It is not without irony that, on a weekend when concerns seemed to be abound about the 2004 Longhorns' passing game, perhaps the best running team in college football history held its 35th reunion.
And James Street, who quarterbacked that 1969 Texas team to an unbeaten season and National Championship, isn't near as worried about the Longhorns' passing game as some folks.
"It goes back to Vince Lombardi and beyond," Street said. "We believed in our offensive line, and in our running game. People talk about eight or nine people 'in the box.' There were games where every player on the defense was within five yards of the line of scrimmage. They knew we were going to run. And so did we."
Street mixed in the occasional pass, including two critical ones against Arkansas and Notre Dame, but it was the dominant running game that made Texas football what it was. And what it was, was an offense which threw few passes and once had every back rush for over 100 yards in the same game.
"You have to control the ball," Street said. "I loved it when we took over the game Saturday on that last drive with Cedric (Benson)." Benson rushed for 59 yards on eight carries, including the final six plays of an 11-play, 71-yard scoring drive that put UT 28-14 with 12:52 remaining in the game.
When the members of the 1969 team gathered in reunion on Friday night, All-American offensive tackle Bob McKay had echoed Street's observations.
"We were coming after people," he said. "It didn't matter whether we played a 10 game season, an 11 game season or a 12 game season. We were coming after them, and we were not going to lose."
What Texas did Saturday against Missouri was do what it had to do to win. It combined its exciting take-away defense and a great kicking game with an offense led by the power running of one of the best backs in school history who happens to be the nation's leading rusher. Benson scored two rushing TDs, matching the total Missouri had allowed through five games previously, as the Horns put 28 points on the board, to the pre-season favorite to win the North Division of the Big 12s 20.
With their 36th home win out of the 39 games in the Mack Brown era, the Longhorns continued some amazing numbers. In Big 12 Conference games, Texas has lost only one home league game, including 18 straight victories, in Brown's seven years at Texas.
At 5-1, Texas is in the middle of a transition year that has re-defined the expression "work in progress."
Defensively, it has played with an attitude of fiercely defending its goal line. It was the late Mike Campbell, who was Darrell Royal's defensive guru during the glory years of the 1960s and 1970s, who was the biggest advocate of the "bend but don't break" philosophy of defensive football.
Offensively, it is in the process of undergoing the biggest change since Brown came to Texas after the 4-7 season of 1997.
Following last year's Oklahoma game, Brown directed Greg Davis to rebuild the offense. When the staff had come in 1998, the offense was predicated on the running of Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams. Mixed with that was an older-than-his-years redshirt freshman quarterback named Major Applewhite and two veteran receivers in Wane McGarity and Kwame Cavil.
As the years evolved, future NFL players Chris Simms and receivers Roy Williams, B. J. Johnson and Sloan Thomas helped turn Texas into a pass-first team.
In the college game, you don't have the luxury of trading players. You recruit the best talent you can get, and you have to build your team based on those abilities. That's why, with Simms and his receivers, Texas developed one of the best passing games in the country.
What Mack Brown wants more than anything is a "balanced" attack, but that doesn't necessarily mean the success of either the run or the pass must be equal in every game. That's why great players are excited about coming to play for him. Successful coaches take what guys do best, and use it to win.
Some seasons, such as this one, that may mean that a great running game will be used much more than an inexperienced passing game.
On its 11 play, 71 yard drive that gave the 'Horns a 28-14 lead Saturday, Texas threw two passes and completed them both. In the end, Missouri completed 12 more passes than Texas, but with 193 rushing yards the Longhorns out-rushed the Tigers, who entered the game allowing just 98 rushing yards per game.
What is exceedingly important here is for the players who make up the Longhorn passing game not to get down on themselves. When you have talented young players who have had success at one level and they aren't having at another, one of the issues they generally face is trying too hard.
When that happens, we all face a common problem: we try to prove who we are, instead of just being who we are.
What was important Saturday was not that the passing game struggled. What was important was that Texas won. The Longhorns had the 28 and Missouri had the 20. They did it with defense and a kicking game that resurfaced the all important factor of field position in the Texas football arsenal. In the first quarter, when the Longhorns scored half of their points, Missouri averaged starting at its own 14 yard line. For the game, the Tigers averaged starting at their own 28.
That kind of effort will be important Saturday when the Longhorns head to Lubbock to play the nation's leading aerial attack in Texas Tech It will be critical to not only give the Raiders a long field, it will be important to, as James Street said, "control the ball."
Sometimes, too much analysis can make something pretty simple seem complicated. A passing game, just like a running game, is a coordination of everything from the line to the backs to the receivers to the quarterbacks. In practice, it has worked smoothly for Texas. There, it is not about throwing motion, routes run or protections.
It has been about the simplest of maneuvers, one that you learn when you are a kid. Throw the ball from you to him. Folks always said of the late Bobby Layne, arguably the best quarterback in UT history, "Layne's passes always wobbled - but they got there." Bernie Kosar has thrown sidearm since his days at Miami and had a long, prosperous career in the NFL.
At the end of the movie, Camelot, a little boy is sent with a message that will define an era, and the final words from King Arthur to him are "run boy, run."
Throughout Texas football history, the very best teams always have.