Stevens: Tradition Rich Texas Plans A Hot Day in Austin For Lobos
When/Where: 6 p.m. (MT), Austin, Texas
Radio: 770 KKOB-AM, Lobo Radio Network; pregame at noon
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By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Are the Texas Longhorns angry - out to prove something? Looking for a whipping boy?
The word in Austin, Texas is that the Longhorns are happy to be 1-0, but not exactly thrilled with a few pitfalls in the path that led them to their 37-17 win over Wyoming.
The win was called "less-than-impressive" by a few of the media eyes of Texas and that statement holds true when you notice that Texas actually fell in national polls.
The Longhorns are concerned that they didn't score more points against Wyoming, didn't complete more long passes, and gave up too many big plays on defense. And missed a few key tackles, too.
"I've said throughout the preseason I had some concerns with the defense," said Texas Coach Mack Brown said. "Nobody listened."
However, Brown also told the Texas media that he thought the game was "perfect."
Now, Brown didn't exactly mean that the game was perfect in terms of execution, tackling, blocking, etc. He meant it was perfect because his Longhorns didn't play up to expectations, still won a game that was never really in doubt, and are fired up to do better this Saturday against the 1-0 New Mexico Lobos.
His Longhorns seek redemption.
One comment out of the Longhorns' locker room is that the Texas defense got caught up in its press clippings and didn't attack Wyoming with the right intensity or focus.
"I thought that was perfect for us," Brown said Monday. "Our defense was mad. Kenny Vaccaro said they're gonna quit reading the magazines (over hyping the team) and go back to work. We have to be disciplined. And the offense wants to score more points.
"I think it was a perfect opener."
The Lobos had a similar "perfect" opener. They won, racked up a nice 66-21 point total, built some confidence and found a lot of things to improve.
The No. 15 Longhorns get to try and improve at home in front of 100,000-plus fans against a New Mexico team climbing out of a 3-33 past. The Lobos have to go to Austin and try to beat the No. 15 team in the nation in front of a hostile pack of rabid Texans - in humidity.
There is a difference.
Another difference in this game is that both teams have had the chance to check out the other team's opener. Strengths and weaknesses have been exposed. "I'm looking at that tape like Texas is looking at that tape," said Lobo Coach Bob Davie.
The Lobos know the Longhorns are loaded with talent and like to throw a lot of multiple looks at the enemy on both offense and defense.
The Lobos ran the ball well against Southern. The Longhorns ran the ball well against Wyoming. Most likely, the Longhorn s will try to establish their power running attack against UNM and possibly open up their passing attack a bit more.
Most likely, the Lobos will throw their option attack at the Longhorns, but be ready with some other stuff - in case the option gets stuffed.
"I don't anticipate Texas will change what they do on defense for us," said Bob DeBesse, UNM's offensive coordinator.
Texas probably won't change much because the Longhorns probably think they have the edge in size, quickness, talent and depth. And they probably do. The Longhorns surely think those qualities will take care of the Lobo option. Texas led the Big 12 in total defense and rushing defense in 2011.
For sure, the Lobos step into the stomping grounds of a program blanketed in tradition. The Longhorns' honorary captain on Saturday is Earl Campbell, a Heisman Trophy winner. Texas is No. 2 all time on the NCAA victory list moving past Alabama and Notre Dame and trailing Michigan. Texas is one of three teams to win at least 10 games in nine consecutive seasons.
The list goes on and on. Texas is a fixture in the royal court of NCAA football and sometimes sits alone on the throne.
"They are unbelievable quick," said UNM's DeBesse.
One reason Brown probably thought the win over Wyoming was perfect is because his team won easily despite playing a lot of youth. Texas has nine scholarship seniors on its roster. Texas played 12 freshmen against Wyoming.
The `Horns expect to get better because the `Horns are young.
On offense, the Longhorns plan to toss out a balanced attack, but their strength might be a power ground game fueled by Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron - and the return of nine starters.
Brown and Bergeron had 110 and 105 yards respectively against Wyoming, however, freshman Johnathan Gray might be the best runner at Texas. One Texas sportswriter predicted Gray would gain 1,000 yards in 2012.
The "balance" in Texas' attack comes from the Longhorns having two good quarterbacks in starter David Ash and Case McCoy. They combined to throw for 2,113 yards in 2011. Ash did all the throwing against Wyoming completing 20-of-27 for 156 yards and one touchdown.
Texas had three receivers catch more than 30 passes last year and that trio returns intact: Mike Davis (45 catches in 2011), Jaxon Shipley (44) and Marquise Goodwin (33).
Coach Davie has played the Longhorns 11 times as a coach and is aware of the Longhorns' tradition, pride in football and the atmosphere of Texas Stadium.
"I know what's coming," Davie said. "But we can't simulate it."
Texas Notes: The Lobos had better keep an eye on receiver Jaxon Shipley when he goes into motion. He just might pass the ball. Shipley threw one pass against Wyoming, but was 4-of-4 in 2011 with three TDs. ... Texas' top defensive lineman is Alex Okafor, a 2011 All-American. He combines with Jackson Jeffcoat to give Texas one of the top DE duos in the nation. Kenny Vaccaro is one of the top defensive backs in the country. ... Texas was 6-of-6 for red-zone scores with five touchdowns. ... O-lineman Mason Walters had 12 pancake blocks against Wyoming. ... Three Wyoming completions went for 149 yards and two scores. ...