Player press conference quotes: Sept. 5
Sept. 5, 2011
RB Fozzy Whittaker
S Kenny Vaccaro
On if a team can beat themselves: You're correct. BYU is a great team, but ultimately every team has to execute their game plan in order to win. You see in a lot of great games, it's not the other team that won, it's the team beat themselves. And I'm not saying that about BYU, I'm just saying we've got to execute our plan in order to win every game.
On if the team can win if the defense does not create sacks and turnovers: Well, I don't think every team has the same game plan as Rice - throw the ball quick. I think they had a little over 70 yards, 2.7 yards per pass. I mean, you can't win games like that. I think teams are going to have to air it out on us. But first and foremost it's about hammering the run, and Coach Diaz said we need to do a better job with that this week in order to make plays as far as the passing game and opening up sacks and different plays like that.
On his thoughts about playing more this year: I'm excited about it. I was fortunate to play in some big games last year as a sophomore, and I'm excited. Those games are the funnest games for me. I like a challenge, and our whole team, we'll be ready to play. I haven't got to play BYU. It's a different type of game for me. I know the secondary is excited.
On how you prepare for BYU’s explosive offense: We just execute [Coach Diaz’s] plan. We listen to him. We give all trust to our coaches and just buy into the plan, and then they'll lead us the way through. We'll just use our hard work we put in in the summer to execute.
On the young cornerbacks: We trusted them. They showed us that in the summer and they showed us that in camp and they showed us that in the meeting rooms. When [assistant head coach/defensive backs] Coach [Duane] Akina asked them questions they knew everything. So we have full trust in all our corners.
On if the cornerbacks have more confidence: Actually, in team meetings they gave all the DBs the defensive awards, so those guys are pretty excited.
On if the defense had fun on Saturday: I mean, it's fun. I give a lot of credit to Coach Diaz's defense. It's a lot more simple than last year's defense, but offenses don't know that because the different directions we're sending blitzers and dropping Dends, backers, corners, corner blitzers. It's exciting for us just to go out there and just execute and not think so much.
On how much of the defense was shown: I think he [Coach Diaz] just game planned Rice and we did what we needed to. We have a lot more coming.
LB Keenan Robinson
On the game against BYU being a big non-conference game: Any game we play that's nonconference is definitely a big game for us because it's a chance for us to play against teams that we usually don't get to play against and make a point for our conference. We're representing for the Big 12 right now, and as a team, we want to come out and win against any opponent, but definitely a team like BYU who we might not get a chance to play ever again. They're a team that, since I've been here and been around, we haven't got a chance to play, so I'm very excited. It's a new opponent that's on the schedule this year, and I definitely can't wait to Saturday to play this team [that's] going to try to run the ball. But at the same time they’re an airraid passing team and they have big guys outside, receivers, that can make big plays on the field. We're going to have to be fundamentally sound in the running game and the pass game and step it up from last year.
On what effect BYU’s versatility on offense has on him: Mentally it's just make sure we have our keys, I guess. Our run keys, our pass keys, all that. You've got to play physically fast down here. We need to stop the run first. Once we stop the run, then we can work on stopping the pass. Then we can make them onesided and make them onedimensional. And once we do that, then we can start getting after the quarterback and start making plays in the passing game.
On how different the defense is this year: It's different because it gives us more freedom. Coach [Diaz] lets us fly around, make plays, and he tells us not to worry about making mistakes. If we make a mistake, in our eyes, then someone else will be right there to pick us up, especially in the blitz game. The blitz game is different because now instead of hitting “A” gap, you have an opportunity to hit “A” gap on this side, “A ‘ gap on [that] side. So if you decide to pick up the “A” gap on the left, I know that [LB] Emmanuel [Acho] or [LB] Jordan Hicks or a safety is going to be right there on the right to make the tackle if I don't make it.
On if the defense is concerned that Rice hit them up the middle: It was not a concern but something that we definitely watched film and definitely saw that we need to work on. There were a few times where they made a couple runs for 10 or 12 yards, and that hurt us in the game. But we were able to go up in the red zone, stop it and make a field goal. We watched it on film, there were a few things. We lost our gap integrity at times, and that kind of hurt us because everyone that gapped out in the front seven, then that's how a run splits, and that's what happened the other day. I feel like we prepared for it yesterday and we'll work on it in practice this week, and we'll be able to be more fundamentally sound when it comes to stopping the run Saturday.
On if he is on any special teams: I was on house party which is our kickoff return. I was on rangers, which is our punt team. I was on them for a couple snaps throughout the game. But other than that, I'm not with any.
On the importance of special teams: Special forces are, as they say, they're special, because it's a team that doesn't get recognized a lot but contributes a whole lot to the game. You see the punt team, they came up with a turnover. Kenny was able to go down there and make the guy drop the ball and [Adrian Phillips] picked it up. So they can definitely be a big part of the game, and if they don't take care of it like we need to, they can get punt returns for touchdowns or kickoff returns for touchdowns against us if we don't do what we need to do.
OL David Snow
On looking forward to a physical game against BYU:Yes. BYU is a very good team. They're very big up front. They're very good. I'm really excited to see what this game is going to hold.
On if he is proud of the offensive line after running the ball for over 200 yards against Rice: Well, any time you can run the ball really well we've been working all summer at this, pushing sleds, running up the stadiums, all the “defend the houses.” I'm sure you've heard of it. It was just a really special time for us that we could go ahead and dominate the game and the running game and have over 200, which we haven't done in the past.
On how offensive line coach Stacy Searels evaluated the team after Saturday: He was very pleased. There's a lot of stuff that we can correct here. I'm not going to sit here and say we had a perfect game. But the great thing that we came out of it, because all the mistakes that we had, they weren't something there that can't be corrected. It was all just taking the wrong step here or something like that.
On if all the pre-snap movement affects the offensive line: You know, it doesn't really. I don't believe it really affects us at all. It throws the defense off because they don't know what the heck we're going to do. I don't think it affects us at all. We're still going to run the ball straight up the field.
On if he has volunteered to be involved in advancing the ball: If I could run the ball, I'd be doing so. If I could pass the ball, I'd be doing so. I'm kind of a little bit overweight for all that stuff. I think I'm good right where I am. I'm not going to have dreams of grandeur. I'm good where I am.
On QB Garrett Gilbert’s demeanor: It takes a while for quarterbacks to develop, and he has developed into a very good leader. You know, he's very poised in the huddle, commanding us, just tells us what we needed to do and gave us pep talks. He's come a long, long way, and it's really exciting to see him that way.
On C Dominic Espinosa He did really well. I'm really happy for the guy. He worked all summer getting back from his shoulder surgery, so I'm really happy to see him have a really good game and a really solid performance.
On if he has stopped calling protections since moving to guard from center:Well, just because I moved to guard doesn't mean I stop. It doesn't mean I stop calling out stuff, and I can help. It really does help because I know what just about everybody is doing because I have played on the whole line basically, and I know what everybody is doing. So I know what steps he's going to take, so that kind of dictates what steps I take. So it really does help when you're able to line up at all the positions and play all of them. It really does help you.
QB Garrett Gilbert
On the offensive line: They did a great job. We were able to wear [Rice] down a little bit and then in the fourth quarter they really controlled the line of scrimmage and did a good job for us.
On what he has seen after watching video of the game: We did some good things. We were able to run the ball and that set up the play action, and the receivers went and made some plays for us. There's stuff we can improve on. There's a lot of stuff where we can go back and just assignmentwise get into our assignments a little bit quicker. Just being in the right position and stuff like that. There's some decision making, there's some stuff where there's some plays to be made there that can be improved on, and so that's what we're going to work on in practice this week is consistency.
On if it difficult to wait for a play to be called for you in this new offense: I think that's fun for all of us. Everyone on the sideline is into it because you never know when your number is going to be called. So doing some different stuff is fun for all of us. I mean, obviously there were more than a few personnel [groups] in there, so again, it just keeps everyone on their feet. Everyone is into the game, paying attention, because like I said, you never know when your number is going to be called and when you've got to go in there and do your job.
On how important it is to establish a deep passing game: Well, getting those big chunks is big for us. When you're able to run the ball, the safeties, they get a little more aggressive and they want to come down and help in the box. And whenever you've got receivers that can go make those plays for you - Jaxon went and made a play on that reverse pass, and then Mike was down there more than a few times on those post routes. So they did a great job working on their guy and getting open. Fortunately we were able to hit on some of those, and those big chunks definitely help.
On how it helps to know the young receivers can make plays: It helps a lot. I love where our receivers are right now. They've done a great job all camp, all summer. They're catching balls every day, catching extra balls. So they've done a really great job for us and working hard for us, and that's exciting for our offense.
On the toughness of BYU’s defense: You know, they gave up 200 yards to Ole Miss, and on the road did a really great job. So we're going to have our hands full. We're going to have to be very sharp, go into it with a good plan. I think everyone knows that they're going to be a very good defense who's going to be very physical. So we're looking forward to the challenge.
On if BYU will have their hand full with Texas’ offense: When you do a lot of different stuff personnelwise, obviously it's difficult to prepare for. But you know, as an offense, we're really concerned about ourselves. Obviously we're going to be looking at a great challenge in their defense, so all we're concerned about is going out and executing our own plan.
On the game against BYU being a big non-conference game: It's fun. It's really fun. Getting to play a team like BYU with all the history they have, all the tradition they have. It'll be a lot of fun for us. So I think it's something that everyone will be looking forward to. Like you said, national TV is always fun, but it'll be really fun for us to play a program like BYU.
On his comfort level this year: I feel very comfortable. Right now I think Coach Harsin has done a great job of getting us prepared [and] putting us in these situations to be ready to go on Saturdays. And so I think with the offense that we have, I feel very comfortable in it right now, and I'm excited about where we're going.
On RB Malcolm Brown: He did a good job. Again, that's a credit to him as well as our offensive line for the way that they played throughout the game and then in the fourth quarter Malcolm did a really good job of finding those holes, and he got out on a couple of them. So that was good for us.
OL Tray Allen
On if he was disappointed in the running games’ slow start: As far as that goes, after every drive we just have to come back to the sideline and say, “Okay, what are we doing”, and try to make our changes and get back out there and call the right plays and get it going. It's something that we need to do. We need to start fast next week. BYU is a veteran team. They're really good, and starting slow isn't going to be acceptable. First drive of the game, no matter where we get the ball, if it's on the 20 or if it's on the 50, that drive needs to be a drive for us.
On how they were able to improve the run game in the second half: I mean, just feeling the game. Games aren't always going to be what they seem, but when you get to the sideline and we look at our game plan, we look at the defense and what they're doing and you get a feel of [it.] We had it pretty well after that.
On BYU: BYU has history. BYU is a great team. They have a big defensive front. They're veterans. They've won their last ten games for the last however many years. That's a big credit to them and their coaches. They're doing a really good job up there, and we can't take them lightly when we go play them on Saturday. We're going to get to the drawing board today and look at the film and start breaking it down and get ready for practice this week, and then next week, and then on Saturday have a good game. I'm looking forward to the game. I'm ready to have all the blue marks and the paint chipping off of my helmet. A physical game. Getting back to the physical running game that Texas is known for, and establishing our identity this year, and we're having fun with it.
On QB Garrett Gilbert’s demeanor in the huddle: When Garrett gets to the huddle, he demands attention. He makes sure everybody is in the huddle, all the backs and receivers, and he gets our attention and gives us the play. And we get to the line and run it. Last year I had an injury so I didn't play. The last time I saw Garrett in the huddle was at the National Championship. It was a big stage for him to be thrown into. But he handled it well. We almost came back and beat Alabama, and I think that Garrett is going to be a great quarterback. He's already been a great quarterback, and he's going to keep our offense moving and we're going to have a lot of fun this year. Win a lot of games.
TE Blaine Irby
On his feelings about being back on the field again: It was a pretty cool feeling. I was so nervous coming out with the captains that I forgot my gloves. I didn't realize it until right when we were walking to the huddle. I looked at my hands, and one of our trainers had to go get my gloves. I mean, it was awesome being in front of the fans. The fans are great. I mean, it's hard to explain, but just being out there with everybody, it's great.
On moving past a drop he had on Saturday: I can't say I'm not a little disappointed I didn't make that grab, but it happens. I'm glad I got that drop out of the way. But you know, we got the win. My family was there, and they got to see me play football again. Nothing gets bigger than that. I was a little upset with myself. Yeah, the worst is that you already know - you want to erase it from your memory, but everyone on the sideline is patting you on the back telling you to shake it off, and you want to go, “I've got it. I've got it.” Like I said, I'm glad we got the win and I'm glad I played. I'm glad I'm back out there. It was exciting. I was real nervous before the game. I don't know if it was nervousness or just excitement. And my brother was there, and it was pretty cool playing in front of all of them.
DT Kheeston Randall