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Brown Enjoys Rewards of Bowl

Times Staff Writer

Texas practiced Thursday for the first time in a week, then took a trip to Disneyland and had dinner at the ESPN Zone in Anaheim.

Tonight the Longhorns will visit Lawry’s for a prime rib dinner, and through the weekend players and coaches have media obligations.

It all adds up to plenty of distractions for a team trying to win its first football national championship since 1970, but Coach Mack Brown looks at it as a reward.

“When you’re at SC and Texas, we’ve both been to bowl games a whole lot so you understand that this isn’t just a regular bowl game,” Brown said.

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The team had a bit of a different aura Thursday than it had before the holiday break, Brown said. Now, with the game less than a week away, the Longhorns are in their regular game-week mode and practicing with more urgency.

“It is fun to be here and get ready to start preparing for the game now instead of just talking about it,” Brown said. “It was good to get back out on the field today after such a long layoff.”

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Texas has a 19-game win streak, but quarterback Vince Young said you wouldn’t know it by watching television sports shows or reading about college football in newspapers and magazines.

Texas, he said, has basically been ignored while USC, on a 34-game win streak, has been classified as one of the greatest teams of all time.

"[The media is] not saying anything about us, so it’s a little fuel for you,” he said. “There are a lot of different things that we’re doing over there that we’re not getting respected for, so we’re just going to go out there and play our game.”

He added that both teams should be mentioned in any conversation about the best teams of all time.

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“I feel like they worked hard to get to this point and we worked hard to get to this point,” Young said. “They are 34-0 and they are the defending champs, so them guys deserve it. To me, over here on the UT side of the ball, we deserve it, too, because nobody just gives you 12-0.”

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Brown has plenty of incentive to win the national championship -- money included.

The Texas coach will earn a $100,000 bonus if he wins the national championship -- on top of the $125,000 he already earned for winning the Big 12 and qualifying for the Rose Bowl, Bloomberg News reported.

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Brown, who earns an annual salary of $2.2 million, said Thursday the bonus doesn’t matter right now.

“When you get to this point it’s really not about the money,” he said. “You’d like to win the national championship for everybody involved: Your state, your fans, the high school coaches in the state, your kids, the guys that hired you. So it’s an important game for that reason.”

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Young appeared relaxed during his Disneyland appearance, wearing Mickey Mouse gloves and even giving Mickey a high-five and a fist pound.

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He wasn’t concerned that the Disney crowd booed him and his teammates when the Longhorns were introduced.

“Hey, it’s their city man,” Young said. “But they’re still good people. Didn’t nobody say anything negative to me. But our fans will be around in a little while, don’t worry about that.”

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Young pointed out that there was one major difference in his visit to Disneyland this year than when he visited last year as part of the pre-Rose Bowl activities.

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Last year, he wasn’t among the players selected to participate in the official ceremony. This year, he was.

“I was pretty much running around on the rides last year,” Young said.


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