Football

Culpepper: Bring a fight to KU

Pat Culpepper. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Pat Culpepper. (Will Gallagher/IT)

​I didn’t see this coming. Not to say any college team can be beaten on any given Saturday – but shutout by Iowa State?

​Cyclone QB Joel Lanning took the Longhorn defense apart on the second ISU drive by scrambling for first downs. It was his first game as a starter, and in combination with zone read keeps, kept his team on the field enough for a 10-0 halftime lead.

​Freshman running back Mike Warren was the other factor that allowed ISU to dominate the game with their offense.

​The crowd of over 50,000, which was the 30th consecutive time that stadium has achieved such a record, kept the Cyclone defense fired up and they didn’t need much help. Texas was ridiculous.

​Jerrod Heard reverted back to the TCU game and went into a shell – he couldn’t throw and against this defense he couldn’t run. It was his very worst game of his young career at Texas. In fact he ended the game on the sidelines replaced by Tyrone Swoopes.  I have to believe this redshirt freshman needs to man up and play at his very best in two weeks against West Virginia or there is a serious problem.

​For some reason this entire team was a step behind and didn’t appear to be ready to play at all. It was certainly not the same group that was spitting fire in the Cotton Bowl stadium vs Oklahoma or even vs K-State.

​After the 1961 season which ended with Coach Royal’s first bowl victory as a coach, with a 12-7 win over Ole Miss, I was elected co-captain that spring and in August during our tough two-a-day workouts, Royal told us after our last Saturday scrimmage as a I remember, “Since it looks like we’ll be picked No. 1 that means every game is a championship game against us. We’ll get the best shot of Oregon for sure (our first opponent).”

​Not only was he correct but that team ended with a 9-0-1 record and of course the 1963 team won a National Championship and the 1964 lost only to Arkansas 14-13. Those teams in the 1960’s including the 1968-1969 wishbone teams made Texas the team to beat always.

​So it is today. The Iowa State team that lost 48-27 to Baylor, 44-21 to TCU, and 66-31 to Texas Tech was more ready – more excited to play this game then the Longhorns. Despite the scrambling by Lanning and the tough defensive front by Cyclones, the score was just 10-0 at halftime. Texas defensive players like freshman corner from Miami, Davante Davis, DE from Plano Bryce Cotrell, Peter Jinkens, and Naashon Hughes were playing tough enough to catch my eye. They were locked in and playing hard. Hassan Ridgeway got hurt bad but came back in the game to help his teammates and he has my respect for that.

​But the Texas offense was a joke. Where was the sprint draw with D’Onta Foreman running? Even against TCU in Ft. Worth, Foreman was a bull with the football. Was he hurt? Disciplined? He didn’t touch the football until late in the second half and he is by far the best running back at the University of Texas.

​I hate Alex De la Torre got injured. If you didn’t know he is the key blocker on the “18 Wheeler Package”. His father is a head high school coach in the Ft. Worth area. It hurts to lose such competitors.

​Here was the sequence that spelled disaster – after the Cyclones scored, there was 8:38 of the first quarter left. Texas came back with energy. Heard makes seven yards on the QB draw, Gray runs inside for 4 yards, Daje Johnson goes for 8 on the jet sweep, Gray runs twice to bring up third and five then Heard gets sacked by a single twist stunt by Iowa State’s right tackle and right end. Iowa State takes over and runs+passes 14 plays which ends with an outstanding sack by Cottrell.

In comes the Longhorn offense and it’s a quick 3 and out. Iowa State has a 7-play drive which ends with a punt to the Texas 4-yard line. Coach Strong inserts Swoopes and his running makes some first downs but on 3rd and 5, Heard is back in and throws an interception.

​Is this season going down as a one game highlight? Where is the pride of being a Longhorn? Most likely Texas will beat Kansas in Austin but is there any chance for UT in Morgantown against West Virginia.

​Texas will have a slim chance against Texas Tech in Austin but Baylor in Waco could be another TCU slaughterhouse.

​A week ago this was a team on a huge emotional upswing. All guns firing on target – Defense, offense, and kicking game.

​I have no idea what happened but I know what was to happen. Run Foreman, roll out Heard using the draw to Foreman to slow down the defense, jet sweep to Daje, and continue to get better on defense. This season isn’t over.

Hook’Em

Pat

Pat Culpepper played for The University of Texas from 1960-62 and graduated from UT with a B.A. degree with honors in history. He coached college football for 12 years as an assistant at Texas, Colorado, Tulane, Baylor, and Memphis State and was head coach at Northern Illinois from 1976-79. He also spent 16 years as a high school coach in Texas at Midland, Lufkin, Galveston Ball, Westfield and his hometown of Cleburne. He was selected to the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1991. His commentary appears regularly in the Inside Texas magazine and at InsideTexas.com.