Archive for the ‘2014’ Category

This Heartbreaker is on Herman

I rarely feel sorry for Texas players after a loss. This is one of those rare occasions. From midway through the third quarter until Texas’ last possession that started with 4:01 left in the game, this Longhorn team played with a grit I didn’t know they had. The sputtering offense scored touchdowns on consecutive drives of 10 plays for 80 yards and 15 plays of 89 yards between the end of the third quarter and 5:37 left in the fourth to take the lead. From Iowa State’s second possession of the second half, the defense held Iowa State to a field goal, three punts, and a turnover on downs to keep Texas in the game.  In my opinion, the players did what they needed to do to win. That disastrous offside penalty on Iowa State’s field goal should have never happened because Iowa State should not have been in position for the winning kick.

If only Tom Herman had put the ball in Sam Ehlinger’s hands when Texas had a chance to ice the win. I wrote on Friday that I feared an impending disaster because of the way Herman handled end of game situations.  For all of “Mensa Boy’s” intelligence and arrogance, he seems to have no instinctive feel for situational football. Especially end of game situations.  I’ve wondered for years in football and basketball what would happen if the players just played with no coaches. What if Ehlinger was calling the plays on Texas’ last possession?  I think Texas wins. It’s a shame when the coaches get in the way.

In a column I wrote 10 days ago, I questioned whether Herman and his staff sold out during the season and prioritized winning now over recruiting for the future.  After the Iowa State loss, there’s not much left to play for this season. So I’m changing my tune; Herman and his staff should prioritize recruiting right now so hopefully in the future he will have such an overwhelming talent advantage that his deficiencies as an in-game coach don’t matter.

Hook ‘Em,

W.E.

Over/Under Results

When the average score was 4.6, Reed Ramlow turned in a dominating performance with nine correct answers to win the Iowa State Over/Under.  David Frink also performed well above the average with seven correct answers to take sole possession of second place. 

Mike Frank and Mark Stephan tied for third with six correct answers.

W.E.

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Kansas State Over/Under Results

In Texas’ biggest win of the year, Mark Adams, Clayton Frink, Steve Holstead, and Wes Peoples tied for first place with seven correct answers.  Mark emerged as the victor as he was the only one of the four to correctly pick LSU and Minnesota to cover the spread.

David Frink and Jeff Otto tied for fifth place with six correct answers.

The average score was 5.3

Briefly

The Kansas State was a must win and a huge win for the team and yes the program.  Hopefully it will give the team and especially the defense a much needed confidence boost. 

Of course all three of Texas’ remaining games against Iowa State, Baylor, and Texas Tech are huge games and must wins. I watched Iowa State’s final drive against Oklahoma and it looks like they have a very, very good tight end and running back and a decent quarterback.  My guess is Texas will have to score in the 40s to beat Iowa State.

Hook “Em,

W.E.

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Popular Psychology

Have you psychoanalyzed the Longhorns yet?  It’s the new big thing, the latest craze and if you haven’t done it yet you better hurry before nobody cares anymore.  If Texas beats Kansas State it will be generally assumed that the ship has been righted and it’ll be on to the Big 12 Championship game. If they lose there will be a general consensus that the Horns are a collective head case and the rest of the season will be just a matter of how thorough the team’s implosion will be.

My one-and-only trusted and reliable top-secret inside source whispered to me last weekend that the team—other than Sam Ehlinger—hasn’t taken ownership of their struggles. Further, they don’t have the self confidence that University of Texas scholarship athletes should have.  My source gave more somewhat titillating information that for now I’m sworn to secrecy on. 

I wonder if Tom Herman and his staff have truly sold out with total focus on achieving success in this season and this season alone eschewing other priorities such as recruiting and attention to the constant upgrading of the football facilities. I know, I know recruiting is of 365,24/7 importance to a college football program but consider how much winning a Big 12 Championship would do for recruiting versus another trip to the Texas Bowl. In my mind there is an important distinction between the football program and the football team. The program is recruiting, facilities, the marketing, ticket sales and you name it. The team is now. What kind of season are we going to have this year?  I hear Herman talk about the “program” constantly. It may be just a Willie Earl “black helicopter” concern but I wonder if the “program” has the necessary focus to win big games against tough competition in the here and now.

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I haven’t forgotten the struggles Texas has had in football against Kansas State but I still found it at least mildly interesting when I read this week that Kansas State leads the all-time series 10-9 though Texas has won three of the last four.  So what is Texas’ record against some other notable opponents?

Alabama, 7-1-1

Auburn, 5-3

Georgia, 3-1 (I don’t want to talk about it)

LSU, 9-8-1

Maryland, 3-2

Nebraska, 10-4 (the N stands for knowledge)

Notre Dame, 3-9 (that smarts)

Oklahoma, 62-48

Oklahoma State, 25-9

USC, 2-5 (January 4, 2006 is all that matters)

Texas A&M, 76-37-5 (pooorrr Aggies)

Texas Tech, 51-17 (they have tee-tee on their helmets)

TCU, 63-26

Transylvania, 1-1 (those were real bloodlettings)

Twenty-Sixth Infantry, 1-0 (it was war that day)

West Virginia 4-5 (that just ain’t right)

Kansas State @ Texas
Willie Earl’s Game Model

Willie Earl’s game modeling debuted predicting a 36-35 victory for TCU over Texas. The actual was 37-27 TCU. Pretty dang accurate if you ask me. I believe it would have been even more accurate had Sam Ehlinger’s not thrown four interceptions. No model would have predicted that given he had thrown just three over the previous seven games.

So it’s on to Kansas State.  Willie Earl’s model calls it a virtual tie. Kansas State 34.95, Texas 34.25.

Should be a good one

Hook “Em,

W.E.

Kansas State Over/Under

  • Tiebreaker: required

    Pick the winners against the line

    LSU + 6 1/2 @ Alabama
  • Penn State -6 1/2 @ Minnesota
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Sugar Bowl Over/Under Results

Given the late hour that the Sugar Bowl Over/Under questions were posted, there was an excellent participation rate. We appreciate your patronage.

Like the Dallas Cowboys in 1971 and unlike the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings, Clayton Frink shed the, “Always a Bridesmaid Never a Bride” mantle by winning the Sugar Bowl Over/Under with eight correct answers.

Greg Swan, David Frink, and Mitchell Frink tied for second with seven correct answers.

Mark Adams, who needed a Sugar Bowl win to have a chance for player of the year honors, had six correct answers.

Greg Swan is the only player with three wins in 2018 and is your Over/Under 2018 Player of the Year.

Congratulations Brother Swan!

W.E.

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Arkansas Pre Game

The Grinch Who Stole the Texas Bowl

 

Unless Tyrone Swoopes, for Christmas, was imbued with talent and intestinal fortitude, I’m afraid it’s going to be a disappointing if not downright ugly ending to the 2014 season for our Longhorns. Swoopes has not played decently against good defenses this year and Arkansas, ranked 16th in scoring defense and 22nd nationally in total defense, will arguably be the best defense Texas has faced all year. In short, Arkansas is a bad match-up for Texas.

My expectation is that the Longhorns will play woefully on offense but the defense will keep them in the game until the third quarter when the game will get away from them. Remember, Texas hasn’t scored a touchdown in the third quarter since September 6th. They’ve been shut out in the third quarter in 7 of 12 games this season. This is quite an indictment of offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and, of course, Charlie Strong.

While I’m on the subject of indicting Texas coaches, I’ll throw special teams coordinator Chris Vaughn into the discussion. Texas special teams, across the board, have stunk it up all year. I don’t understand how Charlie Strong, who is all about accountability, hard work, and commitment, can oversee a team with bad special teams. One of the things I’ve learned about football, from analysts I respect and people I know who have played on the college level, is that good special teams play doesn’t require four and five star athletes. What it requires are coaches who find players that have a will and a commitment to being excellent on special teams and coaching the hell out of them. If I was Charlie Strong, I would be embarrassed about the performance of my special teams. Strong needs to find the best special teams coach in the country who’s available, and throw coordinator money at him to replace Chris Vaughn in 2015.

Opinion

Call me an instant gratification guy, but I think Charlie Strong made a big mistake in not playing Jerrod Heard this season. He had the perfect opportunity during the off week between the UCLA and Kansas games to make a game plan for getting Heard meaningful playing time from that point forward. The story that Heard didn’t give Texas as much chance to win games as Swoopes is implausible based on Swoopes cumulative performance this year. (If that story is true then the Longhorns and Strong are in big, big trouble.) I think the decision not to play Heard showed Shawn Watson and Strong to be rigid in their thinking and planning. If Watson couldn’t come up with a plan to utilize Heard’s skills to try and help the team win, shame on him. I think the reason Heard didn’t play was simply because Strong and Watson decided before the season to redshirt him and nothing that happened during the season was going to alter their plan. Now Texas goes into 2015 with only one quarterback who has played in a college football game. Note to Messrs. Strong and Watson: The only way to build depth at any position, including quarterback, is to play more than one player at that position. To those who argue that Heard’s four years of eligibility needed to be preserved beyond this year, let me know if you’re willing to bet serious money that Heard will be on campus and making a meaningful contribution to the team in 2018.

Over Christmas dinner, my brother David suggested that Strong didn’t think his won-loss record this year mattered and that influenced his decision not to play Heard. If Strong did think that way, he miscalculated in my opinion. In the blowout losses to BYU, Baylor, Kansas State, and TCU, Strong’s team too closely resembled those of the old regime. Couple that with his unwillingness to give Jerrod Heard an opportunity to help the team and I believe he’s burned through this year most, if not all, the goodwill he will be granted as the rebuilder of the program. I look at it this way. To prevent his seat from getting awfully warm after what’s shaping up to be a six win season, he’s going to have to win at least nine games in 2015.

Keys to victory for Texas

Assuming Tyrone Swoopes hasn’t reinvented himself as Colt McCoy over the past month here is what Texas needs to do to beat Arkansas:
1. Swoopes and the offense need to commit no more than one turnover.
2. The defense needs to force at least two turnovers by Arkansas.
3. The offense needs to have at least 30 minutes of ball possession.
4. Swoopes needs to be allowed to keep the ball at least five times on the zone read.
5. The punt and kickoff coverage needs to prevent Arkansas from gaining field position advantages.
6. Texas needs to do something other than running off tackle when Arkansas puts eight or more defenders in the box.
7. The defense or special teams need to score or at least set up some easy scoring opportunities.
8. Charlie Strong has to manage the clock and his time outs effectively.
9. Get the ball in into the hands of Armanti Foreman and Daje Johnson at least 10 times.
10. Score at least 25 points.
If Texas checks off seven of these ten items they’ll win.

HooK ‘eM,
W.E.

Over/Under Leaderboard

David Frink and Reed Ramlow are the leaders heading into the Texas Bowl with two wins each. Reed is slightly ahead of David because he had a strong second place finish in the UCLA game losing in the tiebreaker to Wade Wallace.

Going into the bowl  these players remain in contention for the 2014 championship with one win and at least one second place finish:
Zach Frank
Greg Swan
Steve Holstead
D.R. Flower

Of course a victory in a bowl game the magnitude of the Advocare Texas Bowl will stand on its own as a magnificent accomplishment.

Over/Under Contest

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