Iíve sat here for what feels like hours trying to come up with a news topic I would be comfortable writing. Then it came to me. Itís my column, I need to be true to myself, and Iím a sports guy ó always have been, always will be. I just have a different title now.
So, on that note, Iím diving back into my comfort zone as there are a plethora of sports topics in Brown County alone to easily fill my allotted space for the week.
This past week, TCU quarterback ó and former Brownwood Lion ó Casey Pachall was named to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, presented annually to the best collegiate football player in America. Itís like the Heisman, without the popularity contest.
Casey only played a portion of the 2012 campaign as his troubles have been well-documented. After taking the appropriate steps to get his life back in order ó which is extremely commendable and should be an example for NFL players based on the headlines this offseason ó Casey has been presented a second chance by TCU head coach Gary Patterson. And certainly the national sportswriters feel the Brownwood graduate is talent rich, based on the preseason love.
With Casey in the lineup last season, the Horned Frogs started 4-0 as Pachall completed 66 percent of his passes while throwing 10 touchdowns to just one interception. But TCU went 3-6 down the stretch behind backup Trevone Boykin.
Patterson has no intention of just handing the starting job back to Pachall, who could clearly earn it on the field. Pachallís performance off the field will likely have the greater impact on who takes snaps when TCU lines up against LSU in the Aug. 31 season opener at Cowboys Stadium, and beyond.
In June, it was reported that Pachall will be on court-ordered probation for the 2013 football season and will need permission from a probation officer to leave Tarrant County. The Frogs have road dates at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech in Big 12 action. To my knowledge, TCU has offered no official word on what this will mean for the quarterback position going forward.
Casey returning to the field and leading the Horned Frogs to an almost perfect season (Iím still an Orangeblood first and foremost) would be a fascinating story to pen, but his greatest successes this season ó and for years to come ó will be what he accomplishes when heís not wearing pads.
What the future holds for Casey both this fall and in terms of a potential professional career is still wait-and-see, but I, for one, wish him the best of luck in achieving his goals on and, most importantly, off the gridiron.
Speaking of other former Lions, the Major League All-Star Game selections came a few weeks late for Shelby Miller.
After turning the heads of anyone who followed MLB action during the months of April and May, the Cardinal rookie pitcher has cooled off during the latter half of June into July.
Shelby still owns a 9-6 record with a 2.92 ERA, 112 strikeouts and only 29 walks in 104.2 innings pitched ó numbers that can be equaled or surpassed by very few starters in MLB at the moment.
However, Shelby may have become the victim of his own success when it came to the All-Star Game. At one point, Shelby possessed a 7-3 record and his ERA had dipped as low as 1.82. Plus, there was that little one-hitter he tossed against Colorado where he retired the final 27 batters in order.
Now, all of the sudden, rumblings are surfacing of ďwhatís wrong with Shelby Miller?Ē
With less than a dozen starts under his belt, Miller was being mentioned as the possible National League Rookie of the Year and the starter in the All-Star Game ó feats not even Nolan Ryan or Roger Clemens can boast in their illustrious careers.
But Shelby left his June 17 victory over the Chicago Cubs in the fifth inning due to a leg cramp. Since that point, Shelby is 1-2 having allowed 24 hits and 14 earned runs with 16 strikeouts and 10 walks.
I have no inside information whatsoever, but is it possible Shelby is battling a nagging leg injury? From all the press Iíve read, no one seems to be taking that into consideration ó all that seems to be mentioned is issues with his mechanics. Iím not saying thatís not whatís occurring, either, as he dealt with that in the minors.
What is certain, however, is Shelby has proven he has what it takes to be a dominant ó All-Star Game caliber ó pitcher in the big leagues. Iím looking forward to him regaining the form he displayed during the first two months of the season, and the eventual MLB All-Star Game appearances that seem destined for his bright future.
Well, told you that wouldnít take long. Less than 45 minutes to write about two topics and Iím already out of space. But thereís plenty more to cover as August is right around the corner and we all know what that means ó football is back!†† †
Derrick Stuckly is the editor of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Sundays. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.