Good Morning Longhorn Fans!
The Texas Football program absolutely, positively needed a win on Saturday when the Horns and Maryland met at FedEx Field, and the 2018 Longhorns failed to deliver. All the hopes and all the dreams of the last eight plus months washed away in Landover, Maryland.
Texas lost to a team that now has two wins against ranked opponents in the last two years: one in Austin, Texas, on September 2, 2017, and one this past Saturday. Maryland has five wins against Power Five schools since October 2016. We have served up two of those. Another opening loss to a mediocre team.
This past Saturday’s game felt an awful lot like the 2017 debacle. Too much of that déjà vu all over again feeling. But the pain is worse for Longhorn Nation. I was way too high on all the burnt orange Kool-Aid I had been mixing and chugging, and I suspect most of us suffered a nauseating fall from that delusional high of our expectations to the reality of late Saturday afternoon, September 1, 2018. It sucked.
Something Good: Deland McCullough
This has made the rounds, but if you haven’t seen it, please enjoy. It will make you happy. Even if it takes half an hour to read.
Kickoff is 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Longhorn Network, with Lowell Galindo, Ahmad Brooks, and Jen Lada. You can listen to Craig Way call the game with Roger Wallace and Quan Cosby on the Longhorn IMG Radio Network. In Austin, 104.9 The Horn and AM 1260.
First ever meeting with Tulsa. The Longhorns are favored by 23, and the over/under is 62.5.
For most of my family and friends, the most important part of gameday besides the game itself will be the first Juan Heisman Tailgate of the season. Info below. But thanks to a whirlwind of new ideas under Chris Del Conte’s leadership, gameday on The Forty Acres will be revolutionary.
Bevo Blvd, on the west side of the stadium. San Jacinto will be pedestrian only. Big pregame street party with Bevo XV’s arrival and the team’s arrival at Stadium Stampede. Food, drinks, and games, and hopefully Waller Creek stays in its banks.
Longhorn City Limits debuts on the LBJ Library lawn, below the fountain and behind Juan Heisman’s back. Jimmie Vaughan headlines this Saturday’s pregame concert. The Nightowls will open for him. More Jimmie below, but watch this one. It is awesome. Pride and Joy, one of my favorites. Performed by Jimmie, John Mayer, Doyle Bramhall, and Gary Clark Jr. (Loyal Forever) with Double Trouble.
Among the many new “features” of Texas football games is what they are calling Longhorn Moments. One can sign up for a chance to fire Smokey the Cannon, go on the field pregame, and meet Bevo XV. Check it out here:
Preview from TexasSports.com:
Complete Game Notes:
Prior to Saturday’s game, UT will hold a moment of silence in memory of Mr. Denius. In addition, his seat, Section 4, Row 15, Seat 26, will be memorialized and kept empty for the 2018 season. The Longhorns’ special teams units are named Special Forces for Mr. D., and their kickoff unit is named after Denius’ Operation Cobra. In his memory, the entire team is wearing “FD” decals in 2018, and each member of the kickoff unit will wear a special Cobra Strike helmet decal throughout the season. Well done Texas.
Tulsa Golden Hurricanes vs. Texas Longhorns
Tulsa blows into Austin with a 1-0 record after taking care of business last Saturday against Central Arkansas, 38-27. And a 2-10 record last year, but I am not taking anything for granted.
Tulsa has the smallest undergraduate enrollment of all schools that participate in NCAA FBS.
Before becoming the Golden Hurricane in 1922, Tulsa had many unofficial team nicknames including Kendallites (see below), Presbyterians (from the university’s founding by the Presbyterian Church), Tulsans, Tigers, Orange and Black, and Yellow Jackets. They tried out Golden Tornadoes when they got new gold and black uniforms and someone (allegedly) said they were “roaring through opponents” (TU had an undefeated season, including wins over Texas Agricultural & Mechanical and the University of Arkansas). But they changed after a team vote prior to game against Texas Agricultural & Mechanical, going with “Golden Hurricane”.
So, they used to play Texas Agricultural & Mechanical, and they go by TU, which may explain the aggies’ confusion when they refer to The University of Texas as “tu”. That whole e cummings approach is so charming. Bless their hearts. But I digress.
Last week, the Tulsa offense racked up 25 first downs, 18 of them rushing. 320 total yards on the ground on 63 (sixty-three) carries, with 3 touchdowns. 274 net, but about 38 of the yards lost were on sacks. Passing attack was a solid 15-24 for 196 yards with no picks and 2 touchdowns.
Golden Hurricane rushing was led by #3 Shamari Brooks. The 5-9 sophomore gained 129 yards on 27 carries, scoring twice. Corey Taylor II (#24) also topped the century mark, with 110 yards on 20 carries. 4.8 YPC and 5.5 YPC, respectively.
Quarterback Luke Skipper (#13) is a big kid – 6-2 and 211 pounds. Played in 7 games in 2017, 71-127 for 1,141 yards and three touchdowns. Seven of his passes went for 50+ yards.
Receivers to watch: Keenen Johnson (#8, 6-1, 200 lbs) caught 2 passes for 63 yards. Justin Hobbs (#29, 6-4, 230 lbs) caught 2 passes for 61 yards and a score. Cole Neph, the senior tight end (#38, 6-3, 240 lbs) caught 4 for 40 and a score.
Texas is 107-15-3 all-time in home opener games, and we have won 17 of the last 18. It sure has hell better be 108-15-3 and 18 of the last 19 come Sunday morning.
Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium
Note, there is no period after the “K”. K was not DKR’s middle initial, abbreviating a middle name. K was his middle name. With that out of the way, The Alcalde posted a great article on DKR (the Stadium) this week, and I commend it to your reading. Link below. Of particular note, and as public service to my friends and importantly my friends’ children, this quote from the part of the article talking about security and cameras and gameday management:
The technology has improved by leaps and bounds in the last few years, too. According to Arthur Johnson, “If somebody comes and taps you on the shoulder, and says, ‘Give me the bottle you have in your right boot,’ you might as well give us that bottle. That means they know. It’s in the right boot. We zoomed in.”
Most Important Trivia of the Day
If you are on social media, quit using the emoji flag of Chile thinking it is the glorious Lone Star Flag of Texas. This is the flag of Chile:
That is NOT the Texas flag. Thank you.
Despite the Texas loss, we had a great trip to Memphis. The love of family is a powerful salve for the pain of witnessing the continued struggles of Longhorn football. A fun first birthday for Peter. And as far as the family goes, the rest of the teams all won: Parker’s Wahoos beat Richmond, Ole Miss stomped Texas Tech (although Charles would have gladly traded an Ole Miss loss for a Texas win, even it was to the sand aggies), Washington & Lee beat Dickinson, and Notre Dame was victorious over Michigan. Being with kids and my first grandson was fantastic, and getting to see Kathryn and Mark in their new home and to see the wonderful job they are doing as parents all brought great joy – a better and different joy than football.
Texas Loses to Maryland 34-29
One of the more poignant discussions I had about the game ended like this. I said, “I just had such high expectations.” To which my friend responded, “Beating Maryland at a neutral field with the majority of the crowd behind you to open the season is not really a ‘high” expectation. It is a reasonable expectation.” He is right. My high expectations for the season included a record of at least 3-1 in September and at least 8-9 wins by the end of November. The question now is, are those expectations even reasonable?
I thought there were some bright spots, although a full disclaimer: we were watching the game on different streaming apps and programs. The viewing was choppy, and we even missed some of the game with internet issues. So my frustration level was pretty high, exacerbating the vexing wonderment as I watched the Horns struggle.
I just can’t figure out what to say about the game. Been trying all week to write this section of the weekly epistle. Part of me wants to launch a rant (and it might be possible that such a rant was transcribed at some point this week, and erased). Part of me wants to just shove the game into the already too-thick file that says “Burnt Orange Disappointments”. And the part of me that got the better of me is the personality trait that impels me to use this email as a cathartic outlet for my anger and pain.
First, the negative stuff. Let’s get that out of the way.
I don’t have empirical evidence to back this up, but my instinct is that Texas wins when the Longhorn defense does not give up explosive plays over 20 yards, and that Texas struggles mightily when we do. Especially when those are explosive scoring plays.
Maryland’s opening drive saw the Terps drive 67 yards on 6 plays in just about 2 minutes. That included a 23 yard pass and a 28 yard touchdown run.
Karim Hill had a 65 yard touchdown pass to Jeshaun Jones. That was right after Texas had tied the game, and on third and 10.
Jeshaun Jones had a 20 yard pass to Taivon Jacobs.
J Davenport caught a pass for 35 yards.
Offensively, it was a bit up and down until the last three critical possessions, which were way, way down.
First possession was 6 yards in 5 plays, which include a 10 yard penalty on Maryland.
After the first UT score (below), Texas punted 4 times, all 3 and out series (4 yards, 5 yards, 6 yards, no yards), and the longest possession was 1:58.
The third quarter yielded one scoring drive, but the other two possessions were unproductive short drives (5 for 9 yards, 1:58, and 7 for 23 yards, 1:05).
The Fourth quarter was the nightmare. Four possessions: Punt, interception, fumble, interception.
Okay, some positives.
Well, the first may not be a positive, given that we all thought the Terps were the inferior team, but we pretty much matched them in all offensive categories. 20 UT first downs, 21 for Maryland. Rushing: UT – 142, UM – 143. Passing: UT – 263, UM – 264. Each team had 2 TDs rushing and 2 TDs passing. Texas 405 yards of offense on 75 plays, and Maryland 407 yards on 80 plays.
Individually, on offense, I thought the line played better than last year, overall. Only one sack allowed in 39 pass attempts. Kenta Ingram may very well be the first great running back we have had in a long time (setting aside D’Onta Foreman’s amazing last year; I am talking about someone who might have a sustained, successful career in burnt orange).
Sam was good when he ran. Not sure why he didn’t run more.
Receivers looked good. LJH had 82 yards with a long of 24, Johnson 59 yards with a long of 33, and Duvernay had 58 yards and a long of 39.
The problem, if you want dissect it this way, is that we were only good for a quarter. As Gerald Goodridge observed on BurntOrangeNation.com: “Texas amassed 176 of its 405 yards in the second quarter, 43 percent of its total output for the day, which includes 68 of its 142 rushing yards and 108 of the Horns 263 passing yards. 45 of their total yards in the second quarter came on just two plays — a 23-yard completion to Lil’Jordan Humphrey and a 22-yard touchdown pass to Collin Johnson. If you isolate the other three quarters of the game, in which Texas racked up 229 yards on 50 plays, the Longhorns averaged 4.58 yards per play, nearly a full yard less than their average for the game.” I would add that our first scoring drive began with 8:26 in that second quarter, so we were really only hot for about half a quarter.
Defensively, I think Brandon Jones is a stud and star, a true DBU guy. He led that team with 10 tackles, 5 solo.
The defensive stops in the fourth quarter – three of them – to get the ball back and give Texas a chance win the game were excellent. Maryland was fighting hard for the win, and the defense rose up and did their job.
So what happened? If Texas matched the Terps offensively, made some key stops on defense, and got a defensive score (okay, only a 2-point safety, but it counts), why did Texas lose?
I think it was fundamental execution. 10 penalties for 102 yards (last year Texas finished the season ranked 112 in the nation in penalties; after 1 game in 2018, we are #116). And three turnovers, all at the end of the game. But regardless of timing, that is still bad. After one game, Texas is also #116 in turnover margin, tied with 6 other schools (including Connecticut, Arkansas State, and UTSA). The worst is Florida State at -5. Penalties for sure, and turnovers to some degree, are indicators of systemic problems. You don’t get penalties because the other team is stronger or faster or just better athletes. You get penalties because you made a mistake. Turnovers can be both – self-induced or forced by a stronger or better athlete. In Maryland, only one of the turnovers was self-induced, the last one. Sam’s first pick was because his arm got hit. Watson’s alleged fumble was because he got stripped, best I can tell, not because he was sloppy with the ball.
Do I think we could have won the game with fewer penalties? Yes, in fact I do. I think Gary Johnson getting ejected fundamentally changed the game. If this was game 5 or 6, and some other guys had been getting playing time, maybe it would not have mattered. But with Gary ejected, and Wheeler still not in the game because of his targeting penalty last December, our defense was missing key pieces. Texas gave up 24 points in the first half. Wheeler sat until the second.
What hurts me the most is that despite that inexplicable first half, Texas had fought back in the second quarter, and we went to the locker room down just 2 points. The Texas Longhorns should not lose to an inferior opponent. The Texas Longhorns should not lose to an inferior opponent when leading at the half, ever. And a 2 point deficit should have been a speed bump on the way to victory, worse case.
As far as the quarterback situation: All of the Monday morning quarterbacks have now seen 27 minutes and 14 seconds of this offense. The Texas coaches have been watching our quarterbacks since the beginning of spring camp. Pretty sure that (i) Tom Herman wants to win football games as much as or more than every sentient Texas fan, and (ii) he is going to make the best decision based on all information available, which is a lot more than you or I have.
Finally, to the extent that preparedness and execution were the issues (and I think they were key contributors to the loss), I am hopeful they have been addressed this week. Tulsa may not be a good test (God I hope it isn’t), but fundamental execution is not about your opposition, but about your team. If Texas comes out and commits a bunch of penalties and turns the ball over and has other unforced errors, then we better be worried. If not, then let’s keep our hopes and our Horns high.
Review from the Interwebs
Wescott Eberts, on Burnt Orange Nation:
University of Tulsa
Founded in 1882 in Muskogee, Indian Territory (before the Land “Rush”) as The Presbyterian School for Girls, the Minerva Home (as it was also known) primarily served young women of the Creek Nation. In 1894 (that would be after the great Land Thievery of 1889), it expanded and became Henry Kendall College. It puttered along in Indian Territory until 1907, when, after the Synod of Indian Territory assumed control and looked for a buyer. The Tulsa Commercial Club offered $100,000, 20 acres of real estate, and a guarantee for utilities and street car service. Good thing they offered the street car service, because I am sure the greater metropolitan Tulsa area in 1907 was a mobility nightmare for the 35 students who enrolled. A rich Tulsa oilman wanted to start his own college with his own name on it after the Great War, with the oil boom that was underway. Tulsa actually had about 72,000 residents in 1920 (which is bigger than Tyler was when I was growing up). Anyway, despite the affluence and relatively large population, the Tulsans realized the community couldn’t support two colleges, so Henry Kendall College and the yet to be launched McFarlin College merged to become The University of Tulsa.
Tulsa has about 4,100 students.
Famous alumni include Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, The Outsiders author S.E. Hinton, voicemail inventor Gordon Matthews, Golden Girls actress Rue McClanahan, radio legend Paul Harvey, TV personality Dr. Phillip McGraw (who played football for TU but did not graduate), Cherokee Nation Chief Chad “Corntassel” Smith, and United States Congressman and NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent. I miss Paul Harvey.
Chris Del Conte
Despite this season-opening setback, I am still very bullish on the football team and this season, and even more bullish on the future of Texas Athletics. The University made a great hire in Chris Del Conte. CDC was a big success at Texas Christian University, bringing in big bucks and overseeing an overhaul of their facilities. During his time, TCU went from the Mountain West to a winning team in the Big 12.
Del Conte’s tenure in Fort Worth saw over $300 million in construction projects for the Horned Frogs, all funded with money he raised. This included the transformation of Amon G. Carter Stadium, of which I hear nothing but great things. That was a CDC-led $164 million fundraising drive. One of my favorite stories from friends from The Fort: The TCU president had to ask Chris to stop raising money for a while, as he was doing such a good job the rest of the University couldn’t raise enough money for academics and some of those other things that have to be funded at universities. Might be apocryphal, but a great story.
Since his arrival on The Forty Acres, we have witnessed a new style of Athletic Director: open, accessible, out and about and interacting with the fans. He is active on social media, and responds constantly to tweets from fans on a great variety of subject. If you are on Twitter and don’t follow Chris, you are missing out: @_delconte. If you aren’t on Twitter, you can still check out his interactive engagement with Longhorns: https://twitter.com/_delconte
Early in his tenure, I saw CDC at men’s basketball games. He was talking to fans, responding to tweets, and paying attention to detail. But what really got me excited was what he did at the Disch. Some of you who go to games may remember that at one point a few years ago, some of the views into the stadium from left field were blocked when the fence was solidified, literally. Left field had a grand tradition, going back to before the renovations a decade ago. I remember the days when big weekend series (and our annual birthright of hosting a Regional and a Super Regional) saw rental trucks parked in the parking lot just outside the fences, from which fans enjoyed Longhorn baseball. After that, there was long stretch where there was a small section from which fans could stay outside of the confines of the Disch, and tailgate and watch baseball. Then the fence, and the left field tradition was impaired (the right field tradition with its platform-topped buses has continued unabated). Then CDC arrives, and the vocal left fielders, especially their leader Marc Pena, got CDC’s attention. Marc is also very active on Twitter, as @Occupy. Long story not so short, but concluding: the obstructions came down, the Lefties got their view back, and some of the atmosphere of the glory days of the Disch was restored. Mark, a Loyal Forever Austin High Maroon, passed this along when I asked about Chris Del Conte:
Del Conte is a man of the people, and he’s proven that already. He realizes the importance of the individual fan and understands that a fan friendly atmosphere should be priority #1 at Texas sporting events. Fans equal atmosphere, atmosphere impacts the on field performance, and the on field performance ultimately pays the bills.
The 2018 baseball season proved that the fans do make a difference at Disch Falk, and Del Conte will do what he has to in order to keep them showing up.
We’re all very encouraged, and excited as ever to see what the future holds.
AP Poll: Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, Wisconsin, OU, Auburn, Notre Dame, Washington, and Stanford. Louisiana State at 11, West Virginia at 14, Texas Christian at 16, Southern Cal at 17.
Coaches Poll: Bama, Clemson, Dawgs, Ohio Statement University, Land Thieves, Wiscy, War Eagle, L’Université de Notre Dame du Lac, The Leland Stanford Junior University, and PSU. Southern Cal at 12, Louisiana State at 15, West By God Virginia at 17, Okie A&M at 23.
Texas got no votes in either poll. Maryland got 2 votes in the Coaches Poll. #Winning.
Big 12 – Week 2
Southern Methodist and No. 16 Texas Christian square off Friday night at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Highland Park for the Battle for the Iron Skillet. 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2. The Frogs are 22.5 point favorites. The Ponies had a bad week last week, getting hammered by North Texas. Over/under is 59.5
Big game for the Land Thieves, as University California – Los Angeles heads to Norman. 12:00 noon on FOX. No. 6 OU favored by 30. Wow. Over/under is 64.
A nice game in the Little Apple at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. No. 18 Mississippi State and K State play at 11:00 a.m. on ESPN. Bulldogs favored by 8. Important game for conference pride. Go Wildcats.
Kansas coming off the tough home loss to Nicholls heads into the MAC, taking on the Central Michigan Chippewas in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. 2:00 p.m. No line, No TV, No problem.
Texas Technical looks to get even with Lamar at home in Lubbock. 3:00 p.m. Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium. FSN, no line.
Iowa State at Iowa for the Cy-Hawk Trophy. Hawkeyes favored by 3.5. 4:00 p.m. on FOX. Always good to share the Hawkeye Wave. One of the best things in college football.
No. 14 West Virginia has their patsy game, getting Youngstown State in Morgantown. 5:00 p.m. on some dial-up analog internet in West Virginny. And something called AT&T Sportstnet. No line.
Baylor makes a trip down I-35 to San Antonio to take on the Road Runners. UT San Antonio a 16 point home underdog, and the over/under is 51. 6:00 p.m. No TV. Take UTSA and the points.
Okie State gets South Alabama at home, 7:00 p.m. FSN. Cowboys are 32.5 point favorites and the over/under is 63.
This Week in College Football
Two Big 10 games to get the day going.
No. 21 Michigan welcomes Western Michigan to the Big House. The Broncos are coming off a 55-42 loss to Syracuse. Michigan still licking their wounds after the tough trip to South Bend. 11:00 a.m. on FS1. Wolverines favored by 27.5, o/u is 56.5.
Wisconsin stays at Camp Randle, this week hosting New Mexico. 11:00 a.m. on the Big 10 Network. Badgers favored by 35, O/U is 59.
No. 23 Oregon plays Portland State, 1:00 p.m. on the PAC 12 network.
No. 12 Virginia Tech coming of the huge win over Florida State has William & Mary at home. 1:00 p.m. on the ACC Network from Lane Stadium in Blacksburg. No line.
No. 1 Alabama should remain undefeated, as Arkansas State and the Tide play in Tuscaloosa. 2:30 p.m. on ESPN2. Bama favored by 36.5, over/under is 65.5, and Paul Finebaum is not my favorite sports reporter.
Great game in Columbia, as No. 24 South Carolina hosts No. 3 Georgia. 2:30 p.m., and it is the featured $EC game on the Columbia Broadcasting System. Dawgs favored by 10, o/u is 56.
No. 4 Ohio Statement University gets Rutgers at home. 2:30 p.m. on the BTN. Buckeyes favored by a mere five touchdown. Over/under is 63.
No. 8 Notre Dame stays home and stays on NBC. 2:30 p.m., and this week they should destroy Ball State. Irish favored by 34.5, and o/u is 61.5.
No. 9 Washington plays North Dakota at Husky Stadium. 4:00 p.m. on the PAC 12 Network. No line.
No. 22 Miami (FL) hosts equally winless Savannah State. 5:00 p.m. on the ACC network. No line reported.
South Carolina State at No. 19 UCF. 5:00 p.m. on ESPN3. No line.
SE Louisiana is the Tiger Bait du jour on Saturday. No. 11 Louisiana State should destroy them. 6:00 p.m. on ESPN2. No line.
No. 2 Clemson heads to Aggieland. Texas Agricultural & Mechanical and the Tigers kick off at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN. Clemson only favored by 12, o/u is 54.5. For those of you wondering, yes, we will have that game on TV at the tailgate, assuming there is not an issue with flooding in the valley below Mount Juan Heisman.
No. 7 Auburn at home on the Plains with Alabama State. 6:30 p.m. from Jordan-Hare. SEC Network. No line. War Eagle.
No. 25 Florida gets Kentucky at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. 6:30 p.m., also in the $EC Network. Gators favored by 13.5, and the o/u is 51.
Big battle in Pennsylvania, as No. 13 PSU plays the University of Pittsburgh at Heinz Field. The Panthers are 8.5 point home underdogs, and the over/under is 55. Go Pitt!
Best game of the day, and of great interest to Longhorns: No. 17 Southern Cal goes to The Farm to play No. 10 Stanford. 7:30 p.m. on FOX. The Cardinal favored by 6, and the over/under is 55.5. Is it too much to ask for quadruple overtime?
U Conn at No. 20 Boise State. 9:15 p.m. on ESPNU. BSU favored by 31.5, and the o/u is 63.
No. 15 Michigan State at Arizona State, 9:45 p.m. on ESPN. Sparty favored by 6, but as we know, strange things happen in the desert at night. Over/under is 53. Take the Sun Devils and the over.
Other Games of Interest This Week
Duke and Northwestern, always one of the smartest games. 11:00 a.m. on ESPNU. Northwestern favored by 2.5 over the Blue Devils.
In what is also usually a good basketball game, the Hoosiers and the Hoos play at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night. BTN. Indiana favored by 6.5 over Virginia. O/U is 52.5.
Florida State hosts Samford. 6:20 p.m. on the ACC Network. (Surely at some point the PAC 12 will broadcast a game at 4:20.
Miami (OH) plays Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. 7:00 p.m. on ESPN3. Not sure why there isn’t a line here. I guess the Redhawks are better than I realized.
UTEP in Vegas to play UNLV. 8:00 p.m. UNLV favored by 23.5.
Rice in Hawaii. 10:59 p.m. kickoff. Rainbow Warriors favored by 17.5.
Previews on the Interwebs
HornMafia, on The Week That Will Be.
Week 2 College Football Viewing Schedule:
Bill Connelly, for the sportsmen:
I meant to include this last week. My thanks to Mike Perrin for sharing this with me, from the National Football Foundation. All of the following is quoted from the NFF email.
Fair Catch on the Kickoff
The kickoff return continues to be the play with the highest risk of head injuries, and there have been a number of rule changes in recent years intended to provide incentives for a team not to return the kickoff. One such rule was made in 2013: after a touchback on the kickoff, the ball is brought out to the 25-yard line rather than the standard 20. In response, some kickers have perfected the art of the “pooch kick”, lofting the ball deep in the receiving team’s space in an attempt to pin them down with poor field position or effectively force a return.
To counter this trend, the committee this year created a new rule: if a kickoff receiver makes a fair catch inside his 20-yard line, his team will have the ball at the 25-yard line – just as if the ball had been caught and downed inside the end zone for a touchback. So for example, if a receiving team player makes a fair catch of a kickoff at his 5-yard or 10-yard line, his team will put the ball in play at the 25. The hope is that this change will encourage teams to take advantage of the better field position rather than return the kick.
Blocking Below the Waist
The rules about low blocks are sometimes a challenge because they are situational. That is, whether a particular block below the waist is legal depends not only on the block itself, but also on the situation. Without exception, blocking below the waist is always illegal during a kick play and after a change of possession, such as an interception return or the return of a recovered fumble. However, the identical block might be okay in a different situation.
This year, the rules committee took some steps to try to make the rule not only simpler but, much more importantly, safer. Setting aside changes of possession, here is the rule for the team that snaps the ball.
- Linemen who are inside the tackle box at the snap may block below the waist from the front or the side until the ball leaves the tackle box.
- All others may block below the waist only if the force of the block is directly from the front – that is, in the region between “10 o’clock and 2 o’clock” forward of the concentration area of the player being blocked (there are some exceptions-see below).
- Here is the major change for 2018: Downfield, more than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage, any block below the waist is illegal.
The exceptions are:
- If a player is outside the tackle box or in motion at the snap, he may not block below the waist back toward the location of the ball at the snap – this is the crackback block. Even if the block is directed from the front, it is illegal.
- Once the ball has left the tackle box, no player is allowed to block below the waist toward his own end line – this is the peelback block.
For the team on defense, the rule is quite simple: these players are allowed to block below the waist only within a 10-yard belt, which extends five yards behind and five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. If they are outside this belt when they block below the waist, it’s a foul-even if the block is directly from the front.
One final note: clipping (i.e., blocking below the waist from behind) is essentially always illegal. The rules we are discussing here are for low blocks from the front or the side.
Uniforms: Knee Pads and Pants
Over the past several years, we have seen a trend in players’ pants getting shorter. This has a safety component as exposing the knees without padding means a risk of knee injuries and lacerations, and it is detrimental to the look of the game. In 2017, the rules committee declared that beginning this year, the legal uniform will include knee pads in the pants with the knee pads and pants completely covering the knees. Officials are mandated to enforce this rule strictly by not allowing players to be in the game with pants that do not completely cover the knees. Uncovered knees indicate illegal equipment: players must leave the game for at least one down, and they may not return until the equipment is legal.
Pace of Play
The rules committee continues to try to reduce the overall length of games by gaining efficiency during “dead” times. This year, the rules have changed to shorten the time between the touchdown and the extra point, and between the kickoff return and the first play from scrimmage. In both cases, the 40-second play clock will start as soon as the ball is dead. Instead of pausing for one minute between the touchdown and the extra point, the 40-second play clock will begin counting down as soon as the touchdown is scored. Similarly, when the ball becomes dead after the kickoff the 40-second play clock will start. This should have a significant impact on the amount of time it takes to “manage” a touchdown and the ensuing kickoff.
If you want read the NFF Press Release:
Big 12 – Week 1
As noted above, Ole Miss put a whooping on the Texas Tech Red Raiders, posting a 47-27 victory. Tech was favored by about 2.5, and I wish had listened to Charles when he said this was the lock of the weekend. Wow.
West Virginia showed why they are ranked and one of the favorites to compete with the Sooners for the conference title. A 25-34 429 yard performance by Will Grier, as Holgo’s Mountaineers cover the 10 point line, thrashing Tennessee 40-14.
The No. 7 Land Thieves destroyed the FAU Owls, 63 to 14. Sounds familiar …
Texas Christian with a 55 to 7 win over Southern.
Kansas and Nicholls. The Jayhawks lost 23-26 in overtime.
K State struggled to beat South Dakota, 27-24, needing a 15 point win to get the Wizard the win.
Iowa State and South Dakota State got cancelled due to lightening.
Baylor 55-27 over Abilene Christian.
Last Week in College Football
As was painfully pointed out on the radio as I drove to Kroger’s to get dinner supplies, everyone in the top 25 who was playing on an unranked opponent took care of business. Except Texas.
Games of note:
Auburn beat Washington, 21-16.
PSU scored with seconds left to force overtime over Appalachian State, then won 45-28. Dagnabbit.
Huge win for the Irish, 24-17 over Michigan.
The only team who might have been more overrated than another top 25 team was Miami (FL), who got whipped 33-17 by Louisiana State. Nice.
Monday night saw a heck of game, as Virginia Tech went to Tallahassee and put a butt whipping on the Seminoles, 24-3.
As mentioned, we went to Memphis to visit my daughter Kathryn and son-in-law Mark and celebrate grandson Peter’s first birthday. Mark is in a dental residency program, and it is a family commitment to service. I asked Mark to share with us something about his residency program.
From the website www.dentalresidency.org: “A ministry of Christian Medical & Dental Associations in partnership with Christ Community Health Services. The CMDA Dental Residency Plus, or The [+] Program for short, is preparing a generation of dental disciples to go throughout the United States and the World providing high quality dental care to the poor in the name of Jesus. With a focus on discipleship, community and dental excellence, The [+] Program is a three year training commitment earning an AEGD certification in Year 1, and gaining valuable experience serving through dentistry in Year 2 and Year 3.”
Kathryn, Peter, and I have just started our journey in Memphis as part of the Plus dental residency family, and we have already seen the goodness of God in overwhelming ways. As a family, we have been encouraged and challenged by a reading curriculum that forces us to wrestle with the practical implications of following Jesus. We have met and made friends with whom we share laughter and sorrow. The dental training is excellent, and the care offered in our clinics at Christ Community Health Services is truly first rate and comprehensive. Every day, I learn more about quality dentistry and get to offer what skills I have to the underserved. None of this would be possible without CMDA or Christ Community Health Services. If you feel called, please consider supporting either organization at:
Thank you for your generosity.
Longhorn City Limits debuts this weekend. Jimmie Vaughan is the star attraction. Brother of the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie has had a successful career. He became a star with the Fabulous Thunderbirds in the 1980’s, part of the MTV era. Love his music, and look forward to hearing it echo through the Juan Heisman breezeway on Saturday.
Stevie Ray and Jimmie play Texas Flood with SRV’s band, Double Trouble.
Jimmie Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Tuff Enuf, Kim Wilson lead vocals
From the MTV days.
Jimmie Vaughan, Performing with the Longhorn Band
Jimmie Vaughan, Boom Bapa Boom, from the JazzOpen in Stuttgart, 2014
The Nightowls – Get Up!
The Nightowls, Good as Gold.
Washington & Lee
The Generals pulled off an exciting overtime win over Dickinson, 16-10, after a game-tying field goal with 25 seconds left in regulation. W&L was held to 207 yards rushing on 63 attempts.
This week, the Generals head south to play longtime foe Sewanee. This will be 67th meeting, with the Generals holding a 43-23 advantage all-time in a series that began during the 1892 season. W&L has won 12 of the last 13 games. Sewanee thumped Kenyon last week, 43-10 on the road.
I think you can stream it here:
Juan Heisman Tailgate
The Crew is excited to return to Lot 38 and even more excited to have a 7:00 start. We will have hatch chile sliders, regular beef sliders, hot dogs, and lots of venison sausage.
Texas Beer Co. will be back this Saturday with some more great Taylor-Made craft brewed Texas beer. https://texasbeerco.com/
We will also have plenty of Dulce Vida Tequila, courtesy of Chad Auler.
Thanks to Matt Harriss and Capitol-Wright for supplying the rest of our beer.
If you are coming, you don’t need to bring contributions of food or beer, but contributions to the tip jars are always welcome.
Who is Juan Heisman? Well, Juan Heisman is the large statue across the driveway from our spot, welcoming all to Sid Richardson Hall. His picture is on www.AustinHornsFan.com. And you can check Juan out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juan.heisman
Anyway, the statue is “Olmec”. “This ancient civilization occupied the coastal territory of the Gulf of Mexico in what are today the states of Veracruz and Tabasco from 1500 to 400 BCE. The name Olmec, meaning “rubber people” in Nahuatl, was given by twentieth-century art historians. Scholars believe that the Mixe-Zoque indigenous people of today are Olmec descendants, and their language is related to that of their ancestors.”
Juan Heisman is a replica of the San Lorenzo Monument.
“Most of our knowledge about the Olmec comes from the important archaeological sites of San Lorenzo, Tres Zapotes, and La Venta. Several of the nine still-extant colossal heads come from these ancient cities. The original of the San Lorenzo Monument 1 replica now at LLILAS was discovered by famed archaeologist Matthew Stirling, who excavated it at San Lorenzo in the 1940s. His discoveries, and those of other archaeologists in Mexico during this time, unearthed for the world the culture of the Olmec. San Lorenzo Monument 1 is popularly known as El Rey, a name that underscores the belief that such heads depict Olmec rulers who are wearing ballgame paraphernalia. The original sculpture is considered a signature piece of pre-Columbian culture and a world-class art object that represents New World civilization.” Note “ballgame”.
For more information: http://lanic.utexas.edu/project/etext/llilas/portal/portal099/olmec.pdf
Also, this, thanks to my friend Tom Nuckols: http://bit.ly/2oMrDzh
So, we tip our hat to and toast Juan Heisman each week, the figurehead of our tailgate. See you Saturday.
God Bless Texas.
Tailgating before Home Football Games
The Juan Heisman Tailgate
Lot 38, East of Sid Richardson Hall.
HOOK EM HORNS!!
© Timothy C. Taylor, Sr. 2018. All Rights Reserved (as to original material).
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