Archive for the ‘2012’ Category

Post-Game Kansas St.

The Thrill is Gone

I thought Texas was mediocre during the first game in 2012 versus Wyoming, but at halftime of the Kansas St. game I thought Texas was going to win. They were playing their best game of the year at that point. But for Texas over the last three years eventually their mediocrity rises to the top.  Mediocre doesn’t win on the road against a 10-1 number 6th ranked team in the country. Texas is mediocre because the quarterback play is flawed, the offensive line can’t run block consistently, the defense is bad and the special teams, as usual, are bad. Sure, Texas has some very good players such as Jaxon Shipley, Mike Davis, running back Malcolm Brown, if he can stay healthy, and Alex Okafor.  There are many other good players, some of whom have been grossly underutilized such as Daje Johnson, D.J. Monroe, defensive tackle Malcolm Brown, and linebackers Tevin Jackson and Peter Jinkens. I’m sure there are more players you could add to these lists. Still, with all the good players Texas has, they’re a mediocre team and have been for three straight years. That’s on Mack Brown, pure and simple.

MackBrown-TexasFootball.com

The Longhorn Football team is Mack Brown’s Texas Football. If you don’t believe me reference the website mackbrown-texasfootball.com.  Mack Brown is to Texas Football as Jerry Jones is to the Dallas Cowboys. If you think that’s a flawed analogy tell me who you think has more power over there than Brown. One of the big money donors? Only if there’s a consensus among them.  DeLoss Dodd? Please.  Bill Powers? I’ve read that he and Dodds don’t want to take on the hiring of a new football coach at this late stage of their careers.  Good to know they’re still making the tough calls and earning their millions in salaries. For better or for worse, Mack Brown is the Texas Football Head Coach for as long as he wants to be. In my opinion the whole situation is extremely dysfunctional.

So it’s pretty much up to Mack Brown to decide if he returns for the 2013 season. I’m almost certain that he will, but if he were to decide to leave he would make that decision this week because any later would put Dodds and company behind schedule for making a hire for 2013. Don’t expect that announcement.

Fan’s Expectations and Entitlement

I have had hundreds of conversations about Texas Football with a longtime fan, alumnus, diehard Mack Brown supporter and one of the smartest people I know.  His constant refrain is that Texas fans have a sense of entitlement and unrealistic expectations.  I don’t know how he can ignore the fact that it’s Mack Brown who has consistently said, until the last two years, that, “We expect to compete for the National Championship every year.” In August of this year he said, “We’re good enough to beat every team on our schedule.” If Mack Brown and U.T. would like to lower the bar on fan expectations let them say that we’re de-emphasizing the Football program and lowering the ticket price for games such as New Mexico to $50 instead of $85. Also let them say that we’re going to pay the head football coach a measly $1 million a year instead of $5.5 million. Hey, that might be a way to get Mack Brown to step aside.

The Thrill is Gone

Short of a couple of more losing seasons after 2010 I never thought I would see Mack Brown lose the fan base. Based on my unscientific research he has. All but one of the most ardent Mack Brown fans I know now think Texas would be better off if he stepped down. Let’s call 80% in favor of having a new head coach in 2013.

The good news for Mack is the only thing he has to do to get his base back is to beat OU in 2013. Is that too much to ask?

HooK eM,

W.E.

Over/Under Results

The Kansas St. Over/Under played like a difficult U.S. Open Course with a scoring average of 4.7. As in golf the tough scoring conditions in Over/Under produced a fundamentally sound veteran winner. Jerry Smith wins the regular season finale with 7 correct answers. It’s the fifth straight year Jerry has posted at least on victory.  In fact Jerry has won at least once every year Willie Earl’s Over/Under has been existence. An eclectic trio if Jill Zeitz, Clayton Frink and Greg Swan tied for second place  with 6 correct.

Willie Earl will post the season standings sometime this month before the Alamo Bowl. The Alamo Bowl will serve as the Over/Under Championship Game and all players will be seeded and have a path to the Championship.  The lower seeds will have a more difficult path.

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Pre-Game Kansas St.

Turn Turn Turn

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven -(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

For Longhorn Football it’s been drama week and if the Longhorns lose Saturday night the drama will only intensify.  Mack Brown looked and sounded defeated at his Monday press conference. The highlight for me was when Mack complained that punter Alex King is being pressed into duty as the back up quarterback because the NCAA doesn’t allow five years of playing eligibility; thereby not being able play one of the freshmen quarterbacks without burning a year of eligibility.  Quite a stretch and really whiny even for Mack.

We have also seen reports of shouting matches between coaches, between players and between coaches and players in the locker room during halftime and after the TCU game. Mack reportedly reacted to this turmoil with an incoherent rant in the locker room after the game.  Right now Mack Brown’s Texas Football looks like a dying star releasing huge amounts of energy with no purpose.

Isn’t it ironic that Darrell Royal’s passing and the celebration of his life and accomplishments comes at the time when the end game of Mack Brown’s coaching tenure at Texas has become perhaps the biggest issue for the program?  It has been widely reported that Mack wanted to step down after the 2009 season if it had ended with a victory over Alabama and his second national championship but the loss in that game derailed his plans to go out on top. In other words, Mack wants total control over the scenario under which he steps down as the Head Football Coach at U.T. This is not surprising. College Football Head Coaches are control freaks but it’s a fool’s errand to think you can control everything.  Most of us have learned that there is very little in life that we have control over. We can’t control our children, our spouses, our bosses, our clients and the list goes on. Maybe someone who has ascended to the very top of their profession has a harder time understanding the concept of control than we more ordinary folks do.

Mack Brown was a genius, in my opinion, to understand Darrell Royal’s importance to the traditions of Texas Football and to associate his program with those traditions.  Fred Akers and John Mackovic, mistakenly, seemed to want to distance themselves from Royal and the past.  Mack admires and has been inspired by Royal, and would be wise to draw further inspiration from Royal as he considers how he wants to end his coaching career at Texas.  When we celebrated Darrell Royal’ life a few weeks back and listened to the great stories from the people who knew Royal best we didn’t hear any regrets about Royal’s last season at Texas being his worst one. In fact we heard and remembered how wise Royal was to know when to say when. I’ll bet when Royal stepped down he wasn’t thinking about his legacy in regards to Texas Football.  Not a single one of us thinks any less of Darrell Royal because he didn’t go out at or near the top of his game.

Mack Brown needs to realize that he can exit the stage after this season regardless of how it ends with his reputation intact. The last three seasons will become inconsequential to his legacy to Texas Football.

It’s okay to leave now, Mack. Your work is done and you’ve done it as well as anybody ever has.

Over/Under Contest

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Post-Game TCU

Quick Hitters

Could be worse, Auburn finished 3-9 and fired their coach just two years after winning the Natty. Former Auburn assistant Bobby Petrino is available. Incidentally Chizik’s four year record at Auburn is 33-19 overall and 15-17 in the SEC. Mack Brown’s record during the last four years is 34-16 overall and 19-14 in the Big 12. USC was ranked #1 in the pre-season and now they’re done at 7-5 with a second year head coach who seems kind of creepy. Texas A&M….uh never mind.

But seriously folks Texas’ home loss to TCU, their latest pratfall, shouldn’t be surprising. Texas is 4-4 in their last four conference home games. If they lose to Kansas St. this week they’ll be 9-9 in the Big 12 over the last two seasons.  Theoretically Texas is now the third best major college football program in Texas though they do have the biggest stadium and the largest jumbotron.

As Average as every day wash—a little Darrell Royal lingo for you—as Texas has been the last two seasons, if they manage to pull of the huge upset and beat Kansas St., this season will have been somewhat successful and will include the added bonus of a Cotton Bowl invitation to face the Aggies.  That would be lots of fun.

There was an iconic math teacher at Vestal High School in the 50s, 60s and 70s who taught Advanced Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus and Statistics.  The worst sin in math, he told his students, was being “mechanical.” Being mechanical meant that you just memorized formulas and theorems without understanding how they were used or when to apply them. Ever since I took his class in Algebra II, Trigonometry I’ve looked at part of the world through Mr. Fanning’s prism of the mechanical versus the artful. I think Brian Harsin’s game planning and play calling is mechanical.  It seems as though he’s more focused on running a large variety plays, including his bag of trick plays, and putting the ball in as many different players’ hands as possible rather than putting together a cohesive game plan. He has terribly under utilized Dage Johnson who has the potential to be Texas’ version of Reggie Bush. Why in the world isn’t Harsin getting the ball to Johnson 15 times a game on the ground and with short passes? It doesn’t seem to me that he has an artist’s vision or feel for building an offense that has an identity and knows who it is game to game.

Whatever happens Saturday versus Kansas St and in the bowl game, Mack Brown will be back next season with a more experienced team and the best senior class he’s had since 2009.  There’s good reason to believe 2013 can be the break out season that Brown has been pointing to for the last couple of years.  What I think we’ll see is more of the same. More lackadaisical performances against under manned opponents, more mediocre blocking by the offensive line, more lack of attention to detail on special teams and in clock management and more colossal breakdowns on defense. The under achieving mold is cast for Mack Brown’s program and I don’t see it being broken as long as he’s in charge. In an article by Scipio Tex on the Barking Carnival blog after the TCU game he wrote, “….yet another Big 12 team rolled into Austin with purpose, kicked our asses, thoroughly out-coached us, and showed what a program looks like vs. a random assembly of athletes.”

What he said. 

HooK eM,

W.E.

Over/Under Results

Really stellar performances were turned in this week by Mike Frank and Helen Frink. Mike and Helen had 7 correct answers with the answer to one question, Texas’ BCS Ranking post game, impossible to get right unless you assumed that Texas would lose to TCU.  Helen wins in the tiebreaker because Mike Frank picked both Oklahoma St. and USC to win. Helen squeaked out the win by picking Notre Dame to win.

John Scott finished alone in third place with 6 correct answers.  Good to see these journeymen and women finishing in the top three.

W.E.

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Pre-Game TCU

Beware of the Four Game Win Streak

Long ago in a distant galaxy Texas was on a four game win streak. The players were jumping up and down and leading # 7 West Virginia going into the fourth quarter in the festive luxury of DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium.  Five quarters of football later Texas was 4-2 and the players and coaches were ducking and covering.

The Horns are now on another four game win streak and the players, press and fans alike are talking post season glamour bowl match ups.  Excuse me if I’m not making plans to be in Tempe or Dallas in early January.  I don’t trust this team and I don’t trust these coaches…yet.

My lack of trust aside and in Thanksgiving consideration of all the blessings The University of Texas has bestowed upon my flock, I have reason to believe the Longhorns will get their ninth victory of the season against TCU.  The current four game win streak started off meekly with squeakers against Baylor and Kansas but these were followed by solid wins over Texas Tech and Iowa St. with Texas firmly in control. The defense has shown signs of life and limited Iowa St. to only 277 yards of total offense. Jonathan Gray’s emergence as Texas’ leading rusher complimenting the passing attack of Ash and Davis gives the Longhorns their version of the Dallas Cowboys glory days gone by Triplets: Troy Aikman, Emitt Smith and Michael Irvin.

So why don’t I trust this team?  Because if the football bounces the wrong way for Texas a couple of times and they end up in dog fight with the outcome in doubt late, I’m not sure Mack Brown and his staff won’t pucker up like they did against West Virginia. If Mack hadn’t gone conservative on offense in that game Texas would only have one loss on the season and a conference championship and the Fiesta Bowl would be clearly in reach.

Going Out On a Limb But Not as Far as Usual

Texas beats TCU and Oklahoma St. beats Oklahoma giving Texas an opportunity to play for a 3-way tie for the Big 12 Championship next week.

Sorry all you Notre Dame haters but if you haven’t figured it out yet it’s their year and they easily defeat USC on Saturday to lock up a spot in the BCS Championship game.

I’ll leave it there. Go have a festive Thanksgiving.

HooK eM,

W.E.

Over/Under Contest

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Post-Game Iowas St.

A Few Thoughts Before the Break

Mack Brown vowed to fix whatever was ailing the Longhorns after another humiliating defeat at the hands of Oklahoma.  Four straight wins later he’s made good on his vow, right?  Maybe. But there’s still an insidious doubt about the program that could allow a debacle like the Oklahoma game to happen in the first place.

Here I go again knit picking over nothing. That formation Texas lined up in on the first play had about as much resemblance to the Wishbone as I have to Robert Redford in his prime. Yeah there were three backs behind Ash arrayed in a far flung triangle, but the actual Wishbone had the fullback a mere two yards behind the quarterback with the halfbacks lined up so close to the fullback  they could all reach out and touch each other if they wanted to. I know, it’s the thought that counts.

If you’re a clear headed Texas fan the last thing you want is to play A&M in the Cotton Bowl. Now is not the time to play the Aggies again. I’m in the camp that says never consciously schedule A&M again. With the bowl alignments, including the Cotton Bowl this year, I guess it’s out of our hands.

Speaking of the Aggies, how about that big bad SEC having their big dog taken down and probably out of the National Championship Game by a Big 12 refugee?

With the risk of being nauseous one more thing about the Aggies, not a single Over/Under contestant predicted Johnny Manziel would gain more yards rushing than Jonathan Gray.  I love that.

What in the Wide Wide World of Sports gets into those coaches out there in Lubbock? First you had Mike Leach allegedly abusing his players. Then it was Tech Basketball Coach Billy Gillespie. And now this past Saturday there goes Tommy Tuberville on the sideline during the Kansas game, in full view of the United States and Texas, knocking the cap and headset off a Graduate Assistant Coach. Bizarre. Ex Texas Tech Basketball Coach Bobby Knight must have something to do with it.

One more Darrell Royal shake the hand that shook the hand story from an Ex Texas Football player I know. In the 1970s there was an honorary “Tote Off Table” in the player’s Jester Center Dining Hall that served special entrees for players who had knocked an opposing player out of the game. So when I heard about “Bounty Gate” I couldn’t believe it was that big a story.  As it turns out, it’s looking more and more like a politically correct NFL public relations campaign.

See you next week.

HooK eM,

W.E.

Over/Under Results

The grades were much higher this week with an average score of 6.6 out of a possible 10.  Six contestants finished with grades of six which was also the lowest grade posted by any contestant.  I won’t mention all the sixes here if you won’t. The grades would have been much higher if every single contestant hadn’t missed the same  two questions. Who would have the longest run from scrimmage for the Horns and who would have more yards rushing, Jonathan Gray or Johnny Manziel.

Tom Yoxall, John Scott and David Frink tied for second with sevens. Mike Frank and Mark Adams finished in a tie for first with eight correct answers. They both went 1-1 in the tiebreaker. So we had to go to who was closer on the total points scored in the two games and by a mere one point Mike Frank gets his first win in a very long time.  Mark who is a rookie this year has not yet  finished worse than tied for second.

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