Sept. 27, 2008
Coach Petrino is a great coach and he's got a tremendous staff. He will do a great job at Arkansas and you can see that. Their schemes are good and they hit us on some things. We just had a better day than they did today and I'm proud of our guys.
The kicking game continues to get better. I was proud of Justin Tucker and I was proud of John Gold, and the way we covered punts and kickoffs after the first two. We felt like that was a big improvement.
I think we won the turnover ratio. And again, I thought the way Colt managed the game was really special for all of us. So, I'm proud of the guys and we don't know much about the injuries just yet. Now, we have to get ready for Big 12 to start and we're going to Colorado next week. But, the guys are excited in that dressing room and they are proud of themselves today. Some of these guys remember the 2003 game and a lot of them were in Fayetteville [Arkansas] for the 2004 game. I think they realized more this time that this game is really important to both places. Even Coach Royal and Coach Broyles coming out made it more special.
On having lower expectations because sacks are harder to come by now: We did not say sacks were not as big of a deal, we said that sacks are much harder to get now than in the past. And because of that, we have to look at stats differently. If you're pressuring the quarterback and hitting him and getting him off of his rhythm, that is as important as a sack was in the past. If you are getting sacks like we're getting them now, obviously, it's better because you're forcing some intentional grounding and you're forcing huge lost yardage plays and that makes a big difference on third down conversions.
On the defense: It's really good. I thought our guys played like they had in the previous three ball games. They've played hard and relentlessly. When they gave up a big play, they did not get their heads down. They are getting after the quarterback and he does not get to stand back there very long. Even when he gets the ball off, we've been able to hit the quarterback some and force some turnovers. This is the first team that I thought would come in with the ability to run the ball and try to run the ball on us, and they did. But, they could not run the ball today, and that's a big improvement over the first quarter we played in El Paso. So there are some signs that this team is getting better week in and week out. We still have a lot of things that we have to fix and do, but we are showing signs of improvement.
On Colt McCoy's confidence growing: I thought he regained his confidence after about mid-season last year. He played really well against Oklahoma, and we had a chance to win because of him. But after that game, he played really well throughout. He struggled some at Texas A&M in the first half, but he finished the season with a lot of confidence coming out of the win against Arizona State at the Holiday Bowl. He's just continued to do that. We're pleased with the way he's been managing our team. He's involved, he's excited about the defensive stops and he is just playing with so much confidence right now. It's fun to watch him. He's having fun and the game has slowed down for him.
On how stopping the run early helped them get pressure on the QB: We thought it was the key to the game. We did not think we had to run the ball early, we thought that we had to move the ball. We thought that we had more depth than they did, so if we could have stayed in the no huddle and keep them out in the heat, it might wear them down as the game continued to grow. We felt like they would line up and try to run the ball, in which they did. Michael Smith is a good back and he made a lot of plays for them. We felt like that would be their game plan today and then try to come with the play action and try to hit us on some deep stuff. It was a huge challenge for our guys today to try to stop the run.
On if he is seeing confidence in the defense grow: I'm seeing confidence in our team in all three phases right now, and they are getting better. Colt's confidence is just oozing all over the place with the guys, and the defense is the same way. We're playing a lot of guys and I was proud that our second- and third-team defense played from about five minutes left in the third quarter throughout the rest of the game and didn't let Arkansas score. That's four straight weeks that they've done that. That's just helping us build more depth.
On if he thinks any quarterback in the nation is playing better than McCoy: No. I haven't seen Missouri and obviously, Chase [Daniel] is playing really well. I haven't seen anybody else in our league, really. I don't see how anybody could be playing better than Colt right now. They can be playing as good, but they can't play better. He's just not making any mistakes.
On if winning the first three home games 52-10 means they are playing consistently: It is. Last year, we had ugly wins, if that is possible. We walked in here and said they were wins, but at the same time we knew we weren't dominating some teams that we could've. This team right now has done exactly what they've been asked. We've played with energy each week, we've played hard each week and we've seemed to improve each week. Now, the stage steps up and the teams we start playing will be better than the first four we've played. But, this team is fun. That is a real good trait of a young team so far.
On Will Muschamp and his defensive schemes: I've said many times that I think Will is a star. He is very knowledgeable, he is very successful in his background and he has high energy and works really hard. I think he's brought so much to us. He and Major [Applewhite] both have brought a tremendous amount of energy and knowledge. The other thing that is key is that both of them have been really great staff guys. The other defensive coaches are buying in. I was standing on the sideline in the early second quarter watching them, and Will looks over to Duane [Akina] and says, "What do you think about these two calls? Which one do you like the best?" So, they are really working well together, and that could have been a difficult thing because Duane was calling them last year. Both of them should get a lot of credit for being able to work through this and it being the best for the team.
On how John Chiles is progressing: Obviously when John goes in, he runs a different offense than Colt. We still have to remember that John did not redshirt, so he's still a young quarterback. We just have to continue to get him better. He threw the ball better today and he was more accurate, but the fumble kind of took him out of some of the stuff he needed to do. We need to continue to get him some more work.
On Ian Harris: He caught one ball and he got to play a little bit. The best thing about Ian getting to play is that it proved to him that his neck and stinger are fine. I know he came out okay because I just saw him a few minutes ago. He just has to continue to get better and help the other two guys.
Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis
On McCoy being efficient in controlling the offense: Well, our third downs were really good and that is a big part of staying on the field. We were 6-for-6 in the red zone and we played with one turnover, which was one too many. But for the most part, we played really efficiently. The no-huddle worked well again today. We're glad to play quite a bit of two tight ends. We played more two tight ends in this ball game than we had in the first three games.
On the connection between McCoy and Jordan Shipley: Well, they grew up together, and I guess they have been playing pitch-and-catch for a long time and it shows on the field. Jordan knew what kind of ball to expect in the end zone and Colt knew what kind of ball he was going to throw versus that particular look of man-to-man coverage. The slot receivers for us have many perimeters that they can look in and Jordan is just playing extremely well.
Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp
On bringing the pressure today: Well, we probably brought more pressure today and that was planned a little bit. Each week, we've been able to do a little bit more. It's our job as a staff to make sure we don't do too much in a new scheme and a new system with new adjustments, especially with some young players at key positions. We had a lot more in today than we've had, and we'll continue to add as we go through the season. But, we can't have the kids thinking, we have to have them react. I thought we did a good job with our reactions today and playing fast.
On if he was more motivated today because they were playing a SEC team: Zero. This was another game and it was just another game on the schedule. They all count for one, and there is not one any bigger than the other, regardless of what anybody says. They all count for one.
On if playing against Arkansas in the past helped him today: Well, there is just familiarity with the players. You're playing some of the guys and some of the players that we recruited in the same areas. But other than that, there was nothing else, because they are night and day to what they were a year ago.
On the performance of the secondary: I thought we did some good things on the back end. When we create one-on-ones for Rak [Brian Orakpo], Sergio [Kindle] and Lamarr [Houston] we're going to get pressure on them. We just try to create one-on-ones. I tell the defensive line that we're going to create one-on-ones for them, and it's their jobs to win their one-on-ones and this guy [Brian Orakpo] is going to win a lot of those, and so is Sergio. That's part of our plan each week.
On the offense playing efficiently: Give credit to the defense because they gave us a lot of short fields. That's why we didn't have as many total yards, because we didn't have to go a long way. For us as an offense, that's an easy, quick strike and we love doing that.
On what the team must do before Big 12 play starts: I think it's important for us to continue to play and continue to get better every week. We're doing that. You have to give credit to Arkansas. We fought through the surge, and scored on our couple of opening drives. We're good in our no-huddle offense. We have to continue to do that and continue to practice well. We're practicing really well right now and I think that is key for us. If we can continue to do those things, the little things, and stay focused each week, we have a chance to be pretty good.
On the possibility of being a top-five team before next weekend: We're not worried about that. We're focused on ourselves. We're playing as a team, the offense, defense and special teams. That's key for us and that's what we're focusing on.
DE Brian Orakpo
On why the defensive line was so dominant today: It was our secondary. Our guys were holding guys up and we were stopping the run early. I mean these guys have been playing tremendously back there and stopping their guys, and giving us a chance to put pressure on them. If we're good enough, we're going to get the sack. I can't say so much though. Roy [Miller] and the guys in the middle pushing the pocket makes our job a whole lot easier. I mean, I can only do so much. But, with those guys pushing the pocket, they make the quarterback start scrambling and it creates big plays for us. The secondary is the main key for us.
On getting pressure on the quarterback: You just have to stop the run and we did an excellent job. You don't know how many walkthroughs we've had to try to figure out these plays. With so much work that we put in during the off-season and two-a-days, I think it's finally paying off for us. Guys are also fitting in their gaps. Guys are playing very physical up front and they are finishing their plays.
OT Adam Ulatoski
On Colt McCoy: Colt is a fantastic player. We all knew it, now everyone else is getting to see it. We're all proud of him.
On starting Big 12 play: Starting 4-0 is good but you can't do anything if you don't win the Big 12. To get the goals that we have, we have to continue to get better and continue to play hard every week and win the Big 12. We're 4-0, that's a good start. Obviously, we can always get better at things and we're going to go back to work tomorrow. But 4-0 is a good start.
CB Aaron Williams
On the toughest adjustment to college football: The toughest adjustment is learning plays. It's a faster game. You have to pick up the formations and what they're doing quickly. I give thanks to Ryan [Palmer] for helping me out.
On the moment he knew he would score after intercepting a pass in the fourth quarter: I think one of the linemen almost touched me and I saw the receiver coming down, but once I crossed the 50, I knew I was gone.
On taking the credit from Brian Orakpo for causing some of the sacks: For Orakpo to give us credit for that, that's great. But we couldn't do it at all without their pressure. We'll always give thanks to them.
OG Cedric Dockery
On the performance in the first four games: It's a really fun experience. Minus the National Championship year, I think this is the best that we've ever played as a unit and it shows up on the scoreboard and in the win column. I just think that if we keep pushing, everything will work out.
On being a part of Colt McCoy's success: I love Colt. Colt is a great player. He's our leader on the field. When I mess up, he'll jump on me. If anybody messes up, he'll jump on them. He's really grown up and has become a great leader. I just think Colt's success has been due to his persistence and us giving him time. I think all that has added up to him having the season that he is.
On starting Big 12 play: I'm excited. I think we have Colorado next week, so we'll have to go up there and be focused. I know that they're a good team. They have a really good defensive line and our offensive line is going to be challenged next week. We're going to have to work this week in practice, prepare mentally and physically for what they have to offer.
LB Roddrick Muckelroy
On the secondary's part in the high number of sacks: We had a couple of coverage sacks. I played the pass well. In one situation when I was playing man, I got a pass interference. But today as a defense, we performed well. We can still get better. We need to get to work tomorrow and start preparing for Colorado.
On stopping the run: Coach came into the game today saying that was going to be the number one thing, they were going to try to run the ball. They tried to come out and do that, but we were successful in stopping it.
On starting Big 12 play: It's good to have this type of game. Next week when we roll into the Big 12, we're going to keep the train moving forward and try to avoid setbacks.
DT Roy Miller
On the amount of double teams he faced today: It seems like every week I'm getting double-teamed more and more often. The good thing is it's freeing up a lot of people and they are making a lot of plays. That's all I want to do. I want to be disruptive and help my teammates. We're all in it together. Obviously Rak (Brian Orakpo) and all those guys made a lot of big plays because as a defense we played well together. We know our parts in the defense. I know our priority was stopping the run. I'm happy for all those guys. I don't know how many people got sacks, but I'm happy for them.
On the secondary's performance: The secondary has been surprising me every week. They've been going against different looks, great quarterbacks and great receivers, so I'm proud of them. Their improvement is very satisfying. The young guys are doing a lot better every week. They're giving us a chance to get after the quarterback.
CB Ryan Palmer
On how the secondary has improved: We're doing pretty good. We're finally understanding the defense, not just me and some of the guys who have played, but the young guys, too. I'm just really encouraged from how this secondary is playing. We didn't give up a lot of passing yards this game, we finally just buckled down and played good coverage.
On the defense's performance today: [Brian Orakpo] and them got after it. He gives credit to us but we give credit to him because if he gets back there, we don't have to cover that long. It goes both ways. We're starting to get a blue-collar identity no matter who we play. We're hard-nosed and really tight as a defense. We're going to continue to grow.
On Aaron Williams: A.J. is a hard worker. He is my backup in nickel, so he's always asking me what to do. He sat on the route and caught him a good one. I was running after him the whole way. That's the thing about this defense, there is no jealousy anywhere. If a guy makes a play, we're all going to jump on them.
WR Quan Cosby
On Texas QB Colt McCoy: We see it all the time so it's one of those things where we're kind of expecting it. If he makes a bad throw we're like, 'What's going on?' Colt's one of the best in the business, in my opinion. He's going to continue to get better and we're going to get better and hopefully good things will happen.
On the team's confidence level going into Big 12 play: We're going in undefeated and getting better each week. Our main goal is, of course, to win all the non-conference games but even more to get better each week. We're confident that we did that. We just want to continue to keep those goals in mind and try to continue to get better because the Big 12 has some really strong teams.
On what this win makes the team: That makes us a team who goes out there and competes. We're going to try to match (the opponent's physicality) or try to be more physical. That's all we try to do. We played a really good team out there, a good SEC team, so it was a good win for us.
WR Jordan Shipley
On how often he is the target of that route: I actually don't get them that often, really. We practice it a lot so it just kind of comes naturally whenever we're out on the field.
On if the team is concerned with their national perception: Not at all. The only thing that matters to us is just that we keep winning games. We're not going to concern ourselves with what the rankings are, who says we're good, who says we're not good, we don't care. We're just going to try to go play every week and keep winning ballgames.
On where the team stands going into conference play: I think we're playing well. We definitely have things we can improve on, both offensively and defensively. Our defense is playing lights out and I think that's going to give us a lot of confidence going into conference.
DE Henry Melton
On Will Muschamp's energy level: He's a really exciting guy. He gets me riled up.
On where the defense stands heading into conference play: Muschamp calls the defense and we execute the play. Like I said, we're just getting after it. We're starting put everything together in our defense. We're just getting started, pretty much.
LB Sergio Kindle
On where this performance ranks among how they've played this season: I can't rank it, that's up to everybody else. We gave up the least points this game so I guess it would be on top. With them being a better challenge for the team, so I guess this would be up top.
On what giving up 11 rushing yards tells him: That we played good run defense and that we had a good game plan, basically. They're capable of way more yards than that as you can see in their first three games, we just had a good game plan and it worked for us.
On if getting seven sacks again feels good for the defense: It does feel good, and at the same time, it makes it easier for our defensive backs. Getting pressure makes it easier. You can get a bad ball and come down with it. Either way, it's a plus. It's a win.
On the rivalry with Arkansas: Everybody was talking about Coach Royal and how they had the big Southwest Conference rivalry with Arkansas every year, basically being the top two teams. The last time that we played Arkansas at home we didn't come out with a victory in 2003. Our thing was, if we win, (the former players and coaches) can celebrate, so that's what we came out to do.
ARKANSAS HEAD COACH AND PLAYERS