Mack Brown talks a lot about the overhaul the program has gone in the last year.
So now that this season is over, what did the players see from their head coach that made them able to not have a repeat of 2010?
"He preached back in January that we're all starting over and it started with the boss," Blake Gideon said. "He started over himself. He came to work every day and pressed us every day to get better no matter what happened the week before. He made sure we remembered the feeling from last year."
Obviously 8-5 is not where a perennial powerhouse like Texas wants to finish, but it sure beats 5-7 or 7-6.
"The intensity changed this year," Blaine Irby said. "Brining in the new coaching staff, we could tell right away from spring workouts what was the intensity of each coach. With coach Brown, he just had very high expectations for us and demanded a lot from us.
"This year was a lot more fun than last year."
A ‘grind-it-out' football team
Manny Diaz is not frustrated with the Longhorns' offense. His defensive unit forced five turnovers against Cal, but the offense only turned one of those takeaways into points.
"I just don't know what there is to be aggravated about," Diaz said. "We've rebranded ourselves. We're a grind-it-out football team. There's never a sense of panic, you know? The score midway through the second quarter is irrelevant to us. All we're focused on is just hitting them in the kidney."
Texas' defense has proved stalwart all yeaer, but in the team's last regular season outing against Baylor, they allowed Robert Griffin III and Co. 511 offensive yards and was determined that wouldn't be the case against Cal.
And it wasn't. The Longhorns held the Golden Bears to 195 total yards.
"We had something to prove," Jackson Jeffcoat said "The three weeks we had to prepare for Cal, we said that we were going to come out and have a dominating performance."
Next year, Texas loses what Diaz refers to as the "spine" of his defense in tackle Kheeston Randall, linebackers Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho and Gideon. But he's confident the young guys will step up.
"We'll be very young next year, we'll really only have two seniors," Diaz said. "This game is just a stepping stone. Every player we have coming back has so much room to grow. As coaches we just we just tell them, ‘Keep improving, keep growing. You have no idea how far this thing can go.'"
No more McCoy?
"We could have played either [quarterback]," Brown said, "Case has played well, both have done good things and both have struggled some. We felt like Cal is a West Coast team and didn't see option much."
But McCoy had zero snaps. He didn't even look to be warming up on the sideline at all throughout the night.
McCoy played all the important minutes against Texas A&M. He started again the next week at Baylor and threw for 356 yards and three touchdowns, but he also had four interceptions.
Extra Note: Diaz said his crew blitzed about 40-50 percent of the time against Cal. One reporter said he thought it looked like more than that. Diaz's response?
"When it works the way it's supposed to work, that's how it's supposed to look. Like we're blitzing all the time."
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