Coordinators' corner: Sept. 7
Sept. 7, 2010
Offensive coordinator Greg Davis
On QB Garrett Gilbert’s performance last Saturday: They did not blitz us very much, and he did a great job. They brought a blitz early, and he side adjusted the ball to Malcolm [Williams] for a first down. They brought a blitz later, and he had Malcolm out for a first down. Then they came after us in the red zone and he had James [Kirkendoll] one-on-one. He threw a ball that we call paint, where we really try to back shoulder the ball. He did not throw that ball very well. So he was very disappointed in that. I was also [disappointed] in the throw, but I was pleased that he saw the blitz and knew he had one-on-one. He went to the right place. He rushed it a little bit, but overall, for his opener I thought he played pretty well.
On if Garrett Gilbert had a chance to get into a groove with his receivers since the focus was on the running game: Probably not. Quarterbacks feel like they get in a groove anytime they throw the ball over 50 or 60 times. I can say that because I’ve played the position. We will throw the ball much more than we did in the opener. If you go back and check Vince’s [Young] opener, Colt’s [McCoy] opener, we have typically started that with, ‘Hey, let’s be smart with the quarterback in his first ball game.’ So we’ll go back, and before it’s all said and done, we’ll throw the ball 35 times a game or so, and we need to. We need to provide that balance. I really thought he played well in his opener.
On what the game plan for Rice was: The plan going in was that we wanted to play from under center a lot. I think as the season goes on, we’ll find a little more balance in that. We can run all the same plays that we ran the other night from the gun, so that will kind of balance out as we go, but we had really challenged the players with this - the way we want to play in the opener. You’ll see more balance as we go on.
On tight end involvement: On one of the side adjustments, Barrett [Matthews] did a great job, but Garrett just chose to go to Malcolm. I want those guys to be more involved, and I think they will be as we go on. I thought, for Barrett, he did a good job on the sweep. Some of those plays - power plays - he did a nice job. He did a nice job protecting the play action when he was on the backside of certain things, but we would like to get our tight ends more involved.
On Wyoming’s playing style similarities between this year and last year: Well, it’s almost like playing two openers. Last year, they were predominately a three-four team. Almost every snap was three-four. This year they’ve switched to a four down front. So we’re going to be guessing a little bit about the structure, but we do know that they’ve changed more into a four down, so that will be different than last year.
On if the offense runs zone-read: We did very little in camp. In fact out of 22 practices, I think we ran it twice. It’s not a big part of what we do. We will continue to carry it, in some ball games we’ll see it, but it won’t be a big part.
On the playing style behind Saturday’s game: The idea was that we had really challenged the guys in the running game about negative plays, taking care of the ball, and coming downhill. I want to give linemen the opportunity to get lathered up and come off the ball. It’s a little bit unlike us in terms of the way this team will eventually play. It was an attitude that we wanted to go into the ball game with, and the players knew what we were going to try to do during the ball game. We did play a lot of tempo - probably eight or nine snaps of quick tempo. It was productive for us, but the idea was that we wanted to make sure we put it out there and we wanted to evaluate some of the things. There were a couple of plays we ran that we hadn’t carried in years. We wanted to make sure that the backs got to see them, and we got to evaluate them.
On RB Cody Johnson’s injury: I found out Sunday.Cody had a great camp. Early in the ball game, at some point, he tweaked his ankle and he kept it from everybody. I think that also speaks to Cody’s toughness and his ability. He was in it to the very end of the ball game. That part is encouraging, that he was tough enough to play through it, but we would like for him to tell us when those things happen.
On how LB Jared Norton won his position with a special package: We felt that Jared is a guy who brings a lot to the table. We’ve also worked Jamison Berryhill and Ryan Roberson. Both of those guys will be in there at some point, in that package of plays. I was not pleased– we’re better in that situation than we were the other night. We’ve got to do a better job of getting movement. It’s tight down there.
On as a coach, wanting players to play through pain, but not through an injury: We constantly talk to the guys about the difference between injury and just being banged up a little bit, because you get banged up in this game. Mack [Brown] even took one of his meetings during fall camp to talk about it. I think that’s what Cody was doing. He did hurt [the ankle], and it blew up after the game. He was able to play through it. I choose to think he was showing us his toughness as opposed to anything else.
On why RB Tre Newton is the new starter: Partly because of Cody’s injury. We’ll have to see on Tuesday what Cody can do. I think he’ll be available for the ball game, but Tre came in and did what Tre does. He’s got really good vision. He makes really good decisions with the ball. We decided yesterday, after getting the injury report from Kenny Boyd, and also after evaluating the tape, that we want to make that change.
Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp
On Eddie Jones’ maturation process: I think everybody goes through a maturation process of understanding how to work. You’ve got to overcome things sometimes through learning how to work. I certainly see his habits a lot different right now than I did three years ago as far as his approach to the game. I think sometimes when it’s taken away from you it helps. With the injuries he’s had, he’s had to sit back and watch. I know that’s been frustrating for him. He’s persevered through a lot of setbacks. We’re real proud of him.
On the dropped interceptions: We work on ball drills every day. That’s something we’ll continue to emphasize. Turnovers will come. We’re in position to make the plays. That’s the positive thing. The negative thing is that we’ve got to cash in on those opportunities. Those guys are good football players. We expect them to make those plays next time around.
On what the defense can improve upon: I think regardless of the outcome you can always find things you could’ve done better. There were obviously some things we need to tie up in the run game. The end of the half was something we can’t allow to happen. We need to have more awareness of that situation. We need to end the game better. I think there’s obviously things when you look back at the negatives, but you also look at the positives. We rebounded and played well in the third quarter and did some positive things. The next week is a new week.
On the defense’s enthusiasm during the game: I thought we had great enthusiasm. I really did. I thought the guys had a good approach to the game. We didn’t start the game where we wanted to. We had a 30 yard completion down our sideline that was a large part of it – a 14 play drive for 60 yards and over half of it comes on one play. So you’ve got 13 plays for 30 yards. Keep things in perspective about where they are. That’s what I try to do when I’m looking at a game.
On how the defense tackled: It’s the first game. I thought we tackled well for the first game especially. I think we ended up with four missed tackles with 11 yards after contact. That’s a positive. You’ve got to continue to build on that each week. That’s not something you can relax and say we’re a good tackling team now and suddenly the next week you don’t play well in space and create a lot of issues for yourself. We’ve got to continue to work on that every day.
On the amount of freshman that played: There’s no excuses at all. When you play for Texas, regardless of whether you’re a senior or freshman, we expect you play well and play at a high level and to a certain standard. Regardless of what class you are, if you’re playing that means we have confidence in you. We feel like you should play well. You’re going to be held to the same standard as everyone else. At the end of the day, we’re not going to say, ‘Well he’s a freshman.’ We’re not going to use that.
On Wyoming’s offense: I think the biggest issue obviously is Carta-Samuels - the quarterback has legs. He keeps a lot of plays alive. Off rhythm plays is what I call them. He creates an awful lot. Leonard is an outstanding receiver. He’s a 6’4, 210 pound kid who can stretch the field vertically. Whenever you’re dealing with a space team and a quarterback who has legs and a dual threat, you’ve always got some issues. You have to make sure you have good eyes on the ball in zone and in man coverage. You’ve got to do a good job of cutting receivers off down the field. You’ve got to be very disciplined in your pass rushing lanes. If you lose lanes on a guy like him, he certainly can make you pay - a dual threat quarterback in a spread system. And I think Dave Christensen has done an outstanding job from when he was at Missouri.
On DE Jackson Jeffcoat: He’s a good player. I’m very excited about his production on Saturday. We expect him to continue to improve and take another step forward as a football player. He did a good job and played fast and physical. He did a good job with his assignments. We’re real pleased with his performance.
On the second defensive tackle: I think we’re going to be a little more by committee [with the tackles], as we felt going into the game. Tyrell Higgins will play the nose as well. He’ll play behind Kheeston [Randall] as well as Ashton Dorsey. Calvin Howell and Alex Okafor all play about equal snaps. We also played Sam [Acho] inside about 12 snaps. I think we’ll be a little more by committee as opposed to the first two years I was here. We’ve got some confidence in those guys. I don’t know that there’s anybody who has put themselves above the rest from a player standpoint.
On if S Kenny Vaccaro is considered a co-starter: We felt that way going into the game. You put your and/or at the end, but he’s a guy [who can play]. We’ve got six defensive backs we can win with. He is certainly one of those guys. He’s playing the nickel and the safety. He gives us a lot of flexibility to put Aaron [Williams] back at corner. He’s a really good football player – instinctive [and] tough. I told the defense yesterday, he plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played.
On CB Chykie Brown’s play: Well, certainly you want to finish on the interception. That’s a play you want back. Nobody hurts worse than Chykie. That’s the thing to me. Obviously on the fade on our sidelines, he has the receiver cut off as he reached back. He has to track the ball and continue to accelerate down the field. On the caused fumble by Sam Acho, the ball was going to Chykie Brown’s guy, but the guy couldn’t get off the line of scrimmage. The quarterback holds the ball, we cause the fumble, we score. Nobody ever sees that in the stat book. He really covered well other than one play. The way we play, we play a lot of bump and run and we’re not going to change. We’ve got to continue to finish those plays down the field. I really look at two plays that I think were not up to his standard or our standard. Other than that he played pretty well.