Monday, August 25

Longhorn Mack

(Disclaimer: this post is written in the Hubie Brown person.)

Not-so-hypothetical question. Suppose you're currently sitting atop the conference rankings and #2 in the BCS. You're fortunate to play in a conference retarded enough to negate the regular season with a conference championship game when no tiebreaker is needed, and you're in a rematch situation. The first time around, you mercilessly annihilated the team you'll be facing. They have no passing game to speak of and they don't play defense. You, on the other hand, have one of the top five QBs and receiving corps in the country, and a top ten defense to boot. Here's the kicker: you know that victory means facing the greatest team of all time and that they will absolutely make your team their bitch on national television, so you'd kinda like to lose this one then go on to a winnable bowl game. You can't just tell your players to lose on purpose, so you've got to come up with a gameplan for defeat. What do you do?

As discussed earlier, the correct response was "Start Chris Simms."

The name of the game is "Make Texas Go 0-12." You are head coach Mack Brown, and your goal is to submarine the 2008 season for the Texas Longhorns. You do this through horrible coaching, but with the following caveat: your players will try to win with whatever schemes you give them. You can't make it too over-the-top (like only playing 10 men every down or intentionally illegal formations), but if you put a WR at QB the team will go out there and dammit that guy will try his best to complete a 5-yard pass. Or he'll scramble under the slightest amount of pressure and end up taking it the distance. Hm, gotta be careful there...

We're looking for creativity and the closest possible thing to realism - something where the fans would think you're an absolute moron, but not so much that they'd suspect sabotage. Punting on every first down and having an all-kicker/QB defensive unit would probably work, but that's overkill and people will know something's up.

Week 1: Florida Atlantic @ Texas
Ol' Schnelly has already given you this one by calling out Texas' physical toughness. All you've got to do is try and completely prove him wrong. Perhaps you "forget" that the season starts this week instead of next, and completely wear out your players with grueling two-a-days in full pads up until the day before kickoff. Finish with an intensive workout focused on maxing out on the weights Friday afternoon. For dinner, make sure to serve them some special motivational "magic" water delivered straight from the other side of the Rio Grande - what, you mean Montezuma's Revenge is still around?

Week 2: Texas @ UTEP
What is this "other Texas team" bullshit? Who cares, you have Arkansas next week, you need to start preparing for them now. Arkansas had a pretty strong running game, so they should have one again this year - McFadden and Jones are both seniors now, right? Use this game as a tuneup for Week 3, right down to the schemes; no less than eight in the box at all times. Keep it easy on offense, you don't want to hurt anyone.

Week 3: Arkansas @ Texas
A season ago, this would be such an easy one to lose via poor defensive schemes. This year, it'll be a little bit harder, but there's no reason that you can't throw 8 into the box to stop Michael Smith, right? I mean, their QB is Casey freaking Dick, he can't do a damn thing. Screw it, bring both the safeties up and dump 9 in the box. Don't worry about Petrino being a passing coach - there's no WAY he has the personnel. Stay strong with this, too; keep on stopping the run and you'll have this game locked up.

On offense, keep in mind that Arkansas returned both their OLBs, so you want to slant the coverage to the outside, especially on passing downs. Not that you'll want to pass very often; Arkansas is starting all upperclassmen in the secondary, so that's a good sign to avoid it. You have to dominate the ground game first and foremost, but work mostly off of edge runs - they'll be your best bet.

Week 4: Rice @ Texas
This will probably be the toughest game for Texas to lose, because Rice is so bad. To lose this game, we borrow from another sport: Olympic basketball. We all know that in 2006, the Americans didn't even know the names of any of the Greek players who eventually defeated them. You're counting on your defensive personnel not being keenly aware that Rice's star WR is Jarett Dillard, but that they know that Rice has some guy who's a really good receiver. Design all coverage schemes around triple-teaming the other guy and daring the QB to throw to a wide-open Dillard. Refuse to abandon this scheme. Meanwhile, pass on every down, because Rice probably can't stop Texas' running game or passing game, and at least passing has a higher possibility of turnover.

Week 5: Bye

Week 6: Texas @ Colorado
Immediately upon landing at DIA, tell the team that there's more to life than football and go climb a 14er. Hopefully enough key players get altitude sickness. If you don't think that'll work, fly everyone directly into Boulder, but only use one plane that's big enough to go from Austin to Boulder - and land at both those airports. Make sure you bring all your coaches and equipment managers first, and don't fly out until the day of the game. Budgets are tight this year, you know.

Yet another alternative: that Oklahoma game is a big one. Better start getting ready now. Mack's got a lot of options here.

Week 7: Texas vs Oklahoma (Dallas)
Just keep doing what you've been doing, ol Macky. Sans Vince Young, unless the Sooners have another five-turnover outing a-la 2006, this one's an L.

Week 8: Missouri @ Texas
Kick to Maclin and drop seven into coverage. Regarding the latter, the only games Missouri lost last season were against Oklahoma, when the Sooners really put some heat on Chase Daniel to shut down this offense. There's not many secondaries out there who can cover all these receivers (certainly not UT's), so as long as Daniel's not getting sacked their offense should be good. The former is more of an insurance policy in case your offense somehow manages to barely outscore theirs.

Week 9: Oklahoma State @ Texas
Fortunately we can be ridiculous here, because Texas has had a habit of playing like absolute crap against OSU (after consecutive BCS title game losses, the Buckeyes had to give that one back to the Cowboys), getting into a 20+ point hole, then coming back. In fact, Mack Brown, you clearly have the first half of this game figured out already, so let's focus on preventing the comeback. You'll be down big, and time will be limited, so just keep the ball in the air at all times. Blitz constantly on D - we're talking sending the house on every play, Tenuta-style. They won't be able to keep up with that shit; you're on it.

Week 10: Texas @ Texas Tech
This one's easily losable. Just make it an aerial shootout. No way can Graham Harrell stand up against the awesomeness that is Colt McCoy, so keep it up. And throw it deep.

Week 11: Baylor @ Texas
We've been saving up a secret weapon for this one. Allow an unsupervised Friday night visit from Ricky Williams.

Week 12: Texas @ Kansas
This game plan looks a lot like a hybrid between the TTU and OSU game plans; quick-strike offense is the name of the game. Have your offensive linemen do pushups on the sidelines for every time they take more than 5 seconds to get ready between plays. Don't even bother with the huddle - that's hippie bullshit. You've got a gunslinger in McCoy, just let him rip. Five wide, all the time. Guaranteed win.

Week 13: Bye

Week 14: Texas A&M @ Texas
This one seems like it should be tough to lose, but given the last two seasons I guess it isn't. Aggies in general are a fiery bunch, so I'd get em extra riled-up by encouraging some bench players to kidnap that stupid dog. Be aware that the mutt is the highest-ranking officer in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, and that you will probably be assaulted by officers-in-training with swords if they catch you in the act. So on that note, perhaps encourage the starters to do it. Quan Cosby hasn't been injured yet, so this would be as good a time as any to fix that problem - he's an upperclassman, so it's time he became a good captain, too.

But what about the game? Dennis Franchione ain't around for you to beat up on anymore, but they still have a strong potential to be an option team. Make sure you don't forget that and plan accordingly; keep your MLB on McGee at all times to make sure he doesn't cross the line of scrimmage and keep at least 8 in the box at all times (that Jovorski Lane is a horse). On offense, all air, all the time. The Aggies won't know what hit 'em.

Now, this gameplan may only result in 4-8 instead of the 0-12 we know and crave; that's why we're not Mack Brown. He should be able to do better than this. And the Longhorns will still be ranked in the Top 10 next year if he does this anyway, so it's not like it really matters.