|Tyrone Swoopes makes the winning TD!|
It's been a heck of a day. Weekend. Week. Whatever. But certainly this evening was interesting.
As we often do, we had a few folks over for "the game", which, in this part of Texas, means The University of Texas Football game. This was the first week of NCAA Football, and as UT has been in a transitional period the past few years, the two most recent under Head Coach Charlie Strong, getting geared up to see what this year's squad would do on the field was something I was approaching with cautious optimism.
Part of our get-together included an impromptu celebration for some good friends, Matt & Nicole, who got engaged on Saturday. So, we kicked off before kick-off with some champagne.
Back during our post National Championship season (2005), UT Football was taking some criticism for packing the pre-conference schedule with lightweight teams we were likely to beat, usually to guarantee a few W's on the year's record, to get the team in fighting shape for conference play, and to work out the kinks before facing Oklahoma. Well, greed for TV deals and our own arrogance got us to sign with Notre Dame for some pre-Conference games (and Ohio State as well, but I think that's over with), and in our hubris, I guess we thought we'd just wander out there and beat those well-respected teams.
Last year we lost to Notre Dame 38-3. It was pretty brutal. In fact, last season was kind of painful as we went 5-7, sometimes winning games we should have lost (like beating Oklahoma, who went on to an 11-2 record for the season, their second loss occurring when they played in the Orange Bowl).
But Charlie Strong was brought in not to just turn UT into a team that wasn't constantly getting arrested, but to recruit and build a new UT Football program. And, that he has done. We've lost some good players to his no-tolerance policies (something I firmly endorse), and we're building back up from the last years of Mack Brown's tenure in which UT Football was maybe not what it could be.
Well, word was, Coach Strong is an excellent recruiter, and that may be true. As they said on the twitters last spring, when it came to recruiting "we got errbody".
Going into the game, I went in hoping for a surprise victory, but knowing I'd be satisfied with any performance that showed some fight. As busy as I've been, as distracted as I've been, I really haven't been keeping up with UT Football in the off season for at least two seasons.We got errbody in February this is just errbonusbody https://t.co/aPHsZOgsii— Chuck F'n Strong (@ChuckFnStrong) June 26, 2016
Some of who "errbody" might be included Shane Beuchele who started the game for UT as a very True Freshman, and, man, did he look amazing. I don't really know how he managed to perform the way he did at his age and with absolutely no college experience in front of 100,000 people and a prime time TV audience. Add in Tyrone Swoopes finding an amazing niche as a running QB, and it looks to be an interesting pair of fellas we've got in place for our QB position.
Other outstanding plays were executed by former QB Jerrod Heard (13), Jake Oliver (6), John Burt (1) and both Foreman's, Armanti (3) and D'Onta (33).
I welcome you guys to read up on the game and hear about it from folks with a better understanding of football and who were not wrangling three dogs and 5 additional people in your houses. But I will say - despite some fixable mistakes and a chop block call in the 4th that really messed us up, I saw a spark in that team I haven't seen since Colt McCoy was suited up. They wanted to do well, and they wanted to win, not just "not embarrass themselves", which was where my inner gear was tuned even if, outwardly, I'll always say "I think we can win".
Anyway, we won our game on Sunday. 50-47 in double overtime. It was a hell of a rollercoaster ride. I'm so happy for the players and coaches, and I'm thrilled for what I see as tremendous potential for the team this season. For a complete photogallery from The Austin American-Statesman, click here.
|these nerds are happy as hell|