Mack Brown Monday press conference transcript: Sept. 13
Sept. 13, 2010
Opening statement: The first two games we had great atmospheres. I really want to thank Texas fans for coming out and supporting this team. It was so much fun in Houston last week with 70-plus thousand for Rice and coming back for over 100,000 this week was a lot of fun. I’m proud of the Texas fans. It’s a great atmosphere for our kids. In fact, it was loud. The Red McCombs north end has changed everything with the dynamics in that stadium, because now you really can’t hear.
I thought we played much better as a team against Wyoming than we did against Rice. We [had] a lot more spirit on the sideline and I thought that created spirit in the crowd. It was very hot. I was proud that our team is in great shape and the guys handled the heat very well. We had too many penalties during the ballgame. There’s no doubt about that. Most of them were aggressive penalties. We want our team to be tough. There’s a fine line between being a tough team and a physical team and not crossing that line. Most of the time the better teams have more penalties especially early in the season. We need to have fewer penalties, but we still want to be tough.
We were too inconsistent because of the penalties and lack of forced turnovers. We couldn’t get off the field defensively. We need to stay on the field offensively. We weren’t consistent enough to finish drives at the end when we needed to. We need to start faster. We’ve only scored three points in the first quarter of the first two games. We’ve scored 41 points in the second quarter. So we’ve got to try to figure out - and it’s a team dynamic, not just an offensive dynamic - how to force some turnovers, force better field position and score in that opening drive. We did get a field goal in the opening drive this time, but we did not score any touchdowns in the first quarter.
When you see the depth chart today, you see either/or. That simply means that the coordinators do not have to know who’s in the game with an either/or. It means we do not have to tell Greg [Davis] or Will [Muschamp] so and so is in the game because it changes the game plan.
Defensively, we held them to seven points. We shut down their running game. We want to hold them to 3.3 yards or less. We held them to 1.55. They had 20 attempts for 31 yards. We wanted to stop their pass for less than five yards per attempt. We did not. They had 5.11. They had 44 attempts for 225 yards. We need to do a better job in that area. We didn’t force turnovers but we did force three fourth down stops, which is like a turnover for us. We still need to strip some balls, get some fumbles and try to get some interceptions. We do not want to give up any big plays. We gave up a pass of 34 yards and a pass of 29 yards. We have to stop those two explosive plays.
In the red zone, they scored one out of three times down there. We actually won with 66 percent success rate. Third downs, we won. They were three out of 15. We had 12 wins there for 80 percent. First down, we won. We had 17 successful first downs to their six. So we were 74 percent. We had seven missed tackles for 75 yards. That’s too many. Most of them, their quarterback Austin Carta-Samuels did a good job of being elusive. We had five three and outs, three sacks, 19 hits on the quarterback and 11 pressures.
Defensive player of the game was Sam Acho. The Hard Hat Award on defense goes to Blake Gideon. It was not for his targeting penalty, it was for his tackle after. Ball Hawks, there were four of them – Chykie Brown, Curtis Brown, Jackson Jeffcoat and Eddie Jones all on the fourth down stops.
Offensively, we’ve had no turnovers in the first two games. We’re leading the nation in lack of turnovers. We just had one with a fumbled punt [against Rice]. Explosive plays, we had eight - three runs and five passes. We were successful on first down 64 percent of the time, which is the best we’ve done in a long time. Third downs, we were 50 percent, which is really good. We were seven out of 14. We were three of eight at halftime, so it got much better in the second half. Red zone, we scored 100 percent of the time. Three out of three in the red zone. We have not given up a sack. In fact, we’re one of only nine teams in the country that has not given up a sack in the first two games.
We scored in the last five minutes of the half and the first five minutes of the second half, which is what you need to do to be successful. We only had one negative run during the game and our run consistency was 61 percent, which again was very high.
Offensive player of the game was Mike Davis. Boss Hog, the best offensive lineman was David Snow. Big Hit was Fozzy Whittaker. Biggest Contributor was Garrett Gilbert. We’re talking to our guys about yards after contact, which is very important when you touch the ball. Fozzy had 45 yards after contact. Cody [Johnson] had 31. Tre’ [Newton] had 20. Mike Davis had 61. James Kirkendoll had 18, Malcolm Williams [had] 12 and Marquise Goodwin [had]10. We’re really pushing the guys to do a better job after contact.
Special teams - our kickoff coverage was good. We had two tackles inside the 20, [and] three touchbacks. Their average starting yard line was the 22-yard line. Punt block and return, we averaged 16.5 yards on our punt returns. It was very good. Curtis Brown had a 32-yard return and Aaron Williams had an 18-yard return. Field goals and extra points were very good. We were four out of four on extra points. We had two field goals, one of 36 and one of 45 yards for 10 points. Punt was just okay. We’re very poor as we tried to down them inside the 20. Neither one of those punts were successful. We’ve got to do a better job in our rocket return and kickoff return[s] were just very average. I didn’t think they were what they needed to be. Special teams player of the game was Justin Tucker.
We just played the 12 true freshmen that we played last week. We didn’t play another one. That is tied for the fourth-most freshmen to play in the country.
Texas Tech is a fun challenge for us. We’ve been out there six times since we’ve been here. We’re 3-3. We have won two out of the last three times. We’ve beaten them all six times here. We’re 9-3 overall. It’s been a tough place for Texas to play. Since ‘94, Texas is 9-9 in Lubbock. They’re 2-0 [this season]. They’re doing really well under new coach Tommy Tuberville who has got a great track record and is a tremendous coach. We’re one out of nine teams without a sack and they’re tied for third in the country with nine sacks. It will be a great matchup to see our offensive line trying to protect against their sack bunch there.
They’re more like the Alabama defense this year. They’re very multiple. Last year they sat there and pretty much played base defense. Since Coach [James] Willis came from Alabama we figure we’ll see a game plan similar to the one in the national championship – a lot of blitzing, a lot of movement. They’re [at] 46 percent blitz in the first two ballgames. They’ve gotten off to fast starts and we have not.
The UCLA game next week will be a six-day pick. For you who are asking about times we will probably not have it until next Sunday or Monday. The national TV game this week will be ABC and ESPN2. It will cover the country. It will be Ron Franklin and Ed Cunningham. Everybody in the country will have a chance to see it on one of those two networks.
We’re 10-2 in Big 12 openers. Two of those wins have been against Tech. We’re 49-6 against teams in the state of Texas since 1998. We’ve won 32 of our last 35 games in August and September. We’re 47-9 on the road. We are 31 out of the last 35 in Big 12 games on the road. We’re excited about the challenge of going to Lubbock.
On if he’ll use the game against Texas Tech two years ago as preparation: What you do is you take every game and do your best to prepare for it and try to win it. Half of these kids were juniors and seniors in high school. They watched it on TV, but they haven’t been out there yet. I think what you do is you show them the stats, show them they out-quicked us and out-coached us. Other than that you go out there and get ready to play.
On why Lubbock is a difficult place to play: Any time you play on the road, it’s tough. We’ve had tough times at Kansas State. We’ve had tough games at Oklahoma State. Colorado always upsets some people on the road.
On what he expects from Tommy Tuberville’s offense: It’s not much different. They’re rushing for about 112 yards. They’re throwing it for 300-something. They’re very good on offense. They have not thrown an interception, which is very unusual. They’ve only had a few fumbles that they’ve lost. They’re still lining up [fast] - in fact they’re a quicker tempo now than they were with Mike [Leach]. Still a similar offense - a lot of similar plays, but there are some different type plays. Taylor Potts is very accurate, and he’s doing a great job.
On if Texas will prepare for two Texas Tech quarterbacks: What you do is you prepare for the starter and you adjust if something happens and somebody else comes in.
On S Blake Gideon: He’s tough. He’s smart. His dad being the coach at Leander and his mom works at the school. He’s got tremendous character. He took it as a motivator to make sure he never had anything else like that happen to him again. I’d even forgotten it. That’s what you do. You move forward. He is playing great. He had his tough hits the other night. In fact I felt sorry for him when he had the targeting call, because he was going at the chest and as the ball was coming the receiver went down and that’s a very tough adjustment for a player to make. The guy goes down and Blake hits him in the head. Blake is playing really well for us.
On the mentality of playing a full 60 minutes: We talk about it. In fact, we were going to tell the kids this tomorrow in our meeting. We’re 27-5 with games four points or less and we’re 19-4 in games that are decided in three points or less. We’ve won most of those games. (The game in 2008) was one of the few we didn’t win. It was costly. We didn’t play as well as we should have offensively early in the ballgame and we didn’t stop them on the last drive. Give Tech credit for that. In fact, the three games we’ve lost out there have all been less than a touchdown and have been decided in the last minute.
On how the team responded to that mentality last year: It’s really been good for our guys. They believe they’re going to win every game. They believe they’re going to win in the end. They’re excited for this challenge. The ones who were out there two years ago will remember it. The rest of them have not lost out there. We’ve won two out of the last three [at Texas Tech]. The memory will be that we were number one in the country and didn’t finish the game well. I think that’s what they’ll remember. I thought they were more physical than we were and just did a better job overall with their approach than we did in that game.
On WR Mike Davis’ playmaking ability: You never know with a receiver how many times he can get the ball. You can try to script it to him some, but you can’t script it downfield. You can script it behind the line of scrimmage. They can double team you and take you away. Mike is a guy that we had seen make some dramatic catches and some really good runs in practice. I’m not sure we’ve seen anything in practice like we did on Saturday night. I was really proud of him. Now as a freshman, he’s got to learn to be consistent. That’s the hardest thing. If you start believing the things that people will say about you, usually it’s too high or too low. If you lose a game, everybody says there was nothing good, which is not true. If you win a game, everything was great and that’s not true. The same with receivers. Mike has some things he needs to fix, but he’s obviously a talent with the ball in his hands. He’s very confident and that’s unusual for a freshman. We were proud to see Darius White do the same. The replay was very close in the end zone.
On his trip to the Middle East with Tommy Tuberville: The nine days all I did [was] ask him, “If you get a new job what kind of offense are you going to run? What will you run on third down? How will you fake punts? How will you fake kicks?” I’ve got all my notes ready now. Tommy is one of the greats when it comes to giving back. He made that trip twice. He cared about the troops. In fact, he made it when he was not coaching because he just left Auburn. That’s a great credit to him. He told us before the trip that it was nice and easy. About halfway through none of us would speak to him because we said, “You lied to us.” He said, “You wouldn’t have come if I told you the truth.” He’s done a great job wherever he’s coached. He won at Ole Miss, he won at Auburn and he’ll win at Tech.
On if changing the starting running back affects confidence: We like competition. We’re lucky that it really doesn’t matter who starts. We just want somebody to step up. We don’t have the one guy. We haven’t had that one guy since Jamaal [Charles] left, so we’ll continue to keep the hot hand in the game.
On Virginia Tech’s loss affecting Boise State’s chances of getting into the BCS National Championship Game: We have to wait until the end. I’d like for the BCS to explain to all of us about the strength of schedule. I get confused with it. I can’t understand it. We say it is really prominent, but I don’t see it all the time, so I think we wait until the end to see what it means. We played Rice and beat them a couple of years ago. They won ten games and we didn’t seem to get much credit for it. I think that’s one area I would like to see us scrutinize the BCS a little more and make sure all of us and all of you understood better, because why play tough games out-of-conference if you’re not really going to gain anything out of them? They are really detrimental if you lose. You saw what happened to Virginia Tech - the one loss to Boise probably beat them twice.
On Coach Tuberville maintaining some of Tech’s offensive schemes: We have seen some of that. He has a lot of the same concepts in the passing game. But at the same time, it’s a quicker tempo. He’s brought the offensive coordinator in from Troy, and he’s still trying to run the ball more than Mike [Leach] did at times. Mike could go a whole game without running it. He wouldn’t even think about it. He went for it on six fourth downs and made two, so I think Tommy is still being really aggressive.
On if Tech’s team this year has the same style of play as Tuberville’s former team: You really can’t say that because the defense has really more of an Alabama personality to it right now with Coach Willis coming from Alabama. The offense is totally opposite from anything Tommy has ever done. He’s always liked to line up in the I-formation and power run and knock you off. So I’m sure this is different for him seeing 40, 50 passes a game.
On the improvement needed this week: I think we want to get more explosive plays, and we have to force more turnovers on defense. I looked at the penalties, we had 13 and they had 11, so both of us will be coaching penalties this week.
On if the Texas offense is close to where it needs to be after game two: It’s close. That was more of the personality and balance that we wanted. We ran the shotgun more than we were under-center, but we also feel that we are doing a better job running the same plays from the shotgun. The counter-play with Fozzy [Whittaker] and the counter play with Cody [Johnson] - two of the explosive runs - were both out of the shotgun. We feel like we’re making some things happen. We’ve been holding some things for conference, but we feel like we’ve been making the progress that we need to make. Now we just have to get better. We have to finish things. We’re seeing chances and seeing things that are close, but we just have to get better.
On if the plan was to have all three running backs be starters: No, that wasn’t the plan, but we planned on playing all three of them a lot. Cody was really the guy that was going to carry the load until he sprained his ankle in the opener. That gave Fozzy and Tre’ [Newton] a chance to step up, and they both have done that in their own way. So it’s a really good thing for us that we now have three guys that can really play. We’re excited, because if you get a sprained ankle or a sore shoulder at that position, we’ll have a fresh guy as long as we continue to stay healthy like we are.
On if this week is a different challenge for QB Garrett Gilbert: We had a road game at Rice, but 95% of the fans were ours. This will be fun for Garrett. Garrett has played a lot of football. He just hasn’t been the starter here long, so I feel like we probably missed it a little bit that there is so much more pressure on him starting than there probably was with him coming into the national championship, because he didn’t have time to think about it. Then he had six months when people told him, we want you to be like Vince [Young] or like Colt [McCoy]. You need to win all the games. We’re expecting you to do what you did in high school and that’s a tremendous burden for any young guy. We thought he was much better Saturday night than he was in the opener. He’s been very careful with the ball, getting it to the right guys. We think each week he’ll become a better leader, and this is a week where leaders have to step up. We play really well on the road here, and I think it is because we have confident players. They’ll all have a different challenge this week. I think it will be fun to see, because every time you take a different step, you learn a little more about your team.