"He has been trying to get himself healthy, number one, but then he has been in our meetings," Applewhite said. "He has been out at practice, and there are even some portions of practice where he has been over there watching the scheme of the game plan to stay involved with the terminology and how we are evolving as an offense. But at the same time, he has tried to help to get back from that injury. He has stayed in-tune with the meetings, he has stayed in-tune out on the field, but he was extremely frustrated with it. But he's back and he's healthy and feeling like he can contribute."
Brown's absence has been noticeable, but less so because of the emergence of freshman back Johnathan Gray.
"He has got great acceleration," Applewhite said. "He can get into the hole. He has good feet as well so he can get to some things, accelerate into some cuts and open space that some other guys can't. When we look at the Kansas game, there are more yards out there. He had a good game, but there are more yards out there. And break an ankle tackle here or there and then run with a little bit better vision — there are more yards."
The Longhorns ran all over Texas Tech a year ago, but face a much tougher test this go-round.
"They have done a tremendous job on defense in general, but we have to have some things out on the perimeter to be able to give us some space," Applewhite said. "They do a good job inside. [DT Kerry] Hyder has played really well for them and [DT Delvon] Simmons has, too. Their backers have done a great job so they have been stout inside, and they have done a great job on defense this year.
"They are better aligned," Applewhite said. "They are more aggressive. Their guys are playing with more confidence, and it looks different just watching the tape."
The Longhorns have shown an ability to overcome adversity in recent weeks, Applewhite noted.
"I think that is just the competitive nature," Applewhite said. "I think that is everybody. When your back is up against a wall as a person, you have to overcome the odds. Our back was against the wall after the Oklahoma game. It was a shootout against Baylor, and we got behind against Kansas on the road and we had to score on the last two drives. You don't want to put yourself in that situation but you also find out a lot about yourself as a person, player, team, and coach when you are put in that situation.
"So I think it is kind of a double-edged sword," Applewhite said. "You want to be in those situations to find out the character of your team. You just don't want to put yourself in that situation."