Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
AUSTIN, Texas -- After watching tape of Florida Atlantic all summer long, Texas coach Mack Brown is convinced his team will be facing a huge challenge in its opener against the Owls.
Coach Howard Schnellenberger's team claimed its first Sun Belt Championship last season, capping the season with a decisive 44-27 victory over Memphis in the New Orleans Bowl. With 10 returning offensive starters and eight back on defense from that 8-5 squad, Brown is girding for a challenge -- particularly with an untested secondary that will feature only one returning starter and at least one freshman in its playing rotation.
"This team will be the best that we've seen come in here for an opener," Brown said about FAU. "We have enough respect for them and feel like they throw it well enough. That's a concern for us that we need to work on them a little early. Because we didn't play well in the opener last year."
Brown is particularly concerned throwing his young secondary against FAU junior quarterback Rusty Smith, who passed for 3,688 yards and 32 touchdowns last season. He will be facing a retooled Texas defense in Texas coordinator Will Muschamp's first game.
The relative youth of the secondary, in particular, concerns Brown a week away from the opener.
"That's unusual for us but that's how it's going to be," Brown said. "These guys will be playing a great passing team in a first ballgame against a team with great skill. They'll [FAU] move the ball against anybody they'll play. That's why those safeties will have to come out being good. They'll have to play older than they are."
And Brown wasn't buying his team's supposed huge edge in the eye of most pregame predictions.
"It's hard to test them to get them ready against a bunch throwing the ball as much as Florida Atlantic," Brown said. "We're going to have to be ready to play in the opening game and we'll have to play well. They'll throw the ball against us. And their quarterback is a great player. He's not a good player."