Mailbag

With each Texas win comes more and more email to my inbox. As always, I try to respond to everyone's email individually or on the site. I will never use anyone's full name unless you explicitly authorize me to.

Where is your game recap?!?!

--Lots of you

Largely for the same reason there was no EDSBS LIVE yesterday, I whiffed on getting up a timely Postgame React this week. After putting together two late night posts on Saturday, my plan to write more on Sunday was derailed by prep work for my week long vacation in California. At this point, it's time to start looking forward to OSU; if you're craving more Mizzou Beat Down coverage, Scipio Tex has his usual excellent post-mortem up at BC.

Note: I will still put together a Big 12 Report at some point this week.

PB I thought you'd be interested to know Colt McCoy is on pace to set the NCAA record for completion percentage in a season. Can you say Heisman??

--Kevin R.

The beauty of BON is that you don't have to wait for one of the front page authors to cover something; you can do so yourself, as Boddicker Is Clutch did on just this topic.

As for the Heisman, I'm still lukewarm on the award, both because of its politics and the lack of satisfaction a Longhorn winning it would provide relative to, say, the team winning the Big 12 or national championship. With that said, it's damn exciting to see McCoy and the team receive this kind of attention, and I certainly can't say anyone deserves it more than Colt does right now. That he's such a good kid makes it easier to appreciate, as well. He'd be a worthy honoree.

Okay so that kid who wrote last Friday probably wore his lucky Longhorn shirt on Saturday and Texas rolled Missouri. My question now is what is the official BON policy on superstitions? Are we all required to be tracking what we've done for each win and religiously doing the same each week? This is important! 7-0!!

--Todd B.

The curmudgeons in our midst might paraphrase Will Muschamp and tell you "Superstitions are for losers!", and though I won't go so far as to say everyone needs to go all Nomar and zip-unzip their bottle coozie six times before each sip for good luck (though this thread is pure awesome), I will share a story with you that sheds some light on my official take here:

The year: 2002.
The scene: Game 6, World Series
The stakes: A ring for Barry Bonds and my Giants
The disaster: Leading 5-0 in the 7th inning of the game that could have clinched the World Series for the Giants, I'm sitting in my living room with several friends (Jimmer, you remember this?) and my girlfriend at the time. We're all tense, but excited. The victory is so close we can smell it, and everyone is thinking to themselves but afraid to say out loud, "Okay. Just 9 more outs before we can pop the..."

POP! I kid you not: My girlfriend at the time interrupts that train of thought by popping a bottle of friggin' champagne. Right then. In the bottom of the 7th inning.

I don't have to tell you what happened next: That godforsaken rally monkey goes absolutely berserk as the Angels score 3 in the 7th and 3 more in the 8th to win the game 6-5 and tie the series at 3-3. After that, there was practically no point in watching Game 7. It was over.

I didn't fully recover until January 6, 2006. (And no, said girlfriend didn't last long after the 2002 Fall Classic.)

So my policy? I'm not so much concerned about folks recreating rituals before every game. Just don't pop any champagne bottles until any and all final canons have sounded.

I can't comment on the site from work where I read it so I thought I'd email you to ask this: My sister and I were trying to decide who Texas could least afford to lose to injury this year? We agreed Colt was #1 but who would be behind him?

--Aaron C.

Great question. Here's my Top 5 behind McCoy:

1. Roy Houston -- Losing Roy Miller or Lamarr Houston could truly hamstring everything this defense is doing so well right now. Aaron Lewis is actually improving very nicely, but Miller and Houston are on a level untothemselves. It's no coincidence our defense was at its most mediocre against UTEP, when Lamarr served his suspension. From the defensive ends whose pass rush is amplified by the hell being wreaked on the interior, to the linebackers who are free of blockers to make tackles, to the young secondary who don't have to cover quite as long because of the D-Line's effectiveness, almost everything hinges (in part) on what those two do. Light a health candle for both.

2. Jordan Shipley -- Losing Quan Cosby would sting, but a Shipley injury would worry me more. He's out best deep threat, our best red zone threat, our most flexible wide receiver in terms of usage, our best kickoff returner, and our place holder for field goals and PATs. And Colt's roommate. We need him out there.

3. Roddrick Muckelroy -- The linebacker play this year has been strong from game one and improving steadily with each week. But Muckelroy is the centerpiece. He's a vacuum, knows exactly where to be, has the athleticism to play the whole field, and has improved leaps and bounds in his pass coverage. Muschamp can deploy Kindle as he does because Muck is so dependable.

4. Brian Kindle-- I like our depth at end enough that it's tempting to say we could afford to lose Orakpo, but he's playing at such a high level that there's no denying that losing him would have an instant impact on the defense. And really, when you get down to it, the pressure we're putting on quarterbacks is the work of Orakpo and Kindle as twin terrors. Keeping both at bay for more than a couple seconds requires an army of blockers. Big 12 pass spread offenses don't have an army of blockers.

5. Chykie Brown -- You could make the case for Blake Gideon here, but I'm placing Chykie slightly above him for the sole reason that he's The Guy that Texas needs for #1 receivers during the rest of Big 12 play. He'll be the one working Dez Bryant, Michael Crabtree, and Dezmon Briscoe, guys who Chykie can deal with because of his size and athleticism.

PB please set the record straight with our pass defense! Too many pundits are saying that our big weakness is our pass defense because we are ranked so low in yards allowed per game. It is killing me.

--Alan W.

I'm glad you brought this up, Alan. With Texas in the top spot, the mainstream news cycle inevitably will morph from "Look at Texas!" to "Let's try to identify Texas' warts!" Which is fine. Just don't blink when the pundits do a lazy job with the actual analysis. Here are the relevant facts:

1. Texas ranks 112th in FBS football with 275 pass yards allowed per game.
2. Texas ranks 74th in FBS football with 6.9 yards per pass attempt allowed.
3. Texas ranks 73rd in FBS football with a QB Rating allowed of 125.7.
4. Texas ranks 2nd in FBS football with 40.1 pass attempts faced per game.
5. Texas ranks 2nd in FBS football with 1.9 yards per rushing attempt allowed.
6. Texas ranks 3rd in FBS football with 25.3 rush attempts faced per game.
7. Texas ranks 38th in FBS football with 4.9 total yards per play allowed.
8. Texas ranks 22nd in FBS football with 58% of red zone chances resulting in TDs allowed.
9. Between when OU took a 35-30 lead and when Chris Ogbonnaya put Texas up 28-0 against Misssouri, Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel combined to complete just 9 of 23 pass attempts (sacks/rushes included) for 71 yards, 0 TDs, and 1 INT.

Conclusions?

1. Teams can't run on Texas. Teams are playing from behind against Texas. They are passing often. The cumulative passing stats are going to be high.
2. The rate statistics are notably better than the cumulative stats.
3. There is some strategery at work here, as well: Texas is playing bend-don't-break defense, avoiding big passing plays as much as possible and making teams earn TDs in the red zone.
4. This group is improving. Game to game, quarter to quarter. I keep saying it, but it's worth repeating: We're a tougher out each week.

Is there any chance that Texas could get jumped by both Bama and Penn State if everyone wins out? An undefeated Big 12 champion should be in the title game over the Big 10 and SEC this year I think, right?

--T.C.

Put down the champagne bottle, sir, and go watch some Dez Bryant highlight tape. One at a time.

Hook 'em

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