Press Box Oberservation: Triumph Over Texas Tech

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Here are three observations from Texas’ victory over Texas Tech.

NCAA president pays visit to Austin

NCAA president Mark Emmert came to Austin to watch the first half of Texas’ 52-20 win over Texas Tech, the first Longhorns football game he’s attended, before traveling to Tuscaloosa to watch LSU’s overtime victory over Alabama. Emmert met with University of Texas president William Powers Jr. and the school’s athletic department. He hopes and expects most football conferences to approve the additional $2,000 stipend for student-athletes the NCAA just approved, aims to cut the NCAA rulebook in half and isn’t opposed to conference realignment as long as it’s done properly.

“It can be perfectly sensible,” Emmert said. “When we have people making decisions for bad reasons with bad information and not considering what this means for student-athletes or in a way that creates animosity for schools, I find that very distasteful.”

Defensive ends come up big again

Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor each recorded a sack against Kansas last week, the first time that had happened all season. Against Texas Tech, they picked up right where they left off, combining for five tackles of loss and 3 1/2 of the Longhorns’ four sacks. After combining for just two sacks in Texas’ first six games this year, Jeffcoat and Okafor have 5 1/2 between them in their last two contests. That includes Jeffcoat’s first 2 1/2 sacks of the season, possibly because of a simple piece of advice from defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.

“[Diaz] said, ‘Go out there and have fun,’” Jeffcoat said. “Guys that don’t have fun don’t make as many plays. So he said, ‘Have fun. This is a game you know how to play.’”

Texas nearly tops last week’s dominant rushing performance

The 441 rushing yards the Longhorns amassed last week was the most they ran for in 96 games. But that mark was nearly bested Saturday as Texas ran for 439 yards without its leading rusher, Malcolm Brown. Head coach Mack Brown said he could have played if the Longhorns needed him, but thanks to fellow freshman Joe Bergeron, they didn’t. Bergeron celebrated his 19th birthday in style, running for 191 yards and three touchdowns.

“It’s the offense that Ricky [Williams] ran,” Mack Brown said. “Texas ran the ball when we were good. That’s who we were. Then we’d throw deep and play good defense. That’s what we want to get back to.”

Longhorns’ downfield passing game makes a comeback

After going three games without a completion of at least 35 yards, Texas got two from David Ash against Texas Tech. As productive as their rushing attack was, the Longhorns didn’t need much from the passing game. But Ash took his share of shots Saturday, connecting on three of them — two to Davis for 24 and 48 yards and one to Marquise Goodwin for 37 yards.

“He showed us a lot of great things,” said senior guard David Snow. “He took charge. He’s thrown a lot of long balls. He’s doing a good job getting the ball down the field. I was really pleased with him tonight.”