The 1990 Longhorns had the “Shock the Nation Tour,” and while a repeat of that year's regular season would indeed shock most college football fans and “experts” across the nation, I've decided to label the rest of this season as the “Redemption Tour.” The first stop on the tour is this Saturday, in Houston, where Horns will face Rice -- yet another former Southwest Conference foe.
Saturday's game is the first opportunity for the Horns to begin the healing process that is so desperately needed -- for themselves, the coaches, and the fans -- in the wake of the blind-sided tail whipping they took last Saturday in Austin at the hands of the Razorbacks. Hopefully the healing has already begun in the locker room, where just this week the team's Leadership Committee (the fact that there is such a thing, even if it was just created, is good sign) banned all player interviews until after Saturday's game. Of course motive is always a question. Did the players make this move because they were tired of all the questions, or because they truly needed to focus on the task at hand? Only they know for certain.
I do have one concern regarding the locker room:
Receiver Roy Williams said when he watches film from UT's first two games, he sees room for Benson to run.
"We just have to run the ball," Williams said. "The holes are there."
[Chip Brown, Dallas Morning News]
Typically comments like this help to divide the room - not bring a team closer together, and they certainly don't explain the lack of a running game when other backs are in there.
Anyone who watched the game closely saw that there were a number of issues, starting with blocking, tackling, and holding onto the ball. Yet despite the problems, Texas was a defensive stop or two away from pulling out a win. That isn't meant to detract from the Razorback's performance, they played a heck of a game, and took advantage of the opportunities given to them -- rather, it is to make the point that as well as Arkansas played, and as poorly as Texas played, that is all that stood between Texas and a victory.
It is my hope that the Texas coaching staff and players don't see it in such simple terms. To do so would hinder the root of the problems from being addressed, which would ruin the "Redemption Tour."
Until this past week, I had actually forgotten about Nutt's "Horns down" antics.
As a Longhorn fan and season-ticket holder, what I remember most about the last meeting between these two schools is that it was the third loss in row (lost to A&M after their bonfire accident, and to Nebraska in the Big12 title game -- after beating them the previous three meetings, including earlier that season), bringing a painful end to what had been a very nice season. I also recall being very disappointed in some key Texas players who were suspended the week before the game. They let down the team and the school big time.
As a fan, I think it is great to have the renewal of this rivalry, but from what I've read, an ongoing home-and-home series with Arkansas is unlikely (assuming they don't join the Big12):
When Brown first proposed adding Arkansas to the schedule, he called Royal, who thought Brown had lost his mind. Royal was concerned that giving Arkansas any possible entry into Texas for recruiting purposes was a bad idea.