BYU and Texas football both hoping to return to elite status

BYU vs. Texas
2011-09-06T21:45:00Z 2013-11-06T21:45:06Z BYU and Texas football both hoping to return to elite statusJared Lloyd - Daily Herald Daily Herald
September 06, 2011 9:45 pm  • 

Listening BYU and Texas football coaches and players talk about the other program, the words have been cordial and respectful.

"We've played Brigham Young twice," said Longhorn head coach Mack Brown at his press conference on Monday. "They've beaten us both times. They're a great program. They've had ten wins in four of the last five years. They've been to 29 Bowl games. They won a National Championship in 1984. They were 7 and 6 last year. They won five out of their last six ballgames, and the one loss in that run was to Utah by one point.

"So we feel like that they've got a great team coming in.They went on the road in the heat, in the south, and beat Southeastern Conference Ole Miss 14-13, and they were down 13-0 going into the fourth quarter."

Cougar head football coach Bronco Mendenhall was just as complimentary about Texas during his press conference on Tuesday.

"I think Texas is deeper in talent and more athletic than Ole Miss," Mendenhall said. "They also have more diverse schemes on both offense and defense. It will be the next tier for us as we will have a variety of things to prepare for."

While the talk may be congenial, make no mistake about it: Both of these teams need this win.

These two proud football traditions experienced uncharacteristically poor seasons in 2010, with BYU stumbling to a 7-6 record while Texas only managed to go 5-7.

Since neither program had fewer than 10 wins since 2005 other than last season, both are anxious to re-establish themselves on the elite level.

"The first five games last year we took a step back," said Cougar senior linebacker Jordan Pendleton. "We played well during the second half of the season and we want to carry that over. To have a winning record and beat some really good teams is huge for us."

With both squads coming off of Week 1 wins - the Longhorns defeated Rice, 34-9 - a win this Saturday in Austin would be a giant leap toward that goal for both sides.

"I think a win would be a big statement against two great programs," said BYU senior center Terrance Brown. "We expect their best effort. We want to be there at the end with a chance to win."

Pendleton said that he thinks such an opportunity will add a little more excitement to the game - just the way he likes it.

"They are looking at it the way we are, too," the senior said. "They want to get back to being the powerhouse Texas has been, so that's going to add to the game. There is nothing I would rather have than this type of showdown."

But senior wide receiver McKay Jacobson, a Texas native, believes that once the game starts, all of those extra items will be swallowed up in just giving everything on the field.

"Everybody wants to succeed and do well, especially when things haven't gone your way," Jacobson said. "You got to match the effort with the execution and the team that does that is going to win."

These are the types of moments that these players love to face.

"Let's go play some football," Brown said. "We're going to the Big 12 conference with a chance to show the nation we can compete. It's going to be just like last week, where we're going to have to fight until the end. I'm confident in the guys that we have that we'll fight and be in the game."

Edging upward: Even with the win at Ole Miss, BYU saw very little movement in the two sets of college football rankings that were released on Tuesday.

The Cougars edged slightly toward the Top 25 in the AP poll, coming in at No. 32 with 33 votes in the "Also receiving votes" category.

BYU remained even further down the list in the Coaches Poll, sitting tied at No. 44 with just four votes.

A matter of preference: The Cougar defense faces a very different style of football in going up against Texas than it saw when battling Ole Miss.

Where the Rebels wanted to line up and play straightforward, physical football, the Longhorns will show a lot of motion and misdirection.

As a matter of personal choice, Pendleton said he knows which one he'd like to play against more.

"I prefer knowing they are going to try to run on us, " he said. "I love that. Line it up, your guy versus our guy. With the confusion, it makes it more of a challenge. If we read our keys and stay focused, then it's just like any other team."

Snap to it: One of the areas the Cougars needed to address after the Ole Miss game was the exchange between the center and the quarterback.

Brown explained that it was more about timing and tempo, and he said he's confident they have those things taken care of.

"We got it figured out and we'll be good to go," he said. "I guess it was going back there a little soft, but I think it was better in the second half, so I think it's squared away."

Not as crowded: Due to the Labor Day holiday, Mendenhall had his usual Monday morning press conference on Tuesday.

He also had his normal Tuesday teleconference in the afternoon, but due to the fact that most of the local media had been in attendance earlier, the teleconference was much quieter.

Only two questions were asked on the phone call, one from ESPN blogger Andrea Adelson and another from a Westwood One reporter.

Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or jlloyd@heraldextra.com. He can also be followed on Twitter at @JaredrLloyd.

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