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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Texas Football: The Oklahoma Game 

Week Six: No. 17 Texas (4-1) vs. No. 10 Oklahoma (4-1)
Last Week: Kansas State 41, Texas 21; Colorado 27, Oklahoma 24
Last Meeting: Texas 28, Oklahoma 10 (2006)
All-Time Series: Texas leads, 57-39-5

I'm not going to lie; last week felt like crap. It's a good thing Mack Brown owns Bob Stoops*.

*The past two years.

Quoting "This Week's Game in a Nutshell" From Last Week's Game

More Muckleroy and Norton; less Derry and Killebrew. More throwing down the
field; less throwing bubble screens and hitches. More mixing it up on offense;
less time spent on page one of the playbook.

Last year Texas fell prey
to a confluence of emotion (or lack thereof) and bad breaks. It's unlikely to
happen again.

Or maybe it was destined to happen again, being that Kansas State is to Texas as Texas is to Nebraska.

Take nothing away from KSU, but until Saturday Texas had never surrended a returned kickoff, punt and interception for touchdowns... in the same season, much less the same game. The Wildcat offense did very little after the first drive until the game was out of hand. Credit Ron Prince for having his team ready to play (there was a reason Texas didn't throw down the field outside of a handful of times, and it wasn't simply the result of a Greg Davis gameplan); but don't overlook the fact that KSU beat Texas on the strength of a confluence of events that had never transpired in more than one hundred years of history.

According to NCAA 2008...

Oklahoma 24, Texas 6. The Horns amass a meager 17 yards rushing in a defensive game. Oklahoma's first-half punt return for a TD helps create a deficit that Texas cannot overcome.

A Very Special Look Back through TWTWB, Past and Present

Instead of posting just this week's TWTWB, I'm digging deep into the archives for snippets of past Red River Rivalry editions. If only they were plastered all over Bellmont Hall...


Saturday afternoon was the perfect storm of a team that was vastly un-prepared to play, some bad breaks, a team struggling to replace experience and another team that wanted to show that last year wasn’t a fluke and they can play with the big boys. What we were left with was a stadium that sounded more like a failed comedian at the Apollo as fans showed their dissatisfaction for this coaching staff than the usual pre-OU game “BEAT OU” chants.

So how do you bounce back?

Easily. You be a man. Grow up and have some pride in your work. People do it across this great country of ours every single day of the week, I don’t think it’s asking too much for our football team to do the same in the span of a week.


On Saturday afternoon, in the shadow of a giant Ferris Wheel, in a stadium where national championships were solidified for this program, amidst the smell of corn dogs and cotton candy and beneath the clatter of screams from the Midway, you’re going to face one pissed off Oklahoma team that lost last week. We’ll hear the little cannons from the Ruf Necks and hear Boomer Sooner 1,000 times.

They’ll come out of their locker room into the infamous tunnel, talk trash to you, run to their sidelines, and then they’ll come out and hit you squarely in the mouth.

Will you hit them back, Longhorns?

Phoenix or San Antonio. Your choice. Plan it. Dream it. Do it.


This isn’t Vince Young’s team anymore. I hope everyone took what they learned last year and built a good foundation, but this is Jamaal Charles’ team. This is Selvin Young’s team. This is Limas Sweed’s team. This is Kasey Studdard’s team. This is Tim Crowder’s team. This is Brian Robison’s team. This is Michael Griffin’s team. This is Colt McCoy’s team.

Superman is gone. It’s time for the Legion of Super Heroes to save the day.


James Brown. Butch Hadnot. Stoney Clark. Johnny Walker. Peter Gardere. Keith & Kerry Cash. Bubba Jacques.

They all found their identity in this game, because this game is larger than Ohio State at home. It’s larger than a meaningless Rose Bowl victory over Michigan. This is bigger than the Horseshoe at night.

It’s Texas/OU at the State Fair of Texas.

There will be a lot of noise when Texas descends the ramp from the locker room to the Cotton Bowl field on Saturday afternoon. Insults will be hurled, boos will come down and profanities will be plentiful.

But VY won't hear them. He'll be too busy singing to himself and getting his team ready. They have a game to win and a streak to end.

And come Sunday morning the Cotton Bowl stands will be empty and the stadium quiet.

Just like the Longhorns critics.

The Week.

Ask any Texas fan, and they know what you are talking about. Well, once you tell them that you aren't talking about The Week That Will Be.

Texas/OU. A lot of Texas fans will tell you that this week is like Christmas to them, perhaps even better. Because instead of whip family gatherings, listening to the same stories from your aunt and your uncle ask what exactly it is again you do for a living, you get to have someone in your face calling you a cocksucker and waving an inverted school sign in your face.

Ahhhhh yes.
They Said It...

"'We're not scared"

- Colt McCoy
I like seeing that from Colt, even if his brain may still be a little scrambled from last weekend. But it's not surprising. You can look up and down the Longhorn roster and not find a guy that epitomizes courage more than Texas' scrappy signal-caller. If the "we" in his statement includes Mack Brown and Greg Davis then don't count out Texas on Saturday.

"We're focused"

- Quan Cosby
Better late than never, if true.

"If I have to get to the quarterback 10 million times to help my team, that’s what I’ll do."

- Brian Orakpo, who returns this week from a knee injury suffered against Arkansas State.

Don't underestimate the impact Orakpo can have on this game. Our DEs have played very well in his absence, but to beat Oklahoma, Texas is going to need to make plays on defense. The Horns forced zero turnovers against KSU, and if Orakpo can get to Sam Bradford "10 million times" (or even three or four) then maybe he can rush Bradford into the mistake that turns into a game-changing play for Texas.

The Things I Think About

Austin-area TigerMarts offer free coffee on Monday mornings after a Longhorn win. The fine print states that this promotion will end on December 31, 2007. That's probably not a big deal, since Texas likely won't play in a New Year's (or later) Bowl this year anyway.

In the Huddle with "Sir Rod"... and Friends

"Sir Rod" Walker says:

HUDDLE THE HELL UP!!! This is NOT Rice! This is not Texas State! This is not the Cleveland Browns! This is OKLAHOMA!! What the hell is a Sooner? (never mind...probably something similiar to an aggie) NOW... Like we 'always' say in the locker room... you can throw out the records, the coaches, AND last years film b/c when these two teams get together... oh what a time!!! There will be bells rung (that means someone will get the HELL knocked out of them), snot flyin'... (as a result to bell being rung)... helments rollin' around... (due to a few scuffles)... which means penalty after penalty... SO WHAT!!! That's why we play the game! Stop tryna be cute TEXAS and just line up and play smash mouth football! Run a regular 'I' formation w/a fullback and a tailback. InVINCEable isn't here anymore. Stop trying to have a throwin' Q.B. run so much. No one is scared if Colt keeps the ball and runs with it. There's no threat there! Get back to the basics. By the way... if we compared the 1990-94 team to this year's team... we'd kick their ass. They play soooo soft now!! Leave the air conditioned facilites to the NFL... get in the heat... to avoid defeat! MAN THE HELL UP!!! and.....HOOK'EM!!

Stonie Clark says:

As a 17 year old freshman, I remember guys like Lance Gunn and Peter Gardere standing up in the locker room talking about how big a rivalry Oklahoma was for 'us'. They talked about fans throwing things at you and spitting on you. Little old ladies talking like sailors and giving the horns down sign two inches from your face. I remember thinking, "I just want to play some football. Make a name for myself and these rivalries belong to the school, not me."

By my junior year at UT, I was as much a part of this rivalry game in my heart and soul as any Longhorn before me and was about to become associated with it for the rest of my life.

1994. Cotton Bowl. Red River Rivalry. 17-10 Texas. 4th and Goal. Ball on the Texas 1 yard line. I had heard the stories of Peter the Great. Cash, with the one handed touchdown catch. Bubba Jacques scooping up a fumble and returning it for a touchdown in a tight TX-OU game. When the center snapped the ball, their line zone blocked right. It was we refer to as a misdirection play. I was able to see Thompson handing the ball to James Allen on a statue of liberty play. Immediately I changed direction and headed toward the ball carrier. My teammate, Robert Reed had forced James Allen back inside and as he reached for the endzone, I hit him. It was a trainwreck. That God for making me a train. I rolled about 340 at the time and being run over was never a concern of mine. In some of the pictues of the play, my feet were actually in the endzone when I made contact. The hit was pure and the celebration started.

Cotton Spryer. Peter the Great. Bubba Jacques. Kerry Cash... Stonie Clark.

We all see Oklahoma has some vulnerabilities, and hopefully this week our coaching staff was able to identify some of those and put together a game plan that puts our guys in a position to win. That's all that can really be asked of the coaching staff. The rest has to be the guys wanting to be great. Wanting to be remembered. Have they dreamed and visualized making plays in this game? Do they want it so badly that the tears stream from their faces as they walk down the tunnel? Are they screaming inside because of the liquid fire running through their veins and up their spine? Folks, I save exaggerations for more important things like penis size and what age I actually was when I started losing my hair. This is real. This is TX-OU.

Tailgate Talk

In lieu of a tailgate we'll be meeting at Big Tex's right boot. Or not. The Texas Exes tent opens at 10:30 am, and for our group, the Old Mill Inn is a Texas-OU mainstay. I can't wait to drink a beer out of a wax paper cup and down a Fletcher's Corny Dog or three.

A few other College Football-related Thoughts

  • So much for "Showdown Saturday."

  • I concur with CNNSI's Stewart Mandel on the over-use of "upset" in college football. Either parity reigns supreme or every win by a lower-ranked team is an upset. You can't have both.

  • LSU has about 35 times more talent than Oklahoma State had at any time during his era, but I cannot fathom any universe in which a Les Miles-coached team runs the table. If and when the Tigers drop a conference game this regular season people will blather on and on about the difficulty level of playing in the SEC. But don't discount the "Miles Effect."

  • Go Gators! (sort of)

  • USF fans should curl their fingers when they do their hand sign. NC State knows enough to vary the Hook'em sign just enough to avoid being blantant thieves.

  • NCAA football graduation rates are on the rise. Ten bucks says that someone out there cares about this. Okay, maybe five bucks (and no more than a quarter if we're talking about fans of the literacy-challenged SEC). I couldn't care less, and *my* team actually has academic requirements for athletes.
  • OU Still Sucks...

  • Fifteen Years Ago this Week

    (note: 2007 marks the 15-year anniversary of the Temple Wildcats' 1992 5A Div. II Texas State Championship, which came during my sophomore year of high school. I'll re-cap that season throughout the fall.)

    Danger, Will Robinson. Temple blows a 21-0 lead when their collective three-deep at RB develop the worst case of fumble-itis this side of Richard Walton. Waco High's Lions, long a thorn in the Wildcats' side, close the gap to seven and march deep into Temple territory in the game's final minute. Just as the Lions appear to have dashed Temple's perfect season (Waco coach Johnny Tusa later said he intended to kick the extra point and settle for the tie), a fourth down run off tackle sees the ballcarrier slip and fall less than a yard from the end zone. Temple survives with a 21-14 win and a 1-0 record in district play.

    Personal Anecdote Involving This Week's Opponent

    Prior to the 65-13 debacle in 2003, Matt and I joined our tailgate group for the first and only time at Dallas' Starlight Lounge, a seedy dive bar several blocks from Fair Park. Arriving at 7 am for cheap beer and debauchery before the game had become a tradition, of sorts. After the loss, Texas' fourth consecutive aginst OU, that tradition went the way of Bonfire, but without the self-righteous posturing. I learned this week that my friend and former roommate Robbi's lone trip to the Starlight came the day of OU's 63-14 thrasing of Texas in 2000. The thought then occurred to me... if you place any trust in the collective wisdom of the masses, which contend that Texas has absolutely no chance to exit the Cotton Bowl with anything better than another 40+ point loss, then perhaps we should venture back there for $1 Pearl Lights and whatever reverse mojo we can muster.

    Semi-Relevant Song Lyric that Takes Back a Few Years

    "Uh, now what y'all know bout them Texas boys, Comin' down in candied toys, smokin' weed and talkin' noise"

    - Jay-Z Big Pimpin' (actual lyric spoken by Pimp C)
    I read this lyric and all I can think of is how much Texas misses Ramonce Taylor, who would have been a senior bound for the NFL this year had he not been such a knucklehead. Ramonce's leaping TD grab in the first quarter of 2005's Red River Rivalry is when Texas fans knew that five years of misery would indeed die an overdue death.

    Deluded/Rational Thoughts from an Opposing Message Board

    The gang at SoonerFans.Com has penned five pages worth of Japanese poetry about the Red River Rivalry. I would have expected to find the Limereck as the literary style of choice among Sooner State poets.

    Some posts are funny:

    Colt is on the ground
    Mack is out of bail money
    Sooners roll again
    Topical... not too sophomoric...

    Sooners will bounce back
    Horns will leave early this year
    I will tear your sack
    I'm still trying to forget that story, but it's original...

    Longhorns terrorize Austin:
    Hold on... a five-syllable word on SoonerFans.Com? Impressive.

    Straight outta Austin:
    Crazy felons named Longhorns
    Who suck at football
    Hmmm... it's going downhill now...

    But this is just sad:

    I'm not sure what a Haikus is supposed to look like (even after a wikipedia search) but I'm pretty sure this is teh winnar!

    I really hope that's just some sort of SoonerFans.Com inside joke (ala "SpiderAg" on HornFans.Com), and not a serious post.

    The Greg Brown Memorial Pregame Premonition

    I keep having this thought that Texas shocks the nation and me and my friends "Crank that Soulja Boy" back at the Old Mill Inn afterward.

    Random Texas-OU pregame video that features two guys I really miss

    Prediction: Beer in wax paper cups, corny dogs dripping with mustard, and a bunch of white folks crankin' the Soulja Boy at the Old Mill Inn after the game!

    Bonus Prediction: Win or lose, OU STILL SUCKS!


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