Sloppy-drunk on burnt orange Kool-aid in July, I stated – publicly and emphatically and foolishly – that Texas would beat USC this week in Los Angeles. Less than two months later, it’s Trojan game week, and my friends are spending the week verbally abusing me at every turn.
According to just about everyone with whom I’ve come in contact with this week, I’m a clueless idiot who has no idea if a football is blown up or stuffed. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.
But if you’re going to go out on the limb, as I did in July, then you have to own it, embrace it, believe it. Be accountable for it.
That’s what my dad taught me; that’s what I teach my kids. So, today, September 14th of 2017, let me say it again: Texas will beat USC Saturday. Granted, it sounded a lot better in July.
The Longhorns CAN win, but they’ll have to follow my game plan. I have no doubt that Tom Herman is reading this right now, has told his administrative assistant to hold all of his calls, and is taking copious notes. He’s mensa; I’m mensa light.
Pay close attention, Tom:
Your offensive game plan verbiage should start with the name, “Chris Warren”. Every single play. Sample play call from quarterback: “Chris Warren right, on two, ready…BREAK!” Simple. Or, “Chris Warren middle, on one, ready…BREAK!”
Should the Longhorns decide to pass – and hopefully they won’t – the play call should be, “Chris Warren play-action, pass right to Collin Johnson, on three, ready…BREAK!” To quote the great Blaine Nye, it’s the triumph of the uncluttered mind. Keep it simple.
Texas needs to run the ball on first down, linger in the huddle after calling the second-down play, snap the ball with three seconds on the play clock, and run the ball again.
Run the ball. Run the clock. Regardless of whether Shane Buechele or Sam Ehlinger plays, include Jerrod Heard at quarterback in your game plan. Run it right, run it middle, run it left. Three things can happen when you pass and all three are bad.
Have you noticed how pretty Sam Darnold’s hair is? Keep Darnold, his hair and his arm – and especially his receivers – on the sidelines. You do not – DO NOT – want Sam to be throwing the ball against Texas’ D B Ewwww secondary. How do you do that? Run. The. Ball. Followed by Run. The. Clock. Simple.
The strength of this Texas team is offense, despite the fact that the quarterback position has not been solidified. The Longhorns have a solid offensive line, all kinds of talented receivers, a thoroughbred running back and an All-American punter. Keep the ball. Run the ball. Run the clock. No turnovers. Punt when you must.
And something else: don’t kick field goals. Don’t even try. Don’t put a kicker on the airplane west. If it’s fourth down – God forbid – either go for it or punt. If you are inside the USC 40, go for it 100 percent of the time. In the event you score a touchdown, but Heard in the game and go for two, every single time. You are a 17-point underdog; go for it. Just go. But run the play clock way down first, of course.
Do all of these things, and yes, Texas can win Saturday.
Tom Herman: please send game plan consultation check in care of: Mike Blackwell, Inside Texas.