Player press conference quotes: Oct. 27
Oct. 27, 2008
QB Colt McCoy
On Mike Leach: I like Coach Leach. I know him, and he's a great guy and great coach. He does a good job of getting his team ready to play every week. Coach Leach is Coach Leach, and there is nobody else like him. He's a great football coach.
On the atmosphere of playing in Lubbock: Lubbock is a tough place to play. They are really loud and it seems like their whole stadium is filled with students. It's going to be a night game, so that's going to make it even tougher. But, we're looking forward to it, and it's going to be fun.
On his friends out in Lubbock: Basically, my whole high school goes to Texas Tech. Everybody I know back home goes to Tech, so there are a lot of friends and family out there.
On not committing any offensive penalties last week: You know, I've never been a part of that. We've had three games where we haven't had any offensive penalties. That's something that doesn't happen very often. But, I think that goes back to practice, and how each person on offense knows exactly what to do on each play. We're executing. It seems like so far, the only thing that has stopped us is ourselves. We were able to drive the ball the whole game, and little things hurt us the most, like turning the ball over, which is something we haven't really done so far. We've got to continue to be able to take care of the ball and score points in the red zone. Those are the things that hurt us last week.
On how they have been able to handle all the media and hype the past few weeks: It goes back to staying focused. This team is really focused on what we need to do to get better. We were out there doing up-downs for NOS's that we committed during the game. There are a lot of things that we can do better. I think on offense, for sure, we need to finish. When we get in the red zone, we've got to be able to get at least a field goal to make it a seven-point game. We also needed to punch it in when we had the ball on the 1-yard line. Those things are frustrating, but they are things we can learn from and hopefully fix if we are in that situation again.
On his thoughts on the "system quarterbacks": As a quarterback, you don't really think about that. You think about leading your team and what you have to do to make your team win. If you're doing those things, you're going to be successful as a quarterback. I think every quarterback plays in a system. If you look at the NFL, there are things like the "West Coast system," and all kinds of different things. But, if you're successful and do it well, you're going to have all kinds of opportunities.
On if his rise in popularity has altered his everyday life: I think that comes along with being a quarterback and being a part of a number one team. It's fun and it's exciting, and you just have to go out and put a smile on your face and enjoy it. You like that better than the fans not noticing you or wanting to say hi and things like that. It's a fun time right now and the Austin fans are great. I think across the board, everyone in the locker room is enjoying it.
On the his mentality with the Heisman Trophy: For us, my focus is on this team and the most important thing is winning. I think if you look at our team and everybody in the locker room, it's their focus as well. If we're going to win games, it's going to be because we're all pitching in and doing what we need to do in order to be successful. That's our focus, and especially for me, that is my focus. I'll do what the coaches ask me to do and lead my team to hopefully putting a `W' up every week.
On the difference in his mental state after a turnover this year than in the past: It was hard last week because I haven't turned the ball over much. It's little things. The (intercepted) pass to Quan [Cosby] was where the ball needed to go, and the guy made a great play with his outside technique. He made a good play and we have to fix that. I think the most important thing is to keep your head up and just to put it behind you. Those things can get in your head. It's so easy for a quarterback to turn the ball over and to let it continue to bother and nag you. The next time you get out on the field, you're still thinking about that, and you end up doing it again. To be able to put it behind you is definitely something that you can learn, and I've definitely learned that in the last two years.
On how playing against ranked teams the past three weeks has helped them: We're going through the grinder right now facing all these top-10 teams. It's fun for us to be able to have the opportunity to try to knock off all of these teams. We know that they're coming after us. We're number one, and that is something we can't focus on. We just have to go out and play every week.
OG Cedric Dockery
On how important the offensive line's job is this weekend: Being an offensive lineman, keeping Colt [McCoy] upright is very important. If we keep Colt out of trouble and time to scramble, he can make a lot of things happen. He's a pretty accurate and smart guy, and he's just a great player.
On if this weekend will be fun for him: Oh yeah. It's my first time in Lubbock, so it's going to be wild out there.
On not having an offensive penalty last week: That's actually my third time doing that. Coach Davis was really excited and happy for us. He's proud as an offensive coordinator. The group he has this year, we've been really smart and focused. Not causing an offensive penalty has really helped us in terms of moving the ball downfield and not being backed up every time, because of false starts or offensive pass interferences. It really helps us move the ball downfield.
On if they have to be better at running the ball this week: We always want to do better. We pass the ball well, and I think we run the ball well too. Whatever Coach Davis wants to call, we just want to execute it and make sure that play is successful. Whether it's running the ball or passing the ball, we just want to be successful on whatever he calls.
On Texas Tech's head coach Mike Leach: He's a good coach and he's led their team to eight victories. I'm pretty sure he's going to have them fired up for this game, being that it's the biggest game in their history. It's going to be a tough game.
LB Roddrick Muckelroy
On Texas Tech's defensive scheme: It's going to be a lot of zone defense and maybe some man to man. We've got to tackle better than we did last week because you've got to make tackles in the open field. That's going to be the key to this game. This week we are going to focus more on making open field tackles during practice because that's what we are going to see in the game.
On playing Texas Tech every year: We play them every year and they give us their best shot. It's somewhat an advantage (over teams that don't) because we know some of their tendencies. You're still going to have to come prepared. With a spread offense they can do a lot things. Texas Tech is a passing team, so we have step up to the plate with our pass coverage and be ready come Saturday.
On the atmosphere this weekend: I have never been to Lubbock before, but some of my teammates have told me that the environment down there is crazy. They have some good fans down there. (ESPN's) GameDay is going to be there and their fans are going to be that much more excited. We've just got to go down there and play football. You can't be worried about the things that are going on around us. We have to stay focused on what we came to Lubbock to do.
On why this Texas Tech team is being considered one of the best: They are on a roll. They have chemistry. They have great guys. We've just got to come in there and play our football this weekend. They are going to give us their best shot.
OT Adam Ulatoski
On the notion that the offense will have to outscore Texas Tech's offense: We don't have that negative motivation. We have positive motivation. We want to go out there to win not to prove somebody else wrong.
On the line's play so far: I think we have done well so far. There is always room for improvement and we focus on those things rather than what we do well. Last week, Coach McWhorter asked us to write down three things that we wanted to improve on by the end of the year and we have focused on those things during practices and he will comment on those things during film. He will say, "You're getting better there, but you can still do this." It is a work in progress.
On Texas Tech's fans and atmosphere: It is crazy atmosphere. I was there my freshman year and we were down b21 (points). It is loud. It is a lot like Oklahoma State was last year. Their fans are right there up on you the way the stadium is set up like that. They're going to be yelling. We are going to have tune that out and focus on our play.
RB Chris Ogbonnaya
On if he thinks they need to run the ball better this week: I think we need to remain consistent. The coaches showed us different scenarios on tape where we could have done better jobs as backs, as far as pressing a hole or making our reads better. There were times we could have blocked differently. For the most part I think we did a good job offensively. I think there was good balance. I think we did a great job on pass protecting and giving Colt time to make those throws and the receivers to make catches down field.
On Texas Tech's atmosphere: We just handle it as we do every game. It is going to be a rowdy environment. We like the opportunity. We look forward to it. I think we have played really well on the road since I've been here and we will continue to prepare like have been preparing for the game and go from there.
On how they continue to hold the number one ranking: I just think focusing every week and playing to our standards. We take it one game at a time. We don't want to look ahead to what could be a big game or a potential showdown. We respect every opponent in the same way and treat them with same amount of respect. We understand that everyone in this conference is very talented and that any team can beat any team. We take that mentality into the games and prepare the way we prepare. We do our best to execute the game plan that we are given.
On Texas Tech: They are a good football team. I think every team in the Big 12 has a great team. Offensively, it is our job to execute the game plan the coaches give us and do a good job of that.
WR Quan Cosby
On if each week preparing has been different: It has been different, but more on the positive side. To have any passion for this game it just comes natural to get up for these games. To be at this stage and to have the opportunity that we do it is unbelievable. We are excited about our team. The way we are moving forward and how we try to get better each week. We go out there and try to go right back to work and try to do some good things in preparation for the weekend.
On Texas Tech's defense: I saw the A&M game and a little bit of the Kansas game. They fly around the ball. Their defensive line flies off the ball. They are very physical like most Big 12 defenses. We have to get ready for that. It is going to be an unbelievably hostile environment out there. They will definitely feed off of their fans, they always do. Again, they are going to be real physical and real fast. We will have to execute.
On telling the younger guys about Texas Tech's atmosphere: I will be honest with them. It is probably one of the hardest places I have played in the Big 12 outside of Oklahoma State. I tell them to embrace it. They are fortunate enough and blessed enough to play at a University where pretty much a lot of the games are the biggest games in their school history. I tell them to embrace it. Don't worry about it. At the end the day, it will be extremely loud, but the game of football doesn't change. Go out there and execute and know what to do and I know they will be ready for it.
On how this team keeps away from penalties: I think it has a lot to do with the preparation during the week. Every little thing we do wrong is a big deal, as it should be. We really prepare. Once you set that standard where you don't have offensive penalties during the game and you get one or two, it becomes a big deal. You don't want to do that. Everyone focuses in and they try to do the little things right. We just want to continue to keep those standards and try to be productive.
C Chris Hall
On the team's four-week stretch against top ranked teams: It has been a blast. Really it's not too often you get to play four top-10 teams all in a row. It's really not too hard to get back up because it's a huge game every weekend. It's a national game every weekend. Not a lot of players can look back on their college career and say they had an opportunity like this. I'm just so excited. It's really fun.
On if he would like to run the ball better against Texas Tech: That would be great. As far as I'm concerned, Coach Davis knows what he's doing, he knows about the game plan stuff. Of course we want to run the ball really well, we want to pass really well. I just want to win ballgames. That's my only consideration, but of course we want to execute in every aspect of the game and our coaches will do a great job of preparing us for that this week.
On the importance of time of possession: It's always in our best interest to win the time of possession, and we want to do that in a dramatic fashion every week. That's important in huge games like this, so that would be good.
On Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach: Coach Leach is a great coach, obviously. You look at everything Tech does on offense; their defense is playing especially well this year. They're a top-10 team. I actually have had a couple of times where I got to sit down and visit with Coach Leach. I think he's a great guy. He's really interesting, fun to talk with. My visits with Coach Leach were really enjoyable, so I've only got great things to say about him.
On Texas Tech: I just looked at some of their statistics; it looks like they're doing really well. They've got a couple of guys who have got big sack numbers. Their scoring defense looks really good. I think Texas Tech has definitely proved that they are a top-10 football team. You look at your stats and that's what it says. It's going to be a really great football game this Saturday. Of course it will be a fun atmosphere in Lubbock. I'm sure it will be sold out. It'll be a really great environment for us to be in.
DT Roy Miller
On Texas Tech's offense: I don't really look at the splits as a key to our success. The quarterback is a little different than the quarterback from Missouri. They have a lot of other things that they're good at that we'll have to look at. Offensive line-wise, they like to tee it up. The thing about Tech is they're a little bit more balanced than they have been in the past. They're starting to run the ball a lot, their running backs look good and their quarterback has been under center, which is something that I haven't seen from Tech in a long time.
On Texas Tech's propensity to use all four downs: We kind of got to see the fourth-down play last week. Oklahoma did the same thing. It's frustrating to see that time to time, but you know as a defense that your whole main goal is just to get them off the field no matter what, so when you think like that, you know that your job isn't to count the plays or to complain, that's not the issue, the issue is getting them off the field.
DT Lamarr Houston
On Texas Tech's screen game: They threw a lot of screens last year. Crabtree caught two and took one to the house last year on a screen. It worked really well for them.
On Texas Techs' atmosphere: I love it. It's really great. It keeps you fired up. It keeps your emotions going the whole game.
On Texas Tech's similarity to Missouri: They're very similar to Missouri, especially now since they run the ball more. Their (offensive linemen) are a lot bigger than Missouri's though. They're way bigger than Missouri's guys. I think one of them is like 380 (pounds).
On Texas Tech's offense: They're a lot better. I think they're more of a team. Last year they were young and didn't know how to handle adversity and stuff. They've played very well, especially with Graham Harrell and (Michael) Crabtree back. The two running backs they have, (Shannon) Woods and (Baron) Batch are very good.
CB Deon Beasley
On defending a lot of passes on Saturday: It's going to be a pretty good outing for the secondary considering they throw the ball an immense amount. We'll be on the field quite a bit. The best thing is to get on and get off the field real fast.
On Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree: Michael Crabtree is an exceptional athlete - one of those guys making plays you rarely see people make. He's not one of those guys you can arm tackle and get down. He's good at not just catching the ball, he's best after the catch with the ball in his hands.
On defending Texas Tech: Tech is doing a lot more different stuff than they've done in the previous years. They're starting to run the ball a lot more than normal. The best thing to do is just try to break them down on film the best way you can and try to defend it the best way possible.
On the importance of tackling this week: If you miss a tackle, those guys are going to score. They're going to complete some balls. The best thing to do is to tackle and make sure they don't have yards after the catch.
CB Ryan Palmer
On recovering from the close win on Saturday: We just have to get our rest today, our off day. It's more of a mental game. You get off your feet when you can. When you're not doing school, just rest. We had a really physical game last weekend. It took a lot of us. We just have to reenergize and get read for this week. I'm feeling pretty good.
On the game against Texas Tech: It's going to be fun, especially when you get to go against one of the best receivers in the nation. So you want to show your talent, show them what you've got. We accept the challenge as a defense and as a secondary. We just have to have a good week of practice and prepare.
On playing in Lubbock: They have a hostile crowd. They're really loud and riled up. It's fun being the hunted, everyone is going after us. We're going to go in there ready to play.
On having a short memory as a defensive back and blocking out past big plays: It's hard, but that's the position we're in as defensive backs. Things are going to happen that you don't want to. You might give up a touchdown, but if you keep thinking about that touchdown you might come back and give up another one. You just have to forget about it. Coach tells you on the sideline what you did wrong. There is a lot of football left to be played, so you just have to forget about what happened, come back and make a play.
On DE Henry Melton: It was a good transition for him [from offense to defense]. He was running the ball well, but they decided to move him over to defense. He uses his speed and strength to get around the end. He had a really good and productive game on Saturday. It's good seeing him on defense and I hope he plays good on Saturday because we're going to need him. Everybody needs to get ready, get their assignments, go out there and have a good game Saturday.
On the other Texas Tech receivers besides Michael Crabtree: Most teams have their number one receiver, their best receiver. But they have other receivers too who can catch and run routes. They have a good receiving corps with Crabtree leading it, but the other supporting cast is doing really well. When he's not making big plays, they're making plays too. We just have to get ready for everybody, not just Crabtree, but the whole receiving corps.
DE Brian Orakpo
On the notion of Texas Tech's success being based on the offensive system they've always had: I thought that was the case at one point, but when Crabtree came around, I thought, everybody can't do what he's doing. You can't just be a system guy putting up those types of numbers, especially with his yards after the catch. Guys like that are doing a tremendous job. Graham Harrell is putting those guys in a situation to make huge plays. My hat is off to them. They've been doing good so far.
On whether the defense focuses on sacks as much as usual against Texas Tech: Like I said from day one, we're not concerned about sacks. Texas Tech does a great job of blocking with the splits that they have. They've only given up three so far the whole season. We can't go into the game worrying about trying to get sacks because obviously it's going to be somewhat difficult. So putting pressure, using those splits to our advantage, shooting the gaps, doing whatever we can possibly do to put pressure on Harrell, putting our hands up, batting balls down, trying to make stuff happen. The numbers might not be there, but we want to see ourselves doing the best we can to make him uncomfortable back there.
On comparing the offensive lines of Missouri and Texas Tech: We were very successful against Missouri and like I said, the sack numbers - I guess we had two or three - weren't huge numbers, but the pressure was there all night long and that's what we're going to try to do. The good thing is we've seen Tech before, year after year. We're very familiar with their playing style and their splits alignments. We can really take advantage of what we've done in the past.
On dealing with the pressure of a high ranking and national profile: The thing I like to say is we don't get into the hype. We don't believe the hype. We don't worry about what people say about us, we just keep playing. I've been saying this since day one, every time we play, there is a competitive nature we have with each other. We're not complacent. We take each game into consideration. Everybody goes out there tries the best they can to make plays. Say for instance if Henry [Melton] gets a sack or Roy, everybody is eager that next series to get a sack, to make a big play. That's the mentality we have.
On why there are so many close games when Texas plays in Lubbock: I respect them because the fans really make the opponents uneasy when they play. The fans really are a huge advantage for their team and they really get after it. They make the opposing team very uncomfortable. But we're used to it, we're Texas. We've been in hostile environments before. We've played this team before, handled the adversity and hopefully we'll do it again this Saturday.
On DE Henry Melton's transition from offense to defense: I thought it was great. I think he's doing a tremendous job. He's leading this team by being a senior leader and really coming along. Switching positions like that is very hard at first because you have to learn a whole new scheme, a whole new technique, as far as defensive end goes. It's more athletic, as I like to say. Henry has been doing a great job and doing the best he can at stopping the run and getting after the passer.
On assisting Melton's transition: I talked to him a lot, especially in the offseason. We had to really fine tune his game - fix his stance, reading run and pass, all types of little things you need to be a good defensive end. Henry really took that into consideration and it really helped his game.
On boxing: I did it all the summer. The funny thing about it, I was hanging out one day and Lamarr Houston called me. Lamarr is the one that got me into it. He called me and said, let's try out boxing techniques to help our game this season. I didn't want to do it at first, but he talked me into it. The first day I wanted to quit because that stuff was hard. I was sweating like crazy. But we stuck with it all summer. We do it like three to four times a week, any time we're free in the afternoons.
It's helped me a whole lot. I really think my flexibility is the main thing it helped. Using my hands and that speed to power we like to use this season, using that hand speed and quickness.
WR Jordan Shipley
On the physical nature of the Oklahoma State game: That was probably one of the most physical games I've been a part of. I was pretty bruised up for sure, but I've been sitting in the ice tub and doing some rehab stuff. I actually feel pretty good today.
On the offense's success so far: It's encouraging to see what this offense has been able to do pretty consistently. The good thing about our offense is we're not based on one thing or the other. If they give us the run, we'll run the ball. If they give us the pass, we'll pass the ball. I think that's what is making our offense pretty effective right now.
On a possible quota of passing attempts for success in a game: There's no magic number. We go into every game knowing that there is a possibility we need to score a lot of points. We go into the game always feeling like we need to score a lot of points, but at the same time we have a lot of faith in our defense and a lot of confidence in them. They're obviously playing really well right now.
On whether he ever considered playing at Texas Tech: I think I committed to Texas when I was a junior in the spring. So I was committed pretty early and felt like Texas was the place I was meant to be. It is pretty neat to see what they are able to do passing the ball, but Texas was definitely the place I wanted to be and I'm just really fortunate and happy to be here.
On how the Texas Tech defense differs from past units: Tech definitely has a great defense. I feel like they've just got a really complete team. Obviously they have a great offense. They're special teams and defense are really good and we're going to have to be as focused and prepared as we can be to play this weekend.
On dealing with the pressure of winning every week to maintain the number one ranking: We understand that we have to focus every week and play the best we can every week. The thing about it is we realize we only have a limited amount of games, 13 to 14 at the most. We feel like we can get ready to play 13 or 14 times a year. That's just something we prepared for the whole offseason and summer, and I feel like when the time comes, we'll hopefully be ready to be as prepared as we need to be.
On playing in Lubbock: It's a fun environment for us. Their fans are obviously really fired up and really excited when we come in there. It's a fun atmosphere for college football and I think that we'll enjoy it. We always enjoy going up there and playing.
On how much the offensive game is changed with the strong west Texas winds: The wind is always a factor, but it's not something we think about. If the wind is blowing for us, it's blowing for them too. So it's not something we're worried about.