This special, free
edition of the Humidor is best described by a scene from Bull Durham.
Larry: [Larry jogs out to the mound to break up a players' conference] Excuse me, but what the hell's going on out here?
Crash Davis: Well, Nuke's scared because his eyelids are jammed and his old man's here. We need a live... is it a live rooster?
Crash Davis: We need a live rooster to take the curse off Jose's glove and nobody seems to know what to get Millie or Jimmy for their wedding present.
[to the players]
Crash Davis: Is that about right?
[the players nod]
Crash Davis: We're dealing with a lot of ****.
Larry: Okay, well, uh... candlesticks always make a nice gift, and uh, maybe you could find out where she's registered and maybe a place-setting or maybe a silverware pattern. Okay, let's get two! Go get 'em.
Indeed, we are dealing with a bunch of ****, but at least weíre undefeated. The Cigar will try to clear things up for you, regardless. If he canít then weíll find a sports movie metaphor more to your liking. As always, scotch it if you got it.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Youíre probably ready for my questions about the defense, but Iím more of a half full guy so letís talk offense. I remember sitting here in July and you laughing me off the phone at the thought of a quarterback controversy. You win. Wow, what a performance.
Big Cigar: Yep, heís special, and credit the coaching staff for realizing that early on last season. I mean they raved about the kid, namely Coach Harsin, and that was before he had taken a snap in a college game. But the plan was never to give him the total offense, he was just supposed to get 6 or 7 plays in a package each game. Now where are we? Weíve got a guy on the verge of being a special player if he can stay consistent.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: I understand heís probably the most grounded player on the team?
Big Cigar: Yep, every person that comes in contact with David Ash is treated the same way. Heíd just as soon hang out with regular students as he would the big men on campus. The kidís 100% legitimate. The only question was always whether or not he was too humble. When youíre the second rated passer in America humble is probably the preferred mindset.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: So whatís the vibe after this ball-game for the offensive staff?
Big Cigar: OSU set out to stop the running game at all costs and they accomplished their goal early on. Luckily our coaching staff recognized it and continued to pound, but they also picked their spots down the field to keep drives going and that paid dividends in the running game in the 4th quarter. But the whole way, our staff knew OSU wanted to make Ash beat them, and he did just that.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Great. After dropping 41 on OSU and knowing exactly where the accolades should go, is there anything negative that came out of this game on the offensive side of the ball?
Big Cigar: It was pretty much all positive with some big surprises like David Ash, Johnathan Gray, Dom Espinosa, Luke Poehlmann, and Daje Johnson. If there was one negative it was Malcolm Brown getting dinged early on. After talking to Malcolm, the medical staff told the coaching staff that Brown probably shouldnít play, but that didnít sit right with some members of the staff. Malcolm has a mild ankle sprain and should be ready to go come Saturday, but theyíre comfortable with trotting Johnathan Gray out there if need be. That fourth quarter for Gray should have sent a message to Brown to get healthy in a hurry.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: There are reports that Malcolm is in a boot, can you expound?
Big Cigar: Ashton Dorsey would wear boots on both feet leading up to game day last year and he would still play. If you stub a toe, theyíll put you in a boot because they promote quick healing, and they cost thousands of dollars and we have a lot of them on hand. If Malcolm wants to be the man heís got to be healthy in big games and know thereís a difference between being hurt and being injured. Heís got great talent, but heís got to get tougher if this team is going to rely on him.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Well, thatís a negative, whatís the biggest positive on that side of the ball other than Ash?
Big Cigar: Gray has shown he has what it takes. If he gets a little stronger he breaks a couple of big plays this past Saturday. Still, as far as a combination of feet, speed, and vision, heís the best we have. He can really hurt WVU if they play coverage against us. Other than Gray, Iíd say Mike Davis is precisely the player we talked about last spring. Heís a competitive kid with good ball skills, especially on 50/50 balls. That was his strength out of high school, he just needed to get his confidence back after last season. Coach Wyatt and Coach Harsin have really helped this young guy along. But there was one guy that stepped in to smooth things over because Mike was thinking about transferring last spring.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Who was that?
Big Cigar: David Ash. These kids couldnít be more polar opposites as far as background, plus they donít really hang out together, but Iím told Ash went to Davis in the spring after the bowl game when Davis was really down on things, and Ash told him, ďIím going to go to you when I need someone to make a play if you promise to make a play.Ē After spring and summer 7 on 7 and a lot of made plays, the rest is history. Heís Ashís favorite target when Ash needs a play. Thereís a lot of trust there.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Thatís great stuff. Iím really happy for those kids. Letís talk defense. What was the aftermath of this game, scheme, performance, and personnel wise?
Big Cigar: Ha, Mannyís learning that saying the goal of his defense allowing one less point than the other defense doesnít fly with Texas fans. He and Duane Akina have been put on notice that it doesnít fly with the head man either. Iím told that Mack Brown told Akinaís unit that there is plenty of talent waiting in the wings that will come in and hit and give effort if the starters couldnít, regardless of how these starters performed last season.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Wow, who are you talking about specifically?
Big Cigar: Thompson, Phillips, Byndom, Turner, all of them really I guess, because all of the DBís were in the room. They were told to get their stuff in gear or they would be replaced with younger guys.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Thatís interesting because another source said Coach Brown invited some of these guys to transfer if they didnít start giving effort. Can you speak to that?
Big Cigar: I wasnít told that, I was just told there was a heated position meeting and the secondary was put on notice to start giving effort and tackling like they wanted to win a championship. They were told to stop worrying about what was said about them or what their NFL prospects were.
Jesus Shuttesworth: Okay, personnel is all fine and dandy to disparage, but what about scheme? There was a lot of running lanes that had nothing to do with who was out there Saturday.
Big Cigar: Iím told Manny acknowledged he should have focused more on OSUís rushing attack and devoted too much of the game plan to Walshís scrambling ability. But there was a drive in the third quarter where Walsh made two unbelievable throws to get points and if they get a stop deep in OSU territory on 3rd and 17, the offense gets points and OSU is playing from two touchdowns down which is right where Texas wanted them. Itís not an excuse, itís just the truth they were two crazy throws from putting the Cowboys away. Manny still thinks heíll fix the issues but admits he may have had the wrong game plan. It happens, and heís moving on to next week.
Jesus Shuttlesworth Letís talk Brandon Moore. Is he healthy, will he be good to go? Why is Mal Brown a co-backup with Jackson?
Big Cigar: Iím told Moore has mono and may not be available until the OU game. The good news is that heís probably not needed for WVU with the style they run.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Thatís not good. What about Tank Jackson, is he back? How about Hicks?
Big Cigar: Tankís got back issues but should be a go for Saturday. We need him because he can get quick pressure on them in the run or pass game. As for Hicks, Iím guessing OU but you guys have a better handle on injuries than I do.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Yep, we should know more based on practices. [Note: Stay tuned for our practice reports this week from The Asset, exclusively at InsideTexas.com.] I understand the coaches werenít happy with the officiating?
Big Cigar: Yep. They were shocked that not one holding call was made on OSU. Their guards were tackling our inside linebackers and their receivers tackled defensive backs on screens and quick throws. Weíve sent film to the league office to get clarification of what holding entails, Iím told. There were also two chop blocks that were missed that led to big plays. Iím told we arenít complaining, we just want clarification on what holding is.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Letís shift gears towards WVU. Theyíve got the 2012 Heisman winner coming to town, do we have a chance? No seriously, what does our staff think about this game on both sides of the ball and whatís your prediction?
Big Cigar: They think they can rattle Geno Smithís cage by bringing numbers or by just using our front four. They donít think the Mountaineers have seen a front four like we have, but they know that they have to tackle MUCH better in the back 7, hence the challenge to the DBís. They also think that Geno Smithís internal clock may be a little off and slow based on who theyíve played and where theyíve played. Thatís all Iíll say.
On offense, weíre just hoping they get all of the offensive hype and our guys continue to get disrespected on both sides of the ball. Mack has told those close to him that he hasnít had this type of explosive offense since 2005, so thatís why he challenged the defense like he did. Thatís un-Mack like. He knows this season can be special if the defense plays to their potential. On offense, heís like a kid in the candy store.
If you want a prediction, Iíll say 45 to 31 Texas.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Thatís great. I hope youíre right. Plus, there are redacted plays in the bag.
Big Cigar: Hopefully theyíre on defense.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: No doubt. Thanks.
Big Cigar: You bet.
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