Oct. 29, 2012
RB Johnathan Gray
On playing this week: It's great. My team is counting on me. I'm ready to execute, be what they want me to be, come through.
On how his parents feel: It's very cool. My mom and dad went to Tech. It's just fun. I'm going to Texas, they went to Tech. It's kind of a rivalry in the house. They talk smack. I just be quiet and wait till the results after the game.
On who his parents will be rooting for: We'll see. I have to talk to them tonight, try to get them to wear burnt orange.
On being named the starter: You know, something I knew coming in I had to be patient. As a running back, in the running back room, if we're the starters, we have to know we're accountable. Doesn't matter if I'm a starter, Joseph [Bergeron], Mal[colm Brown], Jeremy [Hills] is a starter, we have to execute the role of it.
On knowing what his father accomplished playing for Texas Tech: I know that he was a leading rusher there. He did some great things there. He told me, “Hey, you're not me. You can't be me. You have to be your own man. Do what you want to do. Be the best at what you want to do.” I'm taking that into accountability, just learning from him, trying to be better than him. That's what he wants me to be. I'm going to be better than him and continue on the road.
On if he has tried to imitate his father’s style: No, we're two different backs. My dad was more of a power back. Little bit bigger than I was in college. That's why he tells me, “You can't be me.” I'm more of a speedy, quick guy. He was more of a downhill, power back.
On what the coaches saw to make him the starter: Getting better every week. My teammates have helped me out. Offensive line has given me yardage that we need to win games. I guess the coaches see that we can move the ball. Being a starter this week, it's fun. Coach knows that you're doing something and geting better.
On if starting means any added pressure: No pressure. You play the game of football. You love the game of football, this is what you do. You have to be ready when coach calls on you. That's how we feel in the running back's room.
On if the game is easier now that he is getting more carries: Doesn't get easier. Every week is a competitive game, a hard game. Going up to Tech, it's going to be a hard-fought battle. Hard game. We're going in with the intention of playing hard, to the best of our ability.
On the Texas-Texas Tech rivalry: I don't really know too much about it. It's my first time being in one. I know Texas Tech is real hard every year. I'm expecting that, going in with the intentions of playing to the best of my ability, helping my teammates out.
On if he grew up disliking Texas: I didn't grow up disliking Texas. My parents went to Tech. My mom sent me a picture of stuff they used to dress me in. It was just fun. I went to some Tech games. I'm here at Texas now. I'm playing for Texas.
On if he has a nickname: I don't know of any nicknames I have. Most of the teammates call me Jay or Jay Gray or Gray or Johnathan. Those are pretty much my nicknames. Or, ‘Hey, freshman.’ [laughter]
OG Mason Walters
On continuing their winning streak: If we can put it all together for four quarters, I think we can play with anybody. We've got a lot of challenges this week. Tech is a great team offensively and defensively. It's going to be a tough environment anytime you go on the road. Like we saw last week, it's tough. Have to be on top of our game, put all three phases together.
On playing near his hometown: Going back to Lubbock, definitely want to get a win. My parents wear their burnt orange often. Hard if we lose to the Raiders.
On why it is difficult to play in Lubbock: It's a great college football environment. It's great for those guys to be able to play that go to Tech. For those coming in, they have the whole Raider village, students camping out all week that go to the game. I have a lot of friends that do it. When it comes around to game time, the fans are as ready as the players are to get after the team. They do some pretty good heckling. Just a great environment to play in. It's always fun.
On the Texas-Texas Tech rivalry: I think that goes back to that '08 game, what happened there. Anytime you're playing Tech, you have to be ready to go all four quarters and every second of that because the game is not over until it's over. They always have an explosive offense, make plays. They play emotionally. It's going to be a tough, physical game. As far as the rivalry, I don't know. It's an important game for both teams, both being in Texas. That's where it comes from, just the pride of the whole idea Tech versus Texas.
On night games in Lubbock: That makes it a little more daunting. Fans have a little bit more time to get ready for it. It's a little bit more rowdy. The good people of Lubbock will be coming out and be supporting the Raiders full force. It will be a good matchup.
On finishing strong: I think we play more consistently. That's going to be the biggest thing. You talk about the growth from two years ago, going in the right direction, the progress that's made. I really think finishing the end of the season is what will show that progress and that maturity. We have a chance to do that. We have four really tough opponents coming up. If we take it one game at a time, we can give ourselves a chance.
On what he takes away from the Kansas game: I think we have to take a realistic look at it. That being said, we didn't execute the way we wanted to. Then again, we were able to come in and finish the game offensively, which is something we know this team can do now. We've had to do it multiple times. I think learning we need to be more consistent across the board, everybody do their job on every play, give ourselves a chance to be successful early in the game, just continue to know that anytime you need to go out and score, do it. When that sense of urgency is there, we're going. Maybe creating that earlier in the game will really help us.
On any inconsistency: It's a tough game. If you have all 11 guys doing their job, you give yourself a chance. If you have 10 of the 11 doing their job, you really don't have any chance. That's just the thing. Everybody took their turn on Saturday being that guy. You wish you could just have all 11 guys do the wrong thing on one play, but that's not the way it happens. I really think that's going to come in playing for the guy next to you. That's maybe not the mentality we had going into the game. If we do the job for the guy next to us, we have a better chance of being able to do it because it's a tough game.
On the quarterbacks: We got to work with them a lot in spring camp, two-a-days. There's a lot of familiarity with both quarterbacks in the huddle. How about Case coming in and really showing he's worked his tail off since David [Ash] was named the starter to be where he is, to be able to come in and play like that. Really kind of shows a lot of guys on the team doing the same thing. When there's a void, somebody is going to be able to come in and fill that. Proud of the guys for being able to do that.
On when QB Case McCoy entered the game: I felt the urgency of maybe the situation of the game. Give him some time, let him go out and do what he does. That McCoy magic, came out and pulled it off.
On RB Johnathan Gray: He's going to be really good. He already is. As far as being the starter, all of our running backs quite a bit, I'm sure we'll see other ones. That's a testament to Johnathan. He came in with a couple of really good running backs in front of him. Didn't let them get him down. He's been selfless in doing whatever he can. Whatever the coaches ask him, he's going to do no matter how big or small that role is. I think he'll be really successful here. He's only a freshman. He's playing outside of that. Just proud of what he's done so far and hope it continues.
QB Case McCoy
On playing against Texas Tech: My whole high school basically goes there. That's the one thing I do not want ever to lose to. It will be fun. I've gone to games out there for quite a while growing up, knowing players there, knowing a lot of people that go to school there. [I] have family that live there. My dad being a coach, we've coached all over west Texas. I know that area. That's kind of what I consider home. It's kind of going back home for me. I'll enjoy it. I love it, the atmosphere there, the fans, the stadium. It's quite the experience for all of us. It will be exciting. 2:30 game.
On the Texas Tech defense: It's been quite interesting to see because a lot of those guys are the same guys that were there last year. Hats off to them if they've developed a new mentality and are playing well. That's something we're going to have to score points for sure, because [QB] Seth [Doege] and their offense are playing well, scoring points. It should be quite the matchup and a fun game for all of us. We'll prepare hard this week. We'll be sure to be ready when we come out this time. It will be a fun game. Should be an exciting 2:30 game. [I’m] excited to watch whoever is out there playing.
On if he expected to start: I can rephrase that to say I've expected to be the starter since I got here. That's my goal. I didn't come here to be a backup. At the same time, I came here to help this team do whatever they're supposed to do. I've been given a job, and I think that I've accomplished that job and I'm doing that job to the best of my ability. My job is to help this team, be a leader on this team. At the same time play whenever I have to play. Have I always done that, no. I didn't do that last year when I was a backup. Got thrown into some situations when I wasn't ready, ended up losing the game. That hung on my head for a long time. I made a commitment to myself and my team that would never happen again. I've been thrown in a few times and been able to do the job. Hats off to the team for rallying around me and giving me some time, establish the running game. We were able to execute and win the ballgame at the end.
On wanting to play: I'm a competitor, that's the bottom line. I want to be on that field because I feel I can contribute to my teammates and give them a good chance of winning. At the same time David thinks the same thing. David is obviously a great player, a great leader on this team. We're working with each other. My job is to prepare even more. I take that on myself, too, that I can help him out. He's a young guy growing up quickly. We'll see what happens, and our coaches are going to take care of us.
On helping the team come back and win on Saturday: Like I said earlier, it was more importantly not anything that I did extra or anything that David wasn't doing, but as a whole, as an offense and defense, [we] decided to find something deep down. You call it heart, guts, a lot of things, just that 'it' factor. We didn't play well the whole game by any means. That's something that we're looking forward trying to figure out, but at the same time we found a way to close it out. I think that speaks highly of our team. You go back to the different games throughout the year. We closed out Baylor. As an offense, we scored on the last drive versus West Virginia. We just needed the ball one more time. Closed out against Oklahoma State. Against OU, we weren't close, but found a way to get something together, score twice, just to try to close something out. That's something our team can hang their hat on, we will close the game out. That's something that we can have under ourselves, but at the same time work on at the beginning of the game. I think our coaches will prepare us more for that for sure. As a whole, coaches can only do so much. They can't strap on the pads, play on fourth down. It's something as players we have to keep working on, striving to get better.
On how to finish strong this season: I think it's hard to compare this team from last year's team. This is an incredibly different team. A lot of the same players, but new mentality, new energy, new goals. That's something that is incomparable to last year. We're bowl eligible. That's a weight lifted off our shoulders. At the same time our goal wasn't just to make it to a bowl, it was to make it to a great bowl, to win a state championship. The first step to that is beating Tech this week. Our goals are set high, but at the same time we're focusing one week at a time. That's Tech this week. It's a fun game for all of us. A lot of us are from this state. A lot of our friends, best friends, play for them. We'll be excited to play them and they'll be excited to play us, and it will be a fun one to watch.
CB Quandre Diggs
On the defense playing well against Kansas: I think that's the defense that we all expect. It was great to come out and finally click on things, kind of get in our groove. There's still four games left. If we can finish these four games strong like we played Saturday, it will be great for us, great confidence. Just be great confidence heading into the bowl game.
On what made the difference for the defense this past week: I feel like guys just played faster. Kind of just see ball, hit ball. We have 11 guys swarming to the ball, just getting after it. It's always fun to see as we watched film yesterday just guys attacking the ball, everybody jumps on the pile.That's just part of playing football and having fun with it.
On just reacting and not thinking too much on defense: That helps a lot. If you know your assignment, you can play so much more faster. Things just come to you in a quick little second. When we got guys reacting like that, that's when we can attack the ball. Everybody can go out and play the game. That's something you expect from Texas defenses.
On playing against Tech’s offense: Those guys, I feel like, match up just fine with other offenses that we've seen. They come out and play. They're going to score points, rack up their yards. But we got to contain those guys, just hold those guys to what they're used to getting. Go out, play tough, physical. That's the main thing. We have to be physical with these last four teams, show that Texas can also play physical football, too. It's going to be fun these last four weeks. I'm so excited to play in games like this.
On Tech QB Seth Doege: Great quarterback. Played against him last year. He's a year older, a year wiser. He makes plays. That's one thing about him. He comes through in the clutch. He has those guys going this year. That's what they expect from their quarterbacks. They've had those quarterbacks for the last 10 or 12 years.
It's just something that you expect from Tech's offense.
On getting a sack: Just going with the calls that [defensive coordinator] Coach [Manny] Diaz gives us. I go out, try to make plays for my guys. There's just something about when you finally get that chance to blitz, you got to take advantage of it. Two sacks by the corners. That's great, to switch the job with AO [DE Alex Okafor]. I wouldn't mind coming off the edge a little more.
On the Texas-Texas Tech rivalry: It's a great rivalry. That atmosphere is going to be crazy on Saturday. I've never been, but I've always heard about it. I just know that they out there getting ready right now. The fans are surrounding their stadium right now. It's going to be fun. Like I said, it's another high-powered offense that you enjoy in the Big 12. Being a defensive back, that's the reason you come in this conference. You know they're going to throw the ball at least 40 or 50 times.
On what is important for the defense this week: Your first goal is always to stop the run. If you can take away the run, you can get in a lot of different things, kind of make the offense one-dimensional. It's going to be important to stop both of them, trust me. But if we can stop the run this week, it will be very important to us.
On if one should expect another close game this week: It's the thing with the Big 12. Everybody in the Big 12 is good, no matter what you say. It's one of the toughest conferences in the nation. We have tremendous teams in this conference, and they all come out and play each and every weekend. Everybody has great players. Everything is starting to get even. Just got to come with it. You need those tight games. Sometimes it shows you what your team is made of in those tight games. We won the last two. If the game is going to be close, we know how to win in those situations.
On QB Case McCoy: Nothing surprises me with Case. He's just a football player. He comes out and plays each and every weekend. He prepares just like he's a starter. Seeing him throw those balls that last series, it's something that you expect. We see it every Tuesday, Wednesday with Case. He comes out and prepares hard against us. He makes our jobs a lot harder at practice because he keeps us on edge. He just knows defenses, and he reads defenses great. On that last play call where they got the double move going, it was a great play by Case, a great catch by Mike [Davis]. Those guys have a great connection with each other.
On getting the seventh win:
The seventh win is just as big as the sixth win. All these wins count now. If we can get these last four, 10-2, I think it would be a big deal, to win these last four. Just continue to gain momentum going into the bowl game. If we can finish 11-2, it will be a great year for us. OG Trey Hopkins:On the Texas-Texas Tech rivalry:
I think about my freshman year when we first went up there and played. It was an exciting atmosphere. I loved it. Very loud. Pretty small stadium, but their fans are going to be pumped. It's going to be electric. On the Tech defense:
I know they're a very different defense than they were last year. They're playing a lot more physical. They're a great defense. They're going to come out and fight us. They've shown us they can shut down powerful offenses. They've done a great job with it. It's going to be a great challenge for us. On RB Johnathan Gray being named the starter:
That's great for Johnathan. He's still been a contributing factor for our offense. All of the running backs are going to get in and contribute, so... I know all of them are going to get in the game and all of them are going to contribute. On finishing strong:
We have no choice but to have a strong finish because we have a list of talented teams coming up. The competition is going to be raised higher and higher through the rest of the season. We have to continue to improve, especially if we want to do better than we did last year. On last week’s close win:
I think it's taking confidence we found a way to win. We want to get to victory. Point difference doesn't make a difference. When you win, you win. When you lose, no matter how close it was, it still goes down as a loss. On the team:
I still think there's definitely room for improvement. We ask the team to grow each week. Our coaches are still telling us they're going to demand more from us than what we've shown. They're going to continue to push us until we reach our full potential. WR Mike DavisOn the team:
Obviously, we bounced back from Oklahoma, won two great games. We have to give Kansas credit, they played good at home. We came out pretty flat. But we have been in those kind of situations before. We just finished. On the offense:
Well, I feel like the whole game we needed a spark on offense, period. Stuff wasn't going our way early in the game. Most definitely we needed a spark in the fourth quarter. On QB Case McCoy providing a spark:
I wasn't surprised at all. We know both our quarterbacks, what they can do. We already knew what was going to happen, what to expect. On the Texas Tech defense:
They’re pretty good. They’re better than last year. They’re hungry. They've been winning big games. You can't overlook them. Got to be ready to play. They're at home, hostile environment. It's going to be a great game. Looking forward to it. On the offense regaining its rhythm:
I just feel like we got to prepare great every week because you can't sleep on any team. College football today, you can lose at any given time. Just got to be ready no matter what the situation is - who they put in, just got to be ready. On if he expects a close game:
Just got to be ready for whatever comes. Just got to know how to get out of there. Going to Texas Tech, got to fight hard. They going to fight hard. Like I said, they're at home. We got to come out and execute. Get things going fast. QB David AshOn if the weather played a factor on Saturday:
Well, you know, I never had played in cold weather. I learned a few things I didn't know before. They all are useful in the future for sure. On his play on Saturday:
Well, I was disappointed that I got a little frustrated in the game. I'm not going to remain frustrated. That's something I might have done last year.
I'm just going to continue to work hard, prepare as best I can for a great Tech defense. It's exciting. They're a good team. We need to bring our best game to Lubbock next Saturday. On if he talked to QB Case McCoy during the game:
Yes. You know, I talked to him. I tried to build his confidence, kind of told him a few things I'd been seeing out there. He did a great job. I couldn't have been more proud of the way he stepped up. That's a tough situation for anyone to be in. He did a heck of a job. Really glad we won the game. Got bowl eligible. I think that's huge for us as far as what we're going to be able to accomplish at the end of the year. On what he was thinking on the last two drives:
Well, you know, part of you is kind of sick because you feel like you kind of let your team down, for sure. But the other part of me was just, you know, pulling for them, hoping they'll find a way to get it done. I was praying for Case on that fourth-and-six. He did a great job. I'm just really glad we won. On the Texas Tech defense:
It's really interesting. You look at their roster. About seven out of the 11 starters this year are the same as they had last year. So they have obviously put in a lot of work in the weight room, got tougher, more physical. They execute their assignments. They play hard. There's no quit in them. They play a full game. You watch them for four quarters, it's a hundred percent every play. We're going to have to be ready for a dogfight. It's going to be a fight on Saturday. We're going to have to prepare well. On how he doesn’t lose confidence in his abilities:
Because my confidence just comes from something that's more powerful than what we see and what we're around every day. My confidence comes from faith, something that is supremely powerful. We can't see as humans. I know God loves me and He's put me here for a reason. He's given me the abilities I need to be successful where I'm at. I know He's going to see me through whatever hardships come my way and at the end of the day I'm going to be a better person because of it, and I'm going to be able to serve Him and His kingdom better because of it. That's all that really matters. No doubt last Saturday was hard for me. But they say whenever you go into something hard, a lot of times your true priorities are revealed. I felt so blessed that my number one priority truly is my savior. I'm still joyful, still so much satisfaction in my life even though things didn't go my way on Saturday. On an “ugly win”:
You know, we're not going to complain about a win ever. Winning isn't easy to do. At the same time, for sure, that's not acceptable the way we played. That's not our standard. We're a much better team than [the way] we've been playing. On forgetting about Saturday:
I've watched the film, like I said. I've taken notes on how I acted when certain things happened in the game, how the flow of the game went, how I responded during the game. There were disappointing things in there. Things I need to learn from. I'm going to take those things, move forward, try to learn from them. It is what it is, but I've got to move on. There were a few new things. Not probably going to go into detail. I know what those things are. I've kind of checked them off mentally, what I need to do. I'm going to move forward, try to use what I've learned really for the rest of my career. On if he can look back and learn something or just move forward:
Well, it's kind of both. You look backward for a day. You kind of think about it. You say, “Forget it.” At the end of the season, I'll go back through every game and look at it, then I'll move forward. On RB Johnathan Gray being named the starter:
He deserves it. He's come in as a freshman. I admire the way he's conducted himself. Lot of prestigious awards coming out of high school. He came, didn't talk, didn't have a sense of entitlement about him. He came in and worked hard. He's worked for everything he's gotten. The improvement he's made as far as the way he takes the practice, the way he takes the game mentally, understanding this offense, has improved drastically throughout the year. It's been showing game by game. He's got a great future. Great to have him in the backfield. On the coaches still trusting him:
I'm very thankful. They're putting their trust in me. What they do isn't easy. They have to feed their families. They have to keep a job. It's their livelihood. It's huge. There's a lot of things, so many parts of our lives that are in our control and some parts aren't. We have to be able to trust. S Kenny VaccaroOn the defense:
I think we still have some things to correct obviously from the first half. We made some good adjustments at halftime. The coaches did a good job of getting the game plan together. We did do well. Got a lot of confidence from that game. On winning two games in a row:
I think we've got confidence from the last two games. We've been playing well. We have to bring all three phases of the game together to get a solid win. On the second-half of the Kansas game:
On defense I think it was, obviously, our coaches just made a good adjustment at halftime. They were running the ball outside a lot, setting the edges better, making better plays. On getting an “ugly win”:
I think a win's a win. I think it's ignorant to make less of a win in a conference game on the road. A win is a win. On the Texas Tech offense:
They have a good offense. It's going to be a good switch-up for us. They're very balanced, have a good system. It's going to be a tough one. On if becoming bowl eligible eases things a bit:
It's a little bit of weight [off our shoulders]. But honestly I think it's just the next game. We won a game. As a senior, my goals are higher than a six-win season. I'm playing for much, much more. On Tech QB Seth Doege:
I've watched film on him, make all the throws. I think he's a good leader. I've seen him on the field. He makes plays. On the environment at a Tech game:
Lubbock is one of my favorite places to play. They keep you going all the time. There's no time to be chill. On this team not panicking ever:
We got good guys like Alex [Okafor], leaders on the team, that keep everybody going. Nobody wants to give up. [Strenght and conditionin head coach for football] Bennie [Wylie] is saying to us on the sideline, “Don't give up. Play ‘til the last whistle.” On how many games he expects the team to win:
More than six. I came to Texas to win every game, not six. I want to get this team back to where it was. Not necessarily BCS, but back on track. That's my goal. On CB Quandre Diggs getting a sack off of a blitz:
I was talking to him about it. Honestly, I'm out there covering guys. I haven't been blitzing much this year. Honestly, we have [yet] to open up our defensive playbook. We haven't been able to do that because of how the running game has been.