Mack Brown Monday press conference transcript: Oct 25
Oct. 25, 2010
Opening statement: What I thought I saw Saturday night after the game is what I did see. I saw a desperate Iowa State team playing against a team coming out of Lincoln that was looking at the end and not at the next week, and feeling too good about themselves. You have to give, once again, Iowa State a lot of credit.
We had six guys that played well enough to win on defense. We had five guys that played well enough to win on offense. We had 10 guys that played well enough to win on special teams. It’s a shame, like [against] UCLA, that a lot of the guys played well. They played hard. They won’t get credit for it because the others stood around some and looked like they were waiting for something to happen instead of making something happen. My worst fear was that we wouldn’t learn from our UCLA debacle and come back and repeat it again this weekend. That’s what we did.
It’s not about talent level. You’ve got enough talent on your team to beat Nebraska in Lincoln. You’ve got enough talent on your team to beat Iowa State in Austin. That, to me, has nothing to do with it. Iowa State created the perfect storm. They ran the ball. They protected the ball. They played field position. They forced turnovers against us and kept us out of the end zone. They scored in the red zone. They were 4-for-4. We were not. We had some mess ups in the red zone.
For us to win, we had to play great defense. We have to do that each week. It was a strength of our team coming in this year. To do that, you have to stop the run, you have to put pressure on the quarterback and you have to force turnovers. We did none of the three. We have to have a dominating kicking game. We did some great things in the kicking game on Saturday. In each phase, there was one part that kept us from grading a winning performance in that area. Then you’ve got to score in the red zone on offense. We still are not doing that. You also have to play with passion week-in and week-out. I thought the kids mostly played hard. They did not play with passion and confidence. That’s something we’ve prided ourselves on here for a long time.
In my opinion, we’ve got some entitlement on our team like in ’06 and ’07. We’ve got to get it fixed and have to change it. I thought we fixed it in the open date. We had a real difficult practice the week before and after Oklahoma. We saw benefits of that. We reaped benefits of that in Lincoln. Obviously, it did not carry over. A year after winning a conference championship and playing for a national championship, [we know] our coaches are not stupid. They know what they’re doing. They do know that we shouldn’t lose to Iowa State in Austin. They do understand that. They know we shouldn’t have lost to UCLA like we did. They also know that’s not the standard of coaching we’ve worked hard to get over the last 12 years.
We obviously did not play as a team. For instance, we’re sitting there with five minutes in the third quarter and we kick a field goal. We kickoff and they return it 45 yards, and they score in about five plays. We had a chance to answer. We had a chance to turn the momentum. We did not do it at that time. The next series, we come back, [and] we’re driving the ball. We get the ball down to the 28-yard line going in, and a ball bounces off a receiver’s hands - Iowa State intercepts it again. Early fourth quarter, we’ve got another chance. Our only turnover 9 [on defense] for the game was at our 45-yard line going in. We had great field position. We’re still in the ballgame at 21-6 where we can make something happen. The next play an offensive linemen gets beat, the ball pops out of Garrett’s hands, and they intercept it and go in and score to make it 28 (to six). At that point, I was proud that the kids kept fighting. They did not quit. They did not give up, especially offensively. They kept working to get back in the ballgame. We never took advantage of the situations that we had.
Defensively we did not make any of our objectives, which is very unusual for us. The goal is to stop the run, pressure the quarterback, force turnovers, get off the field, [and] on third down stop them in the red zone. We even had situations come up on a third and 18 where we’ve got three guys standing there, and they out jump us for the ball, which was a killer at that time. That led to points. We had another time after the turnover where we have a guy double-covered, and they throw over his head into the end zone to catch the ball. We did not make plays. They were 4-for-4 in the red zone. We still had eight three-and-outs. We only had two sacks. We only forced one turnover.
When we talked about what we would’ve done differently, Coach Muschamp thought we probably did too much. We weren’t stopping the run early. We weren’t making the plays we needed to make. We started moving and blitzing and trying to get to the quarterback - trying to stop the run with some run blitzes. We didn’t play well inside on defense, and they had some big runs. [The] defensive line got tired, so we should’ve played more people on the defensive line. We’ve got to do that. We’ve talked about it. Saturday we did not [do that.]
Offensively, we only made one of our objectives. There were nine explosive plays. They did play hard. They did not play with confidence and passion. I thought sometimes they played uptight, and felt like they had to make a play every time to win the game. We lost four turnovers like we did against UCLA. You’re not going to win when you lose four turnovers, one especially a momentum killer right after you gain momentum to lose it back. We got an interception in the end zone, which is a killer for points. We had a motion penalty on fourth-and-one at the one, where we score and have to come back and lose four points because we kick a field goal. And then we missed a field goal from 37 yards.
What would we do differently? In talking to Coach Davis, he said we felt like we should’ve stayed more balanced. We left the running game too soon. We got frantic a little bit and tried to catch up real fast and didn’t play well enough in the passing game to do that. We obviously need to stay more balanced. We’re still not scoring enough in the red zone - too many turnovers. Last week we didn’t have a turnover. It’s just the inconsistency of who shows up to play. We’re still not making enough third downs and the red zone is killing us. There’s opportunity after opportunity to score, and we’re not getting touchdowns.
Special teams, we did a lot of great things. I said 10 guys graded winning performances. Kickoff coverage was great all but once when we had to have it. They had a 42-yard return out to the 45-yard line. Kickoff return was much better. D.J. [Monroe] had one 38-yard return. Again, [we] gave up the onside kick which lost a possession for us. You can’t possibly do that. You have to be prepared for it. They executed it perfectly.
Punt team, we averaged 50.2 yards per punt, 45.2 yards net. Two of them were downed inside the 20. John Gold had a 63-yard punt. Justin Tucker had a 70-yard punt. We also gave up a 32-yard punt out of our end zone that led to points for them. None of those got their objectives. We averaged 16 yards on punt return. Curtis Brown had two returns for a total of 48 yards. One of the returns we had a block in the back. We misjudged another 74-yard punt that rolled dead at the two. Field position became a real nightmare for the offense. While we had two punts inside the 20, they had four. Extra point and field goal, we missed a 37-yard field goal.
You look at Baylor, you have to give them a lot of credit. They’re 6-2. They’re bowl eligible. They lead the [Big 12] South. They’re ranked 25th in the country. It’s the first time they’ve been ranked since 1993. They haven’t been to a bowl since the Alamo Bowl in 1994. Their stats are very impressive. Jay Finley had a school-record 250 yards rushing against Kansas State. He had an 82-yard run, which is the second-longest in school history. Robert Griffin threw for a career-high 404 yards. It was also only the fifth 400-yard passing game in Baylor history. His four touchdowns were his career high. The last two weekends, Baylor has gotten 683 yards of total offense, which set a school record and it broke the school record last week set against Kansas for 678 yards, with the 683 against Kansas State.
They’re averaging 42.7 points per game the last four games. They’re averaging 602 yards on offense and playing much better defense. You look at Robert Griffin, he’s third in the country in total offense, producing 344 yards himself. His passing efficiency is 14th in the country and first in the Big 12. They have great receivers. Robert Griffin has been phenomenal. I can’t imagine him not being in the Heisman talk as you start looking at what he’s accomplished over the last few weeks. You look at them defensively and the biggest thing on defense, they’re playing with a lot more speed. The big tackles have grown up. They’re playing very well. Phil Taylor from Penn State is 6’4”, 340 pounds. Nicolas Jean-Baptiste is 6’1”, 330. They hold the middle down very well. They’re faster at linebacker. They can really run. They’ve always been good in the secondary. For whatever reason, you have to give them credit for it, they’ve always been good in the kicking game since we’ve been here.
Kendall Wright is a guy who is on the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award. He has five touchdowns.He’s averaging 14 yards every time he touches it. As we said, Finley is averaging 6.6 yards every time he touches it. They have other great receivers, but the key is Robert Griffin. He’s a great player, a good leader, and they’ll come in here ready to play.
On how hard it is to fix the attitude of a young team: Well, that is what you do as a coach. It is hard. I worry about this team and in the first Wednesday scrimmage we had, I said that we didn’t see the passion and emotion from some players. Then out at Tech, [and] then against UCLA you didn’t see it. Then against Oklahoma you saw it. We had a slow start, but they did hang in there and came out and played. Two weeks ago at Lincoln, they played their hearts out. But to play twice hard against Oklahoma and Nebraska, then come out and lay an egg without emotion - it is my job to get them fixed, and we’ll just keep working on them. That is my job. I tried hard last week, but nobody listened. I was not surprised how hard Iowa State played, and they gained confidence during the game because we allowed them to. It’s a script of the UCLA game. They came in struggling. They weren’t sure if they could win. We allowed them to stand around and get some confidence. Then we tightened up but couldn’t come back and pull it out. And the same thing happened. I was so disappointed in our defense in the last drive, when they let them run right up the middle. We still have two timeouts. We can still stop them. We can still win the game. And they make a first down running right at us. And that is not the personality we’ve had around here, and not the one we can have.
On how to change the mindset during the season: You just have to do it everyday. We did it over the open date. We thought we did it this week. I’ve been really hard on the players. I’ve been really hard on the coaches, and it is our responsibility to get it fixed. My job is no different than any other CEO that has problems. Mine are just more public, and we’re dealing with kids. And the public part, if they can’t handle reading bad things about themselves, they need to play better. If they can’t handle people bashing them, they need to play better. Or don’t read it to play better. If they play better, people change fast. And that’s the biggest thing I’ve told them. Grow up. If you play bad, [you] can’t ask anybody to do anything until you play better. Then you can ask for help. It’s hard to ask for help when you’re not doing your job.
On if he feels the players have the desire to win: Yes. It’s a great group of young people. They’re trying. They want to. I just think we’re immature. The entitlement of last year, ”We won coach, why didn’t we win Saturday?” It’s because you didn’t make the plays together to win. So we’re working on that right now to get it fixed. So what do we do? We show them each play when we score the kickoff coverage has to go out there and stop them, then get a three and out, then we score again. We’ve done that for 12 years. When you get a turnover, offense cannot turn it over the next play. It was the one guy we needed to block, and that’s a chance to win the game. Only field position of the day that we had, and we didn’t take advantage of it. It’s obviously situations where everyone can get mad and scream and shout and throw things, but I’ve got to fix it. And the only thing I can do to fix it, is you try to look at your personnel and look to see if someone is not playing well. Usually the one behind him isn’t playing any better or he’d be ahead of him, but you try to stir some guys up. You look at us wide-open Saturday, it didn’t work. Everyone wants wide open, and it is good when it works. Wide-open gets shut when you turn the ball over. So we have to go back and play as a team again together like we did in Lincoln. Lincoln is what we’re looking for, and it’s there. We just have to do it again.
On what is being done to motivate the team: I have more emotional motivation sayings and motivational stuff up in the locker room then we’ve ever had. You can’t even see the walls, we’ve got stuff everywhere. With this team, you have to throw stuff up on the wall and hope that some of it sticks.
On expecting to beat Baylor: It applies to everybody. We don’t expect to lose to anyone here. That’s our motto. We expect to win and want to win. And right now, our team is not playing well enough. And I think our team as a whole did not respect Iowa State as much as they should. And that’s a disease, and you need to change it. They won’t have trouble respecting Baylor. They put on some film now – 47 points and 55 points the last two weeks. The way we played this week, it will not be a week that we have to worry about respecting them. They’re ranked, and we’re not.
On if he tells backups that this week will be an opportunity for them: I tell them everyday. We haven’t changed one thing. You go back to the first of the year - you have to earn your job every day. That’s why the depth chart doesn’t vary much. A lot of injuries curtail that some, because back ups are forced to play, like on the offensive line. But it’s there for someone’s picking especially after a week like this when a guy doesn’t play well, then someone needs to step up. You go back and grade in practice, and if a guy makes four mental errors in practice, he’s not going to play above another guy. So he has to prove in practice that he’s ready.
On if there are ways to motivate the team mentally: The motivation comes against a team like UCLA that they don’t know much about and don’t have much respect for. It comes against a team like Iowa State, and again Iowa State played so poorly [previously], and they saw it on film. We missed it on both cases. We didn’t get our team ready in both cases, and that really bothers you. They know Baylor. Baylor is an old Southwest Conference team. They have a bunch of buddies on the Baylor team. They’ll play hard this week. If it’s an old Southwest Conference team or a Big 12 South team, they play hard. Some of the Big 12 North teams, in the past, we just haven’t gotten the word through [to] them. Our fans don’t have a history with them. Our media doesn’t have history with them. We actually touched on Iowa State last week saying; here is Ames, here is their university, here are their colors, here is their mascot - because our guys don’t know anything about them. And I think our team took them for granted. I do think it will help next year, when you play a team every year and go back and forth. You’ll have a better sense of exactly who they are when you see them.
On if Baylor’s lack of historical success makes the team respect them less: After last week, I don’t have any idea what carries over to the players.
On how QB Garrett Gilbert is handling the pressure: Garrett is very mature. He’s full of pride, so he is not very happy that we have lost three games under his watch. And that’s the quarterback position here. It’s a very pressurized position. I don’t read it, but I’m sure if he does or if his family does, whatever people are saying is not good when you lose. I’ve watched it here with Colt [McCoy] and with Vince [Young], and it is just part of the growing process. Part of being the quarterback here is handling the scrutiny.
On if he seeks advice from other coaches: No, they don’t know your kids, and they don’t know your situation. I had a guy stop me at the elevator and wanted to talk to me about the Baylor game. And I said I have some people waiting for me, and he said “but I have some really good stuff here.” And he showed me an article in the paper saying, “we’ve got some things we need to fix.” I said there is no question about that, and I said we have to look forward to Baylor. He said he has things to talk about for Baylor and wanted to know when I’d be through. He asked me to wait for him after this [press] conference, and I said I have some film and other things to watch, but if he would be kind enough to write down those thoughts so [that] I could get them. So, I’m not short on thoughts this week. I have plenty of suggestions. But I’ve been here before. I’ve fixed it before. And this is the time when the head coach has to step up and be strong. And I’ll fix it, and that’s what we’re going to do.