Shortish, undersized dude takes over tight end. Short maybe, but very quick and quite a football player. That would be Jordan Shipley, national Offensive Player of the Week and owner of the longest kickoff return in TX/OU history. Cedric Golden is right about Greg Davis calling a great game and inserting Shipley in the pseudo-tight end slot position was the highlight, answering my calls during the week and early in the game to keep Peter Ullman and Greg Smith off the field.
I expect it to become our base formation for the rest of the season, testing the depth of opposing secondaries or creating absurd mismatches against linebackers. It baffles me that Brent Venables kept a linebacker on Shipley instead of going to a nickel package. Either the OU nickel back is terrible (perhaps he only has one leg), or Venables made a serious tactical error. What a minute, am I suggesting that Greg Davis out-coached the OU staff? Why, I believe I am. Kudos, GD.
Stay at home, defenses. Mack Brown commented in his Monday presser that Missouri blitzes 50% of the time (although he failed to thank Texas high school football coaches for the OU win--egregious oversight on his part). Considering the pass blocking excellence of the Texas offensive line and the superlative blitz pick-up abilities of Chris Ogbonnaya makes me wonder whether Missouri follow that tendency.
Blitzes haven't bothered Texas much, particularly because Colt McCoy is so comfortable and accurate hitting his receivers quickly. Texas didn't move the ball as well in the first half when OU was blitzing as they did in the second half, but that's more about the move to four wide receivers than anything. Picking up the OU blitz wasn't a big problem and seemed like a tactic borne of fear. Any Missouri blitzing will be as well.
Straight out of HALO. PB and dimecoverage picked up on Mack Brown's comment about Blake Gideon being the biggest surprise on the football team. It's less surprising considering he's a coach's kid (Mack always asks if there are any who should know about when recruiting) and enrolled early. Still, he plays with a maturity belying his age, evidenced by the great quote about how he asks Mack Brown if the latter is nervous before the game. No nerves on that young'un.
Not only does he play with great maturity, but there's something about the way he moves that I really like. It took me a couple of weeks to figure out what it was, finally settling on his robot/soldier-like economy of movement. Coupled with his visor, it reminds me of a guy from HALO, while his tacking of Jermaine Gresham, who has five inches and 60 pounds on him, looked like Michael Huff tackling USC's much-larger Fred Davis or a cheetah bringing down it's heavier prey. Relentless and unaccepting of failure.
Don't make Culpepper mad. Former Longhorn linebacking great Pat Culpepper sounded like he was about ready to start looking for a helmet and an OU player to hit. Sitting behind the OU bench, he heard an assistant yelling to his players, "They haven't changed one bit. They're out of shape. They can't stand the pressure." The next play, Jordan Shipley took the kickoff 96 yards to paydirt. So in the way of analysis, 1) no, 2) no, and 3) no.
Aside from the offensive playcalling, the biggest revelation in the game was Texas wearing down the OU offense and defense and proving the assistant wrong (Darian Hagan would call it getting clowned, I suspect). Texas was simply a better-conditioned football team on Saturday. Phil Loadholt's holding of Brian Orakpo throughout the game was criminal (the fine will come from his smaller NFL contract) and OU's defense tired late in the game, a result of the Longhorns dominating possession of the football, which will be key again in the coming weeks.
Rick Barnes is the man. Hey, I'm only sayin' it so I can win the understatement of the year trophy, which I covet, being an understated person (well, when not watching football that is). News of the ongoing negotiations with North Carolina on a four-year series (yes, please sir, may I have another and another and another?) only further reinforces the official declaration of "The Man"'-ness of Rick Barnes after inking stud Jordan Hamilton. Wow, talk about how getting guys like Kevin Durant and TJ Ford can continue the positively impact the program. And I haven't even mentioned 2010 no. 1 player Tristan Thompson.
Looking ahead to this season, Andy Katz puts the 2008-09 version of the Longhorns' basketball team in the second tier of contenders, which seems legitimate, while calling the interior of the team a question. It's probably true, since Matt Hill hasn't shown much and Sexy Dexy hasn't logged significant minutes either. It seems an easily-answerable question, however, as Pittman seems poised for a breakout season and Alexis Wangmene, Clint Chapman, and Gary Johnson should all improve after a year in the program. I think the biggest question there is the allocation of minutes.
Katz is spot-on in wondering about offensive playmaking abilities without DJ Augustin. Balbay is certainly a question mark, but I believe the offense will operate inside/out rather than running as much and several players will step up to make plays, particularly Damion James if he has improved his handle. Even considering the potential loss of James to the NBA, the narrative for 2008-09, while reasonably optimistic, mostly likely says look to 2009. But we all know how that can change, right?
From the Land of Miscellany. Mark Mangino was as surprised as any skeptical Texas fans by Greg Davis's play calling against OU. Good thing he didn't have a heart attack...Colt McCoy now leads the Heisman race...Hard to watch Quan Cosby de-cleat Lendy Holmes too many times...Still hard for Mack Brown to get any respect...Great story about why he's so positive with the team ($):
I do think that Coach (Barry) Switzer helped me with that [staying positive] in 1984 in that we were playing a really bad Kansas team, they were the worst in the league, we were the best, it was the Big 8 then, and Troy Aikman was our quarterback because Danny Bradly got hurt and another one had gotten suspended. It was raining and we were ahead, 10-7, and we were awful. It was an older offense with a true freshman quarterback and I went in and yelled at the offense and cussed them out and told them how bad they were doing and if they didn't do better they'd lose the game, and we lost the game. After the game we were getting on the plane going back and Barry walked over and he basically said "You've got to be really careful of what you convince your team. You convinced them at halftime they could lose and they did." So, walking off the field with the 35-14 Oklahoma State lead, that moment hit me, and I walked in and said "Boy are they playing good. Give 'em credit, that team is really playing good and they can't play that good for the rest of it, so let's start over here, we're going to be fine."
Throw your Horns up, baby, it's time to believe!