Texas coach Mack Brown tried to keep the mood loose during his press conference at Big 12 media days press conference on Tuesday. His opening statement reflected that, as he noted that he was “sitting in a red chair, and I don't do that very often” -- A subtle nod towards the other side of the Red River, no doubt.
Brown then brought his own personal cheering section into the room -- a cross-section of cheerleaders in attendance from multiple schools.
“I asked the ladies to come in, and if I had any hard questions, I would let them support me,” Brown said. “So we'll just ask them to step up and answer any questions that we need here. They've got my back.”
Thankfully, the cheerleaders were not needed to answer any questions during the press conference.
The obvious question for Texas is at a position of strength for several other Big 12 teams: quarterback.
Still, Brown seemed confident.
“We're coming in at a much better place this year than we were last year,” he said. “They left spring practice even. In talking to the guys last night, they've had a very competitive summer, and both of them are in the mix and we should have a great battle at that position in preseason.
“[Using] two [quarterbacks] is more difficult if the chemistry isn't working well. Right now David and Case are getting along really well. They're worried more, from what I hear, about winning than they are playing, and I feel like that one of those guys will separate himself some in preseason and it will give us the other guy to come off the bench and play if need be.”
To take some of the pressure off the ultimate winner of that battle at quarterback, Brown said a commitment must be made to playing with a “toughness.” He was later asked to define what that means on both sides of the ball.
“I think toughness on offense is the ability to move the ball either by throwing it or running it, and therefore confidence,” he said. “And we did not play well in the red zone last year. You better be tough on short yardage and goal line [situations] and tough in the red zone. You can't just throw it all the time and be successful.
“The other thing is being able to stop the other team's rushing game and making that team one dimensional, because it's hard to win if you're one dimensional.”
When a reporter asked if Texas would run counter to the Big 12's trend of pass-happy spread offenses, Brown agreed, saying offensive balance and power football will need to be calling cards of the Longhorns this season if they are to find success.
Texas figured to be a young team. Brown said if the season started today, he would only start two seniors on offense and two more on defense.
Brown said he feels like he has “really good players” at key positions, but their youth could create a dearth of on-field leaders. “The leadership is going to have to come from within with some of the younger guys,” he said.
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