BYU vs Texas from a Longhorn state of mind

By Charles Kano

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 7 2011 12:00 p.m. MDT

Charles Kano, senior writer for truebluecougars.com spoke with Texas Longhorn insiders Mike Barnes, of KVUE TV in Austin, and Peter Bean, co-founder and editor at Burnt Orange Nation blog. We asked them a series of questions to help Cougar fans get familiar with the University of Texas and its football team in anticipation for the matchup against the Longhorns in Austin this weekend.

What is the buzz around campus and the community about the matchup against BYU?

Barnes: Everyone is just excited about the win (against Rice) after the disappointing season they had last year. No one is really looking forward to BYU just yet.

Bean: Longhorn fans are encouraged by the opening-week win. There were problems with execution, but the new approach was refreshing. Most fans have not seen a lot of BYU over the last little while. This team may not be equal to the great BYU teams of past, but it should be a good test for the Longhorns.

Coming off a 5-7 season, what are Longhorn fan expectations for the season?

Barnes: Hopeful. Head coach Mack Brown brought in a couple of new coordinators in Manny Diaz and Bryan Harsin. Those two are changing all the things that led Longhorn fans to boo last season.

Bean: Texas fans always expect to win 10 games and the conference, but I think they are realistic and understand we have a new staff and young talent. Eight wins would be good, but most fans will just expect that the team will get better each game a have a strong finish.

What do Longhorn fans know about the Cougars? How familiar are they with BYU?

Barnes: Texas fans know about the great quarterbacks, (Jim) McMahon, Gifford Nielson, Steve Young and Ty Detmer. It has been a while since the teams have played, I believe since the back-to-back seasons in '87 and '88. Most fans don’t know much about the current BYU program.

Bean: Longhorn fans don’t know much about this BYU team. They are aware they have a promising young quarter back in Jake Heaps. They also know that they have a defense that seems to be coming together. Most of all, they know that a Bronco Mendenhall-coached team will be very physical and will not be intimidated by playing Texas.

What is something BYU fans should know about the game day experience in Austin?

Barnes: It's hot. Things have cooled down a bit the last week, so they might catch a bit of a break.

Texas also has one of the biggest stadiums a team can play in. It seats 101,000. It has two decks almost all the way around, which means visiting teams feel like the fans are right on top of them. It is a just a massive structure, so it can be very intimidating.

Texas fans love to tailgate and can be found tailgating for miles around the stadium. Some Longhorn tailgaters have been in the same spot for years and years.

Texas fans are known for being very hospitable to visiting fans. Now, if Texas should lose, it might be a little different story for fans after the game.

Bean: Texas fans want opposing teams to leave saying that they loved Austin and loved UT. Fans are extremely friendly and welcoming. Visiting fans should expect to be invited to join in on the tailgating experience. On game days the entire town goes Burnt Orange, and the fans are very knowledgeable fans, not loud and rowdy like what you get at LSU.

What is the latest surrounding Texas and the Big 12?

Barnes: Things aren’t looking good, and a lot of it has to do with the Longhorn Network. The network is really dividing the conference. Most other conferences don’t want a team with their own network either, so it really limits options. Some people are saying Pac-12, Big Ten and now the ACC. In short, the situation is very combustible.

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