Nov. 8, 2008
Recap | Box Score | Notes | Photo Gallery
TEXAS POSTGAME QUOTES
Head Coach Mack Brown
Opening statement: I'm really proud of our guys and I'm proud of the way they played. Sanya Richards came and talked to the guys on Thursday about bouncing back, and no one knows more about a defeat at the toughest time of their lives. She said, "When you're number one, and you're number one for a full year, and you lose your gold medal, you feel worse than you've ever felt. I know how you feel. But, it feels even better to come back and fight back." So the guys gave her the game ball, and it was special for her to speak. Then, she was able to show the team both of the races. So, I thought it was really good.
Baylor is a much-improved team. I thought our team played well today. Colt [McCoy] played great and I felt like Fozzy [Whittaker] made some good runs. I think we're seeing Vondrell [McGee] run better behind his pads. So, the running game was better.
Defensively, I thought the Ryan Palmer's interception turned the game. The momentum pretty much changed for us, and it never turned back. I'm really proud that the defense came out to start the second half. Normally, we do not take the ball after the coin toss, but we took the ball this time, for the first time, and scored, because we wanted to get our offense back on track. But, in the second half, we're afraid of losing that possession. The defense came out and dominated, and they forced two three-and-outs, and we scored in both of those instances. I felt like that part of it was really good. There were some balls on the ground that I wish we had gotten and there were too many penalties. But, those are things we can still correct. We missed a field goal, and we had an interception that ended up on the six-yard line, that took them a couple of plays to score.
Overall, I felt like our team played well, and we dominated the second half. I'm excited to be sitting here at 9-1.
On how important it was to start fast this week: It was important. Somebody said coming off of the field with the TV crew that we came out flat. It was 14-0 at one point, so I thought we came out and played really well early. But then, you have to give Baylor credit, because like last week, they turned the momentum with the interception and played well there for a while. I thought that Ryan Palmer turned it back with our defense. I also thought we dominated from then on. Robert Griffin was as advertised. He is a really good football player. He's smart and he handles himself well with the ball. I thought the difference in the game today, was that we were 8-of-16 on third downs and they were 1-of-11, so we were able to stay on the field and they were not.
You want to get the bad taste out of your mouth after a loss, especially when you were the number one team in the country with so many things riding on it, and you get beat on the last second of the game. I mean, I felt bad on Monday, and I know the kids did. So, they had to come back and fight, compete and fight through that emotionally. I thought they did a good job. Plus, at this time of the year, most teams have injuries and they are tired. This is a tough stretch. We lost our open date, because we practiced for Arkansas throughout, and now, some of those people that are hurt, do not get to play very much. I was really impressed with Quan [Cosby]. He did not get to practice nearly as much this week for him to play that well. So I'm really happy he got back out there, and he came out of the game well, so that was good. I also thought that Malcolm [Williams] did a good job again today, for the second week in a row. It was good to see Aaron Williams have a kickoff return and Jordan [Shipley] had another good punt return. We felt like that almost everybody would still be a little sad over last week, so we just needed to stir everything up and get after it, and I thought the team and the coaches did a good job of that today.
On if he wanted the team to be more physical and run the ball better: Usually people are able to run better in the second half, because you get to keep the ball and beat the other team down. But, I did force the issue beforehand, and I said that last week as well, but it didn't happen.
On how important it is to be able to run the ball: It's a double-edged sword sometimes with Colt [McCoy] being such a great passer. When he's completing 80 percent, all you need is to protect him. Even if you're scoring, but not scoring too quickly, you can keep your offense on the field. I thought our first two drives were that way. I thought we had Baylor winded, but they came back and were able to stay on the field. At halftime, I think they had 33 plays and we had 40, and the time of possession was about the same. But I thought we pretty much dominated the time of possession and number of plays in the second half.
On what he told the players at halftime: I told them that we wanted to be 9-1, and that they played really well in the first half. There was an obvious 10-point swing there with the turnover down to the six-yard line and the missed field goal. There were also a couple of balls on the ground that we needed to get. But for us to get to where we needed to be, we needed to dominate the second half and get to that ninth win. I also told them to give Baylor credit, because Art [Briles] is doing a great job. They are going to think they can come back and win, because in the last two weeks, they've been in fourth quarter games with both Missouri and Nebraska. So, this is not going to be a Baylor team that lies down. Our kids were talking in the dressing room that this is a better Baylor team.
On the young receivers coming on: I was proud of Brandon Collins to be able to catch the big one in the end zone, because he was so wide open. If you haven't caught many of those, it could take you back a little bit. It was like Malcolm's last week, where the ball was in the air a bit too long. I thought that Colt really moved around and found the guys. Again, the chemistry between Colt, Quan and Jordan is so good that Colt finds them often when he is scrambling. On a few third downs, they were dropping up to nine people. That's what happened right before the half, and we probably forced one there. We needed to try to get points out of that, and I think that one is on us and not on Colt. But, we're seeing the young receivers doing a better job of finding that chemistry that Quan and Jordan have had all of the time with Colt. I thought our protection was really good today. Now, the younger guys are getting separation on scramble plays like the two older ones are.
On the kicking game: Hunter [Lawrence] has been a little sore, and usually with a big lead, we bring Ryan [Bailey] in at the end. But Hunter has done a great job for us this year.
On how it was different getting the players ready for this week after the tough four-game stretch: It's hard, because we didn't play as well in the first half last week as we wanted to. You need to go back to work when you're tired. It's a dilemma that you have right now - how long you can stay on the field and how physical can you be? At the same time, you need to rest. So, we're just telling the kids to try to get to bed, try to make sure they are drinking the right stuff and just try to get as healthy as they can get, because we have a tough stretch coming up. At least after next week, we'll have a little break, which will help us some. But, we have a hard game at Kansas coming up, so we have to go back to work.
On the defense today: There were four plays for 192 yards today, so we gave up some big plays. The big run at the end was due to the fact that we had some young ones in there, and some of them were banged up. On the last kickoff return, we had some of the really young ones in. Baylor did a good job of picking on the young safety. We had two safeties go down today and they had to come out of the game. They caught us on one of them and threw it over his head, and that's good coaching. That's a good job by them. The other 45 plays were only for 80 yards, so I thought we played Robert Griffin about as well as anybody, because he is going to make his plays. So, I was proud of our defense. Usually in games like this, if the defense plays really well, your offense will have enough time to make the plays. We started well offensively, stalled, and I thought Ryan Palmer turned it.
On when it becomes frustrating losing a lot of players to injury: There's nothing you can do about it. It's part of the game, and if you sit around and talk too much about your injuries and problems, it gives your players and coaches an excuse, and we're just not going to have that. You just have to keep playing. We've had a bunch of injuries over the last three years, and it's been really detrimental to us, but we have good depth at Texas because we recruit well, and we have to get somebody else to step up.
On the young safeties and secondary: I thought all three of the guys who had the tough plays at the end, played well today. Blake [Gideon], Curtis [Brown] and Earl [Thomas] all had really good plays on deep balls. I thought that on back-to-back plays, Blake and Earl kept them out of the end zone. I think we might have had three fourth-down stops, which would count as turnovers as well.
Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis
On today's offensive strategy: Each play was different. We played one play at a time. Don't try to force it, we thought there were going to be some big plays in the ball game and there were. It was just a matter of not trying to force the issue and just let it happen.
Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp
On Earl Thomas' performance: I thought Earl has showed up and played well for us all this year. Today, he made a couple of nice plays on the bubble. He forced the one pick. Muck [Roddrick Muckelroy] did a great job of forcing that issue. Earl showed up well for us. He's been a good field general for us and he has been getting us in and out of the right calls. He's been asked to do an awful lot for a redshirt freshman to start and play every snap. We've been real pleased with his effort and how far along he's come along this year.
On having Thomas and Blake Gideon as starters: Both of those kids, including Aaron Williams, who we consider a starter because of our nickel and dime packages, are all very confident kids. We knew they would come out and compete well and they did.
On the interception returned for a touchdown: That was a huge play. They had thrown the bubble coming out off the goal line and got them into field position. It really set up the one drive they had. We just emphasized again, it was something we talked about before last week's game and then this week, is playing that better and playing more physical at the point of the attack. Roddrick Muckelroy came inside-out and really forced the receiver a little deeper, and Ryan [Palmer] made an outstanding interception and got the return for a touchdown. It was a big momentum switch being 14-14 and getting that touchdown. We wanted to pressure the back because of all the pocket movement to the back.
On Lamarr Houston: Since the Oklahoma game, he has had a bad ankle. He got out in the game, and got hit high and low and he's been very gimpy on it. He's had a hard time pushing off. We've been limiting his practice reps because of it, and we just didn't feel like he was at full speed. You don't want to put a kid in a situation where he can injure it further, and we didn't feel like he was at full speed. We felt like it'd be best to sit him down.
QB Colt McCoy
On taking a lot of hits: We were banged up all the way across the board. Me, Quan [Cosby] and the offensive line were all a little hurt. They were doing a couple of zone blitzes we hadn’t seen all year, and one of them got me pretty good. We were able to handle that, and in the first half, we didn’t play well. In the second half, we came out and played really physical and put the game away.
On if how the team responded after the loss last week: There are a lot of positives we can take away from this, because it’s a win. That got us back on track. We’re going to watch film, and there were a lot of things we did wrong. I know me, personally, made some mistakes that I normally don’t. We were able to fight back and fight the whole game, especially in the second half. That’s a positive note, and we’ll carry on from that.
On the defense giving the offense momentum after Ryan Palmer’s interception: We feed off of those guys. We feel like it’s our responsibility when they make a big play, something like Palmer’s interception, that we need to respond. The defense feels the same way about us. We go out and score, and they’re going to come out and give us a three-and-out, so we can keep rolling. When Palmer made that interception, it was big for us, and we got the ball moving after that.
On the second half: The defense came out and gave us a stop, and we answered with 14 points. When we can do that, and come out and play, it's big for us. Like I said, the first half was a little bit shaky. Across the board, we all made some mistakes. To be able to respond like that in the second half was nice.
On the mood after Baylor tied the game: Nobody hung their heads. That was the thing on the sideline. The same situation happened with them last week with Missouri. Missouri went up 14-0, and Baylor came back and tied them up. We knew we had to answer and respond, and we did. Give credit to the defense, they made a big play, and we fed off of them.
DT Roy Miller
On getting after the quarterback: It’s our goal every week to get to the quarterback. We didn’t have Rak [Brian Orakpo] in there, so the other guys had to step up. Everybody stepped up on the line. I think we did a good job of getting to the quarterback.
On if the team rebounded well after a loss: I think we rebounded. We didn’t want to come out here flat and things like that. I felt like all week, the coaches did a great job of preparing for this situation.
RB Fozzy Whittaker
On the emphasis on the running game this week: I feel like we thought it about it heavily during practice and we focused on it in practice. We got our shot this week to actually do a little bit more running and then Coach Davis called the plays and we got to be able to run more.
On overcoming his injury problems: I was plagued by injuries and just had to come back slowly rehabbing and everything, doing as much as I can. Now I’m just happy to be out there on the field and help the team get a win.
On the win: It was real fun. It was really exciting. Fun atmosphere, we had last week coming off a loss and then this week changing up a couple of things, focusing a little bit more on the fun and being able to just go out there and have more fun.
On getting on the field after spending over a year waiting: I had to take in my time, redshirt year, you always get better though, because you’re going against the first-team defense, and this year I’m just happy to be playing again.
On his blitz pick-up: I feel like I’m getting better at it, but I still have a lot of work to do dealing with that area. Most of the time Chris (Ogbonnaya) will be in on the third-down blitz pickups and things like that.
LB Roddrick Muckelroy
On the win: We prepared hard this week. To me it’s just about having fun out there. I can go out there and have no tackles and I’m still going to have fun. It’s not about tackles, not about stats, just going out there and having fun. We were all ready for the challenge today and we stepped up.
On how today’s win well help get the team past last week’s lost: A win can help you out a lot, you get your confidence back. Coming off a loss, your whole team’s kind of down. The team knows you’re going out there to win and when you lose it’s upsetting. Getting a win back under our belt, everybody’s got the motivation. We’re all high again and just ready for the next game.
On playing a non-top 25 matchup for the first time in five weeks: Game day is game day. On game day we’re all focused on the game. It doesn’t matter who we play, we’re going to go out there and give them our best. Today we just had to get a win back under our belt and that’s what we went out and accomplished.
On Ryan Palmer’s interception: We felt like somebody had to make a play and (Ryan) Palmer stepped up and got a great interception and touchdown and that kind of boosted us back up just like that. That was a great play.
OG Cedric Dockery
On the win: It was refreshing. We had fun as an offensive line unit. As a team, I thought we had a lot of fun. I’m glad we got refocused and got back on track.
On the importance of getting another victory: A win is a win. We just go out there, take care of business, do what we’re supposed to do, and we leave last week with last week and we were focused on today and obviously took care of business. Tomorrow, we’re going to start focusing on Kansas.
On the running game: I think it’s always just been us coming through, staying on our tracks. When we get the runs called, we just run the plays that are called. If we pass more than we run, we pass more than we run. I’m happy for Fozzy (Whittaker), Cody (Johnson), Vondrell (McGee), (Chris) Ogbonnaya, all those back there running the ball for us. They did a real good job running the ball.
C Chris Hall
On the running game: We want to run the ball every week. Coach Davis did a great job calling the plays, did a great job preparing us for this Saturday so we were really thankful to see those numbers go up.
On preparing for a game after a loss: In preparation this week you’re hard on yourself. We want to come out and we want to do extremely well, as well as we can.
On Ryan Palmer’s interception: That was huge. That was really, really good. When Ryan caught that I thought he was going to get tackled but he ran into the end zone. That was good for momentum and it gave the offense some spark.
WR Quan Cosby
On the game: It was a real tough week, lots and lots of rehab. Our training staff worked on me so much and it hurt a lot but it was awesome to be out there with my team again.
On how important this game was: We definitely have to be out there, Baylor’s a really good team. We needed to bounce back more than anything and get that really bad taste out of our mouth.
On the success of the passing game today: It had a lot to do with schemes. Our coaching staff always puts us in positions to really do it. I know mine was really a scramble play. It was a situation where I ran my route, it didn’t work, so I kind of turned it up. Those other guys, they’re put in those positions to make plays and they did.
RB Vondrell McGee
On whether there was any doubt the team would be ready for the game: No doubt in my mind that we would come to play this game. We just tried to rebound from last week. It was a tough loss and we still could have won, even though we played bad. So we just wanted to come out, start and end strong.
On whether the game was psychologically satisfying: We played physical. We played tough for 60 minutes. We played as a team. So I think we’re back on track.
CB Ryan Palmer
On what the team expected of today’s game: I just think we needed to play good football. If we were running hard to the ball and busting our tails, things are going to go our way. The offense picked it up in the second half. I think we played well as a defense and our special teams played really well. We just have to keep playing. A lot of things are still alive.
On the team’s urgency when the score was tied at 14: Always on defense, we’re looking to make a big play. It was a tight game at the beginning, somebody had to step up and make the play. Roy (Miller) and Henry (Melton) were doing their thing in the middle. We had to pick it up for Rak [Brian Orakpo]. We just stepped it up.
On bouncing back after last week’s tough game: It was a tough game we took [last week]. We just wanted to come out here and play well, get back on our feet and rebound. The test of a man is getting up after you’re down. That’s what we’ve got to do. All of us have to keep fighting. We did that today and came up with a W.
On his interception return for a touchdown to start the Texas string of unanswered points: I don’t get a lot of action playing nickel. But I was happy that he came my way and I made a play. My team just keeps playing well – D-line, linebackers – we’re all clicking right now. We played good last week, they just came out on top. This week we played better. We have to keep it rolling. We’ve got a couple more games. We’re still in it. We just have to keep playing good football.
On playing Baylor after a tough stretch of ranked opponents: We still played a great football team. We kept them under 100 yards passing. You play in college football, anybody can throw and catch the ball. I think it was good for our confidence. We’re still not out of this thing. We’ve got a lot more football left. We’re going to keep playing.
DE Sam Acho
On chasing Baylor QB Robert Griffin: That guy is fast. I think he runs a 10.3 in the 100 [meter run]. He’s a track guy, so he’s fast. It was fun chasing him around.
On getting to more playing time this week: It was a lot of fun trying to get in there and do what I could to help the team.
On whether the game was psychologically satisfying: We knew we had to focus on Baylor. We couldn’t take them lightly because they have a great quarterback, a great offense and two of the best tackles I’ve seen. We knew we had to focus and rebound from last week. We were just out there trying to play as hard as we could and stay focused.
I think we got everything we needed to out of the game. We all played hard, played tough. We had a couple of mental mistakes out there, but we all played hard and that’s all the coaches ask for.
On the team’s expectations before the game: We knew Baylor was a heck of a team. We knew it was going to be a challenge, so we just wanted to play tough, hard and smart.
S Earl Thomas
On the importance of bouncing back as a young secondary: It was important for us to come back strong and I think we did that. Throughout the week, we knew (Robert Griffin) was a good scrambler. We just wanted him to be disoriented.
On the young secondary’s mindset after last week’s loss: We prepared really well this week. We made up our minds that we didn’t want that to happen again, we didn’t want that taste in our mouths. We had a good week of practice, we practiced hard and it paid off today.
WR Jordan Shipley
On Ryan Palmer’s interception return for a touchdown in the first half: That was huge. That was a great play. It kind of swung the momentum back in our favor. That was awesome. He just split everybody and scored a touchdown.
On feeding off of the defense’s big play to get it going again in the first half: I think it works both ways. Sometimes if they’re having trouble and we can stay out on the field and drive the ball down and score, it helps them. Also, they get a quick turnover, it really gets everybody excited on offense. So I think that works both ways.
On the balanced offensive attack today: We needed to establish the run. I think that’s one thing that helped us offensively, being able to run the ball. It always opens up the pass and everything else.
BAYLOR POSTGAME QUOTES
Head Coach Art Briles
On the game: You've got to give Texas a lot of credit. They were playing in a very controlled fashion on their home field against a Big 12 opponent.
On the reviewed incomplete pass at the end of the first half: I couldn't see it. I was more excited about the couple plays previous to that where we had a guy tipping the ball around the end zone, and I think they (Texas) interfered with (Baylor's) Kendall (Wright) down there where we had them open. That could have potentially been a touchdown. The last play, we're heading off the field and the back judge stops me and says, "Coach, we're reviewing the play." I asked David, "Did you catch it, were you in (bounds)?" He said he caught it but couldn't tell if he was in or not. That's the only reason we stayed on the field. I didn't see it.
On losing momentum after the interception: Yeah, that's a tough deal. You just have to play pretty much error free. We got a little momentum through our interception on them and banged it in there. We got the big play to Kendall (Wright) and we were feeling pretty good. We fought a little field position battle today. I'm not sure where our starting point was, but it was not great.
On Baylor QB Robert Griffin: I think he's a very complete quarterback. I think he's exactly what our team needs from a leadership standpoint, from an athletic standpoint and a passing standpoint. He fits exactly what we want from our quarterback position and does an outstanding job.
On how his team handled the atmosphere: Our guys are pretty mature. We focus in on 100 yards and 60 minutes. We just try to rally together as a team. We understand on the road we're not going to get crowd support and same thing when people come to Baylor. On the road, you just got to rally together. They had a great crowd, and they support Texas awfully well, but it certainly was not a factor as far as us not doing what we needed to do from a team standpoint.
OT Jason Smith
On losing momentum in the first half: We were on our way. Once you get momentum, you've got to take advantage of it. If you don't take advantage of it, what happened in the second half will happen.
On Texas' first-half interception return for a touchdown: One play doesn't define a game, whether it's good or bad. Maybe that next drive took something out of us. One play doesn't determine a game.
We've got to fire on all cylinders. You've got to fire on cylinders to be productive, for the motor to work. We've got Texas A&M next week, that's the only thing on our minds. That game would have gotten us bowl eligible (with a win), but it won't, and we'll go back to the drawing board tomorrow. We're going to get ready for Texas A&M. One game won't determine our program. We're moving in the right direction.
FS Jordan Lake
On losing momentum in the first half: It was 14-14. We stopped their drive and they missed a FG. It was our game to take. They got seven points off of it. They came out with some defense, and it went from going our way to flipping back really quickly, and that really hurt us.
On Texas QB Colt McCoy: He did a great job of buying time with his feet. We knew he was going to try to do that. We did a good job of putting pressure on him. We just couldn't finish it off and take him down.
On the loss: It hurts. The one thing we wanted to change this year, we wanted to go to a bowl. It hurts, but we've got two games left with two big in-state rivals. We'll come out and fight hard and try to win both of those.