Sept. 24, 2009
Offensive coordinator Greg Davis
On utilizing WR John Chiles’ speed in the Wild Horn package: I think when John decided to move, his running skills were things we wanted to take advantage of. We’ve tried to get him involved in some quick screen stuff, and I think we’re doing a good job of that. We jumped he and D.J. (Monroe) three or four snaps the other night, we call it the Wild Horn. The first snap of that he did a great job of reading the counter read and broke it for over 30 yards. We worked a little play were Colt came around and D.J. pitched the ball to him. We’ll continue to play with that. It gets speed on the field.
On Chiles’ progress as a receiver: As a receiver, I’m really pleased with the progress he’s made and he’s just going to get better. He was appreciably better this week than he was the first week. Each game he feels more comfortable and you can see it in the way he runs his routes.
On the offense’s flexibility: It’s a lot of fun to have toys that we can play with and different guys that we can try to get on the field. The challenge is to try to make it look a little different each week without it being disruptive to the other offense.
On the difference between the Wild Horn and the Q-package: I think that they have less time. Last year when he entered the ballgame, obviously you had two quarterbacks going into the ball game at the same time. Now since he’s a starting receiver, he’s already in the ballgame there is less time to react. It gives us more flexibility.
On Chiles’ flexibility: I do think that because of his ability both as a runner and a receiver, and obviously he can throw the ball, it gives you different things that you can do with him and that causes problems for the defense.
On Colt McCoy’s chemistry level with the wide receivers: I think what you’re seeing through three ballgames is obviously he is very comfortable with Jordan (Shipley). He’s very comfortable with Dan Buckner in his new role. We still are working through some of the things with the other spots because even guys like James Kirkendoll are playing different spots than they played last year. Chemistry will continue to grow throughout the season.
On the staff’s halftime adjustments on Saturday: The two biggest things that we discussed at halftime, we did not feel like we were playing at a fast enough tempo. We really ratcheted up in the second half and played at a must faster tempo. I think that was really beneficial. The other was we were doing such a poor job on third downs. Third downs are what keep you on the field. Obviously you want to play ahead of the chains and all that, but we did such a poor job on third downs we weren’t able to stay on the field. We were three out of eight in the first half. In the second half we were five out of eight, one of those was a kneel down on a third down to end the game, so it was really five out of seven. Our third down conversions went through the roof in the second half. That allowed us to stay on the field, create rhythm that we always talk about; those two things, I think, were huge.
On WR Dan Buckner: In the spring, he did not play any of the flex tight end position. We started him there in fall camp. Really we were unsure about D.J. Grant, who was our first thought to go in there. We wanted to make sure we had somebody behind him. When D.J. went down it kind of fell on Dan to be the guy. He’s really just done a tremendous job. I think a little bit like John (Chiles), each week he gets more comfortable with the flexibility he has in that spot, the route structures and those types of things. Obviously he had three huge plays in the ballgame the other night and that’s not even counting the touchdown. He’s having fun and he’s enjoying the role. Receivers always enjoy their role if they are catching the ball.
On RB Tre’ Newton: Tre’ has really good vision. He has very good position. At the running back position sometimes vision and patience kind of go hand-in-hand to wait just a little bit before you make your final decision on what to do. Obviously he played in a no-huddle offense in high school. I think you’ll see him to continue to progress in the passing game. He caught one pass Saturday night. I could see him being a bigger factor in the passing game as the season goes on. I’m really pleased with where he’s at. He really did a good job.
On UTEP: UTEP is a team that bounces from a three-down structure to a four-down structure. Normally it’s three-down. They do a lot of blitzing. They will be probably the highest percentage of blitz that we will have seen to this point in the season. Breaking them down, it’s over 50 percent of the time. We’ve got to make sure that we protect the quarterback, and then we just want to be able to make sure we are efficient in the run game. When you play a team that blitzes a lot, and if you can continue to run, it helps protections and it really lessens the amount of blitzes you can get if you pop a few because they’ll have less guys in the second level to make a play. I would say those are the two things at this point that we really need to do a good job at.
Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp
On the first half against Texas Tech: Well I think in the first half we did a really good job of mixing it up and disguising, and it really got them out of rhythm. Against a passing team, you obviously need to affect the quarterback, and our kids did a really good job of that in the first half. In the second half, I felt like we didn’t do as good of a job disguising on some things. We showed our hands a little early. We gave him a pre-snap read, and when you give a guy as accurate as he is a pre-snap read, it’s going to give you some issues. We had missed tackles, they had two fourth-down conversions, and we didn’t do as well in the red area. So I think there was a combination of things in the second half that we’ve got to work on and improve upon. We need to cover better in some situations, but the first half is how you would script it up as far as playing and playing well against a good offensive football team.
On working on getting turnovers on defense: I think turnovers will come. I think we did a phenomenal job stripping the ball. It’s the best I’ve been around as a coach. We’re getting our hands on the ball and our guys are cognizant of stripping the football. It’s the best I’ve been around and we’ve got to continue to do that, and cash in on opportunities when the ball is in the air.
On Nolan Brewster: He’s played well when he’s had his opportunities, and Blake (Gideon) has played well as well. So both of those guys will get time, and we’re excited about where those guys are right now.
On Earl Thomas: He played a good football game. He’s a fun guy to coach because he’s very hard on himself, and that’s unusual now a days. He’s a guy that understands that there are some little things that he certainly can improve on, and he’s fun to coach, because when he watches the film from our standpoint, he sees the things he needs to capitalize on and improve on, and work on the little things that we can do better on as a defense.
On trying to recover fumbles on defense: What we coach our kids to do is, if you’re in traffic, fall on the ball. But if you’re in the open field, scoop and score. Keep your palms up. If you miss it on the palms up, the ball generally pops up. You never want to be palms down on the ball, you always want to be palms up.
On Roddrick Muckelroy being Big 12 defensive player of the week: He played an outstanding football game. God’s blessed him with a lot of ability, but he’s a great example of a guy that works on football away from the building. He thinks about football an awful lot. He comes in with questions and he watches film. He comes in on his own, and spends a lot of time watching the opponent. It was very obvious Saturday night that he understood what they wanted to do, and he understood what we wanted to do. That was very reflective in his play and his production. Since I’ve been here, that’s by far the most productive play we’ve got out of him in a four-quarter football game. He was just physical, tough, aggressive, and I was very pleased with the way he played.
On UTEP: Well, we gave up 412 yards last year. We were really off balance in the first three drives. Jeff Moturi, as a wide out, has legitimate NFL speed; he’s a really good football player. Trevor Vittatoe is a really good quarterback who’s got a really good arm. I remember watching him in pregame last year getting ready for the game, and I remember I was unfortunately very impressed with how he threw the ball. Offensively, they certainly do a good job of mixing the run and the pass. They’ll use Jeff Thomas as a backup quarterback, as sort of a slash zone-option, to give you that look, which you’ve got to prepare for. They give you a lot of different issues as far as defending them and spreading the field. We’ll face more 12 personnel than we’ve faced all year. So we’ve got our work cut out for us Saturday.