“Remember, remember, the Fifth of November

The Gunpowder Treason and Plot

I can think of no reason why the Fifth of November

Should ever be forgot.”
Guy Fawkes considered himself a true patriot, but, more importantly, a good Catholic. A hardened, battle-tested veteran, Fawkes fought for ten years withSpanish Catholics against the Dutch in the Eighty Years’ War. Disgusted at what Fawkes perceived to be the shabby treatment of Catholics by England’s King James (yeah, the King James Bible dude), Fawkes attempted to find military support overseas for overthrowing the Protestant James and replacing him with his daughter, Princess Elizabeth. YoungElizabeth could then be married to a Catholic and manipulated behind the scenes.

When no foreign powers were willing to fund an all-out war against England, Fawkes took matters into his own hands. Literally.

The solution, according to Fawkes and his coconspirators, was to blow up the House of Lords when King James was present making a speech. The Plot was uncovered, and Fawkes was caught red-handed with 36 barrels of gunpowder (yes, even by modern standards, it was an arsload) stored in the tunnels underneath the House of Lords, along with piles of coal, firewood and a “slowe match.”

The date was November 5, 1605.

After being tortured to give up the names of his coconspirators, Fawkes was publicly executed. He was hung so his body would be “halfway between heaven and earth, as unworthy of both.” Fawkes genitals were then cut off and burned in his presence. Fawkes’ body was decapitated, drawn and quartered, and his body was left exposed to be “prey for the fowls of the air.”

Which is pretty much what it felt like watching Case McCoy throw deep balls against Kansas last Saturday. But I digress…

The Fifth of November has been celebrated in England ever since 1605, at first to light bonfires, beat up Catholics, give speeches against the evils of “popery” and generally acknowledge the foiling of the royal assassination plot. Years later, celebrants no longer burn the Pope in effigy or commit community violence, but now shoot fireworks and party on “Guy Fawkes Day.”

As fans of the University of Texas, we had our own version of the Gunpowder Plot on November 5, 2013, a revolution of sorts. After three decades of service, DeLoss Dodds was replaced as the Athletic Director at the University of Texas by Steve Patterson, who formerly held the same position at Arizona State.

Hardcore UT fans understand that a massive, complete and thorough renovation of the University of Texas Athletic Department is in order. Not only does the job involve replacing Dodds but also, eventually, head coaches Mack Brown, Rick Barnes and Augie Garrido, as well as the moribund culture of arrogance, entitlement and complacency that have encrusted Bellmont Hall.

To most Inside Texas subscribers, the renovation seems to be moving slower than when the condom wrapper won’t open, but make no mistake, this Fifth of November is one to remember. To quote Churchill, “Now is not the end. It is not even the end of the beginning. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Speculation has been running rampant since Patterson’s employment was announced: Was Patterson brought in the fire Mack Brown? Can Brown salvage his job by winning “x” number of games? What connections, if any, does Patterson have to Nick Saban? How much power does school president William Powers actually have? What happened to West Virginia AD Oliver Luck, who allegedly was the frontrunner for the Texas job? Does this rant make my butt look big? You know, stuff like that.

The rumors and amateur pop psychoanalysis has been coming faster and more furious than gossip at a Primitive Baptist ladies’ quilting circle. Truth is, like the Patterson hire, everything is in flux, and we are witnessing a giant game of chess with multiple players and an unknown number of pieces left on the board. We won’t know the final outcome until the last king is left standing.

The Bellmont Bop would feel more like entertainment and less like voyeurism if the football team was playing well, but after a stirring win over Oklahoma and a competent beat-down of TCU, the Horns came out flatter than Kate Hudson against the lowly Kansas Jayhawks. Our running game clicked after we wore Rock Chalk down to a nub in a human rock tumbler and eventually ran our ground statistics to respectable levels (221 yards on 44 carries, 5.0 yards per).

Grinding people down to a nub is great against lightweights like Kansas, and may even work this weekend in Morgantown where the Mountaineers have found points more scarce than hairs on Dana Holgorsen’s forehead. But the grind won’t work against Oak State or Baylor, who can actually play defense and who are capable of putting up some serious offensive numbers.

McCoy’s inability to hit a receiver on a sideline “go” route in single coverage will determine as much as any other factor how the rest of the season will go. Against the Sooners, Case hit those throws, backed up the safeties, and the running game blossomed. Against the Jayhawks, the safeties weren’t intimidated, and the running game became an unrelenting chore.

So, do we root for the Horns or against them? Mack needs to be given one more year or burn it down?

Personally, I can never want the University of Texas to lose at anything, up to and including tiddlywinks. Let’s just hope this 5th of November is never forgot. All I can do is trust that the people staging the revolution brought enough gunpowder to get the job done.

Anybody have a light?

“Hook ‘em.”

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 and Inside Texas Magazine. The opinions presented do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inside Texas editorial staff.