Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown will meet with the media today at 11 am CST to discuss the upcoming game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders and recap last Saturday's match-up. Watch the press conference streaming live at MB-TF or on the Longhorn Network.
Like many of you, I want a refund. The product I researched, saved for, and purchased is not performing per the specifications. But come to find out the warranty is "as is" and, well, I'm stuck with the product better or worse.
This is the feeling I had after watching again an uninspired Texas Longhorns team miraculously escape Lawrence with a victory against the Jayhawks last Saturday.
Reflecting on the game, I was hopeful today I would be able to put into words how I feel and that somehow that will project positively for The University and the current state of its football program.
Emotionally I am numb. I've now cycled through several A's as a fan (anticipation, anger, acrimony, and even antipathy). I'm slowly heading home for the dreaded agnostic but something is holding me on 3rd base.
After the loss to OU I asked for Texas Fight. And while the results in the last two outings wound up in the win column, the manner by which they arrived was not very appealing. But I will tip my hat to the program for continuing to persevere through obvious growing pains and setbacks. For the most part, I got what I asked for.
The one thing I have not seen since the debacle in the Cotton Bowl is quit. The team continues to fight through adversity and has shown what pulling together and working as a team is about.
There, I said it. After asking for folks to talk me down out of the tree Saturday night I have hit upon the one thing that is holding back my all in for the 2012 Texas Longhorns: Myself.
I freely admit my expectations are high. Coach Brown might say that's fair because that comes with the 40 Acre territory. But it really isn't fair. What's fair is to accept, gulp, unconditionally the results on the field and root on the home team through thick and thin. No amount of complaining or criticizing on the part of TXStampede is going to change the facts which are we are a young team still searching to find our defensive legs in an offensively dominant league with young coordinators looking for answers.
So I'm going to approach the rest of the season with a renewed purpose, that being to enjoy the ride, anticipate with vigor good things to happen each week, and sink or swim with my Texas Longhorns. As Saint Francis of Assisi said, Accept the things I cannot change, change the ones I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
On to the games.
I can't say enough about the senior leadership on this team. It starts on defense which Saturday was led by an inspired Alex Okafor and Kenny Vaccaro. They led the team with a combined 24 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, and 3 quarterback hurries. Alex was seen imploring his teammates to continue fighting throughout the game and Kenny did what Kenny does and that was relentlessly punish the Kansas ball carriers. Their actions finally took root in the second half which resulted in arguably their best performance as a squad the entire season.
Offensively the team had a setback. The Kansas defense is much better than their ranking indicated and it took some backbone to rise up and do the things late in the game to come from behind for the win. Whether it was the workmanlike performance of true freshman Johnathan Gray who turned in a career high 114 yards on 18 carries, or the persistent blocking outside and up field, seniors Marquis Goodwin and D.J. Monroe made critical explosive plays when their number was called. Granted, the game winning drive was tremendous but the tying score drive got the offensive juices flowing and that was attributable to the senior leaders.
Special recognition to Alex King and the punt coverage unit who continue to be a bright spot for the special teams.
It wasn't pretty but the job was completed and the Horns now sit at 6-2. We might not like this mid-season funk but there are still plenty of opportunities to right the ship.
Houdini could not have performed better.
We saw Donald Hawkins and Malcolm Brown travel with the team but that was about it. Our pin and pull play to the boundary really suffers without Hawkins. The offensive line depth is undeveloped and it really shows.
As I wrote last week:
Also, did David Ash injure his lower left leg late in the 3rd period trying to slip an upcoming hit by Baylor's Hager? Harsin limited his passing after that series and his follow through was not as sharp (missed passes to McFarland and underthrow to Grant). This is worth keeping an eye on.
We saw a David Ash that was tentative and unable to overcome some negative plays. We all have bad days and Ash's ticket was up last Saturday. I expect him to rebound, start against Tech, and be the POG.
On the next opponent:
While Texas Tech enters the game next weekend with an identical record as the Longhorns, it is not the typical Red Raider team we will be facing. This one has a defense that at times has proven to make stops when it has to. It's not lighting up the stats column but in the most important category (scoring defense) it is a touchdown better than the Horns in conference play (35.2 vs. 42.8). They have the 4th best defense against conference opponents through the halfway point this season.
Again, the Longhorns will be facing an offense that has not shown much of a running attack. The Red Raiders are dead last in the Big 12, barely eclipsing the 100 yard mark per game. But what they lack in a rushing attack they more than make up for in passing as senior quarterback Seth Doege is a top 10 national quarterback in yards and efficiency.
Texas brings the league worst red zone defense to Lubbock. For the Horns to come out victorious they will need to get after Seth Doege to minimize their scoring success. If pressure results in one or two interceptions all the better as the Longhorns average one interception per game more than Tech. This is where the game will be won, or lost, for the Horns.