I savor checking rival histories in attempts to predict upcoming winners in
college football match-ups, even though the Wall Street types constantly assure
their clients that past results are no guarantees of future outcomes. How these
two phenomenas are related, I will that leave strictly to your imagination.
Nevertheless, this same activity ensues every day on the major sports networks
and in print; the mirage that an individual has somehow acquired sufficient
expertise to be 100 percent successful in the predictability of a future
It’s called “expert analysis,” and yes, a plethora of inside information
greatly valued by sports broadcast teams and their crack staffs is generously
included. These are essentially nothing other than legitimized guesstimates
provided for ‘informational purposes’ as one pundit attempts to out-gun his or
her competition. Once all the facts are in, they proudly announce the winners to
all the ‘blue boys’ and girls out there holding their breaths, anxiously
awaiting these expert opinions to begin flowing in to see if they correspond
with their own. Of course, these folks aren’t your casual fans flipping on the
tube to have a beer and watch a ball game. No, this is GAME DAY action!
As far as historical precedents go, Florida and Texas A&M hadn’t played
each other since the 1976 season in the Sun Bowl. Texas A&M and South
Carolina State had no history to gauge whatsoever. In fact, even the very rare
46-point spread found floating somewhere in cyberspace was deemed unusable in my
“braggin’ rights only” office pools I enjoy taking part in. Although they’re
picked only for fun, I won my first eight selections this past Saturday before
somehow dropping an over/under total that, at halftime, looked like a walk-off
winner and a clean sweep. It’s always preferential when holding a big lead to
continue to make plays until the final gun, as difficult as it may be in this
decidedly topsy-turvy sports world.
From a football perspective, it is quite the same. When you get someone down,
you’ve got to step on them. Fortunately for the 12th Man’s peace of mind, Texas A&M has kept the pedal to the gridiron these past two weekends. They rebounded (there’s that word again) twice in both games following the still-curious offensive coaching
meltdown shown against Florida. Yes, the Aggies have exceeded the experts’
expectations impressively, once again raising the hopes of all of Aggieland word
What does it matter that we trail Ole Miss in the league standings? It’s only
Since recruiting focus turned to African-American players back in the spring
of 1972, A&M Football has had 29 winning seasons, nine losing seasons and
two others that were dead even. These incoming freshmen in ’72 were eligible to
play varsity football for the first time since 1947, and as a result, this is
usually where I begin keeping track of my personal analysis of A&M football.
This time period was the dawning of the ‘level playing field’ in all of college
football, which, in my opinion, makes the school’s earlier accomplishments even
Even though A&M has always been a land-grant public institution, it had
many traditions and internal policies dating back to its origination that
relegated it to “private school” status competitively in athletics; things such
as mandatory membership in the Corps of Cadets and no girls on campus. At this
juncture in college football and American history, known as the early 70’s, this
sort of setup would have hindered anyone’s recruiting efforts.
Yep, good luck recruiting outstanding players to this environment at the end
of the Vietnam War. The country was sick of war and the Corps of Cadets
unfortunately reminded many of the tremendous loss of America’s wonderful youth
due to another conflict involving two countries on the other side of the world.
Remaining status quo at A&M would never allow equal recruiting to occur, and
any competitive aspects would surely be lost for decades had open minds not been
present within the administration. It became a “join ’em, or lose ‘em” quandary
which was ultimately properly handled with all its wonderful core values and
traditions well intact.
A quick glance at the number of private schools to win national championships
during this span only bears this out, with the last to be Lou Holtz’s Notre Dame
squad in 1989. And it wasn’t only the Aggies who were climbing on board to
recruit their first black football players in the early 70’s, but teams like
LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, and so on. Texas A&M football, with the
assistance of its first two black football players (Michael Bruton and Jerry
Honore, recruited by Gene Stallings in 1971) then reached out to sign all eight
of the highest-rated players in the state of Texas. Administratively, someone
apparently had a “vision” and was able to incorporate all the new prerequisites
for creating a competitive edge into the program.
Success followed quickly, to the great delight of an avid alumni group and a
fast-growing student body. The escalating achievements of the mid-seventies
delivered the first of 35,000 additional new seats to a rather smallish
48,000-seat stadium. And during this interim, repleted with its all-time record
wins and overflowing crowds, A&M’s national championship chase was on.
The Arkansas Razorbacks and the Aggies have played in Kyle Field only ten
times during these past 40 years, with the Aggies winning in ’72 and ’74 and
before splitting the last eight. The previously mentioned Lou Holtz was the
first Razorbacks coach to break the Aggies’ modest home streak in 1977. It came
in a 26-20 thriller in Emory Bellard’s final game against Arkansas as the
Aggies’ head coach. Arkansas went on to post an 11-1 record and whipped the
Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl as a huge underdog, with their only loss
coming to the No. 1 team in the country prior to the bowl season, Earl Campbell
and his Texas Longhorns.
With this bit of history behind us, let’s talk about blowouts, since this is
the second successive week the Aggies have had. Last Saturday’s was 70-14,
matching the winning margin of South Carolina State’s previous week’s opponent,
the Arizona Wildcats. Arizona then took its haughty 56-point shutout victory,
533 total yards advantage and 43-8 dominance in first downs to Oregon for a big
conference showdown. The team was crushed by the Ducks, 49-0. I’m thinking this
was a rather sobering event after all the revelry of the previous week. Arizona
gained less than half the yards against Oregon and surrendered three times as
many as it had against South Carolina State. Stats flew out the window, along
with many perceptions concerning the Wildcats’ overall quality of craftsmanship.
The obvious question is, “How did the Wildcats benefit from the romp over the
To suggest the A&M game against South Carolina State was a textbook
replica of a 5-A school hosting a 2-A school in Texas prep football may not be
exaggerating the situation, with no disrespect intended for the players and
coaches comprising the Bulldogs’ program. They fought hard for every yard to the
very end and assuredly will be the team attaining maximum benefit from its D-1
experiences as their schedule plays out.
Statistical analyses from an A&M standpoint are utterly useless in
determining their worth, yet Dustin Harris and his punt-returning acumen are
certainly worth noting after an SEC record 246 yards. This glider through heavy
traffic led the nation last season and is well on his way to another banner
year. Harris returned one punt 96 yards for a touchdown (aren’t players taught
to let it go into the end zone when it’s that close?) and finished the game just
22 yards shy of the all-time NCAA single-game record.
Uzoma Nwachukwu made both of his catches count with TDs on receptions of 37
and 9 yards.
The Aggies are currently ranked 11th nationally in scoring, 12th in points
allowed and 13th in yards allowed per game. Even with all the fireworks the Aggs
have been displaying of late, they only rank 37th nationally in total offense.
Perhaps the other 35 teams have played even daintier light-weights than the
Aggies have, or perhaps haven’t pulled their starters as quickly. Or haven’t
played Florida. Regardless, most stats this early in the season are for old men
sitting around drinking coffee in the early morning, somewhat similar to
Everything else statistically should go into the ‘on hold’ file waiting for
further evidence, with one primary exception: Johnny Manziel is a slick,
trigger-happy madman who has yet to see his first interception or lost fumble.
This is truly a rare accomplishment considering the number of opportunities he
gets handling the football while orchestrating the
jet stream offense of the Southeastern Conference.
His vision alone would probably set records in contests involving the Magic
Eye 3D images of the 90’s. He sees things others can’t in a fraction of the
time. His running and passing thus far have provided the Aggies 7.3 yards per
play. In the other 100 plays void of his direct involvement, they have averaged
4.85. Hey, all good for sure, but I think you know where I’m coming from. This
guy can do it all. I predict there will soon be an enormous trend among the
young kids in Texas to ask their coaches for the No. 2 jersey in years to
Yes, for once in our lives, it’s very cool to be No. 2.
Arkansas hasn’t visited this part of the Brazos Valley (Baylor owns the other
part) since 1991. Both schools resumed the “rivalry” in Arlington because Jerry
Jones felt inclined to host it. For both Jerry and the Hogs, it proved a very
successful venture and may have been instrumental in securing Arkansas’ vote to
allow the Aggies into the Southeastern Conference.
“Sure thing! Come on aboard!”
Prior to the first game played in Dallas Cowboys Stadium/Jerry’s House, the
airwaves were full of interviews recapturing the legendary stories of old times.
One I recall in particular was with former longtime Arkansas coach, Frank
Broyles. Coach Broyles’ topic of conversation was the Hogs’ big 1975 second-half
destruction of A&M in Little Rock that knocked the offensively inept Texas
Aggies out of the No. 2 spot in the nation with a 31-6 pounding.
The game created a three-way tie for first place in the SWC. Because the team
that hadn’t been to the Cotton Bowl in the longest time was deemed the REAL
champion by league rules concerning tie-breakers, the Razorbacks went to put the
hurt on Georgia. A&M slumped off to Memphis to get pounded by a USC team
which had lost its previous 5 games and was about to lose head coach John McKay
to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. No. 1 Ohio State then fell to UCLA in the Rose Bowl
and the 10-2 Aggies have been nowhere close to ascending the throne ever
Now in 2012, Arkansas trudges back to Kyle Field rather humbled at 1-3,
relegated to a two-touchdown underdog by most professional collection agencies.
The guesstimators of our favorite pastimes are generally predicting a 38-25 ball
game. In essence, this would make the 12th Man
and its hand-picked coaches and scholarship-worthy players deliriously happy
first-time SEC winners, and at home no less.
Side note: Do odds-makers use computer programs and human polls like the BCS
does, or do they use Play Station simulations like the rest of us?
Anyway, at this point in A&M history, any winning margin should suffice
for anyone wearing Game Day Maroon and White. We Aggies are far from greedy
after continuously having various combinations to our vault so easily breached
by the opposition. The day will surely come when Butch and Sundance no longer
feel quite so comfortable as they boldly ride into College Station. And who else
would the Aggs rather have as their initial SEC “notch on the belt” other than
the Arkansas Razorbacks? Will this be some sweet revenge, or what? Hey, what
does winning cure? All ills.
Still, who could have envisioned A&M would actually be favored
in each of its first two SEC games? This is astounding stuff, probably based in
huge part by the pre-season No. 8 team simply falling apart in a losing trifecta
(Smile, damn it! I’m John L. Smith!) and also an underestimation of the overall
prowess of the Florida Gators as a road team (see Tennessee). However they
figured it, we are the favorites. Now, if only we could coach and perform like
Can the Aggs make the odds-makers prophets? As a rule you don’t see many
two-touchdown favorites lose games at home, but it seems to happen to someone
every weekend. The coaches, players and officials (see Packers vs. Seahawks) on
the field determine the outcomes, assuredly with a little help from their
friends in the stands. Overconfidence is a demon coaches constantly work to head
off psychologically. Although this should be an unmerited concern considering
A&M’s recent unsteady history, the Aggies must remember that Arkansas is a
team that went 21-5 under Bobby Petrino the past two seasons, and the entire
coaching staff was retained following his abrupt departure after the wheels came
The Aggies’ world-renowned 12th Man support group has maintained a steady .500 pace since the 2000 season, producing a 25-25 home record in its last 50 conference games. Known as one of the most vivacious home crowds in college sports with its tremendous atmosphere, the 12th Man’s intensity must be at a fever pitch and
reverberate on down to the opponents’ sidelines for it to once again become the
dominant force of yesteryear. This was once done with only 50,000 die-hards in
the stands, so surely we can do it with 85,000 strong. With the expansion plans
now in place, it’s time to become a real factor once more, not only in the SEC,
but nationally as well.
Arkansas’ only hope this Saturday will be a short memory. The team has blown
two double-digit leads (sound off, one-two!) and suffered a perfunctory
thrashing from Alabama in its last three games. Actually, going totally
brain-dead may be a better prescription. Apparently its opening game win over
Jackson State didn’t help it in the “getting better” department either.
“Stat-fests” are lots of fun and normally drama-free for the fans, unless you’re
an Arkansas playing Louisiana Monroe or a Michigan playing Appalachian
Speaking of stat-fests, will Arkansas’ ultra-talented quarterback, Tyler
Wilson, get well this Saturday against the A&M defense? Hey, he only threw
for 510 yards en route to a 42-38 victory in his previous effort against the 2011 Aggies. Team record aside, his yards and TDs per attempt are ahead of last season but his
interception ratio is up, too. After suffering a game-turning concussion while
holding a 28-7 lead at Louisiana Monroe, Tyler sat out the Alabama game
altogether. Losing the next one to Rutgers with Wilson at the helm had to be a
major shocker to the Hogs’ faithful. Rutgers is 4-0 though; nothing to sneeze at really, except its previous schedule.
So the Hogs are reeling, and now it’s comeback time for the Razorbacks.
Wilson’s best game is definitely ahead of him. Three straight wins over the boys
wearing the throwback vertical shoulder stripes will certainly pick the team’s
spirits up in practice this week, and winning in Kyle Field is no less than a
50-50 proposition – at least for the Hogs’ most recent modern-day ancestry.
Senior running back Christine Michael ran 32 times for 230 yards and three
scores for A&M in last year’s game but has seen little action this season.
One would surmise his 13 carries for 33 yards against Florida and ensuing
suspension for the SMU game haven’t exactly put him in the driver’s seat for the
remainder of this season. Strange things happen behind closed doors. Then in
mop-up duty, Michael gained only 3.7 yards per carry with one score against the
backups from South Carolina State, a far cry from his previous 3-year career
average of 5.4 yards on 441 carries. Michael has certainly fought through some
dreadful injuries to earn the right to stay in the mix in this new offense
behind a special group of linemen, but as always, production ultimately dictates
– provided the program is run with the integrity expected of it.
The Aggies have a real shot at being 5-1 overall and 2-1 in conference when
LSU hits town Oct. 20. Should LSU continue to find its patented escape routes as
the season progresses, that day could be a momentous one for the SEC and both
institutions. This Saturday’s game marks the spot.
Howdy, football fans, welcome back to your weekly “12th Man QB” experience,
once again being shared by me, David “Moon” Walker, the first four-year starting
quarterback for the Texas Aggies. No, my first start as a freshman was not in 1944. That was a different dude.
As I’ve previously spoken about in my book, which your mom is secretly hiding
away for you for Christmas, football is the most complex game on earth because
of the vast number of potential assignments placed upon the offensive personnel
on any given play. These assignments (“Oh, crap! I’ve got number TWO now?”) are
subject to change right up until the moment the ball is snapped, just before all
hell breaks loose up and down that line of scrimmage. Defenses don’t always get
on all fours in an orderly fashion as they once did, sitting pretty and
stationary like old-fashioned football dummies stuffed with cotton, waiting for
the offensive player to calmly take aim and fire. It just isn’t that simple
Because defensive linemen were once so big, fat and slow (thus making them
much harder to bulldoze back off the line of scrimmage) the rule makers felt it
would be too much of an advantage to let offensive linemen actually use their
hands and outstretched arms in attempts to block them. In fact, offensive
players were penalized if their clenched fists ever left their own chests while
in contact with a defensive player who, by the way, had much more freedom in the
use of his own hands to actually play the game effectively. Now, thankfully,
it’s a fairly equal match-up and much more fun to play in the offensive line
than it was, say, in the Lombardi era.
Just as kickoff teams prevent the receiving team from getting an exact
headcount by scattering from the huddle like a covey of quail, much is the same
with defensive personnel prior to the snap of an offensive play. Now a guy
lining up at middle linebacker over the center on down quickly becomes a
defensive tackle face-to-face with a guard and on hut, he jettisons out
to play defensive end by the time the ball is snapped. It’s all done in attempts
to confuse the offense on its blocking rules and can be quite effective.
You counter this activity by using motion, shifts, quick counts or long
counts, but both sides should be ready to go or someone is going to be
completely out of position defensively, or that new defensive end will be coming
through untouched for a kill shot on a running back, or worse, the quarterback.
It’s quick stuff that requires quick thinking.
Whichever offensive coaching staff best thwarts the opponents’ skills and
schemes of attack with expertise that is not only successful but consistent
(particularly those not necessarily drawn up in a normal playbook or seen
previously on game film) will usually force the defensive front back into a more
basic look and then return to its original offensive game plan. Offenses that
are unprepared and suddenly find two defensive players shooting the same gap
(and aren’t provided the necessary repetitions or film study by their coaches to
recognize and adjust) are usually shut down from the start and have great
difficulty in recovering momentum or confidence.
They go into “overload” mode from which some cannot escape mentally or
physically and are then defeated from basically any standpoint. Defenses will
test the knowledge and athletic ability of every offensive player during the
course of the first few offensive possessions, which is why we sometimes see
teams sputter from the onset as they mentally ascertain what the opponent is
doing differently from its game preparation perspective. It could be something
as simple as a player lining up on the inside shoulder instead of the outside
shoulder to tactics as complex as several players switching assignments
defensively after the ball is snapped.
You saw some of this taking place in the first quarter between the Texas
Aggies and the SMU Mustangs. As talented and experienced as the offensive front
is for the Aggies, it will still see small nuances in every pressure attack
which it may not have seen before or at least in a while, particularly in a
young season peppered with new terminology.
Fortunately what we also saw here, unlike during the second half of the
opener against the Florida Gators, was a team that was making some necessary
offensive adjustments while the defense was impressively holding the Mustangs in
check. This “warm-up” period allowed the offense, with redshirt freshman
quarterback Johnny Manziel settling in firmly at the controls, to begin ripping
apart these eight-game winners from 2011 with a wonderful combination of quick
jabs, left hooks and fancy footwork that took SMU totally out of the game on
both sides of the ball from the second quarter on.
Nationwide, there was only one other game where a favored team whipped the
other more mercilessly in the eyes of the prognosticators than the Aggies did
SMU, and that was Fresno State’s romp in the park over A&M’s former fellow
Big 12 counterpart, the aimlessly wandering Colorado Buffaloes. And speaking of
ugly, Alabama’s huge mashing of Arkansas
in Arkansas was a close third, right behind A&M in the runner-up
spot as far as visiting teams’ performances were concerned. When teams fold the
tents as easily as these three did, there are major reasons why it occurred. At
least in the SEC teams’ cases, it was superb execution obliterating their
Rebound games like SMU are especially important to have sprinkled into key
spots throughout your schedule for times like these; times when enthusiasm is a
little down, the fans are suspiciously beginning to peek at the ground moving
underneath their bandwagon and you desperately need a solid confidence-builder
to get back on track. SMU turned out to be the perfect snake oil concoction for
the 12th Man’s woes and its team as well on this genuinely warm and fuzzy afternoon.
Back in ’77, after getting humbled by the Michigan Wolverines in a nationally
televised debacle of a game that pitted No. 2 vs. No. 3 (nominated and still in
the running for the most embarrassing national stage performance in Southwest
Conference history), we Aggies drove our Greyhounds over to Baylor after having
pulled off four straight wins against the Bears and clobbered them yet again, at
least for a half. In the second half we held on for dear life, but we still eked
out a precious conference win, and it felt great, reminding us henceforth what
an outstanding offensive football team it was.
Last Saturday was time to get well. The game represented not only A&M’s
second consecutive victory in as many seasons over the Mustangs, but also Coach
Sumlin’s fifth straight over them personally with the previous four coming while
he was leading the University of Houston program. Houston had won the last three
by an average of 40-14, even winning one of them 45-20 at SMU as a one-touchdown
When you’ve managed four straight triumphs over any opponent, there is a
certain amount of confidence that accrues on your staff and permeates throughout
the team. This feeling normally overcomes the opponent’s cumulative mindset of
self-doubt, unless of course, overconfidence rules the day, which happens on many occasions when least expected. This is why our high school coaches were always saying, “I’ll tell you when you’re good!” This meant their opinion was the only one that mattered; not our girlfriend’s, mama’s, the media’s or even our own.
Sometimes, however, you get a guy’s number and there’s just no questioning
the outcome, as Sumlin obviously has now on June Jones and SMU, particularly with Sumlin’s improved athletes and recruiting base. The combination of a dominating coaching staff guiding a confident football team based on a big 46-14 victory prior works on the head-game approaches within both camps. In the overall scheme of things, only superior coaching, better athletes or insidious inflictions of temporary insanity can turn these negative situations around, which can then somehow maintain themselves for years.
SMU’s defense had a nice game going by keeping Manziel and the A&M
offense somewhat off balance for almost a quarter and a half before becoming a
little too predictable. The five-man front had kept sufficient pressure on both
A&M passing and running games and allowed only the occasional completion to
redshirt freshman wide receiver Mike Evans, normally aligned opposite the
three-receiver side of the A&M shotgun spread formation. Because of the
rush, quarterback Manziel was forced to scramble on several occasions and the
normal running game was providing little support. With less than nine minutes to
go in the second quarter, Manziel looked up to find veteran slot receiver Ryan
Swope “uncovered” to his right side by anyone underneath. For most offenses,
this is a pre-snap “hot read” which turned into exactly that on this play.
On this second and eight situation, the SMU defense brought both linebackers,
its left defensive end, nose tackle and a defensive 5-technique (tackle) from
the right side. A&M was set up in a balanced one-back formation with two
receivers split to each side, catching the defense in a cover 2, a popular
coverage with two deep safeties and each cornerback aligned tightly on his
respective wide receivers. The backside defensive end dropped into coverage
while the play-side defensive tackle, with his side’s defensive end blitzing,
rose out of his four–point stance to try to retreat back into coverage,
hopefully into the passing lane between Manziel and the slot receiver,
This “coverage swap” approach employed by the SMU staff, commonly referred to
as a zone blitz, had worked earlier for the Mustangs resulting in some
behind-the-line tackles and confusion in the Aggies’ blocking assignments. This
time, however, the defensive tackle saw only the football zipping by his head as
Swope ran a quick post pattern and caught the perfect throw, then targeted a
spot that would split both safeties as he went into the end zone standing up.
Junior offensive tackle Jake Matthews did an outstanding job of recognizing the
swap and swiftly picked up the defensive end before being outflanked instead of
the tackle he’d originally been assigned.
Offenses, such as A&M’s, love gifts and when they are offered on silver
platters via pre-snap misalignments such as this one, it gobbles them up without
even a “thank you.” The lesson to be learned here is that Ryan Swope cannot be
covered by defensive tackles or headed off at the pass by unassuming defensive
safeties who get caught flat-footed. Any defensive player must be cognizant of
one indisputable fact: if a player lines up on a D-1 football field, he can beat
Meanwhile we continue to find A&M’s front four a very active and athletic
group. SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert seemed to have them on his mind a
majority of the time. Even though the Aggs did not do much blitzing and
primarily only on short yardage situations, but when they did, Gilbert was
misfiring or repeatedly trying to force it to the wrong receivers. A&M’s use
of the D-Line over-shift coupled with strong-side blitzes was especially
Leading 7-0 after an SMU three-and-out on first down from the SMU 48, Johnny
Manziel tucked the ball away in his left arm (as he always does) on a scramble
through the left side, scooting past a defensive lineman who’d been hurled to
the ground by offensive tackle Luke Joeckel. Manziel then sped by pursuing
linebackers, juked another defender and went untouched into the end zone. When I
played at A&M and was running the Wishbone, you never saw me carrying the
ball in my right arm either. Regardless of what the coaches said about having it
in the arm away from the defender, I believed it much more important to
always have the ball in
my strongest arm. Perhaps Johnny has this same belief, although he throws the
football right-handed. Whatever the case, he was only getting warmed up.
Next, he completed a 78-yard drive after an A&M interception by hitting
Uzoma Nwachukwu with a 36-yarder after rolling out of the pocket to his right
and throwing down the middle of the field to his veteran receiver. This was a
perfectly executed “scramble drill” which requires a great amount of practice
time. The appearance of improvisation doesn’t make it a reality. The Aggies had
just scored two touchdowns within two and a half minutes and suddenly held a
20-0 lead at the half. Strike up the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band!
These are the defining moments that kick-start a season’s
momentum, not just a game’s. The defense surrendered just over 300 yards in
total offense to June Jones and crew, and there was not a single touchdown. They
held Zach Line, the country’s No. 4 career-rushing leader, to 104 yards. A&M
now has 12 sacks after leading the nation with 51 last season. SMU failed to
convert on 13 of 14 third down attempts, which is an amazing defensive effort
even against a scout team.
Johnny Manziel reminds me of another college quarterback who was a little
smaller of stature and wore two number 2’s on his jersey, a guy named Doug
Flutie. Manziel only got better in the third quarter, acrobatically whirling
around and pin-pointing a touchdown pass that no one else on the planet would
have even attempted, primarily because they’d probably have taken the sack or
said, “The hell with it,” and thrown it away. Johnny delivered. He set a Texas
A&M single-game freshman record by passing for 294 yards (breaking Kevin
Murray’s 29 year-old record of 280 set against Rice) and accounted for six
touchdowns — four through the air and two on the ground. That’s right, and he
also ran for 124 yards. Just like in the song, the boy said, “My name’s Johnny
and it might be a sin, but I’ll take your bet, you’re gonna regret, cuz I’m the
best there’s ever been.” Could be.
Only time will tell, and there will be a lot of armchair quarterbacking going
on trying to get into his head. I say, “Let him be and don’t screw him up.” Ol’
Johnny might be the phenom A&M has been waiting for, and all the wondrous
things that phenoms bring with them could soon be within the Aggies’ grasp.
And while Johnny was resting on his team’s laurels during the fourth quarter
after kicking the door in, his replacement, sophomore Jameill Showers, looked
poised, classy and razor-sharp as well, hitting six of seven for 76 yards. It
was a truly remarkable exhibition of efficiency displayed in every phase of the
game. The Aggies did what you’re supposed to do in a rebound game; put the last
one behind you, stay in the moment and improve your performance.
Next up for the Aggies isn’t South Carolina, but South Carolina State, a team
that lost to Arizona last week, 56-0. Arizona had 43 first downs while South
Carolina State had 8. Arizona had 689 yards of offense, while South Carolina
State had 154. Arizona punted only once. And as they say, the rest was
Hold on there a minute, Hoss. Are we really once again looking at
our rear-view mirrors with tears rolling down our sunburned faces, as we drive away from the familiar scene of yet another hostile takeover? How about that famous sense of humor we’re known for, Aggies? Is it only ourselves we now find amusing? Have we still not found the answers somewhere beneath the rubble and ashes that constitute the Herculean efforts of so many former Warriors? Will praiseworthiness for each other forever be fleeting and evasive? We see but we do not touch, as the fruit of ultimate victory for which we strive so mightily remains aloft, smiling down sympathetically at the foolhardy Aggie plight. How long must we wait in this self-induced antsy turmoil, or is it but a fading dream? Has History already decided that only the names be changed, while our story must continue to remain the same? Is it Hotty Toddy time in the dusty old Southwest where Whiskey once called all the shots? Must we survey even more destruction and upheaval as our days grow shorter and our generals are replaced at a more frantic pace R.C. Slocum, we turn our lonely eyes to you. There is but one prize, besides the Golden Calf of full coffers, giddily donated by the system’s true believers in the cause and its leadership, and that is to stand in front of the world rejoicing winning the National Championship, with cap, t-shirts and, oh, the magnificent trophy uplifted in our calloused hands.
[Related: Lockr Room Legends Q&A:
David “Moon” Walker, 12th Man QB]
Oh great spirits, how long is our penance to last for our lowly Christmases
Past? So sudden and swift was your beheading that our on-field leadership seemed obliviously blind to your evil ploys throughout, as unsuspecting as all the George Armstrong Custers who are suddenly pinned down at the sites of their own Little Big Horns. We must never forget the football gods of college football and the Ultimate Curse that circles the Valley of the Brazos, deciding on its flavor of the week. But surely we aren’t the ones to be blamed. All we Aggies ever wanted to be were the Giants in the world of college football. Is this so wrong, America? Look at all we’ve sacrificed in your holy names, oh lords, only to be held hostage now by our true legacy. Our greatest tradition is summed up in nine words: What we have here is a failure to execute.
Has it finally come to this – the defining moment when Aggies everywhere
realize we were never destined to catch “the break” currently comfortably
residing in Alabama, Louisiana and Florida? Or even elsewhere a little closer to home in Texas? We know it’s sitting there in Austin, laughing still. Why
doesn’t the Big Break ever want to land here in the Valley for a visit? Tease us
for just a moment. We’re nice folks. All the folks from Florida were very
impressed with our friendliness, hospitality and generosity. We’re good at
Where are the rewards for our efforts? Does no good deed ever go unpunished? Our trusty coach-pickers and million dollar donors have thrown everything they know at the “Big Break”, yet it laughs uncontrollably at their folly. Next, we build on that great Aggie Tradition by etching in stone newly discovered accomplishments placed right there on the Wall of Kyle Field from nearly a century ago. Quite frankly, do the A&M faithful even deserve their Big Break after recently employing hired guns to manufacture mathematical formulas designed to award themselves multiple national championships and, ahem, Divisional titles somehow disguised as Conference titles? Hey, what’s RIGHT with this picture, gang? Although they’re all gone now, our 1939 team is still the One and Only in our books, and it’s highly disrespectful after all these decades to align others next to them on our hallowed “once in its lifetime” walls at Kyle Field, somehow suggesting these pretenders as equals. Desperation sees no bounds. Is it Alabama we’re trying to catch? Have we “found” any other Heisman
Wait, is that really more smoke, fire and flying debris we fans are again
escaping while suffering palpitations that no longer can be ignored? Is this not Aggieland? I mean, these poor inhabitants all dressed up in their bleeding Maroon and White garb are getting mercilessly bombarded by their teams’ artistry in giving away hard-earned football games! It’s a glorified travesty of aspiration mutilation that’s perpetrated by different culprits every season.
Look how many hours of traveling these people endure, at $3.69 per gallon no less, with screaming kids in the back of the R.V.’s and all the extra grocery
money they’re dishing out to ultimately watch these 2011 re-runs. It’s truly
incredible the creative drama the almighty football gods have seemingly
arbitrarily levied upon our suddenly helpless “Aggie Nation.” Wait, is it Aggie
Nation like everyone else, or just plain old Aggieland as it’s always been.
Identity crisis, anyone?
I’m telling you, the Ags really believed the 2011 showings of “Impossible
Upsets” had been cancelled by the network execs many moons ago. They just didn’t think it would continue to sell or reach those ratings they’re always looking for with the advertising dollars that accompany them. One has to ask, “Will it ever end?” Who out there is ready to sing, “Give it just a little more time, and our love will surely grow?” Aggies are ready, because it’s what we do.
Of course, the opponents on the 8th day of September, 2012, a day that in no
way will go down in infamy but did eventually find itself going up in flames,
were no soft touches. No, we’re talking here about the illustrious Florida
Gators from the SEC-East, who put the painful finishing touches on a game which was massive and unequivocally significant for their home-standing foes, the unsuspecting, slightly favored Fightin’ Texas Aggies. The state of Texas this time of year is usually under a red flag alert, but this wildfire began totally without suspicion on the other side of the stadium in the Visitors’ dressing room, while the Aggie Band entertained its adored 12th Man Corporation outside in the mid-afternoon sun. Even the hint of a comeback against this A&M team and its 12th Man supporters was
non-existent. “Perish the thought, Memory! You’re botherin’ me.” Only the
darkest of pessimists could have possessed the devious minds to predict yet
another second half beat-down on Kyle Field on such a wonderfully explosive and festive day.
Fly, SEC flags, fly! Have we told you lately that we love you?
The Gators were easily the superior team once the first few series of the
game were exchanged, quarterback sacks notwithstanding, as America witnessed on National TV the most recent edition of ESPN “Game Day”. It was the most-watched college game (2.9, they say) of the weekend, one which some Aggie fans probably wish hadn’t been aired on any channel. The common theme here was, “I didn’t go dove hunting just to watch THIS?” Entertainment is one thing but winning quite another.
Hey, you can’t argue with the $6 million or so it reportedly brought to the
house though, and there’s your bottom line, Ags. When it comes to cash, you’re never on the outside looking in. In other areas, well, the Florida Gators have a national record 38th “Game Day” appearance coming up this weekend in Tennessee. We Aggies have played in four or five, but seriously, who actually counts those things?
While disappointment looms and tickets for the Southern Methodist game being played just a few hours north of here in Dallas remain unsold in a city
absolutely jam-packed with A&M’sters, this former Aggie quarterback looks
long and hard for the silver lining. Really, anything will do. Perhaps our
mathematicians will find a way to anoint the Aggies the best unranked team in America! Can you dig it? One statistical graphic really struck me from the
game’s TV coverage: Florida has now beaten 9 of the last 10 UNRANKED teams they’ve played. Now there’s a life boat I don’t care to be in. ‘Unranked’ is quite an ugly word in college sports. Ever been the guest of honor in a snipe hunt?
The simple reality is that following the second consecutive coaching change
at this particular university, the new guy has been beaten in his team’s season
opener, and each time at home. Former head coach Mike Sherman’s first team, presumably in shambles (yes, let’s say that!) after the website-creating efforts of Coach Fran and his hand-picked good ol’ boy staff, lost to Arkansas State in a game I frankly refused to attend because of the weakness of the opponent. Sixteen point underdogs in the House of the 12th Man? Not a prayer!
Fool me once, shame on you!
Hey, the Gator players were solid, patient, trusted what their coaches were
telling them and executed their assignments. Their “penetrate and redirect”
tactics were simply adjusted to playing ‘technique’ defensive football, which
meant beating the blockers to their point of attack but not going haywire in
getting up-field. It worked like a charm as it took away A&M’s biggest
running threat, the quarterback draw. Football is an assignment-oriented game where there isn’t much patience for individuals who stray from the game plan. Coach Muschamp and his staff coached like the veterans they’re expected to be and suddenly inept A&M (is that too strong of a word?) had nowhere to turn. His defenses with the University of Texas were always talented and well-prepared. He and his staff didn’t feel A&M could beat them through the air so they maintained that if they stopped the running of the quarterback, nobody else on the field was going to hurt them. It was as if they’d read the script long before the opening kickoff, which in itself took a while to occur because the ball kept getting blown off the tee. The Aggies know this feeling well.
As I stated last week when I reintroduced myself to the Gator Nation via
Florida Gators Gamedayr, I now am the only A&M quarterback who has ever
beaten the University of Florida. Of course, with A&M’s 1-2 overall record
against UF, this isn’t saying a whole lot but I stand by it, as bragging rights
go. The most recent A&M QB to have this opportunity, Johnny Manziel, looked to me like the fastest quarterback this school has seen since the Texas high school high-hurdle champion who succeeded me in the late Seventies, Mike Mosley. Unfortunately, none of us average-Joe onlookers will get the opportunity to know Johnny Manziel until next spring because Coach Sumlin has standing orders that freshmen are off-limits to the Media. I guess this also includes ‘Redshirt’ freshmen, since this is what Manziel actually is – a sophomore academically but a “rookie” to be seen but not heard, otherwise.
One more thing about the Florida game needs to be said and then we’ll gladly move on to SMU, and that’s the real factor gnawing at most members of the 12th Man Club at this time. Our offensive gurus, from the head man on down to the play caller(s), could not figure out a way to get one measly score in the second half that could have sent our players either into overtime or won the game outright. I see this as possibly the recurring theme of 2012, at least until the world officially ends on December 21st, most likely during halftime of the St. Petersburg Bowl pitting the final game ever between the Big East and someone from Conference USA. This is the crux of the matter; not inexperience at quarterback or a defense that had no will or stamina or the postponed opener with La. Tech. The athletes were equal but the new gurus in town had no answer for the Florida adjustments. This is what is most troubling and now everyone the Aggies play gets to study the film. In an offense with no tight end your options are limited and our coaches are the ones who have seen this offense mangle defenseless defenses without the use of a tight end for several years now. How did Florida put the brakes on our coaching staff? It would appear we got out-schemed right here in front of our own folks. We were out-slicked. High tech isn’t supposed to get out-slicked.
The obvious question is how does this band of coaches go from having the
highest scoring team in the land one year to not being able to pick up a handful of first downs the next? Not a single second half play was run in Florida’s territory. Very disturbing stuff, one might say. Unless the QB was making a ton of misreads which I personally didn’t see, then finding the proper play calls to win a 3-point game escaped the offensive staff, pure and simple. This past Saturday night’s realization was a rather somber enlightenment with which to open a brand new season, especially for this newly-inspired and highly boisterous crowd that rolled in, a crowd faced with many dissenters around the state and even within its new conference, wishing it nothing but failure. Step one, accomplished with amazing predictability.
Next up are the SMU Mustangs, sporting a much-improved 24-18 record over the last several years, while the Ags have managed 22 victories versus their identical 18 defeats. You may recall the Alabama-Texas game for the BCS title when Colt McCoy’s right shoulder went numb. Suddenly it was then up to a true freshman named Garrett Gilbert to come in and save the day for the ‘Horns against a highly intense, frothing at the mouth Nick Saban-coached defense. Garrett at times looked like he’d have the opportunity to be the hero, but as youngsters so often do, he succumbed to the pressures of not only the moment but the oncoming pass rush as well, while courageously playing catch-up from play one.
After starting the following season, Gilbert fell prey to a shoulder injury, a torn labrum, and then took 27 hours in a year’s time to finish his degree,
thereby making himself immediately eligible to play for SMU. Meanwhile he was named to the Second Team All-Academics Big 12 list. Under former Run and Shoot disciple June Jones, the best football spinner on one finger I’ve ever seen by the way, now in his fifth season as top mentor, my guess is we can expect some 2012 Aloha-type numbers coming from the Hilltop at any time against anybody. Coach Jones is also a fighter, fortunately surviving a horrendous roll-over accident just as I did, with the main difference being he escaped without a broken neck, but certainly had his share of very major injuries and a long, hard recovery.
Check out the grandure of this program now as it begins its resurgence. I’m
totally impressed and I’m only touching on the outskirts of what’s really taking place. SMU has made over $3 million in Ford Stadium improvements since the summer of 2011, including upgrades to the football locker room and team meeting rooms, a new playing surface and a new lighting system. To think the thrill of the hunt has eluded this one-time Death Penalized program would be very much mistaken. Even though the Aggies are unranked and history means little to this current set of SMU players, this upcoming game makes for a real opportunity, a tremendous opportunity, to knock down a notch what has become a rather aggravating blow-hard from the old Southwest Conference, a team that has fared no better than themselves and now here in Dallas, one very much on the rise in their estimations.
When the ‘Stangs aren’t throwing, they’re running Stretches and Draws and
Traps for the No. 4 career rushing leader in the land, Zach Line, a first-team
All-Conference-USA pick from a season ago. Apparently, their defensive secondary and linebackers can catch too, having picked off 7 passes in their last game against Stephen F. Austin. Their opener against the RG3-less Baylor Bears was a tremendous learning experience for a very young offensive line and defense, as former Aggie defensive end and SMU head coach Phil Bennett, now in his second year as Defensive Coordinator with the Green and Gold, had a credible day defending this explosive Mustang offense.
I once carried 27 times for 182 yards against SMU, way back in 1977, in a
home game we were playing after having played 5 straight on the road. Do you know of any teams that have won national championships after scheduling 5 consecutive road trips? They were in order, Virginia Tech, Texas Tech, Michigan, Baylor and Rice. You may recall the one we lost. Anyway, we fell behind 21-7 in our vaunted Wishbone against a 1-win SMU team, the only game in my era where we won a game we were losing at halftime. Such was the curse of the Wishbone. On the other side of the coin, we never lost a game in which we led at halftime. Nope, not a single one, and we won 36 times in my last four seasons. That’s 35 for 35 on holding halftime leads, which you’d have to admit is pretty impressive. Run fast, go score, and play defense. Those were the days, my friend.
My 182 yards carrying the football still stand as the quarterback single-game
rushing record here at Texas A&M. Given the right set of circumstances,
Manziel could pass Mosley, who had 180 against Southern Cal in the Bluebonnet Bowl, and me as well. With this kid’s lightning quick feet, that day will come, or at the very least he’ll make us sweat. Do you really think I want to lose a 35 year-old record?
[Related: Moon Highlighting the Florida
@ Aggies Game]
A little further back, when A&M and SMU lined up in 1973, it was the very
first time in college football history that two freshman quarterbacks, two
true freshmen quarterbacks that is, had ever lined up against each other; myself and Ricky Wesson. It was a game played on Kyle Field where A&M’s new all-time scoring record against SMU was established by game’s end. Then there was the ’74 game whe we were 7-1 and ranked 3rd in the country and knocking on the door for a national championship. We went to Dallas, with half our backfield out with injuries or under duress, trying to run a very suspect Wishbone offense installed by then head coach, Emory Bellard, and I suffered a Sternoclavicular (SC) Joint Dislocation after getting slammed to the cement-like turf inside the Cotton Bowl early in the second quarter.
We lost 18-14, as I continued to play although unable to throw the ball 20
yards, and Ricky Wesson threw no passes at all. Our national championship dreams ended that day and Aggies everywhere were simply crushed. Like this year’s team, we were also favored by a couple of touchdowns. With 30 and 35-point underdogs beating the likes of Houston and Arkansas in successive weekends already this season, anything looks possible. My concern is how the Aggies respond to the fact that their coaches couldn’t get it done. We were in too many “Trips” formations and not enough balanced sets. We NEVER went 4 vertical and keyed the Safety, a base play in the Spread offense. Very curious, indeed.
I want to wish the Gators the best of luck against the Volunteers in Neyland
Stadium. I will say it again as I’ve said for years: I never feel better about
America than when I’m kicking back to watch a fabulous Saturday night game in the SEC. I love the PASSION and the VENOM! Maybe one day even Aggies will belong.
As I sign off, may every Saturday leave you in the Plus column, and our
thoughts and prayers from here in Texas and my home state of Louisiana remain with young Devon Walker of the Tulane Green Wave, who tragically suffered a broken neck in last week’s game.
You’ve just read some Moon Highlighting by the 12th Man QB, David
“Moon” Walker, author of “I’ll Tell You When You’re Good! ~ The Memoir of
America’s Youngest College Quarterback,” wishing you well and a full slate of
Winners. Winning Cures All Ills, and we can never forget it.
Hey, Gator Nation! Notice I didn’t say “howdy” as I step into your camp in
the Swamp unannounced and all, and I am for this week anyway, your mortal enemy.
As the LAST AGGIE QUARTERBACK to ever line up for Texas A&M (although very
long ago) and face your outstanding team on a real football field (a Bowl Game
no less), I thought I’d just mosey-on in and tell ya how much we’re looking
forward to this game. Don’t let our 37-14 win back in the 70’s, or the fact that
your coach accused us of running up the score, get me off on the wrong foot. We
were just having fun and on a seven-game winning streak finishing up a 10-win
season. You won’t believe this, but it was the battle of the Wishbones and y’all
had an outstanding split end named Wes Chandler out there. Now it’s starting to
In fact, I’ll be keeping you up-to-date all season on happenings here in the
great state of Texas, being that it’s the only state we have actually
gone out and annexed thus far. My gosh, how insulting was that trumped-up
billboard someone put up in Gainesville? Geez, we wouldn’t go after defenseless
cities! We’re better than that.
Although I live only a few blocks from Kyle Field (that’s the name of our
stadium, although we clearly say, “Welcome to the Home of the 12th Man”), I’ll
be holed up in front of a big screen like many of you who aren’t worried enough
about this game to make the trip. We’ll all be watching something the USA has
never seen before on national TV, with ESPN GameDay setting up here, and no
less, the Florida Gators stepping onto the Fightin’ Texas Aggies’ non-artificial
turf. It’s been noted that Florida hasn’t played up to par during its last 10
games. Edge, Aggies. (Oh, and no, you shouldn’t feel the need to thank us for
this game day appearance you’re sharing with us. We think you’re quite special,
and those of us who have visited Florida like it very much. But you’re
[Related: Aggies Trash Talking Taken to
the Curb, Billboard Removed]
For what it’s worth, we hardly ever know which Aggie team is going to show up
on opening day (and certainly don’t know now), the Thursday before our Battle in
the Valley (that’s the Brazos Valley of course and a river runs through it).
Hey, with a new coach, staff, offensive scheme, QB, hopefully defense and our
70′s-style uni’s, who knows what might happen? All we know is we’ve got us a day
game with y’all to play in 103- to 105-degree Texas weather. How fun is that! I
may order up a cold front though, so don’t fret yet. I mean, we thought when we
were getting into this mess that the SEC was exclusively a night-time
Unfortunately, the Aggs haven’t played a top 25 opponent in an opener in who
knows how long, and now we’re supposed to play you guys in our season AND
Southeastern Conference opener? Who wrote this script?
Hey, we know you didn’t do much in your opener last week, except maybe help
Bowling Green’s head coach ease off his hot seat a little, but at the same time,
not much was expected (except another couple of TDs for your madder’n hell
wagering constituents). Otherwise, I watched a solid college football game
between two teams who weren’t supposed to be all that equal. Meanwhile, we
missed out on maybe having our heads handed to us by Louisiana Tech. Those guys
are good, you know, for being conference champs in 2011.
Here’s the thing, though. For the life of me, I can’t figure out with all the
wonderful successes your offensive-minded head coaches have brought you, why in
the world would you turn to defense? Was it coach Muschamp’s dynamic personality
that got him the job, or did you just want to rub Texas’ nose in it? Either
answer is perfectly alright with us Aggies, don’t get me wrong. We did the same
thing to our dear old “coach Fran” who took the Midnight Express in from
Alabama. And Alabama still thanks us to this day. From outside-looking in,
because we are prone to do quite a number at A&M, it just seems a little
strange that you’re changing your course in such a manner.
The Aggies, on the other hand, have gone all offense since canning R.C.
Slocum, the coach with most wins by far in A&M history and who went 6-6 his
fateful final season. I mean, who can stomach that? After our three sets of
back-to-back, 10-win seasons in the late ’90s, we deserted our traditional flair
for defense and just enough offense on most days, to somehow steal away the
puny, whiney voice of ‘option guru’ Dennis Franchione. And we haven’t looked
back at our defense since. We went low rent and high tech simultaneously. (We do
thank Coach Fran for running the Option completely out of College Station for
good, however, and for this unintentional act alone we pay eternal homage.)
But as a result of this new modern-day offensive mindset, the ‘Wrecking Crew’
defense soon resembled Dumb and Dumber as it forgot continuously where to line
up anytime an opponent showed a new wrinkle, like a one-back set or motion or
some other exotic formation commonly seen on junior high fields. Hopefully we’ve
had time to fix all that. Hopefully our new coach spent some time watching our
defense get repaired, too, during all these months of practice time. Who knows?
Practices were closed to the public, unless you had a signed permit from the
president (he’s the guy with the bow-tie who does Youtube cheers with our
students on occasion.)
But all that is in the past, thank goodness. Both our teams finished the 2011
season with identical 7-6 records, although you Gators didn’t show near the
creativity in losing your six as we did in ours. No, we were favored in every
game except the one in Norman where we were crushed, but only for good measure
because we sure damn deserved it. We just didn’t do so well after some
unbelievably strong starts, and our coach even said after losing in OT to Mizzu
at our place for the second straight year that he wasn’t going to “over-analyze
it or under-analyze it.”
Is your coach in on coach-speak too? It’s amazing what they can conjure at
the drop of a game. Coach Sherman has taken his offense back to the NFL and his
quarterback with him. Well, to be honest, Sherman was asked to leave and our AD
resigned because of it. We just love fresh faces here at A&M (preferably
every four years).
So, about this game. Did I tell you I was a lefty like Tim Tebow? Do y’all
still like lefties? I love pulling for lefties, except I’m not a fan of the
other one in the NFL, the guy in Philadelphia. I’m hoping the kid from Boise
State, who won 50 games as a collegian, makes it. I’m a big Tebow fan. Love the
guy and can’t get enough of him, and the Jets were my favorite team growing up
because I liked Namath.
Anyway, I’m about the only lefty ever to play for A&M, and I played my
first game during the opener my freshman season at 17, making me the youngest QB
to ever play college football. Don’t you love learning useless trivia in places
you least expected it? Yeah, gotta say it was pretty cool. It was against
Wichita State a couple of seasons after one of its planes went down with most of
the football team. With Marshall’s plane down as well, this is primarily why
freshmen were allowed to play varsity football again, in my opinion. It’s all in
Our starting quarterback now is a young man from Kerrville, Texas who the
Aggie Press Machine is raging about as the first “freshman” to start a season
opener for A&M since 1944. But here’s a couple of things they don’t tell
you. Johnny Manziel spent all of last year going to classes, practices, team
meetings, doing film study, going through spring drills, playing understudy to
the No. 8 NFL draft pick and has been through two sets of two-a-days. Freshman?
Hardly. He’s a guy who gets to play two senior seasons, the way I look at it. I
know because I also red-shirted; only it was my third year, and I got to play
two senior seasons as well. That’s how it works.
What I’m saying is, you can throw out the redshirt tag. Johnny is a
second-year player with a wealth of knowledge that is readily accessible and
stored up ready-to-go on the college game. He is equipped with a whole lot of
valuable mental experience and great talent. If he turns this game into a
“practice” mentally and gets into the zone that he needs to be in, he has the
tools to be a real class act. So let’s just call him a sophomore with no actual
playing experience, sort of like what we called all players between the years of
1946 to 1972, the time period that freshmen were not allowed to play varsity
football after World War II. I know– how old-school! Remember when girls could
only play half-court in basketball? Very similar thinking.
But just for grins, let’s allow the Aggs’ publicists call it the way they
spin it. After all, it’s their program they have to sell even though this game
doesn’t need selling. Just don’t be expecting a timid kid with no background or
clue showing up all wide-eyed and scared at the prospects of leading his team in
front of a sold-out crowd and national TV audience. Bradshaw, Bert Jones, Joe
Ferguson, Joe Namath, Spurrier, Stabler; they were all quite good after not
“playing” in their first year of college. It would seem your QB is ready to go
So, that’s our take on this very special occasion here in Aggieland. I speak
for us all when I say we’re glad you’re coming to our place, and we do not have
to go to the Swamp. That day will come, hopefully from our standpoint riding a
big two-game winning streak which our team’s publicists can then brag about. Our
schedule includes three straight on the road as it is, and we haven’t done that
since 1977 when we had to do five in a row. Can you show me a team who played
three in a row on the road who ever won a national championship? Me either,
especially when two of them we’ll be visiting are rather recent national
champions: Auburn and ‘Bama.
If you’re making the trip, you’ll find all of us Aggies most hospitable while
we’re still outside the stadium. We’re a very friendly place, probably as much
as any bunch of tailgaters you’ll ever see. Might even have a cold one for ya or
a nice slice of barbeque. Heck, join us for Midnight Yell in the stadium on
Friday night. Try to get there a little early but don’t expect to be sitting
down. That would make you “one of them!”
I would offer one piece of advice: take in our band at halftime. It will
inspire the heck out of you.
Well, it’s been a pleasure.