Player press conference quotes: Sept. 20
Sept. 20, 2010
QB Garrett Gilbert
On his interceptions: I think, looking at it, the defensive end on the first two made a great play to get his hand on the ball. I think looking at the film, I drifted a little and gave him the chance to make that play. So that’s something that Coach Davis and I talked about. I need to try to stay closer to the middle of the pocket. Sometimes things like that just happen. It’s part of the game and you have to deal with it.
On lessons from the Tech game: There was a lot of stuff. There were a lot of guys that came and played really well the other night, and again, there’s a few plays here and there where we get ourselves in trouble. Some penalties and stuff like that, where we get ourselves in tough situations that we need to take care of.
On the difficulties of the offense during the game: I feel like those holding penalties were tough on us. They put us in first and 22. Being able to come back from that is a testament to our unit as a whole. Fighting back and forgetting about the last play and moving onto the next play. That’s something that Coach Davis preaches, and we pride ourselves on moving onto the next play.
On WR James Kirkendoll: Even when we weren’t doing spring ball, we would go out and throw almost every afternoon. He was always there, and he’s a guy that runs great routes and has a really great knowledge of the game of football. He’s knows exactly how to get himself open, find holes in zones, and is really good at man coverage as well. I think James does a great job with that and the trust level is very, very good.
On the development of the offense: Well, we see flashes every week. I think as a unit we’re getting better every week. We’ve improved, so we’re a work in progress. We continue to work on that stuff in practice and try to improve. Third-down efficiency, stuff like that. We need to really focus a little bit more on [that] and try to get better at that.
On the offensive miscues: Looking at film yesterday it wasn’t a lot of mental mistakes. It was more physical mistakes to where we know we can fix it. It’s a matter of taking a drop and standing in the middle of the pocket instead of drifting over a little bit. It’s stuff that we can improve upon and that helps us as we move forward to know what we do need to work on.
On scoring the touchdown at the end of the 22-play drive: That was huge. Obviously with the problems that we’ve had in the red zone during the first game or two, to be able to finish that one against a quality opponent on the road… being able to run the ball down in the red zone. Cody [Johnson] did a great job with pounding the ball and then Barrett made a great play on that last one to find himself open. It was big for us to be able to finish it.
On being worried about UCLA’s defense: I haven’t gotten a chance to look at much film. They’re going to be a very quality opponent. They did a great job- Houston has a great offense and they held them to, I think, 14 points. We have to be very sharp and really do a great job running and passing.
S Blake Gideon
On facing UCLA this weekend: At UCLA, they put out some great numbers this last week. I guess these past three weeks, with Tech, Rice and Wyoming¬–their running game has been more of a screen and short passing game. With more of a downhill running game coming in these next few weeks, it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be different for our defense with what we’ve faced and prepared for in the last three weeks. It’s going be a fun challenge, and we’re looking forward to it.
On if the guys in front are excited about facing a team with a downhill running game: I think so. I don’t think any of those guys like to rush the passer, and then have it thrown over their head and have to turn around and chase people all day. I think it is a game that all those front guys are looking forward to. Whenever you think about playing linebacker, you don’t really think about covering receivers and making zone drops and stuff, [and] matching routes. You think about coming downhill and blowing up the running game. It will be a different style of offense that we are preparing for. Like I said, we’ll be looking forward to it.
On if playing a big name team like UCLA adds to the excitement of this weekend’s match up: UCLA has a great coaching staff, obviously. Some of those names pop out. Great tradition out there so it’s going to be a different style of game, a more physical running attack. Like you said, you just say UCLA, and people’s eyes kind of open. So it will be fun, and it will be a challenge. It will be a blast playing against guys like that.
On effort: I think that’s important, and on defense especially. Defense is all about effort. Offense can always talk about timing and rhythm - that’s very true, you need all that on offense - but on defense you can’t have off days. All defense is effort and running to the ball. That’s especially true for defense. We’re really nothing without effort.
On what it’s like after a game after having a focused week of practice: I think, collectively, we have a very intense week of preparation. We get that sense at 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning when we start our meeting. So just to see all that preparation come together and to see a result like that, it can bring a smile to your face.
On what the defense does when the offense is on the field for a 22-play drive: Whenever they are out there that long, whenever we come off to the sideline we get on the bench, and the coaches are drawing up things we saw on that series and how we’re going to prepare for them. Most of the time we’re on the board drawing stuff up and looking over things up until we go back out for defense. During that time, we probably had to get ten minutes of rest. Coach Akina kept looking up, and the offense is still out there, so he’s thinking of more things to write up on the board. That’s what we need, though. That was a great drive, I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like that. That’s what we need. That’s what they were searching for whenever we kind of moved to this style offense, so that was great to see.
On how important it is to take care of himself in the next couple of weeks considering Texas is facing UCLA, Oklahoma and Nebraska: It is important for guys to realize - especially the young guys that haven’t been here - that this is our job and part of your job is taking care of your body. So, that’s coming in at six or seven every morning to get treatment and make sure you are ready to play. That’s what you owe your team really - that you’re ready to play and make sure you’re as close to 100 percent as possible. Going through these next few games - after this game and continuing on in the Big 12 - it is going to be important because it is a long season.
On how the defense helps to pump up the offense: Everyday in practice, when we go against them, we’re going to do our best to kick their tails. And we’re going to let them know about it if we do. So I think that’s what we owe our offense, and that’s what they owe us. We’re going to go as hard at it as we can every day. It’s really all in the preparation. If we can be the best defense in the nation, then we need to be the best Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Like I said, that’s what we owe our offense and preparation like that is only going to help them succeed.
CB Aaron Williams
On the offense’s one long drive feeling like an eternity: It really did. Every time third down came up, I’d grab my helmet, but the offense did a great job making first downs. I mean my helmet was down on the sidelines for a good 15 minutes. I have no problem with that. I was on the sidelines staying loose and getting ready. But I was glad that the offense had such a great drive.
On being 100 percent healthy: I got dinged up a little bit. It’s just one of those things where you get hit in the thigh pretty bad - one of those bruises. But it’s nothing serious.
On the changes from the spread to a power running game: Facing three teams with a spread offense, and now going against a team [UCLA] with more of a run scheme is a big change. You just have to be more physical with the running backs that they have. They put up great numbers against Houston, and they played a great game. Their record doesn’t matter because those three games they played tough. We’re just going to have to do more tackling drills and be more physical to get ready for this week.
On becoming more consistent: Every day in practice, the whole effort thing is key. We give them the effort. Even after the whistle blows, we’re still running to the ball. We’re going to give the offense our best look. We’re going to try to make them better, just like they’re trying to make us better.
On staying grounded as a defense despite all of the talk: We’re just going to stay focused and not get too ahead of ourselves, because we’re not there yet. We’re not even close to where our expectations are right now. So we’re just going to keep chugging, keep working hard, keep going into the film room and try to stay healthy.
On this tough stretch of teams: I was just thinking that myself the other day. My freshman year, game three came up pretty late and I just kept thinking that this is going to be a long season. Now, in my junior year season, three games came by really fast before I knew it. I was thinking we were just in 2-a-days not too long ago. But now were about to be in game four, so we’re in it.
On being more physical this time of year: It definitely gets messier with a run kind of offense. You deal with more blocks. You deal with bigger linemen and bigger tight ends. I’m more used to just covering a slot receiver, but now I have to worry about the receiver, the tight end, pulling guards pulling them my way. I mean, it’s kind of frightening when you see a 6’6” guy, 200 and some pounds coming at you so fast, but you just have to deal with it. And deal with it the best you can to help the team out.
DE Dravannti Johnson
On being the best defense in the nation: I think if you play defense, especially at Texas, you have to have a sense of pride. You have to have a sense of, “We’re going to go out there and stop every single play.” The rankings don’t matter to us. For us, we are going to continue to do what we are doing, and we don’t care about that.
On playing a running team: The defensive backs may not be too happy, because they have to come downhill a lot, but the front seven have been waiting for a team that will run downhill and not play so much horizontal. I feel like, personally, it’s going to be fun to be able to go up against somebody. It’s going to be a good test for the defense, too.
On the difference between covering the spread to covering the run: It’s going to be a huge step for us. We’ve proved ourselves against the spread teams, and now it’s time to prove ourselves against the run teams. If we can stop the run like we know we can, then we’re going to be a great defense.
On the preparation this week: We just have to watch film like we’ve always been doing and study the personnel - study the things that they do. We have to get a game in, and just get our mind right for a physical game.
On the depth of the defense: All of the defensive players complement each other. All of us do things well. All of us can go out there and rush the passer, as you can see on tape. No matter who is in the game, we get after it. It’s fun to have a guy who can go out there and keep the momentum, and get to the passer, and also to give you a break. We can keep rotating guys in when one of us gets tired. We have guys that can come in and step up at any point in time and keep it going.
On the offense’s long drive against Tech: It’s a great feeling to know that your offense can go out there and sustain a drive like that. We were on the sidelines having to stretch out because we were starting to get tight being on the sidelines so long, but it was fun watching the offense go out there and do work. We’re fortunate enough to have a good offense like that.
On what it was like on the sidelines during that series: Every time we go to the sidelines, we huddle up, we go over plays, we go over what we did, [and] what we’re going to do next. After a while, we just started watching the offense and watched them work.
WR James Kirkendoll
On not always receiving the ball as a wide receiver: I understand that. Whether in one game we might have to run the ball 30 times, one game we might have to pass the ball 50 times. It is tough playing receiver. Sometimes you go out there and you run your route and you know you are not going to receive the ball but it is all for the better of the team.
On having to be patient with new players on offense: I think this offense has a lot of new faces this year. I think it’s kind of newer to some guys. We’re not a finished product yet, and we have a lot of time to get better and once we all get everything together we’re going to be good. It’s funny how things come together at critical points in the season. All we can do now is keep going to work every day at practice and just keep competing and good things will happen.
On if he knew how many plays he had made: I honestly didn’t know. It was fun being able to go into that environment and make plays and quiet the crowd, but anytime you can make plays its fun.
On being able to play in a huge game: Especially being from Round Rock, around this area, I’ve always wanted to come to UT and play in games like [Tech] and just to be able to do that - it’s crazy. I’m going to try to do the same thing every week and I think everybody in our [receiver’s] room is trying to do that every week, honestly. You just have to make plays, that’s what it comes down to.
On how the team can be more consistent: Keep practicing hard, that’s all you can do. I feel we have the best defense in the country. They’re going to get us ready every week. Our coaching staff does a good job of putting everybody in the right position to make plays and just do what we do.
On how he would describe the team: I would say young. I would say unfinished. I would say we have a lot to work on. It’s funny, we still had a good game and we didn’t play that great. Just imagine what will happen when we get everyone on the same page.
On why there are inconsistencies in the team: If you look at it there are a lot of new people that haven’t played a lot. I think the veterans blame it on that. I think some of the veterans need to step up and show more leadership. I think pretty much the younger guys are starting to get a better feel for things. I think we’ll be fine. I think over time we will get it down if everyone will just relax and play.
On the veterans being leaders: I would say that is the key to this team and to winning. Are the veterans stepping up and showing the younger guys? Because they won’t do it unless we step up. I think that is kind of the emphasis on this year in general.
On the 22 play offensive drive: I have never - not even on a video game - I have never done that. You don’t even realize it until after the game when everyone is like, “Well you were out there for 22 plays.” That is the kind of stuff we get ready for in the summer, running sprints in 100 degrees of weather. That is all that spring training. So I think we were prepared for it.
On the win: I think it was really good, especially for some of the guys who were there in ’08. Just remembering how hard it was to take that loss. I think it was great for them to go back there and get that win. It was really good for us.
On UCLA: I think they’re going to be really talented, honestly. I know they have some great [defensive backs], and some good linebackers. I am just going to take whatever the defense gives me. I think that is the plan for the offense. If they are going to give us the run, we’ll take the run. If they’re going to give us a pass, we’ll take the pass. As long as we get the ”W”, I don’t think anyone is going to care about the stats.
On the non-conference challenge: I think it is going to be a really good challenge - the Big 12 versus the PAC 10. They’re really good. Their school name is pretty big. It’s going to a good challenge for us. I think there is going to be a lot of hype with the game. It’s going to be fun.
On what he does in his spare time: Other than video games, probably drawing. I like to draw. Mainly before games and during the week sometimes. It relaxes me and helps me take my mind off some stresses. I’m pretty good.
On where the influence to draw came from: Probably from my older brother. He was a really good artist growing up when I was younger. Like 1, 2, 3 he would always draw something, and he would just throw me a pen and I would always try to draw what he was drawing. That is where it came from. I would just pick random stuff and just draw it. I’m really good at just drawing people. I like to do sketches. I don’t really like to do painting; I’m more of a sketch artist. Probably my best work was when I drew a picture of Michael Jackson after he passed. It was a pretty good picture.
DE Sam Acho
On enjoying the Texas Tech win: We definitely enjoy every win. Whether it’s in Lubbock or in Austin, we enjoy every win, because they’re so hard to come by. It’s hard to have the offense, the defense and the special teams all working together to help win a game. We enjoy every win that we get, and we’re thankful that we came out victorious in Lubbock, but we forgot about that one and now we’re moving onto UCLA.
On being happy about the win: Well, you know, we have our 24-hour rule. We think about the win and we enjoy it for that day, enjoy it for that night and the next day, and then we’re on to the next team.
On QB Garrett Gilbert’s game: Garrett was just having fun out there. He was just really excited and ready to play. Every time we made a big play he was over there giving everybody high-fives on the sideline and having fun and really enjoying himself and just playing the game.
On keeping the defense grounded: Well, the focus each week is to get better. Really we want to get better every day, so when people brag on you or say that you’re good enough or not good enough, you have to work harder every day and know what you can do and just not let it get to your head.
On preparing for UCLA after Tech: With a team like UCLA, they run the ball so much. They’re a physical team. They have a big offensive line and a great running game. That’ll be a game with a lot of big hits and physical contact. It’ll be fun, but you have to really prepare yourself. Get a lot of rest during the week and prepare yourself to play a game like that.
On playing 22 consecutive plays like the offense did: The offense did a great job holding the ball. The first quarter I think we had it for 12 minutes. I think the defense only played eight plays in the first quarter. In the fourth quarter they had it for 10 or 11 minutes. Thankfully we didn’t have to be in that situation to play 22 plays in a row, but if we were in that situation, I would hope that I would be able to. We’re trying to go three-and-out. We’re trying to get them to first down, second down, third down and punt. So 22 plays would be a lot.
LB Emmanuel Acho
On how they are preparing for this game: Last week we focused more on the pass, since Tech passes more than 80 percent of the time. But with a team that averages over 200 yards of rushing the ball - now we really just have to hunker down. The defensive line, they really have to focus on striking the guy right in front of them. Us as linebackers, we have to focus on attacking and getting off of blocks.
On the offense having a lot of field time in the game against Tech: I don’t really mind getting the rest. I know in the first quarter we played only like two or four minutes or something like that. It’s great for the offense - them moving the ball, them rushing the ball, [and] giving us time to rest. It’s a team effort. Defensively, I believe we had maybe eight three-and-outs or so. It’s a team effort for us to be able to go on the field defensively and get off and then let our offense run the ball, pound the ball, and try to burn down time on the clock.
On being on the sideline for a long period of time while the offense was playing: It’s all about that quality time with Coach Muschamp.
On the 22 plays in the offensive drive: I was really excited for the offense, because that was a crucial drive in the game. It was a great stretch. We needed points and the defense, we needed rest, and by keeping our offense on the field it was keeping Tech’s offense off the field. So that was just a crucial drive to our offense and we were really excited for them, and we were hoping that we would capitalize and get points at the end of it.
C David Snow
On improving from watching the film: There are certain little areas that just come up and we’re going to work through those. We’re going to fix those. It’s going to be great.
On the 22 play offensive drive: It felt great. It was a little bit tough, but we were able to push through and we made it.
On how important it is to not make errors, especially for Garrett Gilbert: Well, Garrett is doing a terrific job. It is part of the game and we’re going to push through and we’re going to be alright.
On if he wants to be the leader: As an offensive line, we’re all in it together. So I wouldn’t say there is just one person that really just stands out. There are five of us that are leaders and we help each other when we’re down.
On having many new players on the team: I believe the more time we spend together then we’ll get more in sync. It’s just like with everything else - the more time you spend together and more time you know each other, the more you know what everyone is doing.