Adam Rosenfield: With some "tougher" nonconference games ahead, (BYU and UCLA) what is the mood of the Burnt Orange Nation going into the game against UNT? Are most fans glossing over the Mean Green?
Westcott Eberts: I think it probably varies from fan to fan, in part dependent on how plugged in they are to what North Texas has been doing recently. Those that understand the job that Dan McCarney has done with that program have a healthy amount of respect for the Mean Green and fans that are honest about where the Horns are right now and what type of offense Charlie Strong and Shawn Watson want to run understand this is a work in progress for Texas at this point, so it's not likely to be the type of blowout that looks impressive at first glance.
AR: Besides a win, what are some of the biggest questions (team-wise and personnel) the Longhorns hope to answer with this game?
WE: The biggest question probably surrounds the offensive line, where the Horns are short at tackle and have to replace four starters from last year's season opener. With the prospective starter at right tackle suspended for the game, offensive coordinator Joe Wickline wants to see what he has from this group. Other than that, quarterback David Ash needs to stay healthy with little proven depth behind him and the secondary needs to replace two starters.
AR: How much of a culture change have you seen with Charlie Strong? Do you think the Longhorns will see immediate impact from the change this year?
WE: With limited access to the program, it's hard to actually see the culture change until the team takes the field, but based on the rhetoric from the players, it seems to have been significant. Strong weeded out the guys who didn't love to play football at Texas and made an example of some of the others who were on the edge with their suspensions. The biggest thing, though, is how well Strong can build the players back up after tearing them down and just seeing his confidence and ease on Monday at his press conference, I think he has a good chance of getting that done and in areas like effort and execution, there should be an immediate impact.
AR: What do you see as the "Keys to the Game" for Texas? What are some problem areas against the Mean Green?
WE: The keys to the game are to win the field position battle, which North Texas was excellent at doing last season. On defense, that means stopping the Mean Green on first down and avoiding third-and-short situations where the big offensive line can do work. Offensively, it means consistently picking up yardage with the running game and showing the ability to hit some plays over the top against a secondary that is the strength of the defense. And Texas needs to be consistent on special teams -- the punter needs to avoid short kicks and the place kicker needs to show that he can hit in games.
AR: Rank Your Top 5 breakfast taco places in Austin, starting with Taco Deli as #1.
WE: I'm actually tempted to go with a little hole-in-the-wall place as my No. 1 -- that's Cocina de Conseulo on Burnet near my house and then Taco Deli, but the Dona sauce at Taco Deli is the tiebreaker. After that, I'm going Torchy's, Taco Shack for the Shack Taco, and then Juan In A Million for the Don Juan