Aug. 31, 2009
QB Colt McCoy
On the season opener: I think the opener is really important for us, for our fans, for our support. For us, we want to start the season right. We're ready to play against somebody other than ourselves. I know for me personally, I'm ready to throw against a different secondary, ready to see a different look than what I've been seeing all throughout camp, but I do think that this is going to be a mental challenge for us, offensively. First of all, we haven't seen them or really watched all their tape, because they have a new defensive coordinator. So right now we're watching New Mexico film and sometimes we watch Louisiana-Monroe, we're just watching to see the players and athletes - how big up front they are. What is their skill like in the secondary? So I think that's going to be a challenge for us. Second of all, they play a three-down front, which means they're going to blitz a lot. They're going to bring someone every play. The offensive line is going to have to be prepared, I'm going to have to be prepared, and be able to protect ourselves to block that and get the ball rolling offensively. We're going to have to be sharp, be on point, be consistent and hopefully score a lot of points.
On first game for young players: If it was me out there as a freshman, it is going to last until the first play, the first time I get hit and then it's all going to go out the window and I'm going to be ready to play. The first game is a lot of fun for those guys because they get to see the atmosphere, the crowd, the energy that's in the stadium. You almost can't describe it. It's going to be a lot of fun.
On his first game at Texas: I was so nervous. I can remember that year just being ready to play. That's the same feeling you get every year is that, "Hey I'm prepared, I'm focused and I'm ready to play somebody different and go up against a different look." If you ask any of my teammates, you know we're ready to see someone else. So we're excited, we know that we have to come out ready to play. This isn't a cakewalk at all. These guys are very talented and have a lot of skill. They have a lot of guys coming back, a lot of seniors on the team and they have won a lot of games. You look back two or three years ago; they beat some really good teams, so we definitely have to be focused. This is the first step in what we want to accomplish and we always want to win the opener and we always want to be the best we can be and come out on top.
On difference in season openers over the last couple of years: I think that when you look back two years ago, we were ready to play, we were prepared and we were focused, but we just weren't as good of a team. We didn't play as well together. You look at last year and what the seniors did for our team and how everybody responded to each other, and we were a great team. We played well together - offense, defense, special teams - we were all on the same page and that really helps. You have to have that every year, especially in the opening game. This year I feel like there are a lot of similarities to last year. Last year is gone, we don't focus on that anymore, but at the same time we don't really want to change up anything that we did because we were successful. We just want to be a little bit better. I feel like the seniors have stepped up this year and taken that role like the seniors did last year and kept the ball rolling. It's looking good. We're practicing hard. We had a good practice this morning and we're excited about Saturday.
On John Chiles: John, obviously he knew all the plays. In a quarterback position you have to know what everybody is doing on the field. That transition wasn't hard at all because he knew what to do at receiver. I think at receiver, though, it is a challenge because you can't just go out there and be a good athlete and be a good receiver. You have to develop some qualities out there. You have to be able to get off the line in press coverage. You have to be able to find the open holes in secondary and may not have to push your route the exact depth every time. You have to be able to judge those things. To give John credit, he's done a great job at making that transition. I feel confident in him out there. He gets better every practice, and he's just starting to really get the feeling on how to play that position, and I think he's going to be a big help for us.
On getting ready to play a game again: You've got to know that you've prepared since the bowl game to this point to be ready to play again. You do have to focus on football and get your mind right, but at the same time, you can't let that consume you. You have to have fun and you've got to relax. This week will be a fun week. Any time that your game plan is getting ready to play someone else, I think the energy level rises a little bit. Everybody starts getting a little hyper and what's really awesome is that camp is over. That's a good thing. Now that you're really game planning for someone else that means it's time to go, so it's going to be a fun week.
On Vondrell McGee: All those guys that came into this camp saying, "I want this job," he has stayed healthy, he's worked hard every day, he's been out to practice early, he's going through walkthroughs, he's picking up his blitzs, but the most important thing is that he's running the ball effectively. He's getting a lot of yards. Vondrell has played really well. You've got to give credit to all those guys, though. They have all worked really hard. They understand that we need to be a little more effective at running the ball and they've done a really good job this camp. It's going to be exciting to watch them play on Saturday.
On freshman QB Garrett Gilbert: I do know that Garrett has had a good camp. He and Sherrod both have taken a lot of the second snaps, and I know they've played well. It is going to be exciting. I know that Garrett is a really good player. I think one of his biggest attributes is that he's really smart. In the film room he can really see something and then take it out on the field and be able to be like he's done it before. He's really smart, and he's going to be a really good player some day.
On getting up at 4:45 a.m.: I was walking from my truck down to the complex and every light in the dorm was off. That just shows the character of this team because we'll get up at 4:30, get tape, get stretched out, be ready to go at 5:30 and have a great practice. That's what I mean when I say the energy rises. If this were any other day, if this were a camp workout, it would be tough for us to get hyped up and practice. Today, it was like we were practicing in the afternoon. Everybody was ready to go, no missed assignments, people being in the right place at the right time. We hardly dropped a ball this morning. We were really on point. That's shows you that our team is focused and ready.
On how to stay calm before game: I just like to make sure that the guys in the locker room are just really focused all the time. Sometimes I think I can be or look aggressive. I like to calm myself down and go talk to everybody in the locker room one by one, ask them if they are ready, "Hey are you ready? Let's have a good one today," things like that. That usually calms me down.
On seeing Quan Cosby's punt return for a TD for the Cincinnati Bengals: He looked good, right? He's number 12. I asked him to say that if somebody asked him. He said he showed up and that's the number they gave him, so he said he'd have to wear it.
On keeping in touch with former players: I keep in touch with most of the guys on the team from last year and learn from them, ask about their experience. [Quan] says he is doing really well. He's playing second-team slide and starting on punt return and kickoff return, so I feel like any time you can score some points in the special teams in the NFL, I think you have solidified your spot.
WR Jordan Shipley
On getting up at 4:45 a.m.: It's amazing what a difference it makes whenever you're doing something like going hunting and fishing and then when you're doing something else. Football is one of those things I like to do, so anything you like to do, you can get up for. For some other things, if it was 4:30, I wouldn't be waking up. It's nice to be done today, especially on weeks like this where we don't play the week before, and we have that extra Monday practice. It's kind of nice to get it done in the morning.
On pre-game rituals: I'm not one of the guys that gets real big on rituals. I just like to go play football. I don't think any of that stuff makes any difference for me. I'll sit in the locker room, listen to music and stuff before the game, but that's about it really.
On his senior season: What's weird is knowing that in a couple months, knowing that I'll be out of here forever. Last year I had a feeling I'd be coming back, but I didn't know. This year, it's at least good to know what I'll be doing when the season is over.
On getting excited for the first game: Every game is really important, but you have to start off on a good note. I think Coach Brown does a good job of making sure no one gets too high or too low right before the game and controlling everyone's emotions to where all we have to do is go out and play football, and we don't have to worry about getting too excited and not being fired up enough about it. I think we're definitely ready to go.
On his leadership role for this year: I've always kind of been a lead-by-example guy. I've never really been the vocal guy out there, but I think more so this year I'm having to step up and say stuff to those guys if I see something that they could do better. Before I always had just tried to show them by how I do it, but now I think that I've become more of a vocal leader.
On ULM having a new defensive coordinator making a difference: Definitely it makes it a little bit different because you can look at all the stuff from Monroe from the last couple of years, and it's nothing that we're going to see. I think from watching film of those defenses that those coordinators run at other places, that's how we figure it out. We've looked at some Monroe stuff from a personnel standpoint.
On ULM: I know they're really talented and really fast and they get to the ball quickly.
On the excitement of the first game not becoming a distraction: I think for me, just like it is with most guys, you almost just have to make yourself relax a little bit. Everyone always get so excited for that first game just because you haven't played in so long and you can't wait to get out there. Usually after the first one, you settle down a little bit and get in a groove, but I think the main thing is just trying to stay even-keeled and not too excited or anything like that.
On how he feels physically: I really feel great. I feel as fresh as I've felt since I've been here. I don't know if that has anything to do with taking a little time off in the spring, which I was still doing a lot of running and stuff like that, but I wasn't getting hit. I definitely feel as good right now as I've ever felt.
DE Sam Acho
On being a leader on and off the field and getting excited about the game: I would say the whole team is just ready to get out there - me, Muck (Roddrick Muckelroy), Serg (Sergio Kindle) - everybody is just ready to get out there and play. We've been doing two-a-days the past couple of weeks, and we've been doing summer workouts and spring, so we're just ready play really.
On the build up and excitement of the first game even though it's still five days away: Yeah, I mean it's game week now, so you know we at least have that going for us. It isn't any more three to four weeks until game time. It's game week. We're just ready. We're ready.
On getting ready for game week instead of just practice: You can't look to far in the future because then you might end up making a mistake right now. We're just taking each day at a time. It's game week. It's still Monday. We still have some time. We're definitely looking at Louisiana-Monroe. We're ready to play the Warhawks and trying to prepare for them, so we're just trying to take it a day at a time.
On being excited about the game: I'm just excited to play really. We all are because it's been so long since we've played some football, against somebody else beside ourselves. We're all excited. We're all ready. We're all trying to prepare in the right way. We're just ready to get out there - five days.
On becoming a leader because of seniority or natural progression: I think it has been more of a natural progression. I'm not going to say I'm wiser because I'm 20 or whatever, but as you get older, you start to see the bigger picture. I think I'm starting to see the bigger picture a little more than I did last year or the year before. It's maturity, I guess.
On getting too excited for the first game: You don't want to get overly amped Monday, when you have a game five days away. Like I said, I'm trying to contain it. I'm trying to control it. You don't want to waste too much of your energy earlier in the week when you have a game Saturday.
On being happy about waking up at 4:45 a.m.: Was I happy? I mean, it was good. It is good because we are done for the day basically, so that is one bright side to it, so yeah, it wasn't that bad.
On being up studying that early: Yeah, I actually was. That's the sad part. So, actually I was. That's the sad part - sad but true.
On playing with his brother, Emmanuel: I love it. I was saying earlier we've been playing together since the second grade - basketball, baseball, football, track and field and soccer - so it's exciting to be doing that again.
On he and his brother's jersey numbers being reversed: It ended up happening that way. Long story short, I wore number 81 in high school, brought that here. Then I think he wanted to be 11, but Jared (Norton) already had that. He was thinking about 1, but Keenan (Robinson) already had that, so he figured, why not?
LB Roddrick Muckelroy
On remembering his first game as a Longhorn: I remember it like it was yesterday. North Texas 2006 was the first game. It was new for me, coming from a town with a stadium of maybe 5,000. But yes, coming to this stadium I was like, "whoa," a lot of people. A lot of fans, but at the same time, it was a lot of fun.
On giving advice to young players for their first game: Enjoy the moment. There is nothing like coming out that tunnel for the first time. You're going to be wired up and you're going to be excited. It's the first game. The crowd is going to be excited. Just enjoy it. There is nothing like that feeling of coming out that tunnel whether it's the first time or that last time. There is nothing like coming out that tunnel.
On how he feels about the new players in the defensive line: I am confident. I have been playing behind them really since last spring. These guys stepped up to the plate. A lot of these guys played when Rak (Brian Orakpo) and Roy (Miller) and Henry (Melton) were in the rotation. There is really nothing new to them. They just need to go out there and play. On game days, they just need to continue doing what they've been doing in practice in all week. It all counts. Just go out there and produce and have fun. I feel confident playing behind them, and I'm sure the other linebackers feel the same. There are a lot of good guys up there. They're going to step up come Saturday. I know they will. I have confidence in them. They've been doing a good job. I don't expect anything different from them other than what they have been doing all camp really.
On the sophomores gaining experience into the second year: Getting in the second year, you are a lot more comfortable. As far as our defense, we're a lot more comfortable. We're not really just learning, we're really just fine tuning and tweaking things here and there just within the defense. Those guys, it's their second year in the defense, so they're just showing up, making plays in camp. They've worked hard all summer to get to this point, to get to the season, so I know they're excited. They got playing time last year, so they already have game experience. They're good players.
On Vondrell McGee: Vondrell is a hard-worker. He's quick, he's fast, he can take a lick and keep going. He had a lot of great runs during camp and scrimmages, and I think the coaches feel like he is the guy they want to go with. I can't complain. He's been showing up all of camp.
On ULM: I watched film on them last night. They're a good team. They have a lot of good players. Their quarterback is a good player. Their running back is a really solid running back. Their team likes to run the spread really, so they have a lot of motion from empty to two empty, so as a team we are really looking at the end picture as far as the formations that they end up in. That is one of the things that we've been working on. They have a lot of motion, and you just have to be prepared for that and we've been getting a lot of work on it.
On feeling good to have practice out of the way by the afternoon: I don't mind getting up in the morning. I've been getting up for a while now. It doesn't matter to me that we get up in the morning and practice because most of my day is over. I'm done with class. I'm done with practice. I don't think we have a meeting this afternoon, so I'm done. I'm going to go home and watch some TV and cartoons.
On his favorite game day ritual: When you come out those doors and enter the stadium and hear that crowd. Everybody is pumped. You sing "The Eyes of Texas." After you hear the song, once you hear the Longhorn stampede or whatever, you know it's time. You see the smoke come out and the next thing you know, you hear that crowd. You're coming from behind the smoke, so you can't see anything in front of you until you see the stadium of full of fans ready to see you play. It's just one of those feelings. There is nothing like it really.
On being ready to show everyone what you have for the first game: It started a month ago for me really. I'm just eager to get started for camp and everything. I'm just ready to get in the swing of things, so I'm already having dreams at night about the games, so I really can't wait until kickoff and fly around and have fun with the team.
DT Lamarr Houston
On his feelings about his last first game: Yeah, it's weird because I'm just now realizing that I don't have training camp anymore or spring ball, so it's different and it will catch up with me sooner or later, but it hasn't really settled in yet.
On playing at full back: It's just different. I still think attack, but there's a lot more going on in my mind instead of just running the ball. I have to know signs, I have to know techniques, I have to know where to be and where not to be. When you play running back, it's kind of just like you have free reign, you're the man with the ball.
On Kheeston Randall: Kheeston Randall is doing really well. He's grown as a player, he has experience under his belt and he's learning how to play college football. He's going to be a great talent around here for a couple years. I'm really looking forward to seeing him play in the future too.
On preparations for the first game: By about Thursday I have a solid book on everybody to try and see what they do, and then Friday I just try and let it go and not think too much about it. Saturday morning I'm up and back into the game. I just build up and then let it relax for a little bit and get ready to play football.
On his talks with younger players: I tell them it's exciting, especially when they get to see all of the things outside of football like how school starts to change. I tell them about the fans and how they're just crazy on the other side of the stadium.
On ULM's offense: Their offense is really good. They're really productive. A lot of the games are close calls and they have really talented guys. They have a guy who's a track athlete who runs a 10.2. Their running backs are solid, and their guys are really fast. They're solid.
OG Charlie Tanner
On 4:30 a.m. wake up calls: We were kind of talking about that earlier today, I kind of liked it this morning. We were up early, but we got a lot of good work in today. It kind of spreads out the week a little bit more too, instead of just having Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so it was good for us.
On the opener: We always sit down and set a lot of goals each year and winning the opener is always our first goal. Sometimes it's a difficult game because a lot of things change such as coaching changes. For example, the defensive coordinator's from New Mexico. This week we've been watching a lot of schematic film from New Mexico and we've been watching the ULM film just to get personal techniques. It always presents a challenge for us, but it's good for us mentally because we have to come together as a team and be mentally focused each day at practice, and especially meetings, so we can really get them down and there won't be any surprises on game day.
On eight starting offensive linemen: I think it's great for the team, because it does a couple things. First of all it pushes every single one of us. Every single practice we're fighting for a spot because those young guys are coming at you, because they want that spot too. Everyone's trying to start, everyone's trying to help out however they can. It really does help because we all want to do what we can to help the team win. That's the number one goal. Sometimes doing that in the 110-degree heat outside, it's good to know that I can give my 110 percent on every single play because I might get a rest this next series, so we can always go in there full force.
On his relationship with younger players in his position: Some people think it would be competitive, and it is, but it's also really friendly. We're all really good friends and we hang out. After practice is over we all go out somewhere to get some tacos, and we all have a lot of fun together. It's like a big family inside of a family.
On the new turf: At first I was kind of skeptical, I was thinking, "Man there are going to be some burns," but we've been scrimmaging out there and doing a lot of practice stuff out there and I really haven't noticed that much difference. It gets kind of warm, but that's a good thing for us because we're able to practice on that and hopefully it will be our advantage come game time. In practice we have to stay up because we're not trying to hurt our guys, we're trying to keep everybody safe and healthy for the season.
OT Adam Ulatoski
On being a lineman and taking care of Colt McCoy: Everybody saw what he did last year, and our goal is to keep him upright all year long. We're going to fight as hard as we can do to that.
On running through the tunnel at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium: It's awe-inspiring. Just to see that many people in one place, and they're all looking down at you, it's kind of indescribable - the feeling that you get.
On what advice he would give the younger guys: Well, for me personally, once the game starts it's just focusing on your job. You don't really see anything (in terms of the crowd). That's what I would try and tell them. Just focus on your job and don't worry about anything else.
On developing as a leader on the team: I'm not a very talkative guy. I don't like to be a rah-rah guy. I just try and pick my moments, and when I see something that needs to be said, I try and say something. I've tried to be more vocal, and I've had to work at that.
On getting "old man" jokes: I feel like they're going to come out a little bit more pretty soon, but it's all in good fun. It's just a little bit of ribbing every now and then. We all make fun of each other for everything, and that's just "my thing."
On Monday's early morning practice: I kind of like it. When you're younger, you focus on that a little bit more. Now you've been there and done things like that. You just get up and do it, and don't worry about things like that. That's something that experience helps. I think a lot of people struggle, but they fight through it. I think most people don't like to get up at 4:30 in the morning. You do it, and you work through it, and you work hard every day.
On Vondrell McGee: Vondrell runs hard every play. He's extremely talented, and if you look at him, he's just completely solid. He's a competitor. He's pretty quiet.
On ULM: Their defense plays about 50-50 three down (linemen) and four down (linemen). They move around a lot. They're going to try and confuse you, so we're going to have to be buttoned up on everything that we do.
On how important this game is: We want to set a good tone for the rest of the season. We want to focus one game at a time, and we can't get ahead of ourselves.
On their goals in the home opener: It's just to go out there and compete. We want to play as hard as we can. Just like every game, we want to play to our standard. We don't want to have a game where we let up.
On if he thinks the offensive line is better at run blocking this year: You're always trying to get better. We're going to go out there, and we're going to try and execute everything that coach (McWhorter) has taught us and play as hard as we can. I feel like we're always trying to get better in everything that we do. That includes the run blocking.
DE/LB Sergio Kindle
On waking up early this morning for practice: The first thing on my mind was, "It's game week." As a matter of fact, (coach) Muschamp texted me at about 4:50 saying, "I'm ready to go. Are you?" And I said, "Yep I'm ready. I've been ready," and that was the start of my week.
On what he hopes to see from Texas on Saturday: Just a team that worked hard over the summer and came ready to play, executing on their responsibilities and looking crisp and sharp out there.
On his anticipation for this week's game: I feel like everyone's excited just because we've been banging heads with our own guys for a month or so. Just to see a different color helmet and jersey is going to get everybody pumped. We've worked too long and too hard in the heat and everything, and we've been waiting for this day to come. We're going to strap it up tight and make it happen on Saturday.
On this being his last opener at Texas:
I haven't thought about that. I've just thought about this being the first game of this season, and getting ready to crank it up. It flew by, but 14 weeks is a long time if you think about that.
On Vondrell McGee:
He's actually using his size to an advantage. He's running more downhill bowling ball style. He's a fast bowling ball though. (laughing) I think he's figured out he's an upper classman of the running backs, and he has to step into that role and be that leader of those guys, and he's been doing that throughout camp. Watching practice film, he just looks good. I think he's going to do great. On ULM:
I know they're a fast team, and you can't underestimate them. They've got talent across the board. Louisiana is known for speed and being physical. I think this should be a good preparation game for down the line.
On how much he thinks about keeping the ball in Colt McCoy's hands:
The first thing I think about is that we've got to execute on defense. I know once Colt gets the ball in his hands, he's going to make something happen. We try to get three-and-outs so he can get the ball back. Once Colt gets the ball, I feel like you can almost just sit back and relax. That's how good he is with the ball.