Only a blowout will calm irate fans

Mack Brown faces up­hill bat­tle of mak­ing Longhorn Na­tion feel good about next sea­son.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - Cedric Golden

Be­fore we get to this week’s nuggets, I would like to wish ev­ery­one a safe and happy hol­i­day sea­son, es­pe­cially my fel­low sports fans who will be trav­el­ing to see their fa­vorite foot­ball teams in bowl games. Now, on to busi­ness.

The Alamo Bowl is a few days away and the big­gest ques­tion fac­ing Mack Brown and his coach­ing staff has to be what will it take to make fans feel good about the prospects for 2013?

It will take a colos­sal blowout of Ore­gon State to calm the wor­ries of this fan base. Prob­lem is, this team isn’t built to blow out any­body. Of Texas’ eight wins, only four came by dou­ble dig­its. Of those four, were non-con­fer­ence games. That means that Texas has beaten just one team (Iowa State) by dou­ble dig­its in its last nine games.

Speak­ing of fast pace ... Texas has enough speed of­fense to scare de­fenses, but rare was the game that the Longhorns could put to­gether those patented 21-0 runs that we see reg­u­larly from speed­laden teams like the Ore­gon Ducks.

Some of that has to do with a de­fense that didn’t dom­i­nate games like we thought it would. And some of it has to do with former co-of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Bryan Harsin try­ing to get ev­ery­body touches.

I asked Harsin at mid­sea­son

if there was such a thing as hav­ing too many play­mak­ers, and he an­swered, with­out hes­i­ta­tion: “You can never have enough play­mak­ers.”

New play­caller Ma­jor Applewhite may have to hurt some feel­ings next sea­son to get this of­fense back to where it should be. If that means stream­lin­ing the ro­ta­tion to get more co­he­sive­ness, then he should do it.

Johnny Manziel has been pop­ping up a lot on our tele­vi­sion sets lately. First we saw him court­side at the Hous­ton Rock­ets-Mi­ami Heat game, which in­cluded tweeted pics of him with LeBron James.

We saw him with ac­tress Me­gan Fox af­ter a Jay Leno ap­pear­ance. And he’s also been spot­ted at Cow­boys Sta­dium lately.

NBA color an­a­lyst Steve Kerr came un­der fire last week when he ques­tioned how Manziel could score court­side seats at an NBA game. Kerr is one of the most en­ter­tain­ing an­a­lysts for NBA games (right there with Jeff Van Gundy and Charles Barkley), but he cre­ated a lit­tle firestorm with his com­ments.

Kerr was un­aware that Manziel’s fam­ily has the fi­nan­cial means to pur­chase him tick­ets to sport­ing events, but he should have asked some­one be­fore he made what came across as an ac­cusatory re­mark.

His­tory tells us if Tony Romo puts up an­other 400 yards in the reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale against the Washington Red­skins, then the Cow­boys will be home for the hol­i­days.

Dal­las is 0-4 when Romo passes for 400plus, and that tells us that DeMarco Mur­ray must emerge from his re­cent strug­gles to bal­ance out this of­fense. Mur­ray fum­bled in the red zone against Pitts­burgh last week, then fum­bled at his own 7-yard line against the Saints on Sun­day.

“It’s dev­as­tat­ing to play the way I played,” said Mur­ray, who rushed 11 times for 40 yards.

The Skins have the fifth worst de­fense in foot­ball and things should open up for Mur­ray. Romo will con­tinue to do the heavy lift­ing, but the Cow­boys must give this of­fense more if it is to move for­ward.

If you’ve been fol­low­ing my Golden’s Nug- gets blog, then you know that I’ve com­piled weekly NFL power rank­ings since the be­gin­ning of the sea­son. You also know that I have never been com­pletely com­fort­able with the Hous­ton Tex­ans, who have oc­cu­pied the top spot on dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions.

Af­ter Min­nesota punked Hous­ton 23-6 on Sun­day, those feel­ings were con­firmed. The Tex­ans’ de­fense is too eas­ily beaten over the mid­dle and the of­fense is lack­ing in a play­mak­ing re­ceiver op­po­site An­dre John­son.

Hous­ton is 12-3, but those losses have all come by dou­ble dig­its. Right now, I would pick Den­ver or New Eng­land to rep­re­sent the AFC in the Su­per Bowl be­fore I would pick the Tex­ans.

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