Somehow, someway we pulled off that victory. And the Horns didn't just beat the Sooners. They punched OU right in the mouth and beat them in practically every facet of the game. There are a lot of Longhorn fans eating crow this morning, myself included, who thought Oklahoma was going to absolutely embarrass us, putting a final nail in the coffin on Mack Brown's legacy on the 40 Acres. What transpired at the State Fair was the exact opposite, though, and only the most maligned, jaded Horn fan could ever find a reason to be pessimistic after sending Bobby and Co. back across the Red River with their tails between their legs. Accordingly, the Sunday Morning Optimist is in full-on sunshine pumping mode this morning and will hear none of your misplaced malcontent.
Before we begin, Curry was unable to compose the SMO this week, but he would like you all to know that he is eating a healthy portion of blackbird this morning for his harsh comments on Mack Brown's and Case McCoy's respective legacies.
Extremely Optimistic: The Offensive Line
Where has this group been the last three years? I can't remember the last time I saw a University of Texas offensive line be that dominant in a game. From the first snap the big uglies completely dominated the line of scrimmage allowing for an absolutely stellar performance from our running backs. Jonathan Gray had 29 carries for 129 yards and Malcolm Brown had 23 carries for 120 yards. That old school Texas performance would not have been possible if not for the offensive line consistently blowing the Sooners off the ball. More importantly, that consistent rushing attack allowed the passing game to open up when necessary and gave Case and the receiving core the chance to succeed. Everyone will inevitably give the credit to our outstanding rushing corps, but don't fret, big guys. Here at the SMO, we salute you.
Extremely Optimistic: Case McCoy
I have no idea which Case McCoy is going to show up for the rest of the year, but if it's the one that played yesterday we have a very real chance to win out. Yesterday, Case managed the game, and with the exception of a few deep balls, did just what he needed to do: hand the ball off to the backs and make a few big third down plays when called upon. Case's 13/21 and 190 yards passing isn't going turn many heads, but it was just enough. Case made enough plays that Oklahoma had to respect the passing game and couldn't load the box allowing the rushing attack to shine. I know I just said above that the rushing game opened up the passing game, but truth be told it's kind of a chicken-egg problem.
More importantly, Case can now leave the 40 with a solid legacy. He led the charge under massive pressure against our two biggest rivals, first sending the Aggies out of the conference with a final loss against UT, and now against OU when nobody gave our boys a chance in hell to win. Case had massive shoes to fill following his brother, and while nobody will confuse the younger McCoy with Colt, he's done enough now for the Burnt Orange Nation to thank him for his time under center.
Extremely Optimistic: Major Applewhite
Major called such a great game yesterday. I don't know what to think of it considering the play calling against ISU was baffling at times, but I'll certainly not look a gift horse in the mouth. Major put the game squarely on Gray, Brown, and the offensive line, and didn't put McCoy in a position to fail. The consistent rushing attack prevented Case from having to play miracle worker on dangerous third and long attempts, putting McCoy in a position to utilize his strengths and succeed. Hopefully Major uses this game as blueprint for the rest of the year.
Extremely Optimistic: Greg Robinson
When Mack brought in GERG midway through the season we were the laughing stock of the college football world. Nobody on other blogs could understand this decision given Robinson's track record at other schools, but it turns out Mack was absolutely right with the change. I don't know what on earth Robinson has done in practice to get this group ready, but it looks like an entirely different unit from the one Diaz was coaching. Yesterday players were in position, broke down, and made tackles when called upon, and more importantly, they looked like they had a purpose. Seeing what Robinson has done with this group honestly makes me even more irritated about the Manny Diaz situation because it's obvious there is talent there. Give me a basic scheme with angry football players over a "superior" complex scheme with confused players every day. Thanks for turning off the disco ball, Greg.
Extremely Optimistic: The Rest of the Season and Longhorn Fans' Livers
Yesterday was telling. We finally showed what kind of team we are capable of being. Like so many people have mentioned, I feel like yesterday's team was the team Mack promised us as the beginning of the year. That fact makes the two losses even more irritating, but the important thing is that if this group shows up for the rest of the season we have a legitimate shot to win the Big 12. There are no gimme games on the schedule, but a look around the league reveals that it is wide open and the trophy is there for the taking.
If you listened closely yesterday you could hear a joyous chorus as thousands of Longhorn fans' livers rejoiced simultaneously while the Golden Hat was presented at the Cotton Bowl. If things continue like they did yesterday we'll all be raising our glasses in celebration instead of drowning our sorrows as the clock winds to zero, and that's a reason to be optimistic if I've ever heard one.