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Let's Email

Every now and again, enough reader emails come in on topics worth exploring publicly that I'll put a post together for the site. This is one such time. As always, you can email me any time with questions or comments. I'll never use someone's full name in a post unless they explicitly okay it.

PB, you notice some community tension around BON of late? What's the deal?


I have noticed a little bit, but I have a theory to explain it: political season. It's a leap year, which means we're choosing a new President, and that inevitably means the entire country sinks into a 12-month state of PMS. People get bitchy, become antagonistic, and start looking for the worst in one another.

Even if we can and should blame the politicians for our woes, two points for our little burnt orange sanctuary.

The first rule of Burnt Orange Nation is that you don't talk about politics. Ever. Bottom line? You like Texas, and I like Texas. I don't really give a sh-t whether you like or dislike tax cuts or welfare reform.

The second rule of Burnt Orange Nation is that you look at how people talking about politics "discuss" what's important to them... and do exactly the opposite. Disagreements are fine. Disagreeing rudely is not. Recall the community guidelines for a refresher.

And for God's sake, lighten up. It's stressful enough worrying about Greg Davis' next game plan. Least we can do is all live and die with these teams as friends.

What are your thoughts on Russell Shepard right now? I'm hearing so many different things that I don't know what to think. My understanding is that he wants to come to Texas but we won't offer him a quarterback scholarship? Is this because of Gilbert? Thanks!

--Paul R.--

Oh, Paul. I'll be honest, I'm holding on to my blankie and rocking back and forth on this one.

Honestly, I'm not totally sure what Shepard's thinking right now, but I do know that he's not coming to this Saturday's Junior Day so that he can go take a look at LSU.  My concern is not so much that he prefers LSU to UT - we know that's not true - it's that we haven't yet offered him as a quarterback.

With Jarrett Lee at LSU, it's not like the situation there is so competitive-free that he'd choose them over us on those grounds. Rather, the issue is whether we offer him a shot at QB at all.

Let's assume that Mack gets it together and offers Shep a spot at QB. My feeling is that eliminates LSU from the picture, but the team I can't get out of the back of my mind is a Terrelle Pryor-less Michigan. If Texas offers Shepard a shot to compete for QB, I can't see him choosing LSU or the West Coast offense of Mike Sherman. But I can see him saying yes to Rich Rodriguez.

To recap:

  1. Mack's gotta offer this kid at QB. Like, yesterday.
  1. Watch out for Michigan.

It's clear how much Shepard wants to stay home and come to Texas, but that Rich Rodriguez run-based spread is tailor made for his talents. Something to think about, anyway.

My fingers and toes remain crossed. I love this kid.

I've been reading the site for over two years now (you and Andrew do a great job) but I don't comment. But I almost registered to comment on your ode to spring post from [Tuesday]. Though I initially thought you were just being florid, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that even if I'm usually disinterested in spring football, this year seems different.

How amazing has this offseason been? After the terrible loss in College Station, it's been nothing but all that we wanted to see. Even the D-Scott recruitment, which didn't work out, was good. I liked Mack going for him, even if it didn't turn our way. But everything else, from the bowl workouts to the coaching moves, has been incredibly exciting and has renewed a lot of energy in me as a fan. I think I'd lost some of that the past two years as I tried to relive the Vince magic.


You know, I hadn't quite thought about it this way until your email, but you're onto something here. Remember in Groundhog Day how Phil Connors goes on date after date with Rita, getting closer and closer until, finally, he gets it just right and they have the Perfect Day? That was Texas under Mack Brown, leading up to and culminating in the 2005 National Championship with Vince Young.

In the movie, of course, Phil wakes up the next morning and has to start all over, but he finds how extraordinarily difficult it is to recreate that perfect day. He's tasted the perfection and he knows how it's supposed to go, but it feels forced as he tries to make it happen again. Eventually, after stumbling mightily, he bottoms out, frustrated as never before.

Was that not Texas from January 5th, 2006 through the 2007 Texas A&M game? We knew the magical feeling, we still felt the buzz from the perfect season, but we could not flip on a switch and just recreate that VY magic. And Lord did we finally hit rock bottom.

So what's next? After bottoming out, Phil Connors finally made those critical changes that allowed him to escape his haunting past. And I'll be damned if it doesn't seem like Mack Brown similarly bottomed out this Thanksgiving but used that to make some of the hard changes that may just lead him back to the top.

Hey, maybe I was wrong that life can sometimes be like a Hallmark card. Maybe - even better - it can be like the movies.

I'm with you, Lonnie. I'm excited. And a pathetically romantic soul.