Tom Herman’s lengthy to-do list at Texas includes toughening up the Longhorns. Eric Gay AP
Tom Herman’s lengthy to-do list at Texas includes toughening up the Longhorns. Eric Gay AP

Mac Engel

Tom Herman must take the video game out of Texas football

November 28, 2016 06:38 PM

UPDATED November 29, 2016 12:07 PM

Perhaps we are just in a bear market but right now the state of football in the great state a Texas looks and smells more like cow flop.

Bevo can’t beat Kansas, and had to eat about $20 million to go through the process of finding a new football coach.

As part of the core curriculum in College Station, the Aggies now offer “Perfecting the Art of the Overrated Collapse” as a three-hour college course.

The best thing about Texas Tech is that its head coach is insanely good-looking.

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Baylor is now a verb.

Houston can’t beat Memphis, or SMU.

And there should be plenty of good seats available Saturday for TCU’s regular-season finale against Kansas State at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

It is amazingly sad that there are zero teams from Texas ranked in the latest AP Top 25. Don’t expect one to be ranked when the BCS Plus 2 releases it rankings Tuesday night, either.

“It’s an aberration and that’s not going to happen hardly ever,” Oklahoma ball coach Bob Stoops said on Monday morning’s Big 12 conference call. “It’s just unusual that it happened in one year.”

Unusual but well-deserved.

Of the many to-do items on new Texas coach Tom Herman’s checklist, making Bevo more than a warm throw pillow needs to be at the top of the list. Charlie Strong talked tough, but his team was soft. So is the rest of the state. The entire state needs to return to playing real football rather than Xbox football.

And then all of these coaches from The Herminator to The Swag Copter to Gary Patterson need to build a wall.

Since 2014, Texas A&M is 15-17 in the SEC. In 2014 and ’15, it finished both seasons losing five of its last eight games. This season, it has lost four of its last six games.

“I think (a reason is) the best of the players have left the state,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said Monday. “There are a lot of good players, but a lot of the best players have left the state in the last three or four years. One of the things we have to do is keeping guys at home.”

Amen, Preacher Patterson.

Why can’t our fat cat alums buy players the way they can all over the SEC?

It is completely understandable if the best high school basketball players in Texas go to Kentucky or Kansas or Duke. There is no good reason that the best high school football players in Texas are going to Florida State, Alabama or Ole Miss.

Tom Herman, change this.

Allow me to offer another theory why #TexasFootballSmells — it starts in the high schools, and on video games. The overemphasis on the spread offense throughout the state is cute, and it sure does score points, but it has weakened our college teams.

Much like the Dallas Cowboys are currently resetting a trend in the NFL behind a strong line and a running back, the Texas colleges can only make a run at the top once they re-embrace the brilliant brutality of football.

Watch Texas A&M’s 54-33 home loss to LSU. Pick any number of Texas’ smorgasbord of defeats this season. What Baylor and Texas Tech did this season on defense is insulting to Arena Football. The final score of TCU’s home loss to Oklahoma was 52-46.

In the most recent 2016 NCAA FBS defensive rankings, TCU is 73rd, Baylor is 85th, Texas A&M is 92nd, Texas is 96th and Texas Tech is last at 128th.

Now watch Alabama play a football game. The same for USC. Enjoy Ohio State’s overtime win over Michigan.

Or, just watch the Cowboys.

All of the above line up and whip you. They will also hit you.

The spread offense that Art Briles, Mike Leach and many other coaches helped make popular throughout not only Texas but the nation needs to die, or be moved to the backseat.

It is the equivalent of the run-and-shoot in basketball; it’s good enough to get you close but not to win titles. The great state of Texas has to be about national championships, or why are we doing this?

There are a lot of great skill players here (in Texas) but one of the things missing here is the big bodies. It’s not as many big bodies as we used to have.

TCU head football coach Gary Patterson

Until football is finally converted into two-hand touch, the surest way to win big is to be big, and to stop people.

Not only do we not win anymore, we don’t stop anybody.

Texas has one team ranked in the top 50 in total defense in the FBS level — Houston, at 14. The next closest is Texas (San Antonio) at 58.

And while we are talking about hitting people, it should be noted that since 2000 eight times has a team from Texas finished in the top five — Texas five times, TCU twice and the Aggies tied for fifth in the Johnny Natural Disaster Heisman Trophy year of 2012.

Those teams all had good offensive linemen. As much as we all loved to watch Johnny on the field, or on TMZ, we forget that he had four future NFL first-round picks blocking for him.

When UT won the national title in 2005, it had the best player in the nation — quarterback Vince Young, who also had five offensive linemen in front of him who went on to the NFL.

The players are here. The coaches are here. There is a path. There is a formula. None of it is complicated.

It begins by playing football rather than a video game.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

Mac Attack Rips Texas Football

Star Telegram sports columnist Mac Engel rips the state of football in Texas (video by Mac Engel/Star-Telegram).

tengel@star-telegram.com

TCU's Patterson on the win over Texas

Patterson praises the Horned Frogs' defense and effort after a 31-9 victory over Texas assures the team of being bowl-eligible. Video by Jimmy Burch.

jburch@star-telegram.com