Texas heads to Dallas with no quarterback controversy, with sensational closing speed in linebackers Derrick Johnson and Aaron Harris, and with Cedric Benson, newly No. 2 on the UT all-time rushing list, ready for his last effort versus the Sooners
I thought public address announcer Bill Little missed an opportunity last Saturday during the Baylor game to stick the perfect psychological needle into Benson and the Texas football team when he announced Benson's career rushing total of 4,452, which pushed him past Earl Campbell in the Longhorn record books.
The celebration was handled in a classy way by the Texas sidelines. (Mack Brown handed Cedric the wet football he had just carried to break the record.) But what if Little had added, "We hope Cedric can surpass his Oklahoma single game record of 54 yards against the Sooners next week in Dallas."
The point is this: Cedric must understand he is not in Earl's class until he has a great game against the Sooners. That is not to take anything away from what he has accomplished and what he has given the Longhorns in his time on the Forty Acres, but to truly join the Texas immortals, he must erase his name from the "They Disappear in Dallas" list of UT players that Mack Brown has put on the field against Oklahoma by busting loose in the Cotton Bowl.
(That list includes Roy Williams. Roy Williams is making it big in the NFL. Based on early results, it would almost seem that success in the League is much easier than having to face the Sooner secondary!)
Don't be angry that I'm pointing this out. It is exactly what the man on the street believes about Mack Brown's Longhorn heroes. While other Longhorn news services won't dare print such 'heresy', Inside Texas wants me to call it like I see it. And that's how I see it.
Last year, after the 65-13 whipping, I ran smack into an Oklahoma assistant whom I know from my high school coaching days. He told me: "I have been reading what you write about Texas. You are right -- Texas babies its players and they are soft. They quit today in the fourth quarter." He then shook hands and said, "I'm sorry, good luck to you and Texas."
That has stuck with me for 360 days.
And Oklahoma is again a talented outfit, now with a bright new star in running back Adrian Peterson, outstanding receivers and the most dangerous punt returner in college football in Antonio Perkins. The Sooners have it all -- defense, offense, special teams, tradition and coaching.
Nothing new. So how do the Longhorns stand a chance?
Because this is a different Texas team. This football team is built on running the ball, not just talking about running it. Cedric Benson is tougher and more determined, and it will be a showdown between Benson and the Oklahoma freshman who ex-Sooner coach Barry Switzer has already awarded a Heisman Trophy to in the near future. The Texas defense is a different breed than in the recent past. The Longhorn defenders have knocked loose footballs in every game they have played. Not just the big men up front, but the Texas secondary comes to contact with bullet speed.
I do not believe Oklahoma will find this group of Texans playing around the edges or playing soft. Mack Brown and his staff have done everything possible to bring this Longhorn team into the Oklahoma game with a tough enough mental and physical makeup to win. If the Longhorn players want this game badly enough and play every play to the max, it is their time. I think it will be an all out effort from both teams for four quarters but Vince Young, who has improved dramatically as a field general, will have a great football game and lead Texas to a 21-17 win.