Aug. 22, 2009
Offensive coordinator Greg Davis
Opening statement: I feel like through this point in camp we’re really, really pleased with where we’re at. We’re looking at a lot of different people in a lot of different positions, doing a lot of cross training, but I’m pleased with where we are. We’re working on consistency. Offensive football is about being consistent. You get an explosive play and then a negative play, so we’re working on being more consistent.
On the tight ends: Right now we’ve got Greg Smith and Ahmard Howard who are doing things in our attached formation; they’re involved both in the passing game and in the run game. Then when we go to a tight end detached, we’re playing both Barrett Matthews and Dan Buckner in that spot. Dan Buckner is a guy that will cross train for an outside receiver and a slot receiver. That mixture of those four guys, Barrett is a guy that can play detached and attached. That’s kind of the rotation that we’re working on. We would like to play more 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end) than we were able to last year, but at the same time, you want to play to your strengths. Colt (McCoy) is an extremely accurate thrower, and when you put Dan inside you get some matchups there that are pretty good. That will be the mixture that we’ll work on from this time on.
On staying mentally consistent: Physically they’re going to be tired after 17 practices. I saw today there were some legs that are tired, but mentally you want them to be sharp. I talked to the offense after we got through working today about the consistency part. There are going to be physical mistakes, we’re going to get beat on a block, but as long as we’re not making mental mistakes after 17 practices then I feel like we’re one up. The consistency area is a thing we have to work on from here to the opener.
On junior WR James Kirkendoll: James has had a really good camp. The one thing about James is he’s really a bright young man. He can play a bunch of positions. He can play our split end position, he can play the far position to the field, and he can also play in the slot. That gives us a lot of flexibility especially as the season goes on and you get injuries. He is a very consistent player. He’s one of those players that just goes about doing his job every day. When you get back in and look at the film you say, ‘You know, James had a really good day.’ I think he fits in that mold of being consistent that we’re talking about.
On Kirkendoll’s performance in the Fiesta Bowl as a springboard to spring and fall: Last year Quan (Cosby) and Jordan (Shipley) complimented each other really well. In that particular ball game, James got a bunch of one-on-one coverage and he came up big in that ball game. Certainly in that last drive he made a huge play. I think that just kind of vaulted him into the offseason and into spring training.
On who has surprised him so far this camp: I would say the development of Barrett Matthews has been a pleasant surprise. You never know how a freshman is going to react when he gets out there. You’ve got to mention Garrett Gilbert to come in as a true freshman and the job that he’s doing in the no huddle, in the signals and the speed of the game. I’m really pleased with his progress. Mason Walters is a young guy that’s going to be in the mix. Those three guys have really done well. I think Tre Newton has had a really solid camp both in the third-down situations and we’re working him some in our goal line package.
On how much the staff plans to change the offense from last season: We want to be flexible enough, and we want Colt to have enough flexibility that he can get us in and out of situations that demand that. At the same time, we also want to trust the system in certain blitz situations, which is what we did last year. Somewhere between not doing anything different and doing a few things different that are different for the defense is what you’re shooting for offensively.
On the running backs: Right now Fozzy (Whittaker) and Vondrell (McGee) are running predominantly with the first group. Cody Johnson is cross training both as a tailback and as a fullback. Antwan Cobb is another guy I should have mentioned as a real pleasant surprise because he’s healthy now and he’s doing a really good job when we’re in our 21 personnel (two running backs, one tight end) group. Those four guys – Fozzy, Vondrell, Cody and Tre (Newton) – are kind of separating themselves from the rest of the group and that’s the group that we’ll start working with more as we head downhill towards the ball game.
Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp
On his impression of the defense at this point: I think we’ve made positive steps about every day. Within our group I think we’ve done a good job of building depth on our team, getting more guys in the rotation so to speak, as far as guys we can count on to play on Saturday. I’m pleased with where we are as far as that’s concerned. We’ve got to continue to press forward with getting turnovers emphasized and limiting big plays.
On this being his second year and if the defense is ahead of where it was at this point last year: We’re much further ahead than we were a year ago schematically, just because of the understanding of going through the year. What happened last year will not affect anything that happens this year other than the experiences the kids gained from that. It’s a new year, and we’re looking forward to getting cranked up.
On the defensive line: Football is a line of scrimmage game, so you’ve got to play well up front. I feel good about the three tackles inside who have performed well – Lamarr Houston, Kheeston Randall, and Ben Alexander. Sergio Kindle, Alex Okafor, Eddie Jones, Sam Acho, and Russell Carter have done some good things at the end position. So we feel like we’ve got some bodies there that can play some productive football for Texas.
On Sergio Kindle’s leadership: He is a great leader by example in how he approaches the game and how he plays the game. He’s got relentless attitude and effort on the field. We use examples of him with film with the younger kids and our other players to show this is how you’re supposed to do it at Texas. He plays that way all the time, and he’s approaching the game that way, and I think he’s had an outstanding camp.
On if there have been any surprises: No, most of it we have kind of expected. I think Kheeston Randall has really had a good camp. I’m really pleased with how he’s progressed and worked on his pad level and play up front. Sam Acho I thought has had a really steady camp. Eddie Jones has done some good things for us in the pass rush. I feel like we’ve got five linebackers that can play championship level football for us. We’ve got a lot of competition in the secondary. So it’s kind of what we expected a little bit, but we’ve had some pleasant surprises of guys that can build depth and can play at a championship level.
On how the secondary has developed: I think we’ve got great competition. That’s the best motivator we have as coaches. Those guys have to understand that they’ve got to go out and play well all the time. We’ve got a lot of competition. Again, we’ve got to continue to make strides to form the consistency we want.
On how he motivates players this time of year: Well playing at Texas is motivation enough. When they walk out there they understand they represent a lot of people – their families, this program, this University – and to play well for Texas. That’s great motivation. We want self-starters. We want guys who understand the importance of playing here, and playing well, and playing at a championship level, and that’s what we expect.