Report cards tomorrow and Monday, but let's get the immediate reaction underway.
The outcome was: Exactly what we needed. 42-24 would have led to more hand wringing. 58-14, with Rice's second touchdown coming against our seventeenth string? What we hoped for. This was a great outcome.
The Offensive MVP was: Everyone? The offense performed well. I've got nice things to say about Colt McCoy, Limas Sweed, Nate Jones, Jamaal Charles, John Chiles, Vondrell McGee, Chris Ogbonnaya, Quan Cosby... the list is honestly too long. This group played well.
The Defensive MVP was: Let's give it to Lamarr Houston, who was simply phenomenal. If you prefer, we could give it to the young linebackers, who were infinitely better than their upperclassmen starters. The defense was good tonight.
The offensive Offensive Player Of The Week was: No comment. I was too pleased with everyone to single out someone as a goat. The whole offense deserves kudos for coming out and taking care of business tonight.
The offensive Defensive Player Of The Week was: Once again, the veteran linebackers. It was comical how much better our defense was - even against Rice - when the young unit was in. Sorry, Robert, Scott, and Rashaad - your understudies are better.
John Chiles Watch: Hello! 9 carries, 72 yards. Two beautiful touchdown drives. Silky smooth moves. General pimpitity. Basically, the kid looks great out there. Let's hope the coaches watch the tape and think to themselves, "My oh my, what a delightful toy we have to play with here..."
Vondrell McGee Watch: 8 carries, 80 yards, including a touchdown. He's for real, people. He goes from zero to in your face in no time at all. He's physical, runs downhill, hits holes, makes holes - all that good stuff. He, JC, and OG make one hell of a strong trio at the tailback position.
Oklahoma Fear Factor: 6 out of 10.... (5) is the baseline. (+1) for Tulsa's bag of offensive fun wasn't nearly enough. (+1) for I'm still not sure who covers Malcolm Kelly. (-1) for there's now hope that the young LBs are winning the day. (+1) for Kindle got hurt. (-1) for Colt McCoy finally outplayed Sam Bradford. (+1) for Oklahoma's offensive line is impressing me. (-1) for Chiles/McGee maybe earning chances to play.
Heading into next week I feel: Damn hopeful, finally. Not because we beat Rice, but because the best talent on the roster saw the field. I suppose we shouldn't get too carried away - the coaches could shelve things next week - but it's hard to imagine watching the tape of this game and coming away with any other feeling besides, "The young guys people are clamoring for can help this team be great, instead of good." I'm very encouraged.
Celebrate tonight, Longhorn fans. Not only did we see stuff tonight that should make us feel really good about the 2007 team, but we saw a lot that should make us feel good about 2008 and '09. Again - it's not that we beat Rice. It's that we beat Rice with players who make you whistle at the TV. Colt, Limas, and Jamaal all looked good. The D-Line was outstanding again. The young guys - from Houston to Muckelroy to Chiles to McGee - they all kicked ass.