Football notes

Notes from Mack Brown's Monday media luncheon:

The head coach talked some about the struggle he and his offensive coaches have faced over the last two-plus years replacing the great nucleus of talent from the '98 team, particularly Heisman winner Ricky Williams. Philosophically, the coaches have always wanted a balanced offense similar to that '98 bunch, he said, but personnel issues have at times made that a challenge. "I really feel like we're getting back on track with the (offensive) personality that we want to be and what we want to be is what we were Saturday and what we were the first four games and we want to be that against real good defense (also)," Brown said. "When you can run you can pass." . . . The head coach again sung the praises of Cedric Benson following his 131-yard performance vs. the Cowboys, complimenting the true freshman particularly for stepping up and embracing the task of improving in pass blocking. "He's a tough guy," Brown said of the 6-0, 200-pounder's ability to halt onrushing defenders. "He stepped up and picked up all of 'em." Critiquing his running, the coach pointed to Benson's vision -- "he doesn't miss many holes," Brown said -- and his explosiveness, plus his ability " to jump sideways effortlessly." The first-time starter left the game a couple of times due to fatigue, Brown said, so Saturday against Colorado the coaches will "probably look at playing Ivan Williams more and resting Cedric more." Williams had nine carries for 70 yards against OSU. . . . Brown praised the OSU game play of fill-in DT starter Adam Doiron. The sophomore from Oklahoma stepped into a starting role when regular DT starter Maurice Gordon moved out to end to replace the injured Kalen Thornton. The official stat sheet showed Doiron with two tackles, but that same state sheet, produced by the Oklahoma State Sports Information Department, had Montrell Flowers as the Horns' fifth-leading tackler in the game (it should have been Everick Rawls) and had Lance McFarland, who didn't even make the trip to Stillwater, with a tackle. Regardless, Brown, after the benefit of reviewing game film, said Doiron "played really well," as did Gordon at end, the coach added. . . . The status of RB Victor Ike (bruised ribs) remains uncertain while RDE Thornton (sprained knee) is expected back at practice Tuesday. . . . Dan Smith, who started the first three games of the season as the Horns' kickoff specialist but has been out of the lineup for the last three games after pulling a hip flexor muscle in the Houston contest, was scheduled to retake the starting role in Stillwater, but his leg tightened up in pregame warmups. Brown said the position will be thrown open in practice this week in an attempt to find someone, anyone, that is capable of sending kickoffs near or, gasp, into the end zone. . . . The head coach said the UT D played approximately 20 snaps in a 3-4 scheme, with the rest coming in 4-3. . . . Quentin Jammer and Nathan Vasher on defense, Chris Simms on offense and Dusty Mangum on special teams were chosen as players of the game. . . . Texas is now 4-0 over Brown's tenure in games following the OU game. In the 20 or so years before Brown, that record stood at approximately .500. . . . The head coach also talked a lot about Colorado -- an example: "I think this bunch is for real . . . They're playing as good as a top 10 team right now" -- and we will incorporate his thoughts into our game preview articles published throughout the week.

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