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Inside Mack Brown's Monday Press Conference

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Mack's comments, edited for length and relevancy, are in the gray quote boxes. BON commentary follows each snippet.

First let me talk about the BCS. There have been some calls and questions about what we felt about being rated ninth in the BCS. Our first thought is that the undefeated teams, the Michigan, Southern Cal, you start looking at Ohio State, until some of those get knocked off, it doesn't matter for the rest of us. We'll be in a mix of one loss teams if we're good enough and keep winning at the end.

You study the history of the BCS, the first one is usually very unimportant. The Nebraska game and the fact that we're trying to win the Big 12 Conference is much more important to us than whether we would be rated fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, or ninth. There's not a lot of difference in fourth and ninth right now. That's what happens when you start looking at the BCS.

BCS is very, very unimportant to us as we get ready to head to Lincoln.

Let's get this out of the way here, too. We've had our fun talking BCS, since it's the release of the first standings, but really, there's a lot of business in front of this team that can make the whole discussion moot. With trips to Lincoln and Lubbock in the next two weeks, a reasonably good A&M team to close the season, and a potential Big 12 title game, the BCS talk is probably best saved for December.

Secondly, you start last week, there was a lot of talk about whether the Baylor game was a trap game or not. In looking back, it really was. You stick a game between Oklahoma, which is one of the top five winningest programs in the history of football, and Nebraska, fourth in the history of college football, both of them really good. Baylor was much improved.

Trap game may be a bit of an overstatement here, but I think the general sentiment is the right one. The Oklahoma game was incredibly high energy, and the trip to Lincoln looms as a huge road test. Considering how badly we've beaten Baylor in recent years, it's not -that- surprising that we were a little flat. I don't want to get too into that, though. It was what it was.

The defense really turned the game. They're the ones that came out and forced the short field, forced the turnover, had an interception for a touchdown. I think we stopped them five or six straight times there in the first quarter when things could have gotten out of hand until our offense got on track. Then offensively, we just took over, started scoring about every time we had the ball.
So what we've got is we have a game where we played really, really hard, so we weren't flat. We weren't sure about that during the game. We didn't seem to spend a whole lot of emotion, which is important when you're playing football. So we won by 32 without spending a lot of emotion, which from a coach's standpoint is a good thing.

I'd say we were flat, but we're arguing semantics, really. In any case, the team rolled Baylor after the slow start. Still, the defense, while excellent, isn't quite as dominant as, say, Michigan's is right now. I think the defense can get better, and has a chance to be truly great, but the consistency isn't there right now. Nebraska's a team this defense needs to really play well against. You don't want to ask your offense to win a shootout on the road. Those just don't work out well for the road team; the defense better be ready to play.

The other thing that happened with the injuries to our defense, it really, really helps us to have to play some other guys, gain some depth, especially for the future. I thought Deon Beasley did a good job for the first time out on the field.
Somebody said they're going to pick on that freshman. They have good coaches. Senior receiver, senior quarterback, they know what they're doing in the passing game. I thought Deon hung in well. He did tell me after the game, "This moves a little faster than high school." He's sure right there.

I agree here. While the defense gave up too many big plays, there were lots and lots of minutes for the second-string guys on the depth chart. As physically draining as these seasons can be, this is great for Texas in the long run. I'm pleased Deon had his Welcome To The Show moment against Baylor as opposed to, say, Nebraska.

I'll never forget the Nebraska fans giving Ricky Williams a standing ovation in '98 when we left the field and a chant of Heisman. That was one of the highlights of my time in sports, because I thought it was one of the classiest things I've ever seen and continues to be so.
I have great respect for the Nebraska fans, their coach, their players, that program. It will be a challenging week and a fun week.

Let me just go on the record in agreement here. I've got nothing but respect for Husker Nation. There's no hate for the program, state, or fans.

You look at the two programs right now, we're averaging 42 points a game, they're averaging 37. We're converting 46% on third down offensively, they're converting 47%. We're stopping people, holding people to 47 yards rushing; they're holding people to 98.
We're giving up 13.7 points per game. They're giving up 13.4. We're stopping people 31 percent of the time on third downs with our defense. They're stopping people 30 percent. You start comparing numbers, this one looks like it could be one of those fourth quarter games that both teams play well.

Very well could be. I think Texas can and should handle Nebraska, but it's not sure thing. You can bet your bottom dollar they've had this conference game circles on their schedule. The fans, players, and coaches are sure to be amped up to leave it all on the field. Texas won't be able to limp past Nebraska. They'll need to come out and beat Nebraska.

The first difference is Nebraska is really balanced. They haven't gotten enough credit for rushing for more than 200 yards a game. We're rushing for 187. I think they're 207 or something.
When you play Nebraska right now, you have to go back to the old days and stop the run. If you don't stop the run, Bill will keep running it. They're averaging about 33 minutes in time of possession. There's not much difference in their turnover ratio and ours. I think ours is plus ten, theirs is plus seven.
You're talking about running game first. Then because they're running the ball so well, they're able to play action. Zac Taylor has been so accurate that he and Colt are two of the more accurate quarterbacks in the country - throwing touchdown passes, completions. That's why they're in the 40s in third down conversion. But he's not throwing interceptions, not losing the ball, not getting sacked very often.
I just think Nebraska's back to what they used to be. They're throwing the ball really well, but their running game and the fact that they're being so physical, like Oklahoma was, are things that are opening up the play action on their west coast offense.

I hope you're starting to get a sense that this is not a Walk In The Park game, in any way. The Huskers aren't a Top 10 team right now, but they're comfortably a Top 25 team. Road games against quality competition shouldn't be taken lightly. We've grown so accustomed to winning, that it's easy to see Horns fans begin to take every opponent lightly. It's just a fact that we're going to have to win some close games sometimes. This could be one of them.

The other thing that makes this game interesting is that Nebraska's got one of the best defensive lines in the country. Texas has enjoyed some big time advantages over opponents' defensive lines this season, but that won't be the case Saturday. It's an even battle.

--PB--