Sept. 14, 2009
Video: Mack Brown Monday press conference [Sept. 14, 2009]
Opening statement: We had a great trip up to Laramie, Wyoming. I heard all week about the altitude and the problems it would cause, and I kept thinking it wouldn't. When we got up there, I asked the players yesterday, and they were 100 percent, it was tougher, 7200 feet is tough, and I can see now why Wyoming wins 67 percent of their games up there. It keeps us winded. It is a great break for the punter and the kickers because the ball the flew forever. It is very difficult to breathe unless you are used to it. I was thinking while we were flying back into Austin, and I saw we were at 9,000 feet, I looked down and we were still way up there. I thought we were nearly this high when we were playing the football game, and it's deceptive because it doesn't look like it because you are in the plane, so it looks flat, but you just don't feel like you are as high. I felt like it did bother us. It was tough on us, but it was good for us in a sense, too, because we had some adversity. We didn't have any adversity in the first game, and we needed some of that before we play a conference game against Tech this weekend.
We had too many penalties. It was a Mountain West crew, so you have to take into account that you are working with officials that don't normally do your games. Some things came up that are probably officiated differently here, but at the same time, we need to go back and do a better job of not having penalties because we have had them for two weeks and a game this weekend that will be a much more difficult game, you can't have a lot of penalties to stop what you're doing.
The defense played great. The last 11 drives of the game, Wyoming didn't even get to our end of the field. They didn't get in our territory. We were excited by the way they played. The offense came out slow, but came out of it, and dominated for 31 unanswered points. At one time, totally in the second quarter, we had 165 yards to their 21. We just had poor field position because their punter kicked inside the 20 five times, and we didn't get the points out of the production that we had.
The kickoff coverage was great even though Justin (Tucker) kicked it out every time, he did every time but one. The average starting position was at the 23-yard line and our kickoff return continues to get better. D.J. Monroe's return at the start of the second half really set the tempo for a blowout in the second half. We started with an average of 42 yards on field position after the kickoff. We feel like everybody worked hard. They tried hard. The awful part of the kicking game was obvious. We had a blocked punt and the disappointing thing for me, is that it is on us, because they had a guy free on the first punt where they roughed us and the same guy got free and blocked the punt, and we should have done a better job on the sideline, so that's not on the kids, that's on us as coaches, so we've got to fix that.
We were disappointed because for the first time in about nine years I think we didn't make a fake. You want to have fakes in the first three games because you want people to work on fakes, but we messed up the call and didn't do it properly on the fake field goal. You have to give Justin Tucker credit, he did an outstanding job on his rugby punts, he did a perfect job kicking off, and he tried to make a play as he was running out of the 10-yard line. We weren't having a lot of good things happening at that time, so he was trying to force something, and you can't force it. Give him credit for being aggressive, so it was just a decision we wished he had backed.
We were asked about style points after the game. All we can do is the best we can do. We can't worry about style points. We have to play, so we can be the best team we can be each week and then we have to move forward, but if we sit around and worry about the end, then we won't be as productive each day. We've got to play and do the best that we can every week, and that's what we're doing and moving forward. Then the system can figure out what they've got in the long run.
There's been a lot of conversation about Colt (McCoy). I wouldn't trade him for anybody. He is playing great. In fact, he started a little uptight both games, and he feels like sometimes, he has the whole weight of the world on him. Every Texas fan for the last year has said you have to win the Heisman for me, you have to win the National Championship for me and he's a pleaser. After he settled down, after the first quarter, he's played outstanding in the last two quarters. Really, he's playing better than last year. When you look at what we want out of Colt, all we ask is that he wins. That's the only stat that you worry about as a quarterback and that stat is set really high, but we felt that our entire team is probably trying too hard in some areas. They need to relax and have fun.
We had 10 explosive plays on offense - four runs and six passes. We won the turnovers one to three because there were two fourth-down stops by our defense. We were 76 percent effective on first down because that was really important to us. Our third downs were not good. We were 5-of-17, only 29 percent. We're usually in the 40s and 50s and we felt like part of it was two calls, poor field position. We got behind on some calls with penalties and two third downs were overcome, and we turned them into first downs and then we got holding penalties to stop them both. Red zone, we were 4-for-4, with two touchdowns and two field goals. That's 11-for -11 for the year, so we've scored every time we have been down there.
The offensive player of the game was James Kirkendoll. The Boss Hog, the big offensive lineman of the game was Chris Hall. The biggest contributor was Dan Buckner. He continues to play really well inside for us. The great play of the game was Colt broke away from the possible sack, scrambled, turned his shoulders going left and then made a perfect throw to Dan Buckner down the middle for the touchdown. We're very excited for James Kirkendoll for having a bunch of catches for more than 100 yards. He really helped us.
Our offensive is averaging 553 yards and 50 points, and we're still not pleased. That's probably a good thing. We said we had too many penalties. We were really proud of the ball security this week. It was much better. We did not have the ball on the ground from a running back and we're going to be smart with Colt, but he is a better player, and our offense is better, when he is running the ball some and that happened on Saturday. We were going to wait and run him this weekend, but we felt like we might as well go ahead and get that started.
With our defense, points allowed, we had three for Saturday. Our goal was 13. We stopped the run. Our average needs to be 3.3 per run or less. We were 279. They only had 67 yards rushing. We stopped the pass. It needs to be five yards or less. We held it to 3.6 for attempt, which was really, really good. They had 204 yards passing. We did force the three turnovers because of the two fourth down stops. They only had one big play. That was the scramble by the quarterback on the 22-yard scramble. Benjamin, their quarterback, did a good job. We were 100 percent in the red zone once again. Third downs, we were 70 percent successful on defense. They were successful 3-of-17 for 82%. Yards after contact were only 89. We missed 10 tackles during the game. The last 11 drives, as we said, they didn't get into Texas territory.
The players of the game were Sergio Kindle and Lamarr Houston. They both played super. They played about as hard as you can play. The Hard Hat Award goes to Sergio for a number of hits on the quarterback. He was after him all day. The Ball Hawk Awards, A.J Williams did an outstanding job of stripping the ball lose, which we've got to have more defensive players do. It was a forced fumble, not just a fumble, and Sam Acho and Lamarr were fighting to get on it, so we gave both of them, along with A.J., the Ball Hawk Award. We had 17 quarterback pressures, we had 18 hits on the quarterback and six sacks, so the defense just played at a high level, and we're very, very proud of them.
Special teams, we've gone over most of it, automatic (extra points) was 7-of-7. Field goals were good. Again, we feel like we're becoming a real factor with kickoff returns, and it needs to continue to be a super play for us. The players of the game were Hunter Lawrence, he's been 100 percent with his kicks, and Jordan Shipley for coming in and really helping us on punt returns. Again, there were two penalties on punt returns. We would have had much better field position if we hadn't had those penalties.
On what he thinks of when he thinks of Texas Tech: Rivalry, in-state football, tough West Texas football, Friday Night Lights, the ability to throw the ball as good as anybody in the country. We don't always give them credit for it.
On not needing to motivate the team after last year's Texas Tech game: This team is putting pressure on itself more than we are, and that's good because they expect to be perfect. Like I said, (they're averaging) 553 yards of total offense and 50 points a game. So we need to wake up here a little bit and appreciate who we are, and what we've got. We can tweak some things. The kicking game is a horrible error that has to be fixed, period, on the fake and the blocked punt. Those are the things that get you beat in a game that is close. Those are errors that we have to fix. The rest of the stuff, we need to tweak and figure out who we are. The receivers are stepping up. The running backs are stepping up and we're figuring out who we are every day, same with the defense. We have to figure out who can be the guy, who can rest Sergio and Lamarr Houston, and we're developing depth and doing all that and we think as bas as those two situations were in the kicking game, we've got a chance to be better in our kicking game, than we have been all year. The punt protection broke down with our regular punt. With our rugby punt, we took the ball down to the 4-yard line and killed the ball at the one. So, we're doing some really good things in the kicking game. We're just really disappointed in the two obvious.
On the drive before halftime at Wyoming: We outgained 165 to 21 yards. We just hadn't put it in the end zone. I think the urgency was obvious. We didn't have to say anything. There was no panic. Nobody was mad. I think there was some frustration because it wasn't easy. Everybody thinks it is going to be easy. Those fans were great. The atmosphere was good. The altitude was tough. We said all week that Wyoming plays really hard against really good teams like this and it's their life, and they played their rear ends off. We always try to defer and take the ball at the start of the second half, and it's a huge emphasis for a our football team to score right before the half and then get the ball and then score, and get a 14 point swing at the end of the half to start the third quarter. That's exactly what we did and our team anticipates that and that's why we work so much with no-huddle offense, so that we feel like we're really good in those settings.
On difference between this year's Texas Tech game and last year's game: Well it's different this year because the game is so early. We had a horrible stretch. A very difficult stretch of Oklahoma, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Tech. All of them were rated at the top 10 or 15 at the time we played them. I don't that had ever happened in college football, or nobody had won all four, and we had our chances and we didn't play well against Tech. They played better than we did, but we fought hard, and I was so proud that we came all the way back and had a chance to win at the end. As much talk as there has been about the last play of the game and the dropped interception right before that, there were 10 plays that we should have done better. As a coach, you don't go back to those two. They were just more highlighted because they were at the end of the game. You go back to the whole body of work for the night, and the whole body of work, they did better with their group than we did with our group and that's fact and then you move forward.
On expanding the receiver group: Dan (Buckner) has been huge lift for us. Greg Smith has been doing really well at tight end, and he's doing exactly what we are asking him to do, so we're pleased with him. Then Dan Buckner has been a real surprise because he's given us a real threat inside and we've had some great tight ends in that situation, but he's playing at a very high level for us right now. I think we see John Chiles get better every play. If he caught the quick screen earlier in the game, it was set up to have the same touchdown run on the 30-plus yarder (that he caught) at the end of the game. He just continues to get better. Malcolm Williams is catching the ball more consistently. Jordan (Shipley) is just going to be Jordan. Every day. James (Kirkendoll) has now become a real weapon for us, so Colt's trying to find where the guys are, and we're trying to get the young ones involved a little bit more, but we're pleased with our receivers. We just need to make sure we catch every ball like we did last year.
On Dan Buckner playing at the flex position: We thought it was perfect for him. I think it has surprised him because when we asked him to go in there, it wasn't as easy a move. Then we said you have a chance to get on the field more, so he's really excited about it. He's embraced it and is really doing well.
On any changes in Texas Tech's offense: They do the same thing every week, and they're averaging 46.5 points a game and they're throwing for more yards than anybody in the country. It's just the same stuff. Mike (Leach) does a great job throwing the ball. They do it every year.
On differences in the quarterback at Texas Tech: He's the same guy. Just change the numbers. They all have confidence. Mike does a really smart thing. Most of those guys have been in the system for a really long time, so it doesn't drop off. We've had some younger quarterbacks have to step in. He's done a good job of convincing quarterbacks to come and wait their time and be patient and play when they're ready to play. That's why I think you really see no drop off in their offense.
On how the Texas Tech game from last year has turned into positive motivation for this year: It really isn't about that one second last year. What you want to do is be the best you can be every play, and if we'd done that, then we have won the game. That's our goal. To be the best team we can be. We quit talking about last year. We quit talking about the end. We said, we are Texas, quit talking about BCS, quit talking about the standings, quit talking about style points. Be the best football team you can be. That's what we've been working on every day with our team. Last year's team was not where this year's is at this stage, and we were one second away from having a chance to play for the championship, so we felt like what we need to do this year is play our best and then let the system put you where it wants to. All we can do is play our best, and for two weeks, the guys have made some mistakes, but I am really excited about this football team and who they are. A lot of teams would have panicked Saturday, some fans probably did. A lot of teams would have. A lot of coaches would have, but this is a confident football team. They knew when it wasn't good, and they needed to fix it. Wyoming would not have scored had it not been for the fake punt that came up short. They only got three points out of that. There are so many great things that came out of Saturday. The most important one was the attitude of the football team. They were ready to play and they played hard.