Texas Tech Pre-Game

Remnants

Perhaps a more focused and creative writer could produce new material on the well-trod subject of the sad sack football team that is the 2015 Texas Longhorns.  But then, under further review, I realize I have written several paragraphs, private emails, and texts over the last three months that didn’t make the light of Willieearl.com. Therefore, I give you Willie Earl Remnants 2015.

The Texas Football Cartel

Texas has just signed a 15-year $200 million apparel contract with Nike. The deal is easily the richest deal in college sports. Michigan signed a 15-year deal this summer for $169 million, which at the time was reported to be the largest of its kind.  Texas is in the fifth year of a 20-year deal with ESPN for the Longhorn Network that pays $15 million a year.  Add to these riches the $1.5 million – according to the Austin American Statesman – that Texas has cleared from beer and wine sales at Royal-Memorial stadium so far this year, and it seems it no matter how many losses the football team piles up, the big bucks just keep flooding in.

With all these millions seemingly guaranteed, it makes me wonder if there is truly any urgency in Belmont Hall to improve the football team.  Charlie Strong – with a $5 million a year salary guaranteed through 2018 – didn’t feel enough urgency to make a change at offensive coordinator and quarterback after the worst offensive performance in school history in 2014 until after the 38-3 opening loss to Notre Dame this year. Do the big bucks lead to a general sense of comfort and complacency at UT?  I’m just saying….

Charlie’s Pressers

At the beginning of Charlie Strong’s tenure at Texas, I enjoyed watching his weekly press conferences. He seemed to listen intently to reporters’ questions and looked them squarely in eye. He seemed genuine, and he had a great smile and laugh.  He looked like a great coach; though, as the losses mounted last year and this year, I couldn’t help noticing that Charlie was doing more damage to the King’s English than his football team was doing to opponents.  He struggles with subject-verb agreement and past participle verb forms.  Also, it has finally occurred to me, there is practically no substance to be gained from his public statements.  He says over and over the same phrases. “It’s all about getting better, it’s all about competing, we just have to play better, it’s all about execution” ad nauseam.

I have a suggestion. In light of the football team’s struggles, wouldn’t it help if Charlie Strong inspired a little confidence when he speaks publicly?  How about if UT invested in a little public speaking and presentation training for Charlie?  Really folks, how many people ascend to the highest positions in their fields without being able to form grammatical sentences in public?

Jerrod Heard’s Running

During the Oklahoma game, a friend and a fan expressed concern about the number of times Jerrod Heard ran the football.

I replied, Get used to it. This is a major component of the offense now. Heard is the most dangerous runner on the team. He has to run.

Mistakenly, I believe, Norvell and Strong seemed to share my friend’s concern about Heard’s heavy involvement in the running game. In the Oklahoma game, he carried the ball 21 times for 115 yards. In the last three games, two of them losses, he has carried the ball 30 times for 101 yards. Factor out sacks and he’s only run 23 times. Those 23 carries produced 157 yards or 6.8 yards per carry. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on the efficacy of Jerrod Heard carrying the ball frequently.

Texas’ 2016 Returning Starters

Yet another friend – one among my many –  in an email expressed skepticism about the quality of the 16 or so starters returning next year given that this year’s team isn’t any good.  And he added, I don’t assume that the freshman and sophomores will magically get any better.

I responded, You don’t think Patrick Vahe, Connor Williams, John Burt, Malik Jefferson, Antwaun Davis, Holton Hill, Naashon Hughes, Anthony Wheeler, Kris Boyd, D’Onta Foreman, Armanti Foreman, Jerrod Heard, and Jason Hall – all freshmen and sophomores (13 listed here) –are good? 

And I added, They don’t magically get better. They get better because 18, 19, and 20-year-olds generally get better when they’re 19, 20, and 21 with one-two years of experience. 

Texas Tech 

In their last four games, Texas Tech has surrendered 55.75 points per game.  Let that sink in.

Yes, Tech’s offense is third nationally averaging 588 yards and 46.5 points per game, but if Strong can’t beat this team at home then maybe he shouldn’t get a third year.

Lock of the Week 

I was a star-struck 20-year-old sophomore in college in 1975 when I listened to Darrell Royal say at the OU pep rally in Gregory gym that it had been a while since Texas had beaten OU and they needed to get back on the winning end of this rivalry.

Well, Willie Earl’s “Lock of the Week” has lost the last two weeks and it’s time to get back in the win column.

Texas beats Texas Tech tomorrow night and covers the 1 ½ point spread.

HooK ‘eM,

W.E.

1 Comment to “Texas Tech Pre-Game”

  1. Absolutely an air of undeserved superiority and complacency in the Athletic Department, staffed by nearly 300 people all doing nothing that might even remotely impinge on their sweet do-nothing deals.

    I’m looking forward to, and expect, significant contributions from Kris Boyd, Holton Hill, Antwuan Davis and Jason Hall. Wouldn’t say we’ve seen much yet. I’ve seen promise, however. Hall plays the most of those and he seems just as much a step late as Dylan Haines. I’m sick to my boots about Vahe’s injury and hope it’s minor.

    Re the Tech outcome, I’ll take Texas — if it rains. Also need some “exotics” in Vance Bedford’s game plan.

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