Longhorns consider extreme heat non-factor

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Texas players kneel over during practice while trainers hand them refreshments to cope with the blazing heat. The game time temperature is expected to be in the triple digits, but the players aren't concerned with the forecast.

Photo Credit: Derek Stout | Daily Texan Staff

On Sunday, Austin reached the highest temperature it has ever seen. The high of 112 at Camp Mabry tied the record set in September 2000. Ready for some football, anyone?

The Longhorns have been practicing and scrimmaging all summer in the Austin heat. The season is approaching, and it’s time to actually compete in the sweltering temperatures. Although precautions have been made to keep players safe, that doesn’t mean that Texas’ game on Saturday will be pleasant.

“Our cleats were melting to the turf, it was so hot,” said safety Kenny Vaccaro.

But the team appears to be a lot tougher than most of the complaining student population. The sentiment of most of the team is that the heat is what it is, and they will deal with it.

Linebacker Jordan Hicks believes that the heat is an advantage for the Longhorns because they are used to it.

“We are not concerned about the heat,” Hicks said.

During the summer, head coach Mack Brown said the field was 120 degrees and the heat index was 109. Although practicing in the bubble (Texas’ indoor practice facility) helped, it was still about 90 degrees inside.

“We’re watching the players closely,” Brown said. “We’re developing a level of toughness that we felt like we lost over the past couple of years through our very physical practices.”

Players take various tests so team doctors and trainers can understand who they need to watch even more carefully for heat related problems, Brown said.

“They even have a pill they can give guys that are more susceptible to heat with a meter,” Brown said. “When the meter reads that the player’s body temperature exceeds a certain limit, we pull them out immediately and cool them off.”

Brown said the players need to be prepared for extreme temperatures to be ready for their first game against Rice, specifically the fourth quarter.

Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has been impressed with the player’s stamina and attitude with the heat bearing down on
their backs.

“They haven’t complained about a thing, and that comes from confidence,” Diaz said. “When you have confidence in your conditioning level, and you have confidence in your strength level, you can start to realize that you can accomplish some things that you weren’t sure that you could do before.”

Sophomore defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat said the heat is just something the team has to deal with. Jokingly, he told the media, “it’s been a little chilly out.”

“We were out in the heat all the time,” Jeffcoat said. “As kids, we played out in the heat. We are all kind of used to it. Most of us have lived in Texas.”

Alex Okafor said the players know what to do to prepare themselves and their bodies for the heat.

Although both the Longhorns and Owls will be bracing for extremely high temperatures on Saturday night, there is a 10 percent chance of rain.

“We practiced outside in 108 degree heat today,” Okafor said. “The rain would be refreshing in my eyes.”

But chances are the rain will not be there to refresh the players on Saturday night, and the high for that day is 100 degrees. It’s time for both teams to not only prove how they can stand up to each other but also how well they can stand the heat.