TD’s Takeaways- Week 4

The Sooners were off, but there was no shortage of action on a fantastic college football weekend! Here’s what stood out to me.

Gig ’em Aggies!

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The victorious QB!

Yes, that is a Texas A&M Aggies polo. No, I don’t have any shame wearing it! For one season, I’m an Aggie fan for one reason: Trevor Knight. Only for Tavares O’Willinghamn would the current and former residents of Ann Arbor Dr. drive to roadtrip to Dallas for a reunion. Of personal note, I cannot put into words how proud I was to watch my best friend and longtime roommate lead his team to quite an impressive victory. Fans have no idea the ups and downs my man has gone through the past few years, and he’s handled it all with nothing but class! Now he’s reaping the rewards for that perseverance, and he deserves every bit of it.

Besides me being an unabashed Trevor homer, I was objectively very impressed with A&M. Not just with the outcome of the game, but with HOW they won. They pulled away in the second half, and they did it by running the ball and stopping the run. This is a team that was highly criticized throughout the offseason for their inability to accomplish both of those tasks in 2015. To be able to win in the running game against an Arkansas team that is known for its physicality is no small feat. In the first four weeks of the season, the Aggies have proved that they are a good football team. Now, in the next month, we will find out just how good they are. First a road trip to South Carolina that they will be heavily favored in. Then they are back home to host Tennessee in Showdown #1, before they rest up on their bye week, then take on Bama in Showdown #2. A month from now, we will know more about the Aggies!

 Preseason Predictions

The first four weeks of the season proved once again a fact that college football fans know to be true: Preseason predictions mean nothing. Three teams that were in the AP preseason top 10 have now completely dropped out of the poll with 7 losses between the three of them (OU, LSU, Notre Dame). Meanwhile, two teams currently in the AP top ten were not even ranked in the preseason (Wisconsin and A&M). Furthermore, teams like Louisville and Houston that were in the middle of the preseason poll are now cemented near the top. Four of the top ten teams in the nation were ranked 15th or lower to start the year! What does this mean to me? It’s impossible to predict how good a team will be on paper. You can look at returning starters and recruiting classes and all the other indicators, but those factors don’t tell the whole story. Intangible qualities like chemistry and leadership, as well as the offseason development of individual players (i.e. Lamar Jackson), are not revealed until the ball kicks off in September.

Beware! The current poll should not be regarded as law either! A good group of teams with poor OOC schedules have still not been tested whatsoever. Some teams that have fallen out will assuredly be back, while others that are currently highly ranked will lose some games and maybe even fall out of the poll. It’s still too soon to tell! In the next month, several teams go through absolutely brutal scheduling stretches, such as Tennessee (@UGA, @TAMU, Bama), Clemson (Louisville, @FSU), and Wisconsin (@Michigan, Ohio St, @Iowa, Nebraska). For a lot of teams, this is where the rubber meets the road!

The Coaching Carousel Gets Started Early

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The Mad Hatter

Just four games into the season, and major coaching changes have already been made, with more to come. Les Miles was summarily fired after LSU lost a heartbreaker to Auburn while struggling mightily offensively once again. Les Miles is without a doubt a heck of a coach, and he has had an incredible run with the Tigers. As much as I hate what it says about the nature of the coaching profession, I also understand why LSU made the decision that they did. LSU has been as talented if not more talented than every other team in the nation the past few years, and they haven’t won to the level that has come to be expected there. Miles will definitely be at the helm of another elite program in the near future, and both sides will be just fine in the long run.

What I am more interested in is the repercussive effect is has on the rest of the college football world. Rumors are already swirling regarding the candidacy of Tom Herman, Art Briles, and Jimbo Fisher. Everyone will deny having made contact, but who knows what’s really going on behind the scenes. A sub plot is how this changes the recruiting landscape. There is no doubt that many of LSU’s top commits will reopen their commitment, which will lead to a redistribution of talent that could have a significant impact.

 

Now, I will settle in for the night and tune in to watch the first presidential debate! Regardless of how you feel about the candidates, pray for the future of our nation!

God bless,

TD

 

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Thank You Sooner Nation!

ou-osu-flag

You showed up and you showed out.

You were loud and proud.

You created an incredible atmosphere

I can only speak for myself, but I am confident that I speak for everyone associated with the team when I say that your support was felt and appreciated. The false starts, delay of games, and communication issues that the Buckeyes felt were because of YOU.

You did your part. We didn’t do ours.

We didn’t play with the focus, precision, and passion that it takes to be a championship level team like Ohio St.

I say “we” because I absolutely cannot place blame unless I am claiming it for myself. I may not be on the roster, but I cannot help but still feel very connected to this group of guys.

Brotherhood doesn’t graduate.

My only strategy for the placement of blame has always been to own it, and to get back to work. But in my current position, I have little to no effect on the outcome of the game, and I have no work to get back to. My only outlet is now to talk about it.

Please understand this. I could try to dissect this game and tell you what I saw on film, and then try to analyze it looking to place the blame on certain players and coaches, but I’m just not going to do that. At no point am I ever going to turn on people that are family to me. Some might argue that it is my duty to share an unbiased opinion with the fans and public, but I counter that I do not consider myself a member of the media, and I feel no such obligation.

But I will tell you this: What happened was unacceptable and embarrassing, and it cannot happen again. The Buckeyes beat us in every facet of the game. I think any member of the Sooner football team would admit that. But now all we can do is work. Work to get better. One day at a time. In times like these, character is revealed and leadership is tested. We now get to find out what this team is made of.

The Student Section

ou-osu-student-section
‘Twas Lit

 

You were spectacular!

You answered my call and then some!

You showed up two hours early with infectious attitude and energy.

Then the storms rolled in. They told you to vacate your seats, and you refused.

At that time, I myself was hunkered down in the equipment room, dry and sheltered from the storm, munching on trail mix and watching the games on TV. When I heard that you all wouldn’t leave, I had an attack of conscience. I called you out. I told you to get there early. And now you were braving a torrential downpour, while I was hiding inside in my pretty little suit and tie. So, in a stunning display of stupidity and recklessness, I ran out into the rain and stood there with you, tie and all. The next few hours  will go down as one of my most special moments at OU. You all welcomed me with open arms, and I got a chance to cheer on my beloved Sooners from a completely new perspective. We sang Boomer Sooner, Oklahoma, the OU Chant, and the National Anthem standing there in the blistering rain. We harassed JT Barrett, Malik Hooker, and the rest of the Bucks from the moment they took the field. They may have beaten us, but they still wore rain jackets into warm-up, while you guys had been standing through a monsoon for hours. The Bucks aint got nothin’ on y’all! Thank you for your attitude and your energy!

Food for Thought

I sit here and I don’t no what to say. I have no excuses. No answers for you. No defenses of what happened to my boys. You’re angry, upset, and disappointed. You have every right to be.  These coaches are paid extremely well and they didn’t deliver. These players are offered full scholarships and they didn’t perform. I am neither denying that fact nor asking for forgiveness on their behalf. But I do ask, rather than just viewing them as paychecks and scholarships, that you remember that they are people just like you, and that they care deeply about this university and bust their tails every single day to live up to the expectations placed upon them. I can’t speak for the players and coaches. I can’t tell you the fans how to feel. But what I can do is tell you about me. About how I have felt in moments like these.

Friday Night Lights

My bedroom window was above the garage at 2113 Oakdale Dr., and it faced the street. On normal days, it served as a fantastic vantage point for people watching, which I have always loved to do. But on the not-so-normal days, on the Saturdays after the Valdosta Wildcats lost a football game, that window served a different purpose. On those days, I would wake up a little early, roll over, and peek out the window, searching the yard for “For Sale” signs. I’d hustle downstairs and go pick them out of the yard, folding them up and jamming them into the trash before my parents could see them. My purposes were not entirely altruistic. Sure, I didn’t want my parents to get their feelings hurt by the obvious message the signs were meant to convey, but there was something else. I really liked Valdosta. I liked my friends there. I didn’t want to leave. And those “For Sale” signs acted as a reminder that our family’s time there was coming to a close, either on our terms or on theirs. I was just a kid that didn’t want to have my life snatched away from me because of what happened on a football field.

valdosta-camden
Valdosta vs Camden County, 5A State Championship Game, 003. This was my dad’s first year.

 

In that moment, I was 12 years old. My dad was the head football coach at Valdosta High School. Winnersville, USA. 23 State Championships. Over 800 wins. Losses there are mourned like the death of a loved one taken far too soon. Despite the considerable success he experienced, my dad’s losses mounted over time, and he was fired halfway into his third season. In our short stint there, in addition to the yard signs, my dad’s truck got egged, and our big Wildcat flag was stolen. At my elementary school, I had to defend my dad and his playcalling to classmates, and even to some of their parents as well. During those years, being a coach’s kid wasn’t a whole lot of fun.

What I learned in this moment is that coaching is hard for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with a football, and that people can be petty and cruel. We have a Hall of Fame football coach here at OU that has passed up many other opportunities out of loyalty to us, and he has an incredible family that has given so much to this community. All of these coaches may have come up short, but it wasn’t for lack of preparation. Before you say something hateful about either of the Stoops, or Lincoln Riley, or any of the rest of the staff, pause to remember that. You can be critical and concerned without being hateful and ignorant.

“I let them down”

I’ve been experiencing football seasons since birth, and only one time have I ever cried after a regular season game, and it’s not a game that you’d expect.

Kansas State. 2014.

I cried because it shattered a dream. In May, I was standing on a beach in Haiti with 15 of my brothers, and we prayed together that God would let us win a national championship so that we could give the glory back to him. In August, I walked the perimeter of Owen Field with Nila Kasitati and Trevor Knight, praying that God would bless our steps on that ground. In October, I was sifting through a crowd of victorious TCU fans, head down, but knowing that we could still accomplish our dream. A few weeks later, we lost our second game. In that moment I knew that we had lost any realistic chance at achieving that dream, and that we had let down all of Sooner Nation. The weight of those combined realizations was enormous, and I simply broke down. That game was a day-game, but that night I returned to the field, and I sat against the wall in the south end zone. I just sat there, gazing out at the field for what seemed like an endless period of time, contemplating our failure.

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Walking off the field after K-State 2014

 

You know the rest of the story. It didn’t get any better. Two losses turned into three. Three into four. Four into five, the fifth being a 40-6 blowout in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Words don’t really do it justice. Humiliation. Embarrassment. Shame. Guilt. I know that you the fans think that you care a lot, and you do. You live and die with the team. You probably even wonder sometimes if you care more than the players do. I admire your devotion, but you can never understand what it feels like. You don’t know what it feels like to know that you just let 85,000 people down. You can’t imagine what it feels like to realize you failed to live up to the standard of greatness that was set by thousands of men long before you were even born. You will never know the agony of failing to uphold a tradition that is so much bigger than you. You don’t know, and you don’t want to know. Take my word for it: it’s miserable. The University of Oklahoma has been playing football for well over a hundred years, and I truly believe that the 2014 Sooner football team was The Most Disappointing Team in the History of Oklahoma Football. What a title to have attached to your name. Thankfully, I got another chance to rewrite my legacy in 2015.

My only point here is that this is awful for the players, and that they take a personal responsibility when this happens. Not all of them care as much as I did, but a lot of them care every bit as much. In the deserved outrage and indignation, remember that these are 18-22 year old young men that are experiencing these amplified levels of disappointment, embarrassment, and guilt for quite possibly the first time in their lives. I have no choice but to believe that these guys will bounce back and get better. But they need you now more than ever! I urge you to show them support and help get them back on the right track. The loss does not nullify the message that I sent out last week: We still need you. The next time we see you back in Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, it will be with a winning record and a newfound fire! Thank you for your undying support of your Oklahoma Sooners!

Sooner born and Sooner bred and when I die I’m Sooner dead

TD

Create a Ruckus

I was never a big believer in homefield advantage. I scoffed at the notion that a fan could actually have an impact on a football game. You have a hostile crowd? Good. I feed off of hostile crowds, and I embrace it when fans ridicule me. You think you’re loud? Whatever. We use a silent count anyways, and noise is only a factor on three to four plays a game. Your homefield advantage is incredibly overrated. Bring it on. You’re wasting your breath.

And then I ran out of the tunnel in Knoxville, Tennessee, FOR WARMUP and was greeted by thousands of screaming fans and the chorus of “Rocky Top.” The game wasn’t set to start for over an hour, and these people seemed to think it was kickoff time. I exited the tunnel for the pregame warm-up, and those psychotic students were already there, giving us a small preview of what to expect in the hours to come. What had we gotten ourselves into?

shep-tennessee

What followed in the 4 quarters and 2 overtimes of play was a dissertation on the impact a crowd CAN have upon a football game. The Vol faithful made it absolutely impossible to communicate. On the first drive, we had to change our snap count, because even our silent count was ineffective against that wall of noise. I came off the field after that first drive and reassured Coach Bedenbaugh that the fans would settle down in due time, and that noise was not going to be an issue going forward. Boy was I wrong. The noise was a constant, oppressive force. I could literally feel it on my skin. But these fans weren’t just loud on the first drive. Or just on 3rd down. Or just in the fourth quarter. It was every. single. play. On the offensive line, we couldn’t hear Baker’s play calls, we couldn’t make our own combo calls, and we couldn’t communicate checks and alerts verbally. We resorted to a makeshift hand signaling system that was at times more confusing than informative. At times, we were much more worried about simply KNOWING the play than we were about actually EXECUTING it. That night in Neyland Stadium, playing football seemed all but impossible, and that can be attributed as much to the men and women in the stands as to the uniformed men on the field itself. That night, as I boarded the flight back to Norman with Rocky Top ringing in my ears, I realized that I had been converted. From a man skeptical of fan impact, to a man in awe of it.

My Call to Sooner Nation

I have a question for you, Sooner Nation.

How do you view your role?

Are you there to be entertained? Or are you there to participate?

Are we playing 11 on 11? Or 85,000 on 11?

We NEED you like never before. This Saturday promises to be one of the biggest games and one of the most electric atmospheres in our storied history, and we need YOU to do your part. You’re a part of this team, just like each of the individuals on the field. Baker Mayfield has to lead the offense and take care of the football. Charles Walker has to dominate the line of scrimmage and get pressure on the quarterback. Orlando Brown has to protect Baker and pave the way for Samaje and Joe. You, the fan, have every bit as important of a job: Make their lives a living hell for 3 hours, 4 hours, or however long it takes. Make it impossible for them to communicate. Get inside their heads on the sideline. Set the tone in pregame, and then bring fanatical energy and noise for every play, not just the third downs or crucial moments. Be a FACTOR. Make your presence felt!

The Students

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This cannot and will not happen without the students, for that portion of the crowd is the most influential in setting the tone and carrying it through the game. This past Saturday, I watched our craziest student fans line up outside the student gate for the first time. At 4 PM sharp, they literally SPRINTED to their seats and set up for the debut of the newly minted Palace on the Prairie. Wow. What dedication!

But, unfortunately, that attitude is not reflected in the rest of our student fans. I love this university, and I very much appreciate the support of the students, but I have admit… I’ve been very disappointed in the student section during my time here.

I’ve seen the student section half empty for a Bedlam game.

The student section is usually not completely full at kickoff.

I’ve watched the student section empty out in the third quarter of games that were far from decided on multiple occasions.

Students engage in what I would call conditional participation. Only in very certain scenarios will you stay for the duration of the game.

  1. If we blow anyone out (good teams or bad teams), you leave out of boredom.
  2.  If we are in a close game with an average team or a poor team, you leave out of indignation.
  3. The ONLY way that you stay for the whole game is if the game is close and the opponent is elite.

When compared to the rest of the 85,000, you’re the last ones there and the first ones to leave.

The game generally seems to be viewed as a warm-up for whatever social event is planned for the night.

I’m not saying that you owe us (the players) anything at all.

I’m not saying that we don’t appreciate your support.

I’m saying that you’re a part of us.

I’m saying that we need you.

  1. Set the tone by getting there early and harassing Ohio St. during warm-up. They need to know what they’re getting into.
  2. Bring energy the ENTIRE game. The team feeds off the energy of the crowd, and the crowd as a whole draws its energy from you guys.
  3. STAY. This game and every game. The bars can wait. You get 6 Saturdays a fall. 24 college football games in your time at OU. Make them count. Twenty years from now, don’t tell your kids that you “watched” the Ohio St-OU game in 2016. Don’t tell them you “were there.” Tell them that you were A PART of the craziest atmosphere in Sooner football history. You weren’t just “there.” You made an impact!

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When the Buckeyes come into town on Saturday, they will be the highest ranked team to visit Norman since the 2008 Texas Tech Red Raiders. That week, Coach Stoops challenged the crowd to “Create a Ruckus”, and they delivered! From all accounts of the game, that was the loudest and craziest Sooner fans may have ever been. The Sooners walked away that day with a 65-21 blowout victory, and they rode that momentum to a national championship appearance. I think you get the picture. Bring it. From the first play to the last, and make those Ohio St. players go home talking about “those psychos in Norman, Oklahoma.”

SOONER NATION!

LET’S WIN THIS THING!

All of us.

Together.

I don’t know about you, but I kinda wanna Jump Around on Saturday.

BOOMER SOONER!

TD

Identity Crisis

College football has returned, accompanied by its close associates Jubilation and Heartbreak. In the midst of the soaring emotions, some players are lifted to the status of demigod, while others are berated ceaselessly and deemed nearly unworthy of life. If you cheer for Florida State, Texas, or Alabama, you may believe that your players can do no wrong and deserve heaping praise. If you’re from Oklahoma or Southern Cal, you might be wondering why we even gave them scholarships in the first place. But I’m here to remind both parties, the worshippers and the demonizers, that these young men, regardless of their performance, are more than football players.

In athletics, it is so easy to slip into letting yourself be defined by what you do (I’ve touched on this before). But why is that? It’s because in athletics there is a scoreboard. A scoreboard that clearly states whether you were a success or a failure on any given day. A scoreboard that objectively measures what seems to be your worth and competency to the rest of the world. The set of numbers is plastered across the big screen during, and then it goes home with you after. It’s the ESPN alert on your phone. It’s running across the bottom of your TV. It’s strewn across every social media platform. The set of numbers that define your existence. So, for player and fan alike, let me remind you: athletes are more than a number.

More than a scoreboard.

More than a jersey number.

More than a stat line.

But there is something else that needs to be understood. Something I don’t think people talk about enough when it comes to the athlete identity. As an athlete, you don’t trade one false identity for another. You don’t lay down one set of numbers, only to pick up a different set. If I am not defined by the scoreboard, my jersey number, or my stat line, neither am I defined by my GPA, my test scores, my degree, or by my number of community service hours. Don’t get me wrong. All of those things can reflect positively on a person, but they don’t do any more to evaluate the character of a person than the athletics numbers do. Even in community service oriented activities, the number of hours may reflect participation, but it doesn’t necessarily reflect the state of a person’s heart, which is what matters when you’re giving of yourself. My point is that any set of numbers cannot effectively measure a person’s value in this world.

So if you’re going to judge who I was as a student-athlete, don’t look at the win-loss record or the personal athletic accolades.

Don’t look at how fast I graduated or what my GPA was.

Don’t look at any of my Mr. Nice Guy awards.

If you’re going to judge me, judge me based on two things:

  1. How I treat other people on a daily basis, particularly people from which I have nothing to gain.

  2. How I used the platform I was given to make an impact on the world around me.

The numbers don’t tell the story, for myself or for the millions of other current and former athletes around the nation.

So whether you’re watching football in Norman or in Stillwater, in Tuscaloosa or in Ann Arbor, remember that the young men have faces under those helmets, and that their identities and their stories cannot be confined to any number.

 

God bless,

 

TD

 

TD’s Takeaways- Week 1

What a weekend! I traversed the state of Texas and put in an unprecedented number of hours sitting in traffic as I kicked off my fan career with 3 big-time football games. This week, and every other week going forward, I plan on writing a segment called “TD’s Takeaways.” In this weekly segment, I will review whatever game I attended that week, as well as my other thoughts on the college football scene throughout the nation. So, without further adieu, here are my takeaways for what was a spectacular opening week.

 

Not Playing Sucks.

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I’ve been mentally preparing for this day for a very long time. The first time I had to sit and watch “my team” play a game. Mentally, I was very much prepared for it and had accepted the fact. My mind knew I wasn’t playing, but someone forgot to tell my body. I experienced what I would characterize as a conditioned response in the build-up to the game. I won’t go into all the chemicals involved, but I could feel myself amping up for action on the way to the stadium. I’ve been doing this for so long, my body just took it upon itself to go ahead and get me ready to play. By the time kickoff came around, the adrenaline rushing through my system was overpowering, and I really thought “This must be what it feels like to have a heart attack.”

Work to do for the Sooners

OU HOUSTON FOOTBALL

Obviously, I know that a great many of you reading this blog are primarily concerned with what happened in Houston. Personally, I can tell you it was absolutely excruciating to have to watch that happen without being able to have any impact on the game whatsoever. At one point, I retreated to the end zone by myself so I could analyze what was going on and be a psychotic has-been in solitude.

I’m not going to go into great detail as far as game analysis goes. I’ll be talking about that tonight on The Huddle, as well as all week long on the Franchise. In a vague overarching statement, I would say that a lack of execution cost us the game. Offensively, we were not balanced at all, and we have to be able to throw the ball down the field with rhythm and timing. Defensively, we tackled poorly, didn’t get consistent pressure, and allowed them to convert long third downs through stupid penalties and improvised plays.

The game has been over for three days. What is important now is how the team responds. As we all know, in this College Football Playoff system, if you are gonna lose, you better lose early. This is not the end of the road for these Sooners. Last year, after a significantly more embarrassing performance against Texas, the team used the loss as fuel and came to work Monday through Friday with an intensity and purpose that was unmatched. If the Sooners truly do learn their lesson, this game could be the best thing that ever happened to them. But if that is going to happen, it’s going to be all about leadership. The chip has been restored to the shoulder, and if the team recaptures the same edge that we played with the back half of last year, watch out! Personally, I have a great amount of faith in the players and coaches, but I will admit that I’m biased. On to ULM!

Bama…. I’m So Sorry.

I picked USC to upset Alabama. I picked Tennessee to win the SEC. I picked LSU to win the SEC West…. And all I can say is that I’m sorry. Alabama was DOMINANT against a USC team that I thought was pretty good going into the game. Their depth of talent is incredible. They just wear people down over the course of the game. Even when USC was playing with them in the first half, I could see the signs of the oncoming Bama onslaught. There are very few teams that will be able to hang with this team for four quarters, but, that being said, they are beatable. It will just take a special effort. And to be clear: I hate Bama. I despise their dominance, though I can’t help but respect it.

Texas is back!!!! (Maybe)

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I witnessed the Longhorns upset of the Fighting Irish firsthand, and I walked away very impressed. I thought their defense, led by future 1st round draft pick Malik Jefferson, was much improved. I thought that their OL had also improved considerably, evidenced by their strong running game. The most impressive aspect of their gameplan  was their management of the two QB system. I have never been a believer in playing two guys, but the Longhorns pulled it off. Freshman Shane Buechele was impressive is his collegiate debut in the way that he managed the game and took care of the football, while flashing considerable talent as a thrower and surprising capability as a runner. Swoopes entered off the bench and made his impact felt. The hijacked “Bulldozer” package will be tough to stop for all of the Big 12.

I am a notorious Texas hater, but I believe a good Texas Longhorn football team is actually better for everyone. It’s good for college football. It’s good for the Big 12. It’s good for OU. Playing a stellar Texas team in the Red River Rivalry in the Cotton Bowl adds a lot to the experience of both the players and the fans. Additionally, we play Texas better when they are good. When they suck, we tend to play to their level. Case in point. I was 2-2 against Texas. The two Texas teams I lost to were worst Texas teams I played. The best Texas team I played (2012) was the only one that we beat badly. Basically, we actually have a better chance at beating the Horns when they are good.

That being said, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This was one game, and we do not know how good Notre Dame truly is yet. But don’t worry, because we will find out soon! I think this Texas team could possibly be the real deal, but I hesitate to jump to conclusions after a single game.

Freshman QBs Impress

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I talked a lot last week about how I was skeptical about lofty expectations for teams with unproven quarterbacks, especially freshman quarterbacks. Well, like all of my other predictions, this one proved to be false. Freshman QBs were the stars of the weekend! As I already noted, Shane Buechele of Texas looked very good, and did not make typical “freshman mistakes.” Jalen Hurts shined in Bama’s demolition of USC, and I am very interested to see what added dimension he can bring to what usually is a very conservative, traditional Alabama offense. Lastly, fellow Orlando-area native Deandre Francois overcame a rough start to lead FSU back to an impressive victory over a very good Ole Miss team. I was particularly impressed with Francois because of the way that he stood in the pocket and drove the ball down the field even while getting consistently hit as he released the ball. Especially for a freshman, the resiliency to overcome a first half in which the Seminoles were dominated by the Rebels speaks  volumes about his maturity and character. These young stars will be fun to watch all year, but be prepared for them to have their “freshman” moments as well!

 

Those were my takeaways for week one! Check back in tonight after The Huddle for my Front and Center  topic of the week: Identity Crisis.

College Football is Back!

Opening Weekend

At long last! It’s time for all the preseason predictions to be thrown in the trash, and for all the pundits (myself included) to shut their mouths! The players are gonna play, the coaches are gonna coach, and everyone else gets to just sit back and behold the spectacle!

For the first time in eight years, I will not be playing a football game this weekend! In anticipation of this emotional conflict that is bound to occur, I’ve spent the last few weeks looking for a suitable distraction. At long last, I think I found a pretty good one: The Best College Football Weekend Ever Experienced in the History of Fandom. Read it and weep ladies and gentlemen. I relish your jealousy. Three of the four toughest tickets on what many are calling THE BEST OPENING WEEKEND IN THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL!! 

Oklahoma vs. Houston

UH-OU

Bama vs USC

Bama-USC

Notre Dame at Texas

ND-UT

3 games. 2 days. 1 incredible weekend of football. Why? Because I can. How? Don’t worry about it. What I need from you is some advice! My compatriot on this adventure is none other than fellow former fat man John Phillip Hughes. Naturally, our first question for you is “Where do we eat?!” All the weight-loss rules are on hold for this glorious weekend, and we want to hit the distinctive spots in Houston, Dallas, and Austin! Besides that, where are the best tailgating spots? What places do we need to visit on campus in Austin? Help us out!

Everything we do this weekend will be well-documented. We plan on recording the sights and sounds at every venue, and then we will put together a segment on our experiences for Sooner Sports TV. What kinds of questions should we ask fans? Be creative and help us out!

Ty-JP
JP and I in our larger days

The Season Slate

If you thought this weekend would be the extent of my tour, you thought wrong! Whenever the Sooners are out of driving distance, you’ll find me in some other college town across America, watching one of my best friends play football. Here’s the lineup for the season!

September 24- Texas A&M vs Arkansas

Dallas, TX

TK
TK is set to lead the Aggies into battle!

October 22- Fresno St at Utah St

Logan, UT

Fingaz
Joey “Fingaz” Palange is ready to run power

November 5- Oregon at USC

Los Angeles, CA

Tmac2
T-Mac is back in Cali to follow up a strong Junior campaign

November 19- Maryland at Nebraska

Lincoln, NE

Zack
My lil bro Zack will make his debut at wideout this season

As you can see, it’s going to be a busy season! I can’t wait to experience it all, and I’ll be sure to write blogs about my experiences at each of these unique venues! But for now, my focus is on this jam-packed weekend, as I leave for Houston bright and early.

Let the Chase for 8 begin!

Boomer!!

TD