Memphis

QB

Advantage: UCLA

Redshirt junior Brett Hundley has the kind of athleticism that has ruined the Texas front seven, but his 396-yard and three touchdown passing performance against Memphis last week showed the dual-threat ability that makes him a Heisman candidate.  

Sophomore Tyrone Swoopes did as well as expected with the vanilla game plan that his coaches drew up last week, but his deep passes were inaccurate, and his athleticism was not a factor until the game was out of hand.

RB

Advantage: UCLA

Redshirt sophomore Paul Perkins has put together a solid first two games for the Bruins — averaging 4.6 yards per carry — but he has not yet faced a top-tier defense, and his backups have struggled.

Junior Johnathan Gray and senior Malcolm Brown only averaged 2.7 yards per carry against BYU, but a weak offensive line should take some blame for that. So far this season, neither back has been a factor in the passing game. 

WR

Advantage: UCLA

A strong receiving corps allows Hundley to spread the ball around. Junior Jordan Payton and sophomore Thomas Duarte both had 100-yard games last week, and junior Devin Fuller added
nine catches.

A head injury may keep senior Jaxon Shipley out against the Bruins. Redshirt senior John Harris led the team in receiving for a second straight week, but junior Marcus Johnson has yet to make any impact on offense.

OL

Advantage: Texas 

The Longhorn offensive line will again be without tackles junior Kennedy Estelle and senior Desmond Harrison, both of whom were recently suspended. Texas struggled to run last week, but this unit tops UCLA’s on the basis that the pass protection has been decent through two games.

The UCLA offensive line has allowed nine sacks in two games, and Bruin runners are averaging a scant 3.3 yards per carry. Redshirt junior center Jake Brendel returned to the team last week, but he cannot compensate for the lack of experience around him.

DL

Advantage: Texas

Senior Cedric Reed and Co. put constant pressure on BYU junior quarterback Taysom Hill last week, but they need to focus on containing the quarterback. If the ends get up the field too quickly, Hundley will step up and hurt the team with his legs.

UCLA’s defensive line, led by sophomore Eddie Vanderdoes, dominated in its first game against Virginia but has recorded only one sack this season.

LB

Advantage: UCLA

Sophomore Myles Jack and redshirt senior Eric Kendricks return to what should be one of the best linebacking corps in the Pac-12. It shut down Virginia’s offensive attack but allowed 164 rushing yards
to Memphis.

The linebackers fell apart against BYU. Ball carriers burst through to the secondary at will, and outside linebackers Jordan Hicks and Peter Jinkens struggled to seal off the perimeter. It is hard to imagine them improving against better competition this week.

DB

Advantage: Texas

The secondary has been the Longhorns’ strongest defensive unit. Senior Quandre Diggs grabbed an interception in the end zone last week, and the team has only allowed 196 passing yards all season.

Apart from two interceptions against Virginia, UCLA’s veteran secondary has struggled through the first two games of the season. The Bruins will be further weakened if junior cornerback Randall Goforth misses this weekend’s game due to a shoulder injury. 

ST

Advantage: UCLA

Placekicker Ka’imi Fairbairn has struggled early on for the Bruins. The junior missed one extra point and his only field goal try. Junior returner Ishmael Adams has been solid in the return game, averaging 11.5 yards per return on punts. 

Texas’ special teams have been disastrous through two weeks. Junior placekicker Nick Rose is 1-for-3 on field goal attempts, and Marcus Johnson made several poor decisions against BYU.

The Longhorns took 12 matches to tiebreak decisions, but experienced few victories at the Miami Spring Invite.

Over the course of the three-day event, the team won six of the 30 matches it competed in. Half of those wins came Friday, as sophomore Breaunna Addison, senior Elizabeth Begley and freshman Ratnika Batra won their singles matches against Memphis.

Six of the Longhorns’ seven singles matches against No. 9 Miami on Saturday went to three sets.

After sweeping Memphis’ Alyssa Hibberd on Day 1, No. 22 Addison lost in three sets to No. 64 Kelsey Laurente the next day.

First semester freshman Neda Koprcina helped pick up two of Texas’ six wins. She defeated Clementina Riobueno in a third-set tiebreaker 10-8 for her first collegiate victory.

Then, on Sunday, Koprcina teamed up with Begley and won in doubles against a Memphis duo. It was the Longhorns’ lone win Sunday and second doubles victory at the invitational.

The meet offered Texas a look at No. 16 Vanderbilt, whom they will face at home in February. The Longhorns struggled victory-wise as the Commodores swept all 10 matches.

Texas begins the dual-match season with 10 straight non-conference home matches. Their first opponent will be UT-San Antonio on Wednesday.  

When sophomore guard Brady Sanders subbed in with 2:31 left Thursday night, the Longhorns were down 21 points to Syracuse. Sanders didn’t let it faze her, though, draining a trifecta of 3-pointers and a free throw to bring her team within 10.

The Longhorns still fell to the Orange but used the near comeback as motivation to beat No. 11 Texas A&M and Memphis before leaving the Virgin Islands.

“I think some players didn’t have much of a sense of urgency today,” head coach Karen Aston said.    

Texas allowed four Syracuse players to reach double-figures as a five-point halftime deficit grew. A season-high 23 turnovers were the main culprit — the Orange notched 24 points off turnovers alone.

Texas regrouped before Friday, as it trumped the Aggies 69-58. Junior forward Nneka Enemkpali led the Longhorns with 20 points and 11 rebounds in her second double-double this season. Freshman center Kelsey Lang chipped in with 10 points during her first start.

“We did an excellent job coming off a loss from last night and not dwelling on it,” Sanders said. “Everyone really understood what this rivalry means even though we’re not in the same conference.”

Sanders performed well in each of the weekend games, connecting on another three three-pointers against A&M and two against Memphis on Saturday in the Longhorns’ 65-36 win. She finished the weekend 9-for-16 behind the arc, paired with what Aston described as “terrific defense” in which the Longhorns followed the game plan and were “extremely focused on responding to scouting reports.” 

Lang hit another career-high 12 points with perfect second-half shooting. While Lang said her teammates’ support was key in calming her nerves, Aston said Lang brings a new dimension to her teammates as well.

“Lang has opened up some room for Nneka because she has the ability to space the floor a little bit differently than our other post players do,” Aston said. “She has a good feel in the post and she’s a smart player.”

Texas faces Arkansas-Little Rock on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Frank Erwin Center.

Texas senior pitcher Blaire Luna pitches against Blinn College last season. Luna is on the preseason watch list for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Texas softball welcomes Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for its 17th season opener at 7 p.m. Thursday in Austin. The game commences the weekend Texas Classic tournament that also hosts North Texas and Memphis.

Boasting a 22-3 record against A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas won the last match-up 6-5 on Feb. 15, 2012. The Longhorns undefeated at 16-0 in season openers, with 10 shutouts including last year’s program-high 23 runs against Cal State Fullerton that propelled a 10-0 season start. Returning with strong prospects this year, Texas was ranked No. 7 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I Top 25 preseason poll, No. 9 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason chart and No. 2 in the Big 12 Conference preseason poll. Last Friday, senior catcher Taylor Hoagland and senior pitcher Blaire Luna were named to the preseason watch list for 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year.

“Blaire’s competitive, she’s got the experience, hungry and wants to go out on a high note,” head coach Connie Clark said of Luna, who enters her final season tied for career saves and second in nearly all other school records. “I don’t think she’ll be satisfied without that.”    

Hoagland complements Luna in the senior class, anticipating third base and outfield appearances. With the Texas career records in home runs (44) and slugging percentage (.674), Hoagland joins senior Kim Bruins and junior Brejae Washington as team captains. Bruins will pitch with Luna and continue infield experience for which she posts a .985 fielding percentage in 105 games. Washington, leading the Texas records for career stolen bases (65), brings a confident batting strategy of bunting.

Junior catcher Mandy Ogle returns as starting catcher after helping the pitching staff post a 2.40 ERA last season. Freshmen Taylor King and Erin Shireman (No. 15 ESPNHS recruit) follow her behind the plate. Infield high prospects include Karina Scott, whose .995 career fielding percentage will help her at first and second bases as well as junior Taylor Thom at shortstop following a 95-assist 2012 season.

Tony Parker appreciates San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich’s conservation plan.

During this condensed NBA season, Parker said Popovich is rarely allowing anyone to play more than 40 minutes, a strategy that contributed to the Spurs’ 89-84 victory Monday night over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Parker, playing 36 minutes, scored 21 points, and Tim Duncan added 19 points and a season-high 17 rebounds in 32 minutes.

“I think Pop tries to keep us fresh,” Parker said. “It’s rare that me, or anyone, plays 40 minutes. Over the course of the season, if you have to play 38 or 40 minutes a game, it’s tough. It takes its toll.”

Memphis, minus Zach Randolph indefinitely and Tony Allen the past two games, was forced to use starters Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley for 40-plus minutes. Gasol had 22 points to lead the Grizzlies, while Conley scored 19 and Gay 18.

Gay said the Grizzlies, who lost their third straight, expended their energy fighting back from a 14-point first-half deficit to take a six-point lead entering the final quarter.

“It was tough,” Gay said. “A couple of guys were fatigued from playing a lot of heavy minutes. It was one of those games that slipped away from us.”

The Grizzlies were outscored 22-11 in the fourth quarter. The 11 points represented a season low for a single quarter.

“We made some shots and got some stops [to rally],” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “Then in the fourth quarter, we couldn’t make a shot anymore.”

Memphis didn’t have an answer for Duncan in the second half. He scored 13 of his points after the half as the Spurs opened a nine-game road trip with a win, their fifth straight. The Grizzlies led 73-67 entering the final period, but missed their first nine shots to allow the Spurs to recover and take an 87-81 lead with 1:18 to go.

Duncan also had two key blocks in the closing minute as the Spurs clung to an 87-84 lead. He first blocked Gay’s layup attempt with 32 seconds left and followed with a block of Gasol’s close-range attempt 10 seconds later.

“He is somebody who is pretty special,” Popovich said. “The blocks were pretty good down the stretch. Those kinds of things are what he does.”

Parker said Duncan has been playing at a high level recently. It was Duncan’s second straight double-double. He had 13 points and 15 rebounds Saturday in a win over Oklahoma City.

“He’s feeling good,” Parker said. “His knee is doing well. Hopefully, he can stay like that. That’s a great game from Timmy — 19 [points] and 17 [rebounds].”

The Grizzlies trailed by 13 at 61-48 early in the third quarter, but rallied behind a 25-6 run to end the period. Memphis took its first lead of the second half, at 66-63, on O.J. Mayo’s 3-pointer with 2:11 to go in the third quarter.

Hitting five of seven 3-pointers in the first half, San Antonio led by as many as 14 late in the second quarter. Matt Bonner and Gary Neal connected on two 3-pointers apiece and Kawhi Leonard had the other.
 

Golf

Senior Bobby Hudson received a sponsor’s exemption to compete in this week’s FedEx St. Jude Classic on the PGA Tour. It will be a homecoming of sorts for Hudson, as the tournament will take place June 10-13 at TPC Southwind in Hudson’s hometown of Memphis, Tenn.

Hudson saw his collegiate career come to an end last week at the NCAA Championships, where he finished tied for 94th. He competed in the NCAA Championships in each of his four years at Texas and claimed two individual regular season tournament titles as a Longhorn.

Other notable participants in the St. Jude Classic include Texas Exes Jhonattan Vegas, Bob Estes, and Harrison Frazar.

Music Monday

Bosco Delrey is somewhat of an onstage enigma. Saturday night at La Zona Rosa, he opened for Brazilian electro rockers Cansei de Ser Sexy and noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells with a set that jumped between reverb-drenched rockabilly and blues-heavy psych.

That’s impressive considering the Memphis transplant is one of the newest additions to the Mad Decent roster, a label that mostly includes club bangers such as Crookers, Blaqstarr and Rusko.

Essentially a one-man band, Delrey is at least somewhat aware of how difficult it can be to capture an audience’s attention. “This isn’t open-mic night just because it’s one guy up here, you know,” he told the crowd after apologizing for the basic lighting setup on stage.

But Delrey’s set was gratifying, to say the least. He has Julian Casablancas’ look and swagger, Memphis soul vocals and an impressive list of sonic influences: rockabilly, Chess Records-type blues, dancehall beats and even My Bloody Valentine-style shoegazing. Think King Curtis’ music drenched in spacey reverb or Alan Vega’s “Jukebox Babe” with a drum machine.

“I like music that didn’t just come from nowhere; I like traditional music, you know? Music with really strong roots,” Delrey told the Texan after his set. “Especially blues music, stuff like Son House, Buddy Guy, Chuck Berry — but mostly acoustic blues.”

Delrey said he’ll be going on the next leg of his tour completely alone — “just me and my car and that’s it. I’m totally alone,” he said.

Delrey’s debut album, Everybody Wah, drops tomorrow on Mad Decent and Downtown records.