In a 1999 incident that “sounds like Mike” according to Mack Brown, Mike Leach, then an assistant at Oklahoma, created a fake play sheet and left it where the Longhorns would find it, pulling off one of the best dupes in recent memory.
From ESPN’s Jake Trotter:
During pregame warmups of that year’s Red River Showdown, an underhanded script outlining OU’s opening offensive plays was spotted on the field by one of Texas’ student assistants, who scooped it up and took it to Longhorns defensive coordinator Carl Reese. To the heavily favored Longhorns, it seemed as if they’d caught an enormous break.
“We were trying to figure out if it was authentic,” Reese said. “We were in this state of, ‘Can we believe this?'”
They shouldn’t have.
It was a fake, part of a plot hatched by Leach and consulted by the Longhorns, who quickly fell behind 17-0 before realizing they’d been duped.
Texas recovered to win the game 38-28 — Major Applewhite threw for 328 yards — but not without a massive amount of confusion for the Longhorns.
“That game might’ve been the most bizarre experience I ever had as a college football player,” said Ahmad Brooks, a starting defensive back for the Longhorns. “I can’t tell you how wrong we were in the first three or four minutes with every playcall we had. I’ve never seen anything like it.
“It was complete pandemonium, and it was complete confusion.”
Here’s a video of that broadcast.
Oklahoma’s second play from scrimmage is a throw to an absolutely wide open receiver who scores easily from midfield to make it 7-0.
After forcing a punt, Oklahoma hits another big pass play to set up a quick field goal and a 10-0 lead. After a missed field goal by Texas, OU scored on a long pass play to go up 17-0 with four minutes left in the first quarter.
At that point, OU quarterback Josh Heupel was 8-for-8 for 168 yards and two touchdowns, and the Longhorns realized they’d been tricked.
Here’s Leach talking about the whole thing this week.
Not many in the OU program knew Leach had hatched this plan — better to keep the conspiracy contained.
“Yeah, it was kind of shady,” said former OU tight end Trent Smith, whom Leach drafted to “accidentally” drop the sheet in front of the Texas coaches.
“But it’s OU-Texas. There are no rules.”