And he saith unto them, “Why are ye fearful, o ye of little faith?” Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the sea; and there was a great calm.
Matthew 8:26 (KJV)
Wow. I’m talkin’ DAY-uhm. Did not see that one coming. It had been consistently going on for years. Since 2009? Can that be right? Looked like it was set in concrete, unassailable, unchanging, unmovable. We knew with certainty how it was not going to end, at least not today. Then we woke up this past Saturday morning, the earth shifted beneath our feet and everything — I mean EVERYTHING — changed.
Kylie Minogue broke up with her long-time Spanish model boy toy, Andres Velensco. Por favor, dígame: “¡No!”
Oh, yeah, and some stuff happened in a football game I watched, too.
Golden Hats off to Mack Brown, whose coaching career has come back from the dead more times than Anthony Weiner has photographed his … uhm … little mayoral candidate. If fried ice cream at the Texas State Fair is sweet, then vindication over Bob Stoops must have edged Coach Brown close to a diabetic coma.
Amid rumors, accusations, national media stories and reports bordering on head-shaking pity, Brown was seen as a haunted, hunted and harrowed creature, a doomed death-row inmate whose final appeal had been summarily dismissed, as disconnected and out of step with the college football landscape as a guy trying to insert an 8-track tape into a laser disc player. Brown’s grossly-underachieving Longhorns, long on talent, experience and recruiting stars but short on lining up and whipping people’s asses, did the most remarkable, unexpected thing: they punched the mighty Oklahoma Sooners right in the nose.
OU players, looking as confused and bewildered as the first time they tried to read a child support court order, turned to the sidelines with a look that said, “Coach, you told us they was gonna fold like a strawberry crepe, and, living in Norman, I have no idea what a strawberry crepe is, but if it’s anything like a strawberry Pop Tart, you don’t fold them, but my Gramma used to heat them up and put butter on them, which is really good. But, Coach, whassup wit Texas?”
Then Major Applewhite, in what appears to this viewer to be the most freedom he has been granted calling plays since New Mexico State, ran the Gray/Brown color spectrum right into, over, around and several other prepositions the Sooner sternum. We ran on first down. We ran on 3rd and 7. We ran draws that were effectively executed. We ran hard. We gained only a yard then ran right back at them the very next play and made 8. We ran until they stopped it, then we ran play-action off our running game.
For the first time in the storied history of the UT/OU rivalry, the Horns had two 100-yard rushers in the same game in Jonathan Gray and Malcolm Brown. It was like a Lifetime Channel Movie where a guy wakes up from a coma and can suddenly play guitar like Joe Satriani, cook like Wolfgang Puck and has abs like Matthew McConaughey, realizing that true love was at his bedside the entire time. Where the heck were these guys all season long?
Props also go out to Case McCoy, the most maligned white man since Paula Dean, who won’t be able to pay for a … What the heck does Church of Christ drink? … Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper, easy ice, with two straws, anywhere in the State of Texas for the rest of his life. The long ball to Marcus Johnson was more than competent, but the 38-yard pass to Mike Davis was a thing of exquisite, haunting beauty, especially the way Case throws off his frackin’ back foot.
You can doubt Case’s arm strength, foot speed and rugged, manly handsomeness, but you can’t doubt his moxie or ability to get up for big games. If every player on this team played as far above his ability as Case McCoy, we’d trounce Alabama by three touchdowns on an off day.
As most people noticed, Saturday’s OU team was not a great one. They were good enough to beat Notre Dame in South Bend, never an easy trick, but turned out to be remarkably one-dimensional. Blake “Belldozer” Bell was less than advertised, completing fewer than half his pass attempts and giving up two interceptions. Bell’s feared ability going into the game was the running skill that destroyed the Horns against BYU and Ole Miss. Our much-maligned defense held the Dozer to -27 yards on seven carries. But, regardless of how good the Sooners were, with wins over OU, you don’t look a gift horse in the … well, you don’t want to look too closely at either end.
Again, congratulations, Mack Brown. I won’t apologize for not attending the game or doubting your team; I have not forgotten the BYU box score. My faith waivered, it’s true, but real faith is built on more than Pollyanna wishful thinking and promises about “fixing” things.
But today, you showed me. You showed us all. You did good, Coach. Go home, put your feet up and eat a cookie before you start thinking about TCU.
I’m not sure how the rest of the season plays out, Coach, but when I think of you years from now, this is how I’ll remember you: still wet from your ice water shower with the warm Cotton Bowl sun peeking between the clouds, hugging your players, saying something encouraging to dejected, defeated Sooners, turning all the interviewer’s questions about your job (in)security into compliments on how hard and well he kids played. When you’re on your game, no backwards, inbred, tornado-bait trailer trash can touch you.
Now if we can only find a real man for Kylie. Hmm.. Maybe Belldozer’s available.
A 1986 graduate of the University of Texas, Jeff Conner has held many jobs in his life: husband, brother, uncle, son, oil field roustabout, short-order cook, sandblaster, irrigation pipe mover, musician, retail assistant manager, attorney-at-law, public school teacher, preacher, cartoonist and writer. While he does have a hot, young wife, Conner is neither as clever nor as good-looking as he believes himself to be. Jeff is currently teaching 8th grade math and Pre-A.P. algebra in Taylor, Texas, home of the Fighting Ducks. Conner’s regularly submitted commentary appears in InsideTexas.com and Inside Texas Magazine. The opinions presented do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inside Texas editorial staff.