At the start of the game between the Texas Longhorns and UCLA Bruins on Saturday night, FOX cameras cut to Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong visibly upset on the sidelines before any game action happened.
It quickly became apparent that Strong was upset because the team captains for Texas had opted to kick the ball off to start the game after UCLA had won the toss and deferred to the second half. As a result of the mental mistake by the Longhorns players, the Bruins received the ball to start both halves.
Here's what happened:
It appears that the referee attempts to explain the consequences of the decision to senior defensive tackle Desmond Jackson, but Jackson decides to kick the ball off anyway.
After the game, Strong characterized the mistake as a result of being "nervous" and said that the player involved, presumably Jackson, blamed it on being "hyped up."
Of course, being hyped up would stand in marked contrast to the mentality of the team entering the previous week's game against BYU, when Strong said that he didn't think the group was ready to play.
But mental mistakes also characterized the loss against UCLA even though Texas played harder and showed more toughness -- the team still has a long way to go before it can do all the little things right to win a close game against a talented team, even one without its star quarterback.
And for a program that has been a laughingstock in college football over the last few seasons, missing an opportunity for a major upset and doing so with such a glaringly thoughtless start to the game provides another stain on the once-proud institution of Texas football.