B.J.: Hell yeah. It comes from the top down. If your head coach and your coaches have confidence in you, you're going to have confidence. If they're all pent up and tight, you're going to be tight. That's one of the things I loved about the coaches I had when I played at Texas. David McWilliams and coach Fuller were great. They were never uptight for any ballgame. They were the same no matter what the game was and I think that's why we were so successful, especially against OU in those big games and definitely in the 90 season, because those guys were always cool, calm and collected. I remember we were playing A&M in 1990, it was 28-27 and they were going to go for two, and I walk over the sideline and coach Fuller is as calm as the day and was like, 'What do you want to run.' I was like, 'Damn, coach, you're the coach. This is a crucial moment and you're asking me?' But that's how he always was, so I think that was great that Mack did that. That says that he does have a lot of confidence in his football team and that was good to see and good to hear. He called it, 'We're going to go out here and win this ballgame and here is how we're going to do it,' and he didn't go in there nor did any of the other coaches go in there and raise their voices. They knew they had the situation under control. They understood that they hadn't played their best ball and that Oklahoma State had and they went out there and got it done. I thought that was great, and yes, that makes a big difference if your coach has confidence in you. If your coach is in there panicking, you're going to panic. And I've played with coaches that panic. I played with coaches that couldn't even get the plays in on time. So that makes a huge difference to go in there with that attitude.
Q: Brian, my question is a follow-up from a question last week on the workhorse Benson. Has he screamed loud enough with his recent performances for Heisman voters to seriously listen, enough so that he has a chance to actually win the thing?
B.J.: I don't understand what else this young man has to do. He's the main weapon, the main option in their offense and he's leading the Big 12 in rushing, he's at the top of the nation statistically this season and he's still not getting the recognition he deserves. I think one of the problems is, Cedric Benson's game is not that aesthetically pleasing to the viewer. Instead, he's a gritty, tough runner. I have a good friend tell me today, 'Cedric is boring. He's a boring runner.' And I was like, 'If you don't like a gritty, tough running back that likes to run through tackles, break tackles and things of that nature, you may be right, but I like it.' I like a bruising back that has some speed, who has some elusiveness. So maybe that's the problem, they just don't see him as a sexy runner, a guy who's going to break off 30-, 40- or 50-yard runs each and every game. But he still piles up the yardage. I think he's great. He's been on my Heisman list there on Fox Sports all year long. He deserves to be on there, he deserves that trip to New York. I don't understand what the problem is. I'm sorry if he's not a sexy runner. To hell with how I look getting it done, just worry about me getting it done. Ya know, they don't ask you how pretty the win was, they just put it up there as a win, so I don't understand why there's not more attention afforded this young man because he's a helluva football player and he's going to make some guys happy at the next level -- whoever drafts him. [Follow-up: Do you think that he has a chance to win?] In my book he does. I would say right now Jason White is the front runner. I don't even think Matt Leinart is second, I'd put Cedric second. I'd put Jason White, Cedric, Peterson, and then Leinart, so I think he does (have a chance to win). Hopefully they're taking notice, but I'm not hearing a lot of talk about him. I'm hearing a lot about Adrian Peterson and Cedric has more yards and way more touchdowns, so I don't understand what's going on there but he definitely should be invited to New York. [Follow-up: Do you think the fact that both Oklahoma and USC have two candidates helps Cedric's chances?] That could happen, but first he's got to get invited to New York.
Q: Granted we win out, do we have a chance at the BCS or is it a long shot if Cal and Utah go undefeated? In other words, do you think there will be pressure on the BCS to take the undefeated Utes over the one-loss Horns even if Utah finishes outside the BCS top 6 and below Texas?
B.J.: No, I think if Texas wins out, they're in. They're in. Just take care of business and they're in. [Follow-up: Simple as that?] Yup. Take care of business, OU goes ahead and wins the Big 12 Championship -- which they're going to do -- the Horns are set. [Follow-up: So you're not predicting a Big 12 North upset over Oklahoma this year?] Uh, no! [Laughs] If you're a betting man, I hope you're not either...
Q: You played at Texas and UCLA. Describe the similarities and differences of the two schools.
B.J.: It's changed, but when I was at UCLA it was more of a professional attitude than at Texas. Because workouts were taken seriously (at UCLA) and I transferred to Texas and we had DBs with guts. You had DBs with bigger bellies than the linemen. The difference was, when I came to Texas we had a bunch of guys who thought they were going to win just because they had Texas on the front of their jersey. That didn't wash with me and that's why we were getting our butt kicked and we finally turned that around (in 1990). It was also probably more worldly (at UCLA). You had guys on that football team from a lot of different places, from all over the United States whereas at Texas, the majority of them were from Texas, so you pretty much had the same thing. It was kinda bland because everyone was from Texas but at UCLA you learned about a lot of different regions, a lot of different cultures, guys with a lot of different backgrounds, so it was real cool in that aspect.
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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 InsideTexas.com.