The inaugural Tyler Rose Award was handed out Friday in Tyler
By Matthew Postins
I was at the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Banquet on Friday night in Tyler, Texas. The inaugural award celebrates the top offensive college football player from the state of Texas. I was one of the media members asked to vote on the award. Given that I grew up in East Texas and worked in Tyler, it was an honor to be a part of the committee the selected the first award bearing the name of the Tyler Rose.
The winner? Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, who led the Bears to their first Big 12 title and BCS bowl appearance. The other finalists were Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro, Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans, Missouri quarterback James Franklin and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. Amaro and Petty showed up for the event, though Manziel’s parents were in attendance in his place.
Petty is the only finalist who will play college football next year, and during his pre-award interview with Ron Franklin he revealed his sense of humor. Petty has already graduated and is starting to work toward a master’s degree. When Franklin asked Petty if he thought he could have the degree done by the time his eligibility was up, he replied. “Well, when you’re in college for eight years, yeah I hope so.” Petty was referring to the fact that he had to sit behind both Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence before he finally earned the starting job last season.
Of course, Petty did something neither Griffin nor Florence were able to in leading the Bears to a conference title. He returns to Waco with the chance to defend the Big 12 crown, contend for a Heisman trophy and help the Bears fight for a berth in the first College Football Playoff.
It was the first chance I had to interact with Petty outside of football and I must say I was impressed with his class and sense of humor. I can’t wait to see him and the Bears next fall in that shiny new stadium right off I-35. It should be one heck of a season in Waco.
Wes Phillips is now the tight ends coach in Washington. I’m not sure that really hurts the Cowboys. Jason Witten is already what he’s going to be, and the backups – James Hanna and Gavin Escobar – really didn’t grow this season. That may not be a knock on Phillips, but this gives the Cowboys a chance to upgrade to a tight end coach with a proven history of developing talent. Witten won’t last forever and the Cowboys need to get something out of Escobar.
I’m interested to see if Rich Bisaccia gets the Browns job. It’s the only head coaching job left in the NFL, but it’s clear the Browns want to talk to some of the assistant coaches working this weekend. Special teams coordinators are rarely interviewed for head-coaching jobs. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh famously had to change from special teams coordinator to defensive backs coach to better position himself to be a head coach while on Andy Reid’s staff in Philadelphia. Bisaccia has had three interviews this offseason. But don’t look at Bisaccia as a straight special teams coach. If you look at his history, he’s coached just about every position on the field as an assistant. He did double duty in Tampa Bay in 2008, coaching special teams and running backs. He did the same thing at Ole Miss. He’s been an assistant head coach three separate times. If he doesn’t get a head-coaching job this offseason, it could be next offseason.
The Senior Bowl is next week. We in the notebook brigade like to call it “Jerry opens his mouth and says something provocative” week. Mobile should work on a cross-promotion for that. You can set your clock by it.
Keep an eye on what coaches are in Mobile next week. If Monte Kiffin is in Mobile next week, it could be a strong indication that Kiffin will survive to coach in 2014. Jerry Jones has been known to change his mind. But the vast majority of coaching changes come before the Senior Bowl. Not after.
CBSSports.com reports that Bill Callahan will call plays in 2014. It’s not that I think Jason LaCanfora is wrong. I just don’t understand why the locals aren’t reporting the same thing. So expect that to come up in Mobile this week.
Jason Hatcher is on his way to the Pro Bowl. It’s likely his last act as a Cowboy. Have fun, Jason. You had a great season and you deserve it. Then go get paid, and the Cowboys need to let someone else take that risk.
Mark Cuban delivers on drawing one final fine from outgoing NBA commissioner David Stern. It’s a $100,000 fine for Cuban confronting officials after the Mavs lost to the Clippers on Wednesday. Cuban should be confronting his team about their inability to hold on to big leads, as the Mavs lost a 17-point lead to the Clips.
I am interested to see how the trio of Devin Harris, Brandan Wright and Shane Larkin impact the Mavs’ rotation. Head coach Rick Carlisle said earlier this season that this team is old and slow and that needs to change. Harris made his season debut on Saturday. Wright is starting to round into form. Larkin dropped 18 on Phoenix on Friday. All could have a serious impact on the second half of this season.
By the way, Mel Kiper Jr. selects Alabama cornerback Ha Ha Clinton Dix as the Cowboys’ first-round pick in his first mock draft. I’m not saying it’s a bad pick. I’m just saying that one wishes he was about 60 pounds heavier and played defensive end.