I’ve been struggling to think of a way to start this post about the upcoming game between Texas and UCLA. Then I saw an article where Barry Switzer was criticizing Coach Strong. So now I’m just mad. My firm opinion is that The Switz should sit down and shut his pie hole.
What to make of this? The ‘Horns are really struggling. This is very different from years past where they had good old Mack Brown running up and down the sidelines, clapping as if his life depended on it. Even during the last few years when things were going downhill, Mack Brown was a sort of security blanket. Things went on, and were the same, except the team kept losing, and becoming more unstable.
Fast forward to now: they have pretty much the definition of instability going on, but there’s no comfortable Coach Brown clapping on the sidelines. I’ve said it before: I’m happy to have Coach Strong. The ‘Horns were in need of a real, substantive change. But this change stuff is scary! I’ve found myself wishing for the haze of a Mack Brown press conference, where people spoke in the passive voice and no one got blamed for anything. It was magical! Like how you feel after two boxes of wine. Or so I’ve heard.
Now Texas has Coach STRONG (that’s his name, Barry Swizzlestick) telling difficult truths and taking responsibility for the team onto his own shoulders. Who does that?
Great coaches, that’s who.
People are starting to agitate, after TWO GAMES. C’mon, folks! Deep breaths. Light a calming lavender candle. Center your emotions. Cleanse your chi. This guy is the business. He doesn’t make excuses, and neither should fans. Right now, the Texas offense is a hot mess of a train wreck filled with garbage. This is the nightmare scenario the coaches hoped would not come to pass. Broken ankles, concussions, rules violations. It’s a tough row to hoe. There is some inappropriate guffawing all over the internets today about Texas’s recruitment of a frat bro to be a backup QB. If he can win games, and follow the rules, he can be green with purple spots and I DON’T CARE. Get him in a uniform! By the way, at the link there is a photo of Coach Strong looking like his head is encased in lucite. It’s worth a look.
So what are they gonna do with UCLA? The Bruins are heading into Dallas for the match-up. Weather won’t be a consideration; they’re used to breathing in L.A. Dallas will be a welcome respite. The No. 12 Bruins come in 2-0, having defeated Virginia (barely) and that powerhouse, Memphis (they have football?). UCLA racked up a staggering 540 yards against Memphis, but allowed 469 yards. That puts some question marks in the equation.
It seems the UCLA offensive line is vulnerable. They’ve allowed nine sacks already and 21 tackles for loss, which puts them last among Division I teams. The Texas defense has something to work with here! Fans know they can bring a hurtin’. Leaving aside that stomach-cramp of a third quarter last week, the defense has definitely been the redeeming point for the ‘Horns. They held BYU to zero touchdowns in the first half. So, something is going right. Are there still tweaks and adjustments? Of course. But the Texas D is off to a pretty solid start.
The offense remains the big unknown. Considering the monster numbers UCLA allowed Memphis to rack up, it’s possible there’s an opportunity to crack open the Texas running game. There are two thoroughbreds, champing at the bit, ready to run all over opponents’ defenses. The line has gotta make some holes! Create some running lanes! Let the boys work. Swoopes will improve with every snap. And I have fingers crossed that soon our more experienced offensive linemen will get with the program and play some football.
Vegas has UCLA by 7.5 points. I honestly can’t make a prediction. My Magic 8 Ball walked out on me after last week. Will Swoopes show improvement? Will the O line push back this week? Will Coach Strong just head into the stands and start pulling students randomly onto the field? (It could work. Bring your pads just in case.)
Kickoff is at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Hie thee into your car and drive thineself there directly! Put bottoms in seats. Cheer until you go hoarse. Those L.A. types travel, you guys. There will be plenty of blue and gold in the stadium. Blot out the sun with the sheer numbers of Longhorn fans! (I think I’ve watched too many historical dramas lately.)
Don’t lose the faith. Hook ‘em!
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