AUSTIN, Texas -- The Orange-White scrimmage is over and now the wait is on for Texas to open the season against New Mexico State on Aug. 31. What needs to take place between now and then for the Longhorns to be ready to start the 2013 football season?
Most things that happen during this time of the year have little to do with the X’s and O’s. Instead this time of the year is about building a team.
Bigger, stronger and faster
Now is the time of year when strength and conditioning coaches Bennie Wylie and Jeff Madden earn their stripes and help mold the attitude of this team.
To a man, the whole team has to get bigger, stronger and faster. There is bad weight to lose and muscle and strength to gain. In the offseason, players have to gain flexibility, gain core strength and increase their agility.
The young offensive linemen will be on strict diets moving their weight in the right direction.
Teams that play for great coaches win a lot of games. Teams that play for great fan bases usually win a lot of games. Tradition-rich programs usually have the tools to win a lot of games. Teams that play for each other win championships.
If Texas is going to be good in 2013, the members of the team will spend a lot of time together this spring and summer. Quarterback David Ash and his wide receivers will spend a lot of time together. The offensive line will spend a lot of time working out and even having fun away from football.
Building these relationships not only helps players care for each other but it allows them to build trust with each other that transfers to the playing field.
If you believe in the phrase, “Victory comes to those who believe it the most and believe it the longest," the belief is started and nurtured in the relationships built between teammates in the offseason.
Find someone who wants to run anchor
While someone called my show recently to remind me of former Texas sports information director Jones Ramsey who quipped, "The only thing I hate worse than track is field," I can’t find another example of what I mean.
I had the pleasure of running anchor on my college 4 x 100 meter relay team and my college 4 x 400 meter relay team. I wanted to be there. I wanted the end to begin with me. I wanted my team’s destiny in my hands even when I was lined up next to the fastest man in the world, Carl Lewis. Even in those moments I did not want my team’s destiny in anyone’s hands but mine. Sometimes I was successful and sometimes I fell on my face but I wanted to be there.
Texas football has to find some guys that want to run anchor. The Longhorns have to have guys that are not looking around for someone else to make a play. There is not enough audacity on display with the Texas team.
Ash has to be a leader because he is the tip of the spear and plays the toughest position to play in all of sports. Who are the other guys that Texas can bank on day in and day out? When you look over the Texas starting 22, who do you circle as guys that you don’t have to think about? Who are the guys who you know beyond the shadow of a doubt will show up?
That list is short.