I took my eleven year-old son to his first Longhorn game ever last night. We flew across country from Connecticut. We took in the band and Bevo at the Exes tailgate. We had a blast.
I've always told people that 2006 was the best sports experience I've ever had but that I could never tell if I'd felt as good about it if my team hadn't won. Now, I know it's not quite as good but I did have plenty to feel good about. It wasn't an easy evening of football to watch but here are my observations.
- I cannot say that Nick Saban was "classless" for the late touchdown. We turned it over twice deep in our own territory. They didn't do anything fancy and they were aided by a defensive penalty. I'll give Saban a "pass" on that one.
- The Alabama band WAS classless. Don't ask me why I'm so concerned over this but early on at the start of the game the Longhorn band started to play and fifteen or thirty seconds in...the Alabama band started up. HUH?!? In over thirty years of going to college football games, I'd never seen anything like that. I suppose most people don't care but I think that the fans and passion are a big element of why I love college ball more than the NFL...and the band has a lot to do with it.
- I know that we shouldn't criticize the play-calling for Colt getting injured but I have to admit that a short-side option on play number five seemed a bit risky. It was certainly a fluke injury that seemed like a spear to me but look...they could have called a penalty on that but it wouldn't have changed anything. Colt was still knocked out of the game.
- As much as we all felt socked in the gut when Colt left, there were 21 other starters on that team that didn't get hurt. I think that many of them stepped up. Save the fumble play that sealed it....the protection was generally good.
- The line can't run block to save their asses. Our center kept getting pushed back into the backfield including one play where he got pancaked.
- The energy in that stadium on the first series with our defense out there was amazing. After Colt left, the defense was definitely deflated.
- We can thank Greg Davis for this: With an overmatched offensive line and now a true freshman QB, he decides to do the predictable "run-run-pass-punt" playcalling...again. He did this until sometime late in the third or into the fourth when he finally gave these guys the advantage of not being predictable.
- Sergio Kindle. Thanks for finally showing up in a game looking like the guy you were hyped to be.
- I think that a lot of folks in the stands were questioning why our coaches felt the need to take unnecessary risks such as the ill-fated shovel pass and the blitz that Richardson beat for the long TD.
- I heard one old lady behind me extolling the virtues of the level of talent playing in burnt orange and how "this is a testament to the talent of Vince Young and Colt McCoy that they could be so successful with an idiot like Greg Davis coordinating the offense.". Wow, she's really pissed.
- I was disappointed at the number of Longhorn fans who left before the whistle (no 'Eyes of Texas'?) but I'm certainly not going to blame anyone. It was tough to watch.
- Finally, I did hear Kirk Herbstreit say how impressed he was with Texas and our grit and toughness. He was very sincere it seemed and coming from a guy who's rarely been "pro-UT" I can't see why we shouldn't feel proud of that praise.
- Alabama was a very worthy champion. It irritates me to hear people make excuses. It's football and football happens. They were better that night. Face it.
- Traveling in airports today, tons of people came up to me and my son and told us how impressed they were and we'd "get 'em" next time. They were sorry about Colt getting hurt. It felt good for strangers to praise our school and team like that.
- Our special teams are truly special
- Malcolm Williams and Marquise were seeing single coverage all night long. Williams had a definite height/size advantage most of the night yet neither really got open. Very frustrating.
- There were a lot mixed reports saying Colt wanted to play and that either his Dad did or did not want him to and that Mack wasn't going to let him play. I think we debated this for a good hour after the game. I think Mack Brown valued Colt "the person" the way Stoopsie SHOULD have valued Sam. He's got far too much to lose. There was another side of me though thinking that as a school, we've funded this kid for four years and is everyone now going to start bowing out with any nick or bruise? I'm just presenting the flow of thoughts. Keeping him out was the best thing for Colt and it would be selfish to suggest otherwise. I just would have killed to see Colt come in and add to the legend (think 'Willis Reid'). If I had any selfish thoughts on the matter, they quickly vanished when I saw the Lisa Saulters post-game interview on the field where he choked up. The Colt is a man.