This comes from the group that couldn’t produce a first down to milk the clock on its last two possessions of the Cotton Bowl, and got pushed around by North Texas (no need to bring up the Sooners again) and…and…yes…the change really is that pronounced, Holloway said.
How so? Two words: Mac McWhorter.
Head coach Mack Brown canned offensive guards/centers coach Tim Nunez in January and named the former tackles and tight ends coach to revitalize the offensive line. So far, the players believe in him and reflect his revved-up persona.
"He’s got unbelievable passion for the game of football," Holloway said. "You can’t help but let it trickle down on to you. No matter how much he loves the game, I don’t think there’s anybody who loves it as much as Coach McWhorter. He’s out there getting us pumped up every day."
According to the local urban myth, McWhorter introduced some of the linemen to their first blocking sled. It might have something to do with this new-fangled offensive scheme known as drive blocking.
"Even the sled and all that stuff, we could have no equipment and we’d still be pumped up," said Holloway, who has started 24 games for Texas. "I just know that he’s a heckuva coach and we’ve all bought into what he believes. That’s important, and I feel like we’re a real strong unit right now."
With 29 years coaching experience, McWhorter joined the Texas staff two seasons ago from Georgia Tech. Not everyone is aware, however, that McWhorter coached the Yellow Jackets to their Seattle Bowl victory in 2001 after former head coach George O’Leary resigned.
The 6-3, 315-pound Holloway could sense the winds of change during the early session of spring drills.
"It really didn’t take that much time," he said. "He demands a lot. That’s a good thing. You really don’t have any choice but to buy in to his way of coaching. You just recognize it as the right way to go."
As such, the eyes of Texas will be upon the offensive line this season. After last season’s disappointing performance, the 2003 edition will be the most scrutinized in recent memory.
"I think every offensive line gets known for different things," Holloway judiciously remarked. "I think we’re going to play as hard as we can and wait until the end of the season to see what everybody will be saying then."
Hopefully, it will give fans nothing to talk about.