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Gibbs faced several obstacles after being named coach in June 1989. The biggest was removing the taint on the program left by Switzer. The other was remaining a Top 20 team while being allowed to award only 18 scholarships in 1990.
After scrapping to a 7-4 finish in his first year, Gibbs and his staff set out to make the most of their allotment. One of their '90 scholarships, they hoped, would go to Gundy, then a senior at Midwest City High, in a suburb of Oklahoma City. Though Gundy wanted to be a Sooner, he had no interest in running the option. Gibbs assured Gundy that Oklahoma would be throwing more. Gundy had his doubts. "I knew he had to hire an offensive coordinator, so I waited to see who he hired," says Gundy. "If it was some guy from Air Force [a die-hard option team] or something, I had my answer."
Shortly before the signing date for recruits, Gibbs gave the job to Larry Coker, who had been the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, where his quarterback the previous four seasons had been Mike Gundy, Cale's older brother. Cale knew that Coker wasn't a wishbone fanatic. He signed with Oklahoma and became the starter seven games into last season.
Gundy has thrown for 1,638 yards. At his current rate, he will break Oklahoma's career passing record in his junior year. The mark belongs to Bob Warmack, who passed for 3,527 yards from 1966 to '68. Last Saturday, Gundy's first-quarter 24-yard touchdown pass to wideout Ted Long took a small bite out of Warmack's record but a big bite out of the Longhorns' confidence.
Indeed, Oklahoma would not have needed more than seven points were it not for Jacques' ramble. For the third time in four games, quarterback Peter Gardere, who led Texas to a 10-2 record and the Southwest Conference championship as a sophomore last season, was jittery and ineffective. Several theories for Gardere's woes have been set forth:
•Lasting psychological damage from last January's 46-3 rout at the hands of Miami in the Cotton Bowl game.
•The absence of last season's top receivers, Kerry and Keith Cash, Johnny Walker and Chris Samuels, all of whom were NFL draftees. "They made him look great for two seasons," says a Texas athletic department official. "Now that he's got average receivers, he's being exposed as an average quarterback."
•The pressure from boobirds. As Texas fans hooted during the Longhorns' home loss to Auburn on Sept. 21, Gardere tried to "set everything right on one play," says offensive coordinator Lynn Amedee, rather than do what he does best—move the chains with clock-eating, multi-play drives.
"There's nothing you can say to the kid," says Amedee. "He's not doing this on purpose." Last year Amedee could often be overheard screaming at Gardere. In the off-season Amedee was instructed by coach David McWilliams to tone it down.
Had the Longhorns had anyone equipped to replace Gardere last Saturday, he certainly would have been benched. Having been pressed into duty as a halfback, No. 2 signal-caller Jimmy Saxton left the game for good in the first half with an injury to his right shoulder. Third-teamer Chad Lucas had taken a single snap as a collegian.