter.

    Football has been such a huge part of my life, and after experiencing the things I have in my career, I didn’t want more precious moments to slip away. I want to lead the team back to the Big 12 Championship game, and I want to try to help this team win a national title.

    I had planned on having that opportunity, but now I was scared that I lost it.

    Fortunately, I got rid of the worries, I made it through the ordeal by surrounding myself with the right people.

    The training staff kept giving me motivation by telling me I was ahead of the schedule and there were a lot of prayers with my family, girlfriend and friends.

    A lot of people believed that I could make it back, and by the end of February I was feeling what they believed.

    The last week of spring I was able to drop back and throw the ball. When I did that. I just thought, “Man, it’s still February and I can do this. I’ll be back.”

    You know, I have won some big games, but I can’t remember being more thrilled than that in my career.

    I knew I would be ready to go. I knew I would be ready to compete for the job.

    And that’s all I wanted. I wanted to have the opportunity to compete with Chris.

    Of course, some people might think I am bitter about the whole situation and having to earn the job back, but I’m not.

    There’s so many circumstances in football that you can’t really put a tab on whether one situation is fair or not. There are certain things that are fair about it, and I admit there are some things that seem unfair about it. That’s just how it is.

    Along with that, there’s been situations that have been tough. There’s times when you lie in bed at night and you think about it. I’m human, I don’t just get in front of a camera with a straight-forward glare and pretend nothing is going on. I’m not an android, and when you’re as competitive as Chris and I are, your mind wanders. What if the coaches are doing this, or what if they are trying to do that?

    You even look at the positives of what they are doing, but that’s something you kind of have to keep away from. You don’t want to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

    So you can’t worry about all that, and you just have to keep in mind that you can’t turn this into something larger. We’re not going to let a controversy brew.

    This has got to be a football team, and I don’t think either of us is going to put our personal aspirations ahead of the team.

    Neither one of us is bigger than this University.

    I mean the worst thing I could have done is come out, pouted and not try to compete. There was no way I wasn’t going to do that because that’s not how my mom and dad raised me.

    I have the opportunity to play, and I am going to fight for it.

    I’ve come out here and given it my all, and now I just have to trust the coaches from this point on because it’s their job and they are going to put the best guy out on the field.

    So I’m not worried about the decision. I’ve done everything I can do, I made it through two-a-days and I worked hard during rehab to have a chance to win the job back. I realize that I can only go out and do what I’ve been doing. If that’s not enough, then hey, I gave it my all.

    I’m not going to dislike Chris if he gets the job, and I am sure he would feel the same way if I got it.

    The situation we are in could have easily been a strain on our relationship, but it hasn’t been that way.

    We’ve dealt with all the questions, and, of course, there’s been those polls going around about if it should be me or him.

    But we don’t pay much attention to the polls because they are so misrepresented and people aren’t always right. I mean Bill Clinton was elected President, and look at what a Bozo he turned out to be.

    I don’t pay much attention to polls or majority votes after that one, and neither does Chris.

    We have the same goals for the team, so we have to realize that we are on the same page in that regard.

    But I do want to be out there, just like Chris does. It’s human to want to play, and we wouldn’t be playing if we didn’t want to.

    I would love to have the opportunity because I would have made it back from such a tough injury, and that certainly would say something about my character if I did go out there an show them my knee is fine.

    I want to play more than I have ever wanted to before.

    You only realize what you have until you lose it, and you don’t really realize what you’ve lost until it’s gone.

    I would love this thing to have a happy ending.

    When I first came here, I had no aspirations. It was sort of like if it happens great, if not, no big deal.

    But my goal now is to win a national championship at the University of Texas, and I’m not going to worry about the NFL unless it occurs.

    There are no individual goals.

    I don’t care about the Davey O’Brien Award, the Heisman or any of that stuff.

    I just want to win national championships.

    I mean we had a chance to put the word “champions” next to or name last year at the Big 12 Championship game in San Antonio and we let it get away from us.

    That may not mean a lot to a lot of other people but to me, being able to put champion next to your name means a lot.

    And I think I’ve gone through enough doubts and questions to earn it.

    As told to Damien Pierce, Daily Texan Staff
    Printed on Thursday, August 31, 2000

     

  • Moore wants more football, but not at Texas

    In four of the last five NFL drafts, a Texas defensive tackle has been selected.

    This year, defensive tackle Brandon Moore hopes to join the ranks of former Longhorns Casey Hampton, Lamarr Houston, Henry Melton, Roy Miller, Kheeston Randall and Shaun Rogers, foregoing his senior season to pursue a lifelong dream as an NFL player.

    “I enjoyed my time and really appreciate the opportunity I had to play for the Longhorns, but my lifelong dream has been to play in the NFL and to have a chance to support my family,” he said.  “I’ll definitely miss everyone at Texas and will always pull for the Longhorns.”

    If the name sounds unfamiliar, it may be because Moore only played one season at Texas, following two years at East Mississippi Community College and a year at Alabama just after high school.

    He did, however, make his mark: Moore posted 18 tackles and two sacks in his twelve games this season, five of which he started. His eight tackles for loss ranked fifth on the team.  His six quarterback pressures earned him a tie for third on the team. 

  • Texas cracks Top 20 in both the final AP and coaches' polls

     

    Texas finished No. 19 in the final Associated Press poll and No. 18 in the final USA Today coaches' poll, both released Tuesday following Alabama's win over Notre Dame in Monday's BCS National Championship.
     
    It marks the first time since 2009 that the Longhorns were included in the final polls. They finished No. 2 that season after falling to Alabama in that year's national title game. 
     
    Texas was ranked No. 15 in both the AP and coaches' preseason polls, climbing to as high as No. 12 in the AP poll and No. 9 in the coaches' poll the week after the Longhorns took down Oklahoma State, 41-36, in their Big 12 opener Sept. 29. They were 4-0 at the time but fell in each of their next two contests  to West Virginia, 48-45, and to Oklahoma, 63-21. 
     
    At 4-2, Texas was unranked in both polls, but won its next four games over Baylor, Kansas, Texas Tech and Iowa State, putting the Longhorns at No. 18 in the AP poll and No. 15 in the coaches' polls. But Texas lost consecutive games to TCU and Kansas State to close out its regular season, leaving the Longhorns unranked in the AP poll and at No. 25 in the coaches' poll. 
     
    They overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Oregon State, 31-27, in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29. That victory gave head coach Mack Brown his 10th bowl victory during his tenure at Texas and gave his team a spot in the top 20 of each final poll. 
     
  • Texas women's track coach Bev Kearney stepping down

    Texas head women's track and field coach Bev Kearney has resigned following an investigation of an "intimate consensual relationship" with "a student-athlete in her program," according to a statement released by UT vice president for legal affairs Patti Ohlendorf on Saturday.

    "Coach Kearney is a good person and has been very important to the University," Ohlendorf said in the statement. "However, she made this terrible mistake and used unacceptably poor judgment in having this relationship."

    Kearney was placed on paid administrative leave in November for then-undisclosed reasons and it was revealed in an Associated Press report that women's athletics director Chris Plonsky asked UT President William Powers Jr. to give her a pay raise before the investigation began.

    According to the statement, the investigation showed that Kearney began this relationship with the student-athlete "about 10 1/2 years ago" and ended it "about eight years ago." When Kearney was told that the University was preparing to terminate her, she decided to resign.

    "The University determined that it no longer was appropriate for Coach Kearney to serve as head coach to work directly with our student-athletes," Ohlendorf said in the statement. "We cannot condone such an intimate relationship, including one that is consensual, between a head coach and a student-athlete. We told Coach Kearney such a relationship is unprofessional and crosses the line of trust placed in the head coach for all aspects of the athletic program and the best interests of the student-athletes on the team."

    Kearney's resignation was first reported by the Austin American-Statesman, who spoke with the former Longhorns track coach in an exclusive interview that took place in the office of Kearney's attorney, Derek A. Howard.

    "You destroy yourself. You start questioning how could you make such a judgment," Kearney told the Statesman. "How could you make such an error after all the years? You can get consumed [by it] ... It's been a difficult challenge for me simply because I have to forgive myself for making an error. I didn't commit a crime, but I displayed poor judgment."

    Kearney had been the head women's track and field coach since 1993, leading the Longhorns to six national championships  three indoor and three outdoor  during her 20-year tenure. She was named her conference's coach of the year 16 times and guided Texas to 14 straight top-10 finishes at the NCAA Outdoor Championships between 1994 and 2007, a previously unprecedented feat. Kearney was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2007.

    "It's a shame that this remarkably talented female African-American coach, who has devoted her life to helping others, is being bullied and scapegoated by the University of Texas," Howard told the Statesman in a statement. "We believe that Ms. Kearney has been subjected to a double standard and has received far harsher punishment than that being given to her male counter-parts who have engaged in similar conduct."

    The identity of the former student-athlete that Kearney is said to have previously had an intimate relationship with was not revealed.

    "As a public University, we are committed to transparency and disclosure," Ohlendorf said in the statement. "We also have a responsibility to our students to follow the strict federal laws that are designed to protect their privacy. The University will not identify the former student-athlete. We respect her privacy and appreciate her cooperation during our review."

    Rose Brimmer, who has spent eight seasons as an assistant coach under Kearney, will take over as interim head women's track and field coach while Stephen Sisson, who has been an assistant women's track and field coach at Texas since 2006, will take on "expanded duties" in Kearney's absence.

    Published on January 14, 2013 as "Questions remain after Kearney's resignation".

  • Texas hires ASU's Larry Porter to be running backs coach

    Arizona State running backs coach Larry Porter has been hired to the same position at Texas, the school announced Wednesday.

    Porter helped the Sun Devils run for 205.3 yards per game in his only season at Arizona State, the 24th-most in the country. He also spent two years as the head coach at Memphis, going 3-21 between the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Before that, Porter coached running backs for 12 years, including three at Oklahoma State and five at LSU.

    "We are very excited to have Larry Porter joining our staff," head coach Mack Brown said. "He brings a wealth of experience and has a reputation as one of the best coaches and recruiters in our game. Larry has spent a great deal of time in the Big 12 and SEC and has a strong familiarity with our state and staff. During his time at Oklahoma State and LSU, he did a tremendous job recruiting Dallas and Houston."

    Co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, previously in charge of coaching Longhorns running backs, took over as play-caller and quarterbacks coach for Bryan Harsin, who was named Arkansas State's head coach earlier this month, leaving a vacancy in Texas' coaching staff. Porter filled that vacancy this week.

    "I'm just really excited to be joining what I think is the best program in the country," Porter said. "The future of Texas football is very bright and being able to work with Coach Brown and so many guys I've known and worked with before is an opportunity I couldn't pass up. My family and I are really excited and looking forward to getting started."

    A productive running game proved to be very important to Texas this season. In the Longhorns' nine wins this year, they averaged 208.4 rushing yards per game and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. In their four losses, they ran for 98.5 yards per game and averaged only 3.1 yards per carry.

    "Having the opportunity to work under a man like Coach Brown, who I look at as a legend in college football, is an honor and a privilege," Porter said. "He has done so much for college football and is so well respected. I'm thrilled to be joining his staff and to be a part of a program that I've had such great admiration for."

    While at LSU, Porter coached the likes of Joseph Addai and Jacob Hester and helped the Tigers win a national championship in 2007. He was a part of an LSU staff in 2005 that included current Texas defensive tackles coach Bo Davis and offensive line coach Stacy Searels, who also coached with Porter at LSU in 2006.

    Addai ran for a team-high 911 yards in 2005, Porter's first as the Tigers' running backs coach, before being selected in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. Addai was named NFL Rookie of the Year that season while helping the Colts win a Super Bowl.

    Oklahoma State had someone run for at least 1,000 yards in each of Porter's three seasons as its running backs coach. Tatum Bell ran for 1,096 yards and 11 touchdowns under Porter's guidance in 2002 and rushed for 1,286 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2003  while Vernand Morency ran for 1,474 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Cowboys in 2005.

    Porter's first college coaching job was as Tennessee-Martin's running backs coach in 1998. He spent one year there before serving as Arkansas State's running backs coach from 1999 to 2001. Jonathan Adams ran for 1,004 yards in each of Porter's last two seasons with the Red Wolves, leaving as the program's second-leading rusher.

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