Tag Archives: ut ud 2011

Applewhite, Major


Cards: UT Upper Deck 2011, UT Upper Deck 2011 MM
Acquired: TTM 2012, C/o mackbrown.com
Sent: 4/13   Received: 4/18 (5 days)

Major Applewhite was the quarterback at the University of Texas who took over the mantle of starting quarterback in his Freshman season under Coach John Mackovic.  He’d play through some tenuous times at the University of Texas, and be there for the hiring of Mack Brown. The problem was, bigger fish had been eyeing the University of Texas pond, and while it was already big enough for Ricky Williams and Major Applewhite to run the offense, things changed when NFL pedigree quarterback Chris Simms came to Austin. While Simms struggled early on after having the offense handed to him, the undersized but big-hearted Applewhite, continued to stage heroics and stake a claim for the starting job at UT time after time.  In his final contest after defeating Simms again for the starting nod at UT, he led the Longhorns to a come from behind victory over the Washington Huskies 47-43 at the Holiday Bowl. In the contest, Major shouldered the offense and threw for a school record 473 yards.  I remember working that evening of the game and the person behind me hated the Longhorns, and was from Washington. As a big Applewhite fan, I hadn’t been watching the Longhorns as much as I wanted to because of the quarterback controversy. He gloated throughout the whole game until Applewhite pulled off the last minute heroics.
At the time of his graduation in 2001, Major was the school’s all-time leader in passing yards (8,353),  completions (611), and TD passes (60).  The Patriots took a flyer on Applewhite, but facing an uphill battle in camp, Major opted to retire instead. Applewhite is considered an extremely bright and innovative mind in the college coaching ranks now. First as a Graduate Assistant at UT, then some bumpy years at Syracuse panned out into revamping and modernizing the Rice Football team. He also spent time with Nick Saban at Alabama, before returning to the Longhorns in 2008 as their runningbacks coach. He has since added ‘Co-Offensive Coordinator’ to his job duties in 2011, and remains a steadfast Longhorn Legend.

I really wanted Major and Mack – at least – from the scrimmage, but all I ended up being is a lambasted lobster by the end of it. Unusually high temperatures at the stadium turned the place into a pressure cooker and by the third quarter I had to leave. I was also equally disappointed as the media billed the ‘Fan Day’ as one in which the players, alumni, and coaches were going to be giving autographs. I saw none of that going on but was still happy to see Ricky Williams get his statue unveiled. Well I decided to see if I could contact the college to see if get their autographs on these cards, and to my surprise I found Mack Brown’s UT football site. I contacted them through the site and explained what had happened, and was responded to very promptly by a member of their support team, who offered me any coaches or players I’d like as long as they were personalized. I pretty much jumped to get Mack and Major, and both arrived back to me in the same envelope at break neck speed.

Brown, Mack

Cards: UT Upper Deck 2011
Acquired: TTM 2012, C/o http://mackbrown-texasfootball.com/
Sent: 4/13    Received: 4/18

Mack Brown has assembled quite an impressive resume in college football and seems quite content to remain among the upper echelon of coaches at that level, but before that what most fans of the University of Texas don’t know is that Mack Brown is a Seminole. Yes, he graduated from Florida State and started student coaching after an injury caused an early exit in 1974. It has been a long road for Brown along the way, with stops at Southern Miss, Memphis State, Iowa State, and LSU. By this point he had held quarterbacks, wide receivers, and the offensive coordinator positions by 1982.  In 1983, Mack earned his first head coaching stint, leading the Appalachian State Yosef to a 6-5 record, but quickly joined the University of Oklahoma staff as offensive coordinator for 1984.  He’d head over to the Tulane Green Wave to be athletic director and head coach, turning a dead end program around for an Independence Bowl appearance in 1987.

In 1988, the University of North Carolina was looking to fix its woeful football program. Taking note of Mack’s turnaround of Tulane, the University signed him up. After an initial rough patch, the team gelled under his recruitment and started a return to respectability by 1991 finishing at a 7-4 record. 1992 saw Mack’s Tar Heel program finish 9-3 and win the Peach Bowl. The school enjoyed its finest football in some 50 odd years under Mack’s direction through 1997.  He’d leave North Carolina for the University of Texas after the season, (to take over for reassigned head coach John Makovic,) finishing his career at UNC with 69 wins.

A new era of Texas football began that year, under Mack’s direction. He claims that his first ‘recruit’ was convincing Ricky Williams to stay at Texas for his senior season. It has been during his tenure at the University of Texas that Brown has displayed a dominant knack for recruitment, and preparing many players for the professional level. In 14 seasons as head coach, the University of Texas has appeared in 13 bowl games under Mack including 4 bowl games. The Longhorns have also ranked in the top 5 6 times over that span as well.  In 2005, Texas went 13-0, with Vince Young at quarterback, and defeated the star-studded USC Trojans at the Rose Bowl 41-38. Mack also was given the NCAA Football Coach of the Year award.  As of the conclusion of the 2011 season, Mack has a 141- 39 record at UT, and is 227-113-1 all-time.  While he has been rumored from time to time to be in line for an NFL gig, the University of Texas has had no qualms about locking him in for basically a lifetime salary and can coach here until he is ready to retire.

After getting scalded at the Orange-White scrimmage this year, I wrote Mack courtesy of his website. I was surprised to get a quick response from Kasey, his personal assistant, who apologized for my situation. He offered to get any autograph I wanted as long as I had them personalized. It was a quick 5 day turn around for both Mack and Major Applewhite in the same envelope, making this Longhorn fan quite happy.

 

Williams, Ricky “Little Earl”

Card: UT Upper Deck 2011
Acquired: In Person, 1300 The Zone Shady Grove Event
Failure: 2010, C/o The Miami Dolphins
See Also: Ricky Williams (2), Ricky Williams (3), Ricky Williams (4)


I think the crown jewel of UT outside of Earl Campbell is definitely Ricky Williams. I had been torturing myself all week about this one, debating on whether or not I should go after hearing on the radio he was going to appear on the radio at Shady Grove Burgers. About 1 in the morning I woke up and decided that I’d finagle my way into showing up, rearranging work and also borrowing my girlfriend’s car, it would be a stretch, but I somehow in the end I pulled it off after all.  The usual 1300 The Zone suspects were there, and Rod and I had a few chuckles before he went on the air. This time I scared Craig Way (the voice of the Longhorns) with my howling and cheering which they initially said sounded like a pretty woman and then backed off of. Ricky showed up clad in black. He did some interviews and then I probably had one of the weirdest, most existential conversations that I ever had with a player.

I said hello and started talking to him. He immediately asked who I was and then started asking me questions. I told him about how he was an inspiration to me conquering his social anxiety issues, to which he told me, “He didn’t believe in that anymore.” We talked briefly about who he’d retire officially as a member of,  but he hadn’t even though of that. He was quite engaging, and asked me if I was attending his event on Sunday, to which I told him I couldn’t afford the 200.00 price tag. I didn’t have 200.00 to be tossing around like that. I can’t afford it on my hourly wage. He was a bit shocked, but then asked me what I would do if 200.00 dropped out of the sky? I told him I’d want to give it back because I didn’t know who’s money it was. This existential wrangling lasted about another minute before he segued on to talking about his playing career and how he had separated his pectorial muscle and missed a whole season. He rededicated himself to being in the best shape he could and one day Bill Parcells called him into his office and told him that they were tripling his salary for the next season- even though he hadn’t even played a down. He told me that someday 200.00 may just drop out of the sky like that for me, and to think about it. It was an interesting conversation to say the least, but I can see how people get the wrong impression from the enigmatic runningback. Later after the radio show, I plunked down $20.00 to get his autograph for a donation. I was the first in line and he had a big beaming smile and came over and signed the card and took a photo. The flood gates opened really after that. It was a nice event in the end, and I was happy to have met “Little Earl”.
Ricky Williams played for the Texas Longhorns from 1995-1998. The 1998 Heisman Trophy Winner, Ricky holds Texas records for rushing yards in a game (350 yards against Iowa State). He hold the school record for most rushing yards and touchdowns in a season (2,124 yards, 27TD), and in his career as well (6,279yards, 72Tds). His 6,279 rushing yards were an NCAA record at the time in 1998.  Williams earned accolades for the Doak Walker Award (97,98), Jim Brown Trophy (97,98), Consensus All-American (97,98), Collegiate Player of the year 1998, the Maxwell Award 1998,  the Walter Camp Award 1998, and at the time of his graduation he held or shared 20 NCAA Rushing Records.

The Saints, during the 1999 draft thought he was the second coming of Walter Payton. Mike Ditka famously traded away his entire draft to get Ricky Williams with the 5th pick of the draft. Williams despite performing well for New Orleans, couldn’t save the Saints. In 3 seasons with the team he accumulated 3129 yards rushing, 16 touchdowns, and helped them return to the playoffs. His final season in New Orleans, Ricky ran for 1,245 yards and had a career high 60 receptions for 511 yards.

The Saints pulled the trigger after drafting Deuce McAllister, and traded Ricky to the Miami Dolphins for a pair of 1’s in 2002. The Dolphins rode Williams hard in his first season under Dave Wannastedt. He’d lead the league with 383 carries for 1853 yards, finishing with 2216 yards from scrimmage. After another grueling season in 2003 when he led the league with 392 carries and shouldered the load for the offense, Williams out of the blue retired. He also was liberal about his drug usage, and was suspended from the league for marijuana usage. This wrecked the middle part of  his career, however left him with fresh legs entering his 30s. In 2009, Williams returned to old form, (splitting time with Ronnie Brown,) Williams still managed to run for 1121 yards, a svelte 4.7 yard average, and 11 touchdowns.  He’d have his career long reception and rush that year as well, at the age of 32.  Ricky played with the Dolphins through 2010, and one final season in Baltimore.

Ricky retired after the 2011 season, wanting to focus more on his charitable/ philanthropical causes and move into another phase of his life.  His 4 season interlude between 1,000 yard seasons, is the longest in the NFL. Williams did manage in 11 seasons, to rush for over 10k yards, a testament to how many yards he had in his career over the first half of it.  You can visit his website at: www.rickywilliamsfoundation.com.

I made the right decision to get his autograph at the Shady Hollow event. At the University of Texas Burnt Orange and White Scrimmage he refused to sign any autographs. His statue was unveiled across from Earl Campbell’s just outside the stadium.

G/Gs  147/84    Rush 2431   Yds  10009   Avg 4.1  Td 66  Lg 68  |
Rec  342   Yds  2606   Avg  7.6   Td 8   Lg 59