Slow Down… Just Breathe

Jerrod Heard. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Jerrod Heard. (Will Gallagher/IT)

AUSTIN —┬áStop.Just, stop.

Stop eating so fast. Stop checking your phone. Stop riding so close to that guy’s bumper. Stop listening to talk radio. Stop snapping at everybody.


Every year at this time, since I started this gig in the spring of 2006, I write this column. The Texas Longhorns have a predictable way of causing their fans to consider jumping off tall buildings. Losing at K-State in 2006. Losing at Texas Tech in 2008. Just about after every game in 2010. Oklahoma in 2011 (ummm, and 2012). BYU in 2013. Kansas State in 2014. Iowa State in 2015.

These disasters, and there are plenty more than those listed above, drive us all crazy. Believe me, last Sunday morning around 1 am, I was looking for a butcher knife to plunge into my throat. I get it.

Watching yet another “possession receiver” or otherwise unrecruited “overachiever” drop a couple of hundred yards on my favorite team’s defense is not pleasant.

“What,” I said to myself after my son had long gone to bed, “are we doing?”

Whining more than Sonny Dykes, I finally went to bed after one more final, awful, gut-wrenching horrendous judgment call by the game officials. Fortunately, I didn’t stop at the knife drawer on the way to the bedroom.

Now is definitely the time for my “just breathe” column for 2016. Yes, I am tired of writing this particular piece; it’s what columnists do when the team in question’s fan base is seething. But what’s true in 2006 is still true 10 years late.

Stop stressing. Breathe. Go for a walk. Move on; there’s another game next week.

Granted, Saturday night/Sunday morning was awful. Yes, the defense needs fewer swooping linebackers and more run-stopping linebackers. Yes, Texas’ track team of a secondary needs to communicate more and check their 40-yard-dash time less.

Yes, there should probably be some personnel changes on the defense.

Yes, I agree, why couldn’t they stop the run late in the game when clearly California was going to run? Yes, I know, punting the ball to the other team when your team couldn’t stop anyone was silly.

Yes, the Texas offense needs to ditch the 18-Wheeler package except when it’s 3rd-and-3 or less. Yes, someone needs to remind the Texas offensive line that holding is illegal.

Yes, Charlie Strong needs to play a more hands-on role on the defensive side of the ball, and yes, it’s okay to be a little miffed that this hasn’t already taken place.

Have I covered everything? Probably not.

But stop with the sky-is-falling stuff. In football, the sky falls on everyone at one point or another. Except Alabama. The sky never falls on Alabama, and when it starts to fall, Nick Saban just glares at the sky and the sky cowers, and doesn’t dare fall any further.

And definitely stop with the “get rid of Vance Bedford” stuff. In fact, don’t even make any in-season coaching changes of any kind. Disrupting the coaching staff causes more bad than good; you can’t preach about “core values” and “family” and then jettison your DC in the middle of the year.

The Longhorns will be fine. You’d have taken 2-1 prior to the season at this point, and if you’re saying you wouldn’t, you are lying more than the guy who does my taxes. Wait until after the season to panic, to fire coaches, to slit your throat.

The season is long, so breathe. And stop complaining, because I’m tired of complaining about your complaining.

Now, about that defense…