Archive for the ‘2014’ Category

Post-Game BYU

Reality Check


After further review it appears that my preseason forecast for the Longhorns may have been a tad optimistic. More on that later. Why did the Longhorn suffer another ignominious defeat at the hands of Taysom Hill and the rest of his BYU teammates? Here’s my amateur analysis broken down into its component parts.

All I am Saying is Give Swoopes a Chance

I would like to hear a credible explanation from Charlie Strong, Joe Wickline, and Shawn Watson of what their plan was for scoring points. Their plan for the early stages of the game was a good one and Tyrone Swoopes executed it well completing his first eight passes. Those completions were of short and intermediate range. But you can’t sustain drives and score points, unless you’re Peyton Manning, if you don’t throw the ball down field in the 15-18 yard range. After Swoopes went eight for eight you would think the coaches would have had the confidence in him to let him throw down field. That didn’t happen until late in the third quarter long after the issue had been decided. I also expected that Swoopes would be given the opportunity to take at least a couple of deep shots. That also didn’t happen until the third quarter when Swoopes attempted a desperation bomb down the right sideline on third and long from inside the Texas 20-yard line. Lastly, Texas’ conservative run the ball on first down plan left them with too many second and eights and nines.
Strong, Watson, and Wickline are going to have to let Swoopes try and execute a more aggressive game plan and let the chips fall where they may. If Swoopes is failing to make checks and change play calls at the line of scrimmage, he needs to be coached up in a hurry. If he is incapable of making even basic reads, Strong has to bench him in favor of Jerrod Heard. There is absolutely no point in repeating the offensive game plan Texas used against BYU again this season. None.


I’m not an expert on this but it looked like defensive end Shiro Davis blew his containment responsibility several times letting Taysom Hill get outside for some big games. Hello, Charlie Strong has been preaching lane responsibility on defense, particularly regarding the BYU game, since January. I can’t identify specifically what was going on in the middle of Texas’ defense in the second half without watching the replay. I’m not going to watch the replay. I am fairly certain though, that middle linebacker Steve Edmond didn’t have a good night. At times in the second half, the shoddy tackling that plagued Texas over the past four years reared its ugly head again.
Malcolm Brown had an Outland Trophy performance with 11 total tackles, 5 solo tackles, 5 tackles for loss including 3 sacks. The dude can play.
In defense of the defense, the offense and the special teams failures put them in an untenable position most of the night. The defense just spent way too much time on the field.

Special Teams

Nick Rose was 2 for 2 getting touchbacks on kick-offs. He was 0-1 missing a 43 yard field goal in the first quarter. With points at a premium for this offense he needs to improve on field goals in a big hurry.
William Russ continues to punt very well and has been effective in pinning opponents inside the 15 yard line this year.
Marcus Johnson had a terrible night returning kicks, turning the ball over on a fumble, and getting tackled on the 11 yard line after making an idiotic attempt to get to the sideline on the wide side of the field. In my mind this is close to being the equivalent of a turnover and it occurred after BYU had scored on the first possession of the second half to go up 13-0. It was all downhill for Texas after that. To add insult to injury, Texas was penalized for holding on another kick off and started their second drive of the half down 20-0 on the 7 yard line.
To sum up, kick returns were a disaster for Texas and was a major contributing factor to their defeat. Here’s to hoping, at the very least, this is an area Texas can greatly improve upon.


Some of you are probably reading various Texas football blogs and their forecasts for the Longhorns which are quite gloomy. I’m not knowledgeable enough about Xs and Os to agree with or disagree with those forecasts at evidenced by my preseason prediction of 11-1. I do want you to know that I’ve been in optimism therapy for many years now (those of you who have known me for a long time know I needed to be) and that may have contributed to my prediction which now seems likely not come to pass.
Misery Loves Company
On a mostly unrelated note, Skip Bayless predicted last week that the Dallas Cowboys would win the NFC East. Skip, I feel your pain.
Believe it or not I’m looking forward to the UCLA game.
See you Friday.

HooK, ‘Em

Over/Under Results

Our man in Amman, Reed Ramlow, flying by instruments, takes home the win this week with eight correct answers. Reed, as usual, also takes home the prize for the best comments of the week.

Al Locascio, Steve Holstead, Mitch Frink, and Greg Swan tied for second with seven correct answers.

I’m conjuring up a really difficult test of your skills for the UCLA over/under so hit the books.



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Pre-Game BYU

 The Times They Are a-Changin’

Culture change is a bitch. But it’s better than 30-21 over a four year period. Honestly though, it’s for the best, don’t you think, not to have the players blowing herb, especially during the season? It seems that at least 75-80 Longhorn players are getting along just fine with the stipulation that you can’t have THC coursing through your veins to remain a Longhorn scholarship athlete in good standing. I’m pretty sure even I could have met that stipulation for a free education. Pretty sure, I think. I find it interesting that the players who are failing to meet this stipulation are veterans. Evidently, the last coaching regime was more lenient in this regard. You’ve got to respect Charlie Strong for sticking with his principles for the long-term good, of his team even if it hurts—a lot—in the short term.

“Hang on Defense, Hang On”
To be sung to the tune of “Hang on Sloopy”

Does anybody appreciate good defense anymore? I’ve heard some commentators express appreciation for the Longhorns’ defensive performance against North Texas but from fans all I’ve heard is criticism and worry about the offense, even before we knew David Ash was likely out for good and Kennedy Estelle and Desmond Harrison had been suspended. I know it was just North Texas, but holding any D-1 program under 100 total yards is impressive. As I recall, North Texas had about 40 yards total before Texas started liberally substituting in the second half. I’m genuinely excited about watching this defense perform this week and the rest of the season. For those of you who don’t know or can’t remember, the 1983 Longhorns came within a muffed punt of winning the National Championship solely on the strength of great defense and special teams. If memory serves, that ’83 team used three quarterbacks. One had never played a college down, one had one start going into the season, and the third had been riding the pine for two seasons. That team also rotated four starting tailbacks due to injury. I could go on about the injuries to veterans along the offensive line that year, but you get the idea. Okay, I admit that 1983 was a long time ago and we’re in a different college football era, but I still believe championships can be won on the strength of great defense and special teams.
Until Tyrone and the rebuilt offensive line figure it all out.
Hang on defense, hang on.

Tyrone Swoopes

So everyone seems sure that Tyrone Swoopes can’t play at all. This certainty is based on what exactly? The fact that he didn’t play well in the Spring Game combined with his lack of experience and 5-13 for 26 yards career passing stats? Of course, I’m concerned about his lack of game experience, but I see no overwhelming evidence to convince me that he can’t be a serviceable, if not a down right solid performer. If absolutely nothing else, he brings a running component to the offense that David Ash did not. His running threat should open up things more for Brown and “J Gray”—I like saying “J Gray”—perhaps make the offensive line’s job a little easier.
Here is information on his background from
Four-year starter, including three at quarterback … participated in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl … rated No. 4 overall and the No. 2 quarterback in the nation by MaxPreps … selected No. 88 overall on PrepStar Magazine’s Dream Team and the No. 6 QB in the nation … ranked the No. 6 QB in the nation by … tabbed the No. 13 QB in the nation by and 247 … listed No. 21 on the Austin American-Statesman’s Fab 55 (state’s top prospects) … rushed for 5,341 yards and 73 TDs while passing for 3,850 yards and 41 touchdowns during his career … named honorable mention 2A All-State by the Associated Press as a senior … selected 2A-2 Honorable Mention Academic All-State by THSCA … completed 16-of-22 passes for 175 yards and three TDs, while rushing for 305 yards and three TDs against Nocona … invited to Nike’s 2012 “The Opening” … invited to the Elite 11 Camp … named 2012 preseason Dave Campbell Super Team Offensive Player of the Year, first-team 2A All-State … selected to the 2011 U.S. Air Force Junior All-America team … completed 110-of-209 passes for 1,359 yards and 15 TDs as a junior … rushed for 2,268 yards and 29 TDs on 170 carries … rushed for 560 yards and seven TDs on 29 carries to go along with completing 12-of-25 passes for 146 yards against Tom Bean … also played guard in basketball, outfield in baseball and participated in track and field in high school … competed in the long jump, triple jump, 4x400m, 4x200m, 4x100m and shot put.
He’s a member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll (spring 2014)
Also I’ve read on Orange Bloods and Barking Carnival that Swoopes is popular with his teammates and held in high regard. Oh yeah, and he doesn’t smoke dope. Just saying.
Here’s a video put together by Barking Carnival of every snap Swoopes has ever taken as a Longhorn. Take particular note of the 50-yard beauty of a pass he threw that Mike Davis dropped.        

Deep Horn

Over the years, on numerous occasions, I’ve cited a source with decades-long close ties to the program when reporting certain information about Longhorn Football. This year I’m going to try to have a section each week where I report information from this source, and I’m going to call this section “Deep Horn.”
Early this week, I heard from Deep Horn that–in the long and perhaps even near term– Jake Raulerson is an upgrade from Dominick Espinoza, especially in the running game.
How ’bout that for some unconventional wisdom?

Not only that, but I’ll bet Raulerson and Swoopes have the exchange from center down pat.

I also heard through “Deep Horn” that early Sunday morning David Ash had much more serious concussion symptoms than headaches and dizziness.

Burnt Orange Colored Glasses?

I think Texas beats BYU this week. I’m calling it 23-13. Am I wearing burnt orange colored glasses? If I am, I can tell you it feels great. It feels great to care again. On a totally objective note, I believe all the people with a gloom and doom outlook for the Longhorns smack of “me tooism.” I may have just made up a word there.
For all those predicting Texas to finish the regular season record between 5-7 and 8-4, I ask these questions. Do you think this football team is worse off with Tyrone Swoopes or Jerrod Heard than it was with Case McCoy? Do you not think this year’s defense is not a substantial upgrade over last year’s that will be the difference between winning and losing at least two games?

Download of the Week

This is another new weekly feature where I’ll reveal my favorite song download of the week

“Rainy Night in Georgia” by Boz Scaggs from his Memphis album.

HooK ‘eM,

Over/Under Contest

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Post-Game North Texas

Remain Calm—All is Well


The news on David Ash seems to be engendering a lot of gloom and doom and it certainly through a wrench into my plans for my North Texas Post Game column.
If you read my column last week carefully you’ll understand that I didn’t anticipate Ash to be around long this year. I’m thinking and hoping that Charlie and company didn’t expect him to be around long either.
But you’ll have to wait until Friday at noon when I’ll explain to you why the loss of David Ash doesn’t change the Horns’ 2014 outlook all that much.

Having fun yet?

HooK eM,

Over/Under Results

Tom Yoxall takes home the victory in the 2014 season opener with nine correct answers. That’s an impressive performance by young Tom considering that the average score was 6.2. Steve Holstead and Al LoCascio tied for second with eight correct answers. Wade Wallace and Mike Archuleta round out the top five scoring seven correct.


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Pre-Game North Texas

Confessions of a Prodigal Willie Earl

And a Few Season Opening Observations

My ambivalence about Longhorn Football started during the 2011 OU game. Suffering through the third humiliating blowout to OU during the Mack Brown era was the beginning of my breaking point with Mack Brown. The game itself would have been bad enough, but 2011 just happened to be the year that I brought one of my best friends—whom had known since I was 5-years old, whom I had regaled with descriptions of Texas-OU weekend for 35 years and who is a Notre Dame Graduate—to his first OU game, which made it downright embarrassing. The last-second win over Texas A&M later that year provided an Indian Summer for my Longhorn passion, but it was very brief.
The last game that in my heart I truly rooted for a Longhorn win was the 2012 West Virginia game in Austin. Texas should have won that game, but Mack Brown frittered it away in the second half by totally mismanaging a couple of offensive series. Starting that night—because my love for the Longhorns is all-consuming—I wanted the Mack Brown era to come to a close as quickly as possible. So there it is. I secretly rooted for the Longhorns to lose football games from October 13, 2012, through the Baylor game last year.

Now I’m back baby. Let’s put the boot to the ball.

More confessions and Some Season Opening Observations

Charlie Strong may not be the next “One” — but I am infatuated with him.

Last week I downloaded a couple of Cowsill songs to my iTunes Library.

I don’t understand David Ash’s decision to continue playing football.  Of course I hope it works out for him and that he plays great for the next two seasons, but I think he’s made a foolish decision. I wonder if anyone close to him besides his mother advised him to hang it up.  In my experience mothers are often the wisest advisers, even when it seems that their advice is skewed by motherhood its own self.

I got viscerally angry the other day trying to kill a fly in my kitchen.

For god’s sake somebody please tell me that Mack Brown didn’t recruit Kenny Hill as a defensive back.

I’m so vain you probably think this blog is about me.

Charlie Strong refers to Jonathan Gray as “J Gray.” Reminds me of a the Longhorn great, “Ray Clay.”  Anybody younger than 55 know who I’m talking about?

I went to my High School 40-year class reunion in July. Ever since then, I’ve been tossing and turning at night about how my life would have been changed if I hadn’t got cut from the J.V. Basketball team.

Out on the road today I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac. A little voice inside my head said don’t look back you can never look back.

Charlie Strong is direct and to the point, but he does have a sneaky sense of humor. I like that.

In the post-Darrell era, two Longhorn head coaches have had good first seasons. Fred Akers went 11-1 in 1977, and Mack Brown posted 9-3 in 1998. Akers had Earl Campbell. Brown had Ricky Williams. Charlie Strong has….? Reminds me of when Sonny said to Tom Hagen, “Pop had Genco, look what I got.” Sonny Corleone

On the other hand ,Charlie Strong has Cedric Reed, and he’s at least as valuable as Brad Shearer was to Fred Akers. Malcolm Brown—the d line variety—may turn out to be a superstar as well.

By the way, I’m not saying I don’t think Malcolm Brown the running back is good. I think he’s real good. I think he compares favorably to Cedric Benson.

I heard Joe Bergeron was dismissed from the team, because he went Blutarsky when Charlie Strong took away the smoothie bar.

I would like to have seen Charlie Strong’s reaction when he found out there was a smoothie bar in the locker room.

I have no idea why Kansas State. is projected to be a Big 12 Title contender this year. They were so bad last year that even we beat them….finally.

Baylor will lose at least three conference games this year.

Saying it the way my father would say it, “Do we really believe UCLA is the national contender they’re predicted to be?” Yeah, they were 10-3, last year but their three losses were to the only good teams they played, unless you consider Nebraska a good team.  Anyway, I’m not buying into UCLA’s emergence as a national title contender.  They’ll probably give us a tough game, but we’ll win.

This just in. Charlie Strong has suspended Jaxon Shipley for the North Texas game for failing to hold the chair for a female classmate when she sat down next to him in History class.

Time for Willie Earl’s preseason prediction of the Longhorns final regular season record. See where this is gong?


Put that in your tailgate beer cooler and drink it.

HooK eM,


Over/Under Contest

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