Either especially motivated or knocked senseless by the events of a year ago, one Texas player has geared up for the rematch with UCLA by calling out the most famous Bruin of all, quarterback Cade McNown, proving that the Longhorns' plan is to at least get close enough to McNown this time to paint a target on his back.
"Cade is a dead man," Longhorn defensive end Aaron Humphrey told a Texas publication.
Exactly which publication is not known, since only the brief excerpt made the UCLA locker room Monday, giving no indication of its origin. But, to the surprise of no one, it was more than enough to become bulletin-board material as the Bruins returned from a two-day break to prepare for Saturday's season opener against Texas at the Rose Bowl.
"What are we, in high school?" said McNown, who had a school-record five touchdown passes in the Sept. 13, 1997, meeting in Austin, Texas. "That's my only comment."
Sort of. When asked whether the Bruins would have extra fuel to face a team again if they had lost the previous season by 63 points at home, McNown replied:
"We'd definitely be upset. But at the same time, we probably wouldn't be mouthing off the way some people have. There's no room for that."
Making official what had already become apparent, starting fullback Craig Walendy has been ruled out of the Texas game because of the infection that has sidelined him for all of practice. That moves Durell Price into the opening lineup for the first time, to be paired in the backfield with another first-time starter, tailback Jermaine Lewis.
Meanwhile, Ken Kocher, a key reserve on the defensive line, returned to practice Monday, his first action since suffering a sprained and bruised right ankle Aug. 26. He is being listed as questionable, but that could change.
McNown and Larry Atkins have been named captains for the season. They will be joined each game by two players on a rotating basis, this time Chris Sailer and Shawn Stuart.