Colorado a 'different team' from Oct. 20

This week, <B>Mack Brown</B> has consistently treated the media to his best <B>Lou Holtz</B> imitation. Not consciously, as far as I know, but his comments about his team's chances against Colorado sound very Holtz-esque.

"I've never seen a team line up and run the ball at Nebraska like they did," the Texas head coach said Monday. "Our defensive staff hasn't come out of the (film) room. We're going to have to play great just to have a chance to slow them down."

Brown also said one of the keys to the game will be "who can run it the best and who can stop it the best, and right now, they've got the advantage."

"Our defense is gonna have to play better than it's played to stop 'em," the coach said Tuesday.

Based on Brown's comments, you'd never know that he's referring to a team that the Horns limited to seven points and 289 yards total offense just over a month ago. It seems that the Buffs may as well book their tickets to Phoenix for the Fiesta Bowl. But before last Friday's shocker, CU squeaked by Oklahoma State in Stillwater 22-19, beat Missouri in Boulder 38-24 and handled Iowa State in Ames 40-27. Since the loss to UT on Oct. 20, CU has won four straight, but not necessarily in overwhelming fashion until the Nebraska stomping.

So what to make of the team from the foot of the Rockies?

"Did you see the game against Nebraska," UT's Antwan Kirk-Hughes asked rhetorically. "They're a better team now. We were hitting on all cylinders that day (in October). They're gonna watch that film and see everything that they did wrong and make adjustments . . . and whatever we did good they're gonna try to take away."

Brown said the difference between the Colorado team of Oct. 20 and the one that steamrolled the Huskers last Friday is its offensive line and QB play.

The coach said the Buffs' line is "playing like the best OL in the country." Asked how CU moved the ball with such ease against Nebraska, Brown simply said, "They just blocked 'em." For the season, the Buffs' OL has opened holes for three 500-yard rushers -- Bobby Purify with 854 yards on 150 carries (5.7 per), Chris Brown with 764 yards on 157 carries (4.9 per) and Cortlen Johnson with 554 yards on 82 carries (6.8 per). Brown had 198 yards and six TDs against the Huskers.

Bobby Pesavento took over the starting QB role for Colorado in the first Texas game, completing 15 of his 27 attempts for 165 yards and one INT. In the four games since, Pesavento has hit 57 of his 83 attempts (a smokin' 68.7-percent) for 869 yards with six TD tosses and just two picks.

"I think they'll come out fired up because they think they have something to prove," said Chris Simms, who's had a pretty nice run himself since the OU game. "We just need to play our game. When we play sound football we're real tough to beat."

"We'll practice hard this week knowing that this is a different team," said Sloan Thomas, who caught three passes for 63 yards, including two TDs, in the teams' first meeting. "We'll study a lot more film and we'll have to be more sound and change up some things."

Brown, though, hit on the main reason why he believes the team will be prepared for Colorado come Saturday. It's the same reason the Horns are even in a position to play for the title. "What I've tried to talk to our guys about is, the reason we're where we are is that we've done what we're supposed to do, so let's don't talk about what's after (the title game)," Brown said. "We understand we have more options that are possible if we win the game than if we lose the game."

So far, that attitude has served this team well. And it's the reason that this team has a great shot at win No. 11 Saturday in Dallas.

Football notes: Kirk-Hughes, who said he will play this Saturday, predicts a low scoring contest. "I think both defenses will play pretty well," he said. "I don't think it'll be high scoring." The Horns' starting right guard said the team will have a far different attitude than it did heading into the Championship Game rematch with Nebraska in '99. "We beat them once and we walked around big-chested," Kirk-Hughes said. "We didn't come prepared to play and we can't do that this time." . . . Roy Williams said, "I think it's going to be a rumble in the jungle up front between the front seven on both sides of the ball. Our OL wants to get its game back after last weekend." . . . Simms said, "We're really excited. It's like a whole new season. We feel like we've been given a second chance. I could tell in the team meeting that everyone is pumped up. We'll be ready to go Saturday." . . . . Brown said, "I think one of the key things to this game is we both played one of our most emotional games last week and now we've got to go play in what is considered a bigger game. Who can get their team back and who can get their emotion back this fast will be key."


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