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Thursday, April 25, 2013
Question of the Week: Making changes

By HornsNation staff

AUSTIN, Texas – Everybody always wants change, even of the spare variety.

So today the HornsNation crew decided to do something about it. We’re inviting change right where it probably is not wanted -- at least when considering the sources. In our inaugural "question of the week" -- a new feature that will run until August -- we decided to pose the question: What one thing would you change about the Texas program?

Now, the inclination might be to jump in with both feet and make some sweeping proclamation like attitude. And while that might need a makeover, we decided to look at the little things, some small changes that might force a ripple effect.

So it is with that in mind that we took a look at the little things that might force a change in some big things around Texas:

Crowd control

How can Texas improve its atmosphere during football games at Darrell K Royal-Memorial Stadium?
The initial kickoff of any college football game should be so loud it makes your ears bleed and your equilibrium do backflips.

That’s just not the case at most Longhorns home games, especially the first couple of tilts at DKR when you get the sense that the opposition is truly just playing to get their paycheck and beat the traffic on I-35.

Even when Texas does play marquee competition in primetime there is normally a lack of enthusiasm among the fans, especially in the student section on the northeast side of the stadium.

Have you seen what it looks like an hour before the game? It looks similar to what it looks like at kickoff or even halfway through the first quarter with rows upon rows of empty metal bleachers.

The Longhorns should do something about this. They’ve incorporated a new players walk through the crowd well before the game, which has drummed up some interest. But that’s not going to appeal to those college students who had a late night out on 6th street.

Hire a DJ to set up shop at the entrance of one of the student sections. Give out free food (or Advil), we all know you can afford it. Hand out burnt orange shirt like they do at The Drum. Start playing music that appeals to them that will get them riled up a la House of Pain’s “Jump Around” at the West Virginia game.

That is the type of controlled chaos Texas needs its fans, especially its students, to start with and continue throughout the game.
-- William Wilkerson

Team slogans

There are meeting held to come up these things. Yes, time is actually spent (read: wasted) to figure out if the R in R.I.S.E should be "respect" or maybe "redemption" or possibly "reclamation," or how about "ridiculous?"

OK, just threw that last one in because, well, it is ridiculous. Team slogans are for girls troop 1376 in Poughkeepsie, New York, not for -- someone quickly cue Dan Hawkins -- a Division I football team.

But Texas, from the "We Are Texas" of 2009 to the R.I.S.E. of 2012, is under the belief that a unifying slogan will somehow tie together these wanderlust players from parts asunder, power them through an extra rep in the weight room or another hour of seven on seven and make them into a team that will perhaps beat Oklahoma.

How’s that going for you? Not so good, huh.

Listen, these slogans are like face paint, they seem like maybe a good idea at the time but soon enough you end up looking like a clown especially considering all the time wasted in applying said makeup or, for that matter, making up the slogan.

Plus it is hard to fathom 85 football players caucusing and debating a slogan before sending the white smoke from the Moncrief-Neuhaus team room. But apparently that is what happens.

Good use of time if you are Mandy and Bobbi Sue trying to come up with a theme to this year’s homecoming bash at Middle of Nowhere High School. If you are a Division I football team more concerned with wins than marketing, well maybe not.
-- Carter Strickland

Alternate uniforms

I hate to inject this edition of the Player Hater’s Ball with another dose of WWSD (What Would Sumlin Do), but I suppose now is as good a time as any to point out Texas can step up its uniform game.

Now, don’t twist my words. Texas has one of the great, classic uniforms in college football. Clean, sharp, instantly recognizable, prestigious, all that good stuff. For some of you, the white pants have developed some sort of sacred and untouchable reverence. To me, they’re just pants.

I know the classic uniforms will never die as long as Mack Brown is at the helm. I don’t want them to.

"When they get Oklahoma, USC and Penn State to start changing, then come talk to us," Brown said last April. "The Texas uniform is the Texas uniform, and it's not changing."

That’s some swell company to align yourself with, it really is. But what about the schools he didn’t mention: Ohio State, LSU, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Nebraska.

Each of those traditional powers has taken a chance on trying out one new uniform a year.

And, yes, even Texas A&M is doing it. Few fan bases are more devoted to outdated traditions than the Aggies, and yet when Johnny Football took the field last November in a black helmet, jersey and pants, the results were face-melting.

I could waste more time and space here imploring you to believe this stuff matters to recruits. Trust me, it does. It really does. When kids come home from visits to TCU, Baylor and Texas Tech visits raving about those programs’ supposed “swagger,” you know the unis are working.

The practice duds were a nice compromise, and by all accounts players loved them. But now let’s take the next step: Black jerseys for the Ole Miss game. Or the Kansas State game. Whenever. Nike loves Texas and surely wouldn’t mind letting Brown have full say on the final design to ensure the results will be tasteful and compelling.

Is this going to happen? Of course not. But I really don’t see any harm in trying.
-- Max Olson