In one of his thrice-weekly meetings with the press in Texas, Brown discussed with staff writer Rob Daniels his first months on the job of a program that feels it deserves nothing less than national supremacy.
Q: What do you like best about being here?A: There's a lot of things I've enjoyed. The reception has been so good. People have been really wonderful and positive about us being here and coming, and they've reached out to the staff. We're excited about the new facility and the addition to the stadium.
Q: The similarities between your new place and the Frank H. Kenan Football Center are obvious. In planning the UT building, was it helpful to you to have pretty recent memories of what you had done at Carolina?
A: It was really disappointing not to get to move into the North Carolina building because it's one of the most wonderful buildings in the country. Sally and I and (operations assistant) Dan Berezowitz had a lot to do with that building. We're very, very proud for Carl (Torbush) and his staff that they have a great place to recruit with. With Sally and Dan seeing how that building was put together, it was a real help coming out here to try and tie things together here.
Q: Were you surprised that 16,000 Texas fans traveled to Los Angeles for the UCLA game and that they stayed throughout even though their team was down 35-3 at halftime?
A: I would have liked to have left at halftime. I'm sure the fans would have liked to have left at halftime. It was just awful. I thought our fans were better than UCLA's. They had 60-some thousand there and we had 10. I was really proud of our fans.
Q: You have made a quick and pretty solid friendship with Darrell Royal. What has that meant to you?
A: He has been a real help with the tradition of this state and what it means and how important football is. It's been good for him to talk to our players and to tell them how important football is.
He gave me a T-Ring, which is a letterman's ring, when I first got here. It's a ring worn only by lettermen who graduate. It was a great compliment. I thought and I told him that I didn't think I should wear it.
Q: Do you?
A: I do wear it. I wear it every day. He told me I had to.
Q: How does this challenge compare to the one you took on at Carolina in 1988?
A: I think there's two or three things. When we got to North Carolina, our facilities were not good. We've got a great facility to start with here. We have more players here than we had there at the same time.
I remember seeing an article that (the Charlotte Observer's) Ron Green had written. It said, ``If North Carolina could ever get back to 7-4 and be in the top 20 every fifth year, everybody would be happy.' I thought when we were 10-1 there for a couple years and people were griping, I thought I needed to get Ron to rewrite that article because obviously we had raised expectations very, very high.
Here to open up in a new stadium and sell 80,000 tickets in your first ballgame against New Mexico State. ... A lot of those things, we don't have to do. The expectations are higher here than when we started at North Carolina. They're no higher than they were when we finished at North Carolina because our expectations were to win the national championship.
Q: You recently completed a house by a lake at the foot of Grandfather Mountain. Did your friendship with developer Hugh Morton figure into that move?
A: I got to know Mr. Morton when I was the coach at Appalachian. I enjoyed being around him. Obviously, we don't have a lot of free time right now.
Q: Is it true that you intend to retire there one day?
A: It's too early to talk about retiring, but we love the house and we're going to try and keep it financially and get up there because we love the mountains and we love the state of North Carolina.
Q: How's your defense here? Is it the same ``press defense' theory you had at Carolina?
A: So far, it doesn't look the same. We would like to get back to the same scheme we had at North Carolina.
Q: Offensively, however, you have Ricky Williams, whom you persuaded to stay after telling him you wouldn't make him cut his dreadlocks. What has your experience with him been like?
A: Ricky has taught me a lot of things about appearance. In society, I think we all make decisions about how somebody looks. Someone once told me 60 percent of your impressions of someone happen in the first 60 seconds. That's based on appearances.
Ricky Williams is one of the nicest young people I've been around. He's bright, strong-willed and competitive. So generous to have faxed Doak Walker 20-something letters since his accident. He constantly spends time in the community with kids. I very honestly don't even notice his hair anymore.