Monday, November 25, 2013

UTA Football Epilogue

Saturday I posted the last game UTA has played to date, a loss to North Texas by three points. Unknown to the players, coaches and fans was what was going to happen today.

I warn you, if you are a diehard fan or lived during this time period, this will hurt. All of my research I have done in the years prior was focused on the games and events surrounding the team and its play. After reading an emotional post on the UTA forum (15th post of the thread) and seeing a Shorthorn tweet with the front page showing the announcement, I realized I never looked through the archives of any newspaper to get the news account.

I did yesterday and the feeling of despair by the fans and Maverick Club was palpable. Kudos to Chuck Curtis for maintaining his composure during the most turbulent of times.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

UTA Football Game Twelve

In the last post of this series, I noted that 1968 was the clincher for me to do This Day in UTA Football series. Had that season not had corresponding dates, 1985 would have also enticed me to do the same.

Unlike the 1968 season, there was no game in 1985 that sticks out. While many of the games have certain characteristics of memorable games - today's game does - it is the milestone of what this season is, and this game in particular, that is the overall defining characteristic.

Today's game was the last football game UTA played.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

CPC > Rupp Arena?

From time to time, there will be posts about the men's basketball team (and occasionally other sports) from another poster who is a good buddy of mine and a die-hard Maverick. In this case though, it is the Maverick Rambler who is typing up something that will be cross posted there. More on that when it happens.

Before I get into the meat of this post, I just wanted to say thank you so much to Coach Cross and the UTA Athletic Department who supplied me and the aforementioned friend with tickets to UTA's road game at the SEC's Kentucky. They helped create a memorable road trip with a good friend to Lexington, Kentucky.

Part of the reason that I really wanted to go was there experience that I thought Rupp Arena would provide. While they don't have a well-known and named student section like the Cameron Crazies at Duke or the attentive, active group at Kansas, there is an idea floating that Rupp is a great college basketball atmosphere. There is no doubt that students make any game more intense, intimidating and  overall a better place for the home crowd.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

UTA Football Game Eleven

When I was first thinking of doing this series, I was waffling about whether to do it. UTA has a lack of football activity...obviously. While I didn't think this would be a replacement, I thought it could help raise awareness of UTA's past. Information isn't easily obtainable and what I have took long, hard work to retrieve. That said, I don't kid myself that a blog a few months old about a University's Athletic Department who is supported by a largely apathetic student body has any sway. The time I would put into it would be considerable. Finally, I thought that if I liked the seasons that correspond with this year, then I might. When I saw 1968 fit this year, I jumped on it, simply because of this game.

Picture it, Arlington, 1968. UTA is the defending Southland Conference champions. They sit 2-0 and at the top of the 5-team SLC. They host co-leader and 2-0 Arkansas State Indians (now Red Wolves). The winner would at least get a share of the SLC title. On top of that, UTA was riding a 15-game home winning streak. Both teams were highly regarded in the College Division ranks this year. For the cherry on top, UTA was consistently above 9,000 in attendance and often at the 10,000 mark. They would never consistently hit those numbers again in the '70's or '80's.

All that set-up would have meant nothing if this game wasn't fun, but it went to the last second. In short, this game had all the ingredients for a wonderful recipe, and then it exceeded expectations.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

And I am Free....Free Fallin'

Tom Petty co-wrote that song as a reminiscence of childhood past, but the title easily pertains to the Mavericks volleyball team and their place in the Sun Belt standings.

I'm not going to go into much detail about the matches as a whole, the same criticisms I have written all season still apply: no consistency on offense, defensive not quite where it needs to be, mental fortitude up and down more than a Six Flags roller coaster. Add a five-match losing streak, all in conference play, and a team that was once fighting for second place in the SBC will be fighting to finish above .500 in conference.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

UTA Football Game Ten

If you are just scanning the record books, 1974 was nothing to be excited about. In fact quite the opposite. Two years removed from a 5-6 overall record and a 4-1 conference mark, UTA was 4-6 in 1973. However, head coach John Symank left to join the pro ranks as an assistant and Bud Elliot was about to complete his first year as head coach of UTA, the first of ten.

Elliott's record is remarkably mediocre. In ten years, he had two winning records, 9-2 in 1979 and 6-5 in 1981, and four 5-6 seasons, 1976, 77, 78 and 83. However, there is a bit of context that is needed when looking at his record as a Maverick.

UTA's move from the College Division to the University was poorly done. In fact, I have never seen one worse in the history books by any other school. They moved from the on-campus stadium, Memorial Stadium, to Turnpike Stadium, where they couldn't play very many home games in September. They played five total home games in September for the entire decade.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Men's Basketball Season Preview

After a great run the last two years (no team in Texas has won more games in that time than UTA), this years team is hard to figure out. We lose four good seniors, but won 19 games with an anemic offense. A couple of junior college transfers, one P5 transfer and a redshirt could make this year's team competitive or a rebuilding one.

PG should be a strength with a two-year starter, Shaquille White-Miller, returning and the Oklahoma State transfer, Reger Dowell, ready to play, as well as forward with the Hoover-like rebounder in Brandon Edwards.

7' center Stuart Lagerson is almost guaranteed to be the key. If he can play like Jordan Reeves did the last two years, the he will bog the middle down. Then that should open up both ends of the floor. Bare minimum, I just hope he can play defense the way Reeves did.

There is a freshman, Jorge Bilbao that intrigues me. He's a 6'8" forward who averaged 30+ for the Spanish team he played for. If he can get just 1/4-1/3 of that for us, he will be a real player. He also averaged almost 14 rebounds. Another if, but if can can average seven or so, add him up with Brandon Edwards and Lagerson and we will out-rebound most teams night in and night out.

If Bilbao struggles, then it is Edwards could be on an island. Greg Gainey, a guy who can play the 2 or 3 quite well is out this year on a medical redshirt with a torn labrum. He led the team last year in FG percentage at 52.3%. He made four starts, but was behind some quality players. He averaged 6.8 points and 3.6 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game. He was expected to play quite a bit. If he got more minutes, took more shots and had a similar shooting percentage, it doesn't take an imagination to figure out what could have been.

Our big question mark right now is the 2. It was a weakness last year offensively, but was made up for by Cameron Catlett's defensive game. After Catlett's graduation, Dowell may fill that role some, but the early guys are either Lonnie McClanahan or Jamel Outler. McClanahan, a juco transfer from Kilgore, was a HM AA and averaged 12.4 points a game. Outler played for us last year after transferring from Texas Tech. Two starts, averaged 6.7 points and 16.9 minutes per game, but only shot 31.6% from the field. He is only a junior this year, so he does have a lot of room for improvement. If he improve his percentage, then that would be a potential season-changer for us.

I would assume in today's college basketball, very few have any idea how their bench will perform. UTA, who doesn't know who could be the consistent starter at many positions, is certainly in that boat.

Luckily, the intangible of coaching is clearly in our favor. Not saying he is the best coach in the SBC, but there is no doubt he can hold his own

Like volleyball, I won't give my preseason predictions until the non-conference is concluded, but I will say this, top-to-bottom, this year's Sun belt will be the toughest conference lineup UTA will have played in since the mid-80's when the Billy-Tubbs-coached Lamar team and the Karl-Malone-led Louisiana Tech team were making runs in the NCAA tournament and PG named Joe Dumars was running the McNeese State offense.

I will have a better idea of what the SBC will look like come the end of December when these teams play competition. As it is now, all anyone, and I mean anyone, has to go on is what is on paper. With three new teams from two different conferences in, and four teams out from an 11-team SBC, no one really has any clue. Until then, I end with the SBC pre-season coaches poll.

1 WKU 91 points (5 1st place votes)
2 South Alabama 78 (2)
3 Arkansas State 74
4 Georgia State 73 (2)
5 UL-Lafayette 73 (1)
6 UALR 48
7 UT-Arlington 36
8 Texas State 34
9 Troy 26
10 UL-Monroe 17
Preseason Coaches Poll
(First place votes in parenthesis)

1. Western Kentucky
91 (5)
2. South Alabama
78 (2)
3. Arkansas State
T-4. Georgia State
73 (2)
T-4. UL-Lafayette
73 (1)
7. UT Arlington
8. Texas State
9. Troy
10. UL-Monroe
- See more at:            

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Will the real UTA Mavericks please stand up?

Dang you Halloween week. Had I not been as busy as I was last week, I would have posted a glowing report on how the UTA Mavericks volleyball team played up to their best potential and set themselves up for a great run at the top of the standings. After dropping two home matches to the two Arkansas squads at home in the first half of conference play, they promptly went on the road, limited errors and won two matches against the same two teams in a total of seven sets.

Instead, I am back to questioning why the team can't find consistency. Ironically, I expected the team to have a losing record after this past week. They played Texas State in San Marcos, then hosted Georgia State and Western Kentucky to wrap up the home schedule.

When it came to Texas State, a rare midweek conference match, I figured they would lose for a couple of reasons. I feel the Bobcats have a coaching advantage. That's not necessarily a knock in this case, as Karen Chisum has had a lot of success for a very long and sustained period of time. UTA needed five to win at CPC and I really thought Texas State would come out fired up. I didn't think we would get swept, but at least most of the sets were competitive. The 'cats just closed out exceptionally well. Our attack percentage was a little too low and theirs was a little to high. But I really didn't see that as a shock.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

UTA Football Game Nine

I am morbidly intrigued when it comes to the 1985 UTA football team. There was a lot of potential and promise, but mistakes and miscues really hurt, ultimately fatally for the program. This game is one of them.

UTA came into this game with a 4-3 record. They were on a two-game winning streak and had won four of the last five (two of which were published on this blog in the This Day In UTA Football series). More importantly, they were 2-0 in conference play and at the top of the Southland Conference standings.

This week, UTA traveled to Jonesboro to face long time conference foe Arkansas State, who had chartered the conference with UTA. Tied with Lamar, UTA had faced Arkansas State more than any other team, as this would be the 22nd meeting.