Ask James Brown

Former Longhorn QB and NFL Europe star James Brown answers your questions about whether a true freshman can be ready to play quarterback in the Texas-OU game, John Chiles' abilities, and his personal experience leading the Longhorns over the Sooners as a redshirt freshman.

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Q: If true freshman John Chiles becomes a factor against Oklahoma Saturday, how valuable is a redshirt season to a young QB in that particular game?

JB: I think the redshirt year is dispensable, really and truely. It seems like Chiles is a pretty big boy. When I came out of high school, I was about 180 pounds. My redshirt helped me get some of the college weight-training and some good eating. But Chiles is a big guy (6-2, 205). He looks like he's physically ready to play. I didn't have a problem learning the offense (as a true freshman), so I don't think that's why I redshirted. I just think it was because they didn't need me at the time. They had Shea Morenz and Chad Lucas. If there had been an injury (in 1993 redshirt season), I would have got promoted. But going through that full year does give you advantage, just from sitting on the sideline watching games. Your eyes pick up on the speed of the game because it's faster. Your heart picks up with the winning attitude of the team. It helps being there on the field, as a redshirt, during those games.

Q: Chiles has appeared in just two games, but do you have an assessment of his capabilities? What he can accomplish?

JB: I've never talked to him, but he seems like he has a good motor for a freshman. He's got a non-scared attitude. They didn't let him throw early in the game against Kansas State. But the times I've seen him throw, he threw some impressive passes. He has good zip and good height on the ball. He wouldn't just loft it. They were accurate passes. It was good for him to get some college throws in a game, but it wasn't against the starting defense. It's a lot different coming in early in the game throwing passes when all the emotions are high than it is after the game has been decided.

Q: When were you told you would start against Oklahoma (as a RS-freshman in 1994)?

JB: It was minutes before the game. Shea Morenz hurt his knee the week before against Colorado. It's probably a similar situation now. Everybody assumes Colt (McCoy) is going to start against Oklahoma, and everybody assumed Shea would start. I took a lot of reps during the week, but I still thought Shea would start. In my mind, I was there just to keep practice going. On game day, I went out for the pre-game warm-ups while Shea stayed in on the bicycle with the trainers. We went back in for the prayer and, right after the prayer, (coach John) Mackovic said 'James is going to be starting this afternoon'. I didn't have time to think about it. I didn't have time to get nervous. It was a blessing.

Q: At what point in that game did you settle-in? Was there a defining moment when that game slowed down and you began to effectively manage it?

JB: I finally settled down in the third quarter. I came out real excited. I threw an early interception just from being excited and from trying to do too much. Cleve Bryant was the wide receivers coach. I went over to the sideline after the interception, and Cleve gave me some sort of a quote. I can't remember exactly what it was...something about pee running down my leg. He was like, 'I'm glad you got that over with. You're not nervous anymore. Just let it go.' I didn't get to see the defense play too much in that game. I was always on the sideline, listening on the headphones and going over coverages.

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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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