Texas To Go On Holiday

This past summer, Major Applewhite was inducted into the Holiday Bowl Hall of Fame. At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28, the current Texas players will have a chance to make themselves a part of the bowl's history.

Sunday, Texas (7-5, 4-5 Big 12) accepted an invitation to the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl, where the Longhorns will take on the California Golden Bears (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12) in San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium.

"I'm really looking forward to playing in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl and getting out to San Diego once again," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "The Red Coats do such a wonderful job of making it a special week with great hospitality, fun events for the guys and topping it off with a terrific game experience. The city of San Diego is not only an ideal location, but is a great host as well. The city really embraces the teams and the game."

The Longhorns and Bears have met four times, with Texas taking all four contests, though they haven't played in recent years. The most recent meeting came when Texas beat Cal 56-15 in Austin in 1970.

The Longhorns have also played in the Holiday Bowl four previous times, splitting those games. All of those contests have come under Brown, with Texas falling to Oregon in 2000, beating Washington in 2001, losing to Washington State in 2003 and defeating Arizona State in 2007. In the 2001 game, Applewhite led the Longhorns to a 19-point comeback in a wild 47-43 victory that led to Applewhite's enshrinement in the bowl's hall of fame.

Blaine Irby was on the Longhorns for their most recent trip.

"The Holiday Bowl is a great bowl for us," Irby said. "I remember going back there in '07 when we played against Arizona State. They treat the teams real nice, and it is a fun atmosphere. San Diego is a great town, so it should be fun."

Quandre Diggs was quick to point out that he wasn't rooting for the Holiday Bowl, despite the fact that his brother, Quentin Jammer, plays there.

"I'm rooting for the National Championship every year," Diggs said. "That's where I want to go. That's a team goal. I want the opportunity to play in the National Championship every year.

"Our slogan this year has been 'brick by brick,'" Diggs said. "So this is one of those bricks. It's going to help us to build up this program. We're up and coming. We've got to get this win at the bowl game to keep the momentum going."

But as great as the bowl berth is, Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said that the extra practices arguably meant more.

"Football is a hard sport to get better at unless you are playing football," Diaz said. "We have 15 days in the spring, and then we don't really see them again until August. You can do conditioning drills and things like that, but you can only play football during the season. What you have with a bowl preparation is you will take the first week and a half or so and just work on Texas playing Texas. You won't be into game plan stuff, so you won't be working on schemes or working on anything other than fundamentally improving yourself as a football team.

"The experience of that is, ultimately in the development of a program, if I am in this program for four or five years as a player, then I have had four more months of practice over the course of my career to improve," Diaz said. "So that when I leave here, I have had almost an entire other season of practice to get better as a football player. That is vital for us."

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