Ask Brian Jones

Former Longhorn and NFL linebacker Brian Jones answers your questions.

Q: Texas worked on a lot of blitz packages during two-a-days but we have seen little blitzing so far. Did Greg Robinson save all that for this game? And what blitz packages do you believe would be most effective vs. OU's scheme and personnel?

B.J.: I think both teams saved a lot of stuff leading up to this game. We saw a limited edition of the blitz package against Arkansas. Really didn't need it against Baylor, North Texas and Rice. What you have to do against Oklahoma first of all is you've got to stop the run before you can get to the blitzing and all that. Stop the run, force them to pass, and then when you get in third and long you want to bring some guys. You're going to see zone blitzes, bringing corners off the end, you may see some 'wams' where you bring both inside linebackers up the gut between the guard and tackle gaps, between the center and guard gaps. You want to flush this guy out of the pocket and you don't want him sitting back there getting comfortable, so you want to get a lot of pressure up the gut of that offensive line. (Robinson) is going to bring a lot of blitzes this week but I still think you have to be able to get to the quarterback with your four down linemen. If you're going to rely on blitzing, you're going to get burned more times than you're going to be successful, so you've got to get a pass rush out of those front four guys and that allows you more leeway in your cover schemes, because they have some pretty talented receivers -- everyone knows about Mark Clayton and Brandon Jones is a pretty good receiver and they use their backs in the passing game as well. So try to get some pressure with your four down linemen, but of course they're going to bring some blitzes at times. Corner blitzes are going to be good, but Jason White's an experienced quarterback, he's seen a lot of stuff, so they're going to have to do a great job of disguising it.

Q: There's been a lot of talk this week about whether this game is a "must-win" for Mack Brown. Brown even preemptively addressed the question before it was asked this Monday at his press conference, saying that he's been assured that his job is safer. What do you think B.J., is this a must-win, and is Mack Brown's job safe regardless of the outcome?

B.J.: I think for the die-hard Longhorn fan, people that have followed this program for a long time, the people that are used to winning championships -- national, conference -- it's a must-win game for us. It's unfortunate that the staff and the players don't feel that way because that's how big this game is. Of course, (Brown's) got job security, but you know what contentment breeds? It breeds complacency. If you're not hungry, you're not going to go out there and win. You've gotta be hungry. I don't care how successful you've been, I don't care what goals you've obtained, you have to be hungry every time you step on that field. If you're not hungry against Oklahoma, you're never going to be hungry, so that's fine having job security, but at the same time, you've got to go out there and be hungry. And that's why Texas hasn't won this ballgame. They go out there and act like just because they have Texas on their jersey, they're gonna win. That's bull!

Q: You were a member of a streak-busting Texas team back in '89. The Horns hadn't beat the Sooners since '83, and you guys were big underdogs, yet you overcame all that and won the ballgame. What do you remember about that game and are there any lessons in it for this year's team?

B.J.: I remember we went into both of those games not even ranked, they were ranked 15th in '89 and in '90 they were ranked No. 5, and we didn't give a damn. We were like, "OK, whatever, it's Oklahoma, it's going to be a hard-hitting ballgame, we're not afraid of you, we're going to bring the wood, we know you're going to bring the wood." So we just went in there and let it all hang out. We had nothin' to lose basically. You're right, they had owned us, much like they own Texas now. Of course, the game hadn't gotten out of hand like they have in the recent past, but we just went in there loose. Loose. Said, "Hey, they put their pads on the same way we put our pads on. We're not to going to go in there afraid of them. It's a big ballgame, we want it to be a big ballgame," and we just went in there and hit 'em in the mouth more than they hit us. That's the lesson. Brent Venables, their co-defensive coordinator, they asked him about it last year, What's the difference between these two football teams. Both have talent, what's the difference? He said it's attitude. That's the big difference. You see one coach that says it can't get here soon enough and you have another coach that says we're going to celebrate Baylor. C'mon, celebrate Baylor? You've got to be kidding me! These people have embarrassed you! They've done what they want, whenever they want to you. To hell with Baylor. That's the difference. It's attitude. I was reading in the paper today Texas players saying, "We're not talking about Oklahoma, we're mum on it. In the past, we've played the game on Tuesday..." That's bull! You're fired up all week. You have your best practices of the year this week and A&M week. As a player, you should know how to keep from going overboard. At this stage, you should know how not to play the game on Tuesday, but you're going to get progressively better and more confident and more focused as the week goes along to where it just climaxes on Saturday afternoon. It's all attitude. It's about being hit. You know, everyone has a gameplan till they get hit. And Texas gets hit in the mouth in this game and doesn't do anything about it. It's mental at this point. It's all mental. Texas has players. Oklahoma has players. The Sooners just hit the Longhorn players and the Longhorn players don't hit back.

Q: Brian, given that Texas has had trouble all season getting any pressure on the QB, are you as worried as I am that Jason White, with time, will pick apart the Longhorn secondary?

B.J.: Oh, no doubt. I had an argument with a Longhorn friend about that last week. He said Greg Robinson's just holding back for this week, yada yada. You have to be able to bring pressure with your front four. You can't rely on the blitz. Ya know, Byron Jones, the cornerback at A&M, has more sacks than the Texas defense! A cornerback at A&M has more sacks than the Texas defense! I don't think the first-team has any sacks. It's all the second- and third-teamers that have come in and gotten the four sacks that the defense has, so it's a big concern. If you don't get pressure on (White), if you don't get your hands up and bat down balls -- which is going to be hard to do, because they're going down the field, not dinking and dunking like Texas Tech -- so that's a big concern. [Follow-up question: Do you see any way to turn that around on the front four given the personnel that Texas can put on the field right now?] The big thing is get off the ball. That's what I don't see. You've got to get off on the snap of the ball. You look at all the great defensive linemen, they get off the ball. They get off at the snap, and I don't see that with the Texas linemen.

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Brian Jones played middle linebacker for the Longhorns in 1989 and 1990, leading the team in tackles both seasons 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

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