Horns Squeak by CFU, but Should Pass on the Purple Drank

So another Longhorn goes to jail as his teammates pack for sunny gangsta FLA where they meet a coach best known for lying on his résumé. No worries, you say? The Horns will clobber Central Florida and still have time to work on their Disneyworld tans? Think again.

The other night one of the local stations had on former UT coach Fred Akers, resembling as usual a Hanna-Barbara cartoon, looking back with rose-colored glasses. Fred – in hindsight of two 11-0 regular seasons – has to be considered one of the best Longhorn football coaches ever. OK, sure, he lost national titles both times in bowl games, but still …. He said of the arrest of Tyrell Gatewood that things were different back in his day when it was all about alcohol. Fred? Are we talking about the late Seventies and early Eighties? The days of cocaine, disco, and punk rock? Gatewood faces his second marijuana charge, but what’s more disturbing to me is that cops found a baby bottle full of a purple liquid that was codeine-based. That’s cough syrup for toddlers and footballers. So very 21st century.

Meanwhile, a well-known columnist for the Austin daily wrote, I hope in jest, that Central Florida coach George O’Leary’s past lying on his résumé is no big deal compared to the level of lying and wrongdoing we’re getting anesthetized to daily. If you don’t remember, O’Leary’s résumé lies resulted in his termination by Notre Dame before a single ball was snapped in his noncareer there. Like a baby bottle half full of codeine, his career has bobbed to the surface in Florida where the living is muggy and the football players might mug you. Consider the University of Florida where in the offseason football player Brandon James and basketball player Brandon Powell were arrested after reportedly buying marijuana from an undercover police officer. Last April offensive lineman Ronnie Matthew Wilson was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, simple battery and use or display of a concealed weapon during the commission of a felony. Wilson was shooting a semi-automatic rifle, he said, to let someone “know how it felt to be scared.”

I’m scared for college football. At the University of Texas, coach Mack Brown has indefinitely suspended three of the five players who were arrested on drug and alcohol charges. Two more got brief suspensions for drunken driving arrests. The good news? A few of the bad boys rejoin the roster this coming week. All is forgiven, fellas, as long as you start padding that winning score.

Oh, you’d rather talk about the almost debacle that was this weekend’s 35-32 squeaker over O’Leary-coached Central Florida? My early prediction was Horn fans would be licking their chops after seeing Vince Young-esque backup QB John Chiles in action. No such luck. Horns kicker Ryan Bailey was the team stud after hitting five of six field goals to tie a UT record. Colt McCoy looked sharp with a record 32 completions. Jamaal Charles ran for 153 yards. The receiving corps of Nate Jones, Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby had mostly sure hands and didn’t (much) miss an injured Limas Sweed. So what happened?

See my blog about the school some people call Texas State for an idea of what’s inside Central Florida fans’ heads today. I’ll go as far as to say the Horns win can be pinned on one player — Brandon Foster – who cradled Central Florida’s last gasp onside-kick try like it was one of his errant teammates’ purple goo-filled baby bottles. And that was after he ran back an interception for a 33-yard touchdown.

The Longhorns simply had no follow through. Make the majority of those six field goal tries into touchdowns and UT meets the betting line. Sure, Charles is a speedster, but that’s only when he can get around traffic, not when he has to run through it. And he’s got that nasty fumbling habit. That’s why we can expect Chris Ogbonnaya to get more and more carries. He runs straight ahead, and sideways and sets off a bolt of lightning that could just energize the team. Did I mention that Ogbonnaya spends so much time studying that he’s referred to by teammates as a nerd? Good for him.

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Chris Ogbonnaya, Brandon Foster

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