Football

Culpepper: K-State awaits

Naashon Hughes in South Bend. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Naashon Hughes in South Bend. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Coach Bill Snyder has made quite a nice reputation bringing his Wildcats to Austin and out-coaching the Longhorn head coaches. Last season was a joke, it was a 23-0 shutout and an embarrassment to Texas at Manhattan. The Longhorn defense kept the Texas team in the contest for as long as they could but it was ridiculous the way Tyrone Swoopes handled the game after the game after a comeback win in Austin versus Iowa State the week before.

​The very night after the surprising Texas victory over Oklahoma, the Wildcats took TCU to the max losing late 45-52. In fact, they lost at Stillwater in a heartbreaker 36-34 once again in the late stages of the fourth quarter. This last weekend with 50,000 looking on at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, the Oklahoma Sooners came out angry, humbled by what happened last weekend in Dallas and put a 35-0 score up at halftime on K-State. Snyder switched QB’s near the end of the half but within minutes after the intermission saw a poorly thrown ball go for another Sooner score. The final ended up Oklahoma 55 Kansas State 0.

​Welcome to our world of 2015, Coach Snyder. It is dark and not much fun when you can’t find a quarterback. We have one at Texas and he’s made a difference,

​To say this game is crucial for the Longhorns is an understatement. Because of the total team and coaching efforts against the Sooners, there is a chance this young Texas team can absolutely turn this season around. No doubt a different team with a different coaching philosophy went to the Cotton Bowl and took the physical battle plan to the front against OU. Don’t think for a second that Oklahoma wasn’t prepared or didn’t want to win as much as Texas. Baker Mayfield paid a price being sacked six times but he is still an Austin boy and you know how much he wanted to beat Texas. On his behalf Mayfield never quit and brought his team within a touchdown.

​Jay Norvell brought back the QB sweep, the QB dive keep (no zone read), and the jet sweep motion before the snap to spread the defense – no more Shawn Watson stationary, stand up drop backs after the spread snap. Joe Wickline got his mixed group of lineman made up of freshman, a couple of seniors, and whoever was healthy to come off the football and actually make contact with the opponents’ defensive lineman and linebackers. Who in the world would ever guess that D’Onta Foreman could become the equal of Baylor’s running back Shock Linwood? His runs are getting close to being a sample of LSU’s Leonard Fournette so far this season. The sprint draw play with Heard handing off to Foreman is a real weapon in this Texas offense.

​Yes, the Texas passing game has been almost shutdown against TCU and Oklahoma but the threat by John Burt and Marcus Johnson on the deep throws cannot be ignored and Heard has proven he can get it downfield.

​The Swoopes package has helped Tyrone shake off the 2014 season. He is now a football player and a contributor to this Texas offense.

​It is what it is – a QB running-threat offense with a deep pass ability and a big running back in Foreman. At it’s best it keeps the clock moving and wears the opponent’s defense down chasing Heard.

​What’s really different is the Texas defense. Duke Thomas has put his game on the line at cornerback and his blitzes from the boundary vs OU made Longhorns a threat when they don’t have the ball.

​Unless I am totally wrong, but the Longhorn defensive line – Paul Boyette (6’2, 303) Jr., Poona Ford (5’11, 291) Soph., Desmond Jackson (6’1, 300) Sr., Hassan Ridgeway (6’3, 314) Jr., Shiro Davis (6’2, 250) Sr., and Naashon Hughes (6’4, 232) Soph.- played their respective game of their college lives at the Cotton Bowl and if they deep down really want to, they can make this the way they want to be throughout the rest of the season. They came to whip Oklahoma every play and any sub in the game kept the pressure on.

​Linebackers Peter Jinkens and Malik Jefferson are close to my heart – not the biggest but they do make plays or at least they did against Oklahoma. Samaje Perine found that out early where Jinkens and Hughes cut him down at the line of scrimmage – coach Mike Campbell would be proud.

​The Texas secondary played mad against Oklahoma. Solid tackles vs completed passes and what looked to me like tighter coverage.

​That kicking game that cost Texas two overtime games (Michigan understands how that feels) was on target and that does make a difference.

​Who knows what to expect from K-State this next Saturday. We know what Texas did after the 50-7 beat down by TCU. I’m sure that Strong is aware and has made his team ready for the Wildcats best effort. Be that as it may, every Longhorn football player and coach has shown what they can do together. It’s no time to back up.

​I plan to be saluting the Texas team getting off its buses two hours before the game at DKR. I hope that other Texas fans will show their support loudly during the game.

​The loss of Bevo who was a hero to every grandchild in the stands was sad. He was a symbol for not only the University but the state of Texas. J. Frank Dobie educated us all to the role the Longhorn played in the economic recovery by Texas after the Civil War.

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.