November 6, 2007
Brown starting to see the toughness he craves
Longhorns show some backbone
The Texas Longhorns aren't any more consistent as a football team heading into the 11th game of the season than they were in the season-opener. The defense is still giving up too many yards and points, while the offense has been slow-starting and a turnover machine at times.
Yet, when Texas head coach Mack Brown met with the media on Monday, he spoke with as much confidence and excitement about his team as he's done all year.
After 10 games, Brown is starting to really like this year's bunch.
"There is a tremendous amount of confidence on this team and there wasn't in the fourth quarter against Kansas State," Brown said. "The thing that is good is that we are running the ball better in the fourth quarter now than we were early and our team is playing with a little more confidence. They think they are going to win, where at Kansas State it unraveled on them."
According to Brown, the one area where this team excels is when they find their backs pressed up against a wall. While other teams might flinch in the face of a three-touchdown deficit, Brown's bunch never seems to waiver.
"Oklahoma State, in my estimation, wasn't sure that they were going to beat us because they hadn't. But, without any pressure on them, they didn't feel it. We had to put the pressure back on them in the second half, so they could feel there was some question mark about whether we could come back again or not."
The more Brown discussed the situation in Stillwater, the more apparent that the ability to overcome adversity is one of the biggest points of emphasis that Brown stresses each week to his football team.
"We constantly talk to our kids about imposters," Brown said. "Oklahoma State has been up on us every year, so I said at halftime that this is no different than it's been for ten years. It's not good and I wish we weren't here, but we are. We are here again. Four of those ten years we've come back and won. The only way we can to do that is to start outing immediate pressure back on Oklahoma State. If you remember, to start the second half we ran right down the field. We had ten or 15 yards a whack and I thought that sent a message to Oklahoma State."
With a group that's clearly not as talented as some of his previous teams, Brown believes that the ability to have success begins with a little attitude.
"Don't ever show that you're sweating," Brown said strongly. "Don't you ever show that you think we're in some trouble. You make sure that other team knows you think you're going to win, you are going to play for 60 minutes and you are not going to crumble.
"You can get beat, but if you get beat and you tried your best but messed some things up, you can always fix them. When you don't try, to me that's just unacceptable. You just have 12 (games). I cannot stand a team that doesn't try to fight and finish. If they don't try until the end, to me they shouldn't be playing."
Injury woes continue to plague Longhorns
In the wake of Saturday's win over Oklahoma State, the Longhorns suffered a number of injuries that will have an impact on this week's showdown with in-state rival Texas Tech.
Senior starting center Dallas Griffin reported that his career was over after suffering a torn ACL, while back-up safety Drew Kelson confirmed that he will miss Saturday's game with a sprained knee. With Sergio Kindle's status for Saturday still up in the air, the Longhorns will be forced to stretch their team depth to the limits for the rest of the season.
"Our center position is by far the most complicated position other than quarterback that we have and it is so important to us," Brown said. "It scared us to death when Dallas got hurt and we did have the ball on the ground three times."
With Griffin out of the line-up, the Longhorns will move starting right guard Chris Hall to center, while junior Cedric Dockery and true freshman Michael Huey will take over the full duties at guard.
"Chris Hall is an amazing kid. He's been like a most valuable player and his attitude has just been unbelievable."
One player that will now see increased playing time is redshirt freshman Buck Burnette.
"We need to play Buck more. Buck played eight plays on Saturday and he did real well with his eight," Brown said.
Quote of the day (Part I) - "I'm sure not talking about our fans any more. I pulled my version of Mike Gundy last week and y'all went off on it, so I'll leave you alone." - Brown joking with the media at the start of his press conference
Quote of the day (Part II) - "The biggest factor with us having two turnovers in the first half was that they had the ball for 54 plays to our 29. Had we not had a lot of depth on defense, I don't think we could have finished the game." - Brown on the importance of his team's overall depth
Quote of the day (Part III) - "Our policy has been pretty much if you can't practice either day, you're probably not ready to play. If you can practice one of the two, then we've got a chance for him to play." - Brown on what he'll need to see this week from the injured players in order for them to play against Tech
Quote of the day (Part IV) - "It's something different every time. We're not getting enough pass rush. Last week our linebackers didn't do a good job in two-deep (zone) of funneling the receivers down the middle. We let them go free. Everyone blamed the secondary, but against Nebraska (it was the linebackers). This week we just didn't play well. They just had guys that were wide-open and mismatches. We were probably trying to do to much. They came in and did totally the opposite of what they've been doing. They've been running the ball against everybody and throwing it some. They threw it a bunch against us. That's the way they started, spreading us out (and) catching us off-balance." Brown on his team's defensive struggles
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