Not-so-Mean Green

1 Sep

TEXAS_unt14

Texas 38, North Texas 7

Aug. 30, 2014 • DKR
 

We’re back! In honor of the Mean Green, green M&Ms were this week’s spelling medium. The rather warm tailgate threatened to debunk the whole “melts in your mouth, not in your hands” thing, as our mushy candy turned soft and took on a slight sheen. Fortunately for us Texas fans, our team was much tougher in the heat.

After attending 225 Texas games, I thought I’d seen it all. But this long-awaited season opener was full of firsts.

The most obvious: This was head coach Charlie Strong’s first game on the Texas sideline. For the first time since 1998, Mack Brown wasn’t there. I’m sure he was clapping somewhere air-conditioned.

17_strong

Instead, there was Coach Strong in his long-sleeved white shirt, glistening in that muggy August heat.

Another first: Jetpack Guy! 

14_jetpack

15_jetpack2    16_jetpack3

 

He took off and landed from the North Endzone. Cool but weird! We could’ve used that jetpack to get past all the construction traffic on I-35, but this? Just strange and a little scary.

Then there was the drone.

37_drone

 

During the third quarter, we noticed this thing come from our right and hover over us before flying directly over the field. With its flashing green and red lights, it obviously wasn’t trying to sneak up on us, but it was odd to know this device was watching the 93,000 of us gathered there. After plenty of speculation (Spy plane? Commercial photographer? Amazon delivery?), KXAN solved this mystery.

And the football? Plenty of firsts there, too. Our first look at our new defense was exciting. They looked tough and played tough, too, giving up only eight first downs and 94 yards, getting four INTs. After years of hearing my friend yell, “WHERE ARE THE LINEBACKERS,” it was nice to see one get a pick 6. Good on ya, Demarco Cobbs. And hello, Mr. Ridgeway! Hassan’s two sacks were mighty pretty. Our D gave up 0 points. ZERO! How refreshing is that? Darn that fumbled snap in our own endzone that cost us the shut-out. 

Our offense was really clicking, too, and if it hadn’t been for some right-on-the-numbers dropped passes, QB David Ash’s stats, not to mention the final score, could’ve been much better. RBs Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray were solid, and in his first game as a Horn, D’Onta Foreman had a 34-yard burst that makes us thankful he got his academic issues squared away and could join the team. 

22_rush-buyersThroughout the game I kept my eye on North Texas’ #31, Kenny Buyers. An L.D. Bell grad, Buyers had 7 solo tackles, including one for a 6-yard loss. Even though he was wearing the “wrong” color, I was proud to see one of “our kids” on the field.

Overall this first game was a Strong (heh heh) one. Sure, there were some lapses, but I have to be encouraged to see a harder running O and tighter D. The worst part of this one wasn’t play-calling or personnel choices but an injury: Dom Espinosa left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury. The O-line is already young, and we need our experienced anchor at center. If he misses the rest of the season (which it sounds like he will), we could be in trouble (see aforementioned fumbled snap). 

In spite of that, I’m encouraged and excited. Next week, we get another shot at BYU, the team that put the final nail in Mack Brown’s coffin last year. Even a win over ou couldn’t undo the damage from that 40-21 shellacking. Our D gave up 550 rushing yards, the most in five decades, and our #15 ranking was gone just as quickly as you can say “Taysom Hill.” Will this D let a QB rush for 259 yards? Let’s see: QBs rushed for 209 total yards over Strong’s last three SEASONS at Louisville (via @max_olson), so I can’t help but be optimistic. Strong gets it: He knows were were embarrassed last year and says he’s “looking forward to this one.” 

So are we, Coach. So are we.

Tailgate, pregame, game, and postgame pix from this great first football weekend:

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: