Tracking Mack: Oct. 15
Oct. 15, 2008
Opening statement: Practice has been pretty much the same as it was last week. Coach Royal came out to practice yesterday and he was asking me, "Do you think they have eaten the cheese? Are they in a position where they're feeling too good about themselves? Are we in danger of them not being excited?" At the end of practice he came over and said it looks exactly like last week. I think the intensity's there. I do not think the rankings to them have made any difference because they understand (No.) 1 is not an issue till the end. If you're in the neighborhood, you're okay. It's been a fun week to watch them practice and get after each other and get excited about this weekend. In fact, one of the coaches said, "You're playing a top football team in the country who in some ways is as talented at throwing the ball as anybody in the country, you're playing at home, you're a top-rated team and you'll have the largest crowd in Texas history on national TV with GameDay here. It shouldn't be that hard to get excited." I think they'll be ready to play.
Jordan Shipley this week has had an interesting week because of all the things he accomplished in the game, and he took his GRE this week so he can prepare to get in graduate school for next year because he'll graduate. It's been an exciting week for him but a busy week, and he thinks he did really well. Obviously, at the end of the year we'll appeal for his sixth year and feel like he'll have a great chance to get it simply because he did not play in any games in those first two years.
You start looking at Missouri; it's amazing to see what they've accomplished offensively. We told the defense after practice yesterday, "Can you even imagine a team that only had three three-and-outs all year, and none of them will until the second half last week." It's just phenomenal. It's hard to believe you could do that against air. They throw it as good as anybody in the country. Last weekend people were talking about (Chase Daniel's) disappointing game, he was 39-of-52 and he threw for 390 yards, so that's not a bad day for most people. His standard is set like Colt's and the guys that are around here.
In the last two weeks we've seen two of the best tight ends in the country. You look at (Oklahoma TE Jermaine) Gresham last week, but Chase Coffman caught 11 balls last weekend, he's 6-6, he can really run and he is like a wide receiver in their offense because they can be no-backs, and like Oklahoma, they can set up in a lot of different looks without having personnel changes. (Missouri WR Jeremy) Maclin is very much like (Texas Tech WR Michael) Crabtree. The guy is over 6-foot, he's probably 6-1, he's 200-something pounds and every time he touches the ball he has a chance to score, so it just scares you to death.
What's not talked about enough with them is the seven seniors on defense. The defense is playing hard, they're playing well. Ziggy Hood up front is maybe the best defensive lineman we've played so far this year. He's very, very impressive. He's doing a great job for them. They've got Sean Weatherspoon that is a pro prospect at linebacker who's also a really good player. William Moore, the free safety, is rated the number one free safety in the country for the NFL next year. Their kicking game is very, very good. It's at least as good as ours and will be a great challenge for us.
As we look at the ballgame, it's exciting, it's fun. Someone told me this morning that the last time that Texas was number one and played a home game was 1977. It's been a long time as we look at it. It's a fun time, we've just got to continue to play hard.
On how he thinks the team will handle being ranked No. 1: It's really hard to tell what the makeup of a team, a family, is about. When it's working, we give credit to the staff, when it's not we blame the staff, and me, too. It's hard to say. I think the credit should go to these kids. Since the bowl game, and the staff has changed since then, these kids have gone back to work and they wanted to have more fun together, they wanted to enjoy each other more and play well and they've done that. I believe they're in a position to continue to improve and fight the schedule that we have for the next six weeks because it's going to take a tough team to do that, but I think they can do that.
On if he anticipates this game to be as high scoring as last week's game was: You never know what's going to happen in a game. This has got two really good defenses, two really good offenses. I thought the Oklahoma score might be lower than it was. I was a little surprised that the scoring came as quickly as it did, especially in the second half. As you look at this one, Missouri is scoring so many points each week and we've scored so many points each week that I think the pressure is kind of on both defenses to step up because the offenses are doing it weekly.
On Missouri QB Chase Daniel: He's really playing exactly like he was as a senior in high school at Southlake Carroll. He didn't lose any games then and all of the things that people questioned about him he's more than answered. He's accurate, he's tough, he's a winner, he's a leader, he's stayed healthy, he's handled himself right with the media, he's had so much hype around him for two years and that hasn't bothered him and it was kind of that way at Southlake, just on a different level. What you have to do is just say that it's worked for him and he's made it work and it's worked for Missouri. They've gone from a good program to a team that's competing now for championships and you have to give him most of the credit for that.
On how Missouri's offense compares to Texas Tech's offense: Their offense would be similar to Tech in formations. They run it more but they're also a bunch that'll have five-wides, four-wides. They're going to spread the field and that's why they get you in some mismatches because of a guy like (Chase) Coffman lining up against your linebackers or your safeties, and he's so big he's hard to cover even if you've got him covered.
On what makes Missouri's offense difficult to defend: Like Tech, they back (Chase Daniel) up really deep and they have big line splits. It's so hard to get there and it's nearly impossible to get there from the outside. What you've got to do is just change up looks as much as you can. We have got to continue to get pressure with our front four like we did last week. That is so key in this ballgame because with the spread offenses and the splits it's harder to disguise and it's harder to get there because of the distance from the quarterback, either outside the splits or even if you're coming up the middle it's hard because he's so deep. Chase does a good job of scrambling and one of the things that helped Vince (Young) so much and it's helping Colt (McCoy) now, if somebody's playing you man-to-man and they can get away from the blitz they're free to run without anybody being responsible for them, or they're one-on-one down the field with their eyes and have a chance to make huge plays.
On the importance of time of possession: Our team offensively has been doing a good job of staying on the field by converting third-down. Our first-down efficiency has been good, but we're taking care of the ball. If you take care of the ball and you're punting it well you usually don't have short fields. For whatever reason we've had some of the longest drives we've had this year, three of them over 74-yards the other day, and we've got to continue to do that because we're running a no-huddle very much like Missouri and it's just interesting to see which team will come out with time of possession. I thought one of the problems for Oklahoma was they scored too fast. When they scored they scored fast and I don't think that used to be a problem.
On the short-yardage package: Our short-yardage problems at Colorado, partly because of them and partly because we were trying to run a two-tight end set that we had not used very much this year and especially since Blaine (Irby) got hurt to run the ball and we felt like it didn't work, and we felt like it was a bad idea and it was as much our fault as it was the kids. Last week we lined back up, put Roy Miller in the backfield, put Cody Johnson behind him and that's who we are on short yardage and felt like we went back to what we should've been doing at Colorado and we were more successful with it.
On Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel: He took a tough, hard-nosed attitude, but with some imagination, to Toledo. I'll never forget Toledo opening up on the road at Penn State and beating Penn State and him doing a great job there for 10 years. When he got the Missouri job I thought it was a natural because he had recruited the Midwest and knew the place and I thought he would do a great job for Missouri. In the early years we had better players but I could see they were getting some advantages on us because they were doing such an outstanding job of coaching that if he ever got the players like he's got today it would be a factor. Now he's coaching them as good as anybody in the country.
On his conversation with Bill Cosby: Bill Cosby called a minute ago. He did one of his shows about five years ago and they asked me to present him a jersey and I did. I stayed for the show, and I laughed so hard I cried for an hour and a half. I was crying about him going to the dentist and the things he does in his shows. I gave him a hat, a sweater, a pullover and some shoes and socks and I hadn't heard from him. He called a few minutes ago and he said, "I loved that game. That game was so good. I wear these Texas socks you gave me and these Texas shoes and this sweatshirt every time you're on TV and I'm going to be watching Saturday night." He said, "Would you tell the players one thing for me?" And I said, "Yes sir, what would you want me to tell them?" And he said, "Is it too much to ask a team to win a game each week? That's all you have to do." It's pretty simple but I think he's right. That's what I'm going to tell the team.
On Roy Williams joining the Dallas Cowboys: I texted him this morning, and how excited are we? It's great for the Cowboys, but great for Roy. I'm sure people loved him in Detroit, but here, everybody's going to love him. He'll be throwing that Hook `Em sign a lot every time he scores. We talk to him quite a bit, but hopefully now he can finish his career in Dallas and be closer to us and get down for some games.