Archive for September, 2005

It’s all starting to make sense

September 6, 2005

It's all starting to make sense. The pieces are starting to fall into place.

In the past few months I have asked the following questions: Why would Gene Chizik leave Auburn and come to Texas? Why would Michael Huff chose to run track over spring football and why would Mack allow and encourage this? Why are we playing a strong safety(Drew Kelson) at linebacker? And lastly, as of this past Saturday, why was one of our starting safeties(Michael Huff) playing cornerback? And as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep Monday night it all clicked.

Texas vs Ohio State is a statement game. It's the biggest nonconference college football game in over 15 years. The history is right, the stage is right, the cast is right, the timing is right.

This game was on the schedule before Mack Brown accepted the job here 7 years ago yet he continued to use it as a recruiting tool which resulted in the #1 recruiting class and one of the best of alltime. Not coincidently Ohio State had the #2 class that year for much the same reason. All those recruits are now seniors, or redshirt juniors in VY's case, and it's finally time to play the game. It's been a long time coming.

See in the past Mack Brown has done and said all the right things. He keeps the team focused at the task at hand and seldom do his teams ever overlook an opponent. A couple years ago after the game before OU a reporter asked about the upcoming OU game and he said he wasn't going to talk about it yet he was just going to enjoy their win until Monday. Later that day after Stoops' win they asked him about the game with UT and he answered exactly the opposite. He said it was a relief to have the other games out of the way and he was excited and couldn't wait until Saturday. That was Mack's problem with big games, he didn't circle them on the schedule. Until now. Ever since Dusty Mangum's field goal cleared the uprights in Pasadena the focus has been on this Ohio State game.

It is no secret new Defensive Coordinator Gene Chizik has his goals set on higher coaching positions and he won't be here long. Mack has the recent history of sending coaches in boat loads to the NFL that Chizik was looking for. But more than that was the opportunity to show what he can do. And with games like Ohio State, OU, and Texas Tech on the schedule there is plenty of opportunity to show that he can coach defenses to shut down big time offenses.

My second question was why would Michael Huff chose to run track over spring football and why would Mack allow and encourage this? Every time you here someone talk about Texas-Ohio State what two players are mentioned? Vince Young and Ted Ginn. Ted Ginn tore through the Big 10 last year as a freshman and his speed gave defensive coordinators nightmares. The answer… sick track star Michael Huff on him. Huff played corner his first two seasons at Texas and it was mostly at that position that he tied the NCAA record for interceptions returned for TDs. He has blazing speed and last year in our nickel on third downs he would usually man up on the slot receiver so its not like he hasn't done it in a while. Running on a track relay team last year that went to the national championship will provide the speed needed to shut down Ted Ginn. Saturday I was confused as hell when Huff slid over to corner and Cedric Griffin lined up at safety, a position to my knowledge that he has never played atleast at the collegiate level. But it makes sense now and I would expect to see a #7 vs #7 battle about 60-70% of the plays Saturday.

At the beginning of camp Mack announced they were moving highly touted recruit Drew Kelson from strong safety to linebacker. I did not understand this move either until I considered the Ohio State game. To stop Ohio State's playmakers, Ted Ginn, Santonio Holmes, and Troy Smith, you need good cover guys and speed. Playing Kelson at linebacker essentially makes our base defense a nickel and geared to stop the pass. Ohio State has a very unproven running game but should they chose to go that right we still will have the personell on the field (Wright, Dibbles, Okam, Harris, Bobino) to smash people in the mouth.

If Ohio State gets pinned inside their 30 or 35 I would expect Jim Tressel to go extra conservative and I'd expect us to counter that by moving Huff back to safety and Eric Hall back to strongside backer to help support the run. But from there on heads up because there are going to be some playmakers on the field on both sides of the ball.

One of the most interesting storyline for this game that I think seldom gets mentioned is that both Mack Brown and Jim Tressel are very conservative coaches that believe in running the ball, ball control, and good defense. However, both teams offenses are geared around playmakers that you just have to trust and let make plays. The coach he does a better job of trusting his guys on offense will have the upper hand in this game.

Another big thing Mack needs to do is play Jamaal Charles and Henry Melton. I felt good about Selvin Young on Saturday until I watched the game again and saw his two fumbles and his constant trips to the sideline to tape and ice that ankle that he broke and had 11 screws inserted in. Charles had the best opening day of any back in Texas history and Melton showed he has the toughness to get it done. In 2001 Mack didn't play Cedric against OU and last year he didn't play Romance Taylor against OU because of the stage and what that can do to freshman. Forget that. It's not like Selvin protected the ball any better than the freshmen did on Saturday, turn 'em lose.

In the end Texas will win because they are geared around winning this game and they have Vince Young's leadership to execute on gameday. And the most beautiful thing of all is that I will witness every play from Sec 8AA Row G Seat 1.

hj

Week 1 Games and Non Conference Scheduling

September 1, 2005

Quick Notes:
I am glad that things are going to get going in a hurry this season. It seems that in years past the first month of games college football serves nothing but appetizers. This year we get to the real meet from the get go.

Florida St vs Miami
Miami at #8 preseason? You must be kidding me. Quick whoever can name Miami's QB gets $1,000. Nobody? Come on… $2,000! Okay… Exactly what I mean, who the hell is Scott Wright . I follow a lot of recruiting and watch a lot of games but I have never even heard of this guy. Yet they are a top 10 team? Give me Ohio State, Iowa, and both Florida teams before Miami. FSU will set Miami in their place from Day 1.

Boise State at Georgia
Quite possibly the second biggest non-conference game of the year that is not played annually. Throw out the bowl games, the Louisville-Miami matchups, and whatever else. This game will be a telltale sign that shows if the top midmajors can hang with the big guys. Last year all the controversy about Utah and Boise State being undefeated yet deserving of BCS bowl games will be settled here. I am sick of midmajors walking through their bogus schedules and then wanting to compare themselves against the top teams in the country. If Boise State can go into Athens and beat Georgia between the hedges, I will give them their due credit. My biggest thing is nonconference schedule.

The one thing you can control in you schedule is who you sign up to play you nonconference games. If you play in a tough conference and a handful of your conference games are solid opponents, congratulations you had no control over that. This is exactly what happened to Auburn last year. They scheduled cupcake teams and then at the end of the year they tried to claim they did all they could do.

If you are a midmajor TCU, Utah, Boise State, whoever, don't even try to talk big unless you have a top team on your nonconference schedule. Last year I had more respect for Louisville than I did for Boise State or Utah. They went down and played Miami IN Miami and took them to the brink. That was the only game they lost and they went on to beat Boise State in their bowl game. Thats the way to prove something. Fresno State is the other. They'll jump at the chance to play any of the big guys. This year they play at USC. In the past two years they have played Kansas State, Washington, Tennessee, Oregon, and Oklahoma in non conference games.

I am glad to see that some of these teams are doing what they need to do to prove themselves while I am getting sick of the others who do nothing and sit around and whine about it.

hj