'Horns vs. Aggies, Part 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

Oh, hello. I didn’t see you there. I’ve been in my three-point stance for a couple of weeks now, gearing up for the first game of the season. Are you cheering? You should be. IT’S THE FIRST GAME OF THE 2013 SEASON, AND IT IS DRAWING NIGH.

First up for the ‘Horns are the New Mexico State Aggies, hailing from the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). This is an interesting conference, with schools from New Mexico, Washington, Missouri, Illinois, Arizona, California, Texas, Idaho, and Utah. There are no two schools in the same state. Those boys do a lot of traveling! Next year, the WAC is eliminating football as a sponsored sport, so New Mexico State will be heading to the Sun Belt Conference along with Idaho. But this year, they’re coming to our house.

What do these other Aggies bring to the table? Last season, they went 1-11, with their lone win coming in the first game of the 2012 season. The New Mexico State offense is bringing an up-tempo rhythm, much like many other teams this year. This faster style of offense is de rigueur, just like eye-catching outerwear and embracing classic prints for fall. Look, I’m not making this up. It’s right there in Glamour, which you can check for yourself. Like the magazine says, “don’t put away your leopard print just yet.” As if!

Despite their introduction of the up-tempo offense, don’t expect New Mexico State to provide much of a barrier to Texas. Their veteran quarterback, Andrew Manley, transferred schools in the spring. Travaughn Colwell is the new QB. He’s a better runner than Manley, being one of the top rushers on the team. However, Colwell is projected to rank around 110th for passing this year. The Aggies’ leading receiver, Austin Franklin, was declared academically ineligible in August. As you can see, New Mexico State is a bit hamstrung. That seems to be the way with these early season out-of-conference games. There is obviously always the chance the ‘Horns will lose, and they should not take the game lightly.

The one projection I found puts Texas in the winner’s bracket by a 45-10 score. The Aggies just don’t have the depth or talent to be a serious threat. Of course, now I’ve jinxed everything. My Magic 8 Ball warned me about overconfidence.

I’ve been blocking out of my head the fact that I can’t see the game either live or on TV. Not being in Austin is a surprisingly huge impediment to seeing the games in person. And seriously, don’t get me started about the Longhorn Network. You know, there are fans who live outside the three square inches of coverage provided by the network. THROW ME A BONE. PUT IT ONLINE. DO SOMETHING.

As things stand, I will be unable to witness the glorious coming-out party for the new and improved magnificent Longhorns. I will be relegated to reading about it online and watching highlight reels. It’s better than nothing. I’ll weep and gnaw on a whisky-soaked Texas tee shirt. Don’t worry about me.

My solution is to immerse myself in football anyway. I’m headed to the Oregon Ducks season opener against Nicholls State, which the Ducks should win by about 14 million points. That’s just an estimate. So I’ll be looking pretty Ducky but feeling like a Longhorn. A Longhorn who can’t watch what she wants to watch and might be harboring some bitterness.

OK, now is the time in our program where we brag on the ‘Horns. There’s a lot to brag about this year! My last post had a good overview, with the new Offensive Coordinator (‘sup Major!) revving things up with the quicker tempo on offense. To me, this is the big story. Texas is returning more starters than just about anyone else. They have talent to spare, as usual. Let’s put it to use! We will have plenty of time together to discuss all the ins and outs of the team this year. Let’s leave a little mystery, shall we? But I definitely want to talk about all the weapons at Coach Applewhite’s disposal.

At receiver, we have returning to us Jaxon Shipley and “Magic” Mike Davis. I’ve read many predictions that both Davis and Shipley could have 1000-yard seasons, which would be difficult to achieve. David Ash will certainly have his pick, and each receiver brings a little something different. Shipley was used primarily as a decoy last year, with Davis seeing the most action. I’m looking forward to Ash spreading the love a bit more this year.

That scenario reminds me of the film, Bridget Jones’s Diary. The titular heroine, played by Renee Zellweger, spends the film lamenting her luck in love. While Hugh Grant and Colin Firth fight over her. We should all be so unfortunate. I just hope David Ash picks Colin Firth. Fingers crossed.

There are also three phenomenal running backs returning to the already-stacked offense. Marquise Goodwin and DJ Monroe have departed for the big leagues. That leaves Malcolm Brown, Daje Johnson, and well-known spirit animal Johnathan Gray to fill any gaps. And fill they will! Daje Johnson is the fastest player on the ‘Horns squad, in the Big 12, and among the fastest dozen players in the country. He runs the 40-yard-dash in a blistering 4.34 seconds. Last season he had criminally few touches (fewer than four per game), but managed to be only the second freshman in school history to score a receiving and rushing touchdown of 70 yards or more in one season. The 84-yard rushing touchdown against Baylor is a thing of beauty. Go check it out. I’ll wait.

See? He’s amazing. He will really light up opposing defenses if given the chance. Johnathan Gray continues to impress (more than just me!) with the best downfield vision and surest hands among the running back corps. Malcolm Brown really shined last season as a power back who could run over, through, and around defenders. Expect more of the same. Thank you sir, may I have another!

If you are lucky enough to have tickets, I hope you choke on a hot dog. Wait, sorry, that just slipped out. You will be treated to a vision of what the rest of the season holds. May it be magical and filled with hope and wonderment. I am ready to let Manny Diaz redeem himself. I am ready to let Mack Brown show me he is not tired of coaching my beloved Longhorns. Bring it! Make it happen! We want to believe!

I think I need to lie down for awhile. I’ll meet you here for some after-game recapping, and hopefully to celebrate a resounding win and successful debut of Coach Applewhite and the Funky Fresh Up-Tempo Offense. Until next time, Hook ‘em!

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