Aug. 29, 2011
RB Fozzy Whittaker
On how he is feeling this fall: First off, it goes with our summer training and conditioning with [Strength and Conditioning Head Coach for Football] Bennie Wylie and [Assistant Athletics Director for Strength & Conditioning] Coach [Jeff] Madden. Those are guys that have been instrumental in helping me maintain my weight, put on more weight initially and then being able to maintain that through fall camp. It's probably the strongest that I've ever been. I also weigh the most that I ever have, and being able to maintain that is helping me be very efficient and [helped] not getting injured.I feel like I give that all to Coach Wylie and Coach Madden.
On the running back competition being tough: You know, it was. Those guys coming in and the previous guys that have already been here, they're hungry. They want to start just like I was in previous years. Everybody wants to play. You know, I take it upon myself that every day is an open competition. I try to work my hardest to be the best that I can be, to provide the team any spark that I can.
On if he “hated” the grueling summer workouts: I wouldn't say I necessarily hate it, but I know that I will remember them forever. You know, it's one of those times that, especially this summer, it's particularly hot for us. We've gone through kind of a drought this year, and just being out there working, especially at 2:00 [p.m.] out there on the turf, you know, feet burning up - I feel like it's only just made us mentally tougher and stronger.
On looking forward to the season after a long layoff: I'm so excited. Right now I just have so much energy and emotion just stored up in my body. I can't wait until September 3rd comes around, and I know our whole team is like that. It's been the longest since we've come out. We've been waiting for this moment since January 17th, which is the day that we reported back here. So it's been a long time coming, but we're all excited.
On the importance of attitude: We got hit in the mouth last year, and basically it's not necessarily what we did last year but how we respond to it. So this Saturday, this year, is going to be an interview for us playing against Rice. How we respond to what we did last year, and I feel like our attitude is very positive. And we're all excited going into this game.
On QB Garrett Gilbert: Garrett, he's a strong leader. He's become more vocal and authoritative in his position. He's [taken] it upon himself to be a better leader, and you know, being the leader that he already was and adding onto that instills more trust in the whole team.
On if it was difficult to watch the QBs go through camp competing so hard: It is because you see the competition level rise each day. Those guys are very competitive. You can see exactly who are the guys that want to compete. All four of them are guys that will go out there and they'll lay their life out on the line for the team, and just seeing them compete for that starting job, it put it increases our trust in all of them. Whoever came out on top, we knew they had the trust of the team.
On if it made it hard on the team not knowing who the starting QB was going to be: You know, it was pretty different just because we didn't know who was going to be playing. As players you typically have an idea of who the coach probably wants to rotate in more or get more rest. But this year all four of them rotated in with first team, second team, [so] you couldn't even really tell who was going to be starting quarterback. I didn't even know until today whenever Coach Brown released it that Garrett was going to be the quarterback. I feel like it's a compliment to all of them that they worked very hard, and you know, they're all fighting for that spot. I feel like any of them could have won it, but Garrett was the one that came out on top.
On his role: I feel like my role is amplified especially because in the running back position we have two young freshmen that will be playing this year. So being a mentor to them - along with Cody Johnson, he and I both, we're fifth year seniors - we've been here through it all. We know the good and the bad and exactly what the coaches expect for us. So that's one of the things Cody and I have taken upon ourselves to be mentors to those younger guys and help them read defenses better and make them better running backs.
On his feelings about staying healthy during fall camp: You know, I did reflect back on it for a brief moment. As soon as we finished our last scrimmage it was one of those things I just looked up to God and I was like, “Thank God for letting me get through another camp safe and sound.” Just having that type of confidence, it provides more enthusiasm inside my body to be excited. I feel like Coach Wylie and Coach Madden, like I said, were key instruments in helping me get to this point, and now I just have to go out and do what I can.
On what he will tell the young guys about this week: I know first off, they're going to be nervous and jittery having those butterflies. I know that's how I was when I first started playing, and these guys just coming in only within a month of football, I know they're going to be very nervous. I've got to take it upon myself to try to find ways to help them calm down. Once they get that first play under their belt, I know they'll just go out there and play and just be excited to be out there.
On other teams taking them lightly: I think to overlook us will be a hard thing because we've had so much success in the past, and I feel like given the season that we did have last year, we have a different type of attitude about ourselves wanting to prove to everybody that 5 and 7 is not up to our standards. So that's one thing that we've taken upon ourselves to basically go out there and prove to everybody that we never want to have a season like we did last year.
TE Blaine Irby
On if he is anxious about starting the season: A little bit. I haven't played the last couple years so I'm real excited to get out there with the guys, the rest of the team. And I think just like anybody else, going through spring ball and summer workouts and camp, we've prepared so hard for this moment, and I think as a team we're ready and we're excited for this game against Rice.
On the youth of the team: You know, a lot of young guys at the wide receiver position in particular. We've got a lot of youth. I just think it brings more energy and more excitement to the game. It's just like any other year when a senior leaves or somebody leaves the team, someone else has to come in and step up. Like I said, I'm excited to see some of these young guys because a lot of these guys I've never played with. From what I've seen during the spring, the whole offseason, I'm just real excited to see how we're going to play out this Saturday.
On developing relationships with the other players: A lot of my guys or a lot of the guys on our team have been my friends for a while, and I've played with a couple of them. Not a couple of them, but a lot of the guys in my class I played with before I got hurt. We have new freshmen coming in, guys are leaving, and we develop relationships among our team, and I think every year it's kind of a special year. I'm real excited about this year. I'm real excited about our youth that we have and just guys stepping up and playing.
On a renewed sense of energy: I think on offense in particular, I think with all the new changes going around, I think we definitely have a new level of energy and intensity. And it's definitely shown throughout the offseason. Just kind of with every workout or every practice is a competition, and we try and compete at 100 percent and go in 100 miles an hour. And really, I feel that's the only way we can get better, and I feel that new energy that has basically been brought in and kind of lights our butts on fire. We're real excited about this weekend, and we've definitely worked hard to get to this point.
On the quarterbacks: I think Garrett definitely was real consistent in the camp. I thought all of our quarterbacks did really well. It was a pleasure working with all of them. I definitely think Garrett has worked with us all spring and all summer, and I just think during practice he was making really great plays every practice. it didn't really matter who was throwing the ball. I thought every quarterback was doing really well and they were competing hard. I was mainly playing with Garrett and Case, and David Ash would come in and Connor would come in and all of them would do great. But I just think that Garrett definitely has the experience level, and he did really well during camp.
QB Garrett Gilbert
On how he feels about the team: Well, as you guys know, there have obviously been a lot of changes. As far as I'm concerned, I think as far as our team is concerned, we've had a very positive offseason. I think everyone brought a great attitude from day one back in January when we started working out, and I think that attitude has carried all the way from the summer and into camp. So I think the biggest thing that I can say is our attitude, the way we've attacked workouts, the way we've attacked practice and the mentality we've brought to it have been very good.
On the QB competition: Well, again, from day one back in the spring, it's been all about competition. You know, we've competed against each other every day, but we've also competed with each other, being great friends with those guys. So it's really been a lot of fun, I think, for all of us to kind of go through it and compete with each other and enjoy being around each other, too.
On if the QB competition has made him closer to the other QBs: Absolutely. I think just for the simple fact that we're around each other every day. When we're on the field we're competing against each other, but as soon as we leave the practice field, we're good friends. And I think that's something that's unique about it. I think we're all able to get along very well, and I had a lot of fun with it. I think it's something that helped all of us. The competition was good for each one of us. David came in early, and he was ready to go from spring ball. He did a great job. And then Case and Connor, we all had a great time with it. We all enjoyed pushing each other, enjoyed being pushed and Coach Harsin pushing all of us as a group. So it was something that we enjoyed doing every day. It's something that, yeah, I think we did need to help us move forward and become better as football players.
On improving from last year: We talked very little about last year. It's something that's still in the back of your mind. It's something [where] you've got a bad taste in your mouth. I think each one of us do. But for me, I would say I can use it as motivation. I can use it to improve myself and to kind of fuel that fire. But it's a blank slate now, and I think it's been that way for all of spring. I think Coach Brown talked to you guys about every position being open, and that's the way we looked at it as a team. Everyone had to go out there and earn it every single day. So I think that's been healthy, and I think that's been good for us. It's just something that's in the back of my mind. It's in the back of all of our minds, but it's something that we have moved on from. We don't talk about it. We don't think about it much. It's a new year. It's a new season, and so we're very excited about the prospect of moving forward. All we can be focused on right now is Rice. All we have is one opponent in front of us, and it's a onegame season. So we're very excited about the opportunity to just go forward and start anew.
On getting advice from other QBs like former Longhorn Colt McCoy: Well, you know, I've been fortunate enough to be able to talk to Colt some about that stuff. I think the best advice that I think I can get is you don't worry about any of that, and I wasn't worried about it. It was about matching the offense, being the best possible leader and being the best possible teammate I could be. And again, having those other quarterbacks that we have on our team, they're all going through the same thing. We went through it together. We enjoyed it, and we had a great time with it. Yeah, we were competing against one another, but being good friends and getting along helped it, and that's why it was a unique situation.
On being anxious to start the new season: I can't wait. It's going to be a lot of fun. I wasfortunate enough to come out and watch my brother the other night, them playing Westlake, and the stadium was only a quarter filled. And I can't even imagine just how much fun it's going to be coming out here on Saturday night, 100,000 people in the stands. And I'm really looking forward to going out there with my teammates and us being able to go out and finally get to play against someone else.
On if it is different working with a new set of receivers: Absolutely. During the spring and summer they were in there, asking me to come watch film and stuff, and they were very eager to learn the [offense] and to kind of get it down and master it as well as go out and prove themselves on the field. You know, that's exciting for me just to see those guys being so excited about it, wanting to learn and really expressing the energy that they did. So that was fun for me just being able to go out there with those guys because I knew they wanted to be there and wanted to learn that stuff.
On what he knows about Rice: Rice returns a lot of experience. I think they return nine defensive starters, and they've got a defensive end back who was out last year with an injury. Looking at them, they're very aggressive, and we know we're going to get their best. So we've got to be very prepared. We've got to be very prepared and go out and play our game.
On what makes the new offense different: I guess the difference in it is just the fact that it's more multiple. We're very multiple, so just once everyone got that down, got the multiplicity of it down, that's when we really were able to start mastering it. Obviously we want to be more complex. We want to move around but we also need to be very sound. So it's not just about the movement and confusion, we need to be very sound. So I think that's something that each of our guys has really taken upon themselves is to learn their responsibilities, and that way we can work as one cohesive unit.
DT Kheeston RandallOn how this team differs from last year’s
: I just feel like we feel like a new team. That we have new coaches, new players, and Coach Brown always tells us after every season the team that [comes out ]next year is a brand new team. Whether it's with the incoming freshmen, the new senior and junior leadership or just the things that we do going into the season. It's just a new team. A new Texas team. On if he is excited to begin the season:
I'm real excited. We went through spring together. Summer we're hanging out together and fall camp, and I love my teammates to death. But it's time for us to go out and test our skills against someone else. On DT Calvin Howell:
Calvin has been working hard all summer. He's a lot more focused, and he's paying greater attention to detail, and that's something that [defensive tackles] Coach [Bo] Davis has helped us both out with. He always tells us it's not the big thing that gets us in trouble, it's the small things. The steps taken and not using our hands. He's been a great teacher for the whole room. On the new defense:
This last week it's been great for me. Everything has come along a lot smoother, and I'm starting to finally understand what the coaches want out of me and this defense. Honestly, I'm just getting a great feel for it. More technically than anything. Nothing to do with effort. Just know[ing] where my responsibilities lie in each defense that we run and how I can help the tackle next to me or the end next to me in the certain formations. On what the team needs to do to be successful:
We just need to go out and play a great game and have fun. We didn't have fun last year, and that's something we need to do this season. When we do that, we'll be fine. We'll be the Texas that we need to be.OL David SnowOn how he feels about this year’s team:
You know, there's a lot of excitement going around. Last year we had a bad taste in our mouth, and losing is the most awful feeling, especially when you play in Texas where losing is not acceptable. You don't come into any game saying you're going to lose, and you don't expect to lose. So we're really excited about this year. We put a lot of work into it through the spring and the summer, working out with Bennie. We've put a lot into this, so [we are] ready to get the rewards out of it. On how the cross training at different positions has made them better:
Well, with the cross training you want to get the best out on the field, whatever combination that might be. So whatever combination works the best. With cross training it helps you understand what everyone else is doing, so even though I'm playing guard, I know what the tackle is doing. I know what the center is doing. And when you understand that and you understand the big scheme of things, it helps you in your job because you know, “Okay, these people are doing that so I'm doing this.” You know how everything affects you. If you just look at your block you never realize the big picture. So there's a lot of little things you can pick up by knowing what the other people are doing in every situation. On criticism of the offensive line from last year:
Well, of course we did take a lot of criticism. You know, a lot has changed from last year. The scheme is different. So we're really looking forward to it. With Coach Searels coming in, he's done really great things, and I'm really excited to see how it all pays off. On if he has concerns about the offensive line being so young:
Well, with the young guys they have grown up really fast over this spring and summer, so it doesn't really make me nervous because we've had so much time together and they've grown so much. So I'm really looking forward to see how all the hard work pays off. You know, through the summer and stuff we worked so hard and we came really close, so it's going to be fun to see how the new guys go. On RB Fozzy Whittaker
: Fozzy is a great guy, let's just start off with that. He's worked really hard through the spring and summer. He hit it this summer really hard. I'm really excited for him. I've been here with him, seen him over the last four years just really grow. The kid is super fast. He's put on some muscle. He's put on some more weight, and I'm really excited for him because he shows up every day with a smile on his face and hits it hard. He's one of those guys that's just coming in every day and hits it hard. So I'm really excited to see him have a great year and just explode onto the scene.
LB Emmanuel Acho
On if he is ready to go out and play Rice: We're definitely excited to play. It's been entirely too long. It's a new season. It's finally here, and it's time to just see all the hard work we put in. and it's time for it to pay off.I haven't been this excited for a sports season in my life, I believe.
On if some other teams might me overlooking Texas: I mean, each team, to each their own. They can do as they please. But if they overlook us we're going to capitalize on it. That's our goal.
On if the long layoff from not playing will affect the team: Like you said, we had an incredibly long layoff, but we used that time to get better. As seniors we used that time to merge, grow closer together and use that time to format a plan as to how we can improve over the next year and how we can get this back on track. We did that over the course of the spring and then the summer, and now it's just time for us to show it and display it on Saturday.
On if the focus of the team is different this year: I mean, just heading into a season now, it's like you get to write the story all over again. It's no longer about last year's team, the championship team from two years ago, it's now about this team. You get to write your own story. You have the pen, you have the paper, now it's how you want to write it. So it's up to this team to make sure we put on paper something we're proud of and make sure we write a story we're happy with.
On learning a new defense versus learning a new offense: I think with any season, a defense, it's usually easier to pick up a defense than it is an offense. But I think the offensive coaches such as Coach Harsin and Applewhite, they've done a good job of making sure everybody gets the plays down, gets it done right. And the leaders throughout the summer on offense did a good job of meeting daily and watching film together as an offensive unit and just making sure we start off fast. So I'm not too worried about them. If we do need to pick them up that's what we're there for as a defense. I'm extremely excited about this defense and how well we can play.
On the QB competition: I think they did a great job of competing all camp. That's what I loved with the competition because competition breeds excellence. So whoever was going to come out was going to come out ready, come out prepared, and now we're excited to see the guy lead the team solely and just see how far he can take us.
On playing for defensive coordinator Manny Diaz: Coach Diaz is an incredibly relaxed guy. That's what I love about him. Guys like me and [LB] Keenan [Robinson], we've been under strict structure for so long, and now we know what to do, we know how do it, we just need somebody to let us do it, so to speak. He's a great combination for us to come in here and just show us the ropes, give us some freedom to go out there and play, and now it's just our responsibility to go out there play well.
On what the first half of last year’s Rice game showed him: Thinking back to that game, they really caught us off guard. With the first half of any season, the offensive coaches have had six months to prepare for that first drive. I think we're ready. We're going to come out extremely emotional, extremely excited, but we have to do a good job of tempering our emotions and making sure we focus on our assignments.
On Rice this year: They're definitely a good team. Watching them from last year, they have some great players. They have a great running back [and] a good, solid quarterback. But it's not necessarily about them. It's never about the opponent. It's more so about yourself. You watch the right stuff, you play to your assignments and you play with a lot of excitement and emotion, and I think if we handle that, we'll be fine.
LB Keenan Robinson
On being anxious to start the new season: Just because of the fact that everybody decided to see what's going to happen this season. So I feel like we're bringing new energy, just new emotion that we haven't had in a while, since '09 or '08, and I feel like we're ready to surprise some people. Just go out there and play Texas ball and get back to how we used to be.
On teams overlooking Texas this year: That's any team, though. Nowadays teams are getting beat that shouldn't be getting beat by some teams, and I feel like if you overlook your opponent, then you might mess up and you might slip up and lose that game. I feel like every week we have to play like it's OU or play like it's the No. 1 team in the nation, no matter who it is.
On if he is excited to start the season: I'm just ready to get back to playing football. It's been a long time. We haven't played since Thanksgiving. So I feel like it's been too long, and I feel like the team is ready, the coaches are ready, and we're all ready to make a statement. And that's the best thing that we can do is go out there and beat Rice on Saturday. We want to get the fans back on our side, get the emotion going again, and get the buzz spread throughout the country. And once you do that, everything from there will continue to flow, and hopefully we can produce the kind of season that we want to produce.
On how he has moved on from last year: For me, it was more just forget the past and move on. I just felt like we should not dwell on the past and dwell on what happened last year, so we want to start new, and that's why we have that new slogan "brick by brick." We're starting over laying a foundation and just starting over and starting fresh and trying to build upon something new. And so now in the offseason, we were working hard every day as if we were the underdog team, and that's how I feel like we should have attacked it, and we did. We worked our butts off, and we worked extremely hard, extremely fast and physical, and I feel like we got back to working out Texas tough. And during twoadays and during spring ball, we got back to playing Texas football like I thought we should have, and we didn't do it last year. I feel like right now we're ready to take on a role, and I feel like we will be able to win games.
On his senior season: This is my last first game in college, and I feel like it's going to be happy, but that I won't be having a season opener any more here at DKR, that's kind of sad. The season will be nice. It'll be fine. This first game is going to go hopefully the way I want it to go, hopefully the way the coaches want it to go. We've taken all the proper steps and preparation and we've put in all the hard work, but now it's just time to execute. It's time to do what the coaches have taught us to do, and I feel like on Saturday we should do that and we should come out and win.
On the team being a kind of “unknown” right now: We don't have much to hide. I don't think we do. Our scheme on defense isn't too complicated. Our scheme on offense is not something that you [have] seen last from our team. So I feel like we're not really hiding anything. It's just Coach wants to keep all the outside distractions out of here and make sure that we stay focused. So that's what I feel like has been going on through the spring and during camp. Everything that has gone on has been more private and more closed to the public. I feel like he wants everybody to be surprised come Saturday when we do what we do, and I feel like we won't disappoint. That's what I feel like. You guys, when you see us, you won't be shocked, but you'll be happy to see all the hard work that we put in behind closed doors paid off.
On Rice: Last year they were able to put some points on us, and there were things that we did that we could have prevented them from scoring. But the thing is they made plays. The one before halftime, we were in a perfect defense, the ball just happened to be tipped the wrong way. Rice is an offense that can run the ball. They have Sam McGuffie at [running back], so they have guys that can run the ball as well as pass. They have guys that have come back in the passing game from last year that were able to make some plays against us, and I feel like if we don't take care of everything that we need to take care of as far as reads go, as far as awareness, everything, then we can't get beat by them and can't get beat with big plays in the run game, passing game. I feel like their quarterback, he's a guy that he's been there, done that, and he played pretty well against us last year. He was more cautious at times. Whenever he would get tackled he would slide. He's a smart quarterback. You don't want to take any unnecessary hits. So I feel like that aspect of the game, he's a guy that can manage the game, and he's a smarter quarterback. He's more mature than other guys. Other guys will come out here and take the hits and might be out for the rest of the game, but he's a guy that will manage the game, put his team in a position to play all four quarters and put himself in a position to finish the game and not make any big mistakes.
On what he will miss when this season is over: Just walking through off the bus, going through the north end zone tunnel and walking across the field. That's one of the things that I miss. The second thing would probably be coming out of the tunnel right before the game. Those two things right there are two of the things I probably remember the most whenever I look back on a season. Those are just two fun, I guess, parts of playing football, playing football here at Texas. Because those are things that you never forget. Coming out on the field. Coming through the tunnel and walking off the bus. You just have all your fans, you have cheerleaders, you have everybody that supports you right there cheering you on. There's no other greater feeling here at Texas. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be able to experience that one more year. I think after I play my final home game here at Texas, I think I'll definitely miss that.
On if they seniors have told the freshmen about what they’ll experience: Yeah, we have. I mean, we've told them, but you really can't prepare for it because you have to experience it, and when they experience it I'm pretty sure they'll be shocked the first couple times. I mean, my OU game, that was big, and that was something that I'll always remember as far as my first home game here at Texas as a freshman. I feel like they'll remember it for the rest of their lives. It's something I can't prepare them for, but they'll experience it, and I'm pretty sure they'll remember it for the rest of their lives.
On if he thinks defensive coordinator Manny Diaz will feel pressure in the first game: I mean, he's a coach. He's more locked in the game than usually the players are, and so he probably won't get too distracted by that because he's played in big time atmospheres before. But as a coach, afterwards I might ask Coach, “How did you feel about running out of the tunnel. How did you feel about seeing 101,000, however many people at the game.” I feel like he might be surprised because at Mississippi State I'm pretty sure they never had 104,000 fans at the game.
On Coach Diaz: He's a guy that's always telling jokes, always has a smile on his face and is always trying to make us laugh. I can't think of one right off the bat, but he's a guy that in teaching us he'll say a joke that has nothing to do with football, but somehow he will find his way to relate to whatever he's trying to teach us. Whatever he's trying to help us to learn.
OL Tray Allen
On trying to improve upon last year: It's a big focal point coming out and jumping on Rice early. We've got to play to our standards, and last year wasn't our standard. We've been working hard all offseason, all summer and all fall. Just get back to our standard Texas way of doing things, and we're going to come out and play ball like people know how we play ball and how Texas should play ball. We'll be ready come September 3rd. I feel like we as a team, we as an offensive line, we're just ready to play. There's been so much doubt and speculation on us since last year, so it's just erasing the past, playing ball, being comfortable with each other and doing the best for Texas.
On if there was more emphasis on running the ball in this year’s fall camp: It's a big point of emphasis. Last year's offensive line didn't run the ball like they should, therefore Garrett had to throw the ball more than what he should have. Our big emphasis is running the ball, being a power running game, having the power running game. Come Saturday, we're going to run the ball and we're going to throw the ball, but hopefully we're going to run the ball more than we throw the ball and have better numbers on the ground than we did then.
On how they are going to improve the running game: Just attitude. There's really no big difference, just doing it. That's something that the new coaching staff has brought us to. It's not what we do, it's how we do it. Just running the ball, making our blocks, making our reads, having that attitude and being tough down in the trenches for the quarterbacks and the running backs and making Texas successful.
On if he is concerned with the youth on the team: I'm not really concerned that there's so much youth. We've all been together for a while, just trusting one another, playing as hard as we can for each other, and that's the big thing.
On if he’s anxious to get the season started: Yeah, I think we're all ready to play somebody else other than our defense, who we've been playing for the last three weeks. Just that first whistle for the line of scrimmage and that first hit. That first zone play. That first pass protection. I think it'll help all the guys starting on the offensive line and the guys that are the backups.
S Blake Gideon
On finding out he’s first on the depth chart: Every spot was opened up in camp. You know, it was just a matter of coming out and competing every day, and my name is listed first today, and it could be flipped tomorrow if I don't come out and work the way I should.
On if this season feels like a fresh start: Yeah, it feels like a fresh start. It needed to be. Any time you're coming off of a season like last year, then I think everybody needs a fresh start. That kind of has a lot to do with the depth chart being opened up and the new coaches coming in and everybody seeing it as their first day and their first year at Texas, even if it really wasn't.
On what the new team will look like: Everything has changed. You're going to see a completely different team out there. Everything from the formations and how we line up, offensively and defensively, to the philosophy. There's a lot of new guys in new spots. I think we've been working harder than we have since that I've seen since I've been here. And I can say that without any doubts. I know that we're ready to come out and finally play somebody besides Texas on Saturday.
On why he thinks they’ve worked harder this year: Well, I think it needed to be. Any time you come off of a subpar performance in a season, then you need to really look in the mirror and look at the things you're doing from top to bottom. Obviously something wasn't working, so it was important for us to start over and to get back to that work ethic that built this program to what it is.
On the role of the defense: We’re going to fulfill any kind of role that our team needs us to. We have a strong, I guess, feeling towards us servicing our offense and them servicing us as far as field position and whatever. A lot of people, they expect an offense to come out and start at the 20yard line and drive 80 yards for a touchdown. Well, that's pretty hard, and it's not going to happen very often even with the best offenses in college football. All we're looking for them to do is get one or two 1st downs and put us in good field position to play our scheme and us do the same thing, hold an offense down there to give our offense good field position. The whole idea of us servicing each other - they're going to fulfill whatever need that we have, and vice versa.
On Rice: Well, first of all, [Rice QB Taylor] McHargue came from a great school district, the best in Texas. So you know he's a good player. But I know all those guys compete. They're all Texas high school football products just like us. We played against a lot of those guys in high school. We know what kind of talent and ability they have. It's just a matter of them putting one or two things together as a team. They can be dangerous at any moment if we don't respect them the way we should, and if we don't focus on every aspect of the game.
On he team’s motivation this year: Well, the main motivation, I guess, for us was just remembering that feeling that we had after the last game this past year and just that pit in our stomach that we knew we let each other down. We let our coaches down. We let our fan base down. So you know, if you just remember that feeling and bring that to workout every day and bring that chip on your shoulder and that edge . . I can't really describe it other than every day whenever we go into the weight room people were legitimately angry. People were mad, and nobody was fun to be around, but that's what it needed to be. Everybody had that edge, and everybody knew that we left a lot to be desired last year.
On if people will believe this year will be different: We know it's going to be different. We don't have to do any kind of convincing. I think that 115degree heat out on that turf convinced us enough that we made it through that this summer. We made it through the toughest offseason in the country, and we came out strong on the other side. We have full faith in each other, full trust in each other, and we know it's going to be different.
On QB Garrett Gilbert: I think the thing I was most impressed about Garrett was how he carried himself throughout camp and how people responded to him. Whenever you're looking at a leader and especially a quarterback, you're not just looking at what the stats are and everything because there's going to come a point in time where they're not going to be having the greatest game but they still need to get their teammates to respond. That was the thing. Garrett does have a little bit more experience than the other guys, and he knows how to get that response out of his teammates.