How committed am I to talking Texas football with you? I'm sitting down during my Chicago weekend to bang out a post before heading out. That's love, people. True love.
The outcome was: Delightful. Hey, Iowa State is a bad football team. Sadly - amazingly - there isn't much to differentiate this from the win over Rice. Still, this was a game we needed to see. The Longhorns took the field against an inferior opponent and throttled 'em. That's how it's supposed to go.
The Offensive MVP was: Colt McCoy. You know, for all the trouble Colt's had this year, and for all the re-evaluating we've had to do, if there's one thing McCoy keeps proving it's that he's a gutty, tough, bounce-back, winner of a kid. Whether the coaching staff can make this an elite offense with McCoy remains to be seen, but even if you skeptically wonder whether we need to start giving John Chiles more snaps, it's impossible not to like Colt McCoy. Even when Texas' offense looks broken, he's out there scrapping to make a play. I respect this young man a lot.
The Defensive MVP was: Sergio Kindle and Lamarr Houston. I couldn't choose between the two, so let's take a moment to shake our heads in awe at each. Houston has a motor that just won't quit, but unlike Aaron Lewis, he's not just determined - he's also physically gifted. As for Kindle? The slow start to his career at Texas made it easy to forget how highly touted a prospect he was when he arrived. We're starting to see it.
The offensive Offensive Player Of The Week was: Nah, let's not go there. All these young men played well. It was easy to be a Longhorn fan today.
The offensive Defensive Player Of The Week was: Again, let's just not. We've spent so much time being frustrated this season; let's take a day just to clap for the guys and their performance. Iowa State managed just 228 yards of total offense and 3 points.
John Chiles Watch: 9 carries, 58 yards, 1 TD. 0-1 passing. He sure can look slick out there, can't he? As great an effort as McCoy had today, it was nice to see Chiles get some action. Again, even if the coaches firmly believe that McCoy is the best quarterback for Texas for the next two and a half years, it's not debatable that they need to have a contingency plan. More than that, there's positively no reason to assume McCoy has to be the main man. He may very well be, but it would be positively stupid not to see what else you've got with Chiles.
Again, this is basic stuff: maximize your options, be flexible, plan thoughtfully for the future.
Vondrell McGee Watch: 7 carries, 26 yards. Let's just say it wasn't the young man's finest afternoon and leave it at that. We clamor about the coaches needing to play more the guys with difference-making talent, but it's also on these players to make the most of it. With that said? It's indisputable that players succeed when you place trust in them, use them in meaningful situations, and let them work.
Baylor Fear Factor: 0 out of 10.... (5) is the baseline. (-1) for Texas took care of business today. (-1) for the season's big goals being long shots. (-1) for this defense is pretty darn solid. (-2) for Baylor is a bad football team.
Heading into next week I feel: Apprehensive. Not because I think Texas can, should, or will struggle with Baylor, but because I worry that decisive results against bad teams will prevent the staff from looking critically enough at the big questions we've been tackling in our midseason reviews. It's one thing to make changes against the bad teams. Can they be sustained when Texas plays better competition?
Honestly? I'm cautiously optimistic about the rest of this season, insofar as I believe that having two losses - among them an ugly home loss to Kansas State - should help this team work on developing players for 2008 and beyond. The key now is for the coaching staff to embrace this transition opportunity. Not just against Iowa State and Baylor, but throughout the rest of the season.
If they do, this season can be an interesting development showcase of the future of this team.
Quote of the day: SP: "We're looking at a big blowout here, don't you think?" PB: "Well, yeah. I mean, 35-10 or so sounds right. A comfortable win, but maybe not a thrashing." SP: "Bah - I'm guessing 57-3." Three hours later. PB: "You were way off. Way, way off."