I don't know when it officially went away during the last eight years, but it feels like it's been a while since fans of the burnt orange persuasion had their mojo. Confidence. Dare I say, swag. Once upon a time about a decade ago, Orangebloods everywhere had it. The football program was a top-10 fixture, the basketball program seemed to be a rising giant and the baseball program was ... well ... it was Texas Baseball. No matter the situation, Texas fans always believed. I'll never forget being in the Rose Bowl in January of 2010 when Garrett Gilbert jogged onto the field in the fourth quarter with a chance to take Texas to glory with one more second-half scoring drive. There was zero fear among Texas fans in that moment. Everyone in my section could feel victory slipping into their hands. It was the same kind of feeling that existed when Vince Young got the ball back in the final two minutes against USC four seasons earlier. There just wasn't any doubt. Everything was possible. Texas would win. The same thing existed in baseball. It didn't matter how many runs Texas might trail by in the ninth inning, you just expected that Texas was about to flip the hat backwards and go over the top. Yet, the last eight years have been haaaaarrrrrd. All of that moxie is mostly gone and you can feel it in every game these days, regardless of the sport, both on the message boards and in the arena. The emotions of this fan base have been battered so often that now it feels like the worst is always anticipated and it doesn't matter which sport it is. All it takes is a match to be lit and someone is screaming "Fiiiiiirrrrre" in a crowded theater ... and the riots heading for the exits begin in swift fashion. Call me crazy, but just as I always believed the players bounced with the same air of confidence as their fans, the same is true in the other direction and overcoming negative thinking and expectations is something that all of the big three of the Big Three sports are currently trying to fight through. Tom Herman has talked about trying to force his guys to believe they can win. Just last week, Mo Bamba jumped into the face of Matt Coleman because he believed he was hanging his head. It mattered on Saturday when a sold out Erwin Center responded with conviction when the Longhorns started to make their comeback in the second half. It felt like both sides were trying to will each other to the place they reached in those key moments, so much so that I'm guessing Tom Herman (who was in the building) and Shaka Smart would have given a lot to be able to bottle it up for future moments of need. Winning the mental side of all of this discussion within these major men's programs is paramount to future success. All of this brings me back to many of you reading this column right now. I'm not telling you that you don't have a right to be pissed at any number of things you've witnessed in these last eight years across the board. I'm not telling you to fake your emotions. It's not like you can stop being fans, which is short for fanatics. What I am telling everyone is that this anxiety disorder that exists inside of Texas athletics isn't healthy and perhaps everyone should consider that some of the nastiness and negativity that often prevails out of instinct serves no one well. Ultimately, I'm quite sure that this isn't a chicken or egg situation because the vibe won't change until winning occurs, and probably not a second before. It's rare that an air of confidence arrives overnight. In the meantime, I'm calling it out so that we can acknowledge all of this in the open, while acknowledging that eating your own (or even eating your own arm) is counter-productive to what this place is in dire need of. Ok, everyone ... group-hug time. No. 2 – And down the stretch they come ... [/I] Get ready for a fun last 60 hours or so in the 2018 recruiting year. Let's start with the commitment on Sunday of Yoakum wide receiver Joshua Moore. When my first set of rankings for the Class of 2018 (link to discussion here), this is what I said of Moore: "Recent Texas offer Josh Moore is a certified bad ass."| Nothing has changed almost two years later ... I still believe he's a certified bad-ass, worthy of national top 75-150-type status. In a class that will feature some potential deadly wide receiver prospects, Moore might just end up being the best of the best. Huge addition. Meanwhile, let's take a look at what's left on the board and where I think things are headed on Wednesday. RB Keaontay Ingram - Texas (Relax.) WR Lawrence Keys - Notre Dame (Moore is the receiver this class will finish with) WR Jaylen Waddle - Texas A&M (The centerpiece of Jimbo's first class.) OL Christian Jones – Texas (I refuse to believe that Texas will lose an in-state kid to Cal.) DE Vernon Jackson - Texas A&M (Last visit mojo for the Aggies on a kid that is probably pretty comfortable in an East Texas locale.) DE Joseph Ossai - Texas (Mark it, Donny.) DT Keondre Coburn - Texas (Relax.) DT Moro Ojomo - Texas (Just a hunch.) LB Andrew Parker - Texas (His interview with Suchomel checked all of the boxes. Tommy Bush is the one kid that I'm not sure about. I'm not sure what to think about him, but the smart money is that he goes elsewhere. No. 3 – The elephant in the room ... Tom Herman's press conference on Wednesday is going to be much-watch theater. The Texas head coach hasn't talked with the media since the bowl game or the Herb Hand hire. Inquiring minds are going to want to know what the hell his vision is for the offense and his arranging of his staff. Is he calling plays? Does he expect any more staff changes? Is the only change that is taking place is that Hand will help Tim Beck with game-calling from the booth, but Beck will still generally be in charge of the offense? How much confidence does he have in Derek Warehime after viewing his area as the most in need of help and then kicking him out to tight ends? Honestly, the list of questions that might be asked is quite long. I'm curious ... if you could ask Tom Herman one question, and one question only, what would you ask him? My question? "Tom, can you please discuss what you believe the addition of Herb Hand will bring to the offense, especially on game days, and can you discuss the overall state of your offensive coaching staff and the hierarchy within. Please feel free to include what role you believe you'll play as well." No. 4 – Looking good, Billy Ray! Feeling good, Louis … Top #Longhorns target Calvin Anderson (@THE_CONDA25) enjoying the #Hookem hoops game. The graduate OL transfer is one of the country’s most sought-after players. pic.twitter.com/0TDRS63oe2— Jason Suchomel (@OB_JasonS) February 4, 2018 In my view, there's no way this kid isn't playing for Texas. No offense to Michigan or anyone else, but this one just feels like Texas all the way. No. 5 - Story time with Uncle Ketch ... I tried this once before in this column, but it didn't seem to gain any traction as far as I could tell as a popular element within the column, so I ditched it. However, my best stories of the past always seem to be a hit in podcast or discussion form. So, for the next month, I'm going to dip into the memory-bag and give you guys a favorite story of mine each week in this column. If it's popular, I'll keep doing it throughout the off-season. I will protect the innocent when I feel like they might want to be corrected, such as this particular story. Many of you will remember the infamous Albert Hollis/DJ Williams official visit weekend back in December of 1999. I'll probably tell quite a few stories from this weekend in the future because there are a million stories that became of it, but I want to focus on what happened at the very end of the night. Let me paint the scene ... As far as wild nights, this one ranks up there. At this point in the evening, Williams and Hollis were lost by themselves downtown, unable to locate their hotel. It had been an hour since most of the bars had closed, but the dancing at one particular club had continued until I finally hung up my cleats and left at around 3 a.m. I was walking with another reporter, who was in town for the weekend, when we came across a young Texas football player in the middle of the street. This particular player had been known in high school as a very, very religious person, the kind of kid that goes bowling on his official visit. Yet, in this moment he was shirtless and had seemingly enjoyed too many Shirley Temples. No one was with him ... it was just him in the street kind of muttering to himself. Then ... out of nowhere, he turns his attention to a policeman riding his horse. "I'll block any mo********er in the country!" he screams in the direction of the horse. The horse didn't move. The cop said nothing. The young player then turned in a different direction and walked off and I just stood there with my friend in wonderment. After all these years, it's still the funniest thing I've ever witnessed in a lifetime of going downtown in Austin. The end. No. 6 – UT Hoops ... Horns Up 🤘 pic.twitter.com/sUW7RtBa8b— Texas Basketball 🤘 (@TexasMBB) February 4, 2018 Just three quick thoughts on a massive win over the Sooners on Saturday: a. Good for this group of guys. It deserved to have a moment of pure exhilaration after everything the team has been through and it was awesome to see all of those young guys feed off of the energy in the Erwin Center. Like I said, you'd bottle all of that up if you could. b. I can't believe the people that were piling on Matt Coleman earlier in the week. Missed free throws and fouling out in Lubbock be damned, this kid is evolving into the kind of player that will be a first-team all-Big 12 player in a year or two. As far as I'm concerned, he is absolutely living up to the expectations placed on him and he's doing it all while growing up in the grind of a brutal Big 12. Freshmen are gonna freshmen on occasion, but if you can't see this rose blooming in front of all of us, you either don't want to see or you just can't. It's happening. c. Texas can't enjoy the OU win for too long because all it did last week was hold serve in its quest to finish this season where it needs to. A very dangerous Kansas State team comes to town on Wednesday and a trip to Fort Worth awaits on the weekend. Texas needs to come out of that two-game stretch with a win, by any means. Wednesday night is almost as big as Saturday night. No. 7 – Buy or Sell … BUY or SELL: Top 3 class? (Buy) I think so. The commitment from Moore certainly helps. BUY or SELL: National Signing Day will see a major surprise? (Sell) The only thing that would represent a real surprise in my mind is Jaylen Waddle signing with the Longhorns and I just don't think that's going to happen. There's very little that's happened that is pointing in UT's direction. BUY or SELL: With the early signing period now, middle tier recruits receive attention and offers that they wouldn't have received otherwise due to a shrunken pool of talent and players? (Buy) If the volume of early signings in December remains the same or climbs, it eliminates a lot of the middle-class options that used to sit on a platter for a school like Texas. The P.J. Locke's of 2018 might have already signed with Oregon before Texas ever decides it wants to offer. I would imagine Tom Herman and his staff surely learned some lessons this year that they'll adjust to in the future. BUY or SELL: At least three signees don’t make it to fall with bad grades/ACT/SAT? (Sell) I don't think this will be nearly that big of an issue. There's no Devonaire Clarington in this class. BUY or SELL: Someone other than Anthony Wheeler will start at MLB in 2018? (Buy) That's Gary Johnson's job in my mind. I'm still not sold that Wheeler is a full-time starter at this level. BUY or SELL: CDC, given time, will be able to fully optimize the portfolio of assets (i.e., brand, alumni base, facilities, $, etc.) available to him? (Buy) I'm acquiring CDC stock ... as much as I can. I'm a fan. No. 8 – My life as an NFL fan has changed forever… Please, don't ask for any commentary. As bad as the last two decades have been as a Dallas Cowboys fan, I've always been able to take solace in the fact that no matter how bad life has been as a fan of a team Jerry Jones owns, the Philadelphia Eagles had never won a Super Bowl. It's one of the few things as a sports fan I took gigantic glee in. That truth is no longer a truth. I'm not ready to talk about it. I'm going to be in denial for a while. No. 9 – Eternal Randomness of the Spotty Sports Mind … ... J.T. was alright. Nothing I'll remember for the rest of my life, great or terrible. My three-year was very happy about the Trolls song being included. ... I didn't really have a beef with any of those announced on Saturday inside the next class of NFL Hall of Famers. I hate that Everson Walls didn't come within a 100-foot pole of getting in, but outside of that one personal ax to grind, the guys that got in deserved to get in. No Jerome Bettis in this group. ... The Warriors look like a team that is mentally crawling to the All-Star break. It'll be fascinating to see how much juice is left in the tank in May and June. ... The Cavs are still going to the NBA Finals ... right? ... The Tex Pimp of England. A pitch invader interrupted Crystal Palace vs. Newcastle to pour beer over his face.#CRYNEW pic.twitter.com/5YLzU477Eq— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 4, 2018 ... Mo Salah is incredible and I hate EPL refs. Liverpool had one stolen from them on Sunday. ... Yep. pic.twitter.com/QQ9x6CX9Pp— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) February 4, 2018 No. 10 – And Finally … Introducing Mrs. Bernice Richardson pic.twitter.com/8bDtmFS7nD— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) February 4, 2018 Just wanted to take the final words of the column and use them to wish the new Mr. and Mrs. Richardson a lifetime of happiness as they begin this new chapter in their lives.