What Bounce Houses and Donuts Tell Us about the Future of Texas Football

Some of you may not have noticed the changes in promotion strategy and fan engagement experiences for this year’s Orange White Spring Game. You’ll want to start paying attention, because this means changes for you, Texas fans.

Walking Advertisements

Texas Athletics took a different approach to traditional advertising, using Texas Football players as one of the mediums. On the Monday before the game, players were spotted in jerseys handing out free Krispy Kreme donuts to their peers. Not to forget lunch, players were spotted again passing out free pizza on Thursday. Texas Football really seemed adamant about players getting out there with other students- I wonder why…

Game Day Activities

On the day of, there were even more surprises. Bounce houses, arcade and video games, live music, a t-shirt giveaway for students- the list goes on and on. Texas Athletics made sure any fan arriving at 3:30 PM when gates opened, would have enough to do until game time.

And that was just walking through the door. Once fans walked onto the field, they encountered more fun and games, so to speak. Adults and children alike had the opportunity to try their hand at the 40-yard dash, a field goal kick and passing. Texas Football staff members were right beside them facilitating the festivities.

Postgame, fans flooded the field for autographs as fireworks roared in the background. Between donuts and bounce houses, Texas really pulled out all the stops for this year’s Orange White Spring Game.

A Deeper Meaning

So let’s take a look at the bigger picture. Texas Athletics has been through some stark changes in the past few years. With the hiring of Coach Tom Herman as our football coach and the presence of the new athletic director, Chris Del Conte, it’s no wonder things are shifting.

So what does this mean for Texas Football fans? This means a more involved fan experience for you. It seems that Texas Athletics and Texas Football want to cut the static between the program and its fans. Their new motto could be “If the fans want it, they’ll get it.” So fans, keep showing up to games and let Texas Athletics know exactly what you think. After all, the program wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for you.

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Texas Rangers (8-15) May Still Have a Glimmer of Hope

The days of the Texas Rangers’ stronghold on the American League Western division appear to be gone for the time being. A team that just eight seasons ago made back to back World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011, coming within a strike (twice) of winning a championship, now sits at the bottom of the AL West with a dismal 8-15 start. Key injuries to Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor threaten to derail any hope remaining for this Rangers season. However, injuries and poor performance has created a silver lining for this season’s Rangers, which is an increase in playing time and development for the youth of the organization.

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Isiah Kiner-Falefa, a fourth round draft pick in 2013 out of Hawaii, was called up to the Texas Rangers from AAA Round Rock and made his debut on April 10. Since then, the rookie has slashed .289/.325/.395 for the club over the 11 games in which he has made an appearance. Kiner-Falefa has filled in quite nicely within the Rangers’ middle infield after the injuries to Odor and Andrus. In Sunday afternoon’s tilt versus Seattle, he helped to put the game away with a two-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning that put the Rangers out of reach. Kiner-Falefa’s contributions are encouraging for the future, as the team is in need of middle-infield depth.

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Another contributor to come from AAA Round Rock this season is first baseman Ronald Guzman. Guzman, who was signed as a free agent in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic,  had a stellar minor league campaign in 2017 slashing .298/.372/.434 with 12 HRs and 62 RBI. His contribution in the big leagues was immediate as well. In Guzman’s second game as a Ranger, he blasted the first home run of his career to tie the game in the eighth inning versus the defending champion Houston Astros. The slugger has a chance to contribute a significant amount this season as he rotates with Joey Gallo at first base.

Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers

Another young player that Rangers fans may see by this season’s end is infielder Willie Calhoun. The Rangers acquired Calhoun from the Los Angeles Dodgers during last season’s trade deadline in exchange for Yu Darvish. Calhoun, 23, is the organization’s top prospect and brings with him a solid bat with middle-of-the-order major league potential. Calhoun batted .300 with 31 HRs and 93 RBI during the 2017 minor league season. That kind of production would certainly be welcome in the Rangers’ lineup, and Calhoun’s call-up will certainly be highly anticipated by Rangers fans.

All in all, the Texas Rangers certainly have a lot of room for improvement, as evidenced by the team’s slow start to the 2018 campaign. But the organization does boast a high number of young players with the potential to make the team a winner in years to come. Joey Gallo (23), Rougned Odor (24), Jurickson Profar (25), Ronald Guzman (23), Isiah Kiner-Falefa (23), Nomar Mazara (22), and Willie Calhoun (23), among others, all have potential to become consistent, solid major league players. Whether or not that comes to fruition is yet to be seen, but this group of young players gives hope to Rangers fans that future seasons will be better than 2018.

Gregg Popovich is the Best. Plain and Simple.

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The man above is Gregg Popovich. This is the reason the Spurs were in playoff contention throughout the year and finished as a 7 seed. Some people from the outside looking in might wonder why I said he’s the best if he only got the 7 seed. What you may not know or have forgotten about is that Popovich, referred to as Coach Pop in some cases, coached this team without his star player, Kawhi Leonard.

He coached the Spurs to a 47-35 record as well as an unbelievable home record of 33-8. He coaches the game the right way and is always speaking out on social issues whenever given the microphone. Some people may not like his responses to certain media questions, but that’s not what he should be measured as. The media isn’t always held accountable either because they sometimes ask foolish questions. He’s always short with his responses, but inside the locker room he’s the most helpful and gives long periods of advice on the regular.

Any other team in this league would probably be counted out losing a top 10 player. Yes, Lamarcus Aldridge has played great all year, but he would not be great enough to carry a team to the playoffs, not without the help of Coach Pop. It’s unbelievable how Popovich is able to continuously coach his team through conflict and bring out the best in everybody. Well, everybody that isn’t the media because they might get the short end of the stick.

At the end of the day though, this man makes everyone around him better, coaches the game the right way, and always speaks up on issues whenever he is asked about them. He’s never gotten into any legal trouble and is well respected by everyone in the league from players, broadcasters, coaches, and etc. Getting his team to the playoffs this year has extended the Spurs all time streak of 21 straight seasons getting to the playoffs. 21 straight. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t even gone to school for 21 years straight, so this accomplishment is truly incomprehensible as far as the greatness and accolades that should come a long with it.

They are matched up against the defending champ Golden State Warriors, but I wouldn’t count them out, seriously. Gregg Popovich has made something out of nothing before and isn’t afraid to do it again. There’s 7 games in the series and crazier things have happened. We are witnessing one of the greats in sports who continuously strives for excellence again and again. Gregg Popovich is truly the best, plain and simple.

-Will Levine

From Gutters to Glory: Evan Gattis Story

The Astros had a long road to victory in the 2017 World Series, and that doesn’t include the personal journeys each player faced. Evan Gattis, the Astros back up catcher and pinch hitter, had his own personal trek making it to the World Series and the MLB in all. Gattis is no stranger to baseball, he was one of the top high school prospects in 2004, saving a spot for him at Texas A&M. Though personal demons arrived and set Evan on a new path of drugs and alcohol, ultimately leading to a stent in rehab. He was not done with baseball yet, and decided to give it a try at the Oklahoma Seminole Junior College.

A combination of lack of interest and a knee injury lead Gattis to drop out of the junior college. He continued to battle inner demons of anxiety and depression, leading him down a path of suicidal thoughts and sadness. During this time, Evan worked an a-ray of odd jobs including being a janitor, valet drivers, and a ski lift operator. Finally settling in Santa Cruz, Gattis met a mentor whose words lead him back to baseball.

He went on to enroll at the University of Texas-Permian Basin in 2010, and was drafted by the Atlanta Braves that same year. Gattis was a instant star which lead him to be acquired by the Astros in 2015. Though Evan isn’t the star player of the Astros, there is no I in team and he was seen becoming very emotional at the World Series as the Astros. This inspirational story really goes to show no matter how rocky the road, the end can still be bliss.

The Legacy of Texas Men’s Golf

There are not many colleges that can say they have had multiple alumni win the Masters, but the University of Texas is one of them. Longhorns have won three green jackets in the past- Ben Crenshaw won in 1984 and 1995, and Jordan Spieth won in 2015. Jordan Spieth’s win in 2015 resulted in a score of 270 (-18), which has only ever been matched by Tiger Woods in 1997.

The University of Texas is well known for recruiting and producing great golfers. The current head coach, John Fields, started in 1997 and has produced eighteen All-American players, who accumulated thirty All-American Honors. He is most celebrated for his 2011-2012 season where he lead the team to win eight titles, held the number one national ranking, and won the NCAA championship for the first time in forty years.

The 2015-2016 season was also representative of the great talent of the Longhorn players, with the team racking up seven tournament wins, and second place at the National Championship. Some of the players on that team, such as Beau Hossler, have gone on to tour professionally. During his time at the University of Texas, Hossler medaled in five tournaments, was named Big 12 player of the year several years in a row and was a finalist for awards such as the Ben Hogan Award and the Haskins Award. Most memorably, he was ranked the country’s number one collegiate golfer in 2016.

As of this season, there are several players that are showing great promise, and a few that are performing at an elite level. Senior Scottie Scheffler, from Highland Park, Texas, qualified for his first US Open in 2016 and was one of two amateurs that made the cut for the 2017 US Open. His teammate, Senior Doug Ghim, recently played in the 2018 Masters Tournament, where he scored three eagles, two pairs of crystal goblets, and earned amateur low honors as the only amateur there. The future looks bright for players from the University of Texas, both past, present, and future!

Texas falls in series finale against New Orleans, 4-1.

Henley and the Longhorns were unable to complete the sweep against New Orleans on Sunday.

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The Texas Longhorns lost the New Orleans Privateers this Sunday, with a final score of 4-1.

Compared to Chase Shugart’s impressive performance in the last game, Blair Henley struggled all throughout the series finale. The starter allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks, with only one strikeout.

Issues seemed to plague the outfield in today’s game. Three errors, committed by Duke Ellis and Tate Shaw, reflected poorly on the pitching staff this week.

Ryan Reynolds, third baseman, scored the Longhorn’s only run this game. Texas left seven runners throughout the entire game.

As we inch closer and closer to the post-season, bullpen performance slowly becomes a key component of success. One of the positives of this game was the fact that the Longhorns bullpen pitched around three scoreless innings. Sawyer and Fields performed admirably and helped keep Texas from being blown out today.

Tonight was a rough game for the Longhorns, but overall the series was successful for Coach Pierce and his team.

Texas will play the Houston Cougars on Tuesday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Kyle Busch: 3 Peat Monster Energy Cup Series Winner

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What about Kyle Busch’s driving that calls for three consecutive Monster Energy wins?

The Pit Crew

Timing is everything in a NASCAR race and with the help of a good pit crew, Kyle Busch was set up in the perfect position to get another win. Busch has previously held a title for winning three Monster Energy Cups in a row and was getting anxious for another streak. M&M and Toyota have both supported Busch throughout this streak and have successfully gotten his Camry in the best condition for all three. Unfortunately, Busch started off in 32nd place due to a miscalculation and slow results in the qualifier. Even though this was going to be a tough come back the pit crew got Busch back on the track first, two pit stops in a row.  This let Busch climb his way into the top 10 in only 34 laps. Holding his spot for the victory lap, Busch got another three peat win with a fourth unlikely to be around the corner.

Talladega?

Busch proclaimed that a fourth win was a tall order considering the Talladega is around the corner and a hard win at that. Three in a row is a big success for Busch and his crew but they are  going to make the best out of Talladega.

“We’ll see what we can do … I think it’s easier to win the Power Ball than to win at Talladega.” – Kyle Busch