Willie Earl Back On the Couch

Patient 191855

This was the patient’s first session since 11/16/18 when the Longhorn Football team was racking him with worry.

Session transcript from 10/22/20

Therapist: It’s been while. So, how ‘ve you been?

Patient: I’m okay, I guess. Do you know that Barry Manilow song, “Tryin’ to Get the Feeling Again?

Therapist: I’m not sure I’m familiar with that one.

Patient:  Well, the opening lyrics are,

Doctor, my woman is comin’ back home late today
Could you maybe give me something?
‘Cause the feelin’ is gone
And I must get it back right away

Therapist notation: The patient is a terrible singer.

Therapist: Are you and Helen having troubles?

Patient: It’s a little more serious than that. Remember when I was here a couple of years ago because the Longhorn Football team was driving me crazy?

Therapist: I do. Are they giving you trouble again?

Patient: It’s complicated. They’ve lost two in a row and their record is 2-2 which is really disappointing but they’re lucky not to be 1-3.

Therapist: So, you’re disappointed in team and you’re worried about their future?

Patient: No, that’s my problem! Remember the song.

Doctor, my woman is comin’ back home late today
Could you maybe give me something?
‘Cause the feelin’ is gone
And I must get it back right away

Therapist: These lyrics say something to you about the Longhorns?

Patient: Yes! “my woman” is the team and I don’t seem to care that they stink!

Therapist: Interesting. Do you often see your life through song lyrics?

Patient: Doesn’t everybody?

Therapist: To tell you the truth, in the 30 years that I’ve been in practice, you’re the first patient who wasn’t in a hospital who’s ever sung during a session.

Patient: So, you think I’m crazy?

Therapist: (Long pause) No, I, I don’t.  So, you’re not bothered by the team’s mediocre performance but that you don’t care that they’re mediocre?

Patient: Exactly! (singing)
I’ve been Up, down, tryin’ to get the feelin’ again
All around tryin’ to get the feelin’ again
The one that made me shiver
Made my knees start to quiver

I guess I really liked living and dying with the Longhorns and now that I don’t, I feel empty inside.

Therapist: Why, do you think you don’t care anymore.

Patient: I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m a fair-weather fan but they haven’t been any good in 10 years. The last championship they won was in 2009. Since then, they’re 73-58. In the 10 years prior to that they were 110-19.

Therapist: I had no idea the contrast was so stark. Let’s explore your feelings a little more. What’s gone wrong over the last 10 years?

Patient: Coaching. It started with Mack Brown. He was the architect of the 10-year 110-19 record from 2000-2009.

Therapist: Architect?

Patient: He was the head coach. His team won the National Championship in 2005. He followed that up with four more solid years that included another berth in the National Championship game and a Fiesta Bowl win over Ohio State. Those years were glorious.

Therapist: I see. So, what happened after that?

Patient: I guess Mack Brown got tired. He coached less and less and played golf more and more and the team went downhill fast. He tried to “fix” it by hiring new assistants but then he delegated too much of the coaching to them and the whole operation became disjointed. After the 2013 season, the school president and athletic director asked him to resign. You might say he was fired.

Therapist: Fascinating. Sounds like a UT Business school case study. What happened next?

Patient: They hired Charlie Strong to replace Mack Brown. Strong had three good years as the head coach at Louisville and was considered an up and coming star in the college coaching ranks. Overlooked was the fact that he had only been a head coach for four years, all at Louisville. Coaching at Louisville bears little resemblance to being a head coach at Texas where you’re expected to compete for a national championship in short order.  To use your business school analogy, it was kind of like going from convenience store manager to Walmart Super Store manager in one step.

Therapist: Very interesting. Go on.

Patient:  In three years at Texas, Strong’s record was 16-21 and he was fired after the 2016 season. When it became apparent that Strong would be let go after the 2016 season, there was a consensus among the UT administration, big-money donors, and fans that Tom Herman, the coach at Houston, was a must-have as the next head coach. 

So, UT got in a bidding war with LSU for Herman’s services and won—paying  Herman a salary that made him the third or fourth highest paid college coach in the country.

At the time I wondered why everyone was so hot for Herman when his resume was remarkably similar to Charlie Strong’s.  Houston is in the same conference as Louisville. Not quite the bigtime. Not only that, he had only two years of head coaching experience.

Therapist: Sounds like UT made an impulsive decision to hire Mr. Herman.

Patient: Exactly! And after Texas lost the very first game of Herman’s tenure to Maryland—a game Texas was heavily favored to win—Herman revealed his not so pleasing arrogant and condescending personality.  Now, in his fourth year at Texas there seems to be another growing consensus that Herman will be fired at the end of this season.

Therapist: I can certainly see why you’re frustrated about Texas Football.

Patient:  But that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you! I’m not frustrated. I guess I’m weary and beyond caring as a diehard, orange blooded fan.  I have to say, watching the program’s travails is entertaining in cynical kind of way in the same way the Dallas Cowboys are entertaining.

Texas paid a premium to hire this arrogant you-know-what and then gave him a raise after a 10-4 season that Mack Brown would have called, “not our standard.”  And as you peruse today’s morning sports section, you’ll find Oklahoma State, Iowa State, and Kansas State in the top 25 and Texas isn’t. Not only that, SMU is # 16 and wait for it . . . the Aggies are #9! 

If they’re not already, Texas should be a laughingstock of a major college football program.

Therapist: In what you describe I can see the futility of UT’s efforts in the arena of bigtime college football.

Patient: (Singing again)

Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh, no

None the less.

HooK ‘Em,

W.E.

Baylor Over/Under

  • He's averaging 40.5 per game in 2020
  • Tiebreaker: required

    Pick the winners against the line

    Oklahoma -6.5 @ TCU
  • Nebraska +25.5 @ Ohio St.

6 Comments to “Willie Earl Back On the Couch”

  1. Good stuff, some of your best work, although that may be because I identify too well. I could hear the patient’s froggy voice in my head, “doesn’t everybody?!” Cheers-

  2. Gents, and Ladies: If you don’t like this year’s squad and are apathetic or not about assumed upcoming losses, don’t even begin to think of 2021, when virtually anyone slightly above average now is gone. It’s gonna be 1985-88 UGLY.

  3. So we need all conference opponents to win other than TCU and OU to stave off mathmatical elimination from the Big 12 Title game. I’m just not that invested in Longhorn Football to follow that. I dropped out when I read the band does not want to play the Eyes of Texas because minstrels did it to black face in 1901. Wake me up next year.

  4. I feel the same way. It won’t bother me in the least if Baylor wins tomorrow. Herman’s made his own bed and the sooner he’s gone, the better. This team is not and has not been enjoyable to follow for too long.

  5. WE-

    There was a lot of effort to provide a very good post for a man that doesn’t care anymore.

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