Review session: 2003 season opener
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Longhorns went through their final review for Sunday's game against New Mexico State (6 p.m./Central/Fox Sports Net) with a short practice session on Friday afternoon in Royal-Memorial Stadium. The session lasted slightly over an hour before the Horns headed in for a team meeting.
"What you'd like to today is to have the perfect play practice," Head Coach Mack Brown said. "You'd like to have them fresh, you'd like to have them focused. For our fans, it would be like reviewing for a test, or reviewing for something that's really important to you. These guys have 12 scheduled opportunities, and they work 350-plus days to get 12 opportunities, so they sure don't want to mess one up. We also feel like they'll listen to you more now than right before the ball game, so we give our pre-game thoughts in a meeting tonight. We do that because we want them to hear what we're saying, and they're focused. We'll show them some New Mexico State film from last year, and we'll talk to them about the keys to the game."
While reviewing for its test, Texas touched on a variety of subjects from one-minute drills for offense and defense, to end-of-game and kicking situations, to short-yardage and goal line plays.
"You spend about an hour and 15 to an hour and 20 minutes today reviewing every possible thing that could come up in a ball game," Brown said. "Obviously with No. 15 Maryland getting upset last night by Northern Illinois, it gives us a great opportunity to say, 'All college football teams are pretty good now. With limited numbers, everybody's got good football players, so you better not walk out there thinking you're something you're not, because nobody's proved anything yet.'"
Having to wait until Sunday to play brought certain decisions before the team leadership committee, including setting a Friday night curfew, and whether or not the players would stay in their rooms to watch college football or follow tradition and go to a movie the night before the game.
"They were unanimous, they all wanted to go to the movies, because that's what we do, and our game is more important than the others they would watch," Brown said. "There won't be a lot of classes Saturday, and a lot of the students will be out late (on Friday), and they'll be loud. Our leadership committee set an 11:00 p.m. curfew for our team. One of the things you've learned is that the most pressure you could ever have is from your peer group. When our leadership committee says you better be in that bed by 11:00, you better be in that bed by 11:00, or you'll have some consequences if they find out differently."
As practice closed, Coach Brown also gave a final reminder to the team to be aware of rules concerning equipment and officiating, hitting several points:
Socks: "The rules committee says that you either have to have socks that are short, which means from the middle of your calf down, and if you wear those type of socks, then you have to have at least an inch of sock showing above your ankle brace or above your shoe. If you decide as a group that you're going to wear long socks all the way up to your knee, then everyone has to wear long socks."
Kneepads: "In pre-game, they look at your knee to make sure the kneepad has covered the full knee. If part of the knee is showing, then they'll take you out and not let you participate until you change your pants."
Mouthpiece: "It's a rule that you have to have your mouthpiece in, and if you do not have your mouthpiece in, the official can charge you a timeout, and timeouts are too precious. We don't ever want to call a timeout unless we absolutely have to, because we want to save them to right before the half and right before the end of the game."
Unsportsmanlike Conduct: "In practice, guys will push and shove sometimes or they'll clown around when they score or make an interception, and they can't do that during the ball games. It'll cost us 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, and they understand that. We also can't fight, because if you fight in a ball game, even if you get hit and you hit back, you'll lose the rest of that game and potentially lose another one."