Dave Campbell's Texas Football presents: The Texas Football Fan Survival Kit

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For football fans in the state of Texas, the offseason is already tough. When you factor in a global pandemic that has left nearly everyone homebound, this one could be particularly hard to endure. Everybody could use a football fix, and there doesn’t seem to be one coming anytime soon.

Never fear! Dave Campbell’s Texas Football is proud to unveil the official Texas Football Fan’s Survival Guide — everything you need to get through this offseason, especially if you’re stuck at home.

The Texas Football staff has put together seven different avenues for you to get your fix during the long, arduous offseason. With our help, you’ll be so immersed in football, you may even forget it’s not the season!

Relive Classic Games — by Greg Tepper

Maybe you’re the type of person who just can’t rewatch games — I get that. There’s a certain buzz you get from watching a game live, even if it’s a stinker. In fact, there are a fair number of people who would prefer to watch a terrible game as it happens than a replay of a great game.

But at this point, we’re getting a bit desperate, yeah? There’s basically no live sporting options outside of e-sports and marble racing, and so we’re left to live in the past. The good news: there are plenty of options when it comes to heart-stopping Texas football action of old.

So we collected as many as we could find on YouTube — 191 games and counting. There’s a ton here (and a ton I’m sure I’m missing — if you find one that needs to be added, let us know on Twitter!) and they’re sure to keep you busy. But if you’re looking for some suggestions on where to start, here are five recommendations:

Argyle vs. Fairfield — 2013 3A Division II State Championship

Still one of my all-time favorite Texas high school football games…Larry Rose III of Fairfield and Ian Sadler of Argyle just throwing haymakers at one another for two hours.

Kerrville Tivy vs. San Antonio Madison, 2010

Watch Johnny Manziel set a state record for attempts in a game (75) and light up a good Madison defense for 581 total yards and five touchdowns.

Texas A&M vs. LSU, 2018

Seven stinkin’ overtimes.

Texas vs. USC — 2005 BCS National Championship

Vince. Young. Scores.

Texas A&M-Commerce vs. West Florida — 2017 Division II National Championship

Luis Perez guides the Lions to the national title.

Refine Your X’s and O’s — by Shehan Jeyarajah

Watching football isn’t difficult. At its core, you just need to know that the goal is to get the ball into the painted area at the end of the field. When you get into the mechanics of how that all happens, though, things get interesting. 

For those of us who didn’t play football, there are a tremendous amount of resources to learn the finer details of scheme. Tons of resources on YouTube involve coaches from around the state and area. Tom Herman talks about his 2013 Ohio State offense. Bud Wilkinson explains the Wishbone offense. Dave Aranda breaks down rush packages at Wisconsin. Mike Leach talks about his “ninja formation.” Jimbo Fisher talks offensive philosophy. 

In addition, there are plenty of other breakdowns by independent analysts. This one, for example, breaks down how Mike Leach’s air raid offense works. This one is about Aranda’s “creepers” packages that are the next big thing in the NFL. This one explains how Stanford’s unbalanced running game works, which is used now at Rice by Mike Bloomgren. 

If you’re a reader, SB Nation’s Football Study Hall doesn’t publish anymore, but has a tremendous amount of content from the past few years. The main proprietor of that site, Ian Boyd, still publishes at his own website, and is heavy on Big 12 content. Chris B. Brown’s Smart Football also hasn’t been updated in a while, but has a giant backlog of resources. 

To be clear, you don’t know to really understand the ins and outs of this stuff to enjoy football. But if you want to really understand the schematics of football, now is the perfect time to do it.

Deep-Dive Into the 'Texas Football' Archives — by Matt Stepp

During this time of social distancing, we here at Dave Campbell’s Texas Football will be taking a look back at our history — and that means taking a deep dive into the DCTF archives!

If you didn’t know it, we have every one of our summer magazines — all the way back to 1960 — digitized and at your fingertips right now. DCTF Insiders can look through the history of our magazine with complete access to our archives.

Now the question is — what do you do with all of this information? Here's a guide on how to take on the archives and have a bit of fun. 

  1. If you played Texas high school football, see if you can find your name in the magazine — take a look at what Texas Football thought about your team heading into the season.
  2. Become a historian on your favorite team. Start in 1960 (or more recent, if your team didn’t start football until later) and read up on the year-by-year previews for your team. You’ll learn some great past names, and have a sense of the programs ups and downs through history.
  3. Check out old realignments — you won't believe some of the district alignments of the past.
  4. See how many current head coaches pictures or names you can find in the magazine. I make sure to Tweet them when I find them.
  5. Take a look at some of the of ads in the past magazines. It’ll bring back memories from your youth, and you’ll get an idea of how much times have changed as well.

Become a Recruiting Guru — by Greg Powers

There are no sports on TV. And your Netflix list is getting stale because you've watched every episode of "The Office," again.

Not every college football fan has a passion for following recruiting, but there's never been a better time to give it a shot.  The internet is full of highlights of your favorite team's future, and everyone has free access to take a look. 

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you discover recruiting and add a new level to your college football addiction. 

1. Find your favorite team's commitments

If you are a fan of a Texas FBS school, check out our recruiting rankings and search your favorite team (like Texas Longhorns or UTSA Roadrunners) to find the commitments in a given cycle. If you're a fan of a team outside of Texas, Google is your friend — make sure you search for a "commit list."

2. Start watching highlights and browsing profiles

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Do you agree or disagree with the prospect's expert ranking based on what you've seen on the tape? 

3. Make your own personal ranking

Who are your top five favorite incoming recruits, and why?

4. Check out your rivals

You should not stop with your favorite team. Be sure to check out your top competition's list to see if it landed any players you should be worried about. 

Revisit 'Texas Football’s' Greatest Hits — by Ashley Pickle

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football is devoted to bringing you full coverage of high school and college football from all across the Lone Star State. With all of this time on your hands, what better time than now to take a look back at some of DCTF’s Greatest Hits!


THE TXHSFB BUCKET LIST: 12 Texas high school football stadiums you must see!

The Dave Campbell's Texas Football staff picks out a dozen must-see Texas high school football stadiums, including El Paso's Jones Stadium, San Saba's Rogan Field, Cy-Fair's FCU Stadium, Allen's Eagle Stadium and San Antonio's Alamo Stadium.

Why small-school Texas high school football is so special

Class 6A and 5A are obviously sensational, but do yourself a favor, writes Greg Tepper: don't miss out on the fun of small-school Texas high school football.

Dust to Dust: The remarkable true story of the Marathon Mustangs, Texas high school football's lost dynasty

In a part of the Lone Star State that many people would consider to be comprised of nothing but ghost towns, the town of Marathon is very much alive. A large reason for that, Texas high school football’s lost dynasty, the Marathon Mustangs.

RANKED: The 10 Best Texas High School Football Programs Without A Championship

Dave Campbell's Texas Football takes a look at the ten best Texas high school football programs that haven't been able to win the big one.


Inside SMU's campaign to become Dallas' college football team

When Sonny Dykes arrived at SMU, he quickly realized that there was a disconnect between the university and many of the surrounding areas. Here's how the university went all-in on trying to pull college football fans from all over the Metroplex.

'They are the standard': How Baylor coach Matt Rhule won over Texas high school coaches

Matt Rhule arrived in Texas two short years ago as a carpetbagger from Philadelphia swooping in and stealing one of the state's premiere jobs. Now, Rhule trails only the 20-year Texan vet Gary Patterson among the most trusted coaches in the state. How did that happen??

How Matt Wells and Texas Tech became a perfect fit

Texas Tech athletic director heard of Matt Wells for the first time in 2013, and the story involves Lane Kiffin, nearly getting blasted by a Mountain West team.

Why UTEP football will never, ever forget Luke Laufenberg

Why did former UTEP and Texas A&M tight end Luke Laufenberg want to play football so desperately? Why did he play in a bowl game while cancer took over his bones, and fight all the way back to earn a coveted Division I scholarship, and practice against elite athletes while cancer spread again? I spent a month trying to answer that question.

The Texas Kid: How QB Sam Ehlinger tuned out the haters and became a rising star

All eyes have been on Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger since his days at Westlake High School. When you're the quarterback at the University of Texas, people are going to talk about you. The hometown kid is prepping to take his Longhorns back to the top.

How faith, community and Aaron Jones brought Deion Hankins home

To find the future of UTEP football, you have to drive Northeast up Highway 54, past the Biggs Army Airfield and into the shadow of the Franklin Mountains. Deion Hankins is the pride of Northeast El Paso, and one of the best players ever from the city. And now, he's staying home to try and change his community.

The Kobe Generation: How Kobe Bryant inspired a wave of Texas football stars

Thousands of babies were named after Kobe Bryant between 2000 and 2002, as Bryant became an NBA superstar. Twenty years later, the new generation of Kobes are starting to take over college athletics.


Playing with Passion: What Texas High School Football Means to the Rio Grande Valley

Passion for Texas High School Football runs deep across the state. When you head south to the Rio Grande Valley, TXHSFB really is so much more than just a game.

MUST WATCH: The "Cheeseburger" Story

We caught up with Blooming Grove head coach Ervin “Cheeseburger” Chandler to ask him the only question on everyone's mind, "How did you get the nickname 'Cheeseburger?'"

How Texas High School Football Works: 2020 UIL Realignment

Still don’t quite understand how the structure of Texas high school football works. Don’t worry:  this video will break down everything from classifications to individual districts!

Tepper's Video Diary from the State 7-on-7 Championships

Wishing 7-on-7 was back in action already? Relive the 2019 7-on-7 Texas state championships in College Station from Tepper’s perspective!

North Shore 41, Duncanville 36: 2018 6A DI Texas high school football championship recap

One of the greatest endings to a Texas high school football state championship game came in 2018 as Galena Park North Shore claimed their victory on a last second Hail Mary. Matt Stepp and Max Thompson’s instant reaction was just as exciting!

A Special Bond: The story of Coach David Gilpin and his star quarterback son, Landry

In 2018, Mission Veterans Memorial showed the entire state of Texas what Rio Grande Valley football is all about by making a historic playoff run into the 4th round. While the success of that season will always be special for coach David Gilpin, having his son as the team's star quarterback was a feeling he will never forget.

Goodbye to the 2018 Texas High School Football Season

Revisit this unbelievable tribute to the 2018 state championships.

DCTF Films presents: The Blood That Makes the Grass Grow

In the summer of 2016, Dave Campbell's Texas Football set out with cameras to tell the stories of football towns across the Lone Star state. We started in Farmersville when we heard about Eli Shinn, a football player who more than carries his weight for his teammates and his family, despite a family tragedy.

Two Minute Drill: Longview head coach John King

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Insider Matt Stepp took the time to ask Longview head coach John King the hard-hitting questions we know you all wanted answers to. From advice to athletes wanting to pursue a career in coaching to his preference on cake or pie, don’t let this one slip by you.

Field Vision: The Trevor King Story

Take a look back at Northside High School, just outside Vernon, there's a player who took the field this year for the Indians with a pretty remarkable story. Trevor King is what Texas high school football is all about.


Catch Up on Some Football Reading — by William Wilkerson

Sometimes, the best thing you can do when you're stuck at home is to unplug. There are dozens of outstanding books on the subject of football — here are a few of our recommendations

Friday Night Lights", by Buzz Bissinger

This book needs no introduction across the state; Bissinger chronicles a season in the life of Odessa Permian’s football program. It has larger-than-life personalities, heartbreak, triumph, and a familiarity that anyone who has ever played Texas high school football can relate to in one way or another.

“Thursday Night Lights: The Story of Black High School Football in Texas”, by Michael Hurd

An inspiring story of how African-American Texas high school football players produced championships during the Jim Crow era.

“The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football", by S.C. Gwynne

The incredible story of how two unknown coaches revolutionized American football at every level, from high school to the NFL.

“Twelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas Football", by Jim Dent

One of the best sports books ever written, Jim Dent portrays the story of the Masonic Home Mighty Mites, a group of orphans bound together by hardship and death. Though small in stature, their larger-than-life determination resulted in something few thought was possible: Winning at the highest level of Texas football.

“Football and Integration in Plano, Texas: Stay in There, Wildcats!", by Billy Ray Smith

The year was 1964 and Congress had just passed the 24th Amendment. That same year, the Plano school district integrated and came together through a medium familiar with everyone: football. Though not a winning program at the time, the Wildcats stuck together and won state in 1965.

“Coach of the Century, an Autobiography”, by John Carver and Gordon Wood

An autobiography of perhaps the greatest Texas high school football coach of all-time. He never played a down of football in high school. Can you believe that?

“Rude Behavior", by Dan Jenkins

A classic by the late, great Dan Jenkins. This marks the return of infamous Jenkins character, Billy Clyde Puckett, who is trying to win a new NFL franchise, the West Texas Tornadoes. If you’re looking for a laugh, this is the one for you.

Stream the Best Football Movies — by Ishmael Johnson

Of course, you can always sit down and watch a movie to get your football fix. Our resident film expert Ishmael Johnson lays down which ones you should watch...and which ones you shouldn't.

Movies to Avoid

Rudy (1993)
As a Notre Dame fan, Rudy is bad. Imagine Rocky without anything compelling and with a vastly weaker payoff, that’s Rudy.

Draft Day (2014)
You want to see a movie that nails absolutely nothing about the draft process? Watch Draft Day.

Concussion (2015)
A terrible movie about a compelling real-life subject that Will Smith TOTALLY thought he was going to be win an Oscar for.

Now on to the ones you want. I’m not going to list every watchable football movie in existence, just a few of mine that I think would be entertaining views if you’re in need of a fix.

Movies to Watch

Little Giants (1994)
Where: Any streaming rental service
Duwayne Dunham is the king of family content and Little Giants is the best cheesy kids football movie that I think still holds up. Warning for Cowboy fans who haven’t seen it, it does involve the Cowboys as the villains of the movie so watch with covered eyes if you’re sensitive. Becky “The Icebox” O’Shea for life.

Friday Night Lights (2004)
Where: Any streaming rental service
This one’s obvious and stop saying the show is better, you’re wrong. In my opinion the best football movie ever made from a realistic interpretation of not only the sport itself but the Texan high school football landscape. The only nitpicks I have for this are one that only us diehards would notice. But it may be part of the fun to try and find the inaccuracies yourself.

Remember the Titans (2000)
Where: Disney+ or any streaming rental service
For a long time, this was the gold standard of football movies when it was released. A dramatized, but still very entertaining and family-friendly, portrayal of the integration of T.C. Williams High School in Virginia in the 70s. It might be worth revisiting for many of you after head coach Herman Boone, portrayed by Denzel Washington in the movie, passed away in 2019 at the age of 84.

Any Given Sunday (1999)
Where: Netflix, any streaming rental service
Another “gold standard” football movie, but for the more brutal side of the sport. A movie that’s about a veteran coach learning to adjust, a high-risk personality emerging star player and a great depiction of fractured team dynamics in professional sports. I don’t think any movie has captured the frenetic and unforgiving nature of the game than this one. Also…that cast?! Aaron Eckhart is LAST on the front page of this movie’s IMDB!

The Replacements (2000)
Where: Any streaming rental service
Not for realism at all but pure entertainment. In summary, a better professional football version of Necessary Roughness, where average joes take over a football team coached by Gene Hackman. That’s all you should need to sell you on it, if you haven’t seen it by now. Shane Falco, greatest fictional QB of all-time.

The Waterboy (1998)
Where: Free on Vudu, any streaming rental service
Yep, we’re throwing this one in here too! Hilarious prime Adam Sandler, equally hilarious Kathy Bathes running wild and football scenes that are surprisingly good outside of a few ridiculous moments that still go well in line with the tone of the movie.

The U Pt. I (2009)
Where: ESPN+, Amazon Prime
When ESPN’s 30 for 30 series was off to a roaring start, The U perfectly encapsulated what was perhaps the biggest culture shock to college football in recent memory in Miami Hurricanes football and the unapologetic black culture of Dade County, Florida in the late 80s through the 1990s.

This Was The XFL (2016)
Where: ESPN+, Amazon Prime
Were you a fan of the XFL this past season? Well, it’s a good time to look back on what the league learned from after its first iteration in the early 2000s. A wild story about a league that for all of the jokes, provided a lot of modern ideas for how we consume the sport today.

Pony Excess (2010)
Where: ESPN+, Amazon Prime
There’s a big reason why SMU’s 2019 football season was a big deal. Pony Excess perfectly follows the story of SMU’s demise in the 80s due to an out of control football program completely taken over by boosters and payroll in the middle of a competitive Dallas media market hungry for scoops.

The Best That Never Was (2010)
Where: ESPN+, Amazon Prime
For our purposes, it’s hard to not talk about a highly touted high school prospect that was never able to live up to his expectations due to a variety of reasons. For many 40 and under, Marcus Dupree isn’t a name that’s widely known. His story of going from the most sought-after prospect to a free agent out of shape player just working to play a single down in the NFL is one of the more compelling stories. And unfortunately it’s one that’s perhaps too familiar for a lot of people.

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