CU Later OU: Brown Wants Eyes Of TX On Buffs

A day after his squad performed below Texas standards in practice, Mack Brown took his team to the woodshed Wednesday. He believes his Longhorns are finally starting to shake their post-OU hangover as No. 24 Colorado comes to town.

"I told them sternly that I didn’t like what I saw out there," said Brown. "They weren’t awful but they didn’t look like the No. 2 team in the country yesterday. I told them they earned the right to be the No. 2 team in the nation, but to keep it, they are going to have someone trying to take it from them each week. Practice was better today, though."

One concern for coaches is Texas’ recent trend following the OU game whereby Texas either submitted a sloppy performance and/or won a nailbiter. Last season's 28-20 win against Missouri, for example, was about as ugly of a Longhorn win as any in recent memory. The Horns prevailed 17-14 at Kansas State in 2002 when Marcus Tubbs got his hands on a potential game-tying FG. Texas trailed Oklahoma State by ten points in the first quarter in 2001 before rallying to a 45-17 win during Cedric Benson's first start.

"We talked to them today about the past seven games after OU," said Brown. "The truth is that we have won that seven, but we won them late."

In fact, five of the seven victories directly following the Cotton Bowl match-up each year have been won in the final few minutes.

"We haven’t played as good in this game as we need to," said Brown.

Colorado spoiled Texas’ national championship run in 2001 by defeating the Horns in the Big 12 championship game, 39-37, but Texas coaches refuse to look ahead to the possibility of playing the Buffs in the championship again.

"What we have to do is just think about Saturday and not think about the championship game or the BCS," said Brown. "This one is important enough to us, so we have to get ready to play and focus on this one alone."

Colorado finished strong enough to claim the Big 12 North title last season, and, in fact has won its division three of the past four years. If this year’s squad is better, Brown believes it is because the Buffs feature a fifth-year senior at quarterback.

"It usually starts at quarterback," said Brown. "Joel Klatt has become a great player now that he’s older and more experienced and he is putting the ball in the right places. They are maximum protecting a lot. It's really hard to get to him now. And its harder to blitz them than the other teams we have played so far."

Colorado snapped a nine-game losing streak to Big 12 South teams by rolling over Oklahoma State (34-0) and Texas A&M (41-20), a game the Buffs so thoroughly dominated that Klatt was resting comfortably on the sideline before the end of the third quarter.

"They have dominated two Big 12 South teams over the last two weeks," said Brown. "The North is fighting back and doing a good job, so it will be fun to watch this game this weekend."

One clear edge Colorado has over the Horns is a top-notch kicking game. John Torp leads the Big 12 in punting, and is second nationally, with his 47.9 ypg average. Georgetown's Mason Crosby has connected on 10-of-13 FG, including a long of 58, and has nailed all 15 PAT attempts this season.

"When you (face) the leading punter and leading kicker in the nation, you have to worry about field position," said Brown.

Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. on an ABC telecast.

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