December 30, 2006

Five questions after the Alamo Bowl

What happened in the first quarter?

This is going to sound borderline silly, but if there's one thing I've learned this year, it seems that the team's intensity for each game pretty closely resembles the overall excitement level of the Longhorn fan base.

The Texas A&M game was the most telling example, with the burnt orange fan base giving the game little thought in the two weeks leading up to the game, and the results that the team put out on the field reflected that same apathy.

Now, let's look at the Iowa game. Most of the talk among Longhorn fans over the past two weeks has focused on quarterback recruiting, Vince Young in the NFL, the defensive coordinator search and just about any other topic besides the Alamo Bowl.

Similarly, it just didn't look like the Texas players had much interest in this game early on and it took a while before the team really showed up to play. Texas was getting dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball early on and the Longhorn secondary looked like it was running in quicksand as Drew Tate and Andy Brodell played pitch and catch.

Overall, it was a very flat start for a team that had only pride as its motivation, and it really wasn't that unexpected. Everyone knew that it might be tough to get Texas mentally prepared to play this game, and that's exactly what played out through the first quarter and a half. Aaron Ross' interception in the end zone might have been the play of the game because it kept Texas within striking distance, and it really seemed to light a fire under the team and get the Horns' pride to kick in.

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