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Blackwell Commentary: Tidbits and Observations

Peter Jinkens. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Peter Jinkens. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Tidbits and meanderings while still trying to figure out how Texas lost last week’s game in Arlington to a UCLA team quarterbacked by Jesse Plemons, the Friday Night Lights actor who plays the role of Landry Clarke. I’ll get over it by kickoff next week…maybe.

Speaking of last week’s game…It baffles me why people continue to argue about whether or not the Longhorns bungled the final 4:17 of the game last week. Of course they did. It also baffles me why neither Charlie Strong or Shawn Watson admitted that the situation was handled poorly by the coaching staff. Yes, I know the offense was running well at the time in up-tempo mode, but there was no need to score any more points at that time – you already had more points than the other team. As soon as they rushed to the line of scrimmage, I turned to my 11-year-old son Miles and said, “What are they doing, why are they rushing?.” Miles (did I mention he’s just 11?) immediately said, “Why aren’t they running down the play clock?” I know UCLA had timeouts remaining: so what? Run three running plays, force the Bruins to either watch the clock run or burn their timeouts, then instruct your punter to PUNT THE BALL TOWARD THE SIDELINE (thus using the sideline as another defender) and play defense. Your punter has been awesome all night – make the other team drive 70-80 yards to beat you with a touchdown; and if Jesse Plemons can do that, then the Bruins deserve to win. I would’ve gotten over this loss a lot more quickly had Strong come out after the game and said, “We coaches dropped the ball in the last four minutes…” Since they didn’t say that, I assume the next time the Longhorns have a four-point lead with 4:17 remaining, they’ll do exactly the same thing. Not a comforting feeling.

Jerrod Heard…I wrote a column before the season – a piece that was sacked by a lot of folks – stating that Jerrod Heard should be redshirted regardless of how the season plays out. Now that the Longhorns have started the season 1-2, I believe that even more strongly. The starting quarterback, David Ash, is no longer playing football; his replacement, Tyrone Swoopes, has been better than anyone could’ve imagined. Injuries and suspensions have decimated the football team: add Tank Johnson to a list of injured starters who won’t see the field this season. Realistically, best-case scenario for the Longhorns right now is about an 8-4 record: that is the ceiling. After beating Kansas and losing to Oklahoma and Baylor, Texas will be 2-4 – can the Longhorns expect to win the final six games of the season to finish 8-4? Highly unlikely. There is absolutely NO reason to play Heard this season, not even if Swoopes is – OMG! – injured. I volunteer to play quarterback if Swoopes can’t go. And if he’s not injured, how many plays would Heard see in blowout wins or losses? Thirty? And all of those in situations that don’t simulate a “real” game situation? I know the quarterbacks behind Heard have little experience and no chance of ever being a D-1 starting quarterback, but it’s just not worth it. However, when I was giving advice to the Longhorns last Saturday night they didn’t listen to me, and I don’t anticipate they’ll listen to me this time, either.

Mack notes…Some rumors have been floating around that Mack Brown is a candidate for the SMU head coaching job, vacated when June Jones left the post in the middle of the season. Get serious. There is NO WAY Brown would take that job after having coached at Texas for so long. Personally, I think it’s a safe bet to say Brown has coached his last football game. The only possible job opening that would be remotely possible I think would be the Nebraska job, and even that – in my mind – would be a long shot.

Mack and Charlie…Speaking of Brown, it does a disservice to both Brown and Strong when the latter’s every move is analyzed through the Brown prism: What would Mack have done? It’s also a disservice to both when media and fans refuse to judge both coaches with the same criteria; if media and fans are going to compare the two, they should do so consistently and fairly. I’ve heard many times – especially since David Ash was injured – that the “won-loss record this year doesn’t matter.” That certainly wasn’t the case last year, when Texas also lost its backup quarterback (and it’s best running back and best defensive player). Additionally, off-the-field problems have been cited as happening with “Mack’s players” even though Strong has been on the job nine months or so. I know it’s an unrealistic expectation, but Strong should be judged on his own merit, and so should Brown. Having said that, allow me a moment of hypocrisy: had Texas botched the coin flip AND the final four minutes of last week’s game under Brown’s watch, he would’ve been absolutely roasted.

Hijinks…A college student stands on a table at the student union and shouts vulgarities? I should hit my knees and thank the Loving Lord every night that Twitter and cell phones were not around when I was in college…

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