Texas to face Ohio State in 2009 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Dec. 7, 2008
After recording its nation-leading, eighth-consecutive 10-win season, No. 3/3 Texas (11-1, 7-1 Big 12) will play No. 10/10 Ohio State (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten), which tied for first in the Big Ten, in the 2009 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Monday, Jan. 5 (7:20 p.m./Central/FOX) at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
Fans may call the UT Athletics Ticket Office at 512/471-3333 or 800/982-BEVO if you have any questions. The Athletics Ticket Office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST.
HEAD COACH Mack Brown
We've played Ohio State twice since 2005. One was a tight game up in Columbus, and they got after us pretty good down in Austin. The fans got along and it was two of the most storied programs in college football history. I admire and respect and like Jim and Ellen Tressel so much that it will be a fun week for us to get together and have great competition between two great programs at a fantastic bowl.
On if there is relief putting the last two weeks behind them: There really is. Your first goal is to win your conference championship when your season starts, and we were able to accomplish being co-champs in the South (Division). Your second goal is to be in a BCS bowl against a great team and there's absolutely no question our players are excited about playing Ohio State and playing in the Fiesta Bowl. It's a new experience for us. We have some history with Ohio State, and like I said, I have great respect for Jim and what he did at Youngstown, and what he's been able to do at Ohio State. It's an exciting time for us and time for us to put the past week behind us with all the BCS stuff and move forward and look forward to a great game.
On if he thinks the team will have a chip on its shoulder: I really do not. I think the team has such great respect for Ohio State. A lot of these guys were on the teams playing in 2006 and 2005, and a lot of our seniors that were redshirted played in the opening game, so I really don't think the BCS will matter. I don't think the ratings will matter. Texas and Ohio State had not matched up before 2005, and it's really amazing that we'll now be playing our third time since then. When we played in 2005, we went back to Coach Hayes and Archie Griffin, and our guys were so excited about the match-up. It will be the same way on January 5th.
On keeping emotions high not playing in the National Championship Game: Being that it's Ohio State helps, the BCS helps. We were supposed to play Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl in 2003, and Oklahoma got beaten badly by Kansas State and got to go play in the National Championship Game, and it knocked us out of the Fiesta Bowl and a chance to play Ohio State that year, and we were flat and didn't play well against Washington State. But anybody who has a chance to play in the Fiesta Bowl in the BCS against Ohio State is not going to be flat, because what an exciting time for these kids. For our seniors, this will be our second BCS bowl, and they'll be excited about that. Jim has done as good a job as anyone in the country. He's been in the BCS every year and played for the National Championship the last couple of years, so our guys are aware of all of that. They're good sports fans, and they're college football fans, so I don't think they'll be able to wait until this game. This team has been a team that, regardless of the circumstances, they've played hard every week. You go back and look and the BCS hasn't satisfied everybody, and we've been on the positive side of it a few times and we've been on the negative side of it a few times. My older son, Matt, emailed me today and said, "What a great thing. I can't wait to get out there. This is going to be a fun bowl." We really look forward to it.
On the BCS system: Sometimes we, as coaches, get confused about the BCS, and what the BCS is, is a means to pit No. 1 against No. 2. Then it's an avenue for conference champions to be able to play in the BCS and have some at-large teams bids, including non-BCS teams. That is what is. So you can have a four-loss team playing in the BCS, and that frustrates teams like Texas Tech, that didn't even get in the BCS. That's a tough thing when they've had a tremendous year and are 11-1, but that's probably not what the system wants, and we as coaches are very competitive. I have not been involved in a playoff system like Jim has, and I'm sure there are goods and bads to it, but I do like the fact that there are 38 teams that can win their last game and feel like they've had a good year and be very happy. And I do feel like there are years where it's very, very unfortunate for a team that may be a great team and be second or third in the league, when you have three great teams, and they do not have a chance to get to the BCS, because now the BCS has become the popular thing for the best teams at the end. I think of the top eight teams this year, all will be in the BCS except Texas Tech, and being in our league, I really hate it for them.
On if having coached against Jim Tressel has an effect on preparing for this game: It really does, and what it does is give me so much more respect for him. I had always seen him from afar. He's from a coaching family. I know his dad was at Ohio State. I've always admired him. I coached at Appalachian State, so seeing what he accomplished at Youngstown was just absolutely phenomenal. When he got the Ohio State job, everybody wants to see how the guy from I-AA is going to do in I-A. He went there and has done just absolutely fabulous job. To be able to play in three National Championship games like he's done is just absolutely phenomenal. They're so well coached. It's funny, they ran the ball and had a really good mix the first year we played them in Columbus, then came back the second year and caught us with Troy Smith with no backs, just about the whole game, until Chris Wells decided to come in and run right at us. So he beat us running and throwing the first year and beat us throwing it and spreading out and did such a great job against us the second year. The third thing I see Jim doing, is I think he coaches the kicking game just about as well as anybody in the country. So this is two old guys who have been around a long time and believe in fundamentals and believe in the kicking game, and I think it's one of the reasons this is going to be such a great match-up, is the respect we have for each other.
WR Quan Cosby
DE Brian Orakpo
DT Roy Miller
With Ohio State, coach Tressel has done a great job there holding up their tradition, and they have a great winning tradition like us. I've been able to watch Terrelle Pryor, and he's a great young quarterback. Beanie Wells is one of the top running backs in the country and he's had a great season, despite having to fight through injuries. I know he's going to come on strong at the end. We're really looking forward to the competition. Any time you get two great teams together like this, it's going to be one people remember for a long time. We've played them twice in the last four years, and it's always one that's talked about.