Aug. 30, 2011
DE Jackson Jeffcoat
On Rice’s offense: They’re a great team. We watched a little of them on film. Very explosive plays, passing, running - they’ve got a great offense.
On Texas’ defense: We’re excited to play. We’re going to come out and play hard. We’re working on being a great defense.
On DT Calvin Howell: Well, he’s just a great athlete. He can really play. We’ve got a lot of great guys that can get out there and play. He’s strong up front. He’s big bodied and can move. He can get out there and create havoc. He’s a funny guy. He makes everybody laugh. He’s just goofy and is just is a great guy to be around. He’s ready to play, and he’s focused.
On DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium being full on Saturday evening: I’m very excited for it to be filled up. I haven’t played there in a while, so just to come out and play on our home turf the first game is very exciting.
On the defense’s goals for Saturday’s game: Just come out and play hard. Do our assignments, do our techniques and everything.
WR Mike Davis
On the progress of the new offense: We just started from last year and tried to build up brick-by-brick. Everybody’s been competing hard, working in the weight room with [Strength and Conditioning Head Coach for Football] Bennie [Wylie] and getting stronger. Everybody has been having fun and liking what the new [coordinators] have been bringing to the table.
On how the new offense differs from last year’s offense: There’s a lot of shift and motion to keep the defense on its heels and not know what to do. Everybody’s just moving around and getting the defense confused.
On the competition during preseason: Everybody was competing. There was great competition. We just had to keep working hard and fight through it. It was great competition, and it was a great battle for everybody trying to win a spot.
On what co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin was looking for from him: Just for me to make plays when my number’s called. That’s just what I’m trying to do – make plays when my number is called.
On the quarterback competition: It was really close. Our quarterbacks competed great. Everybody battled really hard and fought really hard. Garrett [Gilbert] kind of separated himself a little bit towards the end, and showed he can be really good for our team and put us in the best situation to win.
LB Jordan Hicks
On the excitement and energy coming into the season: We’re just a team that’s out here ready to prove something. We’re out here trying to play our game, and we’re just focused on Rice right now.
On the team creating an identity for themselves: We strive for perfection basically. So we’re out here trying to play as hard as we can [and] get our assignments down for Rice. Just game planning well.
On this year’s defense: We are a confident defense that is ready to prove what we can do.
On the distraction of the depth chart being removed: Yeah, right now we are just focused on Rice. Trying to get ready, game planning and basically doing whatever we can. Getting everything sound.
On Rice: They are a fast team. They like to run the ball. Get it in [ RB Sam] McGuffie’s hands and play off of that.
On the speed of the Longhorns defense: We hang our hat on our speed. We like to get after everybody. So hopefully we can get after these guys, stop the run and get after the quarterback.
On the Texas offense: They are a very good offense. It’s been tough going against them, but it has also been fun and we’ve learned a lot. They do probably a lot more than most teams do with disguise and motion and trying to get you off balance. It’s been good for us.
On whether he would prefer to see a drop-back passer or a running quarterback: Running. We’re ready to go get a running quarterback. We’re ready to go hit. That’s an extra guy that we can hit. If the quarterback is going to run the ball, he’s fair game.
On a lot of teams having trouble with a zone-read quarterback: [Defensive coordinator/linebackers] Coach [Manny] Diaz knows what he’s doing. We’ve all got confidence in him. He’s done it with Mississippi State. He’s done a really good job.
DE Alex Okafor
On what part of the gameday atmosphere he is looking forward to the most: It’s been a while. It’s just an exciting feeling. It’s just a different feeling besides camp, and off-season [and] spring ball than there is in game week. And everyone knows that around here, and I think the tempo has picked up a lot.
On challenges presented to a defense with young cornerbacks: It doesn’t matter who you have back there [in the] secondary, the defensive like has to set the tone and establish the line of scrimmage. It doesn’t matter if you have [New York Jets CB] Darrelle Revis back there. If there’s no defensive line, the corners are going to be in trouble. What our corners have done is they’ve really stepped up. They’ve shared quickly, and they study a lot of film. So I’m confident in who we have back there, and they can get the job done.They’ve made a lot of progress. I don’t even view them as sophomores and freshman any more. They are players on the defense and whoever we put out there, we’re confident that they’ll get the job done.
On the impact of DT Calvin Howell: He’s really stepped up. The biggest issue for Calvin has been him staying healthy. He’s always been a great player, always worked hard, always had the talent. It’s just a matter of him staying healthy and he’s done that all of camp, all of spring and I’m excited to see him play. He’s a character. He’s always joking around and making everybody laugh. But when it comes time to play, he’s ready to buckle up and be serious.
On the challenges of facing the Rice offense: They have the zone-read concept on offense and if you don’t have discipline up front they can gash you with big runs. We have to stay on them. We have our assignments down. We study a lot of film and once we do that we’ll be able to stop them, I believe.
On QB Garrett Gilbert: I’ve always had confidence in Garrett, and he has from day one shown a lot of progress and he’s always gotten the job done in my eyes. The thing about Garrett is that he always has confidence and he never gets down, ever. That’s a big thing to have as a quarterback, and I feel like he’s ready and I’ve always had confidence in him. He’s just making his reads a lot faster and getting the ball out of his hands.