Saturday, August 25, 2007

19 Days, 19 Questions: #6

With 8 days left until KICKOFF, 'The Forty' is back in business and going to run down the top 19 questions for the upcoming year.

#6: Can Texas players stay out of trouble for the rest of 2007?

Wow. This is one of those ones that you wish you didn't even need to ask. But, unfortunately, this is what has been plaguing this Texas team for the last year. It seems like this off season will just end. I almost cringe when there is a headline for Texas football somewhere. I figure either someone is hurt or in jail. Just not a good feeling all the way around. One part of me thinks "These guys have it great. Can't they just stay out of the hoosegow few a few years?" The other part of me remembers some of my friends in college.

This off season was highlighted by 2 arrested for Robert Joseph (both violent crimes), a DUI charge for both Henry Melton and Sergio Kindle and an armed robbery arrest for Andre Jones (possibly mistaken identity). 2006 started off with star RB/WR/KR Romance Taylor being booted off the team for possession of a brick of marijuana. Followed up by the arrests of Tyrell Gatewood and Tarrell Brown for gun and marijuana possession. And lets not forget that Aaron Harris had his own weed problems the summer after he left UT.

Robert Joseph was immediately removed from the team after his first arrest for armed robbery. Both Kindle and Melton will be sitting the bench for the Longhorns' first 3 games of the year. Andre Jones has been suspended indefinitely, pending the outcome of his legal proceedings. However, some are speculating there is exculpatory evidence out there that will eventually clear Jones. But until then, Texas must do without.

In Mack's 10 years at Texas, his program has always been above reproach. Some have speculated that the new problems are the byproduct of recruit more top-tier players or that more attention is being given to the problems at Texas than at other places. I don't think either is totally true. While you always have to balance character and ability when recruiting, Mack & Co. have shown quite a deft touch in doing just that so far at Texas.

I honestly think the troubles at Texas are a microcosm of some of the things plaguing programs across the nation. Excluding Joseph's armed robberies, the problems at Texas have been drinking and marijuana possession. Listen, kids are going to drink in college. I am sure that almost everyone knew of one person that had a alcohol related run-in with the law. I think marijuana is becoming more a part of college life as well. You can agree or disagree as to why that is or if that is bad, but that is another issue for another day. But it seems to be the reality.

The steps taken by Mack seem to be the right decisions in each situation. I think the players will respond by keeping their noses clean for a while, or you can imagine that the punishment scale will be ramped up quite a bit. I doubt the leash is very long in the Texas locker room these days. I wouldn't really be surprised to see at least one more law run-in before this year is over, but you can bet you don't want to be that one more arrest on Mack's desk.

My Prediction: 1-2 DUI-type arrests during the 2007 season.

This is how alcohol passes through the body. See, we are educational too!

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