Sept. 12, 2011
Opening statement: We’re excited about the great win over a quality opponent on Saturday night. Brigham Young was a really good physical test for us. We saw how tough they were, especially in their defensive and offensive lines. So we're excited to be 2 and 0, understanding our only objective is to win the ballgame.
I thought the home crowd was a great home field advantage for us. I loved the way they came early. They were wearing orange. They hung in there with their team, even through the adversity, and they stayed late. I thought the crowd noise was probably a huge factor in the two illegal motion penalties that Brigham Young had in our south end. We need to start the game faster. First two weeks we've had very inconsistent first halves, good third quarters and dominated the fourth quarter. So we felt like that's something we've got to do. But we feel like we're in great shape, and that's helped us in the third and fourth quarters at the end of the game. We need to continue to develop quality depth because we've got a lot of inexperience that comes in to rest the guys.
And [as to] our fourth quarter dominance, we've scored 21 points to the opponent's zero. We've had 14 first downs and the opponents have had one. We've rushed for 159 yards and the opponents have rushed for 29. We've passed for 107 yards, the opponents have passed for 21. We've had a total offense of 266 yards, and the opponents have had a total offense of 50 yards. We've had 46 plays compared to 21. Third downs, we're 7 of 9 or 77.8 percent, and the opponents are 0 for 6 on 3rd downs in the fourth quarter, and we did lose one turnover when Case McCoy handed it to Malcolm Brown and dropped it [against Rice]. We have forced two turnovers in the fourth quarter.
Defensively the things that we did well, we stopped the run. They're a good running football team. They had 22 carries for 53 yards, 2.4 yards per carry. We made them kick field goals when they got to the red zone except for the one long drive. We fought hard throughout the game, forced two interceptions, two turnovers, one of them at the 25yard line by Adrian Phillips that led points, and we were successful on that and 14 third down situations. Things we need to improve on defense; we have not done really well against the tempo offense when they pick it up and keep it moving throughout the game. We need better communication between our linebackers and our secondary during the ballgame because we're getting some busted coverages or our personnel package is having a little bit of problem there. We did give up a 97yard drive, which is a killer. You've got field position, you put the ball on the 3yard line, you cannot let them drive the length of the field, and that was their only touchdown. And we do need to have fewer penalties. We did force more turnovers, but we need to force more. We had [a chance at] four balls. Other than the two that we got with our hands on them - two interceptions and two fumbles - and didn't come up with any of the four.
The Ball Hawk Awards. [CB] Quandre Diggs forced a fumble and had an interception. [CB] Adrian Phillips had one interception that led to points, and [LB] Steve Edmond on special teams with the kickoff coverage forced a fumble, as well. The Hard Hat Award on defense goes to Quandre Diggs for the hits he made throughout the game and the most valuable player on defense was [DT] Ashton Dorsey. He played really well up front. We're proud for him.
Offensively, the things we did well, we kept our composure under adversity and stayed the course, didn't panic. The game plan changed drastically during the game, and the players adapted well, especially the quarterbacks. We were able to run the ball very well. We had 43 attempts for 166 yards and averaged four yards per carry.
Things we need to improve: We've got to get more explosive plays even though we had five runs and four passes that were explosive and our goal has been eight. We still like to get more than that. We like to get more than Brigham Young. We need to do what we're taught in practice. We're still having trouble with some of our packages and getting the right personnel on the field and getting our right splits at receiver and making all those things happen, understanding we're putting a lot of pressure on the guys because we're playing different quarterbacks. We've got a lot of different guys going in and out of ballgames, and they're trying, but we've got to continue to do a better job with our personnel groupings, be sharper, and that way we'll have fewer penalties. Got to take care of the ball. We did have two interceptions. We must improve on third downs for sure, and we're really disappointed as well as we've done on fourth down, that we didn't make our foruth and one and came up inches short which we felt like could have lead to points.
All three quarterbacks handled the situation well. I thought Garrett [Gilbert] was unbelievable on the sideline after he came out. It's a very difficult situation when there's a change at quarterback, and he was the biggest cheerleader. He was in the dressing room. He was on the sideline, and all he wants is for Texas to win, and I thought Case [McCoy] and David [Ash] responded well to the substitution of going back and forth. So I thought they did a good job.
Most valuable player on offense for the second week in a row is [WR] Jaxon Shipley. The Bevo Best; the lineman Mason Walters, he had 17 knockdowns. So he played really, really dominating football against a tough front.
Specialty teams, our kickoff coverage. We had three tackles inside the 25yard line, Steve Edmond, [CB] Leroy Scott and [FB] Ryan Roberson all had a tackle, which is key for field position. Steve Edmond, as we said earlier, forced the one fumble. They averaged 23.8 yards per return, which is good for us. Average start with their kickoff receiving team was 25yard line, and Justin Tucker kicked off well throughout the day.
Our kickoff return was average to poor except for once. We started with a poor one that started inside the 15yard line. Our average start was the 22yard line. The average return was 21.2 yards per return. We did have the one return by [WR] Marquise Goodwin of 43 yards.
Punt blocking return, we only returned one run, and it was 20yard return by Jaxon Shipley and gave us great field position.
We did hold BYU to a net punt of 34 yards, and we nearly blocked one. We were a little late with our start, but we had an opening and had a chance to block it. So we're getting closer on our blocked punt.
Our punt team averaged 41.8 yards per punt. The net punt average was 36.4 yards, three returns of 27 yards, nineyard average. Really the only one was the 24yard punt return early in the game down near their boundary that hurt us.
Extra point field goal team had two PATs and one field goal that led to 5 points. The elite group for special teams, Steve Edmond, Leroy Scott, Jaxon Shipley and Ryan Roberson.
The injury report came out good again. We're a little bit banged up after a physical game like that, but right now I don't have a report of anyone who would not play this weekend. And again, I feel like a lot of that goes back to our conditioning this summer, the strength program. We're mentally tougher right now, and I thought we showed some physical toughness on Saturday night, as well.
Rick Neuheisel and UCLA; Rick is a great coach. I've known Rick forever. When I got here he was at Colorado. He's had a career as a head coach where he's already won 81 games and done a tremendous job wherever he's been. They're in a situation much like us. They had a change at offensive coordinator, change at defensive coordinator, so they're learning their way here and trying to find out who they are on both sides of the ball like we are. Last year's game they outrushed us 264 yards to 85. hey had the ball for 35 minutes and 29 seconds for time of possession. We lost four fumbles and had an interception, so we had five turnovers. Two of their scoring drives were four yards or less because we fumbled a punt inside the three, and two more of the scoring drives were 40 yards or less. So we got killed with turnovers and poor field position when you go back and study last year's game. UCLA leads the series 3 to 2. Their defense is a fourman front. A lot of the players that played against us last year are back. They're not a big blitzing team on offense. They're No. 16 in the country on rushing, averaging 252 yards a game. So once again, it'll be the two lines of scrimmages competing to see who wins the fight up front because it's usually a battle when you start talking about a good running attack and a good defensive front. We feel like we're running the ball well and their defensive front is doing well. They're 56th in passing with 233 yards a game and they're 22nd in total offense with 485 yards a game. Again, most of the guys that are on that team played against us last year.
They are playing two quarterbacks, so we're not sure which one will start this weekend. It's our first time to go on the road, so we showed that we're better at home than we were last year, and now we've got to take a lot of young guys and go on the road. And it was funny last night when we were talking to the guys, a lot of them have not been on a plane before. There will be a lot of anxiety probably on Friday as they get ready to board the plane to head to LA. It's fun to go back to the Rose Bowl. We've had some great moments out there and some tough times, but still, it's a wonderful place to go, and I'm excited for our players any time they get to go to the Rose Bowl because it's an historic place and one that a lot of people never get to play [in].
On the QB depth chart: The thing that we feel is we have to have a depth chart for you guys on Monday, but it'll really be fluid, and whoever practices the best this week will start. We felt like Case and David are listed eitheror on the depth chart, or that's the way it should be. I haven't seen it. And it would also depend, if those two practice well, which one goes in the game based on the play that Bryan would start the game with because they have packages for each other. But we thought Case did a good job on the final drive for sure to lead to points. We thought David still brings that different dimension. I thought Garrett did a great job, and what Garrett will do is compete again like he has throughout this competition to go back and try to get his job back. And while he's doing that, I'm sure he'll be pulling for the other guys. That's the type of young man he is.
On WR Marquise Goodwin: Marquise did an unbelievable job for the first time back. We were really surprised. I'm not sure, I think he might have played 15 plays. It wasn't a lot of plays, but we feel like we've got to get him the ball more. He came right in. He did well. He didn't get tired Saturday night. It was very hot. We were concerned about him with ball security some because he has not touched a ball and hasn't played in this offense through spring or twoadays, so we thought he did an amazing job to line up right, to catch the ball. He nearly broke the kickoff return. The players were giving him a really hard time about being a great sprinter and a long jump champion and the kicker tackled him. So that was a real point of contention with him in the team meeting. They wanted to run it back and run it back and run it back. But we feel like we've got to get the ball in his hands. He's a special player.
On the offense in the long term: Long term for us is tomorrow's practice, so we're not worried about anything except figuring out a way to win against UCLA. We're just trying to put enough plays together right now on offense to get an identity because we've still got to find out who we are. We've got to do better in the first half. For whatever reason we just seemed confused the other night. We weren't in sync. We didn't have confidence, and then all of a sudden we come out of halftime, and they look like they're on the same page and they're moving forward. So all those things are what we're got to figure out. But we're not worried about longterm right now.
On the depth chart: What we've said since day one is our depth chart is very fluid. Guys could transfer, guys could get hurt. I know way too much about our team. You all don't have that information. So to say something is set in stone for Saturday would be like saying something in your life three years from now you can guarantee. My life changes by lunch. I leave here sometimes and there's things that pop up that I didn't even know. Marquise last Monday, I didn't know he wanted to play. I leave here and get a text massage, and by 5:00 he's talked to our players and he's back on the team. Y'all think I'm crazy that I didn't tell you when I was over here. In fact, Arthur Johnson called and said, “Can we release Marquise as playing?” And I said, “Well, I'd like to talk to him. I haven't heard him yet, so if you'll let me know.” So he came up and released it. But that's how things change.
On playing two quarterbacks going forward: I don't know because we're two halves into playing two quarterbacks. I want to see us again Saturday and see, and if what we've done with Malcolm Brown, for instance, he's had the hot hand, so we've left him in. I remember one year at North Carolina when we had Jason Stanicek and Mike Thomas, the one that we started stunk, and the one that came in at the end of the first quarter won just about every game. So it was amazing. They laughed. They said, “I don't want to start. I don't want to be the guy that comes in [first] because that starting role is a tough spot.” But all we're trying to do is figure out combinations right now to win.
On the running backs: We thought they did really well. Fozzy [Whittaker] and Cody [Johnson] have both been around. They're both smart. They're both football savvy. Malcolm [Brown] is learning more of the packages all the time. Since we used Cody more in normal down situations the other night, Joe Bergeron didn't get in the game as a running back. But all three of the running backs graded winning performances and did really well. We're proud of them. And they're taking care of the ball.
On UCLA: We've got great respect for UCLA. It's two tremendous institutions that have respect for each other and believe in the same things. Like I said, I've known Rick and respect him for many years, and you like playing at the Rose Bowl. It'll be fun. It'll be a great challenge for us. I do think it's good that we played a tough Brigham Young team Saturday before we went on the road. A lot of people out there, if you look at their schedules, they haven't played anyone yet. And then Rice beats Purdue, so Rice is better than perceived and better than last year, and now we had a fight with Brigham Young. So I think we're in a better position to go on the road right now with a young team than we would have been playing two really easy teams that would have been blowouts. We've had our adversity. We've responded to it, and I know we'll have some out there. UCLA had a tough game, lost right in the end to Houston. They won the other night, so they're excited because they whipped us so badly last year. I'm sure they're excited about Texas coming to town so they can try to make a statement nationally.
On if he expects UCLA to run the ball this week: Yes, they've got two great backs. You look at [Johnathan] Franklin and [Derrick] Coleman, and they're both older backs who played really well against us last year. We were 13 to 3 at halftime last year, and our defense had held them to 70 yards the first half, and they came out and drove the ball right down our throat to start the second half and went 80 yards and didn't let up for the rest of the game. Their running game will be a lot better than Brigham Young's running game. And we were tested the other night, but we'll be tested again.
On his memories of playing in the Rose Bowl: I called John Robinson, the excoach at USC before we played Michigan, and I said, “Coach, tell me what you're supposed to do in the Rose Bowl. What's it like. What should I tell the players?” And he said, “It's very seldom that a coach or player gets to coach or play in the Rose Bowl, period.” And of course this was the Rose Bowl Game, Pasadena. So he said, “You should be very proud of that, number one, and tell your players to be proud of it. You should stand and look at those hills and look at the beauty of the stadium and then do what you do for the rest of your life.” But I think the lastsecond kick with Michigan is a memory that I'll have with Dusty Mangum. The fact that Cedric Benson hyperextended his knee on the first play as a firstround draft choice and stayed out there and played the entire ballgame and was sitting in the dressing room crying after the game. I said, “Is your knee hurting?” He said, “No, I'll never play another game at Texas. So that's why it's bothering me so much.” Obviously the plays of the National Championship game are really special. Colt [McCoy] getting hurt wasn't so special. Garrett bringing us back was really special. Jordan [Shipley] making a couple of great catches. The end of the Alabama game wasn't special. So it's funny that our first year here we played UCLA, and we were down - I'll never forget [former ABC announcer] Gary Danielson. It was after the 66 to 3, the year we lost here. Gary Danielson was doing the game for the TV network, and he said,”Is there any way you can get beat 66 to 3? Is that possible?” And I said, “Absolutely not. There's no way we can get beat 66 to 3.” And at halftime I'm walking off the field and it's 35 to 3, and he says, “Coach, I don't want to kind of call you out on this, but looks like to me if I'm doing my numbers right, this could end up 70 to 3, or more than that.” And I said, “We're going to fight the second half.” I'll never forget we came out and fought our guts out, and we weren't that good at that time. It's when Major [Applewhite] started playing because Richard Walton broke his finger, and the game was 35 to 3 [at halftime]. And then at one time it was 41 to 31 and they hit us on a little wheel route down the boundary and ended up beating us 49 to 31. The thing I learned about Texas that day and Texas fans - we had 15,000 fans in the stadium, and they gave the guys a standing ovation for not quitting and not giving up - and I thought it was very similar to the other night in a different way. Our fans want to see us fight. They want to see us compete. And we didn't do that on a regular basis last year. And I'm really proud that this team so far has given us everything they've gotten for two games, and hopefully we'll see that again Saturday.
On last year’s game as motivation: Yeah, many of the players that will play, the 18 freshmen and the 7 redshirt freshmen, didn't play in the game last year. So it's a new team for us. They'll see the film. They'll see the video. They'll go back over it. They'll understand that we didn't play very well, and they'll have great respect for UCLA. I thought Saturday night did send a message from our team to fans and the other team that this is not going to be a team that's going to lay down and quit. This is not going to be a team that's going to give up. We're not a great team right now, but we're going to be a team that's going to fight and scrape and play hard and give it every ounce we've got every week.
On TE D.J. Grant: Yes, D.J. Grant had two knee operations, similar to Blaine's [Irby], and we did not know whether D.J. would ever play again. The word "medical" was brought up around him at one time, as well, and right now he's really becoming a factor for us. He looked really good in practice last week. In fact, the first play of the game was kind of a deep sail route where he was in a crease and we weren't able to get the ball to him because they covered it better than we anticipated. But we think he's a guy that can stretch the field and get us some plays downfield like we used to get out of our tight ends.
On worrying about young players anxiety about flying for the first time: You do. What you try to do instead of worry is prepare. You try to talk to them about it, have the older players kind of be a mentor for them, a big brother, and talk to them about flying. We'll talk to them about the Rose Bowl and the history. We try to make it a fun trip and an exciting trip more than a trip full of anxiety.
On the team as a whole: I've been impressed with our whole team right now. They're really trying hard. They're competing and they're positive. The younger ones are playing older, and they're not using the fact that their age could be an excuse for them when they don't play well. Again, this team has done a great job of the older leadership players accepting the younger players and understanding we need them to win. So right now there's no animosity between old and young. They're not fighting, they're having fun together, and I think the staff has done a great job of bringing this team and team chemistry closer together than we were at this time last year.
On Case McCoy’s similarity to his brother Colt: They're very different with their personalities, and I think my older brother is different than me. It's just the way things are. The things that are similar, if you put the same number on them and you throw out names and just put them out there - he's got the quick release. He's very accurate. He's got an easy ball to catch. He's got quick feet. I thought when he scrambled on the 4th down play to D.J. Grant, we've seen that before. So I do think there are a lot of similarities.
On players knowing they have to compete for a starting job: I've talked about it since January 17th. But what we will do is what we've always done, and I didn't think we did as good a job of it last year is that guys compete for the job every day. When you're in practice it's more like pop quizzes. When you're in the game it's like the final. And when a guy produces, he plays. When he struggles, even if it's not his fault, then you put someone else in his place. And the right guard is no different than the quarterback. It's just that it's much more publicized. Y'all don't ask me much about right guard.
On RB Malcolm Brown starting to get carries earlier in the game: He's had the hot hand the second half, and we'd like to get him in the game quicker. I think on the depth chart you'll see he's moved up, and we're also needing to expand his package. I don't think when you have 20something practices in preseason and a true freshman misses ten of them, that's a hit. You know, you miss nearly half of your practice sessions, so we're trying to bring him along as quickly as we can.
On what is impressive about Brown: His ability to make yards. He's very patient. He's got great eyes to see the cut, and he is a powerful runner. He's one of those guys like Cedric Benson that just seems - you look up and he's made 70 yards, and you don't remember all of them. But I thought the last play of the game was indicative of that. It was a draw play. People can't grab him. He's a very strong runner, and he came off the goal line with about an eightyard run once. But the 14 yards at the end of the game, he was patient. He let it open up. They knew we were going to run the ball and he still made the 14 yards and gave us the first down to end the game. But he just seems to be a special back. And again, so far, he's had good ball security.