Cedric Benson

Malcolm Brown runs the ball down the field during Texas’ loss to Kansas State on Saturday. After injuring his ankle during the Oklahoma State game, Brown was sidelined for five games. Although Texas lost, he finished the game with 40 yards on seven rushes.
Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Last season, Malcolm Brown became the first true freshman to lead Texas in rushing since Cedric Benson.

Because of an injury and increased competition, this season hasn’t been quite as monumental for him.

Brown injured his ankle during Texas’ win over Oklahoma State in September. After missing five games, he rushed 10 times against Iowa State and had his first carry in the fourth quarter of that game.

But he was dormant with no rushes in Texas’ loss to TCU.

Running backs coach Major Applewhite said it was because of his tweaking his ankle during the game against the Cyclones. After a long absence, Brown finally made an impact during Texas’ loss to Kansas State.

“It was great to get back out on the field with my team,” Brown said. “It has been a while. It is not about me or anything. We just wanted to come out here and just play our best. Nothing was solely just on me. We did not come out with a ‘W,’ so it was disappointing.”

He finished the game with seven rushes for 40 yards, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. He made an even bigger impact in the passing game and caught six passes for 43 yards and had his first career touchdown reception. The only points Texas scored during the second half were made by Brown.

As a freshman, he led the team in rushing with 742 yards and five touchdowns. He missed Texas’ games against Texas Tech and Missouri last season. His absence was certainly felt during Texas’ 17-5 loss to the Tigers.

Freshman Johnathan Gray had little playing time early in the year, with young talents like Brown and Joe Bergeron in the backfield making it difficult to get the freshman touches. In Brown’s absence, Gray found his way around the offense and now leads the team in rushing. But based on Brown’s performance Saturday, who sits in that top running back spot is once again a question. The running back corps is described as the most closely knit group on the team, but the depth is likely forcing some healthy competition.

Before Texas’ loss to Kansas State, co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said Brown’s injury was just part of the reason he wasn’t getting significant playing time.

“When guys get injured, other guys step up,” Harsin said. “That’s what you ask them to do, what you expect them to do. Guys have done that. He’s getting himself back in the mix. He has to continue to keep preparing well, practicing hard, gets his opportunities in games to make them count. We evaluate as the week goes on in practice how they look, how they’re competing, operating in the offense that week.”

Although his absence this season was felt, Gray and Bergeron kept the backfield productive. With the Alamo Bowl as the sole remaining game, Brown’s return comes at a good time for the Longhorns. Third-down specialist Jeremy Hills is out for the season with a fractured leg and Oregon State sits in 32nd in the country in run defense with 137.9 rushing yards given up per game.

Brown and the rest of the Longhorns are heading to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29. Brown, who is from Cibolo, gets the opportunity to play near his hometown.

“I will definitely be looking forward to it,” Brown said. “I know a lot of friends and family are going to be there for me, and we have a couple other guys from San Antonio also on the team. It’s going to be a great family atmosphere for us, and anybody else who lives here in Texas, I know their families will be there also.”

After two consecutive losses to end the regular season, Brown hopes that this game will send the few Texas seniors out on a positive note and prepare returning players for 2013.

“Just for us younger guys we want to focus in on that game, prepare, and take that momentum to the next season,” Brown said.

Printed on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 as: Brown returns: Malcolm Brown finally has the return he wanted during Texas' loss to KSU

Dear Texas,

We hate you.

We hate burnt orange, drugged-up steers, dress-up cowboys, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” and losing to the Longhorns.

We hate the McCoy and Shipley brothers, Vince Young, Chris Simms, Cedric Benson and your dirty, overpriced state fair.

We. Hate. You.

But do you know what we love?

Hearing one side of the Cotton Bowl roar as the other falls silent. Answering your call-and-return “Texas Fight” chants with “sucks.”

Forming our hands into upside-down horns at every opportunity. Listening to you brag about how awesome your high school football is, only to watch the Sooners steal the top recruits out from under your nose.

And then there’s the thing we love the most: beating the living hell out of you in your own state.

We love 55-17. We love 28-20. We love 28-21, 12-0, 65-13, 35-24, 14-3 and 63-14.

To us, the Longhorns represent something more than just a football team.

They’re a symbol for everything we hate about the state of Texas: the entitlement, the inflated sense of importance and self-worth, the bigger-is-better mentality and, perhaps most of all, the lack of courtesy toward others on the road. (Seriously, this is an issue. How hard is it to use a turn signal and not run people off the highway for driving the speed limit?)

Most of the Texas fans I know realize that they’re hated or at least disliked, but they don’t understand why. They casually write it off as envy and carry on their merry way.

They’re the guy at the bar with a man tan and a way-too-tight Tapout shirt smirking and saying “haters gonna hate” when people call him a tool.

They have no clue.

Texas fans think everyone hates them for the same reason everyone hates Alabama football, when in reality, it’s for the reason everyone hates Notre Dame football.

Sorry for relying on cheesy analogies and sports metaphors to define our hate for your university, but it’s a hard thing to explain. People hate Texas because Texas thinks it’s awesome, not because Texas is awesome.

Texas is the Kanye West of universities. I can’t think of a simpler way to put it.

No university has a bigger superiority complex, which creates an interesting dynamic for the Red River Rivalry: the humble folksiness of Oklahoma vs. the pompous pride of Texas.And that’s where the rivalry transcends football. It’s not just a battle of football teams; it’s a battle of ideologies.

We have a saying here in the Sooner state: “Sooner born, Sooner bred, and when I die, I’ll be Sooner dead.”

Now, nothing in there mentions hating Texas or that sorry university that calls Austin home, but nonetheless, we still feel an obligation to despise our neighbors to the south.
So we’ll continue to hate the Lone Star State with every atom of our beings until the day we die. And we’re perfectly fine with that.

As we approach October and cap off the first month of NFL action, there is little certainty in the fantasy football world. Here are a few pointers that should help fantasy owners piece the puzzle together and make sense of it all:

Start:
1) Cedric Benson, RB, Green Bay Packers

Benson must be salivating as he looks forward to Sunday, when the New Orleans Saints come Lambeau Field. The Saints haven’t been able to stop anybody this season, allowing Jamaal Charles to rack up 288 total yards of offense last week. Benson has established himself as the primary ball carrier in the Packers’ backfield. Aaron Rodgers will be airing it out against the Saints, but Benson should get valuable touches near the goal line.

2) Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jackson has been anything but consistent this season, sandwiching a monster game against the Giants in Week 2 between two lackluster performances in Weeks 1 and 3. However, with the Bucs facing the Washington Redskins and their dreadful secondary, Jackson should be able put up big numbers.

3) Brandon Lloyd, WR, New England Patriots
Given Tom Brady’s ability to spread the ball around, relying on New England receivers is a gamble. However, Lloyd and Brady’s chemistry seems to increase every week, which was most evident in Lloyd’s nine-catch, 108-yard performance against the Ravens last week. Lloyd will remain a consistent threat as long as he keeps getting looks from Brady.

Sit:
1) Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins

Tannehill couldn’t get anything going against the Jets in Week 3, completing less than half of his passes for 196 yards and an interception. Things will not be easier for him against a stout, opportunistic Cardinals defense. He may also be without running back Reggie Bush, who left last game with a knee injury.

2) Anquan Boldin, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Boldin stumbled out of the gate this season, posting single-digit fantasy point totals in twice this year. With Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco relying heavily on his tight ends and running back Ray Rice, Boldin’s presence has been vastly reduced. He could break out as Flacco’s red zone threat, but Boldin is not a reliable fantasy player.

3) Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears
The question is always whether “good Jay” or “bad Jay” will show up on game day. Cutler showed his bad side the past two games, tossing five interceptions and one touchdown. Bears fans and fantasy owners hope Cutler can bounce back Monday night against an improved Dallas Cowboys’ defense,  but that may be asking too much.

Printed on Thursday, September 27, 2012 as: Benson a shrewd fantasy choice

Fantasy Frenzy: Start or sit?

Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman congratulates receiver Mike Williams during a recent game for the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman congratulates receiver Mike Williams during a recent game for the Buccaneers.

Week 6 is upon us. Just like every other week, you’ll have some tough decisions to make with your roster. Here are a few suggestions of players to start and to sit.

Start:

Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Freeman is a quarterback that leads his teams to wins and comes up clutch in the fourth quarter (except for last week’s embarrassing loss to San Francisco). But unfortunately for Freeman’s fans, his fourth quarter stats count for the same amount as the numbers in the other three — where Freeman is an average quarterback mostly because of Tampa Bay’s heavy reliance on the run. But this week, he will be forced to throw the ball to keep up with the explosive New Orleans Saints, so expect at least 300 yards throwing and a few touchdowns.

Cedric Benson, Cincinnati Bengals — The former Longhorn running back hasn’t had the greatest start to the season. He’s seen eight man fronts all year as defenses try to force rookie quarterback Andy Dalton to throw. But this week Benson comes up against a very favorable matchup with the Colts’ run defense, so he is a must start.

Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers — The wideout has had a horrendous start this year with only 183 yards in five games after a stellar rookie campaign where he compiled 1,147 yards and 12 touchdowns. Expect Williams to get back on track this weekend against New Orleans, as Freeman should be targeting his most talented receiving option early and often.

Sit:

Santana Moss, Washington Redskins — Moss has been a solid fantasy option this season, averaging just under nine points a contest. But this week, the Redskins are going against an Eagles team that desperately needs a win, and a desperate team is a dangerous one. Expect Washington’s offense to be handcuffed all game, especially Moss who will be covered by this off-season’s biggest prize, Nnamdi
Asomugha.

Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts — Without Peyton Manning, the Colts have struggled, and Addai is no exception. He has only 249 yards and a touchdown this year, and to make matters worse, he went down with a hamstring injury last week. Don’t expect Addai to provide anything for your lineup this weekend, as it is questionable as to whether he will even see the field.

Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions — The second-year running back had a breakout game Monday against the Bears, rushing for 163 yards and a touchdown. But because Best had only rushed for 190 total yards in four previous games, his owners should be careful of the statistical anomaly. This week Best comes up against a stingy San Francisco defense, further raising the likelihood he will underperform.

Stat Guy: Malcolm Brown may be the next great Longhorn running back

It may be hard to believe, but at one point in time Texas was Running Back U. And this past Saturday night could have marked its reemergence.

With the likes of Earl Campbell, Ricky Williams, Cedric Benson and others, Texas has historically dominated the ground game. But with spread offenses becoming the norm in college football the past few years, the Longhorns have strayed from the physical style of play in recent years, choosing to spread the ball out to a variety of receivers and focus on an offensive line philosophy that emphasizes stepping backwards to pass block rather than stepping forwards to run block.

Times might be changing yet again. With 86 yards rushing on 16 carries, true freshman Malcolm Brown looked like a blast from the past Saturday night against Rice.

How does that stack up against previous Longhorn legends? In his debut, Earl Campbell had 85 yards against Boston College in 1974. Ricky Williams burst onto the scene with 95 yards and two touchdowns against Hawaii in 1995. The versatile Ramonce Taylor had 96 yards against North Texas in 2004. Cedric Benson had 64 yards on 15 carries against New Mexico State in 2001.

The most impressive freshman debut in school history belongs to Jamaal Charles, who rushed for 135 yards against Louisiana-Lafayette in 2005.

Brown earned all 86 of his yards in the second half after not registering a touch in the first. He only had two negatives through the night, a botched handoff that resulted in a fumble and a dropped pass.

“It was a good start. I’ve got a long way to go,” Brown said. “I have to hold on to that ball. I had that one fumble. That’s going to stay in my mind for a little bit.”

Who knows how the stud from Cibolo’s Steele High School will finish his career as a Longhorn, but if historical statistics hold true, it’ll probably be successful. 

Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson loosens up at the start NFL football training camp, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, in Georgetown, Ky.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson was sentenced to 20 days in jail Monday after reaching a deal to settle two misdemeanor assault cases in Texas.

Benson said he will surrender to authorities on Oct. 17, which is the Monday of Cincinnati’s bye week.

“This was a difficult decision for Mr. Benson,” said Sam Bassett, the running back’s attorney. “His priority right now is to get back to work and put these legal matters behind him.”

Benson’s jail time could be significantly shorter than the sentence. He could be given credit for any time served when he was arrested and state law requires inmates be given two days credit for every day they are rewarded for good behavior. Jail overcrowding also could shorten his stay.

But for now, the Bengals must make plans to be without their leading rusher. They declined comment Monday.

Benson was arrested in 2010 for allegedly punching a bar employee in Austin, an incident that earned him a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last year but resulted in no punishment. He pleaded no contest to a charge of assault with injury in that case.

He also was arrested last month for allegedly punching a former roommate in downtown Austin. He pleaded no contest to a charge of assault with bodily injury with family violence, and that will be dismissed if he performs 30 hours of community service and pays an undisclosed amount of restitution to the victim.

“We’re pleased that Mr. Benson took responsibility for his actions today and we think this was a just result given the facts of the case,” said Corby Holcomb, assistant trial director with the Travis County Attorney’s Office.

The 28-year-old Benson was Chicago’s first-round pick out of the University of Texas in 2005. He had two alcohol-related arrests with the Bears, who let him go in 2008.

He signed as a free agent with the Bengals and led them in rushing each of the last three years — 747 yards in 2008, 1,251 yards in 2009 and 1,111 yards in 2010.

He was disappointed last season when the Bengals went away from their run-based offense that won them the AFC North title in 2009, then finished 4-12. After the Bengals changed offensive coordinators, Benson lobbied to stay in Cincinnati and signed a one-year deal. He provides a run-first option in coordinator Jay Gruden’s new offense, which is being led by rookie quarterback Andy Dalton.

Benson also must pay a $4,000 fine within 30 days.

Cedric Benson signed a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday. The deal is reportedly worth three million dollars, with another two million available in incentives. Benson has rushed for over 1,000 yards in the past two seasons with
the Bengals. 

Cedric Benson tries to get past a couple of Baylor defenders in 2004. Once the NFL lockout ends, Benson is set to become a free agent, but teams may be wary of signing Benson after another arrest last weekend.

Photo Credit: The Daily Texan Staff | Daily Texan Staff

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me six times? You need some serious help.

Former Longhorn running back Cedric Benson had his sixth run-in with the law last weekend when he was arrested and jailed on a charge of assault causing bodily injury to a man now identified as a former roommate. According to NBC Sports, here’s how it went down.

“According to the affidavit, the roommate [Charles Clavens] was talking on a cell phone on a street corner at 5 a.m. when Benson approached him. Benson allegedly told him they “need to talk about their problems” and then repeatedly hit him in the face. The police report said the roommate was bleeding from the mouth and possibly lost teeth.”

Nice timing, considering he’s days from being a free agent and all, but it’s not like this most recent altercation raises any red flags for interested NFL teams. No, those were raised long ago. He was arrested twice in college; once for possession of marijuana (charges were dropped after a friend came forward and claimed the drugs were his and not Benson’s) and another for criminal trespass after he kicked down an apartment door in an attempt to recover a stolen television. His punishment after that was something reserved for when an athlete skips too many classes or speaks out at practice. He missed the 2003 game against Baylor. Oh no! Not the Baylor game! The Longhorns rolled anyway, 56-0.

Where’s the discipline in that? Mack and company should have seen the signs of trouble and nipped those in the bud. Nobody learns something from having to miss a game nobody cares about. In 2008, Benson had two alcohol-related arrests in the span of two weeks. One by land and one by lake. Somehow he managed to slip out of major punishment, as a grand jury declined to indict him. But he still awaits trial for allegedly assaulting a Sixth Street bar employee last summer.

Visions of Benson barreling over would-be tacklers have instead been replaced by thoughts of him punching out bartenders and roommates, operating both cars and boats while intoxicated, barging into living rooms and smoking a little too much dope. By my count, no other Longhorn has had as many legal issues as Benson. The guy makes Ramonce Taylor look like a saint.

It is unfortunate. Benson rushed for the second-most yards in school history, won the Doak Walker Award and was drafted fourth overall in the 2005 draft. He wore out his welcome with his first team, the Chicago Bears, who had no choice but to release him.

As a Bengal, things have gone well for Benson. He eclipsed 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons. But his contract is up, and it’s hard to say if a team with a perennial image problem is willing to risk re-signing him.

So many people are against any thought of their “perfect” Longhorns being bad people that they’ve made countless excuses for Benson: “It wasn’t his weed, it was his friend’s.” “He needed his TV back.” “He wasn’t drunk.” “Cedric was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

That latter argument works once, maybe twice. But not six times.

Printed on 07/21/2011 as: Benson faces legal troubles off the field