Saturday night the Horns are set to host an overmatched New Mexico State squad. But despite the odds, Mack Brown says the team has improved and he is ready to prove it on the field.
Last year the Horns' defense was statistically the worst in school history, giving up an average of nearly 30 points and just over 400 yards a game. Brown wants those statistics to change this season. He wants to see this defense resemble the one from two years ago, when they had one of the best in the country.
"People are tired of talking," Horns linebacker Jordan Hicks said.
"You know what I'm saying. It's been a big deal around here. Not to talk, but to do in this offseason. We've been pushed then we've ever been pushed. Gone through more adversity than we've ever been through."
According to Brown, the defense has improved and he wants everyone to see for themselves when the Horns take on the Aggies.
Brown added, "You only get one chance for a new first impression. So if you want to change the impression of people on your defense. You better show them Saturday night because they're all gonna come and watch."
Brown's biggest concern, however, is the health of his wide receivers.
"Marcus Johnson's been limited. He practiced a little bit last night. I want to see him tomorrow. We want to watch Jaxon Shipley because he's been limited some. We want to see how he is. Mike Davis seems to be well. Because John Harris will be playing a lot more at wide receiver it takes him off of some special teams. So those are probably my concerns going into the game," Brown said.
Another change this season is new offensive co-coordinator Major Applewhite will coach from the sideline instead of coaching from the coach's box upstairs.
"I want to be able to coach the quarterback. Be on the field. Let him see me. Let me see him. I think you can pick up some things on the sideline. I've called it in the box. It's great up there. But I have all the trust in the world in Coach Wyatt and his eyes upstairs and just relaying information down. Just have a chance to be around the quarterbacks and try that out. And see how that works," Applewhite said.
Another difference you may see on the field is the Horns helmets. Players will have numbers on their helmets as a part of UT honoring the 1963 National Championship Team, coached under Darrell Royal.
Several members of UT's first National Football Champs will be part of a pre-game ceremony.