The Wright stuff

November, 25, 2005
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Long after it was over, long after Texas had held off Texas A&M to stay alive in the national championship picture, Rodrique Wright exhaled.

"You don't really think Colorado or USC would run the option, do you?" Wright chuckled, responding to a question asking the Longhorns' defensive tackle just that.

Wright was dirty. Very dirty. And winded. Very winded. And exhausted.

"In so many aspects, I hate playing the option offense," Wright said. "I'm used to running two steps and that's it. With this thing, I'm running sprints from this end of the field to the other. It's complicated. It's tiring."

Texas beat Texas A&M 40-29 on Friday, despite trailing 15-14 in the second quarter and leading only 34-29 into the fourth. It was a fumble forced by Wright on pesky redshirt freshman quarterback Stephen McGee -- an Aggie worth remembering -- that helped Texas hold off a team driving to tie the score.

As far as Wright is concerned, he'd like to never see the option again. McGee, making his first career start in place of senior Reggie McNeal -- sidelined with an ankle injury in his final game -- ran 24 times for 108 yards and scored two touchdowns.

The kid from Burnet, Texas -- a hop, skip from Austin -- drove Texas wild.

"People said, 'Oh, he's just a freshman,'" Wright said. "I learned my lessons about rookies last year with Adrian Peterson. Freshmen don't care. They just let it loose. That kid let is loose. He played like McNeal played when he was a freshman."

Except he did something McNeal -- Texas A&M's all-time leading passer couldn't do this season -- he ran the option to near perfection.

"We kept running to the pitch," Texas safety Michael Huff said. "That's the main thing. Their quarterback was a lot faster than he was on film.'"

Huff was asked if Colorado quarterback Joel Klatt or USC quarterback Matt Leinart -- a potential opponent in the Rose Bowl -- would run some option.

"Do you think they have the quarterbacks to do it?" he said. "Maybe."

Never happen.

Texas defensive coordinator Gene Chizik said one other team tried to run the plays Texas A&M did on Friday against his unit -- Rice.

Well, Rice isn't Texas A&M.

"We didn't play well," Chizik said. "We were scrambling to adjust -- all day."

The Aggies racked up 395 yards of offense against the nation's sixth-ranked defense.

"That's a good offense," Texas coach Mack Brown told me as he walked off Kyle Field. "That's been a good offense all season."

Brown told his players similar things in a long postgame meeting.

"You're 11-0," defensive end Brian Robinson said Brown told his players.

Why did Brown remind them of that?

"Sometimes it's a downer when you don't blow 'em out," Robinson said. "Coach wanted us to know our defense may have had a bad game, but we're still a good team."

A team that likely won't face the option offense again this season.

"Good," Wright said. "That's just fine with me."



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?