It's that time of the year when the Longhorns select their season motto. This typically involves our coaches scanning obscure golfing tomes to find the most un-relatable slogan possible for African-American 20 year olds and having players wear it on their wrists so that we don't go 5-7 anymore.
This year's winner is R.I.S.E, which stands for Rest, Ice, Elevation, & Compression. Which were the doctor's orders for last year's running backs and a helpful reminder for all of us when we sprain a big toe. No, it actually stands for Relentless Intensity Swagger/Sacrifice Emotion.
Those aren't just words from a Red Bull commercial strung randomly together. It's wisdom:
I want it noted that we're one of the few schools in the country where a coach can call on any player with a request to read with some confidence. That scene played out at LSU or Auburn would feature more stammering than a Hugh Grant rom-com. Make the jump and I'll break it down for you.
R is for Relentless. Like a telemarketer. Or a cobra mounted on a panther wearing a bluetooth. YES. VERY MUCH.
I stands for Intensity. Did you see Case McCoy's Napoleon Dynamite haircut? Intense.
S is for Swagger/Sacrifice. As Mack Brown mentions in the video, Sacrifice is needed to unlock Swagger. It is known.
Sacrifice is obvious. The Longhorns must curry the favor of our brutal God-King by abducting villagers from surrounding vassal states (Pflugerville), carry them to the top of DKR, extract their still-beating hearts with an obsidian blade on an altar made of femurs - letting the lifeless roll down the steps to pile in the North end zone; and hold the pulsing organ above their heads as rivulets of blood pour down their jaguar-skin clad torsos.
Or sacrifice could mean to commit to running and lifting hard. It's unclear, frankly.
Swagger is how playmaking game changers conduct themselves with difference-making suddenness that makes them so special. Like me at the Farmer's Market. $7.59 for this aged goat cheese? Laughable. I will pimp limp to the pesticide-free rutabagas and circle back in thirty and take all that goat cheese for $5.00. No, I don't have a smaller bill, hippie. If you can't break an Andrew Jackson, that's on you.
E stands for Emotion. Just general feelings. Exploring them. Working through stuff. You might think a football team would require a specific emotion to rally to, like anger, enthusiasm, zeal, or boldness. You'd be wrong. Any emotion will do. Despair, hysteria, melancholy, jealousy, loathing, malaise, and indifference are all the building blocks of good football.
If we see Jaxon Shipley returning a punt with whimsy (ascot, parasol, skipping), he is fulfilling the E component. If Steve Edmond runs off the field to hide behind Bevo after a sack because cheering makes him bashful, he is living the RISE way. If Alex Okafor sits down on his helmet in the middle of a pass rush and sighs deeply, ask him: What's gotcha down, big fella? He's RISING. Can you elevate with him? If a player savagely humps a laundry basket while berating its performance during two-a-days, he's full E component. Use it. USE IT.
My challenge to all of you today - no matter what you're doing - is to Rise. Do that thing you're doing relentlessly, intensely, with swagger borne from ritual human sacrifice to a grim deity, while running a full gamut of random, intense emotions.
Can we do that, Longhorns?