The first question to Texas coach Mack Brown today illustrated the biggest problem in motivating his team this week against 41-point underdog La.-Monroe.
Brown was asked if he had a strategy this season for blowouts. He immediately looked like he had eaten some especially spicey Tex-Mex food.
"I wonder how many people in American on Monday are talking about blowouts," said Brown, whose team enters Saturday ranked second in both the AP and USA Today polls. "Boy, are we spoiled."
1. Expect a lot of talk this week about 2007. That was when La.-Monroe stunned Alabama 21-14, a score that will undoubtedly be referenced a few hundred times in Texas team meetings. And that season, fellow Sun Belt member Arkansas State put a 21-13 scare into the Longhorns in Austin.
2. Brown expects another strong season from quarterback Colt McCoy, beginning his fourth season as a starter. "I actually told the players the other day that I hope they realize they're playing with the most accurate quarterback in the history of college football, and that they need to enjoy it and embrace it," Brown said. "The defense needs to get off the field as fast as they can so we can get Colt back on."
3. The current tailback pecking order includes Vondrell McGee as the starter, followed by Cody Johnson and injury-plagued Fozzy Whittaker. McGee will get a second chance to put his imprint on the position. Whittaker oozes big-play potential but just hasn't been able to stay healthy for an extended period.
4. Because of Monday class schedules, players got a 4:45 a.m. wakeup call for a 5:45 a.m. practice. "It was really good this morning," Brown said. "We do that now for our off-season program and we also do that now in the morning for bowl practice, so it's something that they're used to. We might even look at it more."
5. Backup quarterback Garrett Gilbert, a true freshman, might get his first college experience Saturday, Brown said. "The most important thing is you try to win the game, then you'd also like to get Garrett some quality snaps," Brown said.
6. Offensive coordinator Greg Davis said freshman receiver/returner Marquise Goodwin, recruited to Texas as a track athlete, could see action in the first game. The moment that Goodwin, a Rowlett product, plays in game, he counts against the 85-man football scholarship limit.