Bless Inside Texas writer Bill Frisbie who reported after the Iowa State meltdown that senior linebacker Peter Jinkens said, “We weren’t focused the week before in practice, I can say that.”
Also, linebacker Malik Jefferson admitting to Frisbie, “We were flat.”
Sorry boys, I came up in the age when All-American linebacker Johnny Treadwell quit talking on Friday getting ready for Saturday’s game and the first words I usually learned from him were on the opening kickoff when we got in our ready position on the opposite sides of the football and he turned his head and said, “Let’s kick their ass Pat”!
Since I’ll take Jinkens’ and Jefferson’s words for what they felt then, Texas got what they deserved at Iowa State.
In the early 60’s, we would gather in the bottom of Moore Hill Hall with a projector with our coming opponent’s films available – there would be David McWilliams, Tommy Ford, Scott Appleton, and myself. It wouldn’t take long to see the high and low of who we were facing.
Then there was Darrel Royal’s kicking sheets that he carefully went over in our last team meeting at the hotel where we stayed on Saturday morning. We knew the rules and how important they were to winning. They directly won the 1960 TCU vs Texas game in Ft. Worth against the Bob Lilly-led Frogs. “A blocked kick crossing the line of scrimmage is ours if we blocked it – don’t touch it!”
TCU did, we knocked the ball out, recovered it and kicked a field goal to win 3-2!
In fact, coach Royal operated the projector going over the Texas kicking game in those Saturday morning meetings – the good and the bad from the previous game you didn’t want to be in the latter.
I have no idea what coach Strong did before the 7:00 PM kickoff versus Kansas, but on the first defensive series, I spotted number #91 at right defensive end instead of Shiro Davis and no Malik Jefferson on the field! There was also #28 on defense and the program had those numbers on a placekicker and a running back?
Later in the half, Texas began to run the ball with D’Onta Foreman on one side of Heard, and Johnathan Gray on the other. IF they didn’t get the ball, they blocked for their partner, and Foreman took it 93 yards to the end zone early in the second half. He had a much better game than LSU’s Leonard Fournette and believe me they are the same type of runners. The Texas coaching staff seems to have a different time realizing that – but in Dallas and versus Kansas, Foreman’s long runs became the signature offensive play that said, “We will win this game.” Not only did Gray throw some key blocks for Foreman’s 150-yard outing, but the Texas offensive line returned to its aggressive mode. Let’s pray that the Longhorn offensive coaches are waking up to what Foreman can mean to this team and find ways to get him the ball. If he was injured before the Iowa State game, that’s an excuse for not running him in the first half – if he was healthy the coaches screwed up big time.
Perhaps Strong put some fresh faces on the field early in the Kansas game to shake his team up! Good for him. Whether you like it or not the Texas players must realize what they signed up for. They are playing for the 3rd winningest college team in football history with four national championship teams in their past.
It was important that the players and coaches got to meet some of Freddie Steinmark’s teammates as they got into DKR off their busses. The movie “My All American” is a marvelous story of a young man that pushed himself to the limits-there is not a player in the current Texas secondary that isn’t bigger than Freddie but nobody could hit harder or studied the game and the opponents more closely. Horrible bone cancer took his life but not his spirit. Some of the players went over to the Ex-Longhorns wearing jersey number 28. Texas Athletic Director Mike Perrin did a wonderful job setting this ceremony up to honor Freddie and to call attention to the movie opening this next week.
So what’s next? TCU got beat soundly by the team that Texas had on the ropes, Okie State, and except for a muffed snap and some horrible officiating, would have defeated or at least taken into overtime in Austin.
Week to week, it’s a war now.
Injuries happen – Boykin lost his home run threat in Josh Doctson and it hampered any comeback chances. Weather changes games in November – you have to be able to run the football and play tough up front defense.
To me this next Saturday in West Virginia is a crucial game for the Texas Longhorns under Charlie Strong.
Mountaineer running back Wendell Smallwood ran for 163 yards versus Texas Tech, which added to the 300 total yards rushing. QB Skyler Howard, a junior from the state of Texas, is a serious threat as a passer and runner. Their defense is the best coach Holgerson has had in his four years as head coach at WVU. There will be 60,000 fans packed-in awaiting the Longhorns. WVU’s 31-26 victory over Tech broke a 4-game losing streak and this is their last home game versus a Big 12 opponent.
The Texas team that was sleeping during the week, going through the motions during the Iowa State week, will get their ass beaten. The Texas team that was determined, super-aggressive, and unselfish in the third quarter vs Kansas, the whole game against OU, and the defense vs Kansas State can win this game.
It’s time for this football team to grow up. I think Tyrone Swoopes has what it takes – if Heard acts scared and is overcome by the moment in Morgantown. Tyrone has become a Cardale Jones-type QB. He isn’t afraid to run through tacklers and acts like a leader when he is on the field.
Most of all, this game comes down to players like Hassan Ridgeway, Desmond Jackson, and Poona Ford playing great football in the middle of the Texas defense. Linebackers, Jinkens and Jefferson making sure tackles; and please, please give Foreman the ball with some aggressive blockers in front of him.
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.