With Texas having some extra days off in preparation
for the Thanksgiving contest against Texas Christian University, Mack Brown's
availability to the press on Monday was limited to a 10-minute discussion via
teleconference, during which time he discussed his team's mid-season
turnaround, handling players and assistant coaches, the Horned Frogs'
physicality and the continued evolution of David Ash as a quarterback.
And since Brown's visit with the media was shortened, Inside Texas decided to drop in on TCU coach Gary Patterson's brief availability as well.
Brown said his team's transformation since the
narrow win at Kansas was simple: the team just decided to keep putting one
cleated foot ahead of another.
"We just circled the wagons," said Brown,
using an old but functional cliche. "We have some young guys who have been
growing up on defense...and we stopped listening to outside sources and just
went to work. We just stepped up."
Brown was asked how he maintained patience when his
team was struggling earlier in the season, and he said experience has told him
that it doesn't do anyone - certainly not his team - any good to blow an
"Every team is different, every coach is
different, every player is different," Brown said. "You just have to
learn how to handle each situation, because each situation is different."
Yes, Texas A&M has Johnny Football, Tide killer Johnny
Manziel. But on Monday, Brown sounded pretty happy to have David Ash as his
signal caller, and downplayed his earlier struggles against Oklahoma and
"David had such a great run going into the OU
game," Brown said. "And he played well against Baylor, too. The
Kansas game was a great learning experience for him, to know that you have to
adjust when you some bad things happen to you."
When asked by a reporter to talk about Ash's strengths,
Brown quickly replied, "He's big, he's got great feet and he's got a big,
strong arm. He takes care of the football. And having a strong arm is
important, because you are going to play in some wind in this league."
LET'S GET PHYSICAL
Brown said increasing the physical nature of his
practices should especially pay dividends against tough team like TCU, the
Longhorns' Thanksgiving opponent.
"Gary's teams don't give an inch," Brown
said. "His teams are always very physical, and we have to be prepared for
that. And plus, even though we won 33-7, we've got a lot of things that still
need to be fixed."
A NEW THANKSGIVING TRADITION...
Patterson said he's looking forward to playing the
Longhorns on Thanksgiving this season, now that Texas A&M is officially out
of the picture.
"For us, we've had a chance to watch Texas and
Texas A&M for years, and now to have an opportunity to actually play in
that venue, with the whole nation watching, it will mark where we are as a
program," Patterson said. "We're excited about it."
Patterson and his team are two games into a
four-game stretch of games that includes West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas and
Oklahoma. The Horned Frogs beat West Virginia on the road, then lost to Kansas
"I'd rather have an older team, going against
all of these ranked teams," Patterson said of the gauntlet. "But the
kids have hung in tough. I told them this will be a good measuring stick to see
what we have to do for next year."
LONGHORNS LOOKING GOOD TO FROGS
Patterson quickly praised the Longhorns when asked
about his upcoming game in Austin.
"They really have been getting better,"
Patterson said. "They've gotten healthy, and they are clicking now on both
sides of the ball."