Archive for the ‘2019’ Category

Going 1-0 in an Off Week

Listening to Todd Rundgren while wondering if you knew that Gerry Rafferty was in Steelers Wheel and how to go 1-0 during the Horns off week.  Here’s what I’ve come up with.

1. Tom Herman and Tim Beck could overhaul the goal line offense starting by installing running plays with Ehlinger taking the snap under center.  I’m not holding my breath.

2. Herman could study clock management as a sop to Mike Frank a longtime Willie Earl reader and my partner in football analysis for the last 40 years plus. In pure football discussions, Mike is always analytical, never emotional. Over the last four decades plus, Mike and I have had only one major disagreement that comes to mind. He was a Chris Simms man. I was firmly in the Major Applewhite camp. It is my staunch belief that if Applewhite had been the starter in the 2001 Big 12 Championship game, Texas would have won, gone on the play Miami in the BCS Championship and saved me and thousands of others from perhaps the most miserable night on record as a  Longhorn fan.

Anyway, Herman’s most recent malfeasance occurred in the Oklahoma State game.  With 6:43 remaining in the fourth quarter, leading 36-23, Texas took possession at the OSU 49 yard line. Instead of running the ball three times to burn the maximum amount of time off the clock, Herman and Beck called a pass play on second down that fell incomplete and stopped the clock. Instead of burning a minimum of about 2:30, the possession used 1:43. After Texas punted, OSU took over with 5:00 left. Three runs and a punt and OSU gets the ball with closer to 4:00. Huge difference.

3. Work on situational special teams.  I’m glad that Herman took the blame for Brandon Jones muffing the punt late in the fourth quarter.  Of course no Texas players should have been anywhere near that punt and Herman acknowledged that he should have had a word with Jones about that before the play.

I have not heard Herman acknowledge the screw up of having a #57 (Cort Jaquess) on the onside kick hands team. My brother and I noticed it before the Oklahoma State’s onside kick attempt, and obviously they did too as OSU kicked the ball right at poor #57 who muffed it. Luckily, Chris Adimora snagged it to save the Horns from a possible nightmare finish.

Details, Coach, details.

4.  No DWI’s or gun possession arrests would be great. Also avoid twisting ankles and knees stumbling on stairs or over curbs and shrubs.

5. The “Goes without saying” idea is to heal quickly and avoid new injuries in practice.

Randomly

It’s nice to see Shane Buechele doing so well at SMU. They’re 4-0 after beating TCU last Saturday. Buechele has seven touchdown passes against three interceptions. This Saturday he faces South Florida and his former coach Charlie Strong.

Speaking of Charlie Strong, his team is 1-2 this year and has lost nine of their last 10 games. What’s up with that?

Speaking of former UT Football coaches, the North Carolina Mack Browns host Clemson today. Any chance Brown gets the W?  . . . It could happen.

Recently

I changed up my morning routine and took my dog for a walk a little after 8 a.m.  Dolly and I walked by a group of high school students waiting for the bus and of course I was chagrined but not surprised that most of them had their eyes glued to their phones. Sad, but that’s another subject.

Frequently, when I see high schoolers waiting for the bus it reminds me of waiting for the school bus on one particular January or February morning in 1972 when I was a high school junior in Vestal, New York.  Before I left the house that morning, I stepped out on the front porch to see what the weather was doing.  It was windless, clear and sunny, rare for a winter morning in upstate New York.  I decided it was nice enough to wear my burnt orange Darrell Royal windbreaker instead of a winter coat. I really liked wearing that windbreaker. The bus stop was only three houses away and I felt comfortable in my windbreaker on the walk to the stop on that beautiful winter morning. After I greeted Barb Youngblood and Cindy Chantler who got on the bus at the stop after mine, I fixed my gaze out the bus window for the ride to the high school. My concentration on the traffic outside the window was interrupted by the weather report coming over the bus radio. In addition to happily noting that it was clear and sunny the DJ included the current temperature which was 12 degrees Fahrenheit.

It was a beautiful morning to wear my burnt orange windbreaker.


Hook ‘Em,

W.E.



Read more

Oklahoma State Over/Under Results

In a rare appearance in Over/Under, Jeff Otto was on his game with eight correct answers to win the Oklahoma State Over/Under.  Amazing.

Tyler Cotton , Mark Adams, and Mitch Lewis tied for second with seven correct.  Eric Vogl, Reed Ramlow, Clayton Frink, and Helen Frink tied for fifth with six correct.

There were 23 contestants this week which is close to the record for participation. The all-time record was set in the 2008 Oklahoma Over/Under with 24 contestants.

W.E.

Read more

The First Game of the rest of Todd Orlando’s Life

Did anyone but me notice during the Rice game telecast that Todd Orlando: a) looked like he hadn’t slept in a few days or b) hadn’t taken his antipsychotic medication? I don’t know, maybe I just can’t get used to men under 50 no longer shaving on a daily basis. Anyway, it would be understandable if Orlando hasn’t slept much lately and when he does sleep if he has the recurring dream that I so often have of being on the way to a final exam for a class you haven’t been to all semester.

In case you haven’t heard, Oklahoma State runs a spread offense averaging 49 points per game this year and is ranked 12th nationally in total offense. And – as noted on these pages last week – that Todd Orlando’s defense, in the last six games against spread offenses, has surrendered an average of 538 yards and 40.5 points per game.

So do Longhorn fans have any reason to believe that the Texas defense will suddenly be improved against Oklahoma State on Saturday?  I’ll believe it when I see it. The best breakdown of Orlando’s defense I’ve heard or read was by my man Paul Wadlington aka Scipio Texas at InsideTexas.com

Summarizing Scipio’s breakdown, Orlando is playing the game “Battleship” against the opponents play caller, guessing which plays will be run and then running his players blindly to predetermined spots to defend.  This, as opposed to training his players how to play cornerback, safety, and linebacker etc., recognize plays and react.  When Orlando guesses wrong – which has been often – you see receivers running wide open and running backs darting through gaping holes.

It seems to me that the question about the defense going into the Oklahoma State game is, whether Orlando continues to play “Battleship” or will this be the game be where he takes a new approach to defending the spread offense.

On a positive note regarding the Oklahoma State game, Sam Ehlinger and the Texas offense are humming.  Ehlinger is third in the country in passing touchdowns, and 11th in passing yards per game. Pretty great considering he sat out half of the third quarter and all of the fourth against Rice and most of the fourth quarter versus Louisiana Tech. And Ehlinger and the offense put up five touchdowns (four of them on Ehlinger passes) and 530 yards on an LSU defense that still manages to be 34th in the country in total defense despite being dominated by Texas.

My Hat’s Off to “The Man”

Using my father’s phrasing that I love so much, “Do we all agree that right now Mike Gundy is a better coach than Tom Herman?

I do. Herman may have a higher ceiling in the long run but right now Gundy is a better coach. He is 124-59 from 2004 through last week at Oklahoma State.  In 2014-2018 he is 37-15. He has one conference championship (2011) and in 2013 was jipped out of another by officiating in OSU’s game with Oklahoma.  Oh, and he’s riding a four-game winning streak and has won seven of the last nine versus Texas.

He’s compiled this strong record at Oklahoma State where he rarely has the luxury of four, much less five star recruits.

You may not like his haircut but he’s a good coach.

My Call

Riding another strong performance by Sam Ehlinger and the offense, Texas wins tomorrow night 44-41.

Hook ‘Em!

*********

Private inquiries have been made about how my first date with Connie turned out back the fall of 1976. Connie was referenced in my column a couple of weeks ago “First Dates and Hopeless Romantics.”

Well, to tell you the truth, there is a story there that you would probably find even more entertaining than “First Dates and Hopeless Romantics.” Maybe I’ll tell the story, maybe not.  Believe me, the story is “G” rated, but it’s still a tough call for me as to how much I want reveal about some of my 21-year-old behavior.

W.E

Oklahoma State Over/Under

  • Hubbard has 521 yards rushing through 3 games averaging 7.9 yards per carry.
  • Tiebreaker: required

    Pick the winners against the line

    Notre Dame +14.5 @ Georgia
  • Auburn +4.5 @ Texas A&M
Read more

Rice Over/Under Results

In a surprisingly large field of players given the opponent was Rice, David Frink emerged the winner with eight correct answers.  Mike Frank was second with seven correct. Mike was the only player to correctly predict that Keaontay Ingram would be the first UT player who would have a pass reception. 

Eric Vogl, Clayton Frink, and Helen Frink tied for third with six correct answers.

The question formulators had a good outing as the average score was just five correct answers.

Coming Friday, what Big 12 team has the longest current winning streak against Texas? No fair using the Google Machine.

Talk at you Friday.

Hook ‘Em

W.E.

Read more

“How Do you Solve a Problem Like Orlando?”

To be sung to the tune of,
“How do You Solve a Problem like Maria”
                                                                             — Rodgers and Hammerstein

Over the summer, I asked a friend if he agreed that Todd Orlando was overrated. He said no. I haven’t asked him that question since the LSU game.  Why taunt him? After all, I feel bad too.

Here are some facts about the Longhorn defense versus LSU as summarized by Paul Wadlington, aka Scipio Texas on the “Inside Texas” blog

LSU QB Joe Burrow was 31 of 39 for 471 yards passing.

LSU converted 50% of their 3rd downs. On par with the rate Orlando surrendered last year in Big 12 play, where Texas surpassed only conference winless Kansas in money down defense.

All three LSU primary receivers went >100 yards receiving. Jefferson: 9-163-3td. Marshall: 6-123-1td. Chase: 8-147-0. Jefferson was in single coverage on his game sealing 3rd and 17 zero blitz 61 yard touchdown catch. Of course, so was every other Tiger receiver.

LSU had only 11 meaningful possessions. They scored on 8 of them.

The Texas defense was never placed in a bad spot the entire game. LSU’s average starting position was their own 23 yard line.

In the second half, in a game played in 98 degree heat, Texas dominated time of possession: 20:38 minutes to LSU’s 9:22.

Due to the Longhorn O dominating Time of Possession, LSU ran only 68 plays. But had 573 yards of offense. That’s 8.4 yards per play.

****

In Texas’ last six games against spread offenses, Orlando’s defense has surrendered an average of 538 yards and 40.5 points.

So here I am – less than three weeks removed from predicting 11-1 and eight days away from our lads facing Oklahoma State’s spread offense – sounding the alarm on Texas’ 2019 season. Unless Tom Herman does something fast about his defense and defensive coordinator, our dreams of a Big 12 Championship and College Football Playoff berth are just that – dreams.

That being said, I guess the Horns could give up an average of 33 points and 451 yards a game and still win the Big 12 and make the CFP like Oklahoma did last year.

Briefly

I’m saying right now on this here blog that Roschon Johnson is a running back forever more.

The Texas offense played magnificently against LSU.  The O scored on every position of the second half.

9 plays, 86 yards, TD

7 plays, 75 yards, TD

7 plays, 75 yards, TD

10 plays, 46 yards, FG

8 plays, 75 yards, TD

If only on third and 17 . . . Oh Orlando.

Glad we don’t play Maryland this year.

Hope I don’t jinx him but punter Ryan Bujcevski is having a good year averaging 42.5 yards per punt.

A reader wrote me a note this week that was highly critical of my man Collin Johnson’s performance versus LSU. While he did have trouble getting separation from LSU’s future NFL defensive backs in the first half, he caught three crucial passes for 49 yards in the second when Texas scored on every possession. That’s a pretty fare 16.3 yards per reception by the way.

On to Rice.

Speaking of Rice, you youngsters (anyone under the age of 60) might be surprised to learn that Texas has played Rice 94 times starting in 1914. 

It used to be a big deal when Texas played Rice in Houston. It was a convenient opportunity for Houston alums to see the Longhorns play when the Horns were only on television two or three times a year. You youngsters might also be surprised to learn that the first Texas-Rice game to be televised was in 1984. The game was a big social event for Houstonians. Kind of like Georgia versus Florida, the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party. Kind of.  

The 1970 Rice game was an especially big deal to yours truly

Texas – Rice October 1970

Rice Over/Under

  • Tiebreaker: required

    Pick the winners against the line

    Dallas - 5.5 @ Washington
  • New England -18.5 @ Miami

Read more
Page 4 of 5«12345»