Mack: 'We've decided . . . to start Major'

In an interview released Tuesday on, <B>Mack Brown</B> announced that <B>Major Applewhite</B> rather than <B>Chris Simms</B> will start at QB for the Horns in the Holiday Bowl.

Here are some excerpts from that interview:

". . . Chris had a tough first half. I've talked to him and he probably just tried too hard. In fact, a lot of our kids -- we might not have played the best we've ever played but we played the hardest we've ever played which is a good thing. We can continue to get better. But in talking to Chris, he felt like he was ready to play. He started hot. I think we're going to jump up 14-0 right quick and then all of a sudden we have the turn of events. The turnovers get us, Chris' knuckle on his throwing hand pops out so it's dislocated and he's mad at himself and mad at the way the game's going so he pops it back in himself, the doctors are poppin' it in, he wants to go back in and we said, Nope, let's get Major in there and see if Major can turn the momentum a little bit and Major did that. He did a great job. I think it's phenomenal to see what he did no more than he's played coming off the bench to rally our football team and give us a chance to win. Second half, even Major said, offensively we had some chances to win. Defensively, we're in a position where -- what a great play by Rod Babers on the fake punt gets us right back in the game. So we're back in the game with nine minutes and 47 seconds left with a chance win down 36-30 and we've got the momentum. Our fans are great, that place is rocking and is probably as exciting as it's ever been at The University of Texas or in many, many years and they hit two screens on us in third and long which were disappointing. (Then) we have them outnumbered on the punt. We go after the punter every week, we've blocked punts all year, we blocked a punt against A&M, so when we had more to come with to block it than they had to block, it's natural for us. We want to be aggressive. We didn't go up there to stand around and lose the game. We wanted to win the game so we go after it. Poor Phillip Geiggar feels worse than any human being in the world. I told him, You were aggressive. You missed it by two inches. We probably win the game by two inches again. And there's probably 15 of those two inch situations in this ballgame. But Phillip is a young sophomore that was aggressive. He tried. If we had to do it again we wouldn't want to rough the punter but we'd darn sure go after it if they didn't have enough blockers for the guys we had coming because that's how you win football games and that's how you win championships.

We've decided in talking to both quarterbacks that we're going to start Major because he was most productive last week and we feel like right now he gives us the best chance to win against Washington. I've been proud of Major all year the way he's handled the situation with Chris. I was proud of Chris on Saturday night as much as he was hurting, and I mean hurting, he still wanted us to win more than he wanted him to have something out of the game so he stepped up to the plate to help Major help the team get excited about winning in the second half.

In talking to both guys you'd be really proud to be a Texas fan because Major said, I want to do whatever helps us beat Washington. Very few times has anybody ever won 11 games around here and this team has a chance to do that. You talk to Chris, he said, Coach, I just want to win the game. None of that matters to me. We'll do whatever you all tell us to do to try to win the game. There aren't many young people -- there aren't many people in America that unselfish and I've never seem a group this hurt. Our coaches are hurt, our players are hurt. I've never seen a group lose that much. Anybody that has called Texas a soft football team hasn't followed this bunch. This bunch has been tough. They were as tough in that fourth quarter Saturday night to hang in there and give themselves a chance to win. They were clawing and scraping and it takes you longer to get over it when it's that hard. It really does. We've got to get excited to win 11 games and the truth is and I told the players, You have had a great year and a tough game. And that's what we've got to understand. If you want to be half full with that glass and be positive, from my standpoint, we're probably a field goal away from playing for the national championship and that's a heckuva lot closer than we were four years ago and we're getting closer with every step and that's why some people out there beat us up so much because they know we're coming. Our kids can smell it now. They know how close we are. We've gotta get back up. We need you folks to get pumped and go to the Holiday Bowl and follow our team. But we've gotta get 'em up because Washington's not very pleased with their last game either, Rick Neuheisal is a good coach and they'll come in there ready to play.

. . . the thing we can't do is let a loss beat us twice. . . . We're sitting here seventh in the BCS with a chance to move way up and be third or fourth at the end. We're sitting here at 10th in the country in both polls. I think it's been since '83 since we were in the top 10 and we need to finish well and be really positive because folks, we're on the verge of having one of the best recruiting years I've ever seen. I mean, the kids are excited about us. . . ."

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