June 13, 2012
Opening statement: The freshmen class is all here. They're getting much more comfortable with their teammates. Of course, they have their voluntary workouts with our strength staff, and they're also going through an academic orientation with our academic staff. Most of them have three hours to start the first summer session. It was one of the great things that the NCAA has done, is they let these guys come in without the pressure of football, they let them go slow in the offseason program, let them learn from [strength coaches] Bennie [Wylie] and Jeff [Madden]. They get to know their teammates, get to learn how to transition away from home without all the students here, without the pressure of a game [and] playing immediately. We think it's really, really helped them learn to play and be more comfortable and a lot less homesick when they get here.
The varsity guys are already buzzing about the freshmen class. They think they're really good. We can't talk to them about workouts. We can't see the workouts. You can tell when they walk through and say, “Whoa, coach, this is a good bunch of players.” That's exciting as we look at it.
Tonight we'll have all the freshmen out to dinner at the house. They will have coaches and their families and Fozzy will address them about if he were starting over as a freshman, things he was concerned about at that time - different things he might have done in his life and his transition to college if he had to start over.
NCAA rules, again, changing a couple years ago, really help freshmen play earlier, too, because now as you get an older team, you can get more done in the summer. When you look back, Vince Young's first year, he probably didn't do a great job in the summer, but his second and third year you could tell those guys did a great job. I know that Colt, his first year, came in one time and said, “Coach, I can't get guys to show up.” I said, “Me either, but it's voluntary.” If anybody is going to show up for voluntary workouts, it's got to be you guys. It's not us, the staff can't have anything to do with it. I talked to David [Ash] and Case [McCoy] yesterday. They said, “Boy, coach, everybody is buying in. We're having a great summer.” I think that shows you when your quarterbacks get a little bit older they have a lot more input into the players, and obviously the coaches can't. We can't even meet with them on football in the summer. The rule is if David Ash tells [co-offensive coordinator] Bryan Harsin, “I'd love to come and watch some video with you,” - we can't. That's how stringent those rules are, and I think they should be changed. But that's the way it is. We can't work in the summer. We can talk to them about their personal lives and academics, but not about football.
We also just finished camp today at lunch. We've had 1500 to 1700 kids in for the last few days, fourth graders all the way up to seniors in high school. We had a good camp. I'm amazed how well our coaches coach the guys, whether they're prospects or not, or the fourth graders to teach them the fundamental skills as they do the eighth graders. They put a lot of energy into it. That's been fun for us. A lot of people are doing satellite camps. That means you take your staff to Dallas or Houston for a few days, you go to East Texas, West Texas, San Antonio. A lot of people are doing that now. It's something we'll have to look at. We have always been concerned that if we did something like that, it might take away from some of the kids wanting to come to our camp on campus, and we'd rather have them here, have them around our facilities. So that's the discussion we will have. We can do it by ourselves because we're instate. The outofstate schools that come in with satellite camps have to partner with somebody in the state. They partner with Mary Hardin-Baylor or McMurray. That's how they have started doing these camps across the state. That's something we will have to look at. We had great attendance at our camp this year as we always have. But still there's some kids that come on those days, couldn't get a ride, didn't have the money. Sometimes it's AAU basketball. There's a lot of things that happen in their lives in the summer. Sometimes it's vacation. We have to look and see where that fits for Texas.
Recruiting has gone really well. This will be a smaller class. We're trying to finish the class as strong as we did last year. Obviously, last year there were a number of guys that changed their mind and committed to us late, so that can always happen. So it's something you've got to be aware of. We just don't have as many spots this year. So we'll have to look at it. We're probably ahead on the 2014 recruits than ever before. Our coaches have worked so hard, they've been out fighting it every day. They've worked hard to evaluate those guys, try to see them in practice. Since we were ahead with the 2013 class going into the spring practices at each high school, we were able to go look at a lot of the guys for 2014 and have a better feel of them going into the fall than we might have. And especially last year when a significant part of the staff changed.
As far as our current team, [CB] Quandre Diggs, [CB] Adrian Phillips, [TE] Greg Daniels, [DE] Jackson Jeffcoat, [WR] Bryant Jackson and [WR] Miles Onyegbule have not been released to work out with the strength staff and do everything, all the drills in the summer. They all are doing something. They can start. But probably only Bryant and Miles will not be full speed ahead when we start our camp. They think Bryant will do some things. Miles will be a little bit slower. They also think Miles is ahead of where they thought he would be. So they think he can get back in and play next year. But they'll be very, very cautious with those guys and not release them for full workouts probably until the middle of July, so they're going to be very careful with them.
Our three young men that got in trouble downtown a month or so ago are working to finish their disciplinary punishment as we speak. They will not miss a game. But they are paying hard for really being disrespectful to authority figures. It's our job to make sure that we all keep the respect of the authority figures that we have. Our police department has a very, very difficult job. If they ask you to leave, you should leave, and you should leave quickly. Now everything has been dismissed in the case. But, again, I think all of us need to learn respect. That's what it's about. These are three leaders on our football team. If they can't have that respect for authority, then it's harder for them to lead our football team like we want them to. I think they've learned some hard lessons in that area and we will be moving on. Another part of their punishment is they will not represent us publicly with you all or any other way until we start school in the fall. So the guys will not go to Big 12 Media Day. Two of those three would have gone and represented us, but we just feel like when we've had something come up, I think with [former Longhorn] Lamarr Houston. We actually let him address it. These guys will be able to address it when we start back in the fall, but not until that point, because we want them to earn that right from their teammates to represent our team publicly.
As far as the goals for the guys this summer, again, they have to do it on their own. One of the biggest goals for us is that our quarterbacks, our tight ends and our wide receivers need to improve our passing game. And you can do that in the summer. That's something you can do a lot. They can do it on their own without us out there because just about all the players have participated in this offense and they know what to do. So it's just a matter of how much work you want to put into it. Again, it's on a voluntary basis. Your team really has to mature and grow up and a lot of things are determined in the summer by how they work together, the team chemistry, leadership, discipline, their conditioning - which gains their selfconfidence. But we need to get more explosive plays. We need to throw it more often and we need to throw it better. We got all over the place offensively last year because we had people hurt at receiver, we had people hurt at running back. We were shuffling quarterbacks some. So it was really, really hard to do anything except try to win a game. You couldn't build in a certain area and get a lot better. We ran so well against Kansas and Texas Tech back-to-back, then all the backs got hurt. You looked out, most of the receivers were hurt. So we never got to a point where we felt like we had our full complement of offense so we could run and pass, and we need to be able to do that next year.
Caleb Blueitt is working at tight end. He's a baseball player, a really good athlete. He's tall, hasn't played much there before, but we think he's a guy that can help us because we need to be more productive and create depth in our receiver and tight end position.
We also are working on a new position as such, Bryan and [co-offensive coordinator] Major [Applewhite] and [wide receivers coach] Darrell [Wyatt] are calling it “T and Z” right now, which is part tailback, part Z receiver, for [RB] D.J. Monroe and [ATH] Daje Johnson. We feel those guys are speed guys and can get the ball in their hands and help us with explosive plays. They're working hard this summer on getting packages to get D.J. Moore involved, but Daje, to get him involved early in the process because we think he has a chance to be a good player with his explosive speed.
On defense, as usual, it's about creating turnovers. You have to protect the ball on offense and create turnovers on defense, but we also are in a league where people throw the ball so well and so often that we need to be able to gain more depth. We've got to have ends that can passrush. We have to have tackles that can passrush late in the ballgame. You have to have enough depth to go five and six defensive backs and still have the linebackers that can cover if they're throwing it on the early down. Our staff is continuing to work on that.
We asked the players to come up with their own motto and slogan for the year. They came up with RISE. The R in RISE is for relentless, the I is for intensity. They want the S to be swagger. A number of our coaches and Bennie thought it should be sacrifice first, then you get your swagger. They said you don't come off 85 with swagger, you have to earn that right, you earn that through time. Then the E is for emotion.They even designed a logo for it. We do feel like last year's team was, again, all over the place and was not capable of doing some of this stuff themselves. Bennie and the staff came up with “brick-by –brick.” This is what we're going to do, this is how we're going to do it, keep your mouth shut and let's start earning our way back so we can work and get our team and credibility back.
In the summer, I mentioned a few minutes ago, we bring in consultants. We have a lot of seminars about leadership. It's something that a lot of guys want to lead, but they don't know how. Your leaders have to be your hardest workers. Some guys talk and haven't earned the right to lead. So all of those things are things that develop through the summer.
It's always amazing to me when people say, How is your team going to be? Nobody really knows how your team is going to be until you get back from summer, you see what kind of conditioning they had, what kind of commitment they made, then you get through preseason camp and see about your health. See if you've been able to stay healthy, because preseason camp is really demanding on everybody.
We have hired a sports dietician. It's something we've never had. We've had a consultant in place in the past. But Amy Culp has worked with our team as a consultant. Was just hired by our medical staff. She will be full speed ahead and something that just about everybody in the country now is using because we have to change the habits of some of the guys. Some are too thin, don't eat enough. Some eat too much. We're in a position where we're trying to find the right combination of foods and drink for the guys to eat so they can be at the optimum when it comes to their conditioning.
There's been a lot of talk about potential playoffs, or a plusone lately. I've been asked about it quite often. My thought is, how exciting for college football that people are talking about it this time of the year. People have been wanting some difference in the format for years. It hasn't happened. Now it looks like there's a possibility that we may have the best teams playing at the end. All the coaches want to keep the bowl games strong, keep them like they are because it's a great experience for the players. If a team can only be 75, good for that team that they get to go to a bowl, but we don't want that taken away. I think you would talk to most of the coaches, just about everybody I've talked to in the business that I'm close to, wants to see the best teams play at the end. That's very, very important for all of us. We obviously leave it to the powers to be to figure out how that works, how to do it. But I do think there's some major changes coming for the first time in a long time.
As far as the Big 12 is concerned, our spring meetings went well. Gary Patterson, all our coaches have known him through recruiting, and TCU has played a lot of Big 12 teams over the past. Dana Holgerson was at Texas Tech, Houston, then up to Oklahoma State. Two of the teams in our league, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State, he's been involved with. So the meetings didn't seem like it was new. It seemed like guys that had been around, and they fit in very easily and very well. We're also very happy that there's a lot of stability now with the TV rights for the league to be here for a long time. It's interesting that a couple years ago people were wondering if we were going to have a league. Now everybody is speculating how many teams want to get in. Amazing how that changed in the last couple years and it changed good for the Big 12. Bob Bowlsby is our new commissioner. Everybody I've talked to that's worked with Bob says we should be excited, we're lucky to have him. He has incredible integrity. He gets it. He's tough. He will help the Big 12 to continue to move forward. I do feel the Big 12/SEC game is something that will be really special. We don't know much about what that means right now. It's going to take two of the best leagues in the country, pit two of the best teams against each other every year. I think they're comparing it to like a Rose Bowl with the matchups with the PAC12 and the Big Ten like they've been for many years. It will be fun for the two each year to get bragging rights and compete with two of the best teams.
Sally and I were lucky enough to go to Matthew and Camila McConaughey's wedding on Friday night. Matthew has been a great friend for our 15 years here. We had a blast. Sally went to see his movie 'Bernie'. She's not one that laughs a lot. She said she laughed for two hours. That's one you ought to go see.
We also want to congratulate [WR] Marquise Goodwin on his championship in the long jump again with track and our men's golf championship. What a neat thing for them to win the national championship [and] get all of us headed back in the right direction. Marquise has won twice. When I texted him right after his win, he said, “Now let's do it in football, Coach.” He's been a guy that's handled both sports really well. That's a difficult thing to do. He will be competing [in] the Olympic Trials. We want to wish him and all the other Longhorns competing in those trials luck. His jump in the Olympics, if he gets that far, is August 4th. We report August 2nd. He could get back pretty soon and have some preseason work before we open up for the first ballgame.
Finally we want to congratulate Kevin Durant, Royal Ivey, and Dexter Pittman for being great representatives of our basketball program nationally and getting to play in the NBA Championships. I know it's fun for [mens’ basketball coach] Rick [Barnes] and his staff [with] all the great players they have in the NBA right now. If even some of those guys had stayed another year, it would have made so much difference. Kevin Durant is such an incredible player. Being around him, he's just as good a kid. I love having him on the sidelines at ballgames. He comes and plays pickup games in the summer. It's been fun to watch him. Looks like we have a great series ahead after last night.
On the offensive line: One of the great things that [offensive line coach] Stacy Searels has brought to us is he moves those guys around. They've been playing five different positions since they've been here. I walked in, talked to him right after Paden [Kelley] left. He said, “Here's what we'll do.” You've got guys like Thomas Ashcraft been waiting to play for a long time. He's in great shape. Had a really good spring. We're excited about him. You have Luke Poehlmann, who made so much progress after his knee operation. It's hard to come back in less than a year and be able to participate as Luke did last year. He can now actually help us and play tackle. We have all the young ones, too.
On if he has any rules about players playing pick-up basketball: I talked to my buddies across the country that are coaching. They want to all pull [the players] off Twitter, Facebook, not let them play basketball, not let them do this, do that. They are human beings, and they're kids. I think [OL] Camrhon's [Hughes] dad said, “Medicine ball is the only ball you'll be picking up in your future.” Parents usually handle that. We just tell them to be careful. The only two kids I can remember that got hurt in pickup basketball was [former RB] Ivan Williams hurt his knee. It really curtailed his career. He went to fullback instead of tailback after that. That was a patella tendon I think many years ago. And now Camrhon. Those are the only two I can remember getting hurt. We think we're fine. We can't see them, but [OL] Kennedy Estelle is here, [OL] Curtis Riser is here.Those are two guys that will have a summer to work with our strength staff and see if they can fit in in the fall, too.
On the new team motto “RISE”: I think it's more important that they came up with it and every word is important to us moving forward. I think swagger is something people talk about. Unless the kids buy in, it means something to them, it's not worth a rip. To me, I don't care what it looks like, sounds like. If they want to rise this program up against eight wins, that's what they started in, I'm in. If they want to do what those four words mean, that's fine, they just have to earn a swagger. I'd rather them have a swagger than not. ou'd rather have a swagger and confidence than arrogance. We actually made each coach go through each one of those words, they told the kids what that word meant to them before we decided we would do it. We suggested sacrifice. They wanted to keep swagger. We're going to make them earn the “S.” “Sa” starts before “Sw.” We're going to make them start with one to get to the other. Then we took the basic meanings out of the encyclopedia and put it up on the board so that everybody understood if this is who they wanted to be, if this is what they wanted to represent themselves with their Tshirts, armbands, whatever, but don't act like you have intensity unless you do. Don't say relentless unless you're going to be that way, don't say you're going to play emotion and play flat. You all brought it up, said it, now do it.
On if there were two or three players that were instrumental in the motto: Yes. But we voted on four different slogans. We threw out a bunch of them. They came up with this one. We threw out different logos for this slogan. We made them all vote on it. They were 100% on this slogan. I thought we had some others that were great, they had no interest.
On if he had a favorite motto suggestion: I'm not going there. My favorite's RISE. My favorite is their favorite. It's their deal. It's theirs. One year we had one, and they didn't even remember what it was. Last year they really bought into “brick-by-brick” because they knew we had to get a lot better every day. This year they want to rise away from eight wins. That's what we want. I think the fact that they know eight is not good enough is good, and that they will talk about it publicly. That's where we're headed.
On how the freshmen navigate their first semester of college:
[Associate Athletics Director for Academic Services] Brian Davis
sits down with each kid. Now they've done this probably, what, six or eight years with the freshmen coming in? It's been a while now. I think ever since the early parts. We still had them coming in, had the four days of orientation with the freshmen when they got here. It hasn't been 14 years, but it's been six or eight. Ever since then, Brian has a really good feel. He could tell you. I think they get basic science, English - basic freshmen classes they want them to take. Speed reading, writing classes. It is an orientation to help guys get from where they were to where they're going in college.The fact they have three hours is so helpful because they have the rest of the day to have seminars. They had the police department come over and talk to the whole team about respect and what we've talked about in Austin, the places you can go, the places you should stay away from. They had someone come yesterday and talk to the team about violence [and] treating females properly. They do a tremendous job with life skills and leadership and the early process of teaching them about going to college in the summer.On what he knows about this team as compared to the '05 and '08 teams at the same point:
I knew in '05 we were going to be really good. We had to stay healthy. But we had everything. I thought we would be good in '05. I thought if Vince stayed, and since he redshirted, I thought he would stay, [but] he had too great a year. I thought we would win it all in '06. I didn't know we would win it all in '05. We had all the guys back. In '08, I wasn't sure because we had those young safeties. I knew we could be good, but Colt [McCoy] didn't have as good a year the year before as he was going to have. In '08 he played remarkable. At the same time it was a year where we stayed healthy, and [former Longhorns safeties] Blake Gideon
and Earl Thomas
played really well because we're playing four throwing teams to start the season with two freshmen safeties. I was surprised we were as good as we were in '08. I was not surprised in '09. I knew we had a chance to win all the games. I think we're back more to '08. We have to learn who we are. We have to play well, improve. Some young guys need to step up. We've got to be consistent at quarterback. We have to protect the ball even better than we did last year, get more explosive plays on offense, be more balanced, throw it better. On defense we gave up too many big plays early in the year. After they learned the system, [against] Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, where we scored some really long runs, we were pretty consistent until Baylor. They hurt us. I thought the Cal game, going back and studying it, was a good football game for us. Cal had a good team. We were very physical. So I think we want to be a tougher football team. We want to be a deeper football team. I think we're getting to all that. The coaches know more about each other. They know about who we are, what we want. The strength program is back to where it's very demanding, but the guys are loving it. I feel like we're in a great position to move forward.On not being able to coach the players for the next two months:
I don't think I've ever felt as much like a fan, that I'd love to go watch those freshmen this summer. I can't. It's very frustrating. What you do is we have a retreat that we go for two and a half days. I'll plan all the retreat stuff in the summer, make sure of everything that we need to touch, that we will touch, will discuss, get fixed. We go to San Angelo tomorrow for the entire day for the clinic there. We'll have a luncheon out there tomorrow with some Texas Exes. Some of our coaches will speak at their clinic. We will have a barbecue with the coaches tomorrow night out there. There will be 1200, 1300 coaches out there. That's always a great clinic for us. Then we'll come back and have a staff meeting on Friday, work all Friday to get everything prepared for the summer. The coaches have responsibilities in the summer. I have responsibilities. We'll all have game plans for the first five games. Then you have West Virginia and TCU that you have to address differently now because they're new. There's a lot of stuff you can do without the players. One of the great things about hiring younger coaches is they've done a tremendous job of putting stuff on video. So the players, if they want to study each play this summer, the coaches have left it on video where they can actually talk over the play, show the play that worked and why, show the play that didn't work and why. Maybe have 10 goods, five bads of what needs to happen in that play. A young man that comes in, if you have older players that want to help them, stand up, it can really help them. We also did something really different this summer. We made big brothers for each of the freshmen, which we've always done. But we made a big brother be a guy at his position. So he will walk with him, he'll eat with him, be around him. He can talk to him about how to help in the future. We think that will be more productive than just having some guy. If they're working out together, they have the same thoughts in a position. They're much more likely to stay around each other more than an older one and young one that don't have anything in common.On the current NCAA rules:
The problem with a lot of our NCAA rules is people can cheat. There's no way to try to find out who is cheating and who is not. So obviously coaches are talking to kids across the country in the summer. I've told ours we can't. If it's a rule, we're not going to do it. I said, there's enough ways you can get that information out in video and have it, but I don't want to hear you're breaking rules. That's who we are. How in the world can the NCAA find out who talks to a kid in the summer? You can't. You got to have trust that your staff is doing what they're supposed to do. I think there was a survey with student-athletes maybe six, eight years ago that said, "They're working us too hard" across the country. It was all sports. The NCAA took a lot of strong action to try to give them more free time. If you think about it now, you have to have 31 discretionary days where they can do anything they want, and you can't talk to them about football. You can't make them workout. You can't do anything during the year. So from May 1st to May 31st, we can't touch ours. That's usually where kids get in trouble, when we're not around them. They don't have to work out. If you take a big lineman, he doesn't work out for 31 days, he's going to be bigger. He's not going to be in as good of shape. One thing we've all pitched to the NCAA, basketball has a better rule than we do. They can work with their guys in the summer, and we can't. So we're pitching to the NCAA, you're putting more responsibility on head coaches not to allow assistants to break rules, then let's lighten up on some of the rules. Let's make it so we can find out who is and who is not. Why can't our coaches, when they're in, if it's just one week you have to work with them? If Stacy [Searels] is here for a week, why can't he take his guys out with a strength trainer under guidance and work with them for five days if that's not too much? We all get fired when we lose. There's a tremendous responsibility to make them go to class. There's a tremendous responsibility to keep them out of trouble. And we can't be around them in the summer. It just doesn't seem fair. I'm not talking about the walk-ons. If you're going to give a guy a scholarship, to me you should be able to ask him to show up and work. I don't think it teaches them much when they don't do that. There's a lot of rules like that that the NCAA is looking hard to see if they can change. You can't write sophomores. You can't talk to sophomores. You can't text sophomores. You can't call them, email them. You can only send them a questionnaire and you can only send them a camp brochure.
If I have camp, I sit down and I talk to 300 sophomores. I say, "We can't call you." They say, "Coach, everybody is calling us." It's ridiculous. "You all don't care, [they say.] You're not working as hard as the others." We have to send the rule out to every high school coach, to get to the family, because people are thinking we're not working as hard when we go by the rules. That needs to change. The guys that are not breaking rules should not be at a disadvantage. That's the way it is out there. The NCAA is trying really hard to figure out, "Let's don't have a rule unless we can hold everybody true to the rule."On the QBs and improving the passing game:
I think the biggest thing they need to improve is their confidence and leadership. I'm so impressed with those two this summer. Case said, "Everything is going great." You can have casual conversation. You can't say who is there. You can't check roll. You just can't. How would somebody know if I said, "How did so-and-so do today?" The thing they've told us, you can have casual conversation about a kid. "How is so-and-so doing?" You can't say, "Was he there last night?" Everybody in America can go see if he's there but us. That's the hard thing. But I think the confidence since we had receivers hurt - we've had some leave - we've got to get some better consistency, better timing with our passing game, and I think that will happen. It's hard with Marquise [Goodwin] because you don't have him all the time. You don't have him in spring, summer, early fall practice. So it's more difficult for him. The others, they should be much more comfortable with the other receivers. You have Bryant [Jackon] and Miles [Onyegbule] that won't be involved, but a lot of the other guys will.On if he favors at-large teams in a playoff:
I favor best teams playing. If we have a bad conference one year, I don't think we give the best team in the worst conference a chance to play at the end. I think the best teams ought to play.On using a committee to select teams for a playoff:
Their names would have to be public. I think it has to be very similar to the basketball committee. There has to be a lot of credibility. Everything they say and do has to be public. I thought maybe if you had an affiliation with any team, you couldn't vote for that team in any way. There's something to make it right because all of us have something that we have to think our judges are fair, so we have to think our lawmakers are fair. To me we have to have credibility in that group. I would like to see more credibility with strength of schedule. I think I hear that, but I don't see it at all. They've encouraged us. The BCS in my estimation has encouraged colleges, athletic directors and coaches to play the weakest schedule that can get you to the national championship game. That takes away our game with Ohio State. You're not playing those anymore. We're not seeing near as many of those. One year it cost Ohio State a chance to play in the national championship. Maybe another year it cost us. Why play it? he kids love the game, the fans love the game, you guys love the game. I think go back and make it where if you play a great national team, it doesn't kill you if you lose. We encourage people to do that.On having conference champions as part of the playoff:
I think if you get the strength of schedule straightened out and quit talking about BCS and non-BCS, talk about the best teams, then it doesn't matter who the conference champions are. You have the conference champions, give them their money, but don't make it easier for somebody else to get to the national championship than it is another team in a tougher league because then you're better off. If that's the case, Texas should have played four tough games, gone independent, played an easier schedule, but figured out the combination of games that would get us in the national championship every year and not worry about it. That's not what we want.On if a selection committee is superior to computer rankings:
I think there's some combination of all of it. That's why I want people that study it for a living to do it. To me, there may be one computer that really gets it with strength of schedule. I can't stand the fact that we have regional computer guys, they've got teams on their coast that are rated higher because they see them more. They put different information in. I'd like a have credible information fed to the computer. I would not like the computer to be the most important thing. Then figure out the components that all of us think are the most important. Get the best teams to play. I don't even like the plus-one. I'd like to see the best two teams in the end play. I hate to stretch it until January 10th for kids. We come back January 16th. They've got no life. But if you go back, I studied '05, what this would have done to us - we would have played Penn State, because we were 2, they were 3. USC would have played Ohio State. So we could have very well ended up with a rematch of Ohio State. Nobody wanted that because that's what we had last year with LSU and Alabama. In '05, that year wouldn't have been to our advantage because we played for the national championship and won. If Vince gets hurt in the game with Penn State, we probably don't win, regardless of who we play. In '08 it would have worked to our advantage because we would have had a rematch with Oklahoma, because we were No. 3 and they were No. 2. They were rated ahead of us. They got to the conference championship game. We still would have had a chance to get to the national championship game. I would like to see us have such a good formula that we can get the top -10 teams, one play two, three play four, five play six, seven play eight, nine play ten, and we see the best teams in the country playing each other. We don't see Hawaii playing Georgia, and an 8-3 Illinois team playing USC and having blowouts that are not fair to the kids that are on the lesser teams.On if he prefers every conference to decide its champion the same way:
I think it's okay to leave it up to the conference because some are going to have 14 teams, and we're going to have 10. I think it's different.On if he prefers four teams or more in the playoffs:
I don't even think we ought to have a playoff. I think we should have the best 10 teams play in the end.On if he means a tournament:
One ought to play 2, and we have to figure out who they are. There have to be better formulas to figure out who the best teams in the country are. Last year, Alabama would have played Oklahoma State, and LSU would have played Stanford. Then we would have had another game. I think that's fine. I don't like it as much. In certain years where you're not sure, it's fine. In '05 it wouldn't have worked because there were two teams that were better than everybody else. The good and the bad of it, we have to decide that. If you think about probably what's going to happen, you have to format whatever this thing is. Let's say we say a plus-one, if we do that, it's been suggested that those two games are on the campus of the highest rated team. If that's the case, the two losing teams don't have a bowl experience. They're out. You want the kids to have a bowl experience. You won 11 games, you don't get to go to a bowl. That doesn't work.
If you go neutral site, you go bowl. If you go bowl, how does that work? If Texas plays Oklahoma at that neutral site in '08, you can get back up for another one, but that game may be bigger than the national championship game to some. That's what I'm afraid of a little bit. Some championship games have skewed our results and the best teams haven't made it. This could do the same.On if he prefers a big group as a selection committee over a smaller group:
I haven't put that much into it. I think 30 ex-coaches, ex-athletic directors, so one guy can't skew it that much. If somebody is watching it very closely, it's not credible voting, kick him out. That's what we've done with coaches.On the injured players being cleared for the fall:
Yes. They'll definitely be for the fall. [Head Athletic Trainer (Football)]Kenny Boyd will have to make the decision in the summer. They're released to work out. They're not released to be competitive. They can only do certain things. He will watch them very carefully. They'll be in a rehab mode. All of them, except Bryant and Miles, should be 100% when we start August 2nd. They will limit them in the summer. The trainers can go out and watch seven-on-seven. That's something that's very much different than it was two or three years ago. We were worried about kids getting hurt with nobody being around. The strength coaches cannot. A trainer can say, "You can't get in that, get out", because the kids are competitive and they want to. But they will keep them from doing anything that might harm them. I worry to death about their summer competition without coaches around and without strength coaches around because there's nobody out there. That scares me every time they go out there. They've just got to take care of each other.On OL Camrhon Hughes' performance in the spring:
Camrhon did good. I think he probably would have been redshirted anyway. He had to have a great camp, a good early thing. But I hate that he hurt his knee. We think he will be a really good player. But I don't think Camrhon was in that mix right now for early playing time.On the new "T and Z" position:
We're working on it. Obviously there will be some tailback involved, so that means they'll line up in the backfield some, and you'll shift and motion them to a Z position. We have to figure out what all that means. We want to expand on that position, especially since Daje [Johnson] is coming because we think he has a chance to be really good with the ball in his hands. He's really a special player. We haven't seen him catch because he was a tailback. But we feel like that's what we're looking for. So the coaches will spend a lot of the summer trying to expand on what that means.On his top three concerns:
Really and truly you start [with some concerns], but it changes. If a kid gets hurt this afternoon while we're in here talking, my life changes. If he gets in trouble or cheats on a test, my life changes. What I've learned is you're going to have stuff that gets messed up. When you get it messed up, you do to the best of your ability to fix it fast and move on and try not to let it be a distraction. It's going to happen. We have kids, 125 kids. They're going to screw up. You hope it doesn't hurt who they are and you hope they learn from it. That's my job. That's what I talked about with respect. I have the last four presidents, a picture of them and myself in my office because I want the kids to be respectful of authority. I talk to them about that constantly. That's why we have police come and talk to them. They got hard jobs, so let's help them with their job instead of hinder their job. Very honestly, if somebody said, "Coach, I just wanted my pizza before I left, I already paid for it." I understand that, that's practical. But if you're asked to leave, leave. Go get another pizza. Don't eat, just leave. That's what you got to do. It's just part of a maturing process. I could go through it all. I'll touch [on] some. I already said we need to throw it better. We talked about depth in the offensive line. We have to have more second guys that can play. But I think we'll be better in the offensive line this year, seven guys deep than we would have been last year for sure at this time. We're working hard at tight end. I'm impressed with what I see out of D.J. Grant
. He seems to be maturing. He'll be a year away from his knee operation. He needs to step up and be a factor because we need to be good at tight end, we don't just need to have a tight end. That means blocking, running and catching. We need to be two deep at receiver. We never really were two deep last year. We have to get that done. We're in good shape at running back, at tailback. But we've got to get settled at fullback. Ryan Roberson
, Alex De La Torre
, Chet Moss
, will be the three guys playing at that position to start with. Barrett Matthews
will have some H-back ability. Then you have to see where all the freshmen fit in. I would think protecting the ball and expanding our passing game with confidence, getting more explosive plays out of it would be huge for us. Defensively you got to gain depth, number one. You got a lot of the guys back, but you're inexperienced at linebacker from a leadership standpoint unlike you were last year with two older guys. You think you'll have depth at end because I thought Reggie Wilson
and Ced Reed did a good job for us. Defensive tackles are getting better. Last year we didn't know who we had, if we had enough. Now all of them are starting to play better. We may have four or five. That's a difference for us.
I'm concerned about our backup linebackers. I think we're in pretty good shape with the first ones. The second ones have to step up. Freshmen will be a factor in all of those pass-rushing positions, linebacker positions. Then we've got to make sure we get settled in the secondary. These guys that are hurt, Adrian Phillips, is he healthy because his shoulder was hurt? Will they be a hundred percent in the fall? We get back, they tell me they're behind. What does that mean? Does that mean they can't practice? All of those things are a factor. Now the rules have changed. The ability of a kickoff returner to change a game because unless it's a huge wind, you may not return a kickoff during a game anymore. We'll have to look and see what dynamic that changes with the game. How much time do you spend on kickoff return as compared to having two guys back there that maybe can score every time you touch it. The halo rule makes it easier to return punts because they can't stand around him anymore. He's going to catch the ball without question. How do you address on-side kicks because they've changed that rule? How do we get comfortable if the helmet comes off during a game, what do you do? All of those things are a factor. Who is your punter? Alex King, we've seen him on video, he came in from Duke. Experienced. Averaged 42 yards a punt. Dropped 17 balls inside the 20. Will he be able to come and do the same type stuff for us or will it be Will Russ? We lost Justin Tucker who did a lot of good things for us. Who is the guy to step up and make that kick because we'll have that kick at some point next year? Is it Nick Jordan, [Ben] Pruitt? Somebody that's already here? Who kicks off? I hear Nick Rose is a great kickoff guy. He's in school. Who will do it and who is going to be your deep snapper? Kyle [Ashby] can come in and do that. Will you use a freshman that has never been used in a game before? Who is your punt returner. Do you go back to Quandre [Diggs], Jaxon Shipley, or do you let Daje, some of these new guys get it? Who is your kickoff return guy? Can you play two deep? Can you alternate offensive linemen in early? How will Caleb [Bluiett] play at tight end? How will Greg Daniels do at tight end moving over? All of those things are factors that really and truly I have to think about every day. If you ask if there's two or three, it's really bigger than that. [It's] why I look tired all the time. But those are things that are all real. The other thing is how do you integrate the freshmen in? How soon do they play? How does it disrupt your chemistry you're trying to get with your older guys that have worked so hard to finally get a shot? One of the most difficult things for us is if you play a freshman, you win a game early, you put a freshman in, all of a sudden he's not good enough, not mature enough, not ready to play - you already cost him a year. So that's why I wish we'd go to five years of eligibility, so you can play kids, not ruin a kid's year because you don't know if he's ready to go or not. Maybe pulls a hamstring, isn't ready to be a medical, he misses four games. All those things are things you have to discuss.
On the junior college transfers OL Donald Hawkins and DT Brandon Moore: I think I can say that I'm glad they're here. They both can improve a lot. I think that their conditions will be much better this summer now, and they'll be able to learn. They were in a little bit of shock coming in. But I'm glad we took both of them. I think they'll both be factors in the fall. What we've decided to do is take a junior college player, if we feel like he can fit an immediate need, not be a junior college recruiting group. But if we see somebody that we think fits an immediate need, we'll take him, and if he fits our program.
The two young men have done great. They've handled their academics well. So I'm excited that [defensive tackles coach] Bo [Davis] and [offensive line coach] Stacy [Searels] found those two and brought them in.
On his philosophy of recruiting players who play multiple sports: We had five guys play both at North Carolina. Three of them started, I signed one of them. Ronald Curry, he's now playing for the Oakland Raiders. Greg [Ellis] played for the Dallas Cowboys, defensive end. Greg started at times for them [basketball.] And then the great player, Julius Peppers, for Carolina - again we redshirted him. All of those guys came in knowing they were going to play both. We had two or three other guys but they never played [basketball.] Those guys were factors. They were in the rotation and they played. [Txas men's basketball coach] Rick [Barnes] and I talked about it. Jackson Jeffcoat talked to Rick, and he just hasn't decided to play. But it would not be a problem at all. What you get is you're going to a bowl game and you're going to be good, and they won't get there until after the bowl game. Rick and I have a great relationship. In fact, one of the many great things that [athletics director] DeLoss [Dodds] has done is every coach gets together in this department. That's very unusual across the country from what I hear. They all get along. Part of it is that we have enough money that everybody gets what they need so nobody is fighting over money right now. If I called Coach [Dean] Smith at North Carolina, ask to recruit a kid, he would. [Former NC basketball coach] Bill Guthridge would probably do a lot of it, but Coach Smith will help. If I ask Rick, he'll do the same.
On if Rick Barnes would work with him on taking a recruit that Coach Brown really wanted: I think Rick would do anything I asked him to do, I really do. I would do that for Rick. I think we're that close. I think he would do anything that we ask him to help with.
On his philosophy of offering scholarships early: We constantly look at our methods of offering. We're the ones that started offering early in the summer of their senior year, and now we're two years late. Like you all, we all reassess everything we do daily. It's something that you just have to continue to look at and continue to do. Sometimes things seem very simple. But like at Texas right now, we've had a policy that none of our coaches can have a camp off campus. If we decide to look at satellite camps, we'll have to look at policies on campus. It's bigger than, "Hey, we should be doing that", because there's a lot more involved. I like where we are. I like what we're doing. I like how we're doing it. I'm real excited about our coaches. They're excited about recruiting. We're probably doing a much better job of everybody having discussion about every player in a staff room and we keep a priority list of what we want. There's some guys that you need more than others. There's some that you want more than others, and they're priority. Sometimes people panic when you lose a guy. We might have been trying to lose the guy. Maybe we didn't want him. It didn't fit us. In some cases we've moved on long before the public moves on because we can't comment on kids publicly, and they can. I think when everybody panicked over [Ryan] Perrilloux, he told me he wasn't coming two months before. Everybody was devastated. I said, "Over that. That was two months ago, sorry." That happens in this world of recruiting because the kids can talk. Not all the kids tell the truth because they want it to look good for them. That's okay. I've told them, "Say whatever you want, doesn't matter to us."
On DE Reggie Wilson: I thought he competed harder all the time, and he learned. Reggie was a guy that only played a couple years of football. It's all new for him. It got bigger when he got here. That learning curve was really tough for him. What you want to get young players to do is to compete every play, and it's hard to do. They're not in great shape usually. They're not mentally as strong as a junior or senior who has been around this. So their pace is different. You try to get 12 good plays out of them, 20 good plays. What we're talking to Cedric and Reggie about is we need 25 to 30 plays without not much drop-off from Alex [Okafor] and or Jackson Jeffcoat. And if Alex and Jackson get a little tired, they need to be a better player than them tired. That's what we're trying to have them do. Let's not have [defensive ends coach] Oscar [Giles] and [defensive coordinator] Manny [Diaz] and I worried about when we're going to put you in. "Alex is breathing heavy, get him out there, he's going to play just as good." That's what we're working on.
On if he thinks Texas is a top-10 team in terms of ability: I don't know. We can be. And I think, again, when people are talking about that, it would really be fun for you all, but you wouldn't do it because you'd be involved some, to go back and look at the pre-season polls, who picked who, who ended up [where.] Most of the time they're not even close. Because none of us really know what we've got this summer, unless you have an older team. We have a younger team. We'll have an older team next year. All of those things I just told you can all work. They worked in '08. They can all work. If they work, yes, we'll be a top-10 team. If they don't, we won't be. We have a tough schedule. We're going to have to play well, be physical, tough and confident. All those things are things we've got to improve in.
On if he has spoken to Colt McCoy about his situation in Cleveland: I have. What I did is gave him a little reflection. He went through the same thing with Jevan Snead. Everybody had Jevan taking his place. When we left spring practice, I wasn't sure whether he or Jevan would start. The four or five players we had at media day, [I asked] "Who is your quarterback?" They said, "Colt took over. He stepped up, was a leader [and] took over." I said [to Colt], "Just go be you. Don't worry about anything anybody says, just be you." I've talked to him a couple times since. I'm seeing that in Case [McCoy.] Seeing him this morning, he was so confident, having so much fun, unlike last year where he was worried about everything, unsure. David [Ash] was a freshman. This time last year David was going to redshirt. That's how quick things can change. But I think Colt is doing fine. And Vince is really excited about Buffalo. I haven't heard this excitement in his voice in a long time. So I'm really excited for both of those guys, that they've got a chance to move forward.
Thank you, all.