Culpepper's Commentary: Texas Owes Iowa

The year was 1984 and the Texas coach was Fred Akers. The Longhorns lost in Austin to Texas A&M 37-12 and then on Dec. 26th at the Freedom Bowl, Hayden Fry's Iowa Hawkeyes destroyed the Longhorns, 55-17.

I was the head football coach and Athletic Director at Lufkin High School at the time and as I reflect on that game along with the poor performance against the Aggies, I have to believe it was the beginning of the end for Fred Akers. He lasted two more years but the physical whippings administered to his team at the end of 1984 broke his hold on the Southwest Conference.

Texas owes Iowa! The Hawkeyes fans are rabid; they will come to San Antonio as if it was the Rose Bowl.

And anytime your team gets manhandled when you're on national television, like it did in 1984 vs. A&M and then Iowa, and like it did this year on the day after Thanksgiving vs. A&M, it affects the inside and outside of your program; your plan for winning gets sidetracked and questions begin. That's what happened in 1984. And it's happened again in 2006.

The questions heading into the Alamo Bowl after two shocking losses to Kansas State and Texas A&M are:

1. Can Colt McCoy still be an effective quarterback since the threat of him running with the football is gone?

Against A&M, his failure to step up in the pocket cost at least a sack and a hurry that was uncalled for. From where I sat it was Colt McCoy's worst performance of the year.

2. Should McCoy get hit hard again who can save the Longhorn offense now that Jevan Snead has transferred to Ole Miss?

According to reports from the Snead camp, the Texas coaching staff could have saved Snead if he was only given a chance in the blowout games. And Snead should also have been given a chance against A&M. McCoy's passes had no zip and they got weaker as the game went on. The worst part: McCoy may never be the same.

3. Does Texas have any running game at all?

Forget the zone read days and the zone blocking runs of Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young got less and less effective as the season went along.

My Aggie friends say Charles and Young are "tip-toe running backs" but I disagree; they just seem to be running sideways because the Longhorns forgot the I formation with counters, draws, lead plays and off-tackle runs.

It might be time to put Mac McWhorter in charge of the running game and tell Greg Davis to build a passing attack around McWhorter's offense!

4. Can Duane Akina coordinate a defense with as much energy as Greg Robinson and Gene Chizik?

He deserves a chance to regroup a unit of young men that had the opportunity to be one of the Longhorns great defensive teams. They weren't and got embarrassed at Kansas State and by the 88-yard drive down their throats in Darrell K Royal-Memorial Stadium by Texas A&M.

5. Has the Texas football team folded its tent and decided if they can't win by finesse, they can't win?

This is a question only to be answered by Mack Brown, Greg Davis and the Texas seniors.

Nobody feels sorry for Texas. Opponents feel Mack Brown has gone back to his "soft" days living off the 2005 national championship season. I don't think that way -- I believe and hope coach Brown is highly upset at the way the season ended and will use every means at his disposal to get their fighting blood up for a four quarter war at the Alamo Bowl.

Texas fans needs to show up in San Antonio in force and try to do their part in saving what pride the 2006 Longhorns have left.

The Texas Longhorns are my team and I will be there to the last tick of the clock hoping to see some Hawkeyes get paid back in spades.

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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