Texas Tech-Texas Game Moved to September

Texas v Texas Tech

Texas Tech and Texas announced today that their game next season has been moved to September 19th. ABC wants to show this game at prime time, but needed the game move to accommodate their schedule.

Said Texas head coach Mack Brown:

I really am excited about it. It’ll be good to be playing on primetime in September when there are not as many national games that people like to look at.

Texas’ non-conference game against Central Florida is being moved to November 7th, where the Texas Tech game was previously. Texas Tech had a bye that weekend.

This certainly addresses the concerns about Texas’ powderpuff early schedule, but doesn’t really do anything about their weak non-conference schedule.

Five Longhorns Headed to NFL Combine

The NFL has extended invitations to wide receiver Quan Cosby, defensive tackle Roy Miller, running back Chris Ogbonnaya, defensive end Brian Orakpo and corner back Ryan Palmer to participate in the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine. The Combine is a week long showcase that occurs every February in Indianapolis. College football players will perform physical and mental tests for coaches, GMs and scouts of the NFL.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Texas v Ohio State

The test and evaluations will include:

  • 40-yard dash
  • Bench press (225lb repetitions)
  • Vertical jump
  • Broad jump
  • 20 yard shuttle
  • 3 cone drill
  • 60-yard shuttle
  • Position-specific drills
  • Interviews
  • Physical measurements
  • Injury evaluation
  • Drug screen
  • The Cybex test
  • The Wonderlic Test

Quan Cosby faces a tough road to the NFL. His production at Texas will garner him some good looks, but he doesn’t have the physical stats that NFL scouts love. While he has no choice but to do his best at the Combine, he’s not the type of athlete whose going to see his stock rise that week. His biggest problem will be his age. At 26 years old, NFL teams might not want to spend a high draft pick on a receiver with questionable speed who only has a few years left at his prime. Cosby will certainly land on a team, but I don’t think it will be on the first day of the draft. He could end up being an amazing steal for some team, and give a solid four or five years finding the soft spots in zone defenses.

Roy Miller is looking like a second or third rounder right now, and a solid combine could push this one way or the other. He certainly had the production in college, recording 138 tackles, 25 TFL, 10 sacks, 44 pressures, six PBD, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in his time at Texas.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Texas v Ohio State

Chris Ogbonnaya will likely turn a head or two at the combine, but he’ll still be on the bubble for being drafted. While he’s got the physical stats the scouts like, he just didn’t have the production in college. He’ll get a shot with somebody as an undrafted free agent, and has a decent chance of seeing the field some Sunday.

Brian Orakpo is the jewel of the 2009 draft for the Longhorns. Almost everyone is picking him to go in the first round, and he’s climbing up most every pundit’s draft order. He’s also the sort of workout warrior/gym rat that can see his stock skyrocket at the Combine. He’ll easily go in the top ten of the first round.

Ryan Palmer has the speed and strength to play corner in the NFL, but his height (listed at 5’10”) will work against him. With Akina’s string of DB’s coming out of Texas the last few years, he’ll get a good look. A solid combine could really help his stock.

I’m a bit disappointed, albeit not surprised, that Henry Melton wasn’t invited. I’ve liked him since he ran over those scrubs we played when he was a true freshman. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t have the feet to play running back at the college level, and we took way too long to move him to defensive end. He was a solid performer at that position this year, and might be able to make a team through the practice squad route.

Texas will have its own pro day for those who weren’t invited to the Combine. I expect we’ll hear more about that in the near future.

Outstanding Offer Letter: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB

PREP FOOTBALL: JAN 03 U.S. Army All-American Bowl

Considered by many to be the best cornerback prospect in the nation, Kirkpatrick is ready to play college ball today, yet still has room for improvement. A bit more muscle on his long frame will match will with his great speed and hands.

Nick Saban doesn’t lose many in Alabama, and he’s not likely to lose this one. The run of defensive backs that Texas has put into the NFL gives Texas a shot, but not a very good one.

Kirkpatrick is expected to announce today at 2pm.

Update #1: As expected, Kirkpatrick chose Alabama. He said that Texas “doesn’t have enough swagger”, whatever that means.


Outstanding Offer Letter: Jarvis Jones, LB

PREP FOOTBALL: JAN 03 U.S. Army All-American Bowl

Expected to play inside linebacker, although he’s a bit undersized for that position now. Great speed. Outstanding football IQ.

Jones makes his announcement today at noon. He’s been very coy about his decision, but most think he’ll end up at Florida or Georgia. We’d love to have him at Texas.

Update #1: Jones is now expected to announce at 12:30pm.

Update #2: BurntOrangeBeat’s Gerry Hamilton is reporting live from Columbus, GA.

Update #3: Jones surprised the pundits, but unfortunately, it was by choosing to sign with the University of Spoiled Children.


Review of Expected Longhorn Football Recruits

With just hours, I mean minutes, left until Signing Day, let’s take a quick look at the list of those expected to join the 2009 Recruiting Class for the Longhorns.

Tariq Allen, LB
Irving High School, Irving, Texas
Enrolled for spring semester

Big strong kid with surprising speed. Allen will fit in well with Muschamp’s blitz packages.

FBO: 2009 Under Armour All-American Game JAN 4

Thomas Ashcraft, OL
Ceder Hill High School, Cedar Hill, Texas
Enrolled for spring semester

Big, strong, and fast enough to contribute on the O-line immediately, a year or two under Maddog’s care will turn Ashcraft into a monster.

Eryon Barnett, CB
Trinity High School, Euless, Texas
Signed

The size of a safety with the speed of a cornerback. If he can learn to turn his body with the receiver he could shutdown his side of the field.

Marcus Davis, DB
Clear Creek High School, League City, Texas
Enrolled for spring semester

Another corner back built like a safety, Davis is great in zone coverage, but has shown some weakness in man-to-man. Do your magic, Akina.

Garrett Gilbert

Garrett Gilbert, QB
Lake Travis High School, Lake Travis, Texas
Signed

Already anointed by many as the next great quarterback at Texas, Gilbert may have the talent to deliver. He certainly learned how to win at Lake Travis. Can he put it all together and lead the team?

Marquise Goodwin, WR
Rowlett High School, Rowlett, Texas
Signed track scholarship

A track star that will have to decide between football and track in the near future. Size may be a concern in football.

Trey Graham, TE
Midway High School, Hewitt, Texas
Signed

A bit of a project, but Graham has the potential to be the first true tight end Texas has fielded in a couple of seasons.

PREP FOOTBALL: DEC 29 U.S. Army All-American Bowl West Team Practice

Calvin Howell, DT
Warren High School, San Antonio, Texas
Signed

Howell is going to give opposing quarterbacks nightmares. Big, fast, and incredibly athletic, he will draw many a double team.

Derek Johnson, DT
Hoxie High School, Hoxie, Arkansas
Signed

Johnson already has the size and strength to play at the college level. He does need some work on the hand- and footwork.

Dominique Jones, DE
Kilgore High School, Kilgore, Texas
Enrolled for spring semester

A lightly redshirt, Jones has a lot to learn, but has considerable upside.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: JAN 04 Under Armor HS All-America game

Paden Kelley, OL
Lake Travis High School, Lake Travis, Texas
Signed

Big and fast, and already knows how to block for our future quarterback. Has the hair of a wannabe rock star.

Kyle Kriegel, DE
Elysian Fields High School, Elysian Fields, Texas
Enrolled for spring semester

A real project that will need to put significant effort in on the practice field and in the weight room if he hopes to crack the two deep.

Barrett Matthews, TE
North Shore High School, Galena Park, Texas
Signed

May split time between tight end and h-back.

Tevin Mims, DE
Stony Point High School, Round Rock, Texas
Signed

With some effort in the weight room, Mims may convert to defensive tackle, which would likely provide him with more playing time.

Patrick Nkwopara, OLB
South Grand Prairie High School, Grand Prairie, Texas
Signed

Undersized but over-quicked for a linebacker, Nkwopara may help Muschamp break down the spread offenses of the Big 12 Conference. Before he’s done at Texas, we’ll all know how to pronounce his name properly.

PREP FOOTBALL: DEC 29 U.S. Army All-American Bowl West Team Practice

Alex Okafor, DE
Pflugerville High School, Pflugerville, Texas
Enrolled for spring semester

Okafor is the heir apparent to Orakpo. Those are mighty big shoes to fill, but he may be able to do it.

Garrett Porter, OL
Permian High School, Odessa, Texas
Signed

Huge, strong, and fairly athletic, Porter may compete for playing time from the start.

Greg Timmons, WR
Aldine Eisenhower High School, Houston, Texas
Signed

The best hands that Texas had brought onto campus in a couple of seasons. The best high top fade that Texas has brought onto campus in quite a bit longer than that.

Kenny Vaccaro, S
Brownwood High School, Brownwood, Texas
Enrolled for spring semester

Although sometimes guilty of over-pursuit, Vaccaro has the skills to continue the long line of great Texas safeties.

Mason Walters, OT
Frenship High School, Wolfforth, Texas
Enrolled for spring semester

While large enough to play tackle at the college level, Walters has the quickness and athletic ability to play center.

PREP FOOTBALL: JAN 03 U.S. Army All-American Bowl

Chris Whaley, ATH
Madisonville High School, Madisonville, Texas
Signed

His size makes many think he won’t stay at running back, but I’d sure love to see a strong, fast running back at Texas again. It’s been a long time. C’mon, Greg Davis! All the other schools get to have productive tailbacks. Why can’t we?

I’ll update this page as details on signatures come in tomorrow.

Update #1: Edited to reflect those already on campus, and those that have sent in their paperwork today.

Update #2: All signatures that were expected to come in, did come in. Now we’re just waiting on our two potential bluebirds, Dre Kirkpatrick and Jarvis Jones.

The Longhorn Off Season

From Trey McLean’s In The Stands column this week:

I know this sounds cheesy and cliché, but the “commit in the spring, win in the fall” attitude is true. Right now is the really, really un-fun part of playing football. This is the running and the weights and the speed work that frankly just sucks. It’s five days a week, it’s hard, guys are vomiting, passing out, non-football friends are doing much more fun things, etc… and there is no game at the end of the week with fans watching and screaming as a payoff. There is no payoff, unless going home to study and getting the weekends off counts. The season is eight months away. Heck, the spring game is three months away, so the light at the end of the tunnel is tiny and very dim. Players have to be mentally tough to not cut corners, to not take reps off in the weight room or not go all out in speed drills. The pitfalls of the grim work in the off-season are everywhere and it’s easy to be satisfied with a less-than-perfect-effort day in January; however, the guys who have been through the wars, the Colt McCoy’s and the Lamarr Houston’s, will lead by example and show the younger guys how to work and what the payoff is if you “sell out” as they say and give 100%. The payoff is winning. The payoff is closing out stupid Tech this time and not letting them score and create the ESPN Play of the Year. The payoff running ou into the turf again in the fourth quarter in Dallas and taking The Hat home for third time in four years. The payoff is the chance for rings. That process starts right now.

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 15 Texas at Kansas

The vocal leaders need to step up and make sure everyone knows how things are done and that anything less than maximum effort will not be tolerated. Who are those guys now that Rashad Bobino and Roy Miller are gone? That’s part of the off-season, finding those guys. Who will it be? If I had to guess, I’d say one of them is a defender and his name starts with a Sergio.

Who are the pump-you-up guys? Who are the malcontents that need to be weeded out? Who are the overachievers that need to see the field? Who are the lunatics that will be great on special teams? Who is injury prone and can’t be trusted? Who is dependable and consistent? Who is a rocket about to explode on the scene? These are all questions that get answered in the off-season and will help forge the bond for the 2009 Texas Longhorns.

Well put, Trey.

I can’t wait until next season.

Top 15 Favorite Texas Longhorn Football Players

With the season over, and little to talk about in college football until signing day and the NFL draft, I thought I would take a look at my all time favorite Longhorns.

This is based upon nothing by my personal opinion and biases, but current players are not eligible. Therefore, Colt McCoy, who would otherwise likely make the list, will have to wait until next year.

I’m also going to limit it to guys who I can actually remember playing college ball, which limits us to about the mid-Seventies. This disqualifies amazing players like Tommy Nobis, Bill Bradley, and James Street. Sorry guys, I only had limited control over when I was born.

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order): Priest Holmes, Quentin Jammer, Wayne McGarity, Aaron Ross, David Thomas

15. Stanley Richard
Safety: 1987-1990
Awards: All-American, 1990; All-SWC, 1990

At the end of the 1980’s, the Texas Longhorns football team was in shambles. They had been, well, bad for several seasons. Then in 1990, Stanley “The Sheriff” Richard took the Longhorns on a mission to restore order to the Southwest Conference. What resulted was the “Shock the Nation” Tour and a 10-1 regular season record (for some reason, there is a hole in my memory, and I don’t remember them playing in a bowl game that season).

Richard recorded 13 interceptions as a Longhorn. He led the team in passes broken up in 1989 (12) and tied for the lead in 1990 (14).

Richard was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 1991 and played for them for four seasons. He then signed with the Washington Redskins as a free agent and played another four seasons. He retired with 21 career interceptions returned for 352 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Casey Hampton #64

14. Casey Hampton
Nose Tackle: 1997-2000
Awards: All-American, 1999-2000; Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, 2000

One of the best Casey Hampton stories was told recently by CloseToJumping on Barking Carnival:

My senior year in high school, we were taking our annual beating from Galveston Ball. The score ended up 69-14 that year, which was awesome. Anyway, I was a WR and never went to the huddle. One of the Guards was a lifelong friend of mine and he told me in the middle of the game to swing by the huddle. I said “no thanks” and he told me it would be worth my time. I walk over to the huddle after the next play and everyone in the huddle is telling our Center to pull himself together and at least attempt to make a block on the Nose Tackle. The Center, a buddy of mine and an 18 year old high school senior, is bawling in the huddle and hyperventilating. Literally, he had tears streaming and his face was a bright purple. “I’m doing the best I can, guys. Oh F–k!?! You don’t understand!”. I walked away, chuckling and mortified. On literally the next play, the NT took the Center on the snap and threw him backwards into the QB who was dropping back to pass. The QB fell backwards for the sack, with the Center collapsing on top of him. The Center is mocked to this day about that game and his behavior, against a Sophomore NT, no less. Of course, that NT was named Casey Hampton, but who cares. It was hilarious.

He lead the team in tackles his last two years, and recorded 329 tackles (177 solo) for his career.

In 2001, Hampton was drafted by (and still plays for) the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is a four time Pro Bowl player and has one Superbowl ring.

13. Peter Gardere
Quarterback: 1989-1992
Awards: None that I know of

When you are the only UT quarterback to lead the Horns to beat the hated Oklahoma Sooners four times, they nickname you Peter the Great. Peter Gardere threw for 7,396 yards and 37 yards as a Longhorn, but most importantly, he beat the Sooners four times.

After the 1992 Red River Shootout, there were chants of “Grad-u-ate!” from the Sooner fans in the stands.

In the NFL, Gardere was cut during training camp for both the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints. He played some ball in the Canadian Football League as a punter.

National Championship Rose Bowl: USC v Texas

12. Michael Huff
Safety: 2002-2005
Awards: Consensus All-American, 2005; Jim Thorpe Award, 2005

Michael Huff saved Texas in the 2006 National Championship Game against USC. He recovered a fumbled lateral by Reggie Bush that helped turn the momentum of the game. He was also the key defender on Lendale White’s failed 4th and 2 attempt.

His senior year, Huff recorded 127 tackles and five interceptions (two of which went for touchdowns). He also posted 14 pass deflections, two sacks and one blocked kick.

Huff was the seventh overall pick in the 2006 draft and plays for the Oakland Raiders, although his 2008 season was unimpressive as he was benched in favor of Hiram Eugene.

11. Johnny “Lam” Jones
Receiver: 1976-1979
Awards: All-American, 1978-1979; All-SWC, 1978-1979

A former sprinter turned football player, Johnny “Lam” Jones won a gold medal in the 4 x 100 meter relay at the 1976 Summer Olympics. He had the speed to beat any coverage, but didn’t have the best of hands.

In his college career, he had 85 receptions for 1,603 yards and 14 touchdowns.

The second overall pick in the 1980 draft, Jones played six seasons with the New York Jets.

Jones now suffers from myeloma cancer that affects bone marrow in the legs. The University Co-op is selling some amazing photos he took of the UT Tower after the National Championship game in 2006. All proceeds go back to Lam who is using the money to pay for his medications.

10. Kenneth Sims
Defensive End, 1978-1981
Awards: Consensus All-American, 1980-1981; All-SWC, 1980-1981; Lombardi Trophy, 1981

After uneventful freshman and sophomore years at Texas, Kenneth Sims exploded onto the scene his junior year. He ended his college career with 131 tackles, and became the first Longhorn to win the Lombardi Trophy.

Sims was the number one pick in the 1982 draft, going to the New England Patriots, where he played eight seasons. Unfortunately, he never really lived up to his potential in the pros, playing in only 74 games and recording only 17 sacks.

Britt Hager

9. Britt Hager
Middle Linebacker: 1986-1988
Awards: American Coaches Association All-American, 1988; All-SWC, 1987-1988

Britt Hager was a monster for the Longhorn defense. His senior year, he recorded 195 tackles (120 solo) and had 499 for his Longhorn career.

Hager was BMoC when I entered Texas in 1987, and I remember riding the UT Shuttle Bus with him a few times. He was a big, scary looking man.

Hager played nine seasons in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Denver Broncos, and the LA Rams.

8. Derrick Johnson
Linebacker: 2001-2004
Awards: Dick Butkus Award, 2004; Bronko Nagurski Trophy, 2004; Consensus All-American, 2004

When the Longhorn Band has a song they play (the theme to Superman) whenever you make a great play, you know you’re doing something right. For me, the greatest memory will be watching Texas A&M quarterback Reggie McNeal collapse into a fetal position in the backfield when Derrick Johnson had an open path towards him.

Granted, I would have done the same thing in McNeal’s shoes, but I wasn’t the starting quarterback for a Division I-A football team.

Holiday Bowl Washington State v Texas

Johnson logged 458 tackles (281 solo), a school-record 65.0 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks and 10 INTs for 199 yards with a TD during his Longhorn career. Just for fun, add five fumble recoveries, 11 forced fumbles, 39 QB pressures and 30 passes defensed.

Johnson was a first round draft pick for the Kansas City Chiefs, where he won the Mack Lee Hill Award his rookie season, and where he continues to play today.

7. Brian Jones
Middle Linebacker: 1989-1990
Awards: All Southwest Conference, 1990

A member of the 1990 “Shock the Nation” Tour, Brian Jones started at UCLA but transferred to Texas. His senior year, Jones led the Longhorns with 116 tackles (71 solo) and five forced fumbles.

He played in the NFL from 1991-98 for the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Raiders and New Orleans Saints.

After football, Jones stayed close to the game and the Longhorns by joining the sports media. He has worked for FOX Sports, Austin’s Sportsradio 1300 The Zone, Longhorn Sports Network, and Longhorn Sports Center with Mack Brown.

6. James Brown
Quarterback: 1994-1997
Awards: Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year, 1995

1996 Big 12 Championship game. Against the defending national champion Nebraska Cornhuskers. Two and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter. Texas with the ball and the lead 30-27. Fourth and inches from the Texas 28 yard line.

The conventional thing to do would be to punt the ball away and play defense. Head coach John Mackovic decides to go for it. He calls “Roll Left”, where Brown is to fake to Priest Holmes going up the middle, and then roll out to the left.

Prior to the play, Mackovic had told Brown to run for the first down. Instead, Brown tosses it over the defenders’ heads to tight end Derek Lewis. Lewis rumbles down the sideline to the Nebraska ten yard line. Holmes scores on the next play, securing the win and Brown’s place in Longhorn History.

In his Longhorn career, Brown passed for 7,638 yards and 53 touchdowns. He led the Horns to win the final Southwest Conference championship, and the inaugural Big 12 Championship Game (mentioned above).

Brown never made it in the NFL, but played some ball in the Arena League and NFL Europe.

Ricky Williams

5. Ricky Williams
Running Back: 1995-1998
Awards: Heisman Trophy, 1998; 2x Doak Walker Award, 1997-1998; Walter Camp Award, 1998; Maxwell Award, 1998

The arguments over Ricky Williams’ place in the list of Texas running backs is one that may never be fully resolved. He is my third most favorite, however.

Williams had an amazing combination of moves and power, that could make you miss or make you wish you had. In 1998, he became the NCAA career rushing leader with 6,279 yards (broken one year later by University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Ron Dayne). He broke or tied twenty NCAA records.

The highlight of his career (for me, at least) came in the Texas A&M game his senior season. He needed nine yards to break the career rushing record. Instead, he takes it sixty yards for a touchdown. This virtually assured his winning the Heisman Trophy

His pro career has been a disappointment so far, with several violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, an early retirement and return, and some ugly injuries. He currently plays for the Miami Dolphins, rushing for 659 yards and four touchdowns during the 2008 season.

Eric Metcalf Falcons

4. Eric Metcalf
Running Back, Return Specialist: 1984-1987
Awards: 1987 SWC Offensive Player of the Year, 1987; 2nd team AP All-American

Eric Metcalf ran like a gazelle, able to change direction in unbelievable ways. He was a threat to run, to catch the ball out of the backfield, and to return punts and kickoffs all the way to the end zone.

He holds every Longhorn running receiving back record, and is the only player in Texas history to lead the team in all-purpose yards all four years.

After five years with the Cleveland Browns in the pros, he bounced around to six different teams, but is the NFL record holder for career punt return touchdowns, with ten. Metcalf was a three time Pro Bowl selection.

Holiday Bowl X

3. Major Applewhite
Quarterback: 1998-2001
Awards: 1998 Big 12 Freshman of the Year, 1999; Big 12 Co-offensive Player of the Year, 2001; Holiday Bowl MVP

Perhaps the greatest football mind to come through the Longhorns as a player, Applewhite set eight quarterback records while at Texas, several of which still stand.

The highlights of his career include a 20-16 a win over #7 Nebraska, breaking their 47 game home winning streak and a record setting day to close out his career against the Washington Huskies in the 2001 Holiday Bowl.

In his career at Texas, he through for 8,353 yards and sixty touchdowns.

After graduation and a failed attempt at the NFL, Applewhite joined the Texas coaching staff as a graduate assistant. He spent time coaching at Syracuse and Rice, and joined Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama as offensive coordinator.

Prior to the 2008 season, he effectively took a demotion to return to the Texas staff as running backs coach. Many expect him to take Greg Davis’ position at offensive coordinator when he moves on.

Holiday Bowl Washington State v Texas

2. Vince Young
Quarterback, 2003-2005
Awards: Manning Award, 2005; Davey O’Brien Award, 2005; Archie Griffin Award, 2005

In just three seasons at Texas, Vince Young became a legend, leading the Longhorns to comebacks in some of the most exciting games in Longhorn history.

The two Rose Bowls (the second of which was a National Championship Game) get most of the attention, but my favorite is the 2004 comeback against Oklahoma State.

Texas was down 35-7 at home against the Cowboys. Absolutely nothing was working for the Horns. A late second quarter touchdown made it 35-14 at the half.

At least in my section, many people left. I try not to fault them as Texas clearly wasn’t giving it much effort that day.

Something incredible happened during the half, however. Vince learned how to lead and the team came together. Mack Brown promised the team that they would come back and win 42-35. He was selling the team short.

The Longhorns came out with an energy unlikely anything I’d ever seen. They rolled off 42 unanswered points in the second half to win going away, 56-35.

Vince Young never lost another game in a Longhorns uniform.

He finished his college career with a record of 30-2, the best of any UT quarterback. He threw for 6,040 yards and 44 touchdowns, and ran for 3,127 yards and 37 yards.

After a great NFL rookie year for the Tennessee Titans, his second season was mediocre, and he spent most of his third year riding the pine. I hope he pulls it together, but no matter what happens, he will always be one of the greatest Longhorns of all time.

Oklahoma State v Texas

1. Earl Campbell
Running Back, 1974-1977
Awards: Heisman Trophy, 1977; Davey O’Brien Memorial Trophy, 1977; Southwest Conference Running Back of the Year, 1974-1977

The Tyler Rose takes the top spot easily. In fact, some of my earliest sports memories are of Campbell running the ball for the Longhorns.

His Heisman winning senior year, Campbell ran for 1,744. For his career, he had 4,443 yards and 41 touchdowns.

His Heisman acceptance speech was the epitome of simple elegance:

I will represent what a Heisman Trophy winner should be. Thank you very much.

Campbell went on to the NFL and rushed for 9,407 and 74 touchdowns for the Houston Oilers and the New Orleans Saints. His many professional recognitions include:

  • 5x Pro Bowl selection (1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983)
  • 4x All-Pro selection (1978, 1979, 1980, 1981)
  • 1978 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year
  • 1979 NFL MVP
  • 2x PFWA NFL MVP (1978, 1979)
  • 3x NEA NFL MVP (1978, 1979, 1980)
  • 3x NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1978, 1979, 1980)
  • 1978 UPI AFL-AFC Player of the Year
  • 1979 Bert Bell Award

On top of all this, he is an simply a nice, approachable man.

After his pro career, Campbell took an office in Belmont Hall on the University of Texas campus. It was on the way to the fencing room, where I spent a great deal of my time as a UT student. One more than one occasion, I sat in his office and listened to stories about his days as a football player. I’ll always cherish those memories.

Perhaps most notably, a non-trivial amount of my BMI can be directly attributed to Earl Campbell Hot Links.

Thank You, Longhorns, for a Great Season

Burnt Orange Sunset

Heading into the 2008 season, most pundits penciled the Texas Longhorns down as a three or four loss team. I personally thought we would see at least two losses. Instead, the unrespected, underrated Longhorns went 12-1, with a solid win over Oklahoma and dominating wins over Arkansas and Texas A&M.

By any reasonable measure, this is the second or third best season in the last twenty years.

Let’s look back at some of the highlights…

Colt McCoy Turning Into a Superstar
After a mediocre sophomore effort, McCoy returns his junior year and blows away all expectations, with both his leadership and his play on the field. Let’s look at some of the stats:

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Texas v Ohio State
  • 332 completions out of 434 attempts, for a completion percentage of 76.5%, a new NCAA record
  • 3,859 yards passing
  • 34 passing touchdowns and only 8 interceptions
  • A quarterback rating of 173.4
  • 579 yards rushing with 11 touchdowns
  • 2nd place in the Heisman Trophy voting
  • Winner of the Walter Camp Award
  • Consensus All-American

Not bad for a 3-star high school recruit.

Did you know that he and Jordan Shipley are roommates?

Becoming the Second Most Winning Team in the NCAA
We have now surpassed Notre Dame to have the second most wins of any NCAA team, with 832 victories. We still have some ground to cover to catch up with the winningest team, Michigan, who has 872 wins.

Brian Orakpo Terrorizing Quarterbacks Across the Country
He’s 6?4? and 253 pounds. He bench presses 515 pounds, squats 600, power cleans 380, runs a 4.6-second 40-yard dash, and has a vertical jump of 42 inches.

In his senior campaign, he had 40 tackles (31 solo) and 11 sacks.

He won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Hendriks Award, and was a consensus All-American. And he graduated in December.

Opposing o-linemen and quarterbacks are breathing easier now that his eligibility is spent.

Lest We Forget, 45-35
We’ve now won three of the last four, with the most recent being a hard-fought, but convincing win over a very good Oklahoma team. The Big Twelve Conference and the BCS may not think head-to-head results matter, but we Longhorn Faithful know who is better.

Putting the Aggies Back Where they Belong
Few things hurt more than losing to Texas A&M, and the two consecutive losses were especially painful.

The Longhorns turned that pain around this year and gave it back to the Farmers, with a beatdown of Biblical proportions, winning by the largest margin of victory since 1898.

Will Muschamp Sticking Around
First-year defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is clearly the hottest assistant coach in NCAA football right now. Universities all over the country were courting him, and he could have had his pick.

Instead, athletic director DeLoss Dodds assures him of receiving the head coaching position after Mack Brown (assumably because Brown moves up to AD upon Dodds retirement) and doubles his salary to nearly a million dollars.

Muschamp tells everyone else, “No thanks. I’ll stay at Texas.”

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Texas v Ohio State

Winning the Tie-Breaker Against Ohio State
We’ve now played Ohio State, one of the greatest football traditions ever, three times, and won two of them.

Yes, we were favored in the Fiesta Bowl, and our win was far from dominating, but the Buckeyes match up very well with Texas, and played their best game of the season by far. I’m very happy to get out of there with a win. Any win.

The Ambassador of Quan becomes a Legend
Quan Cosby closed out his Longhorn career in the Fiesta Bowl with 14 catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns, including the diving game winner.

Cosby finishes the season with 92 receptions for 1,123 yards and ten touchdowns. For his Longhorn career, he has 212 receptions for 2,598 yards and nineteen touchdowns.

He’s also a phenomenal downfield blocker, as show by his block on Colt McCoy’s touchdown run in the Fiesta Bowl.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Texas v Ohio State

Quan now heads to the NFL draft, where he is predicted to go in one of the mid-rounds. Not bad for a 26 year old.

So, what now?

I called this the second or third best season in the last twenty years because it’s hard to say whether this is better or worse than the 2004 season. There are definite similarities between both years, as strong Texas teams exceeded expectations, but had a hard fought, heart breaking loss. They both also ended with exciting BCS Bowl wins over a traditional football power.

And, we all know what happened after the 2004 season.

Next season is shaping up to be very similar. We’re losing some amazing talent (e.g. Orakpo), but the core of the team is coming back. Many of us have been looking at 2009 as “the year” since Vince’s 2005 season, and I see no reason to change that opinion now.

Sergio Kindle Returning for his Senior Year

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 15 Texas at Kansas

H/T to Barking Carnival

Reports from his father and his former high school coach are that Texas Longhorn linebacker Sergio Kindle is returning for his senior season. It seems he wishes to abuse the Oklahoma Sooners one more time and then make a run for a national title.

In a related story, Sooner quarterback Sam Bradford has added another entry to his “Why I should leave for the NFL” column.

Don’t worry, Sam. The winters in Detroit aren’t nearly as bad as they say.

After injury plagued freshman and sophomore years, The 6′ 4″, 239 pound Kindle had a fantastic junior season, registering 53 tackles (14 for losses) and 10 sacks. He is not currently projected as a first-round pick.

By returning, Kindle becomes a leading contender for the Lombardi and Nagurski awards that teammate Brian Orakpo claimed this year.

Crabtree Begins the Texas Tech Downwards Spiral

Oklahoma v Texas Tech

Reports are that Texas Tech star wide receiver Michael Crabtree will announce on Tuesday that he plans to declare for the NFL draft. The NFL draft advisory committee, among other sources, lists Crabtree as a probable first round draft pick.

Crabtree, a two-time Biletnikoff Award for the nation’s top receiver, had 93 catches and 18 touchdowns in the regular season, averaging 94.6 yards per game.

The is the second major loss for the Red Raiders, with Graham Harrell using up his eligibility this season.

Add to this the reports that Mike Leach has not signed his contract, and you’ve got an ugly situation for Red Raiders fans.

I’m not too worried about beating Tech next season in Austin, but not having to face Crabtree again will not break my heart.