Archive for the ‘2014’ Category

West Virginia Pre Game

Predictions and Bad Hats

When I first started getting to know my Sigma Phi Epsilon pledge brothers at UT in 1974 and ’75, they were surprised and bemused when they learned about the depth of my knowledge of Longhorn football history and trivia. For instance, back in those days, I could recite the exact scores and arcane details of every Longhorn football game going back to 1968. They weren’t always so bemused by the fact that I was kind of opinionated about football and a few other subjects. Oh well, I’ve never been accused of trying to win popularity contests. Now-a-days I still remember the scores and details of a handful of memorable Longhorn games going back to the late ’60s, but my savant like memory is long gone.

A few weeks after Helen and I began seriously dating in September of 1979, we went to the OU game together. Years later Helen would say that one of the things about me that she was attracted to was my knowledge of where to park at the Cotton Bowl. Parking for games at the Cotton Bowl is a specialized skill set.
Over the years, some people have assumed that since I was so consumed with UT football that I would be able to foresee the outcomes of big games. Well, in 1977 when Texas was a 16-point underdog to Oklahoma, I boldly predicted that Texas would win because of Earl Campbell and a stout defense. That prediction was more of a hope than anything else, but I didn’t let on to that at the time.

The night before the Big 12 Championship game versus Nebraska in 1996, when Texas again was a big underdog, I told a couple of highly skeptical drinking buddies that I thought “we” just might win. At the time, the only other person who was willing to state that opinion publicly was James Brown. In that instance I really thought we could beat the big bad “Big Red” because in spite of Texas’ 7-4 record going into the game, I knew that three of those losses didn’t reflect how good Texas really was. Texas lost to Notre Dame on a field goal at the gun. Hung over from that heartbreaker, they lost the following week in a torrential down pour to Virginia in Charlottesville. They lost a 17-point fourth quarter lead and the game to Oklahoma in overtime. Since those midseason woes and a 3-4 record, Texas had bounced back with four straight wins, including a very satisfying 51-15 beat-down of the Aggies.

To show you that I’m not just cherry picking some lucky “homer” predictions, I told Helen on the drive to the UCLA pre-game tailgate in 2010 that I thought “we” were primed for a big loss. I was right about that game, but I didn’t think the entire season and—as we know now—the program was about to slide into mediocrity.

You’re probably wondering, as Mark Kelting once asked David Bergstrom, “Bergy, what’s your point?” Or you’re thinking I’m going to make a bold prediction about a Texas win Saturday against West Virginia. No, I’m not predicting a win, but I am going to give you some reasons to be optimistic that Texas will get their first win of the season against a ranked team.

1. Dana Holgorson has really bad hair, or as the Sig Eps in the ’70s would say, he has a “bad hat.”

                                                                                                            Another Bad Hair Day

Another Bad Hair Day

     Bad Hats of the 70s

Bad Hats of the ’70s

      Nice Hat!

Nice Hat!







2. The offensive line will have the same starters for the fourth straight game and could—emphasis on could—open some nice holes for Malcolm Brown and J. Gray against a smallish West Virginia front seven.
3. Speaking of J. Gray, as Darrell Royal would say, he showed some “spurt” against Texas Tech. Maybe he’ll use that spurt to break off a long touchdown run.
4. Speaking of “spurt,” two words, Daje Johnson.
5. Two more words, Armanti Foreman
6. Mykkele Thompson can now see during games.
7. Jason Hall will be the healthiest he’s been since the OU game.
8. Back to the “bad hat.” This could be the game where Dan Holgorsen’s head actually explodes.
9. West Virginia gave up 34 points to Texas Tech. If you take out their shut out against Towson, West Virginia gives up 29 points per game.
10. Tyrone Swoopes might actually make a read on the zone read.
11. A Texas win would make my weekend.

Here’s a great story by Kirk Bohls on former UT assistant coach and recruiter Ken Dabbs, who is credited with bringing Earl Campbell to Texas.

HooK ‘eM

Over/Under Contest


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Texas Tech Post Game

Knock Out Punch

The Horns are now 1-1 in games when they knock out the opponent’s starting quarterback. I’m not sure how the Texas Tech game would have turned out had Patrick Mahomes had played the entire game.

I didn’t think Texas looked very good against the woeful Red Raiders, but after reading today’s Austin American-Statesman I stand corrected.

Even though Malcolm Brown was the leading rusher I was more impressed with Jonathan Gray. For the first time this year, on a couple of runs, he showed the speed and quickness we’ve been looking for since 2011.

Go deep Tyrone, go deep!

I sure hope John Harris doesn’t drop any more touchdown passes this year.

Charlie Strong told an interesting anecdote in his press conference today. He asked the normally bespectacled Mykkle Thompson during a recent practice if he was wearing contacts because he wasn’t wearing his glasses. Thompson told him no and that he could see fine playing without them. Strong mused that maybe that’s why he couldn’t catch potential interceptions and told him to start wearing contacts during games. Wearing his contacts, Thompson made his first interception of the year against Texas Tech. The devil is in the details, no?

I’m seeing a season and program changing victory against West Virginia, tune in Friday for details.

Over/Under Results

Our man in Jordan, Reed Ramlow, aka High Plains Drifter, edged Zach Frank, who is constantly lurking near the top, in the tie breaker to take the Texas Tech Over/Under. Both players scored a nine. If Zach had more faith in the offensive line he would have scored a perfect 10. If not for TCU’s last second field goal Reed would have scored a perfect 10.
Art Zeitz finished all by his lonesome in third with eight correct.

HooK ‘eM,



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Pre Game Texas Tech


Charlie Strong made his reputation as defensive coordinator. He’s a defensive expert. From a football perspective he’s defensive minded. He’s not the head football coach at The University of Texas earning five million dollars a year because he can put together a great defense. UT is paying Vance Bedford $800,000 a year to be the defensive coordinator. UT is paying a combined $1.25 million dollars a year to Shawn Watson and Joe Wickline to coordinate the offense. In addition to the coordinators, Strong has a legion of position coaches responsible for coaching football fundamentals specific to every single position on the team. It’s an absolute requirement for a head coach at a major football program to have decades of experience in coaching football and understand in detail what every assistant coaches job is, but he is not being paid millions a year because he’s the best defensive or offensive coordinator there ever was. He’s being paid millions because he has good judgment that will mean the difference between wins and losses in two to three games a year.

Did Charlie Strong exercise good judgment when in February of this year, he decided not bring in a transfer quarterback to compete with David Ash to be the starter at quarterback or at least as an experienced backup? I wrote on August 29th that I thought David Ash was making a big mistake by continuing to play football. In my judgment, it seemed highly unlikely that Ash could stay healthy for more than three or four games. I think Strong made a major error in judgment on this issue. For that matter so did David Ash who now has many years to contemplate whether or not he took one too many blow to the head on the football field.

Did Strong use good judgment in delegating to a position coach, the decision about which running back would carry the ball on that critical fourth and one play against Kansas State last Saturday? And did he use good judgment by letting that play be run behind the weakest link on a struggling offensive line? I say no on both counts. In my opinion the big salary is paid to the head coach to make these types of decisions during the heat of battle.

Charlie Strong did a great job at Louisville and he was on everybody’s list of hot prospects to fill a head coaching opening at a premier college football program. Excuse me for being captain obvious here, but Louisville isn’t Texas. Maybe it’s going to take a year or two, or three for Strong to grow into his big responsibilities in Austin.
I like Charlie Strong. I desperately want him to succeed at Texas. You can almost be sure that he’s made dozens of good judgment calls that are less public than the ones I’ve cited since arriving in Austin. But from my perspective, he’s made some marginal to bad judgment calls, in areas that we as fans can observe, in exercising his duties as the UT head coach.  Right now those calls may be the difference between 3-5 and 5-3. That’s not fatal, yet.

Are today’s football players that reach elite levels of competition now so specialized that they aren’t so good at seeing how their performance fits into down and distance? From a broad statistical stand point the Texas defense had a good game against Kansas State. But Kansas State was 9 of 17 in third down conversions. Five of those conversions came on an average of third and 11 and Kansas State’s two longest plays from scrimmage came on third and 13 and third and 14. Mainly this happened because defensive linemen lost containment of the quarterback and defensive backs let receivers get behind them because they were covering like it was third and 5 not third and 14.

Speaking of defense, Texas is tied for 41st in the country in forcing turnovers with 14 for the season. That’s not enough to be considered elite. They could lose to Texas Tech if they don’t force at least three turnovers.

Freshman running back D’Onta Foreman came in early in the third quarter against Kansas State and had three rushes for 19 yards. For the season he’s had five rushes for 51 yards. That’s a small body of work to judge, but I’d move him into the regular running back rotation and make sure he gets 10 + carries a game for the rest of this season.

Did you note that former Longhorn defensive tackle Lamarr Houston, now playing for the Chicago Bears, tore up his knee while celebrating a sack on New England’s second string quarterback, in the 4th quarter, with his team behind by 28 points? Talk about not understanding a team game.

HooK ‘eM,


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Kansas State Post Game


The Horns and Willie Earl were caffeine free on Saturday.  More on those debacles a little later in the week.

Over/Under Results

If I had told you before the game that, Tyrone Swoopes would have more rushing yards than Jake Waters, Kansas State would have only 143 yards rushing, and 367 total yards you might have thought that Texas had a pretty good chance of winning.  Shows to go you.

A rivalry is born
Andy Garrod, my two-year college roommate, dedicated gamer, and the subject of one of my short stories, in his first Over/Under outing, wins this week by answering nine questions correctly. In doing so, he edged his long-time gaming and gambling rival Mike Frank, who finished in a three-way tie for second with David Frink and D.R. Flower with eight correct.

The Friday night before this year’s OU game, when last I was with with Andy and Mike in the same room, they argued about who could throw a football further and who would live the longest.

Let the games begin.

HooK ‘eM,



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Pre Game Kansas State

Hurry Up No Huddle
aka HUNH

I’m concerned that the fat man at Iowa State has given Kansas State and the rest Texas’ remaining opponents the blueprint for shredding the conference leading Longhorns defense. On a related note, the three man front isn’t working for the Horns. Hey, Vance and Charlie, “can the three-man front.”

At Charlie Strong’s press conference on Monday, he was asked about Tyrone Swoopes’ foot speed relative to his recent success running the ball. Strong smiled and chuckled, and the press chuckled. When the same subject was broached later in the press conference with the affable, mild-mannered Swoopes, he didn’t smile or chuckle. Interesting.

Strong hasn’t suspended or dismissed anyone from the team in six weeks or so. Knock on wood.

I have a question for those of you who have played defense on the high school level or higher. When a quarterback fakes a handoff with his hand that doesn’t have the ball, does that fake anybody out?

I have another question. Did Jackson Browne really want to play a little bit longer?

I like 11 a.m. kick offs for away games. It gives you time to get other stuff done in the late afternoon. I’ve found a late afternoon run after a game particularly satisfying after a win or a loss, obviously for different reasons. Speaking of morning football viewing, I remember during football season in 1983 when Helen and I were newlyweds, how getting up at 10 a.m. Sunday morning to watch the Fred Akers Show was getting up early. 1983 was a good year and a good year for Longhorn Football.

While we’re on the subject, I remember in 1977 during Fred Akers’ first year as the Texas head hoach, how bad he was on his Sunday morning show. When the Horns got to 6-0, 7-0, 8-0…..we kind of forgot about how bad he was on Sunday morning.

The Longhorns sure could use a running back with some speed and explosiveness.

Hey, did you hear about Joe Bergeron being suspended at Texas A&M Commerce for team rules violations? For God’s sake Joe.

Remember when I said I wasn’t worried about the Longhorns being passed up by A&M or Baylor?  How do you like me now?

Back to the defense, the weak link is at linebacker. Aside from Jordan Hicks, who is having a very good season, the linebackers are hesitant and lack football instincts. Steve Edmonds has played well in spurts but still seems indecisive most of the time.  Strong has inserted several freshmen on offense and defense that have been making significant positive contributions. I wish he could find some for the linebacker position.

At the beginning of this week, I was feeling sanguine about the Longhorns prospects for winning the Kansas State game. But as the week has worn on, I can’t get the vision out of my head of Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters having a big day running by taking advantage of the Horns’ defensive ends, who often lose containment, and the aforementioned hesitant and indecisive Longhorn linebackers.

Hopefully I’m wrong, and as the character Red said in the Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Iowa State Over/Under Analytics
Over the years I have always looked for questions, while reviewing the results, that most players got right or wrong. Analyzing results this way gives me a barometer of sorts of how my readers perceive the Longhorns week to week.

Last week every single player got right the answer to 49.5 yards for Iowa State’s longest kickoff return. Every Nick Rose kickoff was a touchback hence everybody got it right. I may have to can that question for a couple of years.

Only three of the 15 contestants were right that Texas would fall behind at some point during the game. Too much Burnt Orange Kool-Aid drinking I guess.

HooK ‘eM,


Over/Under Contest


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