Third 11 a.m. gametime to be the charm for Texas?


Elisabeth Dillon

Quandre Diggs (6) and Adrian Phillips (17) lay out an Oklahoma receiver after a play in the Longhorns' 63-21 loss to the Sooners.

Christian Corona

Here’s to hoping that there aren’t too many Longhorns football players with 8 a.m. classes this semester. Because there doesn’t seem to be many morning people on this year’s squad.

Twice the Longhorns have laid eggs during games that began at 11 a.m. The first, of course, was the 63-21 shellacking the Sooners handed Texas at the Cotton Bowl last month. The second came when the Longhorns trailed last-place Kansas for most of a 21-17 victory in Lawrence a couple of weekends ago.

Texas is three points against West Virginia away from being 6-0 in games that don’t kickoff in the morning.

But the Longhorns need to buck that concerning trend when they take on Iowa State at home beginning at 11 a.m. this Saturday.

“We didn’t play well in the first 11 [a.m. game], some of us played well in the second 11 [a.m. game], maybe we’ll all play well in the third 11 [a.m. game],” head coach Mack Brown said. “We’re not a normally early crowd for an 11 o’clock game. And we need to be. That’s something that needs to help us this week.”

Ken Rucker, the director of high school relations and player development, along with strength and conditioning coach Bennie Wylie are constantly texting players this week, reminding them that they’ll need to wake up early Saturday morning. The wake-up call that day is set for 6:30 a.m.

“They’re letting us know every day,” junior guard Mason Walters said. “Sometimes I’ll wake up to one or sleep through one. Towards the end of the week, they’ll be texting us saying ‘Rise and shine!’ or whatever and getting us ready for the game. We understand the process. It’s just not something we’re used to.”

No one likes getting up early. But it’s something that Walters and his teammates better get used to in time for this weekend’s game against Iowa State.

Texas can’t afford to turn in another disappointing 11 a.m. performance. The Longhorns are 7-2 and coming off their best-played game of the year. The good news for them is that Saturday will mark the first 11 a.m. game of the year Texas plays at home. The last two early games were on the road (Kansas) and a neutral site (Oklahoma).

The Cyclones aren’t among the best teams in the Big 12. But they weren’t in 2010, either. And they came into Austin and knocked off the heavily favored Longhorns, 28-21.

Texas was coming off a big 20-13 triumph over No. 6 Nebraska in Lincoln — its last win over a ranked team before last Saturday’s victory over No. 20 Texas Tech in Lubbock. But the Longhorns were upset by a 3-4 Iowa State team the following week.

When did that game start? 11 a.m.

“It’s always difficult to get up and get ready to play but it’s something you have to do,” junior cornerback Carrington Byndom said. “We’re not always going to have late games so we need to do what we need to get ready and motivated by 11 o’clock.”

If they don’t, the Cyclones — 5-4 coming into Saturday’s contest — will pull off another upset.

Printed on Friday, November 9, 2012 as: Earlier kickoff times cause Texas trouble