Coaches leav­ing 1997 in the past

Los Angeles Times - - Ucla Gameday - Chris Fos­ter chris.fos­ter@latimes.com

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.

Brown

Neuheisel

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