Ask Brian Jones

Former Longhorn and NFL linebacker Brian Jones answers your questions.

Q: I know everything went well on Saturday, but I wonder if the Longhorn personnel would be better served if they looked into running a 3-4? Given that the D is thin on the DL but has an embarrassment of riches at LB, I just think that if UT wants their best guys on the field at the same time, they ought to consider the 3-4...

B.J.: Yes, they may be a little bit thin at defensive end but, for the most part, you really want to run a 3-4 when you have excellent defensive ends and excellent outside linebackers. While I think the Horns have the excellent outside linebackers, the ends are good, but they are thin at that position, so if you're going to run a 3-4 there's a lot of onus on those guys and they are thin at that position. So why put them on even more of an island than they're on now. Secondly, they've been running the 4-3 for a long time at UT. That's been a mainstay at UT. We tweaked it when I played here. It's hard to implement something that the kids are not familiar with. For example, all I had ever played in was a 4-3. My freshman year at UCLA, we ran the 3-4. It was so difficult for me -- it didn't help that I had a coach that should have been coaching on the offensive side of the ball instead on the defensive side of the ball -- but that being said, he was my linebacker coach and he didn't do a great job of teaching me the little nuances there are when you switch from 4-3 to a 3-4. There's a big difference between playing an inside linebacker and a traditional middle linebacker, so those are things that you have to take into consideration as well.

Q: How is Greg Robinson using his linebackers differently that Carl Reese did?

B.J.: One thing he does differently is that when they get up in the line -- that's what we used to call sugaring, where you act like you're going to go and the linemen have to account for you because you're up near the line of scrimmage and prior to the ball being snapped, we'd get out of there and then be able to play and flow. What we've seen in the past (under Reese) is the guys had been getting caught in the wash by being in there so close to the snap. And if you get in there, you better be coming, because if not you're going to get caught in the wash. And what we've seen a lot of times is that they get up in the line and they're not coming and they get caught up in the wash and they're not able to flow. What I've always wanted to see and what we're seeing now is that these linebackers are not getting caught in the wash, they're able to use they're athletic ability by flowing and that's the main thing at linebacker, be a good flow guy and not overrun plays. We still see a little bit of that but we did see seems like 11 guys on the ball carrier at all times, and if not 11, you had 11 within the picture and that's what you want to see as a defensive coordinator; you're watching that game film in that film room and you want to see 11 guys in the proximity of that ball and I think we saw that and that's going to play a big part in the success of this defense. A number of people that I talked to this week were very surprised and impressed with how the defense played. Albeit it was North Texas, but still, the effort that was seen on that field for four quarters was something I don't think we've seen a lot of here in the recent past.

Q: What do you expect to see in this weekend's game?

B.J.: This is what college football is all about. I love this game and I wish I could go but I can't go now since I'm working with Fox Sports in Dallas, but this is what college football is all about. You've got an old rivalry, and they came into our house last year and they pretty much danced a jig in our end zone at the end of that game. The guys get it now. I believe they get it. I hope they get, because they didn't get it last year that this is a huge game. Arkansas dislikes Texas. Texas dislikes Arkansas, or at least they should. It's an old Southwest Conference rivalry. Those people can't stand us, so if you ever wanted to see or experience what it would be like if we played in Norman, go to this game because that's what it's going to be like having played up there in '89. It's going to be a tough, physical football game. Yes, they lost a lot of people, but this is going to be an extremely physical football game and I told a lot of people prior to the season starting that I would withhold my judgment and assessment of the team until till after this game because even though Arkansas lost a lot of people, they're going to still be a tough nut to crack. This is going to be a physical football game and this is the kind of test you want. This is what it's all about. This is why you go to the big-time university to play in a game like this. Yes, Arkansas is not heavily thought of right now, but when it comes to Texas, those people, they bring their all, and we saw that last year when they won here.

Q: What do you remember about your trip to Fayetteville back in '89?

B.J.: I remember them calling us everything... They called us all kind of names, threw whiskey bottles at us and moonshine. It was wild. That's why we called it Fayette-nam. The place is hostile. You go back and talk to the old guys -- I had buddies that played on that team in '81 when they beat the hell out of us, 42-11 or something, I remember that and talking to those guys, they talk about how hostile it was and it was hostile when we went. It was fun, though, because no one expected us to win the ballgame... it's just a fun place to play. They've made upgrades to stadium and there's more capacity so you know it's going to be loud and crazy and you hear all these stories about teams going up there and fans, if they find out you're a Longhorn, they won't sell you gas; it is nuts. I'm going to tell you one thing I do remember, and Coach McWilliams is going to get mad at me. When we went up there to play them in '89, that Friday night he showed us the film of the 1969 game and there are only three great plays in that game but we had to look at the whole damn thing and that was the most boring football game ever! It's black and white and I understand the history of it and all that and how huge it was, but there are really only three plays you want to see, Street's scooting up the middle for a touchdown, the long pass to Peschel and then the touchdown -- I know you had the big interception by Danny Lester -- but he made us sit through that. It was so boring. I remember thinking, when is this going to be over with. [Note: For the Razorbacks, it was over the next afternoon when B.J. and the Horns won 24-20.]

Have a question for the next 'Ask Brian Jones'? Send to insidetx@realtime.net.

Brian Jones played middle linebacker for the Longhorns in 1989 and 1990, leading the team in tackles both season and earning all-SWC honors as a senior before an eight-year NFL career with the Colts, Dolphins, Raiders and Saints. He also recently worked as the sideline reporter for the Longhorn Radio Network, host of Longhorn Sports Center and co-host of a popular radio sports talk show in Austin. His 'Ask B.J.' columns appears weekly during football season on InsideTexas.com.


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