Chat Archive: Clendon Ross

Clendon Ross of InsideTexas.com stopped by Bucknuts subscribers chat today to give us the lowdown on the Texas Longhorns. Check out a transcript of today's chat to see what Clendon said about this weekend's game.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 7, 2005 1:08:14 PM)
We want to extend a big Bucknuts welcome to Clendon Ross of Inside Texas.

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:08:32 PM)
Thanks for the welcome Steve.

buckmark (Sep 7, 2005 1:03:39 PM)
Early question.... what has Oklahoma done that has been successful in stopping the Texas attack and do you see tOSU defense as capable of doing it also?

buckmark (Sep 7, 2005 1:08:03 PM)
Also, what is your take on tOSU's new offense? How have other teams with similiar offenses typically fared against the Texas defense? Do you see it as similiar to what Oklahoma has been running for the past few years?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:08:20 PM)
Hey buckmark. OU has had a great defense for much of the last five years (althoug the loss of Mike Stoops to Arizona at the end of '03 has definitely had a negative impact on their performance). They've typically pressured Texas both with the defensive front and the LBs, and dared Texas to beat 'em up top. Texas has not responded. A lot of that has to do with the UT coaches' decision to play conservative. Teams that have been successful against OU have gone balls out, if you will. I think OSU will probably try a similar philosophy to what has worked for OU, and that's focus on stopping the run and making Texas win through the air.

riggs (Sep 7, 2005 1:07:14 PM)
The 2002 recruiting class was highly regarded as #1 in the country. Are the majority still with the team.. Who were the busts and who were the suprises ( ala AJ Hawk )

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:12:39 PM)
Hey riggs. There were a lot of misses in that 2002 class (about half), but it also includes guys like Rod Wright and Larry Dibbles (two of the three rotating DTs), starting MLB Aaron Harris, one of the best TEs in the country in David Thomas, and several other starters. Given the attrition, though, I wouldn't still rank it anywhere near the No. 1 class.

mulder (Sep 7, 2005 1:12:01 PM)
With the Sooners down this year does Texas now regard the OSU game as the biggest on their schedule?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:14:01 PM)
Hey mulder. I think most Horns still consider the OU game the biggest on the schedule, simply because it is a conference game and Texas has lost five straight to the Sooners. But the OSU game is a very close second, and the excitement level is absolutely unbelievable here, as I imagine it is there in Columbus as well.

riggs (Sep 7, 2005 1:14:06 PM)
what can we expect from that 390 lb running back you guys will be fielding on sat?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:15:48 PM)
riggs -- Well, he's almost 390. He's actually 6-3, 270 and his name is henry Melton. I think you can expect to see him in short yardage and goalline situations. Mack Brown, in the past, has hesitated using true freshman in huge games like this, so it will be interesting to see if Melton and Jamaal Charles (true freshman and the leading rusher for Texas in the opener) play substantially.

ToledoBucknutty (Sep 7, 2005 1:15:52 PM)
Good afternoon Steve and Kirk.....And a good morning to you Clendon in Texas! What an incredible matchup we have the opportunity to see this weekend :) On sportscenter this morning I saw your guys talking about how they are going to quiet down our crowd and they just need to get done with us and finish the rest of their tasks. Do you think that is over-confidence at all? Are some players underestimating the Buckeyes? Or are they just that confident in their abilities? Or do you think the opposite is true and OSU players and fans are over-confident?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:17:46 PM)
ToledoBucknutty -- This Texas squad is very confident, and they're confident of their ability on the road. They've won in some tough places (Nebraska, Arkansas), although probably not as tough as what they'll face Saturday night in the Shoe. But I also believe they greatly respect Ohio State and know that it is going to be tough to come out with a victory.

buckmark (Sep 7, 2005 1:17:55 PM)
What is you take on tOSU's new offense? How have other teams with similiar offenses typically fared against the UT's defense?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:20:28 PM)
Hey buckmark. That's a great question. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see the Ohio State-Miami game, so all I can go on is what the coaches and players are saying. And they're saying that they are very concerned with guys like Troy Smith and of course Ginn and Holmes. From a defensive perspective, new Texas DC Gene Chizik's philosophy is aggression, so I think you're going to see Texas try to stop the Buckeyes in the run game and force either Zwick or Smith to beat 'em.

mulder (Sep 7, 2005 1:20:33 PM)
Why does Texas have so many early commitments? Is this a change in recruiting philosophy on the part of Mack Brown?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:23:00 PM)
mulder -- Getting early commitments has been part of Mack Brown's recruiting philosophy for a while, although this year is just crazy! 24 commits before the end of August! Anyway, last year Texas lost a couple of guys on or right before Signing Day (Ryan Perrilloux and Martellus Bennett), and Brown decided that he wwas only going to go after kids that REALLY wanted to come to Texas and were willing to show that by committing early. It may mean they miss out on a few guys that want to decide late, but Brown has decided he'd rather have that happen than be left at the alter again like last year.

poz79 (Sep 7, 2005 1:23:06 PM)
Has the Texas FG team worked the bugs out? What would you say is the range as far FG distance is for the Horns?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:25:24 PM)
Hey poz79. Honestly, I think all aspects of the kicking game are a real concern for Texas. Richmond McGee missed three of his first four extra point attempts last week in his first shot at kicking duties (he's been the punter and the kickoff specialist, just not the field goal kicker). I don't know if the type of problems that he has (low kicks, slow kicks) are correctable in one week. Again, BIG area of concern for Texas this weekend.

riggs (Sep 7, 2005 1:25:34 PM)
Clendon, will your group be holding any tail gates at the shoe on Sat. If so.... you think you can help a brother out with a little of that BBQ Brisket????

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:27:19 PM)
Hey riggs. You guys didn't give us enough tickets for many of us to be there! Seriously, we'll definitely set you up with some BBQ next year when you guys come to Austin. Also wanted to add to my last response: McGee has 50-plus yard range, but right now, I'd say ANY field goal attempt, no matter the distance, is at best a 50-50 proposition for the Horns.

redondo (Sep 7, 2005 1:27:26 PM)
Hi Clendon - Thank you for taking the time to come chat with us. If I recall correctly, Kansas and Missouri gave the Horns a game last season. As Ohio State fans, what could we learn from those two games by way of game plan and execution that that would benefit the Buckeyes? Thank you.

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:30:37 PM)
Hey redondo. Both the games you mentioned seemed to me to be let-down games for the Horns. Against Missouri, Texas just came off the OU game (a 12-0 loss) and played extremely flat. It wass also Vince Young's worst game of the season and he left with an injury. He played great for the rest of the season after that, starting with the Texas Tech game the following week. At Kansas, Texas played extremely conservatively on defense despite the fact that Kansas was playing back-up QBs, and they burned Texas through the air. As I mentioned earlier, I wouldn't expect a repeat performance defensively because Gene Chizik (UT DC who came from Auburn) is not going to ever let his D be passive.

buckmark (Sep 7, 2005 1:30:43 PM)
Tressel is saying that the lack of naming a starting QB is no advantage to the Bucks and really of no consequence. I agree as the offense will be the same with either one and both are very capable. What are your thoughts?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:32:38 PM)
buckmark -- I'm not sure what to think. Texas has had it's share of QB rotations in the past, and our experience, at least in the big games, wasn't necessarily a good one. According to the Texas coaches and players, they are preparing for both QBs and expect both to play. I don't think it'll change UT's fundamental philosphy on D, I think the question is how well the Ohio State offense handles the situation.

ToledoBucknutty (Sep 7, 2005 1:32:45 PM)
I read an article in I believe the Houston Chronicle yesterday and it almost seemed spiteful toward OSU (or tOSU, and yes that was mentioned) for thinking we are a superior football state, both in the high school and college ranks. I can't lie, I do think the Big Ten is a heck of a good brand of football, but I don't see the arrogance that that writer did. I always say Texas, Ohio, Cali, and Florida in no particular order. Do you get the sense that this will be a pretty bitter matchup this year and next?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:35:14 PM)
Toledo -- I don't sense a bitter match-up (except maybe from some overzealous fans, which both sides have). I told Steve the other day on the radio that I think this is what college football should be about, at least in the non-conference schedule. Two of the all-time great programs going head-to-head. I think there is a lot of respect on both sides and I think that, regardless of who wins, the game in Austin next year will carry the same weight nationally and with the same build-up, excitement and respect among both schools.

redondo (Sep 7, 2005 1:35:19 PM)
Hi Clendon - The Horns have been to many bowl games in many venues. Where does the Rose Bowl experience rank and why?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:37:16 PM)
redondo -- Well, it's No. 1 without a close second in my book, but I didn't start going to UT's bolw games till the mid-80s, and too many of those ended in heartbreak (particularly the '84 Cotton Bowl, w hen Texas lost to Georgia and with the less missed out on a national championship). The Rose Bowl's reputation as the Granddaddy of them All is well earned.

hornsacker (Sep 7, 2005 1:37:41 PM)
what do the texas fans think about this game , no biggie or are they scared

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:39:49 PM)
Hey hornsacker. I think any Texas fan with a brain (and I think that is most of them) believes this is going to be a tough contest. Scared? I don't know about that. As I mentioned before, Texas, under Mack Brown, is a very good road team, and has won in some very tough venues at night. Given UT's abilities on both sides of the ball,cCautiousy optimistic is how I would describe most Longhorns right now.

poz79 (Sep 7, 2005 1:40:01 PM)
Prdiction on the Tyler Lee vs. Colerain game? Will you be attending?

BuckeyeDave (Sep 7, 2005 1:40:07 PM)
Clendon - thanks for your time this afternoon. What do you make of the R. E. Lee - Colerain match-up?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:41:16 PM)
Guys, I've been so busy with keeping our site humming the last few weeks, I haven't paid a whole lot of attention to the Lee-Colerain match-up...

redondo (Sep 7, 2005 1:41:35 PM)
Hi Clendon - Could you walk us through the Texas special teams play, please? What in your view are the strengths and weaknesses?

buckmark (Sep 7, 2005 1:41:38 PM)
Games like these typically come down to special teams and tOSU has excelled in these for the last 4 years. How would you rate the special teams for Texas?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:44:54 PM)
Oh gosh, do I have to? It's a horror show! Actaully, I'm overdoing it a bit but there is legitimate conncern in these parts that Texas might out-play Ohio State on both sides of the ball but lose due to special teams blunders. First, kickoffs. Texas struggles getting the ball into the endzone on kickoffs, so there will probably be return possibilites. Last year, kickoff return coverage was dismal at times (see the Rose Bowl) and they haven't been tested yet this year, which will obviously come this weekend. Punting has been steady but not spectacular in terms of distance, and the punt coverage unti has been pretty good overall but again, not yet tested like they will be this weekend. And I mentioned field goals/extra points earlier.

ToledoBucknutty (Sep 7, 2005 1:45:03 PM)
What differences do you see in Ohio State's D as opposed to Michigan's that might make it tougher or easier on Vince Young and the offense than in the Rose?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:47:02 PM)
Toledo -- I see a much better defense in the Scarlet and Gray than what Texas faced last January in Pasadena. The linebackers and secondary are scary. The linebackers in particular I believe are going to be huge for OSU because of Vince Young's ability not only to make plays with his feet, but to use his feet to move the pocket and then hit guys coming out of the backfield or the TE slipping underneath.

mulder (Sep 7, 2005 1:47:12 PM)
Whatever happens on Saturday, I think the rematch next year in Texas will also be exciting. Have you heard anything about scheduling more games between the schools?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:49:31 PM)
mulder -- No word on scheduling any more games in the future. Texas is looking at scheduling mid-tier teams rather than top tier (which I hate, BTW). Unfortunately, in this day and age, teams I think are going to shy away from big intersectional non-conference match-ups like this. That is, until there is a playoff and one loss doesn't knock a team out of title contention.

Kirk (Sep 7, 2005 1:49:34 PM)
buckeyejoe asks "Hi Clendon, what player not named Vince Young do you think will be the key for Texas in this game?"

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:51:52 PM)
Hey Kirk. Great question. On offense, I'd say David Thomas. He's as good a receiving TE as you'll see in the country and he is a huge part of the Texas offense. He's Vince Young's most trusted receiver, and if I had to bet who would score the first TD for Texas, I'd go with Thomas. On defense, I'd go with Michael Huff. He's the top defensive back for the Horns and although he's the starter at strong safety, it's very possible that'll he'll be the guy charged with covering Ginn. He drew the assignment of Mark Clayton last year in the OU game and virtually shut him down.

bigd (Sep 7, 2005 1:52:01 PM)
Do you feel this game will live up to the hype?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:52:52 PM)
Hey bigd. Man, I hope so. Obviously anything can happen, and if either team turns the ball over a great deal, the game could be a blowout. But I think these are two very even teams and I expect a barn burner.

BuckeyeDave (Sep 7, 2005 1:53:08 PM)
Give us an idea of some of the UT Band and fan traditions that we can look for.

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:55:22 PM)
Hey BuckeyeDave. You'll experience so much more when you're down here. There's just such a small contingent of Texas fans that I don't think you'll be able to hear the band, Texas Fight (school fight song), The Eyes of Texas (school song), etc. The Texas fans love to tailgate, though, so the ones that make it will surely be hanging around before the game.

buckwild23 (Sep 7, 2005 1:55:36 PM)
How Big of a Game is this one for you as a fan?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:57:16 PM)
Hey buckwild23. H-U-G-E! This is the biggest non-conference game that Texas has played since the mid-90s (Notre Dame) and the Texas program is in better shape now than it was then, so the anticipation is even greater. Probably like you guys, we (as fans) have been looking forward to this one for years. And I can't believe it's just four days away!

redondo (Sep 7, 2005 1:57:22 PM)
Hi Clendon - Do you think the Horns see A.J. Hawk as the defensive (for Ohio State) key to this game?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 1:58:21 PM)
redondo -- The coaches and players haven't said so per se, but I do think they believe that the linebackers as a group could be a key for the reasons I mentioned above (Vince Young's ability to make off-schedule plays).

poz79 (Sep 7, 2005 1:58:37 PM)
Who's a possible sleeper on the Texas Offense who could have a big game sat.?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 2:00:33 PM)
poz79 -- Well, I already mentioned David Thomas as a key, but a sleeper? I'd go with a guy like Henry Melton, the big true freshman tailback. I don't know hom many times he'll get the ball, but he could make an impact particularly if Texas needs a yard to make a first down (or TD) or if the Horns needs to run clock. He's built for those tasks.

DaytonBuckeye (Sep 7, 2005 2:01:08 PM)
Mr Ross, How is the linebacker corp for the Longhorns this year? Also, do you see them blizting in this game in order to put pressure on our QB's or do you feel Texas's DLINE will be able to apply plenty of pressure. Also, how does OSTATES line match up against the Texas Dline? Thank you from Dayton and GO BUCKS!

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 2:05:15 PM)
Hey DaytonBuckeye. The Texas linebackers are a bit of a question mark. Texas is solid in the middle with Aaron Harris, but the two starters on the outside are sophomore Drew Kelson and redshirt freshman Rashad Bobino, and they're both a bit undersized and untested. But DC Gene Chizik values speed and violence at the point of collissiopn, and both guys bring that. Will Texas blitz? I'd say yes, but one of the main focuses during the offseason has been getting a pass rush from the front four, so I think it'll all start there. As for the UT D-line, it is very, very good, one of (if not) the best int he nation. The reason I give a slight edge to Texas in the game is because I believe football games are won and lost in the trenches, and I believe Texas has an advantage on both the offensive and defensive lines.

ToledoBucknutty (Sep 7, 2005 2:05:26 PM)
Our receiving corps is pretty deep. If Huff can shut down his man, do you think the remaining (in a four wide set) of Ginn, Holmes, Gonzales, and Hall could pose some matchup problems?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 2:07:26 PM)
Hey Toledo. Yep, I think if those guys are allowed to run free and either Zwick or Smith has time, Texas will be in trouble. Obviously, the Horns are going to try to get to the QB as quickly as possible to mitigate the situation you describe. Texas has a very good defensive backfield as well (although I give the advantage there to the Buckeyes) but if given time, both OSU QBs are capable of finding receivers.

poz79 (Sep 7, 2005 2:07:37 PM)
Have you been to Ohio Stadium before or will this be your first trip to the 'shoe? Do you enjoy the traditons and history of these type of places or is it all about what happens on the field for you?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 2:10:00 PM)
poz79 -- Well, I've never been to Ohio Stadium before and, sadly, I will not be there this weekend. I just cancelled my flight this morning (my wife had surgery recently and is on bed rest, and I get to play nurse) and it killed me. So, in general, I love the college game day experience. Don't get me wrong, I love what goes on out on the field, but college football can not be beat for its pageantry. College football towns on game weekend, to me, is the place to be.

ToledoBucknutty (Sep 7, 2005 2:10:08 PM)
Did you get the sense that ULL was down for the game Saturday with all of the horrific stuff they have had to face, or was it purely talent that led to that score?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 2:11:22 PM)
Toledo -- No, I didn't get the sense that the Cajuns were down, but I would think that they had to be. Having said that, Texas out-talented those guys at every position (except maybe kicker), so the outcome was pretty much as expected.

Kirk (Sep 7, 2005 2:12:07 PM)
Ok Clendon, thanks for joining us today... there were a few questions we didn't get to today; sorry folks for that. But we can't let you go without answering the question so many have sent in over the past hour.....

buckwild23 (Sep 7, 2005 2:12:14 PM)
Prediction?---And Best of Luck to Texas this Saturday. GO BUCKS!!! Miami here

ToledoBucknutty (Sep 7, 2005 2:12:18 PM)
We always ask our guys for score predictions......what do you think?

ClendonRoss (Sep 7, 2005 2:14:05 PM)
Hey guys. Thanks for the hospitality. I enjoyed the conversation. As I mentioned earlier, I think this game will be a tight one, and barring turnovers or special teams disasters, I give Texas the edge because of its line play on both sides of the ball. I'm calling it Texas 24, Ohio State 17. I'm looking forward to a great one! Thanks again!


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