Culpepper's Commentary: Texas-Missouri

Overall this game looked like two teams with a week off and playing at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday. Sloppy, at least early.

But here is some encouraging news from the beginning of the game: Greg Davis had enough good sense to start Jamaal Charles over Selvin Young at running back. After careful explanations from Austin for two weeks about "we don't name starters" or something to that effect it was good to see the Longhorn offensive staff understand who best butters their bread. Without Jamaal Charles, Texas does not beat Ohio State. That should not get lost in this touchy feely talk about "starters".

To Selvin Young's credit, he made the most of his chances while in the ball game, totaling 65 yards on 11 carries and a critical block on Vince Young's third-and-30 conversion. But there is no doubt Charles needs a rest occasionally, just not for long!

The offensive play of the game was the slick call by Greg Davis with 10 minutes left in the second quarter and Texas holding a slim 14-13 lead. From the Tigers' 32-yardline, the Longhorns lined up in a vanilla I formation backfield set. Vince Young faked to Charles over the Longhorns left side of Kasey Studdard, Jonathan Scott and David Thomas then rolled back to his right while Charles slipped down the Missouri sideline. Charles was all alone at the Tiger 10 and Young let the touch pass go. It was over Jamaal's right shoulder but the freshman turned his upper body enough to get a hand on it and then haul it in and suddenly it was Texas 20, Missouri 13. Just another play that most running backs couldn't make.

If you doubt my estimation of Jamaal Charles' effect on the Texas offense, listen to the quote by Missouri's fine safety David Overstreet on why Vince Young was so open on his 33-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

"Texas ran a zone keep," Overstreet said, "but we thought Jamaal Charles had the ball and he can roll."

And Ramonce Taylor has found his spot on this team at last -- wide receiver and kickoff returner. He is a threat and will continue improvement with each game.

Keep all that in mind. Young, Charles and a quickly improving receiver corps make the Longhorns an extremely dangerous offensive team. Take anyone of these units away and Texas is still dangerous but not as potent. Working together, the Longhorns play with great confidence and aggressiveness. "Fearless" is a good word to describe the Texas offense.

For those of you wondering why all the holding calls went against Texas in this game, you should know this officiating crew held the record for such calls in a Big 12 game at nine. That was for two teams; the Longhorns almost broke that mark in two quarters. Neither team chose this crew; they are assigned by the Big 12 offices.

I spoke to Lyle Sendlein, the Texas center, and offensive guard Kasey Studdard after the game, and they only smiled and shook their heads with a "whatever" look when asked about the circus of yellow flags.

A pat on the back is due the Longhorn kickoff coverage team. With the exception of their coverage on one short kickoff (a 33-yard Mizzou return), the Longhorn defense enjoyed starting their play from inside the opponents' 20-yardline instead of near midfield.

I was also impressed by the sideline defensive coaches and head coach Mack Brown getting in the face of their defensive players, challenging them for effort against the Missouri no-huddle attack before the Longhorn defenders went on the field when the score was close.

Brian Robison suffered a rib injury but it would take a .30-.30 bullet between his eyes to keep him out of Saturday's game in Dallas. His play at defensive end has made a difference this season and he would be missed. Bet on it -- he will play.

Rodrique Wright and his sidekick Larry Dibbles played strong in the middle of the Texas defensive line. Dibbles has his stinger back and his emotion in battle is running over. He is a slimmed down version of Warren Sapp when the game is on the line. Competition between Dibbles and Frank Okam is healthy and keeps both players motors running.

The Texas secondary continues to sell out each football game with all-out effort. They cover and they tackle -- there are no head duckers in the group.

Aaron Ross had a beautiful 88-yard split-the-seam-in-the-middle punt return that brought the whole end zone section to its feet because we saw the opening after Ross cleared the first coverage defender.

I think coach Gary Pinkel of Missouri will be fired at the end of this season. The no-huddle Missouri offense was terrible. Brad Smith played better in high school. Back-up quarterback Chase Daniels from Southlake Carroll is a better fit for what Missouri is trying to do and Southlake Coach Todd Dodge could take over Missouri tomorrow and coach the Tigers to more wins that Pinkel will get!

As I walked out of my end zone seating area, large groups of Missouri fans -- those who didn't leave at the start of the fourth quarter -- were huddled after the game discussing lynch mob tactics.

Not so in Norman. Oklahoma, after an off week of tough practice, was a much-improved football team this last weekend against Kansas State.

The B.S. will start all during the week about Mack Brown and his five consecutive losses to the Sooners and you can be assured emotions will run sky high as the clock ticks toward kickoff, but Kasey Studdard and buddies haven't come this far to back down from this opportunity.

And I would be surprised if Adrian Peterson can play effectively with such a high ankle sprain regardless of what Bob Stoops and Co. release to the media. Kejuan Jones is a good replacement for Peterson, but the Longhorn defense isn't K-State.

If you go to the game, put your binoculars on the battle between Studdard, Sendlein and Will Allen against Dusty Dvoracek. The Sooner Schooner could line up on any of these three and it will be a battle and well worth the $85.00 ticket to watch.

By the way, Mack Brown will not suit up for this game. He is getting older and has lost a step of speed. The ones getting their butts whipped by Oklahoma for the last five years are the ones wearing pads and they'll have their chance at redemption. Coach Brown has this team ready for war this weekend. The seniors and team leaders need to rise up and paint this game Burnt Orange again. It will be a classic and I believe Texas will indeed rise up and win 34-21.

Pat Culpepper played for The University from 1960-62 and graduated from UT with a B.A. degree with honors in history. He coached college football for 12 years as an assistant at Texas, Colorado, Tulane, Baylor and Memphis State and was head coach at Northern Illinois from 1976-79. He also spent 16 years as a high school coach in Texas at Midland, Lufkin, Galveston Ball, Westfield and his hometown of Cleburne. He was selected to the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1991. His commentary appears regularly in the Inside Texas magazine and at

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