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Thursday, October 23, 2003
Texas goes to Baylor without Benson

AUSTIN -- Finally, Texas fans had something to talk about other than the quarterbacks and another loss to Oklahoma. The problem was that the news about the Longhorns was coming from the police station, not just coach MackBrown's office.

Texas (5-2, 2-1 Big 12) will play at Baylor (3-4, 1-2) Saturday night without starting tailback Cedric Benson, who was charged this week with misdemeanor criminal trespassing.

Austin police said that four days before No. 19 Texas' 65-13 loss to the Sooners, Benson and three other men kicked in a woman's apartment door in a search for a television he had reported stolen a year earlier.

Brown at first said the Longhorns' leading rusher wouldn't start against the Bears, then decided Benson wouldn't practice during the week and would miss the game.

Brown hasn't called the decision a punishment, but a move to avoid any distractions Benson's situation might bring to the team.

"He needs to take time to get all his legal stuff figured out,"Brown said. "I don't want Cedric to participate in football while he's distracted. And I don't want his situation to be a distraction to the team."

Texas could have used a quiet week of football in a season full of ups and downs that has seen theBrown and the Longhorns dance around a potential quarterback controversy, a big win over Kansas State and crushing losses to Arkansas and Oklahoma.

"We're just going to go out and worry about Baylor," said backup tailback Brett Robin, who could split time at the position Saturday with Selvin Young, who has been hampered this season by a groin injury.

"As far as Cedric and his whole deal, we're taking care of our business," Robin said.

Texas figures to have little trouble doing that against Baylor, which has shown signs of a turnaround under first-year head coach Guy Morriss as evidenced by a 42-30 win over Colorado. Yet the Bears have also shown how frustratingly far they have to go: they lost 73-10 to Texas A&M a week later.

Morriss made it clear this week his patience is running out.

"Maybe it's time for some of these kids to move on because we're obviously not getting through to them," Morriss said. "I think some of them, the only way they'll stop being a problem is to graduate .... I've been a little disappointed in some of our seniors."

Texas has received it's biggest spark this season from freshman quarterback Vince Young, who has seized the starter's role in the rotation with junior Chance Mock.

Young will get his second start against the Bears. In last week's win over Iowa State, Young passed for 136 yards and a touchdown and Mock threw for 151 yards and another score.

Mock said this week he's accepted his new role as backup -- for now.

"What did I have to worry about?" Mock said of his performance last week. "I could just go out and wing the ball around a little bit."

He said the quarterback rotation should be able to work for the rest of the season.

"It can work," he said. "As long as Vince and I are getting along and the team sees that."