New Attitude Is Downright 'Offensive'

One way to tell that the offense is embracing the killer instinct that <B>Mack Brown</b> said it lacked in the season opener is to focus on what happens downfield, away from the line of scrimmage, during one of those so-called "explosive" plays that gobbles up yards, and preferably, points.

Instead of just trailing the action, the Texas offense was even more offensive by blocking aggressively downfield (and that wasn't just the linemen).

"There were 25 knockdowns by our wide receivers, tight ends and linemen downfield (FL Tony Jeffery accounted for eight) which shows the attitude and aggressiveness we've been looking for," Brown said.

As such, the O-line, the tight ends and FB Matt Trissel all shared the team's Offensive Player of the Week award because each personified "the attitude that we have to have to be successful, and didn't have in the opening game in the second half," the head coach said.

Meanwhile RB Cedric Benson was selected the Big 12 Offensive Player of the week (see Hot News) for his 208 yards on 31 carries and two rushing touchdowns.

"The offensive performance that we had Saturday is what we want every week," Brown said. "We're not always going to have that many yards but that's the (aggressive) attitude that we're going to have."

Unlike last week (but as expected), there were no changes on the offensive line.

Brown lauded C Jason Glynn after challenging the O-line to step up following the North Texas game.

"Jason Glynn played much better than he did in the first game," Brown said. "It (the difference) was not even close."

The new attitude also surfaced when Texas responded to North Carolina's pair of touchdowns to draw within 10 points halfway through the third quarter.

"The best thing I felt is that good offensive teams answer," Brown said, "and when they scored we went right back and scored. In fact, we scored a little too quickly in the third quarter and the defense probably stayed out there too long (29 plays)."

Texas scored on a 10-yard pass to TE Chad Stevens on a drive that took all of two plays and 52 seconds.

"I dream about making catches like that," Stevens said of his first career TD reception. "I have been in the shadows for three years now. All the work that I've put in, all the summer work and all the sweat, it's finally paying off."


LB Lee Jackson and DE Cory Redding are Texas Defensive Players of the Week for their effort against North Carolina. Jackson led the team with eight tackles (7 solo) while Redding was credited with 5.5 tackles (4 unassisted).

The 2002 Texas defense can be better than last year's squad that led the nation, but the current unit is not playing at the level of the previous bunch this time last season, Brown said.

"In watching the (game) film, I thought our defense played really hard but I just don't think we're as good right now as we were last year on defense at this time," Brown said. "North Texas wasn't very good on offense, so we came out looking much better on defense than we are at this point, in my estimation. So we've got a lot of work to do before Saturday night on defense. We can be a real good football team at the end, but we're not there yet."

Texas did a poor job of tackling Saturday, missing on at least 15 tackles. North Carolina posted four passes covering 16 yards or more (170 total passing yards) that Brown said was "acceptable, but we'd rather not have that many." Defenders were also outside of their assigned lanes during quarterback draws, Brown added.

It was a matter of technique and ultimately correctable, Jackson said.

"(Defensive coordinator) Coach (Carl) Reese said he'll call the plays and will put us in the right spot, but we just have to be there," Jackson said. "A couple of times we didn't line up right, or the tackles would loop out on some plays. But I thought we took care of that quite well toward the end of the game."

The defense should have had five more turnovers (4 missed interceptions, 1 missed fumble recovery) and will work on gaining possession of the ball when it actually hits Texas defenders in the hands.

Defensive depth also concerns Brown as DT Marcus Tubbs exited during the second quarter with a mild concussion (his playing time for Saturday remains undetermined) while linebackers Lee Jackson and Reed Boyd nursed minor injuries throughout the contest. Adam Doiron, Stevie Lee and Roderique Wright shared snaps at tackle, with Brown commending Wright for his contribution.

For the second time in as many days, Brown (with tongue-in-cheek) implored the media to be as critical of the defense this week as it was of the offense following the North Texas game.

"If y'all upset the defense like you did the offense two weeks ago, we'll be fine," Brown said.


Texas won all phases of the kicking game Saturday but still has ample room for improvement, Brown said.

On the season, Texas is 10-of-12 in the red zone, with two misses the result of short-distance field goals.

"We've got to make those to win all of our games," Brown said.

The head coach is looking for more consistency on kickoffs (K Richmond McGee has a rocket leg and launched the ball out of the end zone in the home opener but opened the North Carolina with a pair of attempts that went out of bounds. The first kick was negated as a result of a Texas offsides penalty).

Brown attributed it to a case of road-game jitters.

"He got too excited," Brown said. "It's amazing the difference between playing here and playing on the road. They get so comfortable here."

Brown expressed disappointment in both the team's punting and punt coverage units. P Brian Bradford averaged 35.6 yards on five punts, while Texas special teams surrendered 92 return yards on the night.

"Overall, our kicking game was better than theirs Saturday night but we were really just average," Brown said.

Meanwhile, Brown's previously expressed worries about the kickoff return unit (the head coach hadn't seen it due the defense's nearly six quarters of shut-out football) vanished as quickly as it took true freshman Selvin Young to sprint 38 yards on his first career return attempt. The play set up the offense for a quick-strike, two-play score in the third quarter to regain the momentum against the resurgent Tar Heels.

"It was a huge play for a freshman the first time he's touched the ball when it mattered," Brown said.


Coaches gave players Monday off from practice after arriving back in Austin at approximately 4 a.m. Sunday. Players reviewed North Carolina game film Sunday afternoon, and will return to practice Tuesday at the regular afternoon slot. The frenetic schedule has worn out coaches as well.

"I hate night games," Brown said, stifling a yawn.

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