Texas got out-coached and out-fought by Texas A&M, for the second year in a row, and this time there was no excuse for the way Colt McCoy played. He was healthy and got the taste of another defeat at the hands of the Aggies. I hope he is damn tired of that.
Five hundred thirty-three yards, numerous missed tackles, no pressure on the A&M quarterback and wide open receivers kept Texas a ridiculous looking team despite NFL-quality players.
I knew I had been dead wrong about the game on the Aggies' first possession. Stephen McGee threw a flat flare pass to running back Mike Goodson and Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo closed in on Goodson and made the fast Aggie back stutter step back to the inside where there should have been some fired up Longhorns in full pursuit. Instead – I caught this in the corner of my eye – several of the white jerseyed Longhorn defenders jogged, thinking Orakpo would make the stop! Goodson raced 35 yards for a touchdown. Unacceptable!
Apparently, it just didn't mean enough or the NFL bug had set in. In the 1960's, playing at Texas was the ultimate and beating Oklahoma, Arkansas and A&M was deep in our hearts. When the ball was in play, we pursued full speed and when we got there we put our head across the ball carrier and drove our arms through and around those Sooners, Razorbacks and Aggies.
Don't say, "that was old times, these athletes are so much better." B.S. You run full speed to make the play on defense until the whistle blows or you end up like the 2006 and 2007 Longhorns. The Aggies whip your ass, pure and simple.
It didn't end there. Later, with the score 31-17, McGee threw a short pass to slot receiver Earvin Taylor where it should have been simply a first down around mid-field. But no, safety Marcus Griffin and corner Brandon Foster tried to shoulder tackle Taylor – no wrap up, no leg drive, one hit and it's over – so Taylor takes it to the end zone. A 66-yard touchdown that should have been, at best, an 11-yard gain.
There were a couple of bright spots for Texas: the Horns did not quit and Jamaal Charles and Quan Cosby played outstanding games. Cosby's 91-yard kickoff return put the fear of losing back into the maroon crowd at Kyle Field. It brought the score to A&M 24, Texas 17 at the end of the third quarter. Believe me, the Aggies sitting around me were shaking their heads and you could actually hear the Texas band and shouts of Longhorns fans, including me.
But it was short-lived. A&M threw a wheel route pass to Goodson with less than a minute gone in the fourth quarter. It looked like child's play to make it 31-17, and then came Taylor's catch and run for Aggie glory three minutes later.
Without Tony Hills at left tackle protecting Colt McCoy's blind side on pocket passes the young Texas line couldn't keep the Aggie rush from flushing and hitting Colt. I'm sure Greg Davis would have liked to have run the ball more at A&M but with the Longhorn defense surrendering such chunks of yards and time on the clock, Texas was forced to pass to have a chance to win.
Jermichael Finley picked an inopportune time to play like a stage-struck high schooler and drop key passes.
The co-defensive coordinator deal hasn't worked. Either Duane Akina or Larry Mac Duff needs to call the shots by themselves or hire a Bud Foster of Virginia Tech. Not since John Mackovic has Texas played such uninspired defense. It gave me a headache driving home after the game.
Tell you what I would have done: when Lane was in the game, I would have had those NFL interior linemen at Texas play flat along the line of scrimmage and quit running up field creating such huge running lane holes and when Mike Goodson was in the game, I would have let those defensive linemen get upfield for a pass rush and make sure the outside linebackers picked up Goodson on his flare pass routes. In passing situations, I would have played man to man on the Aggie receivers and rush whatever linebacker wasn't covering a receiver.
From where I sat, Rod Muckelroy and Sergio Kindle tried to take Aggies apart with their tackles – everybody else looked like they had too much Thanksgiving turkey.
Texas got what it deserved from the way it played. It wasn't Mack Brown's fault he was stumping for his "reborn" team to make a strong showing and put pressure on Oklahoma and if nothing else get a BCS bowl game; they fooled me as well. Before the season started, I had predicted Texas losses versus Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and A&M, but I thought the Longhorns had found a tough new way to play in the second half versus Nebraska and against Tech. I didn't realize the defense had quit.
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 InsideTexas.com.