“All the white meat is gone.” Coach Darrell Royal used that phrase back in the 1960s when his Longhorns were about to face, in order, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Rice, and it is equally applicable today with Colorado, Oklahoma and Missouri up next.
Forget about the polls and rankings; Texas will be very fortunate to win two of the three.
Forget about protecting Colt McCoy when Texas has huge leads; there won’t be any in the next three games.
The game in Boulder will be before a hostile crowd and versus a team with enough talent on the field to upset Oklahoma last season when most of the Buffs were young and inexperienced. At best I can see a fourth quarter win for Texas.
Number one, the Texas secondary can be picked on. Watch Colorado go after Ryan Palmer. And as a group, the defensive backs must mature into an excellent tackling unit. Short pass completions and missed tackles are the breakdown or the breakout for the Texas backfield four-deep. It’s put up or shut up time for them.
The good news: the most improved part of the Texas team this last weekend was Will Muschamp’s defense. I bet watching the Alabama defensive efforts versus Arkansas on the exchange tapes lit a fire under the whole group. Don’t tell me Brian Orakpo and the Texas linebackers didn’t up their intensity after seeing from the Crimson Tide what Coach Muschamp preaches 24-7. “Relentless” is the word that comes to mind.
Number two, TEXAS NEEDS A REAL RUNNING BACK! The committee plan was all right versus the first four on the schedule but it won’t be enough from here on out. Those second-and-eight and second-and-nine yards to go situations that the Horns converted versus the Owls (both sets of ‘em), the Miners and the Hogs will put Texas in deep trouble versus the Buffaloes, Sooners and Tigers. So, enough is enough; let Cody Johnson take over the running back spot and hammer the opposition enough to take some pressure off Colt McCoy.
It seems Foswhitt Whittaker is either unlucky or he can’t stand up to the hits at running back. Texas needs to go to Plan B: the 5-11, 255-pound battering ram Cody Johnson.
Please don’t say, “He doesn’t understand all our pass protection.” That’s what Mack Brown and Greg Davis said about Cedric Benson as a rookie against Oklahoma only to see Bob Stoops’ staff turn loose freshman Adrian Peterson on Texas three seasons later.
How about a crash course this week and next for Johnson without all the wasted time watching Vondrell ‘Second-and-Eight’ McGee get practice snaps? And here’s a good rule for Cody: Anybody breaking through on Colt while he’s passing, knock his ass off!
The good news here: The Texas offensive line was spectacular against Arkansas. There is only one more unit like them in the Big 12 and they play in Norman, Oklahoma.
But how close will it be in Boulder Saturday night? Look for a furious comeback by Colt McCoy and Texas will either win 34-31 or lose 34-31. I hope it’s the former.
Pat Culpepper played for The University 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.