Oct. 15, 2012
Opening statement: I was right on with my evaluation Saturday night after the ballgame. I said that it was bad or Saturday afternoon - and that it was unacceptable, and after watching the video and talking to the coaches and the players, that is exactly the fact.
[The Red River Rivalry is] such a great game and it's full of tradition. And the last two years we haven't held up our end. We've won four of the last eight, but we've lost three in a row. And we've got to get back on track and turn that around next year, because we haven't been fair to our fans, our players, our administration, and anybody involved with the University of Texas.
This type of game brings out the best and the worst in people. And as players, we had about an hour meeting last night and talked to them about that if people are normally negative, they're going to be negative. So it's predictable, and it's fair the way we played. If people are on the fence, and sometimes positive and sometimes negative, they're going to be negative, and that's fair, and it really separates [people]. And you get to find your true friends.
Coaches and players are really disappointed, but they're not done. They realize that we're 4-2 and they realize we played and coached very poorly. They also are very, very competitive. They're not going to quit. They're not going to lay down. And this is a week where you learn some really strong life lessons because you've got to go back to work. And there's a lot of people that had bad days on Saturday, and it wasn't related to sports. As coaches, especially me, I've got to be a great role model for our younger coaches and players and stand up and be tough and move forward. Obviously, you have to win to keep doing that, but they need to see in me that I'm not going to quit, and I'm going to go back to work. People at Texas have seen that before, and we'll continue to do that.
Offensively, we were very poor. We changed our style two years ago to be a more aggressive, physical football team on offense, and we were not. We have to average four yards per carry, and we averaged 3.2. One of the reasons we changed to that type of offense was this game, and it sure didn't work. We didn't run it very much, and when we did, we ran it poorly. We also said after last year's games, we were very bad on third downs. We were in too many third-and-extra longs. We were 4-for-13, which is unacceptable.
Critical errors. We had a safety. We had six drops. We had a fumble.We had a sack, and two interceptions. So give Oklahoma credit for the way they played defense. We had seven explosive plays. We said we need eight each week. Most of those were passes that were not runs. We were 1-for-1 in the red zone but we were only there once, and obviously that's not nearly enough.
The coaches did not feel like there was a most valuable offensive lineman or there was a most valuable offensive player this week. We didn't play well enough to do that. The guys didn't give up the last two scoring drives when [junior QB] Case [McCoy] came in after [sophomore QB] David [Ash] got hurt and came out of the game. The young receivers competed and played well, and I was glad to see that they tried until the end.
[Junior OL] Donald Hawkins sprained his ankle the last play of the half and did not play the second half. We'll have to watch him this week, monitor his progress, and see if he can play. He was playing well, and we missed him. [Senior OT] Luke Poehlmann is the other guy that comes in, and Luke went to his tackle spot immediately and stepped up and did a good job.
Defensively, we were also poor. We didn't make [Oklahoma] onedimensional like we had to. Once again, we gave up way too many big plays, not enough pressure on the quarterback. I thought [OU senior QB] Landry Jones played like a Heisman Trophy candidate. We've seen two quarterbacks in a row play like that against us. We've got to try to discourage a quarterback and make him throw the ball quicker and make him have some bad throws, and he didn't have many for the ballgame. We did play a little bit better in the third quarter. We did score eight points on defense. When you see that our defense is out there for extra point and field goal block and [junior DT] Chris Whaley blocked the extra point and [sophomore CB] Quandre Diggs ran it back for two points. Very much like the A&M game, [junior CB] Carrington Byndom intercepted the pass, which could have got us back in the right direction. We just couldn't move the ball.
You look at things that happened - we had the extra point returned for two points, we go back out, we don't move it. Then we have a great punt by [senior P] Alex King. We get him down to the fiveyard line and have two guys with him coming off tackle on a zone play, isolation type zone play and [they] go 95 yards, which you just can't have happen.
Guys didn't quit. Some of the guys got a little tired on defense. We played 90 plays on defense because we couldn't get off the field on third down, and our offense couldn't move the ball. But the guys didn't quit, and that was good to see. But you don't know that when you're sitting there after the game. You think it, you hope it, but when you watch the video, they kept trying.
Hard hat award went to [sophomore LB] Steve Edmond on defense. The most valuable player was [junior DT] Brandon Moore. He played great. He was a dominating player that we had hoped [he was] when he came here. And he was all over the field, and just unbelievable the way he played.
I really hate that [junior DE] Jackson Jeffcoat tore his other pectoral muscle, and he's out for the year. That will put [junior DE] Reggie Wilson and [sophomoe DE] Cedric Reed in the game a lot more. And we'll probably go ahead now and play [freshman DE] Shiro Davis. We've got a lot of teams left that can score a lot of points and throw the ball a lot, and we're going to have to rush the passer.
Special teams. We punted too many times, but [senior P Alex King] did a great job. Alex King averaged nearly 50 yards a punt - 49.6 [yards per punt]. We had a net of 41 [yards], so we've got to do a better job of tackling when he kicks it that far. We had two inside the 20 [yard line], and he also had one 65yard punt, so Alex was our special teams most valuable player. And he's been great for us. We haven't used him much until Saturday, but he really helped us change the field.
Punt blocking return. We forced a bad punt to Oklahoma and got it at the 45yard line. Kickoff return was poor. Kickoff coverage was average. We had to cover one kickoff after a safety and one after a penalty, which put them in a tough spot. We talked about Chris Whaley's block on the extra point, and we were even one-for-two on extra points, so we were poor in that area.
Team meeting. I talked to the guys probably for about an hour yesterday about the disappointment and what that means. Some depression usually comes with that. We let a lot of people down in our own room, much less our families, and our friends, and our fans, and administration [and] each other. And they need to understand that, and they do. Like I said, they're smart kids. I also told them that some fans and even some of their family will be questioning and negative this week. Friends will be negative. Students will be negative. I've heard players in our past after a tough game [say] they hated to go to class because it was tough on them when they went to class.
They love social media, but I told them media and social media is going to be negative unless they're really, really true friends. Like I said, you find out who your friends are and you find out who will jump off that wagon real fast. But I also told them it's fair. When you're in a game like this where you're so visible and you're so public and you don't produce at a school where the expectations are so high like this, criticism is part of the deal. And if you go to a school where nobody cares, nobody cares when you win or lose - and our people are really passionate and happy when you win and really down and tough when you lose. Some of them are even negative when you win, so they're in a real fit today.
But I told them that was fair and 100 percent fair. And you need to learn how to handle that and move forward in it if you're ever going to have a life with expectations. And block out the negatives. Grow from this. You can usually grow faster from something that's really bad than you can when you win, because there's more urgency for everybody.
We've got a chance to go back and win the next six ballgames and win 10 games, and that's what we're planning on doing. You circle the wagons. You get that circle of friends a little bit tighter, and you go back to work, and that's all you can do. As I said, you look at Baylor, we don't have very much time to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. We've got to continue to try to fix what's wrong, and we've got a lot of things that are wrong. Oklahoma exposed those things.
Baylor is one of the best offenses in the country. Like us, they've struggled some on defense. It should be a great game on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. We've beaten them 12 times in a row, and they've beaten us the last two. So like Oklahoma State, we need to get that one back in the right column. Saturday night will also be our cancer awareness game, where if you have someone that you love and care about that has breast cancer, you'll wear a pink ribbon on your helmet. If it's testicular cancer, you'll wear a yellow ribbon on your helmet. And if it's any other type of cancer, you'll wear purple. My brother has a rare form of leukemia, my younger brother, that he's fighting and doing a good job. But I know people that have cancer are really in pain, and it changes your life and your lifestyle. I've told our guys not to dedicate something to a family member or friend that's this serious without making sure that you call them and tell them that you love them, you're praying for them, and that you'll prepare and play for them this weekend.
On the emotions of a big rivalry loss: I told the players that I'm human at 61 years old, too, and that all kinds of negatives go through your mind after a game like that. Because you've got to talk to the players, you've got to talk to the media, and then you've got to figure out what happened and how did you miss it? And what could you have done differently? And what can you do to improve and move forward? All that goes through your mind. So you don't sleep. You go back and you watch it. You watch it by yourself and you watch it again. You write notes, then you go meet individually with each of your coaches the next day and say, "If your guys didn't do well, why, tell me why? Where? Did you see it coming?"
I jumped on the offense Wednesday because I didn't think they practiced very well. It didn't matter. I thought they did [practice well] on Thursday. They came back, and I thought we'd win the game. I mean, that's what you do.
So you go from such a high to such a low immediately, that you have to be careful that you don't bottom out because you've got a whole lot of people depending on you the next day to come in and put some sense into it and move forward. And that's what leaders do. I mean, you have to walk in to your coaches who are all disappointed. They felt like they failed. You have to walk in to your staff - they felt where did we miss? What did we miss? You walk into that room with those players, and they're all looking at you like, "Help us coach. Tell us what happened and why."
You can take two or three different approaches. You can scream and cuss them all out and throw a video camera up against the wall and run them to death and beat them up and blame them. But [former UNC basketball coach] Dean Smith told me something that's always stuck - that coaches are responsible for everything. So if you lose a game, it's the coaches' fault. If you win a game, brag on the players because they played well. But if you think about it, I'm responsible for every coach on that staff, every staff member for 15 years, and every player. So I told them, it comes back on me and that I would continue to work to do a good job. I'm going to go back to work this week and try to do my best job.
But we're going to try our best. We were 4-2 at this time last year, so let's don't end up like we did last year by losing some more. Let's try to win everything that's left, and we can. And then I always give them comparative scores and let them see how crazy college football is right now. Just because you played bad one Saturday doesn't mean you're a bad team, it means you played bad Saturday.
On the difficulty of moving on after the 2009 National Championship loss: I think when you are at that point and you win all the games but one in '08, and then you come back and win all the games but one [in 2009] - the expectation to win it all is so big that you're so disappointed in those two years that you fall, I mean points short of possibly two national championships. And this is different now. We started over. We're rebuilding. We took a step back Saturday. That's the first real hit we've taken even though our offense was making progress. I wanted us to be physical. We weren't. So I think we're in a totally different spot right now. I know we've got work to do. Before I thought we were there. I thought we had it, and I walked into the Rose Bowl fully expecting for us to beat Alabama and win a national championship and then move forward again. Because we'd gotten so close since '05 and I enjoyed that so much. Right now we're in a different spot. We are trying to get better. We've got to play better at a number of positions. We've got to continue to grow as a team and as a staff, and part of helping you to get better to get back to that national championship game is days like this where your staff has to pull really tight together because they'll all be heavily criticized this week, and that's part of coaching here.
On if Saturday's loss makes him question anything: No, I think it makes me stronger in my belief. Because when you get kicked in the face like that, you're competitive and you're determined to make sure that you don't let that happen again and get it back.
On learning who your true friends are in tough times: Yes. It's a good point. And sometimes I'll have oneline things in here that get interpreted different than I meant, and I appreciate you asking. I know who my friends are. I mean, that hasn't changed. I've been up here in the best days we can have, and I've been up here in the worst days we can have. I told the players yesterday, there's three things that you hate in coaching: I hate one of them to get in trouble because it changes the course of their lives and the athletic director and the president and I have to make a decision about their lives, which I hate. I hate for them to get hurt. I hate [junior DE] Jackson Jeffcoat, as hard as he's worked and maybe an AllAmerican playing as great as he can, to be lost for the year. Why? A guy busts his tail and does everything right. I've missed games because of injuries, and you hate losing. It just takes a part of your soul away. But I do think my job is to let them understand that when they read Facebook, for example, and all their buddies are on there talking about how great they played at Oklahoma State, some of those aren't buddies because you don't even know who they are, and they're going to be negative. So don't be surprised. This week get around people that you know are your friends and your family and care about you and move forward. It really has nothing to do with me. Mine are pretty clearcut. After 15 years, I've had this day before.
On players getting injured: It's unbelievable, and I don't understand. In '05 we maybe had one that one kid missed. In '08 we had a couple. '06 we were bad  '07 we were bad. Last two years have just been bad. So I don't know. You practice the same way. [Strength and conditioning head coach for football] Bennie [Wylie] has done such a great job in our conditioning. They're in great shape. They're getting hurt in games. So I don't know. Part of our little rebuilding project here is getting more depth so it doesn't affect us. Last year it killed us. We were in great shape going down the stretch. We were 4-2 and we won the two after that, and then all of a sudden we lose our [running] backs and lose the receivers and we're in trouble headed down the stretch. We need a lot of those guys back now. [Losing junior DE] Jackson [Jeffcoat] didn't help us. Will [junior LB] Jordan Hicks be back finally? We didn't know at this time last week whether he would or not. We need [sophomore RB] Malcolm Brown back. A lot of those guys. We don't need to lose [junior OT] Donald Hawkins. But I do think that the Big 12 is different than it's ever been, and you've got to be good and you've got to be good every week. And you'd better play every week, and you can't get more guys hurt. And that's just part of the game, and it's a vicious game and something we've got to handle and move on.
On sophomore QB David Ash: David is tough. He may be up here today. I think he was going to try to get up here, but he had a bruise [on] the left wrist, and he practiced last night. So he is a tough young man and obviously not happy with the offensive performance on Saturday and eager to get back on track.
On if he expects Ash to play on Saturday: We do, yes. And something could change. Again, that's the trouble with saying something about an injury on Monday. But as far as I know today - he took snaps last night and he threw last night. So I would think he'd be ready to go.
On how he motivates the players to move forward from the loss: By having hour meetings where you sit and tell them the truth and get everything that's on your mind out. I said, "It's easy, anybody want to quit? Let's just quit. Let's just call Baylor and tell them we're not going to have a game if that's what you want. That's easy. We'll go to school, we'll pay your way." Lots of people would probably be mad and lots of people would be disappointed if we decide not to show up, and that was such a farce. I said, "So that's not an option. So if we're going to do this, right where we were last year, let's pick it up and do better. Let's show that we're making progress in our minds." So we need to get this thing back to where it is. I went back to 2000. We had an awful game with OU and won six in a row, and then went and lost to Oregon out in the Holiday Bowl 3530. There's another year, '03, we lost to OU, we ended up winning out until we got to Washington State. And I think that time I messed it up because the kids were so disappointed. They were going to the Fiesta Bowl to play Ohio State, and Oklahoma screwed us twice that year. They beat us once and got beat by Kansas State the next year and sent us to the Holiday Bowl to play Washington State. And our guys didn't want to go and our parents already had tickets to the Fiesta Bowl. So we didn't play well there. But we have a history of if we have a setback we move forward pretty quickly. In '10 we didn't do that, and I said I thought that was my fault. I didn't think I prepared and moved forward like we should have. I thought I was still whipped, and that's not fair. I'm excited about this week.
On if there is a difference between the West Virginia loss and the OU loss: Yes, yes. Against West Virginia they were disappointed that we didn't finish it right and didn't make enough stops on defense. Saturday they were embarrassed and competitive, and don't like it and don't like the taste in the mouth. [The] West Virginia [loss was] not good, but they saw chances, they saw hope. Saturday it just didn't work at all. I think that makes it where everybody has got a little more urgency this week.
On the rush defense: This is a tough statement to make - as much as OU moved the ball Saturday - we did make more stops in the running game Saturday than we made against Oklahoma State or against West Virginia and played tougher at times. The defensive line played pretty good. We're still giving up way too much space and room, and linebackers and the deep safeties are not tackling like they need to when we get the ball out in the field. But Baylor is running the ball more and better than they have in the past. [Senior RB Jarred] Salubi is a guy that's fifth or sixth in the league in rushing. And after watching Oklahoma State and watching the West Virginia film - because [Baylor will] run a similar offense to those two, more similar than Oklahoma - I'm sure they're going to try to run the ball some Saturday, and that's something we've got to do better.
On if any of the players voiced concerns in yesterday's team meeting: No. I asked them to. I'm pretty close to our players. All the coaches were in there. The staff was all in there, and I did all the talking. I let the staff talk in the staff meeting because I wanted to hear what they thought happened and why and if they saw it coming. I always ask them what they would do different. If you walk out of that game, one of the things about a game like that, it happened last year - and I keep notes every year - and what happened last year happened this year. So we didn't make any improvement, and we're older and better, so we should have. And that was a concern for me, obviously.
And I asked them again, and I won't go into that today, but after this one, what did we miss? Why? I like to hear their opinions of what happened instead of telling them. And then they all meet individually with their players. They all meet in position groups. And then they all meet as a defensive and offensive group. And then today they'll come back with me with more thoughts that the players have.
But I think, again, you're honest and you move forward and say, "The only way that we can get rid of this feeling - we probably let West Virginia beat us twice - the only way we can get rid of this feeling is go back and win on Saturday. And that's what you've got to do, starting today." And most of them, the biggest problem with having a press conference on Monday is I have to relive. I've already studied Baylor for a day, day and a half, and I have to come up here and relive Saturday because nobody wants to know about Baylor today. I mean, if we'd won, we'd move to Baylor pretty fast, but this is pretty predictable. Today is what it is. It was a tough game, so we should discuss it.
A few of the players will have to do that today. And then we have a few players that don't get to come today, do it tomorrow. Then you've got [co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach] Major [Applewhite] and [assistant head coach/defensive backs coach] Duane [Akina] talking on Wednesday. They have to move forward. Figure out what you did wrong, try to figure out how to fix it, get your plan for Baylor and move forward the best you can. After I walk out of here, I go to a Longhorn Network show that goes over every play of the game that I have to discuss, and that's joyful [laughs].
And I told the players yesterday, I'm in a position where now I'm going over the plays of the game on TV, and you've got 13 million people watching it. And I'm not going to be critical of you, but some people are going to see you didn't make a play. So understand that. Our lives are a little bit different now that so much more is on TV than ever before. So it is what it is, and I just don't use names. I'll say we need to step up here a little bit more at linebacker and those type things. But these kids are smart. They came here to win. They saw us in '08 and '09 have chances to win a national championship, and that's what they want to do.
There are a lot of kids that played well Saturday. That's the other thing [former football head coach Darrell] Royal taught me in the 2000 game. I said I thought we quit after the game. And Coach Royal actually called me on the bus on the way home and said, "Let me help you. Your team didn't quit. Maybe some players quit, but there's some players that played really good, and you don't have a right to say that your team stunk or your team played bad." [Former DT] Casey Hampton played one of the great games in the history of Texas football, and we got beat to death. And I walked in after the meeting and I said, "I really apologize. There's seven or eight of you that need to stand up, because boys, you played great."
And there was some of that yesterday like [junior DT] Brandon Moore. Brandon gets hit in the head and played his best game ever. Why not give him credit for it?
I stood up and said, "Okay, Casey Hampton, you played the best game I've ever seen, and thank you so much for doing that." He said, "Coach, we still stunk. It wasn't you, it was the players. These players need to pick it up." Players get it. They know that you can't sit and point and cause blame. If you start claiming this one did this, everybody in the room messed up something. [Senior S] Kenny Vaccaro played great. [Senior DE] Alex Okafor played great. Some of the front guys played the best they've played. [Junior CB] Carrington Byndom obviously played great. We put [sophomore CB] Quandre Diggs on an island by himself a lot, and he played really, really well. A lot more guys played well than it looked like, which gives us more hope for this week.
On recent losses to Baylor: Well, [former Baylor/current Washington Redskins QB] Robert Griffin III looked pretty good yesterday. I happened to walk in, and he was giving an acceptance speech for beating somebody. Thirty-eight points he scored and looked great. He is a great player, and when you have a great player, it makes everybody play better. But [Baylor head coach] Art [Briles] has done a good job, and they've got better players. [Senior WR] Terrance Williams I think is one of the great receivers I've ever seen. And they've got two others that are a lot like him. And [senior QB Nick] Florence is throwing the ball really well, and we haven't been as good. So I think it's been a combination of both.
On Saturday's game against Baylor being the cancer awareness game: Well, we have a really wonderful country and society is a giving society. Sports can be cruel, but we're not talking about sports when we talk about disease that takes people's lives. What I saw with my mother even when she died two years ago, it wasn't that she just was dying. She was deathly sick, and she stayed so sick that it was a blessing in the end that she died. We who have dealt with cancer know that sometimes the quality of life just isn't good anymore, and we're all so lucky that if we're cancer free or disease free and we have our health. We're the luckiest people in the world, because when you're around somebody that doesn't, boy, it not only shortens your life, but the quality is so bad.
My brother is hanging in there and doing really well, and I pray for him every night. I bet there's a lot of people's family and friends that are sick, or got a call from a doctor today that I have to go today. And I can't imagine having that doctor call me and ask me to come in and use the c-word. I mean, so for those that have that, you just want them in your thoughts and in your prayers. I do love the fact that the [American Football Coaches Association] stood up for Duchenne's and muscular dystrophy a few weeks ago, because I can't imagine having a child with Duchenne's. Seeing my little grandchildren come out healthy is just a blessing, and I can't imagine the pressure on those parents or grandparents.
I do think it's not to take away from the game. It's not to take away from our loss. We were going to do this anyway. It didn't have anything to do with this. But I do think it's great when all of us can say some prayers and reach out and try to at least help the awareness so there will be more money raised for research. And maybe in our lives if we get cancer, there will be a better cure. Because I know there are things that are coming up every year that are better than we have had or maybe even for our children and our grandchildren if not for us.