Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

Do Better

I don’t know if I would go all the way to mysterious, but the 10-year run of mediocrity by the Texas football program has been at the least puzzling. This run has been presided over by three head coaches, three athletic directors, three university presidents (the third time has not been the charm) and countless coordinators and assistant coaches. This run of mediocrity has been impervious to a never-ending capital-intensive campaign to upgrade the football facilities—four car garage and we’re still building on—and the heavy meddling of some of the University’s largest and most influential donors.

Maybe the common thread running through the regimes of three different presidents and athletic directors is ineptitude in overseeing UT Football.  The botched effort to hire Urban Meyer by Chris Del Conte and Jay Hartzell is the latest example.   

Del Conte and Hartzell failed to keep their efforts under wraps while Tom Herman and his team still had three games to go and were competing for a conference championship. I suspect the above-mentioned donors were the unnamed sources cited by the blogs including Inside Texas and Orange Bloods in their so-called reporting on the courting of Meyer.  

After the efforts to hire Meyer failed the blog sites kept stirring the pot claiming UT was now pursuing other candidates. Then Del Conte released the amazingly ambiguous statement that in part read, “I want to reiterate that Tom Herman is still our coach.”  Was the statement purposely ambiguous and released for the sake of recruiting and the early nation signing day that was just a few days away? Did Hartzell and the board of regents approve the statement before its release? Was Del Conte’s statement a reaction to Herman’s reported interest in the South Carolina vacancy? Del Conte later confirmed in a phone call with the American-Statesman that his statement means Herman will be the coach in 2021. Meaning January 2021, September 2021?  This situation is a mess and needs cleaning up.

The way that Hartzell and Del Conte have handled the failed attempt to hire Meyer and its aftermath gives me no faith in their ability to competently oversee Herman and the football program or an ongoing or future search and hiring of new head coach. For Texas Football to be better, Hartzell and Del Conte need to do better.

Tom Herman

I’ve been reading about what a sorry state Texas recruiting was for the 2021 class. After the early signing period Texas’ class is rated 17th by 247 Sports and ESPN.  Though it’s not the top 10 rated class that Herman has had the previous three years, 17th doesn’t seem like a disaster. If there is finally clarity on the coaching front before the signing day in February, the ranking will probably improve. Under the circumstances, Herman and his staff have done a good job in recruiting a 2021 class so far.

Recruiting hasn’t been Texas’ and Herman’s problem. Player development and game management are.

Herman has failed to develop the top 10 ranked recruiting classes into top 10 teams. He has failed to tailor his game planning—particularly on offense—to the talent and strengths of his players.

His game management has been fundamentally wrong on so many occasions during his tenure at Texas whether it’s when to go for it on 4th down rather than punting or attempting a field goal, managing timeouts and the clock or when to go for two after a touchdown.   His substitution patterns seem to be random with no regard to the game situation. Why against Iowa State, on the last drive of the game, did he have backup receivers in the game and not Brennan Eagles, Jake Smith, and Jordan Whittington? Get a clue, Tom. Also, on that last drive, couldn’t he make sure Sam Ehlinger understood that he absolutely could not take a sack?  Ehlinger should have known better but Herman should have made sure.

Herman needs to do better in many areas.

Inside Texas, Orangebloods etc.

These sites and probably others have lost credibility with me. I subscribe to Inside Texas almost exclusively for the writing and analysis of Paul Wadlington aka Scipio Tex. He doesn’t trade in rumors and unnamed sources as the other contributors do.  If they want to authoritatively report in column after column about the process of something as monumental and complicated as the firing and hiring of the UT head football coach citing unnamed sources they should expect to be embarrassed. They aren’t because they don’t have enough self-awareness to be embarrassed. Instead, they had a digital tantrum after Del Conte released his statement claiming the hiring and firing of the head coach wasn’t his decision to make. Del Conte may not have absolute authority but to claim he doesn’t have any is just silly and stupid. If you say something like that, I have little interest in any opinions you have on the subject. Grow up. Do better.

HooK ‘Em,

W.E.

Read more

Urban Meyer and Fred Akers

In my discussion last week on Urban Meyer, I invoked a quote from the movie Wall Street, “The main thing about money, Bud, is that it makes you do things you don’t want to do.”  I can’t leave the Urban Meyer-Texas saga without invoking another quote from Wall Street. Bud Fox’s father talking to him about Gordon Gekko said, I don’t go to bed with no whore, and I don’t wake up with no whore. That’s how I live with myself. I don’t know how you do it.”  Chris Del Conte and Jay Hartzell just got diddled by the best.

Fred Akers

If the coach who follows Nick Saban at Alabama does as well as Fred Akers did in succeeding Darrell Royal, he’ll have done a whale of a job.

In 1983, during one of my very favorite Texas Football seasons, there were weekly lunches on Wednesdays for boosters with Coach Akers at Casita Jorges on sixth street. Akers spoke to the boosters about the upcoming game and reported as much “inside” information as he could afford to. Before he spoke, he sat down to a plate of enchiladas at a table he chose at random with a few lucky attendees.  The Wednesday before the Oklahoma game, Coach Akers chose the table where my brother David and I were sitting. I sat directly across from Akers. At one point during lunch, he said he was anxious to get back to the Oklahoma game film he had been studying. I admit to being a little starstruck.  “We beat Oklahoma that year 28-16. When I told Helen about this a couple of days ago, she remarked, “It was a more innocent time.” In some ways it was.

For the record, Texas finished the 1983   regular season 11-0 and ranked #2. I refuse to talk about what happened next.

If I had to pick my all-time favorite Texas Football Season, it would be 1977, Fred Akers’ first year as the Texas Head Coach.

I was a senior at UT during the 1977 football season.  My Texas Football confidants and I had been in favor of hiring of Akers over Darrell Royal’s defensive coordinator Mike Campbell because he was young and represented a new generation and new thinking and would transform Earl Campbell from a wishbone fullback into an I formation tailback. We just knew Earl would be one of the best, if not the best, running backs in the country if he was a tailback.  We really did.

Akers and Campbell led Texas—a 13-point underdog—to its first win over Oklahoma—ranked #2 in the country—in seven years in the most exciting 13-6 game you’ll ever see. I don’t care what anybody says, it’s my favorite Texas-Oklahoma game EVER. After the game, a wild celebration broke out on the Drag. My brother told me that it was so wild and crazy, and loud that he and the friend, standing on the corner of 24th street and the Drag, couldn’t hear each other talk over the pandemonium.  I almost wish I had been there. I, of course, having attended the game, was in Dallas celebrating with a date and my fraternity brothers at party in a downtown Dallas hotel ballroom.

The week after the Oklahoma game, Johnny Ham Jones—Earl Campbell’s running mate—scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter as Texas beat #8 ranked Arkansas 13-9 in Fayetteville. There was another drag celebration as large and jubilant as the one the week before and I witnessed some of it from a window about 10 stories up in the Castilian dormitory as I was picking up my date for a Rusty Weir concert that night.

And . . . the week after the Arkansas game, Texas—now #2 in the country—beat an average SMU team in the Cotton Bowl on the same day that the #1 team, Michigan, lost.  Because everyone knew Texas would now be ranked #1 another massive Drag celebration broke out every bit as crazy as the ones after the Oklahoma and Arkansas game. Late on that warm, overcast, fall afternoon, sipping longnecks on the second-floor balcony of the Sig Ep house five blocks west of the Drag, John Scott and I heard a voice in the distance from a loudspeaker proclaim, “We ARE number 1.”

The Drag celebration was a thing now and some residents of the neighborhood just west of the Drag complained about the noise and partying—which including instances of public urination—that was spilling onto their streets.

One week after Texas routed Texas Tech at home, Larry Campbell and I ran from the stadium across campus to get back to our fraternity house before the craziness broke out. When we got to the Drag, in anticipation of the now weekly celebration, it was manned by Austin’s finest. The police weren’t there to break up the celebration but just to keep it somewhat civilized.  As Larry and I crossed San Antonio street, we noticed that several porta potties had been strategically set up to accommodate the partiers.

Texas went on to a perfect 11-0 regular season and on the night of December first, Earl Campbell won the Heisman Trophy. During that night’s Drag Celebration, as revelers, some in convertibles with the tops down, paraded slowly up and down the Drag, it began to snow.  

I still get teary eyed just thinking about it.

Nice job coach Akers.

Get on with it

The Kansas game has been cancelled and it won’t be rescheduled. The regular season is over. No later than this coming Monday, Chris Del Conte must fire Tom Herman or emphatically and unequivocally announce that Herman will be the coach of the Longhorns in 2021. I’m not sure the later is still a viable option.

I hear Bob Stoops is available. Just kidding, Mark Stephan.

HooK ‘Em,

W.E.

Read more

Kansas State Over/Under Results

Oh ye Over/Underers of little faith. Only two of 13 players predicted Texas would win by 20 points or more and those two players finished first and tied for second in the Kansas State Over/Under. 

Despite every player correctly answering no, Urban Meyer would not be hired by 12/7 at 5pm, the average score was a low, low 4.15.  If Meyer changes his mind today, it won’t affect this week’s results.

After her unexcused absence from the Iowa State Over/Under, Helen Frink returned and chalked up her second win of the season scoring eight correct answers. Helen’s win was keyed by her predicting that Texas would win by 20 + points. Mark Adams and Andy Garrod tied for second with seven correct answers. Mark was the only player besides Helen who predicted Texas would win by 20+.

Wes Peoples finished alone in fourth place with six correct.

A season low 13 players participated this week.  I wonder if the regular players who sat out this week lost interest after the Iowa State loss or sat out in protest of my opinion about the potential hiring of Urban Meyer?  I’m guessing the former.

W.E.

Read more

Texas and Urban Meyer

I seem to be the lone wolf in Longhorn Land expressing the notion that hiring Urban Meyer with all his ethical baggage is desperate and distasteful. I’m surprised that UT President Jay Hartzell can look at Meyer’s background and agree that he’s the one. Clearly, he’s worried about fundraising if Texas doesn’t make a monster hire.  As the wizened stockbroker in Wall Street told Bud Fox, “The main thing about money, Bud, is that it makes you do things you don’t want to do.” For those not familiar with Meyer’s background, there’s plenty of information to be had by performing a simple Google search. For the Cliff Notes, his Wikipedia page is handy.

If Meyer takes the job, Texas fans should be aware that though he won National Championships at Florida and Ohio State, his tenure at those schools was only six and seven years, respectively. I suspect his tenure at Texas would be even shorter (if he has health issues at 56, how’s he going to feel at 60) and I think that’s problematic. When he left Ohio State, he did leave in his wake great players and in Ryan Day, an excellent head coach.  Not so much the case when he left Florida.

Stuff I’ve read.
I’d link to these stories but they’re behind pay walls.

From Adam Rittenberg at ESPN+

When I talk with coaches who face Texas, coaches who have worked at Texas and those familiar with the program, the same terms are used: Entitlement. Country Club, “it’s the softest group of kids you’ve ever been around. There’s no work ethic.”

We’ve been hearing this since the Mack Brown era.  Why is it like that at UT when it isn’t at other programs with plenty of dough like Oklahoma, Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Notre Dame and Georgia to name a few? Maybe those schools don’t have player’s individual lockers that cost $1,500.😊

More from Rittenberg

Texas is one of the nation’s best coaching jobs. But the Meyer factor could discourage other candidates, mindful they wouldn’t receive the same reception. If Meyer says no, would anyone else please the Longhorns’ base ore even get a fair chance to elevate the program?

If Messrs. Hartzell and Del Conte don’t land Meyers, they’ve created a real mess for themselves.

Interesting statistic from Inside Texas

Since 2017, Texas has only two 20 points victories in Big 12 play. Oklahoma has 13.

Great teams don’t routinely win close games because great teams don’t routinely PLAY close games, they blow teams out. Watching Texas in the Tom Herman era has meant watching the Longhorns struggle to generate wins on a weekly basis. Rather than reveling in Texas’ status as the most resource-rich program in the league, as the flagship program of the nation’s most football-crazed state, fans and alumni of the University have had to squirm for four quarters every Saturday as their team desperately fends off Texas Tech and Kansas and succumbs to Iowa State and Baylor.

Iowa State

Texas got off to a good start going up 10-0 midway through the first quarter (though it should have been 14-0).  But when Iowa State quickly closed the gap to 10-7, didn’t you just get the feeling that Texas was going to find a way to lose this pivotal game? I did.

Ehlinger Disappoints

I predicted that Sam Ehlinger would play one his best games against Iowa State but on the penultimate play of the game, he took a sack when he should have been looking for a short quick completion. The sack cost Texas a reasonable chance at a game-tying field goal. Essentially, Texas lost the game when he was sacked. Just a devastating mistake by Ehlinger.

Kansas State

This is about as interesting a game as one could be with virtually nothing at stake. No conference championship or bowl berth is on the line. Evidently Herman can’t save his job or even stave off getting fired with a win. But it will be interesting to see if the Texas players play hard and whether there’s evidence that the Texas coaches spent more time this week preparing a game plan or looking for their next job.

And I suppose it will be interesting to hear Urban Meyer comment on the game at halftime. Hey, what if Meyer is mysteriously absent from the broadcast?  Woo wee!

HooK ‘Em.

W.E.

Read more

Iowa St. Over/Under Results

When the first entry I graded this week had nine correct answers, I figured the scoring average would be high. Turns out it was just the opposite. The average score of the 18 contestants this week was 4.78, one of the lowest of the year.

Without further ado, Wade Wallace was the player with nine correct answers and easily wins this week. Zac Frank and Andy Garrod tied for second with seven correct. Michael W. Frank, Dan Adams, Mark Adams, and Greg Swan tied for fourth with six correct.

Wade and Zac Frank were among the only three players who correctly guessed that the turnover battle would yield a tie.

Not taking one for the team

Inside Texas is reporting this morning that Sam Cosmi—a redshirt junior—is opting out of the rest of the season. Will Cosmi be the first of many?

W.E.

Read more
Page 5 of 10« First...«34567»...Last »