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Texas Pregamer: Kansas

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Rock! The Jayhawk of angry men. Chalk! The stuff Les skips to eat the grass.

On the subject of trap games:

U simply hate to see ‘em on the schedule. You like to think that the team is focused on each and every week (as though they have a mantra about it...1-0), but you can still get caught looking ahead when you have ‘THE Game’ on the horizon.

Such an event happened last weekend, as Texas seemed to be only a shell of themselves for their piddly neutral-site, early morning kickoff against a gymnastics school. How do your eyes not look and your mind not dream of the PRIME TIME, home-field rivalry game that waits back in Austin? [very McConaughey voice] The J-hawks of the air versus the L-Horns of the terraforma; who can even blame the kids?!?!

The Chisholm Trail Rivalry stretches all the way back to the turn of the century (and the name all the way back to Tuesday), with three huge lifetime wins for Kansas: 1901 to give UT their 9th loss in as many years as a program, 1938 to open a season that UT would go winless, aside from the customary win over Texas A&M, and then again only 78 years later in 2016 which launched a million memes and the Tom Herman era in Moncrief. That first Kansas win in 1901 was only a mere 16 years after the death of Victor Hugo and some 50 years before the birth of Les Miles!

I memed a meme

I know what you’re thinking: Les Miles, Victor Hugo, Kansas? “Quite a tenuous leap there,” you might think. Not so fast my friend!

  • Les Misérables was written by Victor Hugo, a champion of the Little People. With six Big 12 wins in the past 10 years, Kansas definitely qualifies as such.
  • Hugo was also very opposed to the death penalty and wrote to the US Government to save John Brown’s life after he became the first person in America tried for treason post-Harper Ferry Raid (Brown, who first rose to fame in the Bleeding Kansas war, was executed before the letter arrived).
  • During Hugo’s exile from France, he lived on the islands of Guernsey and Jersey in the English channel. According to Trip Advisor, one of the nicest course on the Isle of Jersey? That’s right, Les Mielles.
  • There is also a tiny town in Kansas, just on the Oklahoma panhandle border called Hugoton (originally named Hugo, KS after the famous author, but changed to avoid confusion with nearby Hugo, Colorado). If that name sounds even vaguely familiar to you, it is probably because of the Hugoton Gas Field, the world’s 8th largest natural gas field and America’s #1 (also the #1 producer of helium in the USA).

Looking at your face, it seems you’re still not sold. Well have a look at this: Les Mi(le)s = Le Mis minus the letters ‘LE’. LE...Lawful Evil! Well, in Hugo’s novel, there is no real ‘Lawful Evil’ super-villain (for this archetype think Darth Vader, Bane, Thanos, Tywin Lannister...Nick Saban) because the main antagonist of the novel is really the idea of the French Government and an inspector named Javert who is literally taught in textbooks as the quintessential ideal of ‘Lawful Neutral.’

Les Miles’ biggest problem at LSU? The fact that he is so classically Chaotic Good — the direct opposite quadrant of Saban and his “process.’ Chrissakes! Alabama literally uses the Les Mis “Look Down” song that the prison slaves sing as their “defense” cheer. (Also Gavroche sleeps in a giant elephant, Roll Tide)

Since you didn’t come to just hear the people sing, we can forego the in-depth analysis of Les Miles as Jean Valjean, reinventing himself after he was arrested (fired) for stealing bread (a mere 77% win percentage at LSU) and the 24601 blades of grass he consumed. Save it for the comment section.

Ultimately, the Horns are coming down from an emotional week with a sour taste in their mouth. Losing the golden hat can act as a motivator and drive the rest of the season or it can quickly become a rallying point for the naysayers. How the team responds this week will in many ways define the trajectory of the rest of the season.

X marks the spot in Austin this weekend and the Longhorns look to be Costanza levels of Master of the House. Les, whose last halloween costume was a pirate, is in search of treasure island. (Marooned in the Pac 12 with his ‘fat, dumb, and entitled’ players, Mike Leach stares wistfully at that last sentence.) The Big 12 is marginally more exciting with the Mad Hatter in its ranks, but don’t let hat distract you from the fact that… well, you know. Acrostics and all that.

Hook ‘em.


Better Know A Roster

Bryce Torneden (S, Sr) - I adore how Kansas this kid from Free State HS in Lawrence is. His name is literally the pastime of Okies and Kansasians “Hey Bubba, yunta go a torneden after thatthere siren gets to blarin?”

Nick Channel (LB, RS-Fr) - the thing 90s kids had at-the-ready on the “last” button if your parents walked in on you piecing together scrambled, hazy softcore Skinemax at midnight. You young kids and your internet don’t know how good you have it!

Kevin Feder (OL, Sr) - Kevin Feder. He plays on the line. Kevin Federline! (you’ve just been PopoZão-ed).

Dru Prox (LB, Jr) - This was actually thought to be eradicated entirely, but...anti-vaxers.

Valerian Agbaw Jr. (CB, Fr) - This guy is like a legendary weapon that has lore and a backstory and detailed descriptions of who has one and where in the world they are and after much build-up is assembled along with many of the rest of these weapons for the ultimate battle, only to merely be a Kit Red Harringinton!

Cooper Root (LB, So) - Sounds like a slot receiver on a Belichick team.

Manny Miles (QB, Sr), Miles Fallin (QB, So), Miles Kendrick (QB, RS-So) - These dudes got recruited for more or Les one reason.

Hudson Hall (FB, Sr) Little known story, I got caught solving an impossible math problem on a chalkboard in a hallway of Hudson Hall when I moonlighted as a janitor back in Boston.

DaJon Terry (DL, Fr) - His uncle DaJet could really knock down some big time shots, huh?

Elmore Hempstead Jr. (CB, Sr) - From Smackover, Ark, this sounds like a character truly out of a Larry McMurtry novel.

Api Mane (OL, RS-Jr) - Gucci’s brother who really loves appetizers.

Denzel Feaster (LB, Sr) - hates going out with Api because he just wants to get to the main course.

Dylan Downing (LB, Fr) - If this guy isn’t your gunner on punt team, you’re doing it wrong.

Adagio Lopeti (OL, RS-Jr) - Was almost certainly a painter patronized by great Italian Renaissance merchants and featured in one of the Assassin’s Creed video games.

Hasan Defense (CB, Sr) - Older stereotypical watchers of the game are torn: The name Hasan “is a little ethnic” for their taste, but clearly with the name Defense he is 100% a Football Guy.

Spencer Roe (FB, RS-Fr) - There are exactly 30 players with the given or surname Wade in FBS. Two weeks ago saw Devan Wade (CB, West Virginia) match up v. Roe.


Grading the ‘Not So Special’ Teams

“Special” Forces

This season, the Longhorns decided to call their special teams units ‘Special Forces’ in honor of Longhorn Legend Frank Denius — one of the 10 most decorated soldiers to serve in World War II. Denius stormed Omaha Beach in Normandy at age 19...and so far this band of 18-22 year olds have disrespected the troops more than any anthem kneel.

9/10 - The kickoff unit is named Cobra Strike after Operation Cobra. Denius served with the 230th Field Artillery Battalion during the operation that broke through German defenses that had pinned down Allied forces in Normandy for seven weeks following the D-Day landings. This is probably the Horns top performing unit - ranking 23rd in the country with a respectable 17.4 yards per opponent return. That’s as much a credit to the Longhorn’s athletic underclassmen in coverage as it is Dicker the Kicker. The sophomore currently has a 25:10 touchback to return ratio.

7/10 The field goal unit is named Sniper, as the kicker needs pinpoint accuracy to succeed. The unit is named in honor of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL veteran who regularly referenced his love of the Longhorns in his book ‘American Sniper’. Dicker the Kicker has slightly increased his percentage to 75% and has hit his only kick over 50 — a 57 yard effort against Rice. He’s also converted all 30 extra points.

6/10 - The punt unit is dubbed the A-Team in honor of former UT long snapper Nate Boyer. He served six years in the Green Beret Special Forces unit as part of Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA), also known as an SFOD-A or A-Team, prior to joining UT Football in 2010. This could also be because of Michael Dickson, the All Time “A-Team” punter. Buj has been...a distant cousin. He is not booming them, but both his average and net (40.4 / 38.3) are up decimals from last year (40.3 / 37.8). Whether it’s good placement or elite coverage, the undeniable fact is that opponents have only returned 7 punts in 6 games, to the effect of a 2.14 yards per, good enough for 15in the nation (though the net is only 64th in the nation). He was also, as the family is wont to do, terrible against OSU.

4/10 - The kickoff return unit is named Six in honor of a University of Texas graduate who served on SEAL Team Six but was killed in action in a 2011 helicopter crash. The unit’s logo was designed by his best friend and depicts the Gold Squadron logo for which he was a member. It is also an apt grade for this unit, if not for Jamison taking one for 6 against Rice. If you take that one out though…

20.3 yards otherwise, which would be good enough for about 75th in the country. And then you factor in the bizarre decisions and the expected ROI that wasn’t. Duvernay fielding a kick that was going out of bounds, Duvernay dropping a ball [gasp] when attempting a fair catch (not reflected in the return yards), running kicks out of deep in the end zone when Texas wants valuable seconds before a half...maybe this is mostly a fresh wound from this past week.

0/10 - The punt return unit is called Posse, as the unit must work together as a brotherhood. The unit honors 1959 Longhorn Hall of Honor inductee, Maj. Gen. Kearie Lee Berry, who survived the Bataan Death March and 40 months as a Prisoner of War during World War II. No offense to Mr. Berry, but watching this must be the second worst thing to happen in his life. This is the single worst unit I have ever seen in any facet of Texas Longhorn football, EVER. After six games, they have an astounding -5 yards on eight returns. They are dead last and the only team in the negatives. Think of how desperately they tried to give away the OSU win…


Now That’s What I Call Moozik! Vol. 7

  1. “Bounce Back”, Big Sean - Last week we took an L and Saturday night we get some sacks. Kansas’ staff has got some sneaky heavy hitters, but I fully expect The Spirit of ‘69 to fuel some (orange and) white hot rage on the defensive front.
  2. “Who Am I?” - from ‘Les Miserables’, Hugh Jackman - Tom went full Jean Valjean and put that L(oaf) on himself after last weekend’s shockingly poor game plan. But he didn’t just steal some food for his family; he stole our hopes.
  3. “The Les(s) I Know The Better”, Tame Impala - I’ve never really bought into the gimmick. Les thinks grass is the answer to our burning world’s environmental chaos. He needs to be more upfront about his Big Grass Energy and admit that he’s been pushing a plant-based lifestyle on us for years.
  4. “Many The Miles”, Sara Bareilles - A peak behind the DJ’s curtain: I just love Sara Bareilles a lot, and the fact that she wrote this song in reference to Coach Miles’ diverse stops on his coaching journey is just a cherry on top of this grass milkshake.
  5. “Carry On Wayward Son”, Kansas - This band, like the state’s surging grain production, is corny as hell.
  6. “Tom Sawyer”, Rush - Notable KU alum Paul Rudd needs to sync back up with notable tall funny person Jason Segel and make that lovely Rush cover band an actual thing.
  7. “Heartbeat”, Don Johnson - Double dipping into the KU alum pool for this deliciously 80’s classic from Don Johnson. Donny hits this key change and it remains to this day the single most impressive thing to ever come out of the state of Kansas, Perry Ellis’ nine years of eligibility notwithstanding.
  8. “Summer of ‘69”, Bryan Adams - The Horns will be playing in some truly beautiful throwbacks this weekend to pay homage to the legendary Texas team of 1969. Gotta think Sam drops 420 yard on ‘em for good measure for a nice day.
  9. “Do Not Disturb”, Mahalia - To be quite honest, this was an ACL set I was upset to miss. Regardless, it’s time for the entire coaching staff to make like it’s finals week, steal away to the Architecture library, and put out some massive do not disturb energy. Let’s right this ship.
  10. “Purple Rain”, Prince and The Revolution - Somehow, some way, CDC keeps coming up with awesome acts for Longhorn City Limits. The Revolution will be live on the 40 before kickoff. Living legends should be celebrated. Go get weird, get some pancakes, get your game on, and hook ‘em.

Predictions

VY Pump Fake: The Horns look to replicate the feat of the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (a ‘proud and fierce rooster’, not to be confused with a Gamecock) who beat the Jayhawks back in week 2. Texas by three Carolina cock euphemisms.

Intern Eli: Sam’s gonna be pissed. Sam’s gonna put a 5-piece on ‘em. Texas puts up basketball numbers (first half) against a baseball score. Time to pour it on, fellas. Texas 52, Kansas 7.

Kyle Carpenter: ‘At the End of the Day’ the Jayhawk is not even a real bird. And Texas, with their ‘Stars, in their multitudes’ should make a statement about ‘Who Am I?’ Against this Kansas defense, they should be able to rack up in the range of 24601 yards.


Parting Shot

“If only someone could invent one or two different items to help with this blinding orb in the sky!”

Remember: When you pay for Snoop Dogg, you gon’ get Snoop Dogg.