At some schools, a 2-0 start is worthy of celebration. At Texas, when that start is accompanied by a sluggish offense, it means a quarterback change.
Junior Garrett Gilbert saw his run as starter end after victories over Rice and BYU that came mostly in spite of the offense rather than because of it. Instead, coach Mack Brown will go with some combination of sophomore Case McCoy and freshman David Ash under center.
"We thought Case did a good job on the final drive for sure to lead to points. We thought David still brings that different dimension," Brown said. "I thought Garrett did a great job, and what Garrett will do is compete again like he has throughout this competition to go back and try to get his job back. And while he's doing that, I'm sure he'll be pulling for the other guys. That's the type of young man he is."
There's also a change in the depth chart at running back, where Malcolm Brown is now listed alongside Fozzy Whittaker, and at wideout, where Marquise Goodwin is back among the starting 11. It's all an attempt to reboot an offense that, for much of the BYU game, was painful to watch.
"We're just trying to put enough plays together right now on offense to get an identity because we've still got to find out who we are," Brown said. "For whatever reason, we just seemed confused the other night. We weren't in sync. We didn't have confidence, and then all of a sudden we come out of halftime, and they look like they're on the same page and they're moving forward. So all those things are what we're got to figure out."
The big name among all of the new starters is McCoy, whose brother Colt is a Longhorn legend and current NFL quarterback. He'll be the focus of attention when he's on the field against UCLA, and Brown sees some similarities between the siblings.
"The things that are similar, if you put the same number on them and you throw out names and just put them out there-he's got the quick release. He's very accurate. He's got an easy ball to catch. He's got quick feet. I thought when he scrambled on the fourth-down play to D.J. Grant, 'we've seen that before,'" Brown said. "So I do think there are a lot of similarities."
The Longhorns are hoping not to see any similarities to the last game with the Bruins. That came a year ago, when UCLA came to Austin and dominated in a 34-12 upset.
"We all remember last year and what they were able to do to us," safety Blake Gideon said. "To put it lightly, that was embarrassing, especially in the second half, what they were able to do to us. You know, it's one thing if a team can throw against you if they have a quarterback and a set of receivers that are just lights out. But to run the ball on you, especially between the tackles, that's a test of manhood. That's a test of how much work and how many hours you put in the weight room-physicality."
• The key to Texas' 2-0 start is its dominance in the fourth quarter. Through two games, the Longhorns have outscored their opponents 21-0, have 14 first downs and surrendered one, and allowed just 50 yards of total offense.
• Much has been made of the Longhorns' hope to get revenge for UCLA's beat-down in Austin a year ago. That's good motivation, but a lot of the players on the roster weren't playing key roles in 2010. Chief among them: the freshman class. Of the 23 true freshmen on the roster, 18 have played already this season, including likely starting running back Malcolm Brown and a possible starter at quarterback in David Ash.
Players To Watch:
QB David Ash-Among the two quarterbacks listed atop the depth chart, Case McCoy is the big name, thanks to the success of his older brother in Austin and in the NFL. But Ash looked very good at times against UCLA, throwing, running, and even catching a pass for yardage in key spots. As the freshman gains more experience and makes better decisions with the ball on the option, he has the potential to be a top college quarterback.
CB Quandre Diggs-The true freshman has looked very good in the secondary so far, with a big interception to seal the game against UCLA. He hasn't faced a quarterback who can test defenses deep this season, but there's no evidence that UCLA has one of those guys either, which means he's in good position to be a difference-maker once again.
RB D.J. Monroe-Monroe has just 10 touches through two games, but has averaged 10.9 yards on his eight carries and two receptions. His speed gives him the ability to make things happen on offense, and he'll likely get more chances to shine against UCLA.
-- Sports Xchange
THREE BRUINS TO WATCH
RB Johnathan Franklin - Rushing: 32 carries for 209 yards and 2 TDs; Receiving: 4 catches for 19 yards - It was actually RB Derrick Coleman who lit up San Jose State last week, but Coleman torhced Texas in Austin last year to the tune of 118 yards rushing and 1 TD. Franklin has great speed and can pop a big play if Texas doesn't corral him early.
TE Joseph Fauria - In two games this year, Fauria has caught 7 passes for an impressive 124 yards (17.7 ypc) and 2 TDs. The BYU tight ends were able to hurt Texas early before UT switched to more man-to-man coverage. Manny Diaz will need to find a way to keep Fauria in check to help neutralize UCLA's passing game.
S Tony Dye - A fixture in UCLA's defense the past few years, Dye is off to a solid start in 2011. He has 13 tackles after leading the team in tackles last year. Dye is on several post-season award watch lists.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Shut down the run early - Texas did a great job of keeping BYU's ground game in check, but the task will be tougher this week against the same group of UCLA backs that ran all over UT last year. Texas cannot afford to let UCLA establish early momentum on the ground and gain confidence. If the Longhorns can take Coleman and Franklin out of the game early, the UCLA QBs could really struggle.
2. Withstand the pressure - Both Case McCoy and David Ash will be under intense scrutiny this week, and the young QBs will face a real test to play at a high level on the road. Neither QB has faced this kind of pressure in his young college career. Texas needs them to hold up and make smart choices.
3. Win the special teams - UCLA has a terrific punter who can flip the field, but other than that, Texas holds the special teams edge. The Bruins' kicker has been inconsistent and he may not even be available this week. The team actually tried out a student manager from the soccer team this week in case they need another leg.