Time to turn the page

DALLAS -- It was a mere six days ago that Texas coach Mack Brown insisted, with much conviction and vigor, he and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz were on the same page.

Well, then somebody might want to turn it, because everything on that page is redundant and ineffective. Not to mention Oklahoma already seems to have committed the entire chapter to memory.

Maybe that explains yet another blowout loss to the Sooners, this time 63-21 in front of 92,500 at the Cotton Bowl.

"It's unacceptable for Texas to lose like that to Oklahoma, much less anybody, especially two years in a row," Texas coach Mack Brown said.

Despite being somewhat commonplace, this blowout is not to be confused with the three other Red River Routs Oklahoma and Bob Stoops have inflicted upon Texas. There was 55-17 last season in which Texas scored one offensive touchdown in the last three minutes of the fourth.

There was 65-13 in 2003 when Texas' defense allowed 7.8 yards per play. And there is the always hard to forget 63-14 in 2000 -- a game that maybe should have been a harbinger of things to come for Texas fans.

But the halcyon days of 10 wins and a national title left all those south of the Red River, and plenty of other places too, awash in burnt orange. Embarrassments could be overlooked. And when Brown changed his staff and the timbre of his convictions, the prevalent thought was maybe, just maybe, he had changed too.

Ah, but the stripes they do remain. The one down the back of the Texas defense is dotted and white, not unlike those separating the lanes on I-35 to Dallas. Oklahoma had a 95-yard touchdown run, a 73-yard pass and catch that included the hurdling of Texas defender, Mykkele Thompson, while simultaneously dismissing another, Adrian Phillips.

"It seems like in these games our decision makers are thinking a step slow," Diaz said. "We've tried to make it very simple so our guys could play fast."

In fact, Diaz doesn't know how to dumb it down any more.

"We're as simple as we could be," he said. "For 90 percent of the game we have one way to play the run."

For 66 percent of the season -- or the last four games -- the Texas defense has been nothing but a skid mark on the highway that is the Big 12. Texas came into the Oklahoma game allowing 6.14 yards per play. That's the second worst per play average in school history. What's worse is Texas has never had a winning season when allowing more than 5.3 yards per play.

Oklahoma had 677 yards, the most ever against Texas, and averaged 7.5 yards per play.

Texas had 4.8 per play.

"We couldn't stop the run and when you can't stop the run it gets ugly, and that's the way it's been all season," Texas defensive end Alex Okafor said.

And the final stats, however tilted, do not even paint an accurate picture. Oklahoma had 314 yards through the first 20 minutes. Texas had 14.

That's when the game was won and lost.

Actually it might have been decided long before that. Say right around December 1998, when Stoops was hired at Oklahoma.

That day the state fair and all its rides and fried treats became the main attraction for Texas. And the game became secondary. After all, the fans have had more time to enjoy the midway with the Longhorns being done by halftime in four of the past 13 meetings.

This year felt different. Texas was pregnant with expectation. Brown had continually insisted the team was better. Younger but better. They were supposedly being held accountable. Diaz assured that the film showed good things.

Brown insisted after that Texas played some of its best defense.

"We did make some better plays on defense than we have in the past," he said. "Even though we did give up a 95-yard run and a long pass or two, we did seem to tackle a little bit better at times."

Still, these last two Texas games -- West Virginia and Oklahoma -- were poised to be watershed moments for a program attempting to right itself. Instead the Longhorns, who have lost nine in a row to ranked teams by an average of 17 points, are barely afloat.

That was before Oklahoma broadsided Texas, further exposing the defense and complete controlling an offense that was averaging 51 points per game.

Now the waters seem rougher than ever. High-flying Baylor and bruising and powerful Kansas State still remain.

The Longhorns had two first downs in the first half. Equally as bad was that the first three times Texas actually did cross into OU territory, it promptly turned the ball over on the next play.

"We were inept offensively," Brown said.

"We didn't do what we needed to do that is the entire offense," co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said. "That's coaches, players, we're all in this thing together and we've got to find a way to be more successful. We've got to find a way to put points on the board. That's our job. Our job is to score points."

Do that, and stop a few teams from scoring points, and then maybe Texas can turn the page.