Sept. 20, 2011
Defensive ends coach Oscar Giles
On his thoughts about the defensive ends this season: Our front is playing well. [Defensive tackles ] Coach [Bo] Davis is doing a great job of talking to the tackles and getting them all fired up and jacked up and the ends are feeding off the tackles. It's exciting to see the front play as a unit. It's neat to see. It's not [about the] glamour where it's all about sacks - it's all about disrupting the quarterback and [defensive coordinator] Manny Diaz's defense gives us a chance to do that. It's a disruptive defense where we will drop sometimes in zones and as defensive ends we have had a chance to get three or four picks. And as a group, about four or five PBUs, which is "pass break ups." You don't get that most of the time at defensive end. The sacks will come. You can see it [where] we are getting close, but again it goes back to the quarterback hits and the quarterback pressures. When it comes down to it, how does it affect our defense? Our kids are playing as a team right now - you can see the chemistry and the excitement the kids are playing with. They believe in what we are doing as a defense and they believe in what Coach Diaz is doing.
On DT Ashton Dorsey: Ashton [Dorsey], Kheeston [Randall], Alex [Okafor], Jackson [Jeffcoat], all of the guys are progressing. Those guys are young guys that each game are going to play better. Is he a star right now? No, it's a progression. Our motto is "brick by brick" and you can see each week we are getting better.
On star players among the front four: I would say that we have guys that are busting their tail, taking it one game at a time and one play at a time. It's a very humble group. The guys believe in each other, and no one is out trying to grab the microphone. Those guys are putting their heads down and going back to work.
On who has made the biggest improvement: I think overall just the whole front. The concept of squeezing on the zone read. We have played some teams here in the last three weeks where the zone read and the zone option is very, very critical up front. You've got to be able to be sound to play against that type of offense. BYU had it. Rice had it. UCLA had it. So that takes away from everything else like the glamour of getting all the sacks. It goes back to discipline and control. Those things have been important and our guys have done a good job of doing it all week and all year so far.
On the quarterback situation affecting the defense in practice: It really doesn't. Our offense does a great job of running several different plays. You can see during training camp, where they gave us so many different looks and gave us a chance to fit those different looks. You play against teams like UCLA, BYU and Rice and after playing against our offense you say, "bring it on", because our offense does a lot. It's a compliment to our offense because we are going to get better because we have seen those looks before.
On Manny Diaz getting players to buy into the defense: I think he is a flat, honest guy. He is going to tell you exactly how he feels. He wears his emotions on his sleeves, and the kids feed off that. We feed off of that as coaches, and the kids feed off of it as well. It's refreshing to see a coach like him that still understands the concept that it's all about the kids and not about him. It's really exciting to see him run around and jump around with the kids.
On what to work on over the open week: Really, you think about the open week as a great time to talk about fundamentals and to work on little technique things that will get you better as a defensive linemen. Me and Coach Davis are actually working on pass rush, working on the little things that we'll see this week and the following weeks, because our conference presents different things and different looks that we will see. We are concentrating on that, but it's really back to the fundamental drills.
On upcoming conference play: We try not to think about last year. This is a new year, a new team and we are going "brick by brick." It's not one of this, "Oh, you remember last year." It's a "brick by brick." It's a new team, basically a new staff, so we are trying to set our own standard here. We talked about how we didn't want to look at the championship back in 2005. We want to build "brick by brick" and it's important for us to do that.
On looking at previous years' film: You look at it, but each team is different and each team might present something different. As coaches, we go ahead and look at what we did wrong last year a little bit, but we try to get the kids in and tell them it's a new team and a new defense and we understand we got different concepts, so we are going to play things differently. It's good to see it, but then you look at it and what they are doing now.
On the excitement of a 3-0 start: It's a compliment to Coach [Mack] Brown, and the kids bought in totally, from the offense, to the defense, to the special teams. Again, it's a work in progress with different things, but you can see the excitement and the chemistry building. Each game and each week we are going to get better. That is the theme, and we are going to continue to do that.
On star players: It's a team front four. It's not a guy who is going to make a bunch of plays. In this defense, we need everybody pulling the same rope. In this defense a man might be dropping and [LB] Emmanuel Acho gets the sack. This time, the defensive end might be containing on the blitz and Ashton Dorsey gets the sack. It's not who's getting all the praise, but really the whole defense getting the praise and that goes back to Coach Diaz's concept of this being a team unit. There is not one individual starter that is going to shine on defense this year.
On the difference between Diaz and former defensive coordinator Will Muschamp's defense: I think both of them have their compliments. There's different ways of doing things. I think with Coach Diaz, the kids have bought in and that's the biggest thing. Whenever you have a new defensive scheme, because some people think it's still the same you just tackle the guy, but there is different terminology and different schemes on the back end in terms of zone and blitzing. The kids just bought in. It's a mixture of a little bit zone and a little bit man. I think it goes back to the kids saying, "Coach, I like this and I understand this." We can like it as coaches, but the kids have to understand it.
On the run defense: I think it's a work in progress. We've had a history of stopping the run. In the past, Texas fronts have always been solid against the run. I think this year we are a work in progress. Are we shutting people down? No. I think it's a work in progress and each week we are going to get better.
Defensive tackles coach Bo DavisOn the defense's performances so far
: The group's doing good. I'm proud of them. The guys are working hard and doing everything that we've asked them to do, and they're working hard. I can't ask for anything more out of them. They've given me everything they've got.On sophomore Chris Whaley's transition from RB to DE:
He's doing good. I like him because he's a fast twitch guy. He can bring some pass rush for us from the inside. He's working hard at it and trying to get better at it, and it means a lot to him to do that.On the relatively fewer tackles by DTs against UCLA than previous games:
It's just the flow of the game. Its just based off of what the offense is doing. Their thing was that they got to the point where we took the run away from them and they started throwing the ball. That's what they do on offense, when you can't run the ball you start throwing it so it becomes a passing game. So you're not going to have any [tackles]. But you try to get as much pressure on them as you possibly can.On the difficulty of getting sacks:
it's hard to get sacks because of the way the offense is designed. They put the quarterback back deeper and get the ball out faster. So it's hard for guys to get off the ball get to them. And like I always tell guys all the time, it's like going out and blocking a field goal. Every time you go out to block a field goal, do you go out to block it or go out to affect the kicker? So when you're rushing the quarterback you may not always get a sack, but the main goal is to affect him and make him move his feet. And once you affect the quarterback, guess what? His throwing rhythm is off. So that's what we try to do up front. We want to affect him by making him throw the ball, and that's why you look at the interceptions and the things that we've had. That's from making the quarterback get out of rhythm.On differences he has seen coaching in the Big 12 versus other conferences:
I see more throwing the ball in this league than where I came from. They really don't run the ball much here. They throw the ball a lot, and that's what I see here. And you've got some teams that do run it, but it's not consistent as other leagues where I come from where they run, run, run. But here it's more run, pass, run, pass. So it's kind of balanced.On if they are already preparing for the Iowa State game:
Just basically our thing right now is working on fundamentals, getting better and getting good at what we need to get good at. That's what we're trying to do right now. We're trying to work on what we need to work on, and get good at our basic fundamentals right now.On if he is concerned that the team only has two sacks on the season:
No. It's like this - they're hard to get. My thing is, you look at it in this league you've got some great players and some really good teams. And what I said earlier about offenses, you're not going to always get there. You're not going to always have 10, 12 sacks because the way that offenses are designed. If you look at quarterbacks, quarterbacks are not three yards deep anymore. Quarterbacks are sitting five, six, seven yards deep. And now they snap the ball, and the ball comes out right then. So it's not the fact that we look at it and go, "Aw, we don't have a lot of sacks." But if you look at pass defense, we're number seven in the country at that. So we're trying to affect the quarterback. It's not so much about how many sacks we've got. It's about what are we doing as a total defense together to have success.On what he looks for in defensive tackles:
You want to look for guys that are fast twitch guys, and that have a motor. Guys that can play hard and fly around. That's what you look for. You want guys that are quick, instinctive guys, and when you're out recruiting that's what you look for.On if his recruiting methods differ when looking for tackles versus other defensive positions:
No. When I look at guys, I look at, "Can this guy get off the ball?" What's his eye-hand coordination? Is he instinctive? That's what you look for when you're looking at guys. You want guys that are instinctive, that are quick off the ball and fast.On having played teams with spread offenses:
Spread offenses we have been going against a lot. It's a different thing now when you start getting into the more moderate offenses. You'll see a change, and you'll see guys start making more sacks and getting the quarterback on the ground.On DE Alex Okafor:
He's playing very good. We're very proud of Alex. I think Alex is working hard and doing everything we have asked him to do.On the depth of the defensive tackles:
I want competition. That's what I look for. I want to get it where there's competition and you've got to compete. That's the thing that I think we have now. We have competition and it's day in and day out, and that's what I like.On what has surprised him about this defense:
One of the things that I'm very pleased with is the transition from learning one system to the other. I was very, very pleased with that coming out of spring and going into fall camp. I think I was very, very pleased with that. The guys, all of them, picked it up and had a great understanding of what we were doing. It's not just one of them, it's all of them. [They] have been very surprising to me the way they're working toward being successful out there.