Second Season Starts for Horns

The new season for the Texas Longhorns started Monday.

At least that is the approach head coach Mack Brown has taken to close the chapter on the squad‘s "disappointing" offensive performance in the second half against North Texas, and as a way to focus now on the season's first road game looming Saturday against a 1-1 North Carolina team that Brown said is good enough to be nationally ranked.

"We did very little in the opening ball game," Brown said. "We expected to be better than North Texas, and the work that went in (last week) was much better than if we had won big. So we've come back and started over, but we have worked against North Carolina (during the bye-week practice sessions). Thank goodness we've got a chance to start over. We've thrown the North Texas game out and started from scratch."

Part of the new start included a shift in the offensive line (See Changes in O-Line Announced). All- American candidate Derrick Dockery has been practicing at first-team right tackle while Beau Baker was promoted to the starting right guard position that Dockery previously held. Dockery will play both guard and tackle this season, a switch that will be determined largely by whether RT Jonathan Scott remains healthy. Scott was cleared to practice Monday after spraining an ankle against North Texas, but the redshirt freshman also missed much of the preseason with a pulled hamstring.

"I was disappointed in our front seven on offense," Brown said, "but if you don't run the football, it's not just because of the offensive linemen. You take for granted that guys played together for a long time (the O-line is replacing three starters who combined for 91 starts), and you have a couple of new guys in there, and one of them (Scott) got hurt and that puts another new guy in there.

"North Texas coaches were preparing for us for two years, and they changed everything they were doing during the ball game. Our guys should have responded to it better in the third quarter. They got frustrated because they were blitzing every time and moving every time."

Brown deflected some of the blame from the O-line to himself.

"I got stubborn because, in those early games, you like to run the ball better, so we ran the ball on some things we would have otherwise checked-out on," Brown said. "It's stupid if they've got nine guys on the line of scrimmage blitzing every time and you run right into them and not throw the ball. So, we're not going to be stupid. But, then, you've got to (pass) protect, and we didn't protect very well."

Without elaborating, other than to say the entire team worked out in full pads every day last week, atypical for a bye-week, Brown said the offensive line "had a lot of encouragement throughout the week."

"We just started back with some very physical practice sessions," the head coach said.

Some offensive playmakers provided a few more details of the form the "encouragement" took:

"Practice was real intense last week," SE Roy Williams said. "I think some screws got turned a little bit."

Added QB Chris Simms: "When Coach Brown sees something on the field he doesn't like, he lets it be known. We can be in a certain drill on offense and he can come from halfway across the field (saying), "Your pads are too high. Get down. Be tougher.' If he feels like a position is struggling, he keeps that extra third eye on them all the time, and really pushes them throughout the practice."

The offensive line and the quarterback positions are the two most difficult places to play in college football, Brown said. "We were teaching the same techniques; we were just trying to teach it better."


The weekly Longhorn SportsLine call-in radio show will move from Wednesday to Tuesday this week as part of UT Mens' Athletics observance of the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks. On Tuesday, Inside Texas will publish Brown's poignant words about how the event affected him personally, the impact the day had on the players, and what the team will do Wednesday to observe September 11.

[Editor's note: Also see Hot News for an update on Chance Mock.]

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