Oct. 8, 2008
Opening statement: I'm really pleased with our offense scoring 38-plus points a game to start the year. It's the most points we've ever scored at Texas over the first five games. You look at how good the OU offense, it should be a great matchup. The only question is both these defenses are playing lights out, as well. OU has done such a fantastic job starting games - 103-3 in the first quarter is phenomenal. So what they've done with their no-huddle offense, keeping the same personnel in, has just taken defenses' chances away to match up and make calls. It's a great thought, and I think you'll see a lot of other teams start to do it in the future. I think they're really setting a new trend.
You go back and look at the 10 years that we've played them, nine of the 10 years, the game has been determined mostly because of the turnovers. The team that has won the turnover ratio has won the game nine out of 10 times. I don't think that'll be any different on Saturday because you have to take care of the ball. They're taking care of it better than we are, but not by much because both teams have really done a great job of protecting the ball and both teams are getting enough pressure on the quarterback to take it away.
And lastly, the kicking game, there is supposed to be between an 8-18 mile per hour wind. It's an 11:00 game, the sun will be straight up at noon, so the sun and wind could be factors. It may determine some things in the kicking game that haven't been as big on days where the wind is a lot more still.
On how the Oklahoma no-huddle differs from the Texas no-huddle: What they're doing right now is they're able to use the same personnel all the time and they're coming out with a play called before the defense can adjust to it or substitute. We've gone slower with ours. Ours is still no-huddle but they will change the pace during the game. The first quarter of the game has been really fast-paced like a racecar out of the blocks. It's given the people they've played a lot of fits and it's been very hard to match personnel or match the defense to start the game. The other things they've got, their tight end is like a wide receiver, their running backs and wide receivers are so talented that they can line up in any formations and have a power running attack or a wide-open no-back set with the same personnel. That gives you some great advantages.
On how Oklahoma's no-huddle will affect the depth of the Texas defense: We've got a lot of depth, we're playing a lot of people. I don't think it's any different from a depth standpoint than the regular no-huddle offense. But no-huddle offenses definitely put more pressure on the big guys up front. There is no question about that, both teams. And it's supposed to be mid- to upper-80s on Saturday. There will be a lot of quick snaps in that ballgame.
It definitely forces you to have a plan that matches their plan. There is nothing that says you can't have defensive calls ready and be fast-tracked too. That's why, right now, defenses are not huddling up. They're going off wristbands too. I'm sure what we will do is just find a formation, call a defense really quickly and get adjusted to it. It'll be really fun to watch. I think it'll be as exciting a matchup as we've seen in awhile between these two teams.
On the right balance for the players of enjoying the atmosphere and playing the game at the same time: What you understand about this week is everybody's different and the preparation for everybody is different. Everybody talks all the time about being loose, too loose or too uptight. There will be 50-something players that will play a significant role in this ballgame and each one of them is different. They have to prepare themselves the way they need to be prepared. We've had some play this game on Tuesday before. They're so excited that they play so hard on Tuesday, and by Saturday, they're worn out. So we've done a good job we think of getting the older guys to talk to the younger guys about what the game will be like. You need to figure out where you fit in this formula for the weekend and get yourself ready to play.
On the comparison between UT defensive coordinator Will Muschamp and Bob Stoops: Will would be considered a young Bob Stoops from 10 years ago because he's one of the best defensive coordinators in the country, he was raised on defense, he was a defensive player and he was a safety. They're about the same size and they have dark hair. They're both really good at what they do. So I can see that. I'm sure there are probably six or eight other young, top defensive coordinators at that age we could say the same thing about. But they were raised on the same side of the ball. You take [Georgia head coach] Mark Richt, he's an offensive guy. People get labeled in what they do. But when Bob was at Kansas State and then went to Florida, he was considered one of the top defensive coordinators in the country like Will is today.
On whether this year's Red River Rivalry feels different than any previous year: It's hard to compare years because teams are just so different. Last year's team was so disappointed and struggling coming off the Kansas State loss, this was a tough week last year. Everyone thought we were going to get beat by 100. Then Oklahoma lost so they were mad too. Everybody was mad. This is a more upbeat, positive week. Both teams are playing good, both teams are excited about their future and both teams think they're going to win the game. Both coaches feel really good about where they are with their team. I know we want to see where we are and to do that, you match yourself against the best. In the next couple of weeks, we're going to see the best in the country. It's a fun time for us to get ready, get out there, find out exactly who we are and how much we've improved. We're excited about it.
On handling the hype around quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy: John [Bianco] and Bill [Little] and our media staff do a great job with Colt because they've been through this with so many super players at Texas that they understand what their limits should be. We try to get Colt's (media) stuff done on Monday and then let him go back to work. I'm sure Oklahoma does the same thing. And as far as [ESPN's College] GameDay and most of the hype for Saturday, we'll be up at six or 6:30. We won't be watching TV. We'll be at the stadium at nine, which is when GameDay comes on. The only GameDay watching that the Texas or Oklahoma players will be doing this weekend will be on Tivo.
Very honestly, the nation watching doesn't make any difference. If you're playing Oklahoma, (our players) know most of the [OU] players. They play this game every year. This game is really important to the kids, it's important to the South division and it's important to the Big 12 Championship. That's much more important than GameDay or the nation watching on national TV. If this was not a TV game, they would still play hard. I don't think all that hype really bothers them. It's about wanting to play really good against one of your top competitors, a major rival in a game that means so much because of who and where both teams are right now.
On his 10th year of the Red River Rivalry: It really doesn't feel like 10 years at Texas. I don't even remember some of the early years. Maybe I've been here so long, you forget some of the stuff. But I really feel like this is the first year because the teams are different every year, the kids are different. Colt McCoy has had two good games against Oklahoma, so that's all he remembers. This team has played good in this game. You look back, I remember coaching against John Blake. That was 1998. You start looking at your history. I was involved in the game in '84, which was the time before we got here and OU and Texas were both top-five teams. This rivalry goes back a long way for me, but it's all about this weekend.
On the best and worst memories from past Texas-OU games: The worst is easy. There were two really bad ones. I thought the first one was the really bad because it surprised us so much. We had six turnovers in the second blowout. But the first one, OU had struggled a little bit. They were coming off a 7-5 season. It was probably our third year and their second year. I'll never forget that day. They just blew us away. As far as good memories of this one, I remember I saw Aaron Lewis run down Adrian Peterson and I was shocked. I thought that was pretty cool. Vince [Young] had some really good moments and plays. Jamaal Charles had a long run [in 2005], which was really exciting. But probably the biggest thing was Ricky Williams dedicating the game to Doak Walker in '98, then wearing his number, getting a 37-yard run for a touchdown and taking a moment to look up and say, "Thank you, Doak," right after they buried Doak that week. That's probably the one that will mean the most to me when we get through.
On whether the game will be high scoring or a defensive battle: It's two really good offenses and two really good defenses. I used to sit and say, even when the offenses were great and the defenses were bad, this will be a high-scoring battle, but that wasn't the case. I think this game has so much momentum change and emotion in it, it's really whoever takes care of the ball and manages the game the best because the momentum is going to turn back and forth. The biggest thing that you look at in this ballgame that's different from previous years is we've been a really quick-start team, but they've been better. The way the game gets started is going to be really important for both teams.
On playing in front of an increased Cotton Bowl crowd of 92,000: We've played before 98,000 every week [at home]. They've played before a bunch too. Those things are unimportant in this game, I really believe that. The game is about the two teams and playing well. It's really about your team playing well. We've got things that we've talked about repeatedly for five weeks that lead up to this game that we need to fix to play better on Saturday. Sometimes a four-yard run in this game is a big run. It's different than some other games. Everything you get in this game is hard and the players understand that. They'll be about the game. They won't be about all this stuff. Thank goodness both these programs are good enough and play on the national scene enough that media and crowds don't bother them. They embrace all this because that's who they are. Both these teams live in that world, they live in that fish bowl and they came to these two schools for that reason. So this is fun for them. As I said Monday, most players don't have a game like this, most coaches don't have a game like this and we actually have two or three that are embraced like this; same with Oklahoma. It makes it more fun for our kids to have this kind of build-up for a game at midseason.