I had the favorable fortune of watching my Texas Longhorns live and in-person for the first time in six years. Despite the L, the combination of good game + bad outcome + great time = a sufficient dose of Monday morning optimism.
Perhaps because that aforementioned 2010 viewing was the bloodletting against UCLA. Or perhaps because I spent my Sunday toes in the water, ass in the sand.
In any case, I come to you now after the turn of the tide with some scattershot thoughts.
- For one quarter, section NN was a great place to be. Crowd was pumped. CWIII punched in two emphatic south end zone touchdowns and Texas' flag bearers put in overtime on their hammy work. A strong showing by the Texas fanbase overall, but the 1Q ambiance was particularly powerful.
- Cal has a very demure crowd to complement a beautiful stadium. Very cordial and welcoming bunch. Hard to get too upset when you lose to such a respectable fanbase.
- Though Davis Webb and his end of game Horns Down taunting can derelict some balls.
- Wouldn't be surprised if Shane Buechele's locker room visit went largely unnoticed by the in-game crowd. The Twitter updates were sparse and cryptic, and Buechele ended up absent from only one offensive series huddle.
- The 2H Malik Jefferson injury was much more crowd-deflating.
- Always good to hear the obligatory "THROW THE BALL" guy, especially on a night where Texas ran for 300+ yards.
- Watching D'Onta Foreman from field level sure is something.
- I saw some post-game commentariat that lamented the lack of a long game by the Texas O, but it looked rather apparent that Buechele was off after returning. Did it look the same way on broadcast?
- It's a sight for sore eyes to see some semblance of actual O show up in Burnt Orange again.
- After a first half that spanned 2+ hours of unchecked aggression, it's easy to forget how out of their element this young Texas team was. During halftime, I heard multiple grumblings of how tired Texas fans were. The second half started around midnight central time. Think that wasn't a factor in a sluggish third quarter?
- I'm surprised I haven't seen much discussed about losing Devante Davis early (in addition to Antwaun Davis not traveling) as a large contributing factor to a disastrous night for the secondary.
- I did notice that Bedford replaced the twice-burnt Sheroid Evans with Kris Boyd, but most of the cattle calls are for more Brandon Jones as instant panacea. A quick history lesson and the freshman growth curve of Devante Davis and Holton Hill just one year should give Strong and Bedford some leash as to why Jones didn't see any time on defense.
- And it's not like Strong and Bedford don't play true freshmen. Malcolm Roach got plenty of run, and I saw Jeff McCulloch on the field in the 4Q.
- But yeah, like you, I still want to see what Jones can do on D.
- There was one Cal toss to the southeast end zone where Hill had a bead on the ball and came up just short on a full sprint and extension. Shades of Rose Bowl Michael Griffin. Does an upperclassman Hill intercept that? Methinks yes.
- Thought I saw a lot of that Nobis-patented Fox Force Two in the second half. To mixed results, though a fired up Breckyn Ball is a joy to watch.
- Funniest moment of the night: #89 on Cal got into a shoving match with the Texas flag prior to the start of the second half. Not the flag bearer. Just the flag.
- Not nearly quite as funny: Texas fans throwing water bottles onto the field while booing the controversial braindead fumble call and managing to just pelt the Longhorn cheerleaders instead.
- Seriously a bummer ending to an otherwise enjoyable game.
- From a macro view, the message board hoopleheads are basically asking Texas to be Alabama or Ohio State. A quick perusal of other blue blood box scores is highlighted by a Florida State shellacking, a USC disappointment, a 1-2 Oklahoma, a 1-2 Notre Dame, and myriad other travesties and transgressions. Winning big, all the time, is really f'ing hard.
- The big question: is the defense fatally flawed (Shawn Watson™), or is it inexperienced potential waiting to harden into realized greatness? I'm still betting on the latter.