Maryland Pre Game

Willie Earl Unedited and Unfiltered


Catchy headline huh? You might even call it provocative and think I’m going to unload some Bill Frink 1970s style outspoken and somewhat abrasive opinions. Not so. It simply means that I waited too long to write this so I don’t have time to send it to my editor before release. Now on with the show.

Kicker Information

I got a call from my old friend Greg (Sid) Bowers—Greg is the first friend I made after arriving in Austin in August of 1974— earlier this week.  After reading my comments in my preseason column on the Longhorns’ new kicker Josh Rowland, Greg called to offer some inside information.  Greg and his wife Suzie are good friends with Josh’s parents and have known Josh since he was a three-year-old riding his tricycle in the Rowland’s driveway.  Josh was an all-district soccer player as a sophomore and junior at Madison Central in Madison Mississippi who surprised his parents when he decided to try out for the football team his senior year.  Josh’s parents are Mississippi State graduates and Josh was hoping to attend there on a scholarship after an outstanding senior season.  No scholarship was offered but Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen encouraged Josh to walk on and perhaps earn a scholarship after putting in two to three years of hard work.  That wasn’t good enough for Josh and he accepted a scholarship to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he was an all-American in 2015. When Dan Mullen caught wind that Josh was going to  Texas on a scholarship, he called Josh and told him he was disrespecting his parents’ alma mater.  Nice job, Coach Mullen.  Anyway, Josh asked Mullen if he had a scholarship for him. The answer was no so Josh told him he was going to be a Longhorn.

Greg tells me that Josh is a great kid with a ton of talent but the largest crowd he’s ever played in front of was less than 5,000. So as fond of Josh as Greg is, he concedes that how Josh performs in front of 100,000 people is anybody’s guess.  I feel the good karma about Josh as a Longhorn and based on that alone I predict he will perform admirably as a Longhorn.

Greg Bowers on Tom Herman and Todd Orlando

After a couple of wild and woolly years at UT, Greg transferred to the University of Houston and graduated in 1978. Greg was the starting center for the Westchester Wildcats in 1973 and when I met him he knew the height, weight, and college of every single player that was currently on an NFL roster. I really mean every single player. It was kind of amazing.  Greg’s two sons both played college football, one at U of H and one at Ole Miss.  So when Greg offers an opinion on football I almost always take it to the bank. Being a University of Houston alum, Greg is a Cougar fan and he told me during our conversation this week that Herman will most likely return the Longhorns to their former football glory. He was even more effusive about Texas’ new defensive coordinator Todd Orlando who came with Herman from Houston.  In true Greg Bowers parlance, to told me that Orlando was a beast who’s attacking defenses had beat Oklahoma’s and Louisville’s asses last year.  I’m inching a little bit towards the Unbridled Optimism side after my conversation with Greg.

Musing without a Muse

I know Texas has had three straight losing seasons but an 11am kick off on September 2? Really? I think it’s time for Texas to get a real athletic director.

Even so-called curmudgeon Kirk Bohls is in the unbridled optimism camp. In today’s Statesman he has Texas beating USC and finishing 9-3. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think sports writers are supposed to be cheerleaders for the home town team, just the opposite in fact.  That’s why I said so-called curmudgeon. I’ve thought that Bohls is a very good columnist for decades but lately he’s gotten a little sentimental and political for my taste.

This will be the first season since 1995 when there are no Frink-Yoxall-Zeitz tailgates planned. It was a truly great run and I’m sure there will be an occasional tailgate in the future.  The very first tailgate was a very humble affair in the LBJ Library parking lot out of the trunk of Helen’s hail damaged 1993 Camry. It was just Helen, Dan and Michelle Yoxall, and me that damp evening before the Horns annihilated Texas Tech 48-7 in what was supposed to be a close game matching the two teams sharing first place in the Southwest Conference.  The first half was one of my favorite halves of Longhorn football ever as Texas ran up a 28-0 lead. I particularly remember Helen during the pre-game gate offering four UT students—who we didn’t know—beers and roast beef sandwiches as they walked by the four of us huddled around the Camry’s open trunk.  One of the students had a boyfriend who was a football team manager and the young lady informed us that according to her boyfriend, the Horns had had a great week of practice and were going to trounce Tech. Nice call.

On a related note, this is the first season since 1994 that Helen and I don’t own a UT Football parking pass.  I’m looking forward to a change in our game day routine. From 1974 to 1977, on game day, I took so many memorable walks to and from the Sig Ep house, across campus to what was then simply Memorial Stadium. Sometimes I walked with a date and more times it was just with a SPE brother or two.  Perhaps the most memorable of these walks was the trip back to the house after the Horns beat Texas Tech in 1977. I was with Larry Campbell and we ran and jogged to beat the start of what had become the weekly post-game unhinged, and yes, unbridled drag celebration. When Larry and I got to the drag, Austin police had already taken up their posts. Crossing San Antonio Street we passed the porta-potties that the city had deployed in response to the many complaints the previous weeks about public urination.  Everything about that season seems like a dream to me now.

Remembering those walks has given me an idea for parking sans parking pass. We’re going to leave the our house around 9am and head to the Sig Ep house in the hope of parking somewhere in the neighborhood and walking to the stadium from there.  It’s probably a half-baked plan but I’m a lucky guy so I’m optimistic. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Let the Tom Herman Dynasty begin.

Hook ‘em,


7 Comments to “Maryland Pre Game”

  1. Having been near campus this week (at the CO-OP acquiring a pair of Longhorn Nike Frees), I advise against your parking plan. One of my favorite post-game walk memories was a jog with you to my car after the Arkansas game in 1976, DKR’s last game and win as Head Coach.

    • I remember it well. As to the parking, I’m undeterred by your unbridled pessimism about my parking plan. I believe the Sig Ep force will be with me.

  2. I have never heard Bill Frink this optimistic. Kind of scary

    • Greg- My wife says I find boyish joy in the simple things ????

  3. Put me in the “unbridled optimism” camp. Only because we’ve sucked so bad recently and I know virtually nothing about what’s happening….but I will watch with interest.

  4. Would be a great parting shot at the city of Los Angeles if we beat USC. USC fans everything is the worst. Worst colors, student body, and location. Worst law school.

    Excited to see the defense tomorrow and I have a feeling we might see a pass or two down the middle of the field on offense.

    • Still waiting for the Tom Herman dynasty to begin……..

What Say You?