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Mack Brown's finishing school emphasizing dinner manners

3/5/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

College is a time for learning -- both inside and outside the classroom.

The Texas Longhorns are discovering much more this spring than how to make form tackles and provide crunching downfield blocks.

As is coach Mack Brown's usual custom each spring, members of the team are attending a workshop on developing proper dining manners and formal etiquette. While there, they learn the difference between a salad fork and a butter knife and all of the other habits that would make Miss Manners proud.

The Longhorns' Fine Dining class has taught players how to conduct themselves in formal dinner situations for the past 12 years. 

Players say that the class gives them confidence to represent the school in formal situations.

"In December, I got to go on the national awards circuit," former Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo told TexasSports.com. "I attended more banquets and dinners than I can count with people like Keith Jackson, Howie Long, Ted Hendricks, Ronnie Lott, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and on and on.

"There were also other people who are really important in cities like Charlotte, Houston, Newport Beach, New Haven, which isn't that far from New York. The last thing you want to do is something to embarrass yourself in front of people like that, but I didn't even have to think twice. I was ready."