Big 12 conference play is finally here. Texas will travel for the second time in as many games this week to Ames, IA when they face the Iowa State Cyclones.
Texas is coming of an impressive win against UCLA. Talk about putting your foot on the throat of the opposition. That is what the Texas Longhorns did. And it didn't let up for 48 straight minutes. The turnovers, the unadulterated pounding of the football, and the exotic play calling by Coach Harsin all contributed to one of the premier road victories during Mack Browns tenure.
Not sure if you got to see Coach Brown's post game interview under the eaves of the Rose Bowl stadium but it was apparent that his pure joy and elation was hard to hide. And can you really blame him? Here is a man who arguably was at the lowest point in his career at the end of his last game on the very same field. I am really impressed with his new found perspective: have fun, don't act entitled, and kick the other team's butt.
Here is what I wrote in the last press conference preview:
Speaking of UCLA, I'm sure Coach Brown circled the game on his calendar last December. And I'm pretty sure that he instructed his staff to begin working the game plan several months ago. I believe this game is personal for him. It will certainly be interesting to listen to his commentary today and watch his body language next Saturday given he has not notched a win against the Bruins.
He certainly was business like in the way he prepared the team. If you got to watch Texas Football All Access on the LHN last week you saw the veteran leaders of the team keep the young guys focused, especially Emanuel Acho telling the players while huddled , "The game is not about this field, or this stadium. It is about us. It is a business trip."
Highlights to ponder as you get ready for the presser thread.
• Mack Brown's adulation for Paul Rhoads will be, at minimum, too smarmy. I appreciate the respect that Coach Brown offers his counterparts which will serve him well as he ascends Grant Teaff as Executive Director of the AFCA. I personally would like a little more spit but, hey, he wouldn't be Mack Brown unless he laid it on thick, right?
• Negative: Special teams need to turn a corner, and fast. We have been giving up way too much field position, especially on kick off.
• Positive: Unquestionably it is the ability of this team to put games away in the fourth period that excites Mack Brown. It is attributed to the physicality of the effort on both sides of the ball. This trait is what is a difference maker in close games as was witnessed against BYU.
• Positive: The fast start in Pasadena with three turnovers and three touchdowns sealed UCLA's fate for the afternoon.
• Positive: A hat tip to all the fans who travelled to California. The support shown the team as they claw back to relevance is undeniably overwhelming.
• Coach will publicly hold his staff to account for maintaining focus on the objective which is beating ISU. "Ain't no party like a Longhorn party ‘cause a Longhorn party don't stop" and an early season top 20 ranking will need to be balanced with "We've got to keep working because we're not as good a team as we can be".
• Iowa State QB Steele Jantz will receive special notice and recognition from Coach Brown. The game is ISU Family Night so expect him to talk about the Cyclones feeding off their fan energy.
• And the proverbial realignment question will be fielded. Mack will express his disappointment in A&M's departure but that will be overshadowed by his excitement and enthusiasm for the renewed commitment of the Big 12 members for the "kids, parents, and fans of college football".
Join us here for live presser interaction.
*Housekeeping note: In case you're wondering about the weekly numerical order, it runs in arrears.