Former Longhorn QB and NFL Europe star James Brown answers your questions on the best way to pick up after a loss, if his race was ever brought up while he was at Texas, how he compares to Colt McCoy and more.
Legendary Longhorn QB James Brown (1994-97) answers your Texas football-related questions. Brown led Texas to three consecutive conference titles, including the inaugural Big 12 Conference championship. If you have a question for James, please submit it to email@example.com, with the subject “Ask James” by 5 p.m., Tuesday.
Q: What is the best way to keep a loss from beating you twice? BROWN: The hard thing is playing up to your opponent’s level of intensity every week. Everybody guns for Texas. Texas wears that target. You have so many big games, and I think we do a good job of keeping our intensity level up. But it’s hard to match another team’s intensity. I think if we just keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll be all right. You have to come out as ready to play as the other team. You remind the team that you’ve won so many games, so you know how to win. We’ve lost games before and have bounced back. Just take a page from history. Texas has such a good coaching staff that things like that are not a problem.
Q: Donnie Little was Texas’ first African-American quarterback, but race did not seem as huge of an issue when you played (which is good). Did you hear a great deal about it when you first started? BROWN: It never affected me, and I was never a victim of any racial gestures or comments or anything that I know about. I just overlooked it. I mean, I was just the quarterback for the football team. I played with all races. I do remember that a few reporters brought that to my attention that I was one of the school’s first black quarterbacks, and I didn’t even know that. Reporters started bringing that to my attention. I think they were probing just to see what I would say. I was just so middle-of-the-road that I paid no attention to it. I was there, I was the quarterback, and I didn’t know who had been there before me.
Q: Did the issue of race ever surface during recruiting?
BROWN: Maybe. Maybe. Maybe Syracuse said something and maybe Alabama said something about it. I didn’t care. My dad said he wanted me to go to Texas, so I didn’t care what anybody else said. I visited Syracuse. I had never been to New York, but I knew I was going to Texas. I didn’t like the recruiting process. I didn’t like coaches calling me at all times in the night and talking to people I didn’t know. I didn’t know who to trust. I wasn’t used to all of that. I just told them I was going to Texas and just cut it short.
Q: Colt McCoy is praised for his leadership qualities. Do you think his leadership style is similar to yours? Do you see a similarity between Colt and your style of play?
BROWN: Colt is probably more of a verbal leader than I was. I was never really a verbal leader. On the field, I think our styles are similar. We both play hard. We didn’t want to get tackled. We didn’t want to have bad plays. I like his intensity on the field. I think I played like that, or at least I tried to.
Q: Did you become more vocal after you became an upperclassman?
BROWN: I was a little more vocal my senior year after everybody left and I had a lot of freshmen around me. When I first got in as a freshman, I was playing with Dan Neil, Blake Brockemeyer and Lovell Pinkey. I couldn’t have gotten in those guys faces. I couldn’t get in their faces and tell them anything. Dan Neil probably would have power-cleaned me. So I know how Colt must have felt his freshman year. I came in and started against Oklahoma. Everybody was just as surprised as I was that I was starting. I don’t think anybody had expectations of me. My players in the huddle, they were thinking, ‘Man, this is going to be a tough game for us.’ I think everybody focused on their jobs and tried to help me out because they had never seen me play. After the first couple of series, they were like, ‘Okay, he’s coming to play.’
Even my junior year, I was surrounded by a bunch of good leaders. We had Priest (Holmes) and Ricky (Williams) and Chris Carter and Bryant Westbrook. We had people who didn’t need a leader. They were self-motivated guys who wanted to play their best. I just did my part. I played as hard as I could. —————————–
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James Brown (1994-96) guided Texas to three straight conference championships, including the final Southwest Conference and inaugural Big 12 titles. Brown ranks No. 2 all-time at UT in career passing yards (7,638) and third all-time with 58 touchdown passes.