December 12, 2009

2009 Football Banquet Highlights


Lan Hewlett Academic Award:
Adam Ulatoski

Coca-Cola Community Service Award: Emmanuel Acho, Sam Acho, Tray Allen, John Gold, Lamarr Houston, Colt McCoy, Adam Ulatoski

Frank Medina Rehabilitation Award sponsored by UnitedHealthcare: Eddie Jones

Dr. Nasser Al-Rashid Strength & Conditioning Award: Lamarr Houston, Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley, Charlie Tanner


D.X. Bible Most Team Spirited (Offense):
Chris Hall

Clyde Littlefield Most Team Spirited (Defense): Lamarr Houston, Sam Acho

Joseph W. Moore Tenacity Award for Defense: Lamarr Houston, Sergio Kindle, Roddrick Muckelroy

D. Harold Byrd Tenacity Award for Offense: Adam Ulatoski

Frank Denius Most Valuable Special Teams Player: Hunter Lawrence, Curtis Brown, Aaron Smith

Mike Campbell Most Valuable Defensive Player: Sergio Kindle

Darrell K Royal Most Valuable Offensive Player: Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley

George "Hook" McCullough MVP: Colt McCoy

Roy Williams Joe Jamail Leadership Award: 2009 Senior Class

Team Captains Award: Lamarr Houston, Sergio Kindle, Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley

In his speech, [db]Mack Brown[/db] said his only concern about this year's team coming into the season was leadership. He said he saw the 2009 team begin to form its resolve in the locker room in Lubbock after last season's last-second loss to Tech.

"They went through spring practice understanding they were expected to play in the final game of the year, which is a very difficult thing to do. When the expectations are so high, you have absolutely no room for error.

"It's a very, very hard thing to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Starting in the spring and in the summer, this bunch took ownership of their team.

"It's been an easier year for our coaches because these seniors took ownership, and they started disciplining the team. They started encouraging each other and calling each other out.

"The best teams are the ones that have ownership from within, and that's what they've done. They've stepped up and met every standard. It started with the saying, "We Are Texas."

"We wore that on our wrist until the Oklahoma game. It was really interesting at Oklahoma, we divide the season up in different segments. And We Are Texas. And we didn't want to sit and talk about the BCS or the conference tiebreaker rule. We wanted to be Texas, enjoy the experience and make sure we controlled our own destiny.

"That's what these seniors and these young guys wanted to do. Along the way, there's a Hall of Famer, Mean Joe Greene. He's about 6-4 and those of us in my age group remember the commercial when he gives his jersey to the little kid. I said, 'Mean Joe.' He said, 'My name's Joe. I don't like to be called Mean Joe.' So I said, 'Yes, sir. You're Mr. Joe. I'm not going to call you Mean Joe if you don't want to be called Mean Joe.'

"So we asked him, 'Why did you win four Super Bowls? That's really hard to do.' And he said, 'Because we were all in. We didn't have the greatest players, but everyone committed to being all in.' And it made me think back to the day I took the job here, and Coach Royal told me, 'The University of Texas is a very powerful place if everyone comes together and has the power of one.' He said, 'Right now it's like a box of beebies that has fallen scattered across the room.'

"He said, 'You all's job is to get all the beebies back in the box.' And that's what these guys did. They pulled together as one and put all the beebies back in the box. And it leads us to our next little arm band, which was, 'Find a way to win.' We've played great defense most of the time. We've played great offense most of the time. We've been great in the kicking game most of the time. When one of those didn't have its best days, someone else found a way to win.

"They always found a way to win. And never one time did the players point a finger at the other segments of the team and say, 'You're not doing your job, pick it up. Because they were all in, because we are Texas and because they found a way to win.

"A young man named Cory Bonner broke his neck. He's a sophomore at DeSoto High School. He came and ate dinner with us before the Oklahoma game. And he said, 'I'm going to find a way to get out of this wheelchair. And I want the message to this team to be, find a way to win all the games.' And it was very inspirational.

"And then all of a sudden you've got guys calling you on a Sunday morning, like Lamarr Houston, saying, 'Can we do something for breast cancer awareness? Because it touches all of our lives.' We asked the guys, 'Are you into this?' And DeLoss (Dodds) and Bill (Powers) are wonderful. They know we don't stand out for certain charities and not for others because there's too many great causes out there.

"But because these seniors wanted to reach out to their families and friends and dedicate a game to someone who has cancer and reach out to them and make it better, I thank Bill and DeLoss, because that's what these kids did.

"The other day, we're getting ready to play Nebraska, getting ready to win a Big 12 championship, which this bunch had not been a part of and their biggest concern on Thursday is a group called Amber's Angels. Amber is a little girl who had to have her lungs replaced. They were worried about her because she had raised money to provide Christmas gifts to less fortunate kids.

"She was in the hospital and couldn't do it. So the guys are raising money within the team, within the athletic department and all of our student-athletes across the board, to make sure kids who can't afford great gifts have a chance to receive some Christmas gifts.

"And that's what this team is about. They get it. We're at the end of the year and we have to finish right. And I don't wear chains. But he came up with Texas Swagger. So the last six weeks I've been wearing a chain around my neck. Texas Swagger. And I'm going to tell you these guys walked into every stadium - home, away and conference championship - with a Texas swagger you can be proud of and put themselves in a position to win 13 ballgames, and I don't think any of us can imagine how hard that is to do. And they did it.

"And in closing, Coach Muschamp's brother went to West Point with a young man named Lt. Col. Greg Gadson. He came to the Baylor game and to the championship game the other night and he'll be with us in L.A. But his saying to the team was, 'None of us can control the circumstances that are presented to us. Our deal is to handle them and move forward.'
"He said, 'If you think I would like to have my legs back, yes I would. But I don't have that opportunity. I lost my legs fighting for our country, and what I've got to do is make this work instead of laying around feeling sorry for myself.'

"So he walks around using a prosthesis and it's really hard, but the guys are really proud of him. And I said, 'Why do you wear shorts?' and he said 'Because this is who I am. I want everyone to understand that I'm a guy without legs and I'm OK. I'm making it.'

"And these guys responded. When you think about our next month, we all have a fun month ahead of us. These 122 student athletes who happen to play football are giving us the ride of a lifetime. They are giving us an opportunity to watch, coach, be involved with the last game of the year for a three and a half our period that states who is the best team in college football for that year.

"There's only one, and that opportunity doesn't happen very often. And this window is something we are going to work really, really hard to take advantage of. It's obvious we are the underdog. Our guys play that role pretty good. They don't like to be challenged.

"And in thinking about tonight as we get through. And this is my 26th or 27th senior class. I used to get really sad at this time, but this isn't their end. This is their beginning. After Jan. 7, they restart another phase of their life, which is so much fun. And their parents re-start another phase of their life.

"After Jan. 7, these juniors sitting out there sit up here in 365 days, so it's a different phase of their lives. The freshmen step up. Jordan Shipley said the train keeps rolling. Others have to step up. You can't get complacent. Complacency kills.

"And usually at the height of something is when people go bankrupt. They feel so good about themselves that they can't keep working and can't keep competing. We had a young minister who gave a talk to the team. His name is Ricky Rush. He kept saying there's always one more thing to do, one more thing to accomplish and then when you get that done, there's one more, one more and one more.

"That is so true in all of our lives. A lot has been made of the one second left in our game the other night. I thought it was very fitting that this team, who lost with one second left last year, because ABC asked us to wait until the end of that game to win that we would be so good and so gracious to finish this season right with one second left to help the ratings. It's hard to do.

"We appreciate and love these seniors so much. We have great fans. We sold out this banquet faster than at any other time. We promise you our staff and our players will do everything in our power to get you one more. Thank you."

--DeLoss Dodds apologized to Texas fans at the banquet for such a small allotment of tickets to the BCS title game (Texas got only 19,000 tix).

--Gov. Rick Perry spoke at the banquet and talked about Texas spirit, yelled "Hook 'Em" and vowed "another" national championship for Texas.

--The "senior class" was named winner of the "Roy Williams Joe Jamail Leadership Award." (Because nothing says leadership like Roy Williams ...)

--Jordan Shipley clarified in his speech on behalf of the seniors that in spite of his 13 yrs at UT Adam Ulatoski is oldest player on team.

--Bob Rowling, CEO of TRT Holdings, the keynote speaker at UT fball banquet said, "We all read" (always appreciate the plug.)

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