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Bevo's Daily Roundup - Happy Birthday to Coach Royal

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You've got to think lucky.
If you fall into a mudhole, check your back pocket -
you might have caught a fish.

-Darrell K Royal

Darrell K. Royal. What does the "K" stand for?

Born July 6, 1924, Darrell K. Royal has a middle initial but no middle name. The "K" is in honor of his mother, Katy, who died when he was an infant. She succumbed to cancer, but because of the taboo then surrounding the disease, Royal was led to believe until he was grown that she had died giving birth to him.

He was born in Hollis, Oklahoma, and went on to play for the Sooners under legendary coach Bud Wilkinson. Royal played defensive back and quarterback.

He was most noted for his prowess as a defensive back, where his 18 career interceptions and his 3 interceptions in the 1947 game against Oklahoma State are still Sooner records.

His part-time contributions at quarterback had a similar impact, despite having to share time with Jack Mitchell and Claude Arnold at the position. He threw a 43-yard pass against the University of North Carolina in the 1949 Sugar Bowl. He holds the fourth best winning percentage in school history (minimum 15 starts) with a 16-1 mark as a part-time quarterback starter. His 11-0 mark as a starter in 1949 ranks as one of the best seasons in school history.
"A head coach is guided by this main objective: dig, claw, wheedle, coax that fanatical 
effort out of the players. You want them to play every Saturday as if they were
planting the flag on Iwo Jima."
-Darrell K Royal

Royal eventually made his way to Texas after coaching stops in Mississippi and Washington. It was fate.

In a delicious twist of fate, Royal became a tremendous quarterback for Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma, just after World War II when the fabulous Wilkinson era was just beginning. A journeyman assistant after his playing days, Royal was tapped for his first head coaching job by Edmonton of the Canadian Football League and then had so-so sessions in two years as head coach at Mississippi State and one at Washington.

Texans fondly tell the story of how it rained in Austin for the first time in months on the day Royal signed his contract. And, in fact, the terrible Texas drought did end at the time when fate's best twist delivered Royal to the greatest rivals of Bud Wilkinson's Sooners. Parched Texas soil soaked up rain, and not long afterward Longhorn football fans, who had had a terrible drought of their own in the mid-1950s, began wetting parched lips with victory toasts.

He had a great philosophy about coaching.

"I'm the world's biggest coward," he said. "I run scared all the time. I agree with Eisenhower when he said just before the election, 'The opposition always looks 14 feet tall.' But coaching is largely a matter of dealing with people and it's a new world every day. I never feel like I'm going to work when I get up in the morning. It's a wonderful profession when you can earn a living and not feel like you're working to do it.

"The only thing that disturbs me about my profession is the fact that people give you too much credit when you win and too much hell when you lose. I'll be the same person and do the same things when we lose, but people won't believe me. I won't change, but the people will."

A 1964 article in Sports Illustrated called Austin a royal place.

Uninhibited by its intellectual attainments, the University of Texas—and all of Austin, for that matter—explodes with noise on football weekends. At such times one might see a visiting coach on a downtown sidewalk in his pajamas at 7 a.m. begging his own rooters to shut up and let his team sleep. Or a state senator splashing in his underwear in a motel pool at dawn while a party rages around him. Or a faculty member sobering up in the top of an oak tree in Scholz Garten, an old German beer parlor with tables out back, and wondering if he can get down with dignity in time to make it to the game. And from the direction of the stadium come sounds like the Battle of San Jacinto—the drums of the huge Longhorn band, the booming of the cannon in the end zone, the yelling of 65,000 people. Bevo, the university's Longhorn mascot (opposite), is on the sidelines. Later he will be trucked out as thousands push their way toward exits and another night of partying. "Life," says Artist Fletcher Boone, a contented Austin resident, "is just one Texas game after another, with fun in between."

During the 1968 season, Darrell Royal asked his offensive coordinator Emory Bellard to design a new three-man back-field triple option offense. The wishbone formation was born.

I had hoped God would be neutral. -Darrell Royal on seeing a sign in front of a church 
reading Darrell Royal, Cast not thy steers before swine, before the
1969 Game of the Century

In 1969, Royal coached the Horns to the No. 1 ranking in the polls, Arkansas taking the No.2 spot. The two teams met on December 6, in a game many called The Game of the Century. Texas came back from a 14 point deficit to beat the Razrbacks 15-14.

Still down 14-8, Texas began a desperate drive for the end zone that appeared to stall with 4:47 remaining when Royal opted for yet another gamble on fourth-and-3 from their own 43-yard line. During a timeout that Texas took before the fateful play, Royal shouted at Street, "Right 53 Veer pass." The play was a deep pattern throw to the tight end. The play wasn't in the Texas game plan package. "Are you sure that's the call you want?" Street said. "Damn right I'm sure!" Royal snapped. Street had noticed Arkansas defenders looking into the Texas huddle, so he fixed his gaze on split end Cotton Speyrer while explaining the play to Randy Peschel, saying "Randy, I'm looking and pointing at Cotton, but I'm talking to you." Street then hit Peschel on the dramatic play, with Peschel making a difficult catch over his shoulder in double coverage. It not only converted on fourth down, but also gained 44 yards, putting the Longhorns on the Razorbacks 13.

Two plays later Jim Bertelsen ran in for the game-tying touchdown. Donnie Wigginton, the third-string quarterback who was the holder, made a big save on a high snap and Happy Feller booted the extra point for the winning score with 3:58 remaining.

Texas went on to defeat Joe Theismann and Notre Dame in the 1970 Cotton Bowl.

And so there lies a young man named Cotton Speyrer, all 5'11" and 169 pounds of him, ringing out the old hundred years of college football and ringing in the new, holding onto something called No. 1 and clinging also, for whatever sentimental value it may be worth around Austin, to the very overwrought lives of Darrell Royal and his hordes of Texas Longhorn followers. Speyrer has just wheeled back, knelt, lurched and scooped up a forward pass thrown by another obstinate elf, James Street, on a gravely executed play that will simply have to be filed away among the real treasures of the sport. For it was this gamble in those last fading moments of the Cotton Bowl—this fourth-down pass from one gutty urchin to another—that enabled Texas to defeat a valiant Notre Dame team 21-17 in as courageous a game as any two schools played throughout the whole of the century.

The Notre Dame performance was good enough to have won against any team but Texas. The differences were a hard-running Longhorn backfield that tore out 331 yards rushing from the Wishbone T; a quick-thinking coach who has proved over and over that he can be dagger sharp when a game is, as he puts it, "in heat"; and Street, whose quality of leadership would not allow his team to lose in all of the 20 games that he worked.

Every coach likes those players who, like trained pigs, will grin and jump right in the slop. 
-Darrell K Royal

Did Royal break ground in what could be one of the first product placements? (More fundamental videos part 1, part 2 and part 3.)

Royal was legendary for many reasons, but this was the man that recruited Earl Campbell.

Darrell Royal on Earl Campbell
When Earl ran, snot flew, I haven't seen any snot fly yet.
(Darrell Royal when asked to compare Butch Hadnot to Campbell.)

I don't know if Earl's in a class by himself, but it sure don't take long to call roll.

An incredibly powerful runner, Campbell was probably the only player to take down Bevo.

That collision occurred in 1977 in a game against the University of Houston. Campbell grabbed a pitchout and broke free, angling for the corner of the end zone and then lunging headlong after he scored. "I hit him in the left flank," he says. "Bevo went down, a cameraman went down, and I did too." The impact didn’t knock the massive steer all the way over, but the Longhorn staggered and may have gone down on his haunches. Badly startled, he swung far around, yanking his handler along.

"Before I knew it, I was all up on Bevo," Campbell recalls. "But I didn’t mean to. I couldn’t stop." He looks me over for a moment, then chuckles. "He said, ‘Moooo.’"

Coach Royal retired in 1976, after his first and only non-winning season.

Royal left Texas after his only non-winning season. The Longhorns went 5-5-1 in 1976 and Royal had tragically just lost two of his children in car accidents.

He made the announcement after Texas beat Arkansas 29-12 in the final game of the season. The timing seemed appropriate. Texas had beaten Arkansas seven years earlier in what was called the ``Game of the Century'' to win the national title. That game was the last time Texas had played in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 game for the national title until this season. President Richard Nixon attended that game.

``I wanted to go out before people wanted me to,'' Royal said. ``I had all the coaching I wanted.''

Don't matter what they throw at us. Only angry people win football games. -Darrell Royal

Great anecdote about Coach Royal from former UT women's basketball coach Jody Conradt:

"They built the Erwin Center 21 years ago," she said, "and obviously it never occurred to anyone that the women would need a separate locker room. So every room in this place had urinals in it.

"Now we have one of our own. Before one of our games, coach Darrell Royal was kind enough to speak to my team. Before he left, someone asked what the biggest difference was between our locker room and all the ones he knew from all his years of coaching. Coach Royal said: 'Offhand, I can't remember anyone ironing anything before a game in one of our locker rooms.' "

 

 

The rest of the Roundup

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Dr. Saturday looks at the Horns' Achilles heel.

Still, every giant has his Achilles heel, and as hard as it is to find fault with an offense very likely to top 40 points per game again, in the case of Texas' offense, the target is a fat one: The running game. Quick -- name the 'Horns' starting running back this fall. Even Texas fans might be slow on the draw with that question because it's not clear that they have one, or, after their performance in last year's underwhelming rotation, that one will emerge

The Doc makes his diagnosis of the up-and-coming All-Americans.

Wide Receiver: Malcolm Williams • Texas
Even if you don't remember his name, you'll probably remember Williams as the blur who burned Texas Tech for a 91-yard touchdown on a stop-and-go route last November; that was just moments after he'd hauled in a 37-yard touchdown from Colt McCoy that rejuvenated the Longhorns' hopes in what turned out to be the game of the year. Outside of Lubbock, Williams only had 13 catches, just one for a touchdown, and wasn't much part of the offense after his big game against the Raiders (only five catches in the last four games, none in the Fiesta Bowl). Still, at 18 yards per catch, he clearly comes in as Texas' top field-stretching threat, not a bad position to be in as long as McCoy is in one piece.

ESPN's Pat Forde has put out his best of the 2009 college football rivalry list. We're at the top.

Why It's Hot Now: Everything picks up where it left off last season -- with the Sooners and Longhorns at each other's throats. Both teams should start this year in the top 5. Both quarterbacks, Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and Colt McCoy of Texas, should start the season as prime Heisman Trophy candidates. And neither program has forgotten (or forgiven) the back-and-forth hissing over who deserved to win the Great Big 12 South Tiebreaker Debate of '08. At last count, everyone but the Blue Angels had been hired to fly a biting banner over the other team's stadium. More airplanes and acrimony in '09, please!

Upper Hand Today: Texas. Yes, Oklahoma won the divisional tiebreaker, but the Sooners lost the head-to-head contest last fall. And the Longhorns own the more recent national championship.

Upper Hand Historically: Texas leads the all-time series 58-40-5, but Oklahoma leads 19-16-3 since 1971.

Boomer to Bevo: People don't cry over deaths in the family for as long as you guys have cried over the way last season played out.

Bevo to Boomer: When we get to a January bowl game, we know how to win it.

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If Sergio KIndle does this to opposing offenses, it is going to be a good year. Thanks to Barking Carnival for the photo.

Sergio Kindle's accident has made a difference in all our lives. Dave Matter, Columbia Tribune, will now stop texting while he is driving. Columbia (Missouri) is safe.

The athletic department is redecorating.

Congratulations. Former Texas baseball players Kirk Dressendorfer and Keith Moreland will be inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.

Barking Carnival puts it all in perspective. Thank you for the reminder.

If you like to bet, Texas has 8/1 odds to win the BCS nest season.

Isn't that special. The Aggies really do love us. They posted a UT recruiting video from 1986 the late 80s.

 

 

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The Aggies still need part of that government bailout. The A&M athletic department has cut 17 jobs.

At this point, can a bunch of walk-ons do any worse? I Am The 12th Man wants to bring back the concept of the 12th man kick-off team. (In case you weren't around during the Jackie Sherrill era, here is the Wikipedia page.)

There is some good news for the Aggies. Those three national titles in men's and women's track and field and golf have inspired the football and basketball players to improve.

Following the spring championships, (Bill) Byrne said football and basketball players told him they were inspired to improve.

"I've been observing an even more competitive effort in our conditioning drills and weight room workouts this summer," Byrne said, "and it's because they have seen other Aggies get to the highest level, and they want a piece of that as well."

Good luck.

Former OU coach Howard Schnellenberger wasn't as dense as we first thought.

Say what you will about The Voice, he has never run a program where there was even the hint of scandal.

And that is why, when he got out to Oklahoma, he refused to bow down to ‘King’ Switzer.

Howard won’t say it outright, but he felt Switzer had earned his fate through his actions, or inactions, and The Voice was not going to condone that behavior by pretending to like Switzer.

Crimson & Cream Machine is previewing the upcoming season: offensive line and running/full backs.

Baylor's Robert Griffin rushed for 1,118 yards to rank fifth last season among all NCAA quarterbacks, but his overall number was diminsihed due to the number of sacks.

Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin's freshman season is another example of how the NFL's process of separating sacks from rushing statistics gives us a clearer picture of running effectiveness.

The rushing totals of Griffin were diminished significantly last season because of the sacks he endured as a passer.

Griffin rushed for 1,118 yards to rank fifth last season among all NCAA quarterbacks. But a preponderance of sacks cost Griffin 275 yards of that gain, dropping him back to 843 yards.

And because of those losses, he wasn't even the leading rusher of his team after the net yardage was sorted out. Tailback Jay Finley nosed him out with 865 yards.

Tulsa World has a Q&A with Mike Gundy.

"I was asked how I handle the pressure. It's the same every year," said Gundy, whose overall record is 27-23. "But now we have good chemistry and some good returning players, so the expectations are a little higher.

"There would be a lot more pressure if I didn't have anybody who could make a play. I've experienced that before. It wasn't any fun."

University of Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor Harvey Perlman has been appointed chairman of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee, the ones who will ultimately decide the fate of a college football playoff. Here's a Q&A with the new head.

Q: Why is a playoff not a viable alternative? Is it because it would cut too many teams out of postseason play?

A: It would diminish the bowl structure and it would reduce the number of opportunities for student-athletes to play in the postseason and that's not a good thing. If you look at college football now, it's the greatest sporting event spread over September, October, November, December and a little bit of January that the country has. A playoff would seriously diminish the regular season, as it has in college basketball.

I don't think it's good for college football, I don't think it's good for student-athletes and I don't think it's good for fans. I don't see fans travelling around the country three weeks in succession between December and January following their team. So you're either going to have to play at home sites — which I'm sure everybody will want to play in Nebraska in December and January — or you're gonna have to travel, which means that bowls will cease being intercollegiate events, but will become corporate events, where everybody in, you name the city, will be there except the fans of the teams.

This isn't basketball. This isn't March Madness. Football's a different game, different environment. We have different traditions. It's hard to see why a playoff is a good idea.

In case you need something to read at work. Football Outsiders has a free download of their Big 12 preview.

The Waco Tribune has an interview with Dave Campbell, Dave Campbell's Texas Football.

Smart Football has a great article on football, decisionmaking and the brain. And that Wonderlic test used to evaluate intelligence in NFL players?

This need for amazing decisionmaking that is nevertheless largely reactive is one reason why it is so difficult to evaluate quarterbacks -- or any player. You only get so far by asking Tom Brady "why did you throw it to him" when his answer is "I felt like he was open." And that's with quarterbacks: obviously safeties on defense, or linebackers, or linemen, runningbacks, all rely more or less on this raw emotional intelligence rather than something coolly rational. How do you measure that kind of instictive, non-descriptive intelligence? Yet if a guy doesn't have it, he'll just kill your team with bad "decisions."

Yet what use NFL to evaluate its players' intelligences? The Wonderlic Test. Having just seen the above discussion, where not even Tom Brady's athletic intelligence is necessarily rational or describable in the way a mathematician's or philosopher's is, how useful can this test be? Yes, it can help eliminate some total knuckleheads, in that NFL players must learn large playbooks (and in college must be able to stay eligible lest the idea of student-athlete be completely severed), but most of what makes them elite or not is based on how they react.


62 days until the Louisiana-Monroe game.