Ask Brian Jones

Former Longhorn and NFL linebacker Brian Jones answers your questions.

Q: OK B.J., last week you said you saw nothing in the Missouri game that led you to believe that the Texas D would be successful against Tech and that you thought the Red Raiders would win. First, what side dish would you like with your crow? And second, how did all the things that you pointed to as signs of impending failure in Lubbock turn around in one week?

B.J.: [Laughs] That is funny. That is good stuff. I will eat my crow. I will happily eat my crow. I am shocked and surprised because I saw no indication that we would watch such a display of great defense. I apologize. I hadn't seen that all season. No one has seen that all season. You saw guys flying around, swarming to the football, tackling. You saw a pass rush! Come on. You saw all the intricate schemes that Greg Robinson promised to bring to this defense. It was great! I acknowledge that. That was wonderful defense. But I also acknowledge that Texas Tech is not a physical football team. You've got that dink and dunk, that's not physical football. This will be a good test this week vs. Colorado as to measuring how far this defense has come, but I'll admit, that was excellent against Tech. That was unbelievable. That's how you go after those teams like that. But you've got to go after everybody. You're going to come up against different styles. That's more of a finesse type football, this week against Colorado, this is big boy football, power running.

Q: Saturday, the TV cameras showed defensive coordinator Greg Robinson on the sidelines late in the game, still coaching up his guys, intense as ever, despite the blowout. You've mentioned before that Robinson coached at UCLA when you were there in the late 80's before transferring to Texas. Was he as, shall we say, "high energy" back then as he is today and as a player, does that in your face presence on the sideline make a difference, particularly with defensive players?

B.J.: He scared the shit out of me one game. Playing Cal, we were in the tunnel going out to the field -- and I didn't understand how big a game it was, UCLA-Cal, but that's a huge game just like UCLA-Stanford. They're not on the level of UCLA-USC but they're still pretty important football games in that part of the country -- and we were coming out of the tunnel and I was a freshman and he scared the hell out of me. This man was going nuts. This man was acting as if he was going to be playing. It was incredible and it was great. He's an intense guy and always has been every since I've known him as an 18 year old kid. He's an intense guy and I like that. I like that he brings that fiery style and he's in your face... I like his style and I knew he was going to bring that rah-rah, in your face intensity to the team and I felt like the team needed that. Nice little injection...

Q: Do you think Derrick Johnson hurt his chances for the Butkus because he only had one tackle against Tech?

Heck no. Shoot, he's got enough in the bank, he's gonna win that. That thing has got his name written all over it. I can't see anyone else that's playing at the level he is. Are there still some things he can work on? Of course. He has to stop over-running plays and tackle a little better but this guy is the baddest thing on defense. He can get to the ball and when he gets there he has a mean disposition and it doesn't matter where the ball is on the field, he's going to find it. He has an excellent motor, great speed. He has everything, so he's going to be fine. That trophy should already have his name engraved on it. If it doesn't, there's something wrong. Conspiracy...

Q: This may be a silly question, but you hear it mentioned pretty often, so what the heck, I'll ask someone who's experienced it first-hand: are players noticeably affected playing in high altitudes?

I'd say this, if you are in excellent shape, no. You're not affected. But I went up there my first year we played them in '89 and I was in horrible shape and I was about to die after the third play. It affected my butt because I was in bad shape. I was grossly overweight and I thought I was in shape, but I wasn't, and it definitely motivated me for the following season. It affects you if you are not in excellent shape but if you're in excellent condition, you should not have any problems. I played there later when I was in the pros and I was in excellent condition and I had no problem with it. I think that's the key. You have to be in excellent shape and you'll be fine. If you are a disgusting fat body like I was in '89, you're going to have problems. [Laughs]

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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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