Mack Brown Monday press conference: Oct. 20
Oct. 20, 2008
Opening statement: It was a great Saturday for us and the fans in the stadium were phenomenal. They came out and greeted the team and they were actually standing out in the ropes, because there wasn't enough room for them coming into the stadium. I thought the fans made a huge difference in just setting the scene for the game. It was by far the loudest I've ever heard our fans. The players were talking about it in the dressing room after the game, and they were even talking about it yesterday and how much fun it was. We'll need that same thing at 2:30 on Saturday this week.
It was a good win for us and we're learning so much about this team and these kids. Jordan Shipley said after the game that you don't get any prizes for being 7-0, and being rated right now is a reward, but it really means nothing unless you finish. So, we've got to refocus and go back to work. Roddrick Muckelroy said about the same thing - that number one gives you nothing and you have to prove who you are and continue to do so. The guys were talking about Oklahoma State in the dressing room after the game, and I thought that was a great start to the new week, because you don't get to enjoy these wins for very long at this point in the season. You can enjoy them after the season is over, but not during the season. We do feel like that right now, our theme for the year, "consistently good to be great," is more valid than ever, because we have to continue to be consistently good. We're playing at a high level, but we're not a great team yet. We've got to be a great team for 60 minutes for the next five weeks to get us the chance to play in the (Big 12) championship game, which is what we want.
The big guys dominated the game on both sides. It was really fun to watch the two lines of scrimmage. All of those great things happen when the big guys up front are making it happen. We thought that Roy Miller set the tempo on the first play of the game when they ran the reverse and he hit them in the backfield.
We had 14 explosive plays to Missouri's one, and we had no turnovers again, which was huge for this ball game. We forced two turnovers in reality. We had the interception, dropped a couple of interceptions and we also had a fourth-down stop in the end zone, which we count as a turnover. When we've won both of those categories, we are 63-0, which is a telling fact. We were 10-out-of-12 on third down efficiency, which lets you just stay on the field. In the red zone, we didn't count John Chiles taking a knee at the end of the game, so we were six-for-six in the red zone without that one.
The two dominating linemen for the week, the Boss Hogs, were Adam Ulatoski and Charlie Tanner. The most productive player offensively was Colt McCoy. He was 29-out-of-32 with a 90.6 percent completion with a couple of balls batted down. That was a phenomenal performance. The greatest contributors on offense were Quan [Cosby], Jordan [Shipley] and Brandon Collins. It's good to see Brandon step up and get to make some plays. The great play of the night, offensively, goes to Malcolm Williams. What a great catch in the end zone, that again set a tempo that we needed on our long yardage plays. We thought that after Quan's hit on Lendy Holmes last week, we really should give an offensive big hit if there is one, and Chris Ogbonnaya had the big hit for the night, offensively.
There were three drives of over 80 yards. Colt, at this time last year, had 160 completions. This time this year, he has 160 completions, and the difference is that he has thrown 44 fewer passes. So it shows you how much better he is playing at this point. He's 27-6 as a starting quarterback, Bobby Layne's is 28-6 and Vince Young's is 30-2, so Colt is climbing up that chart very quickly. Colt also broke Vince's record for being responsible for 81 touchdowns, and Colt is now responsible for 82.
Defensively, we felt like our first half was really good. We were five-out-of-six on third down stops. We felt like the tackling was really good, and the first-team defense did not give up an explosive play. We held them to 30 yards rushing on 18 attempts, so that's 1.7 yards per attempt, and we were really pleased. We held them to 127 yards of offense in the first half against one of the great offenses in college football. Again, the guys up front did a great job. There were 13 quarterback hits, seven pressures, two sacks and four three-and-outs.
Offensively, we didn't feel like we ran the ball as consistently well early in the game as we wanted to. We also felt like we had way too many penalties. Defensively, it was the same and we had too many penalties. When our guys changed up in the second half, and some of the second-team guys went in, who are just steps away from playing at this point in the season, they did not play very well. We did not play with the same intensity and we felt like we lost our focus some in the second half. In the second half, we were one-for-three in stopping third down conversions. So we do feel like that is an area in the game where we can improve.
Defensively, the players of the game were Roy Miller and Roddrick Muckelroy. The Ball Hawks, meaning they did something to take the ball away or knock a ball loose, were [Ryan] Palmer and Deon Beasley. Palmer had the interception and Beasley had the fourth down stop. Brian Orakpo forced the interception by hitting Chase [Daniel] in the end zone and having the ball come out late or else it would have been a safety. The Hard Hat Award was on the first play of the game with Roy Miller.
In the kicking game, we felt like it was just okay. John Gold was the punter of the game and he punted for 47.5 yards per punt, which was really good again. We thought we were inconsistent with our kickoffs, kickoff coverage and our kickoff returns. They did a good job of punting away from Quan and Jordan. We had two (returners) back on the first time and we really didn't get much out of our kicking game, and it was disappointing.
Oklahoma State has done a great job under Mike [Gundy]. The two things that jump out at you very quickly are that they have 57 Texans on their roster out of 85 scholarship kids. So, there are a lot of guys who are coming back home to play this weekend. There are 15 starters from Texas on this football team. Kendall Hunter is the fifth leading rusher in the country and Dez Bryant is one of the great receivers. He's like Jeremy Maclin where you better know where he is at all times. He's also a great kickoff and punt returner along with the kicking game that I feel like is the best in the country. Perish Cox is also a young man from up in Waco [Texas] that does an outstanding job with their kicking game. Zac Robinson is one of the best in the country in passing efficiency. He's third on that list and is right there with Colt, and they are just a really good football team.
It should be another barnburner and it should be a great game that's going to be a lot of fun to watch. Again, we want to thank our fan base and encourage them to come back out and have the same excitement this Saturday as they had last Saturday.
On the excitement of this series in the past few years: When you start looking at a series, they really don't make a difference anymore. You can go back to the five games we've had with Oklahoma. It's about this year. It has nothing to do with the past, it has nothing to do with last year and it doesn't have anything to do with last week. This is by far the best Oklahoma State team we've seen since we've been here. We think it's going to be a great game.
On Oklahoma State's ability to run the ball: Oklahoma State is one of the best running teams in the country. In fact, they have 21 rushing touchdowns as compared to three passing touchdowns. They've been very physical and they have a great offensive line. Zac Robinson is another one of those quarterbacks that is very efficient in the passing game, and he's an outstanding runner. Mike Gundy has taken over the offense and he is their offensive coordinator. They are doing a lot of different stuff and they have used a lot of different formations. They have been running a lot of option, and like Oklahoma, they will quick count you and try to get you off balance. Our defense will have to be very physical this week, and I think we're number two in the country against the run, but no one has tried to run the ball against us like Oklahoma State. That will be the big thing this weekend. It won't be another passing day for us. It's going to be a real physical game.
On preparing the team again for another tough match up: You can't use the same thing twice. What you're trying to do is keep them loose and let them get a message. That message is that you need to forget everything that has happened, reinforce the positives and correct the negatives. The good thing is that we didn't play as well in the second half on Saturday night and we had a great first half. So, there are a lot of things we can coach and work really hard on. What we'll do is come up with two or three little things that are fun for them, just to make the moment a little lighter. The rest of the group can enjoy Missouri and Oklahoma, but what we've got is a bigger goal right now, and that is Oklahoma State.
On if the team has surprised him this season: They have surprised me. I knew they were going to be good because our teams have been good for 10 years. I thought they would play hard and win a lot of games, but to be playing at the level they are playing at right now has surprised me. I think it's a great complement to them and it's really important to give them credit for team chemistry and unselfishness. I think it's a complement to the assistant coaches and them pulling together. This whole bunch has pulled together. They are having fun. They are enjoying each other and playing. I swear, I'm in the dressing room after the game and they are talking about Oklahoma State. It's just the way they've been, and it's hard to get that chemistry and it's harder to keep it. I think that's the fun thing about this team right now.
On the offense Greg Davis has created: First, the offensive coordinators don't get the criticism because we've got 20 million play callers. Everybody in the state of Texas calls plays. Men, women and children and I've even got little-bitty kids that come up and say, "Why aren't we throwing the screen better?" It's just one of those deals. That's part of being a coach in Texas, because we've got a lot of coaches and help. Greg has done a great job because he's kind of the mindset of this team. He doesn't care about any credit and criticism does not bother him. It eats a lot of people up, but he doesn't care at all. He doesn't look at it and he doesn't listen to it. He knows he's good at what he does, and he's constantly trying to get better at what he does. It's the best thing our offensive staff has done. But, you can't talk about Greg without talking about the other four, because they sit in there for hours together formulating these plans. So, it's not just one guy. And honestly, when it's working, they are easy to call, because we have five calls on third down, and if everybody is blocking who they should be, all five should work. The day it's not working is when his job gets really bad. I remember one year I was the offensive coordinator at Iowa State and we were playing Nebraska, and at that time, we had scripted all of the plays. We had 19 plays we were going to run, and we had gone through all 19 and had not made a first down. I remember being asked what I was thinking, and I was thinking that we ought to kill as much clock as we could and get the game over with because we are going to get beat. That's about what happens when it's not working. You just have to try to find some way to change it. But for 10 years, Greg and that offensive staff have been able to figure out who their best players are and feature those players. We're constantly looking at how you need to feature each of these guys and what will be best for our team.
On what it means when the team has a cohesive identity: It's a great message to all of us that it's about family and it's about team. You give up your selfishness and it makes it work better in every business in the country. On our staff, everybody is that way. I think I saw that maybe 15 different guys that have scored touchdowns on this team. It might have been 17 in total with 15 different offensive guys. They really don't care. There's not one guy. There was a receiver that didn't touch the ball as much on Saturday night, and when we were walking out after the game, I told him that I was sorry he didn't get as many touches. He said, "Coach, it's not about me and it doesn't matter." And here's a young receiver, and I'm thinking that it really doesn't matter. That's the fun part of this team right now, and our staff is having as much fun as we've ever had, because these guys are trying to do everything right. We feel pressure as a staff to make sure we help them get accomplished what they want to, because they are working and trying so hard to reach out to everybody. I think the fans are responding to them in the same way.
On what kind of head coach Will Muschamp will be in the future: Oh, he will be a great head coach. He's smart, tough and for me, he grew up in a coaching family, so that's who he thinks he is and wanted to be from a very young age. He's got a great relationship with kids, he's very demanding and tough, but he is as positive as he is tough and demanding. He's a guy who works all of the time, and it's really important to him to be prepared and have our team prepared. He's a great staff guy and he's a lot of fun. He's got a wit and a sarcasm about him that's really fun. These coaches work so hard. They're over here really early in the morning and they leave late at night, so they spend most of their time with each other. The offensive coaches say that if you ever need Will, just buy him some food and he'll show up. They have a great time and he will be a great head coach.
On how he would describe how good his offense has been playing: They have just been really consistent. We're not dropping balls and we're not having turnovers at this point. Colt has been accurate and this isn't new for us, because he has been this way during his first year. So we've seen it and that is just who he is. There was a ball in the Oklahoma game where Quan is covered on a third down and it's over near our boundary. Colt throws the ball perfectly low and outside, and it's a very difficult catch, but Quan reaches down low and catches it and turns up making eight yards for a first down. That's just the efficiency we're seeing. Then you see a guy like Malcolm Williams jump up and make a catch on a deep pass that Colt just threw up for a chance. When you start doing that, guys just step up and make plays.
On if he talks to the team about turning out the media: We did talk a little about that on Sunday, and we talk about it on Sunday only. The juniors and seniors were with the 2005 team, so we're really lucky that they've been through all of this. So it's not like we don't have guys in the dressing room talking for us. And if they have never been around, it would be much more difficult. But if you have the freshmen sitting there all giddy and excited, these older guys can tell them what Jordan Shipley said in that there is no prize for being 7-0. There's nothing that matters about being number one in the BCS the first time it comes out, because we know there's already been three or four of them that have dropped out of that spot. Also, when you turn on the film of Oklahoma State that will make you forget about the BCS really quickly. That's what we did with them on Sunday. We started showing them the Oklahoma State film, the stats and we were able to show them how good they are and how productive they've been. You have a long way before you can start talking about what the BCS really means.
On if Chris Ogbonnaya has been a surprise: I don't even know if it's been a surprise because it is still Chris. He's a receiver and quarterback out of Strait Jesuit out of Houston and he's done a lot for us. He's so unselfish. He started at receiver, then he played fullback, tailback and then back to fullback. He just has bounced back and forth, but Chris is still the same guy every day. He's very intelligent, he's very nice and he is so unselfish that he's like a coach. He's sitting in there with [running backs coach] Major [Applewhite] helping the other guys. He's another one of those guys that when I need something, I'll go to Chris and ask him to tell me about certain running backs. He'll sit down like Major and tell me about the guys. He's very mature, but I'm not surprised at what he's doing. He's been around a long time and he just gets it. He understands the deal. There are so many special stories on this team and that's what makes it such a fun team.