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FROM THE STANDS: Bye

Texas is in the bye week, but my mind is elsewhere. Wednesday morning, 8:15 am, I lost my partner. She showed up in February of 2001, right after I got married. She was the first big decision my wife and I ever made. She was an 18-pound Boston Terrier, and her name was Minnie. She lost the fight with a broken down body, poor eyesight and poor hearing on Wednesday morning. Her last gesture was to jump in bed with us at 4 am that day, which was something she hadn’t done/been able to do in 2 years. Now she’s gone. I miss you, Minnie, and always will. You’re always here with me. With us. Goodbye.

Lots of stuff going on off the field and for the first time this year, it seems, it doesn’t involve the Texas Longhorns. Some things:

  • Turns out two pieces of Texas news broke after all: David Ash has officially called it a career after three concussions in his last three games. It’s the best decision for him, but it still stinks. Frankly I was surprised he came back last spring, but I’m glad he’s making this decision. He’ll still travel with the team and help the qb’s, but there will be no more football for him. The other news is the Desmond Jackson will have ankle surgery and is out for the season. That’s a big blow for Texas, because the run defense struggled in his absence last week.
  • Michael Sam was passed over by several teams because they thought he would be “a distraction.” I’ll take his “distraction” over the nonsense going on right now in the NFL.
  • With all the attention domestic violence is getting right now, I don’t think Joe Mixon, Frank Shannon or DGB ever suit up again for ou.
  • I am on the fence with Jameis Winston. I can’t decide if he is just a completely clueless idiot, or if he’s a completely arrogant jerk. I talked about him earlier this summer and I explained that I thought his arrogance was unprecedented and that he just didn’t care what you, I or anyone thought or if what he did was wrong. But after hearing what he said standing up on a table in the Florida State student union on Tuesday, multiple times, and considering what allegations he has pinned to him, I think a case could be made that he is just unbelievably dumb. Or even more arrogant than I thought. Either way, enough.
  • Good job by Florida State teaching Winston a lesson in humility, discretion and responsibility, by the way. The issued a press release condemning his actions and announced he’d be suspended for the first half of the Clemson game on Saturday. The press release was longer than the punishment will be. That’ll teach him. Kevin Sumlin says hi, Jimbo.
  • I don’t expect Martez Walker back for the Texas basketball team.

TEXAS (1-2)   BYE

Texas is in the middle of the bye week and there are several things I see the Horns working on as they take the week off. Let’s take a look at what’s what:

 

  • The Suspended. Let’s get this resolved either way right now. Let them back, or kick them off. Whether Charlie Strong wants to admit it or not, this is becoming a distraction. If they are not on available to play this week, then send them on their way. If they are going to miss another game, costing them 25% of the season, then shut them down for the year or give them their severance. If whatever they did is bad enough to cost them the entire month of September plus more time, then tell us what they did/ let them go.
  • Special Teams. The snapper, holder and kickers are doing just fine, but everyone else on the unit should be replaced or forced to re-earn their jobs. Give some of the freshmen like Armanti and D’Onta Foreman a shot at returning kicks, because the status quo is terrible. If it isn’t a fair catch, it’s a bad decision and bad effort to run it out. The guys back there are very good in the offense, but this is not their strong suit and others should be given the chance to win the job. It has to be better. The return game, the decisions, the punt block, the punt cover… It has to be better or Texas will lose another game that they should win.
  • Linebacker.  Numbers last week aside, it has to be better. When Desmond Jackson went down in the third quarter, UCLA was able to attack the linebackers in much the same way BYU did. Figure it out.
  • Decision Making. Texas cannot have another disaster like the end of the UCLA game. Special teams let them down, but it sure would have been nice to see the Longhorns run three minutes off the clock rather than a paltry 1:11 after that turnover. The staff needs to understand the situation, the stakes and the personnel on the field and make better decisions. That was frustrating to watch, and there was no reason for it. Better decisions, please.
  • Execution.  Texas can’t afford to miss tackles, run into the kicker, jump offsides on punts, run into the kicker again, not realize the time/situation on the clock, kick the ball out of bounds on kickoffs, #%*& up the coin toss and run into the kicker anymore. UCLA was a top 15 team, but does anyone for second think even with a healthy Brett Hundley they stay within double digits of ou or Baylor? Not a chance. Big 12 play is starting and the execution has to be better. There will be mistakes, like the jumping of the bubble & go route and getting beat, but those are mistakes I can live with. Not making tackles, committing penalties and false starts are immediate and easy fixes. Everyone, staff included, needs to execute better.

 

SO…

Do not count me in to “the sky is falling” crowd because I am decidedly not. I saw a lot of things last weekend that I liked. I did not like the ending at all, but I tell you right now I am so, so, so glad that we have this guy in charge instead of UCLA’s guy in charge. The ceiling for Texas is very high with Charlie Strong, and they are working their way up.

Texas has found themselves a quarterback in Tyrone Swoopes and the offensive line is going to struggle for several games until they all get comfortable with the speed of the game and each other. The good news is they are going to get better each week, as they did last week. Vance Bedford needs to figure out the third quarter, because in both losses massive damage was done in that third quarter. You have the week off to address that, and either move the linebackers around or move other linebackers in there to fix it. The good news is Kansas doesn’t run the ball like BYU or UCLA, the bad news is Baylor and ou run the ball better than BYU and UCLA. Still, this defense is stout and a tweak or two away from getting their issues fixed. Special teams need some work, but with the kickers doing what they are doing, the fix isn’t nearly as daunting as it could be. The return of Daje Johnson should cure a lot of ails on specials, and rumor has it he’ll be back for Kansas.

This is not going to be a quick fix, everyone should realize that now. It’s slower than everyone wants, but it’s moving in the right direction. Watch the film and work on the flaws and let’s get ready for Kansas and another trip to Johnny’s. Will Todd Reesing be bartending again? Was actually bartending last time? It’s a bit fuzzy.

 

THIS WEEK IN THE BIG 12

BAYLOR (3-0)   BYE
IOWA STATE (1-2/0-1)   BYE
OKLAHOMA STATE (2-1)   BYE
TCU (2-0)   BYE
TEXAS (1-2)   BYE

TEXAS TECH (2-1)   BYE

Thursday, September 18th

No. 5 Auburn Tigers (2-0) @ No.20 KANSAS STATE (2-0)   6:30 pm   ESPN
The mighty SEC comes to Big 12 country. ae K-State stadium is a sunken pit with smells of used cattle feed drifting over the walls. The visiting team has to walk through the stands to get to the field and the students’ no-nonsense tailgate (are five kids standing around a bottle of Wild Turkey a tailgate?) make for some loud, aggressive and fired up fans. K-State can absolutely win this night game at home, but a lot has to go right for them. A lot less has to go right for Auburn, but I’m sticking with my Midwest Purple pick. And now it’s being reported that starting Auburn safety Jermaine Whitehead, their most experienced defensive player and interception leader, has been suspended and did not travel to Manhattan for the game after getting into a shouting match with a coach. Come on, K-State. it’s right there.


Saturday, September 20th

Central Michigan Chippawas (2-1) @ KANSAS (1-1)   2:30 pm
There is a reason this isn’t on TV. Anything is better than this. Anything. Roadhouse 2 is better than this. I mean I’d watch it if it were on, but I am an idiot. You don’t want to be like me. But Kansas wins! Or they don’t. One of those.

@ No.4 oklahoma (3-0) @ WEST VIRGINIA   6:30 pm   FOX
While he’s deep undercover in New York, DEA agent Shane Tanner, the son of a legendary cooler named Dalton, learns that his uncle Nate Tanner got beat up by a group of men because he doesn’t want to sell the Black Pelican, his bar in Tyree, Louisiana. Shane takes off for Louisiana to find out who attacked Nate. Shane decides to stay in Nate’s house for the time being, and run the Black Pelican in Nate’s absence, much to the dismay of former Black Pelican cooler Bill “Wild Bill” Decarie. Wild Bill wants to buy the Black Pelican since it’s located in a prime location for running drugs. The Black Pelican is close to the border, it’s between Florida and Texas, and it’s in an area where drugs can be smuggled pretty much undetected. But Shane doesn’t want to sell, and damages the numerous thugs that Bill sends his way. Also, Dalton was murdered years ago, and Shane still wonders who killed Dalton. When Shane was a rookie state trooper in Tyree, Shane had come home from work one night, and found Dalton fatally shot. After that, Shane left town and became a DEA agent. Now, Wild Bill’s boss, Miami crime syndicate kingpin Victor Crost, decides that it’s time to handle matters personally, because Wild Bill’s men are not doing a good job of it. Shane is soon faced with impossible odds and a low number of staff members at the Black Pelican. To rid Louisiana of Victor, Wild Bill, and their organization, Shane teams up with local school teacher Beau Hampton, who is a regular at the Black Pelican…

 

Wait, Dalton was MURDERED? WHAT???

Back next Monday with a breakdown of the weekend.

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