Iowa State-Texas Q&A with Hook ‘Em Report


In preparation for Saturday’s game against Texas, I took time to ask Nicco Martinez and Randy Maltz some questions dealing with the Longhorns.  If you ever want to read more great analysis or breaking news on the Horns, check out 

Cyclone Planet:  What does Case McCoy bring to the table that Garrett Gilbert didn’t?

Hook ‘Em Report:  Case McCoy is a wet dream to any Boise State Offensive Coordinator of the last decade. Bryan Harsin’s offense is not based on slow-footed, big-arm 6-6 Drew Bledsoe-type of QBs. (It’s sad that Greg Davis never let Garrett Gilbert show & throw his big-arm with the frequency that Al Davis has allowed Raiders QBs to do so over the past 50 years. Maybe it would have kept opposing DBs from living on our 2010 line of scrimmage. But as a Bryan Harsin/Chris Petersen fan, I digress.)

McCoy is quick-on-his-feet and dynamic, much in the mold of Ryan Dinwiddie, Taylor Tharp, Jared Zabransky and Kellen Moore. Let’s face it, no matter how big of a Lake Travis High school fan I might be, Garrett Gilbert does not remind you any successful collegiate QB… not even the successful Washington State QB named Ryan Leaf. [ouch!]

The biggest difference is that McCoy gets his teammates to play with an electricity and zest that Gilbert could not. Bottomline, the team rallies behind McCoy, much as the Longhorns did for his older brother Colt, and much as the Longhorns did for Vince Young and Major Applewhite.

Cyclone Planet:  How good is this Longhorn defense?

Hook ‘Em Report:  Manny Diaz, Manny Diaz Manny Diaz. In Manny we trust.

When legendary Longhorn coach Darrell Royal coached his last season (5-5-1), Fred Akers’ staff came in the following year and produced an 11-1 season with the same players. It’s amazing what new coaches can do. New energy, new pep talks, renewed desire of the kids, renewed trust in the program, all-around the program is recharged and reloaded.

This Longhorn squad didn’t lack talent last year. It had blue-chippers like all the other Mack Brown teams. Last year’s team lacked focus and drive. Which is exactly what Manny Diaz’s keeps the throttle on: focus, demands, and high expectations of his defensive players. Yes, in the department of getting players to play up to their potential, Diaz reminds me of Jimmy Johnson. [Yes, I said it.]

Diaz may not have his playbook fully installed, nonetheless his players play more opportunistic and stingy than Will Muschamp’s last years’ defense . READ: Diaz has Texas playing more like an aggressive SEC defense. And sometimes they are over-aggressive and dare the opponent’s offense to exploit their assertive go-getter approach.

Coach Diaz is doing a good job at keeping the opponents guessing and off-balance for four quarters. On 3rd down, our front seven plays assignment football better than any Texas defense since the 2005 team.

Cyclone Planet:  What was last year like as a fan and did you ever expect such a dismal year for the Horns?

Hook ‘Em Report:  No, and I say that knowing that I have been calling for the heads of Mack Brown’ s 60-year-old assistants since Colt McCoy’s freshman year. Even with these “been-retired-since-Vince-beat-USC” coaches on UT’s staff, I truly believed that the player talent that Mack Brown had assembled could just line up and embarrassed themselves to an 8-4 record, maybe 7-5 record in a worst-case scenario. The way the question was worded, I can say that “dismal” is frustrating to read, yet accurate nonetheless.

Cyclone Planet:  What do you expect from the Longhorns for the rest of the year?

Hook ‘Em Report:  Expect for the offense to get significantly better under Applewhite, Harsin and Case McCoy. Which in turn, will give the defense a chance to not have their backs constantly put against the wall (as it was when Garrett Gilbert and Greg Davis ran the offense). NO, I’m not pulling punches on Greg Davis just because he is no longer with the program. The Horns would have been in at least 3 more national championship games if only Davis was semi-competent. He under-developed and wasted so much talent, and his play-calling was remedial for a man with 25+ years experience as a play-caller.

This 2011 offense will find their stride and actually be able to dictate to opponents (as BSU Broncos offenses have done over the years) and that will allow UT to win the time of possession battle in a lot of games. Thus allowing the defense to stay fresh and attack through out the whole game. Understand that no Dan Hawkins / Chris Petersen / Bryan Harsin offense, regardless of all their success, has ever had this kind of talent surrounding the coach who is calling the offense. This team may not win the Big 12 this year, but they will prove that last year’s dismal record was an anomaly.

Cyclone Planet:  Finally, what is your prediction on Saturday’s game?

Hook ‘Em Report:  Texas 31, Iowa State 20

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