Former Texas standout Major Applewhite (shown above with a young woman who may or may not be friends with Chris Simms) has been named the new quarterbacks coach at Rice University. The Houston Chronicle’s John Lopez claims said hiring sends a strong message to the state’s high school talent.

There are divisive forces within the university system in the form of faculty who would just as well see Division I-A athletics disappear. And there are crushing obstacles all around 6100 Main, beginning with subpar facilities.

There have been years of ever-deteriorating results, the splinters fans often get in their backsides at football games serving as a metaphor for the entire program.

But Applewhite’s eyes see possibilities. You would laugh if it were anyone else staring at you, telling you to just watch.

“I’m excited about winning,” Applewhite said Wednesday as he was introduced to the media. “I’m excited about working. Truthfully, it’s a no-brainer when I came down to see coach Graham.”

The rest of us hear him say no-brainer, and we think briefly: Yes, Applewhite must have misplaced his brain when he took this job.

Soon, you think, reality will set in. Soon, those eyes will look dazed and confused as Applewhite begins to realize he is not in Austin anymore, or even Syracuse, where he served as quarterbacks coach for the Orange last season.

Except for one thing. Already, Applewhite has drawn the attention of one of the best quarterback prospects in Texas ” Westfield’s multitalented,
6-4, 215-pound Pierre Beasley, who has scheduled an official visit for this weekend in large part because of Applewhite.

When was the last time a Top 100 player in Texas looked this seriously at Rice? When was the last time Rice even was on a Top 100 player’s list of prospective schools?

Hopefully for Rice, none of those Top 100 players will bother to notice that under Applewhite, Syracuse’s 4 quarterbacks combined to throw a total of 6 TD passes and 15 interceptions last year while compiling a 1-10 record. Of course, as Applewhite mentions elsewhere in the Chronicle, upstate New York isn’t really football country, so presumably those stats don’t really count.