Texas notebook: Fans return to back Longhorns

Al Lesar
South Bend Tribune

AUSTIN, Texas – It’s been a while since football at the University of Texas was special.

Seven years, to be exact.

That was when coach Mack Brown led the Longhorns to the BCS Championship Game, ultimately falling to Alabama, 37-21.

Since then … not so much.

Nine wins in 2012 has been the best effort. That’s why Charlie Strong is now in charge.

The recovery process has been slow and painful. The first two years have netted an 11-14 record. Longhorn fans haven’t necessarily been blindly on the bandwagon. Sunday night’s season-opener with Notre Dame marked the first sellout of Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium, capacity 100,119, in the Charlie Strong era. The announced attendance of 102,315 set a school record.

Heck, Notre Dame didn’t miss a sellout the entire time while Bob Davie or Charlie Weis were running the show.

Bevo XV

In the last 100 years — actually since Nov. 30, 1916 — Texas had gone through 14 Bevos as their football mascot.

Sunday night, the 15th incarnation of the Longhorn steer was introduced to Texas fans. 

The natural life span of a steer is between 18 and 25 years. Bevo XIV passed away last October.

No moment of silence was held before, during or after Sunday night’s game.

Nobody would confirm or deny whether the beef tacos available to the media before the game were served in his honor.

Star-studded

All sorts of Texas big shots turned out for the game.

Former Longhorn basketball players Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA Champions) and Kevin Durant (Olympic gold medal) were honored. 

Country music singer Jack Ingram sang the national anthem. 

Texas governor Greg Abbott was an honorary captain. 

Legendary golfer Ben Crenshaw, who started his career at Texas, was acknowledged. He also has a Notre Dame tie, having designed the Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame.

Notes

Texas’ schedule will feature five opponents that won double-digit games last season. Baylor (10 wins last year), Notre Dame (10), Oklahoma (11), Oklahoma State (10) and TCU (11) will give the Longhorns plenty to think about this season … Far down on the Texas depth chart at quarterback is Trey Holtz, a 6-foot-2, 187-pound senior. Holtz is the holder for placekicks. His grandfather is legendary Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz. His father is former Irish player and assistant coach Skip Holtz, now the head coach at Louisiana Tech … The suspense ended when true freshman Shane Buechele took the first snap at quarterback for the Longhorns. His father, Steve, is a coach for the Texas Rangers. He played baseball in the Major Leagues for 11 years, including a stint with the Chicago Cubs. He was allowed to miss the Rangers’ game Sunday to watch his son’s debut.

Texas’ fans in the student section cheer during the Notre Dame-Texas NCAA college football game on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016, at Darrell K. Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN