TEXAS VS. OLE MISS: FYI
What you need to know: The Longhorns need a win — to right the ship, to calm a fan base, to get back above .500, to avoid starting a season 1-2 for the first time since Mack Brown’s first year, and to get some momentum heading into Big 12 play. … Last year’s 66-31 win in Oxford was one of Texas’ season highlight games. … The 25th-ranked Rebels, in the Top 25 for the first time since 2009, haven’t started a season 3-0 since 1989. … Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was fired on Sunday. This is the 2013 debut of Greg Robinson, who was Texas’ defensive coordinator for the 2004 Rose Bowl season. He’s had less than a week to game-plan for Ole Miss and get on the same page with his new players. … Talking Triplets: Texas’ offensive leaders are QB David Ash (39-62-594, 6/2), RB Johnathan Gray (19-118) and WR Mike Davis (13-177-3). But Ash is out, so we’ll get Case McCoy (7-12-75). Ole Miss counters with QB Bo Wallace (39-62-471, 2/0), RB Barry Brunetti (20-115-3) and WR Donte Moncrief (7-130-1).
Three story lines:
1. Starting over: How will the Longhorns respond — to last week’s Provo implosion, to Manny Diaz’s removal, to Greg Robinson as defensive coordinator, to key injuries, and to having their backs to the wall, only three games into the season?
2. Question marks: With Ash and Daje Johnson unable to play, Texas is facing a real challenge on offense. But those three running backs are healthy and playmakers remain in the receiving corps.
3. Tackling 101: Let’s face it. The Longhorns looked like they needed to go back to tackling fundamentals class at BYU. Will we see another return of Texas 2012, when linebackers and defensive backs turned the missed tackle into an art form?
Tonight’s chat: Our live game chat — at statesman.com/bevobeat — will be led by Deputy Sports Editor Richard Tijerina and staff writers Rick Cantu and Dave Behr. We’ll kick it off at 6:30 p.m., 30 minutes before the Longhorns and Rebels kick off for real, and will continue to chat through the final whistle.