Posted: 8:00 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013
There are moody writers and there are work horse writers. Our editor-in-chief, Wescott Eberts, is the latter. Yours truly is the former.
Like many of you, I'll be the first to admit I can only ride shotgun on the wagon for so long without the carrot pulling me forward. In this case, zee carrot equals zee success.
For me, success doesn't necessarily equate to winning. You cannot win all the games all the time. That is not a realistic way to view college athletics, or life for that matter. But competing? Yes, that is the elixir. That is the reason for the season.
For too long our Texas Longhorns athletic teams have seemingly walked through the motions. When a dedicated media following and fanbase throws up its hands ahead of the annual Red River game and consigns itself to a loss, well, all is DeLost.
But for one glorious afternoon, within earshot of the Barking Carney's (see what I did there?), your Texas Longhorns rose up from the mat and pinned the mighty Stoopsies ears back for a performance that won't soon be forgotten.
Credit to Coach Searels, Coach Chambers, Coach Davis, and Coach Giles for getting their boys whipped up into The Monsters of the Midway as the bibilical slaughter showed. The Texas Fight was evident throughout the game...in the trenches. And that is where this game has always been won. Sure the playmakers get all the limelight and the accolades. But make no mistake, the true heroes of the 2013 RRR were the offensive and defensive line who played a Kasey Studdard brand of ball. They went out there and legally hit the Sooners in the mouth for 60 minutes without any threat of needing a bail bondsman this morning.
So about that feeling last year this time? The Diaz experiment was in full swing and the 2012 Texas Longhorns were well on their way to coughing up an all-time-worst-defense-ever season. While there was marginal improvement, that squad will forever be printed in the history books on the red side of the ledger.
Here is where I came out after the 2012 RRS.
While football's euphemism "defense wins championships" is more often true than not, a solid defense offers many more tangible things to a football team. It sparks passion. It defines physicality. It inspires.
The University of Texas adopted the lyrics of a fight song early in the last century. It's a well known song like many others so classified. Its offshoot is a spontaneous stadium cry. Pretty basic but the Texas Fight chant that reverberates during home football games, and certainly at the neutral Cotton Bowl, each fall is a call to action. Many Longhorns teams through the years have either served as a catalyst for the fan faithful to erupt in the cheer or signaled its reverberating echo because of their tenacious play on the field.
But this team appears to belie that call to action. Whether it's the coaches developing the right system for success or establishing the right rehearsal tone or properly approaching the games or an inherent, dare I say, sense of entitlement, the team just does not appear to have any bounce off the mat ability.
And that is the mark of a program not only apathetic in performance, but one in institutional decline.
How the team now responds will be the story line moving forward and will define the historical legacy of its head coach. Will it RISE from the depths of mediocrity to join those who previously paved the road with Texas pride?
So to the 2012 Longhorns I ask this question, "Where is your Texas Fight?"
This year's Longhorn squad has taken it on the chin time and again but something is different. They just don't want to give up. It's not like they don't have a reason. I mean, hell, their 31-year tenured Athletic Director just announced his resignation, their head coach of 16 seasons is all but fired, and their embattled University President continues to fight for his job.
But the goals of winning a conference championship were still alive heading into the showdown with Oklahoma on Saturday. And there was fight. And there was grit. And there was bitch slapping.
And, yes, Longhorn nation. There was a beat down. And it was glorious. And it was T-E-X-A-S F-I-G-H-T!