02 September 2011

Longhorn Football: And so it begins...

"We need to keep our mouth shut and get back into the game" - Mack Brown, Monday Aug 29 2011

That quote from Mack's Monday press conference pretty much nails it. We have been through an off season of nothing but discussion and talk. Everything has been about what was Mack going to do to right the ship... how was he going to bring Texas back to 10 win seasons after the debacle that was 2011. There are many teams that would take years to recover and rebuild after it all fell apart.

Not at Texas. That kind of wait is unacceptable to one of the most demanding fan bases in the history of college football. We are Texas. We are the Yankees. We are the Evil Empire. We do not stop for anyone. Our arrogance is legendary, but we were brought low by our hubris in 2010. We saw what entitlement and unproved over confidence looks like on the field. Karma came to us as a fanbase in the harshest of ways. I have no come back for 5 and 7 that doesn't feel hollow in the age of no yesterday and only now.

The fans look to Mack with the simplest of requests: "FIX IT"

So Mack got to work. He "released" long time friends (Davis, MacQuarter), "promoted" someone out of his long time position (Madden), and was left at the altar by his coach in waiting (Muschamp).  The coaching staff seemed to purge itself in a matter of days, leaving Mack with an empty basket and one man staring back at him like a steely eyed missile man: Major Applewhite. Major stayed. He showed loyalty to his Alma Matter and to Mack. He worked like crazy to keep the recruiting class together.

And then the hits started to roll in. New D-Line coach was first, cherry picking from Bama. Then we had Manny Diaz and the excitement started to build. After that, Harsin and Major started the Co-OC mind meld. But then, Bennie Wiley replacing Mad Dog. Last was a new O-Line coach from Georgia. Dwayne Akina left but came back when Jerry Gray chose to bolt to the Titans.

The new staff was complete. Bennie Wiley was seen by many fans in the know as the key to the whole group. He is a mad-man who will do everything he asks of the players. They are cut in ways they have never been before and he drove them through the spring and summer to new levels of fit.

Brian Harsin and Major installed the new offense, and suddenly you heard things like "running game" and "physical" in the same sentence without the word "not".  Every time Manny Diaz speaks to the press, it is like he was made for the press conference. He more than anyone has installed the new attitude that flows from this team. "We will grind teams down."

But now, it is time to shut up and play. The off-season is over. 2011 begins on the field Saturday night. Leave the mess of the Longhorn Network to the side for now. Leave the divorce with A&M for the moment. They will wait, and make no mistake, they are big deals. But for the moment, It is game week. As fans, we get to learn who the 2011 Longhorns really are, or at least start. We get the cathartic release of cheering for something, hoping for all of the change to drive us back to the joy of an Orange Lit Tower.

I can't wait. Hook 'em... BTHOOR

Bonus - I found this on YouTube and felt like it captured the moment perfectly:

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