Brian Davis is a reporter for the Austin American-Statesman and covers Texas football.
This week, he participated in a Q-and-A with the Tulsa World to give insight on the Longhorns.
How much confidence does Texas have going into this football game?
You have to think this team’s confidence level is currently at a high water mark for the season. That’s for two reasons. First, the Longhorns are 2-0 in Big 12 play, something that’s happened only twice this decade. And players were buoyed by Iowa State’s upset win over Oklahoma. The Horns handed the Cyclones a 17-7 win in Ames. The Longhorns feel like this could be a win that launches them for the rest of the season.
After the season-opening loss to Maryland, the defense has improved on a weekly basis. What do you attribute that turnaround to?
This new coaching staff was stunned at what happened in week one. Tom Herman and defensive coordinator Todd Orlando both said the players fell back into some bad habits against Maryland. It was as if the Horns hadn’t been paying attention during the nine-month-long offseason. So here it is: do these players want to keep losing or do they want to try something new? The Maryland loss was a real wake-up call for everybody in Moncrief.
Which quarterback do you think would be most effective against the Sooners, and who do you think will draw the start?
If Shane Buechele starts, then Tom Herman will merely be playing mind games with the Sooners. That’s totally unnecessary. This is Sam Ehlinger’s team, and there’s no doubt about it. You should hear how the players talk about Ehlinger. They light up and sound excited. That cannot be ignored. Ehlinger has taken the reins from Buechele. The Horns need to see where he can take them.
How many years have you covered this football game? What is your favorite memory of this game?
I’ve have to think about that. From covering Oklahoma in the mid-2000s, now covering Texas or just going to help other writers over the years, I would guess my attendance is now into the double digits. Personal favorite moment? Probably 1996. I was standing under the goal post in the north end zone when James Allen plunged into the end zone, giving OU a 30-27 overtime victory. I can still remember the ground shaking under my feet.
How do you think Saturday’s game will play out and do you have a prediction?
Texas is listed as a 7 1/2-point underdog in some places, and frankly, I would jump all over that. I would be stunned if either team registers a blowout. I really do expect a close game. At this point, I’ll probably have to lean toward the Longhorns, only because of what happened last week with the Sooners. Texas’ arrow is pointed up; OU’s arrow is pointed down. Final score: I’ll have two corny dogs and beer afterward no matter what.