"It (the offensive letdown) was the best thing that could have happened," Brown said Saturday. "If we could have scripted it like this and still won by 27, then that's what I'd want."
Presumably, Brown's intent is to use the film as both a teaching and motivational tool to guard players against future meltdowns against the Oklahomas and Nebraskas of the world.
Just how bad was the offense in the second half? Consider this:
…Including the yards lost on sacks, Texas ran the ball 15 times and had negative 15 net yards rushing. It finished the game with 28 total yards on 35 attempts.
…QBs Chris Simms and Chance Mock combined for 6-of-15 passing and 52 second-half yards, with Mock getting sacked two of the four times he attempted to throw.
…The offensive line gave up eight total sacks for a loss of 51 yards during the game.
…The team had 13 penalties totaling 100 yards.
Brown intends to review the film with position coaches Monday morning and then with players later that afternoon. But more than a movie review, it will be a moment of reckoning for some Longhorns.
"We're going to get some answers and call some folks out," the head coach said Sunday. "We're going to have to compete better against North Carolina (Sept. 14) or we'll get beat. The first half I thought we played really good but I'm concerned about the lack of effort after we'd gotten a team down 27-0. Usually we put people away and we didn't do that. We didn't play physical enough on offense. We're going to find out who, and why, and take it from there."
Part of the breakdown stemmed from Texas replacing both its starting center and entire right side of its offensive line from last year's veteran unit, and then rotating fresh faces in during the third and fourth quarters of the opener.
"I thought the second team played poorly," Brown said. "They moved the ball on our first-team defense in practice so I was really disappointed in them."
The ho-hum effort did not allow Mock to have significant snaps earlier in the contest. The sophomore's second series actually began in the final three minutes after Tony Jeffery recovered a Ja'Mel Branch fumble as he tried to field a 40-yard Justin Smith punt. The play set up Texas at the Mean Green 20 yard line, but the drive was killed after two false-start penalties. On UT's previous possession, Mock was thrown was 20 yards in losses.
"I thought we'd score more and have them out of the game in the third quarter and he'd (Mock) get a chance to play more in the fourth," Brown said. "I was hoping to get Chance in during the middle of the third quarter but it didn't happen that way. The key point was winning the game. We put in the second-team line and they didn't touch anyone. They gave up two sacks and Chance had no chance. The people in there with him didn't give him a chance to make more plays and we needed him to do that before going to Chapel Hill."
Brown was also quick to credit UNT's defensive effort. Some of the problems resulted from coverage sacks, Brown said. North Texas blitzed more than Longhorn coaches anticipated and "tackled well." Mean Green defensive tackle Brandon Kennedy was a particularly nasty houseguest, registering eight tackles, including one sack. (Kennedy was OT Jason Glynn's responsibility much of the night).
"We made Kennedy look like an All-American," Brown said. "I was told no one touched him all night, and I believe it. Their defensive coordinator said you can't block him one-on-one."
(Say it isn't so! With all due respect to Kennedy, if Texas can't block a North Texas guy, one shudders to think what kind of day Oklahoma's Tommie Harris stands to have on Oct. 12).
Still, here's what else you didn't see offensively: Texas turnovers. You didn't see Simms' getting one picked off and returned the distance the way you did not only against Colorado but also against Kansas and Louisiana-Lafayette last fall. Brown continues to emphasize the marked improvement in Simms' touchdown-to-interception ratio during the past two seasons.
"We've made such an emphasis for Chris not to throw interceptions that he may have more sacks this year," Brown said. "Chris probably played the best game he's ever played (Saturday). At one point he was nine-for-nine, and I felt like he could have completed every ball last night. I thought his decision making was fantastic. He had a drop or two, and he threw a couple balls away. The problem was his pass protection. We didn't pass protect particularly well, and we're disappointed in that. But we also told (Simms) to be smarter with the ball and he did that. That doesn't mean we're going to have six sacks a game. But if there's any doubt of him not knowing where people are, he can take the sack, or we can punt and then we can play defense."
Brown said both Simms (16-of-26 for 186 yards, one passing TD, one rushing TD and no interceptions) and SE Roy Williams (leading receiver with five catches for 81 yards, plus 17 yards rushing on a reverse) were "spectacular."
The coach said he anticipates no drastic personnel shakeups in the depth chart or in the offensive schemes.
"I've lived with these guys through the spring and the fall," Brown said. "I wouldn't think we'd need wholesale changes, but some guys need to play better."
More than anything else, it has less to do with talent or skill level than it does complacency and maintaining a killer instinct.
"Football doesn't change much," Brown said, "It's not so much the schemes but who blocks and who hits and competes the hardest. They weren't threatening us so we decided not to threaten them."
Above all, Brown is not too terribly disappointed in a 27-0 victory considering what happened to Colorado, North Carolina and Oklahoma State over the weekend (losses to underdogs) and what nearly happened to Penn State and Alabama (near misses).
"We won 27-0," Brown said, "and if (North Texas) is happy and we're sad, then things are a little distorted. I'm proud that we did what we needed to do in the opening ballgame to win and we'll get a lot better in the second half."
TRUE FRESHMEN SEE ACTION
From our binoculars, eight true freshmen took off their redshirts against North Texas.
TE David Thomas was one of the first members of the highly touted Class of ‘05 to see playing time, particularly when Texas lined up in a spread offense.
As expected, DE Bryan Pickryl was part of the defensive end-by-committee approach to shoring up the line as Kalen Thornton continues to recover from off-season knee surgery.
RB Selvin Young had three carries for 10 yards and gave CB/return man Nathan Vasher a breather late in the game by fielding three punts.
No surprise that defensive coordinator Carl Reese wanted to build depth at linebacker by inserting Mike Williams, Garnet Smith and Aaron Harris.
Rodrique Wright parlayed his impressive off-season work into playing time at DT, while speedster CB Edorian McCullough logged second-half snaps.
OL Jonathan Scott suffered an ankle injury: DE Cory Redding missed the fourth quarter with a dislocated rib but "it popped back into place," according to senior DE.