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Mack Brown, Longhorns prepare for Saturday showdown

Texas head coach Mack Brown participated in Monday morning's Big 12 teleconference and talked about this week's matchup with Ole Miss. Brown knows he has some questions that must be answered about his team come Saturday night.
Lawrence Peart/The Daily Texan

 
There's a different feeling in Oxford right now as Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and the Rebels are getting ready to host No. 14 Texas for Saturday night's showdown at 8:15 p.m. 
 
Much has been said about the number of fans that will make the trip from Texas, but as for Longhorn head coach Mack Brown and his squad, they're just focused on getting out of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium with a win and improving to 3-0 on the young season.
 
"It is a real challenge," Brown said in Monday morning's Big 12 teleconference. "We took a young team on the road to UCLA last year for the first road game and played very well. I know they're excited about going into the SEC. They're excited about Ole Miss. They're impressed by them and happy they're 2-0, so it will be two undefeated teams playing. It's a tough game for us that will help prepare us to go into the conference in two weeks, so I think we'll be excited about it."
 
Texas has looked impressive so far this season compiling wins over Wyoming and New Mexico. Brown was more pleased with the way the Longhorns are playing on the offensive side of the ball. Texas has put up 37 and 45 points on the scoreboard in their first two games, respectively, and they've relied heavily on the pass.
 
"We only had six running plays in the first half," Brown said. "But we were able to work on our passing game, and that's where we felt like we needed to make progress. We want to be more balanced, and we feel like we're making progress in those areas. We're taking care of the ball. We're converting on third downs. And we're converting in the red zone, and those are all areas we struggled in last year."
 
Longhorn quarterback David Ash is 36-of-49 passing this year for 377 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. 
 
Defensively, Texas has faced two different complex offenses. Ole Miss will be similar to what Wyoming brought to the table, but still are a different look that the Longhorns will have to prepare for.
 
"We didn't realize it when we scheduled them that New Mexico would be an option team," Brown said. "But it forced us to look at some option, and Ole Miss runs some option. They're a very good running team as well. They're averaging 280-something yards a game rushing. Now, we've seen a wide open spread offense that's no huddle in Wyoming, a true triple option team in New Mexico and now, we'll see a fast paced team much like Oklahoma State in Ole Miss. They're uptempo, no huddle with a spread. It's really been good for our defense." 
 
When looking at the weekend's matchup, Brown said he's been extremely impressed with the Rebels. He noted the speed Ole Miss has on both sides of the ball and thinks it will be a big test for his team.
 
One player in particular that caught Brown's eye is sophomore defensive end C.J. Johnson. 
 
"He's an absolute terror," Brown said. "He's done a great job. I know (Texas defensive coordinator) Manny Diaz, who came from Mississippi State, recruited him and said that he's one of the great players that he's ever been around."
 
As for the Rebel offense, Brown was giving a lot of credit to Freeze's offense that has scored 77 points in their first two games.
 
"Ole Miss is a very very much improved football team," Brown said. "You look at their offense. They're a lot like what you see every week in the Big 12. They're uptempo, they're running up and down the field. They're averaging 551 yards a game. Bo Wallace has been great for them. They have a lot of speed too. Both tailbacks can run, wide receivers can run, so they can beat you in a number of ways.
 
"You have to give Hugh a lot of credit for getting them headed in the right direction so quickly."
 
For continuing coverage of Ole Miss football, follow @thedm_sports and @DavidLCollier on Twitter.