For once, this commentary is going to be critical of an offensive coordinator other than Greg Davis. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I've taken my name off the petition to recall the Master and Commander of the transparent game-plan, but this week, I've got bigger "colonels" to pop. Fresh off Nebraska's worst season in over forty years, Cornhusker head coach Frank Solich was forced to hire all new coordinators or be faced with his own early retirement. Despite a few national championships in the mid 90's and an appearance in the big game just two years ago, it seems the "children of the corn" were no longer mesmerized by the run-oriented, triple-option. So after last season, big Frank jumped down, turned around and hired Barney Cotton, who was immediately harnessed with the task of installing a West-Coast offense using option personnel all while wearing a fluffy, purple dinosaur suit. Okay, kidding about the last part, but needless to say, ole Barney had his work cut out for him and never was that more evident than when the Horns took his offense behind the woodshed last Saturday. With more on that, I give you...
NEBRASKA'S TOP 10 PLAY-CALLS:
10. Direct snapping the ball to the back judge
9. The Intentional Fumble
8. Taking a safety when "the card" said go for two
7. Quarterback-sneak (back to the team bus before the reporters find you)
6. Pooch punting the extra point attempt
5. The Smear the Queer Veer (see Josh Davis Iso)
4. Calling time-out to ice the punter
3. Taking a knee to end the 1st Quarter
2. The Naked Bootleg (a.k.a. The Jamal Lord of the "shit my pants" Dance)
1. The Prevent Offense
FORLORN ABOUT HORN OVER CORN
If you're like me, you're not jumping up and down just because the Longhorns outplayed, outclassed, and even out-coached a top 20 Cornhusker team last Saturday. No, you're wondering where in the hell that kind of effort was three weeks ago against OU and why Nebraska was so highly ranked in the first place. The simple truth is Nebraska has a one-dimensional offense led by a quarterback who makes passes about as well as Mr. Firley down at the Regal Beagle. If the Horns hadn't shot themselves in the foot with 3 turnovers and Professor Brown's unyielding dedication to the Chance Mock experiment, the score probably would have been 56-0. Hey, I"m not complaining and I'm the first to admit I didn't think the score would be as lopsided as it was, but I'm also not ready to go out and claim the Longhorns "world beaters" again. While Carl Reese's man-to-man, blitzing scheme is great for one-dimensional offenses, teams who are balanced can easily audible at the line of scrimmage, recognizing a hot read and passing with ease against Texas' cornerbacks in tight coverage. This in a nutshell is what cost the Horns against Tech last year and coupled with the Horns inability to stop the run, was partly responsible for all those long passes given up against Arkansas earlier this year. You just can't blitz every down against a good quarterback. If Jamal Lord was a better passer, Saturday's outcome probably would have been a lot different. But give the defense some credit, they played harder than they have all season and with the better late than never arrival of Texas' zone-read, ball control offense, hopefully we'll see a repeat performance in the...
Two things this week: don't expect Texas to be as dominant as they were against Nebraska; and don't expect OSU to play as poorly as they did against OU. The Cowboys sport a balanced offense which can pass and run with equal effectiveness. The inability of the Longhorns' secondary to master the zone coverage scheme will force Carl Reese to blitz early and often to take the pressure off Texas' corners who will be in tight man-to-man coverage with no safety net. Hopefully Carl went to school on the OU tape but who knows if he got to that before naptime or not. The success of UT's defense will depend largely on how much pressure Mike Williams and the front four can get on Josh Fields. Personally, I'd rather see OSU in 3rd and short situations over3rd and long as dumb as that might sound. I like our chances against Tatum Bell over Rashaun Woods any day.
Defensively, the Cowboys are solid but they've given up a lot of points this season. Young and Benson should have continued success running the ball, but to win, Greg Davis can't be too conservative. I'd like to see Vincent roll out and try to surprise the Cowboys with deep passes to Roy Williams when least expected. He seems to throw better out of the pocket. However, I don't expect Texas to throw much on first down as they put themselves in a hole many times last week doing just that.
The X-factor is Boone Pickens Stadium (you think I'm making that up) and the OSU fans. In the past, the Horns have had a pretty easy time of it in Stillwater, but this year is different. Undoubtedly, many of you have read that the Fiesta bowl is interested in giving the winner of this game an at-large bid if they finish the rest of season undefeated. So there's plenty to play for and as for just who will win...
Let's ask Les Miles:
"There are two very good teams playing this Saturday night. One of them is ranked 11th in the country, or so I'm told, and the other one is ranked 22nd. We're going to find out which is which."
Allow me to translate:
"My name is Les Miles and I pop off to the press to compensate for my fear of never getting out of Stillwater, which I personally blame for my inability to maintain an erection without the the presence of small farm animals."
(Horns 27, Pokes 24)
Stillwater, Oklahoma (it's OK) is just over 7 hours by car from Austin (but only 20 minutes from the House of Mud). Besides Oklahoma State University (OS-who), Stillwater is also known for its semi-world famous bar, Eskimo Joe's (um, that's Inuit you honky). For a couple of bucks ("saw my pimp today"), you get to choose from a variety of funky-colored plastic cups (don't drop the tope) filled with beer that promises half the alcohol (3.2 on the liver scale) and twice the number of trips to the restroom (it burns when I pee). If you're going to the game ("better Cowboy up"), this is basically THE place to party (Bevo Palooza) before or after the game. I recommend the cheese fries ("I can hear you getting fatter") and don't forget to pick up a T-shirt (100% rip off).
"We stuffed it down their throats until they liked it." - Tillman Holloway, Texas Offensive Lineman
"I can't believe you ran the Race for the Cure after drinking five margaritas last night?""What can I say, I like helping hooters."