Monday, December 09, 2013

The Weekend; UT Football 2013

Hey!  How's everyone doing out there?
Our weekend was pretty good.  The weather's been cold, but it's been helping to get us into the Christmas spirit. 
On Friday night we went out to dinner.  We went to Cypress Grill and had Cajun food.  We like that place.  It's just a small, neighborhood restaurant, but it has good food and friendly service.  I think we went home after that and watched an episode of Treme (which has still been pretty entertaining so far in Season 3).
On Saturday we ran errands and did some chores.  Our chores mostly involved accomplishing absolutely essential, critical tasks which were necessary in order to ensure the very survival of our household.  Obviously, erecting a 6 foot tall Christmas cactus in our front yard was one of the top things on that list...

(we've got spirit, yes we do....)

Also on Saturday I watched our Texas Longhorns struggle their way through a season ending defeat at the hands of the Baylor Bears.  It wasn't pretty.  Oh well.  Texas has had a weird season.  Obviously, with an 8-4 record and an unranked finish to their season, Texas wasn't super great this year.  About the best that can be said for Texas is that early in the season it looked like the team would be doing even worse.  When Texas lost its second and third games to BYU and Ole Miss, UT fans had legitimate reason to fear that UT would have a losing season.  Texas managed to put together a six game winning streak after that, though, including a victory over OU.
Anyway, Texas wasn't great, but our season wasn't as bad as everyone had initially feared.  Case McCoy cemented his position as starting quarterback once David Ash became injured, and the defense tightened up a bit once Manny Diaz got sacked and Greg Robinson was brought in to replace him.  In the end, UT wasn't as bad as I feared that they would be, but they were never going to be a strong enough team to be in contention for a Bowl Championship Series slot.  I guess the big question is whether Mack Brown will keep his job.  UT has a new athletic director, Steve Patterson, coming in who will probably feel less allegiance and loyalty to Brown than outgoing director DeLoss Dodds.  Brown has suffered a couple of very rough seasons in the last two years, but both of those seasons were, in the end, winning seasons, and Brown, of course, still has that national championship win from 2005 under his belt that can always be used to deflect a certain amount of criticism.  Brown has shown a willingness to make some changes (e.g., firing both Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis and Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz), but often those changes come long after the damage has been done.  Consequently, Brown's leadership skills fall into question as he always seems to be reacting to disasters of his own making rather than charting a path toward success.
Coming into his job at UT, Brown was touted as an exceptional recruiter.  Part of the means by which he accomplished this was by promising incoming players that he would stand by them and continue to to give them playing time (and room to improve) rather than replacing them at the first sign of trouble.  This philosophy has proven to be a double edged sword for Brown.  When his players have blossomed, it has served the Longhorns well to allow players to learn and grow from their mistakes.  When players have continued to falter and struggle, however, Brown has sometimes allowed them to continue to play long past the point where their continued involvement was causing significant harm to the team and their chances of success (and, of course, when the team isn't doing well overall, recruiting becomes more difficult, anyway).
I don't know what will happen with Brown.  He's given the UT program a lot of success, but the last few years have been difficult.  He makes a ton of money.  Last I checked it was around $5 million a year, and he was one of the highest paid coaches in college football.
But, of course, UT fans are demanding and loud and critical.  We're notorious for it.  I wouldn't say that we're fair weather fans, but when we see things going wrong with our team, we want them to get fixed.  For $5 million a year, it seems fair too have some pretty high expectations.
Anyway, UT will be playing in the Alamo Bowl again versus Oregon. 
We'll see what next season brings.

Saturday night Ryan and Jamie came over for dinner.  Amy made some really good chicken enchiladas with beans and rice.  We had some festive cranberry margaritas, and Ryan and Jamie brought cookies for dessert.  We watched The Colbert Christmas Special and The Nighmare Before Christmas.  We had a good time!

On Sunday we went out for breakfast and ran some errands.  Amy baked some really good cranberry muffins.  Sunday night I had band practice.  Frank, Jim, Reed, and I played, and we sounded pretty good (better on some things than others, but, on the whole, I thought we put up a strong effort all around).  It felt really good to play.

And that's it!  Still cold today in Austin, and rainy as well.  Everyone stay warm and dry!

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