Mondays with Mack

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By Mike Blackwell, Inside Texas Magazine Editor
Posted Sep 10, 2012
Copyright © 2018

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Mack Brown

Mack Brown talked about hitting the road for the first time this season, defending (and sometimes not defending) the option, Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace, the legend of Dalton Santos (as well as the legend of Earl Campbell) and the effect of having a former Green Beret wearing the burnt orange...



Brown said the slow start could be attributed to the defense not being able to get off the field early against New Mexico's option attack. ''At one point they ran (for a first down) on a 3rd and 9 and passed for a 3rd and 10. And because they held onto the ball for so long, we only ran the ball six times in the first half.'' Brown said he believed the Longhorns "figured it out" quickly, however, adding that the Texas defense allowed only 25 yards in the second quarter and 30 yards in the third. "We dominated the third quarter,'' Brown said. Brown also said that when a team is allowing a surprising amount of yards - as Texas did in the first half against the Lobos - that it's easy to start the blame game within the team. ''I was glad that we were patient, and I was glad we didn't start finger pointing.'' Brown also admitted that the team's game-planning strategy probably left the players in a bit of a vulnerable position. ''The kids did a great job considering the limited amount of time we worked on it,'' Brown said of his New Mexico preparation. ''We spent a lot of time on Ole Miss and Oklahoma State and down the road. But when New Mexico kept moving the ball, I was worried that the offense was standing over there next to me getting bored.''


Brown said one of the things that make shutouts so difficult to achieve is that when the score margin is large, it's hard to keep the other team from scoring when young defenders take the field. On Saturday, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz emptied his bench, and the youngsters were given due warning, as it pertained to the shutout. ''Our older players were on the sidelines saying, 'Do not let them get in the end zone.'"


Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace flirted with the idea of transferring from a junior college to the Longhorns, and the Longhorns returned a bit of a flirt as well, though it never materialized last spring. Now, as the starter for 2-0 Ole Miss, he'll face the team he considered. ''He can run it, and he can throw it, and he's 6-5 and 210 pounds,'' Brown said. ''He's a handful.''


Brown was once again effusive in his praise for his kickoff coverage, which continues to impact the game for the Longhorns. Linebacker Dalton Santos has given his teammates plenty to shout about in film study by blowing up opposing blockers, and kicker Nick Rose has contributed with the height he has given his kickoffs. ''I couldn't really tell we were going to be this good in kick coverage before the season, but I did get a sense that Nick Rose was going to be very good,'' Brown said. ''Our kickoff coverage is the best we've had, and our players get excited to see it.''


Brown said the only injury change from last week is an upgrade in kicker Anthony Fera's status, which has gone from doubtful to questionable. Brown said the Fera has been "turned over'' to the training and rehabilitation staff, and added that there is an unwritten rule that unless a player is able to practice on Tuesday or Wednesday, he would likely not play on Saturday.


Brown also said that he was happy with his offense's ability to convert on third and fourth down so far this season. The Longhorns were 10 of 14 on third downs against the Lobos, and are three-for-three in fourth down conversions with three touchdowns. Additionally, Brown said he was obviously happy that the Longhorns' have scored on all nine possessions so far in the red zone.


Offensive lineman Trey Hopkins was praised by Brown for his work against the Lobos, as was tight end Barrett Matthews for his blocking. Receiver Marquise Goodwin also became possibly the first Olympic long jump athlete to be praised for his downfield blocking in the Brown press conference. ''It was the best I've seen of downfield blocking by a receiver in a long time,'' Brown said. ''He played great.''


Brown said running back carries cannot be pre-determined because the quarterbacks have the option of changing plays at the line of scrimmage. In that regard, Texas' win against New Mexico was different than most. ''It was an unusual game,'' Brown said. ''Malcolm Brown was in the game for 22 plays, but only had four touches. On a lot of those plays, (David) Ash checked out of plays designed for him. He had seven more plays than Joe Bergeron, but Joe had 13 touches, and Johnathan Gray had seven touches. It all depends on the checks."


Brown said his primary concern with the Ole Miss defense is this: the Rebels have sacked the quarterback nine times in two games. Brown said Ole Miss will play more man-to-man coverage - and blitz more - than the Longhorns' first two opponents.


Brown said the Longhorns will not have their traditional walk-thru, adding that his team would be staying in Memphis because of a lack of hotel rooms in Oxford and/or Tupelo. ''We have to figure out what we're going to do on the drive from Memphis to Oxford, because it's an hour and a half and we don't want them to fall asleep,'' Brown said. "It's going to be a unique situation, and we'll get back at 4:45 or 5:15 in the morning on Sunday. It's going to be a tough trip.''


Brown said he is not overly concerned with Nick Jordan missing a pair of field goals over the course of the first two games. ''Those were 45- and 46-yards, so they aren't easy,'' Brown said. ''I think he'll be okay.''


Deep snapper Nate Boyer is a former Green Beret who has seen active duty in the war on terrorism. Needless to say, he has made a rather favorable impression on Brown and his teammates, and Brown mentioned him Monday. ''He's talked to the others about leadership, but he won't talk about his actual experience, because he can't,'' Brown said. ''He has told them that their worst day here is the best day overseas. He has said, 'You have no clue, so I don't want to hear you griping.' He also said that football is like fighting in that you have to know what the man on your right and your left are doing, and you have to trust him.''


Longhorn great Earl Campbell walked from the sideline to midfield for the coin toss prior to Saturday's game as an honorary captain, and his appearance made an impression on Brown. "I got chills watching Earl walk onto the field," Brown said. ''I heard he was practicing on Friday. He and Bennie Wylie have been working for six months, and he did a great job."




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