Mythical Fozzy creature returns. Overshadowed by the emergence of Chris Ogbonnaya, who has secured the starting tailback role, was the return on Saturday of the mythical Fozzy creature, oft-rumored but rarely seen. To the chagrin of many, he did not sprout wings and fly over the Missouri defenders, but did pick up 20 yards on his first carry. When the running game struggled early in the season, Whittaker's return was of paramount importance to jump start the ground game. Now, with Ogbonnaya firmly entrenched, running behind his pads with power, making quick, decisive cuts, and with the offense clicking, a healthy Whittaker deepens the running back corps to provide a change of pace back.
With the precision passing game wearing down opponents with its efficiency and an increasingly effective offensive line, Whittaker can provide the depth to take advantage of worn-out defenders. And that makes this team beyond scary. Add in an increasingly healthy Vondrell McGee breaking long runs against Missouri and the Longhorns have clearly established their identity as a team that passes to soften up the defense enough to run the ball.
Vindication about Daniel, et al. In the dark days after losing Vince Young early to the NFL, many fans and media members questioned Mack Brown's decision to pursue Ryan Perrilloux and Colt McCoy. I think it's apparent how lucky Texas is that Perrilloux never set foot on campus. Any lingering remnants of those questions were buried at DKR on Saturday like the Longhorns buried the OU game ball last week. Mack Brown was right in pursuing Perrilloux and McCoy instead of the pint-sized Daniel, who has never led a second half comeback in his career. Being Texas means you only have to offer the prototypes, and Daniel wasn't. Neither were Stryker Sulak and Sean Witherspoon, who were simply blown off the field by the immensely superior Texas offense. Brown made the right decisions in each case and came away with the real Heisman contender.
I love this football team. It was a perfect, cool October night for Texas football on Saturday. And the Longhorns responded by playing the perfect half, leaving stunned Texas and Missouri fans alike. Walking around the concourses during halftime, Texas fans moved around in a stunned euphoria, attempting to contemplate the destruction they had just witnessed, unlike anything they could have hoped for or imagined. It was a raucous crowd, more than answering calls for a true home field advantage in the new stadium.
More than anything else, though, it was a day to believe. A day to accept that this football team has not only the talent to win, but the intangibles to win. The chemistry, the desire. Many mocked the team's motto for the season: "Consistently good to be great." Understandable, certainly, but it might be the best way to summarize the season so far and where it will lead. If the team continues their consistently good play, they will be a great football team. I'm ready to live the dream again. And I believe in this football team. Deeply. The best news in all this? According to Roy Miller, the Longhorns are still looking to play their best game. You can find me next to the cooler of Burnt Orange Kool-Aid drinking my fill. Then maybe a little more.
Stats are for losers. I don't help myself and neither can BRAGGonUT. We just can't quit those stats. Even if we are losers. He has some interesting ones up over at Barking Carnival. Of note are the measly 10 turnovers forced, for an average of 1.43, good for 10th in the Big 12 conference. Last year's team averaged 2.07 a game, but the numbers this season don't account for the 12 turnovers on downs forced. Several of which have come deep in Longhorn territory. Add in the inexperienced secondary and some dropped interceptions and it's easy to understand why the raw numbers don't support a ballhawking defense. Earl Thomas has been close on some balls (did you see Chase Coffman rip that ball away from him in the second half?) and I think as he gains more experience he will find himself in a better position by the half step that he needs to start picking off more balls.
Dez sez, "Gimme the rock!" A significant amount of ink will be spilled this week talking about the strength of the OSU running game, which is legitimate considering it poses the biggest threat yet to the Texas front seven, which may or may not have injured Jared Norton available (please, please, no kamikaze Bobino). But HenryJames breaks down why Dez Bryant is so scary. How about representing a significant majority of Zac Robinson's completions (48%), yards (54%), and touchdown passes (78%)? Guy's a stud. The million dollar question is whether Muschamp can devise a scheme to slow down Bryant without allowing the OSU running backs and tight end Brandon Pettigrew to run free. My thoughts? In Muschamp I Trust.