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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

INsite: The Pregame Tailgate (March 2005) 

The Pregame Tailgate
By Andrew Fox

For those of you that spend as much time trolling Longhorn websites as I do, pardon me while I state the obvious. From the message boards to the subscription sites, with their “inside” information, you don’t have to click on more than a few links to find something that criticizes Greg Davis.

Texas fans everywhere will rave about Augie Garrido’s baseball program; how it’s a near lock to make the College World Series each season. They’ll lavish heaps of praise on college baseball’s all-time winningest coach, and most of them will say the same thing about Rick Barnes’ basketball team, despite the Horns’ somewhat disappointing season.

Yet more often than not, before they’re done the conversation will swing toward Texas’ offensive coordinator. The vile most Orangebloods have for this guy is amazing. In fact, had November’s election been close enough for Texas’ electoral votes to come into play, President Bush would have only needed to promise a change in the OC position to ensure both a landslide win and a subsequent mandate.

Barry Switzer might not elicit as much venom on the Forty Acres as Greg Davis. You think I’m kidding? The Davis haters will rant until they’re red in the face; they’ll call into 1300 The Zone and pass around petitions demanding his removal; and six months before Texas even takes the field in the Red River Shootout, a lot of them will have already conceded a sixth straight loss to OU.

Spring drills started all of two minutes ago, and the burnt orange love fest that we all reveled in back in January vanished quicker than a flask of Jim Beam in the student section on game day. With no upcoming game to distract them, the anti-Davis mob is already in mid-season form.

Am I the only person beaten down by this?

To clarify, I’m not here to praise the guy. I’m just not ready to bury him yet, that’s all. Walking out of the Cotton Bowl last October had me as depressed as I’ve been about Texas football since the 2001 Big 12 title game. The Texas Longhorns should never get shutout, and Davis deserves a Texas-sized portion of blame for that debacle.

I recall, though, a few pretty bad turnovers in that game. Both Vince Young and Ced Benson coughed up the ball at inopportune times, and none of us brought that up when the duo led the way in the Rose Bowl win. Davis received no credit for the school’s biggest win in three decades. Instead people still bring up the goose-egg against OU.

It’s fair game. A high-profile position in a high-profile program commands a level of scrutiny. That part doesn’t bother me. What does irritate me to no end is that too many Texas fans espouse constant doom and gloom, simply because of Davis’ presence in the program.

Give it a rest already.

First off, Davis isn’t going anywhere. Mack Brown’s kept him around for a long time, and with a ten-year contract extension enforcing his own job security, it’s unlikely that Brown will now decide that he needs to make a change. Beyond that, the rabid anti-Davis people should take a moment to evaluate their opinion.

Davis’ offensive gameplans aren’t the sexiest around, but Texas hasn’t exactly had a dearth of skill players move on to the pro ranks. And if you simply look at the big games that Texas has lost in the Brown era, how many of them can you really blame on the offense? Most of Texas’ five consecutive losses to OU spring to mind, but the Horns could have quintupled their point totals in 2003 and 2000 and still lost.

More than thirty years have passed since Texas won a national title, and I know that weighs on the minds of fans everywhere. It isn’t all Greg Davis' fault, though, so try to keep that in mind when you head out to Denius Field for spring practice.

Greg Davis didn’t cause the AIDS epidemic in Africa. He wasn’t the other man on the grassy knoll, and his playbook doesn’t contain an instruction manual for building WMDs. He’s also not to blame for everything that’s wrong with Texas Football.

Even if I can’t convince you to cut the guy some slack, maybe you could at least keep the hyperbole to yourself. Not all of us have given up on the 2005 season already.


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