Big 12 Media Day Quick Hits

From the Nebraska game to Garrett Gilbert's progression as a passer, Wednesday marked Texas's appearance at Big 12 Media Days. Here are five quick thoughts from Texas's conference.

* Gilbert's development

Can a team win a championship with a new quarterback? Brown thinks so.

"You have to be really strong around him," Brown said.

Brown cited the Pittsburgh Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger as an example. The Steelers protected their rookie quarterback at the time with a strong running game and a powerful defense.

Gilbert hasn't lost often ... just once over the past two years.

"I like to win," Gilbert said. "That's why you come to a school like Texas."

All the players and Brown commented on Gilbert's leadership qualities, and he's calmed down from his National Championship game performance.

Brown said Gilbert's eyes were "as big as silver dollars," before entering that game, and said that Gilbert couldn't find his helmet. That nervousness was in direct contrast to Gilbert's mood before the game, Brown said.

"He finished his steak before the game," Brown said. "He wasn't very nervous. You can always tell. The guys who say: 'can I have some of your steak,' aren't going to play."

"He's going to be a great player," Hix added.

* No big deal

Texas Coach Mack Brown said that the video, and the hype set up for Texas's visit to Lincoln hadn't changed the way Texas would prepare for Nebraska.

Brown, who said he hadn't seen the video, also said it didn't alter the perception of the game. He mentioned that both Texas and Nebraska would have been pumped up for the game regardless, and added that he took it as a compliment that Nebraska thought so much of the Texas program.

"I love that game," Brown said. Brown also said he had an admiration for Nebraska fans, who applauded Ricky Williams following a big rushing performance in 1998. He said he didn't believe the video, nor the increased intensity, would change the way the Nebraska fans act when Texas visits.

Defensive tackle Kheeston Randall agreed.

"It's just another game," Randall said.

* Depth concern at defensive tackle

Brown said that Randall needed to step up into a role similar to one previously occupied by Lamarr Houston and Roy Miller. Defensive end Sam Acho said that Randall had that sort of potential.

"He's really good. I've seen what he can do in practice," Acho said. "He's a big guy, really quick and athletic and he's really strong."

But the questions start when looking at the player opposite Randall, who Brown said weren't as experienced.

For his part, Randall said he wasn't worried.

"Those guys have all been working really hard," Randall said. "Who plays there depends on the coaches, but they're all working hard and they all can be good players."

Depth could fall to freshmen like Taylor Bible or Ashton Dorsey.

"Those guys are students of the game," Randall said.

* Offensive changes

Brown said he was confident in the depth of the positions on offense, where both running back and wide receiver have a number of options to choose from.

"What we don't have, is the guy," Brown said.

Brown said the coaches looked at establishing a running game after efforts in their last two BCS games, and after it appeared that the Texas offense could get the same number of plays while limiting the number of plays run by the opposing team.

But offensive tackle Kyle Hix said the offense would still air it out at times.

"We just won't be out in five wide receiver sets all the time," Hix said.

Hix said the no-huddle meant that he didn't know which running back was in the game most of the time, though he said that all of the Texas backs "have improved."

As for whether the linemen enjoyed the new offense, Hix said he didn't have a preference.

"I like the offense that moves the ball down the field and scores points," Hix said.

* Big summer for Acho

Acho grabbed 10 sacks a year ago, establishing himself as one of the conference's top defensive ends. But a better experience for Acho might have come over the summer, when he spent a few weeks in Nigeria, taking multiple teammates with him.

"It was a blast," Acho said.

Acho said that he didn't find any future Longhorns in the village he stayed at because the main sport there was soccer.

"I played soccer with the kids in the village. It's my natural sport," Acho quipped.

Brown said that Acho was a quiet leader, like Quan Cosby, whose toughness was infectious.

Randall said that Acho would again play a major part in what defensive coordinator Will Muschamp calls the best pass defense: the pass rush.

Want more in-depth coverage on your favorite NFL team? Click here and get started today.


Horns Digest Top Stories