Coaches leaving 1997 in the past
In his early days as Texas’ football coach, Mack
Brown would remind Longhorns players who were part of the 1997 team about the humiliation of their 66-3 loss to UCLA.
He says those types of motivational ploys are long gone, though.
“We have not talked to the kids about it; they weren’t really around,” Brown said this week. “The media and the fans are going to talk about it. But the kids were 4 or 5 years old at the time. They don’t know players from that game, and the coaches have changed.” UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel spent even less time on the subject, saying, “That was a much different Texas team than the one we were facing now.”
Texas finished 4-7 in 1997. The seventh-ranked Longhorns are 3-0 this season.
Still, those in the UCLA family are hoping for some déjà vu.
“We were 0-2 that season and UCLA is 1-2 now,” said
Danny Farmer, a wide receiver on the 1997 UCLA team.
“The coaching staff was relatively new, like now. We beat Texas and went on the amazing run”— 20 consecutive victories.
“Maybe if we do it again we can get another run started,” Farmer said.
Let’s get physical
The season-ending injury to defensive end Iuta
Tepa, who is out because of a torn chest muscle, will require freshman Owamagbe
Odighizuwa to grow up a little quicker.
Odighizuwa has taken Tepa’s backup role on the depth chart — behind starters Nate Chandler and Keenan Graham — though when defensive coordinator
Chuck Bullough talks about him, it’s clear that UCLA coaches are eager to see Odighizuwa claim the position.
“Oh man,” Bullough blurted out at the mention of Odighizuwa. “He’s a physical specimen.
“He’s ready physically. He has only been here eight weeks. He has to learn all the little details that go with playing defensive end. You can’t expect him to be
Datone Jones right away. But in terms of physicality, he is impressive.”
For those counting, Bullough used variations of the word “physical” three times in what was about a 40-second interview.
Odighizuwa said that his technique is coming along, but “I have to work on my foot and hand placement. I have to get better at the hand fighting. I have to shuck and shed.”
By the numbers
UCLA has been unranked for 49 consecutive weeks in the Associated Press poll, the longest stretch in school history.
The last time Texas was not ranked was after a season-opening loss to North Carolina State in 1999.
Neuheisel has a 2-1 record against Texas. He beat the Longhorns twice as coach at Colorado. Neuheisel’s Washington team lost to Texas in the 2001 Holiday Bowl.
The Longhorns have not lost to a team west of the state of Texas since Washington State beat them in the 2003 Holiday Bowl.