Monday Media Notes

Texas coaches and players talked about where the team is coming off the bye week as the Longhorns prep for Oklahoma State.

1) Tuesday and Wednesday will tell who plays and who doesn't. Joe Bergeron, Jordan Hicks and Anthony Fera are on the injured list, and while all three could play or miss, Texas coach Mack Brown essentially added an edict Monday: practice on Tuesday or Wednesday, or don't play. Period.


2) Brown said the offense faces a different challenge this week: people celebrating success.

"It's been tough on our offense for a couple years," Brown said. "Now they're getting bragged on. They need to show they can respond to that in a positive way and bring energy and passion into Stillwater on Saturday night."

So how do they solve that? Offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said it was by being humble and hungry, poised and paranoid.


3) At the same time, the defense is in the opposite role, after allowing 31. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said it was important to "deal in the real," letting the players see on film that a few mistakes were what kept them from a stronger performance. At the same time, Brown said there was no shortage of analysis put into improving over the bye week.

"We've taken all of those out, looked at all the big plays we should have done differently," Brown said. "Was it the coverage, call, the angle, where are they better than us in that situation? We've done the same thing with every tackle. Last week we kind of tried to relive the tackling and drills and say, 'Here is what happened to you in the game. You've got to keep your pads down. Stay inside out. You overran it. You got your head down.' Whatever it was, we tried to go back and look at everything that has gotten off track on defense to see how we fix it."


4) David Ash talked a little bit about the pressure it takes to be a starting quarterback at Texas.

"You have to be able to be resilient through people's opinion of you changing constantly," Ash said. "I played good last week. Before last week, I don't think there was anybody who liked me. Now everybody likes me. In the future, I know there will be times when people don't like me and there will be times when they like me. They'll be analyzing every move I make. But to me none of that really matters because I already have the approval of a God who loves me and that's all I need."


5) Mike Davis said if he were a big-time recruit again, and he saw Texas's performance against Ole Miss, it would have made his decision. "That's where I'd go," Davis said. He said that the one-on-one matchups that the offense was producing down the field was a dream come true.


6) The unsung heroes of the Longhorn offensive turnaround have to be the offensive linemen. The guards are both playing at an All-Big 12 level, and Texas offensive guard Mason Walters said the whole group was on the same page. Walters also mentioned that a talented group of true freshman could grow into their roles because of the increased depth and experience.


7) Now the tough part begins. Brown noted that Oklahoma State would be the Longhorns' toughest opponent to-date, and that league play in general would be difficult. A whopping seven Big 12 teams are ranked, the most of any league in the country, and nine conference teams are receiving votes for the Top 25. The Big 12 went 25-3 in non-conference play, the best of any league. And of course, the league is dominating the offensive statistical leaderboard, as usual.


8) And the Cowboys are the best team in the recent Big 12, compiling a league-best 20-5 record since 2009. That includes last season's Big 12 championship, as well as wins over the Longhorns in the past two years. Prior to that, Brown's Longhorns had always defeated the Cowboys, though they'd had to come from behind several times to do so. Why have those games been so tough? Brown attributes it to the fact that it's likely a rivalry game for the 66 Texans on Oklahoma State's roster.


9) Offensively, playing a team that is so explosive with its own offense doesn't change your gameplan, according to Harsin. Harsin said the offensive coaches didn't go into the week with a point figure in mind, instead noting that the goal was always to try and "score every play."


10) How the Longhorns play the Cowboys defensively could depend on which quarterback is in the game. Diaz said that the Longhorns could use more nickel, both to address the Cowboy spread and to take some of the heat off an inexperienced linebacking corps. But when J.W. Walsh is in the game, with the way he uses his legs, the Longhorns could wind up sliding that linebacker back into the lineup, to help deal with the quarterback run game.


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