Ask James Brown

Former Longhorn QB and NFL Europe star James Brown answers your questions about the root cause of the recent legal troubles afflicting the Texas program, what the Horns need to do in the red zone, and the whereabouts of some his former UT teammates.



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Q: Is this year's Longhorn team lacking something in leadership, or chemistry, given both the on-field struggles and off-the-field problems? As a former player, do you believe players should do a better job of policing their teammates? Or, should there be better policing from their coaches?

JB: You're asking this of 18- and 19-year old kids who are realizing, for the first time, that they have some freedom in life. It's hard for them to police themselves. [Laughing at gallow's humor] The City of Austin's police are doing a good job of policing them.

I attribute the problems to television and music. You can pick up any rap album and learn how to cook crack, or make cocaine, or distribute it. There is so much, man, that these kids hear and see. They want to experiment at this age. Unfortunately, they're riding around and getting caught with it during routine pullovers.

These guys don't understand that black people, really, are a minority in Austin. (Football players) are not hidden. Everybody knows who they are. They may wear some ragged clothes and think no one will notice them but, given their build, everybody knows who they are. I thought that I could hide myself when I played. I thought that if I put my hat low, or didn't shave, somebody might not recognize me. They underestimate how much of a public figure that they are.

You can't blame the coaches, really. The players have to be more responsible. Even though they're young, they're not kids any more.

Q: Offensive coordinator Greg Davis said this week that he intends to re-evaluate his play calling inside the Red Zone. How can Texas be more productive inside the 20s? Does the problem have more to do with scheme of personnel?

JB: I really don't know what he needs to do inside the 20s. The way I played, coach would call the play and we'd go out there and run it. If it was a pass play, and the play wasn't there, I would try to do like Vince (Young) and run for a few yards. To me, it didn't matter what the play was. It seems like the players ought to able to execute any play that's called. There are only so many defenses that they're going to see. I don't know why they're struggling near the goal line. I would think Texas has better athletes (than most opponents), and it would be around the goal line where their superior athleticism would start to take over. I don't know. I mean, we can't go with the ‘I' (formation) because I don't know if Texas has recruited the personnel for it. I really do like that guy (backup RB Chris) Ogbonnaya, though. I really like him.

Q: Can you give us an update on some of your former teammates. Where are they now?

JB: I can tell you about the people that I know. (CB) Bryant Westbrook is in Houston and just got married. He doesn't have to do anything because he made a lot of money in the NFL. He made $5 million just coming out of college. He lives off his money. He weighs about 280 pounds. He tore up both of his Achilles tendons so he can't run too much. (Safety) Chris Carter is in Houston and married (Temple basketball coach) Don Cheney's daughter. They just had a little boy. (DB) Tre Thomas is in the restaurant business. He has his own Mister Catfish stand that he runs in Houston. Last I heard, (TE) Pat Fitzgerald was in law school but I don't know where Pat is. (WR) Mike Adams got married and lives in Round Rock. I don't know what Mike does, but I know he plays flag football every once in a while. Wane McGarity is back in San Antonio trying to figure out whether he wants to continue playing Canadian football. (RB) Shon Mitchell is a car salesman in Austin. He's doing okay. We play some flag football together.

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James Brown (1994-96) guided Texas to three straight conference championships, including the final Southwest Conference and inaugural Big 12 titles. Brown ranks No. 2 all-time at UT in career passing yards (7,638) and third all-time with 58 touchdown passes.

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