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Big 12 notes: Ex-SEAL McRaven “encourages” respect, Rhoades on Baylor

AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has created a national debate regarding athletes, the national anthem and the flag.

Soon after Kaepernick’s first sit-in during a preseason game, University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven sent a letter to presidents and athletic directors at the eight UT system universities, including UT-Austin.

The letter asked to “encourage your coaching staff and your players to stand up straight when the National Anthem” is played. The coaches and players should “face the flag and place their hand over their heart as a sign of respect to the nation.”

McRaven is a former Navy SEAL who rose to the rank of admiral before retiring in 2014 and becoming chancellor of the UT system in 2015. He was the architect behind the SEAL Team Six raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Here’s the rest of McRaven’s letter:

“While no one should be compelled to stand, they should recognize that by sitting in protest to the flag they are disrespecting everyone who sacrificed to make this country what it is today — as imperfect as it might be.

“Those that believe the flag represents oppression should remember all the Americans who fought to eliminate bigotry, racism, sexism, imperialism, communism, and terrorism.

“I spent 37 years defending freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Nothing is more important to this democracy. Nothing!

“It marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. It rocketed into space on the shoulder patches of women, gays, Hispanic, Asian and African American astronauts. Today, it waves high over the White House. It is a flag for everyone, of every color, of every race, of every creed, and of every orientation, but the privilege of living under this flag does not come without cost. Nor should it come without respect.”

McRaven is a bad-ass and a patriot. I’m guessing Texas players who know that will find other ways to protest.

Rhoades on Baylor coaching situation

Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades has been on the job about two months. His top priority will be to hire a new football coach. Jim Grobe is the acting coach this season following Art Briles’ firing in late May. He recently hinted that Briles’ offensive style might impact the search.

31 August 2014 - Baylor Bears head coach Art Briles during the college football game between the SMU Mustangs and the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas. Baylor won the game 45-0.

Art Briles is gone from Baylor, but he still might affect Mack Rhoades’s choice of a successor to interim coach Jim Grobe — Icon Sportswire

“In terms of the system and the philosophy, yeah, it dictates in terms of what we’ve done over the past and the way we play, especially on the offensive side of the ball, the vertical passing game, the ability to run the ball, all those things,” Rhodes said during an interview with a Waco radio station. “Absolutely. I also think that plays into the recruiting piece and especially here in Texas.

“Prospective student-athletes want to play in an offense like that. You think about what coach Bennett’s done on the defensive side of the ball and how we play there. When you think about style, the philosophy and the future, I’m not saying we’ll go hire somebody — if that’s what we do — that’s an exact match and does it exactly the way we done it, but there will certainly be some similarities.”

Rhoades, while he may be assessing the program’s needs and doing back-channel communication with representatives of prospective coaches, can be patient.

“In fairness to everybody, we’re going to let things play out,” he said. “I would worry about any coach that would even want to have a conversation about the Baylor job (right now). That wouldn’t sit well with me that you’re willing to have this conversation. I wouldn’t do that to that institution or that athletic director.”

Oklahoma’s touchdown maker

When Oklahoma sophomore tight end Mark Andrews catches a pass, the odds are favorable it will be for six points. He has tied Ryan Broyles’ school record of 10 TD catches in the first 15 games of a career. Andrews’ 10 TDs in 24 receptions stands alone in the OU record book.

Last season, had 19 receptions with seven going for touchdowns. This season his five receptions have produced three TDs.

“It’s an honor just to in that sort of category,” Andrews said. “Some of those guys, like Ryan Broyles … It’s just an honor to be at a place like this and be able to be productive and to make plays and just be in the talking for that.”

Which ‘quote’ is a winner?

Here are quotes from two Big 12 defensive coordinators after Saturday’s games.

1) “Our third downs were awful. We played man and we played zone and their quarterback made throws, but we were ineffective at times. We need to play better.”

2) “Guys get 12 opportunities to play this game. We just gave one away because what we did today wasn’t playing. They just outcoached us. They outplayed us. Horrible. Terrible. Can’t cover. Can’t tackle. Bad.”

The first quote is from Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer after the Cowboys lost to Central Michigan, 30-27.

The second quote is from West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson after the Mountaineers defeated Youngstown State, 38-21.

Quick slants


  • Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes wears No. 18; hence, his short yardage play package is dubbed “The 18 Wheeler. BreakingT, a t-shirt company based in Washington, D.C., has come out with a shirt that should be popular with Longhorns fans. Some of the fans who buy the shirt have likely booed the senior during his career. The shirt sells for $24. Debate among yourselves the fact that Swoopes won’t see a dime of that money.
  • According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Big 12 is the most likely Power Five conference to have its champion finish with more than one loss. Per ESPN’s Football Power Index, there’s now an 80-percent chance that the Big 12 champ will finish with two or more defeats. Before the season, the FPI on that was at 36 percent.
  • Baylor senior running back Shock Linwood needs 48 years to break Walter Abercrombie’s career rushing record of 3,665 yards. With two more rushing touchdowns, Linwood will also set the school record in that category.
  • Oklahoma State is an example of how the perception of a schedule can change once the season starts. Starting with Week Two opponent Central Michigan, the Cowboys face Pitt Saturday, open Big 12 play at Baylor Sept. 24, and are then at home against Texas. The loss to the Chippewas drops Oklahoma State to 1-1, and its next three opponents are all off to 2-0 starts.


West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen rationalizing the Big 12’s 11-8 start in non-conference play:

“It has everything to do with the nature of who we are playing. The schedules are changing. No one is playing three cupcakes anymore. Everyone is playing challenging games now. When power-five teams play power-five teams, there are going to be guys who lose.”

Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington on how the team’s leaders need to help the team move beyond the gut-punch loss to Central Michigan:

“We need to get everybody back to where we need to be, and everybody’s mindsets where we need to be to accomplish our goals as a team. We’ve got to have short-term memory loss. Throw it in the past and focus on next week.”

First-year Iowa State coach Matt Campbell on his team’s 0-2 start:

“Change is tough. Change is hard. You don’t just walk in, and all of a sudden, everything changes. We’re trying to change a culture, not just win and lose football games.”

Big 12 notes: Ex-SEAL McRaven “encourages” respect, Rhoades on Baylor

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