Oct. 31, 2011
Opening Statement: I was very excited about the energy and physical attitude that our team played with on Saturday night. After having a week off and two tough games, you never know how your team is going to respond. And now we're 18 and 4 after bye weeks and thought the guys were excited about playing.
They played from start to finish and dominated the game, so it helps you with your depth, obviously, when you play a lot of young guys and it also helps you with team morale. So everybody gets to play.
I was also very happy to see Doug English out on the field as he gets inducted into the [College] Football Hall of Fame. He's a great friend of ours, has done so much at the University of Texas and in the NFL. He's very deserving of the award, and I thought the crowd responded to him well.
Offensively the positives were we rushed for 441 yards. We showed film on Thursday in our team meeting of Stanford rushing for 446 yards, so we never thought that we'd be close to breaking their output. But our offensive line and backs and tight ends sure responded. We were 11 of 16 on 3rd downs, 69 percent, which is so much better than we've been doing. And when you're running the ball well and you have 3rd down and medium, 3rd down and short, it really helps you. On the 3rd down and shorts we were seven out of seven conversions. We completed 76 percent of our passes, and we scored on the first drive of the game, scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game, and that's the first time since '09. So we did not score on the opening drive, a touchdown on the opening drive, last year at all and so far hadn’t this year. So we set the tempo early with an opening drive, a threeandout, and then another drive for a score to get 14 points.
Concerns offensively were the two turnovers. Really in the red zone when you come back to the quarterback sneak that didn't score, that took seven points away, and then throwing the interception in the end zone. We also have five penalties offensively, which is too many. We had three holding calls and a clip and a motion penalty. Red zone attempts, we had four touchdowns out of eight attempts with two field goals, so we've still got to do a better job in that area. We need to continue to get more explosive plays in the passing game. I thought we threw the ball better, with our 16 of 21. We did throw the ball downfield some, but we've still got to hit some more explosive plays. We do need more explosives in the passing game.
The outstanding offensive lineman, Bevo Beast Award, goes to [OG] David Snow. He's playing very well on the offensive line. They all played well. Most valuable player voted by the offensive staff was [RB] Joe Bergeron because he came in and did so many great things the second half.
Defensively it's our first shutout since Baylor in '05, so it's been a long time coming. We forced two turnovers. We scored on defense for a second week in a row with a safety. I think it's only the second time that we've had backtoback safeties since maybe '82. We created great field position for our offense. The defense gave the offense the ball at the plus 38 and the plus 46, and there were six threeandouts. They held Kansas to minus 2 yards rushing. They had four pressures on the quarterback and three sacks. We've been wanting to get to the quarterback and get more sacks, and the guys did a good job of doing that. And they held Kansas to one of ten on 3rd downs, so we really improved in that area.
The two concerns and things that we could do better: We missed three opportunities for other turnovers. There were two fumbles on the ground, and we had our hands on an interception that we had two guys run together. And we did have some guys open in coverage. They dropped a ball or two or we forced them to make an errant throw.
Ball hawks on defense: [CB] Quandre Diggs had an interception. [DE] Alex Okafor forced two fumbles. [LB] Keenan Robinson forced a fumble. [S] Christian Scott recovered the fumble. We did not feel like there was a person on defense that deserved the Hard Hat award so we didn't give one this week. And the most valuable player on defense was Jackson Jeffcoat because of his play.
Special teams. The kickoff coverage team was really challenged over the bye week. We changed up some personnel, and those guys covered seven kickoffs, three tackles that were inside the 25yard line. Average start was the 25, which is great now for college football, and Quandre Diggs, [LB] Tevin Jackson, [DB] Leroy Scott, [DB] A.J. White and Joe Bergeron did a great job. Joe Bergeron had five tackles on special teams, so you can see how hard he's playing, not just as a tailback.
Punt blocking return team, we had seven opportunities. We tried to block two of them. We had near misses. We ran into the kicker on one of them for a fiveyard penalty, which they turned down, but we're just a little bit slow getting there. We had one return for nine yards, so we've got to continue to do better in that area.
Kickoff returns, we only had two opportunities, but you could see we put Quandre Diggs and [RB] D.J. [Monroe] back with Fozzy [Whittaker] understanding that there were probably not going to get many balls kicked to Fozzy for the rest of the year. That's what happens when you do as well as he's done for two straight games. They're going to do what we call dirty kicks, and they're going to kick it on the ground and pop it up and try to kick it across the field and keep it out of our hands. So we thought we'd get two other very good kickoff returners back there, and we ended up even though they were short returns with a 40yard line as our starting field position, which is great.
Punt, we only had one punt and it was 33 yards, but it was inside the 20yard line and helped us, again, with field position. And Justin Tucker was the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week. He was five-for-five on extra points and two-for-two on field goals and one of the field goals was 50plus yards right before the half.
The elite group for special teams, [FB] Jamison Berryhill, Quandre Diggs, Tevin Jackson, Keenan Robinson, which you should give him so much credit for being a senior starter and doing a great job on special teams, and Leroy Scott.
Injury report, we feel like everybody will have a chance to play this weekend. We'll just have to watch the guys that got hurt progress throughout the week, and that would include [DB]Adrian Phillips.
Texas Tech game. Tommy Tuberville does a great job at Tech. We all know how hard it is to win in Norman, and he took his football team in there and won last week. And they'll come into Austin mad because I'm sure they weren't pleased with the way they came out against Iowa State. Offensively they're the No. 5 passing team in the country averaging 359 yards per game. They're 70th in rushing, which for them is high compared to the way it was under Mike Leach. So they've got more balance with 148 yards rushing per game, and their total offense they're eighth in the country at 508 yards per game. They're 14th in scoring with 38.8 points per game. They're 17th in red zone offense. They've had 13 runs for touchdowns, 19 passes for touchdowns, five field goals, and they're scoring at a 90 percent rate.
Seth Doege is the quarterback. No. 7 in the country as a quarterback with 68 percent, 347 yards per game. Seth hit 22 touchdowns and only had six interceptions. He's fourth in passing yards per game in the country. He's fourth in total offense. He's 29th in passing efficiency, and Seth can throw the ball as well as anybody in America. We talk about the great quarterbacks in this league, after watching him the last two days you have to put him in that same category.
They've got three juniors and two seniors up front on the offensive line. The two seniors are both pro prospects, so they've always been good on the offensive line. They're 37th in the country in protecting. They're giving up a little over 1, 1.5 sacks per game.
The receiving corps is great. Eric Ward has 49 catches, averaging 10 yards a catch and eight TDs. Alex Torres, 41 catches. He's averaging 12 yards per catch. So they're throwing the ball downfield. He has four TDs. And Adam has got 14 catches at tight end, and he's done a great job for them, as well - Adam James.
Defensively they're No. 48 in pass defense in the country. They're 32 in turnover ratio. We're even and they're at plus 4, so they've done a good job of taking care of the ball. Their defense now, they hired Chad Glasgow from TCU last year to go to Texas Tech. He was a secondary coach for Gary Patterson. They've done a tremendous job obviously at TCU, so he's running the 425. They're not a big blitz team. They will bring more blitz as you get near the red zone. They've got five starters back from last year. All four of the guys on the secondary, four of their five guys, are very good starters that are back. Both defensive ends are 6'5" and 6'6" Leon Mackey and Scott Smith. Scott had the two tipped balls for interceptions against us last year. They're both 260pound guys, and Scott also has two sacks. They both have 17 tackles.Should be a fun challenge, and we'll definitely see Tech at their best. We'll see the team that went to Norman, we will not see the team that played Iowa State.
It is veterans recognition game. Honorary captain will be retired Lieutenant General U.S. Army Texas graduate Lawson Magruder III. There will be a flyover prior to the game with the F18 Hornets jump team from the 82nd Airborne Division in Ford Bragg, North Carolina. Our very good friend Frank Denius and the veterans' committee heads up this weekend with pregame and the things that they're doing at halftime. I would encourage our fans to all get in your seats at 10:30a.m. because it's an 11:00a.m. game and you want to honor our veterans and make sure that we get out and say thank you to them. See the flyover, and also get our team ready for what will be a very, very difficult ballgame.
I also wanted to applaud the NCAA for allowing conferences to choose whether or not they give scholarship athletes $2,000 more dollars on a scholarship next year. It looks like a threeyear trial, but at a time where these young people are fighting so hard and they're competing in the classroom and making so much money for places like Texas on the field, I once again applaud the NCAA for trying to get more money in their scholarships so they can have better opportunities to enjoy their experience at college.
On preparation for Texas Tech: You do it with the OU game. You go back and watch Kansas State. You go back and watch A & M. A & M was a really tight game. They lost it on the field goal block at the end of the game, and you go back and really look at the game with Oklahoma, and you throw the others out. [Iowa State head coach] Paul Rhoads worked for Tommy. Iowa State is one of those teams that when they get you like they did us last year, they relish that opportunity. It was a perfect setting because ontheroad games with Oklahoma and Texas, two of the biggest games Texas Tech has all year, with Iowa State stuck in between. We've been there. It's a hard thing to do. And Iowa State has some good players. They can beat you.
On Texas Tech QB Seth Doege: I think Seth is as good as any of them. You go look, they have 22 touchdowns, five interceptions. He's 6'1". He's about 200 pounds. He's not going to just run to beat you, but he can run and he can make plays with his feet. You can tell he's a coach's son, and he makes really good decisions and he's a tremendous leader.
On the Texas Tech running game: The fact that they're gaining nearly 150 yards rushing tells you that they're really being stubborn and running the football. We've always felt like if we can slow down their running game and their screen game, we'd have a chance to make them onedimensional. This bunch is making that tougher. Their offensive line is still taking big splits. They're very talented up front. he two seniors, like I said, are listed as top pro prospects, so this is a good football team. But it's obviously led by Seth. I mean, he is the difference maker. They've got great skill outside. They spread you out. They're going to run it enough to keep you busy inside, but they can beat you outside.
On the team’s progress: We've got five games left against very difficult opponents, and we need to continue to improve. There's no question we were better at UCLA than we were at Rice. There was no question we were better against Oklahoma State than we were Oklahoma, and I don't think there's any doubt, even though the competition was not as good, we were a lot better against Kansas and more confident than we were against Oklahoma State. So we need to continue to grow as a football team. We haven't played a game where we didn't try. We haven't played a game where we didn't want to be physical. And what we've got to do is keep growing at quarterback. We're still developing both guys, and I thought Case [McCoy] did a good job when he came in. He made a good check on 3rd down. So we want those guys to keep growing, and offensively we want our package to keep growing. I also felt like Saturday our coaches worked together much better than say earlier in the season – Oklahoma - some of the games where you could tell they haven't been in those situations before. And not the pressure, not the setting, but just right before the half, and this time we scored 10 points within five minutes of the half and did the things we needed to do to win the football game and dominate in the fourth quarter. So I thought our coaching adjustments were more on the same page in the Kansas game than at any other time during the season. Hopefully that'll help us here at the end. Texas has got a little bit of the same thing on defense.
On trying to get bowl eligible: We've continued to work with the brickbybrick mentality and take step by step, and this step gives them an opportunity to do something last year's team didn't do. They're already at the same number of wins that the entire team won last year, so from this point forward, let's step it up and make sure we finish strong. And I told them, we're a team that could win the last five games, we're a team that could lose the last five games. And I told the coaches the same thing. This is about coaching. Let's do a great job coaching here at the end. That's what we're paid for. So let's don’t sit there and say,”Boy, this team scores a lot of points. They're really good. We are going to be scared.” But at the same time we're not in a position right now that we can feel like we can go out there and beat anyone without playing well. So we have to have great plans. We have to do a tremendous job with our special teams. We've got to be on the top of our game here for five weeks as coaches, as well.
On RB Joe Bergeron being the strongest member of the team: I am not sure. We'd have to ask [strength coaches] Bennie and Jeff Madden about that. I think [DT] Desmond Jackson is the strongest man on the team, and he's not a running back. But Joe played well. We do have to understand that Fozzy and [RB] Malcolm [Brown] were there at the first of the game when everybody was fresh. And I told the staff when they gave Joe the most valuable player I thought that was great and a real plus for Joe, and he looked really good. But at the same time there were different legs on the field for Kansas.
On what he learned about his team vs. Kansas: The thing that I learned is this team gets it. They understood that we needed to go out and dominate Kansas, and they did. I thought the fact that it was a cancer awareness weekend, they each wore a different color ribbon on their helmet, and I thought they were passionate and competing for whoever was sick in their family. And a lot of kids [might say]. “I'm not worried about that. That's stupid. I'm not going to dedicate this game to somebody. And when you do [dedicate the game], you should pay for it. You should compete as hard as you can. And I think in every ballgame this team has competed as hard as they can from start to finish. The Iowa State second half we didn't play well offensively, and that was one of the challenges at halftime of the Kansas game. The game is in good position here, but let's go out and finish strong.
On Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville adapting to Big 12 play: Tommy has been around a long time. He's smart. He's won a bunch of football games, and I think he knows you've got to score a lot of points in this league. The offense that he had at Auburn was a physical, rundownhill offense that was very much like the other offenses in the SEC. But out here I think he knew the Tech people liked the spread and had been successful, and I think Tommy was smart by continuing to go in that same direction.
On if the standard for the defense is now set higher: I think the standard is as high as it's always been, and that sent a message to our players. Again, if you could have made the entire defense the defensive player of the game and the entire offense [the offensive player of the game], because backs do not make yards without an offensive line and tight ends that are knocking people around. And that was as physical as we've been in a while around here. But we did want them to understand, we are 5 and 2. Let's don't get ahead of ourselves here. We need to go back to work. And as we have said, Kansas has played a horrible schedule, and they're beaten down a little bit right now. But we've got some tough opponents. Everybody is good that we play for the rest of the year, so we're going to have to play well.
On what mentality he wants the team to have this week: I want them to be confident, and we took a lot of confidence out of Saturday night. They're excited about - like our coaches are excited about - seeing where we are over the next five weeks. I want to see how much we've improved. Last year we didn't fight all the time. I thought we played hard after the Iowa State game and every ballgame, but we just didn't seem to be excited, didn't have the confidence that you have to [have] to make this stretch run. And right now I think this team and coaching staff has a really good feel of who we are, what our strengths are, what our concerns are, what we need to improve, and I feel the team feels the same way.
On RB Malcolm Brown: Yes, Malcolm gets better each week, and he had so many plays in the first half where he had tremendous vision. The first touchdown, that's a play to the left and he cuts it all the way back behind the right end to scor. And he makes a lot of tough plays. He's just hard to bring down.
On the progression of the passing game: People forget, in '04 when we beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl, we were 106th in passing in the country. We were second in rushing. So we were really good at running the football, but we'd throw a few play action passes in a game. We weren't a great defensive football team at that time. We were good. But we were a great running team, and right now we want to be a great running team and help our passing game catch up. [Co-offensive coordinator] Coach [Major] Applewhite, [co-offensive coordinator] Coach [Bryan] Harsin, [tight ends ] Coach [Bruce] Chambers, [wide receivers] Coach [Darrell] Wyatt have kept the quarterbacks and receivers and running backs and tight ends out after every practice, and are just going over and over and over and over to try to get the timing right. We've also cut down on some of it so we just get rep after rep after rep. And I'm seeing both quarterbacks improve, and I'm seeing the receiving corps get better. David [Ash] threw a great pass to [WR] Jaxon [Shipley] on the fade in the end zone that would have been a touchdown. The guy made a great play, knocks it out of his hands late. And then he threw a ball that was too tight to a wideopen [TE] D.J. Grant on the other side of the end zone. So there's things there that we have to continue to work on and develop, and we'll have to throw the ball better here at the end. But the better you run the football, the easier it makes the passing game because people are going to put more guys around the line of scrimmage and leave more people open, and it helps you get the ball downfield.
On QB David Ash’s progress: I think he's doing much better. The three obvious plays you'd like to have back, you want to get lower on the quarterback sneak. He tried to jump in, and he was the shotgun guy, so he probably didn't have many quarterback sneaks so that's hard to practice in practice. The interception in the end zone and the 16yard sack. I think those are the only three things in the game that you'd like to have back for him, and that's progress.
On DE Jackson Jeffcoat: You’d hope every one of your players would play their best. And what we hope, because Jackson was hurt half of last year and now here he is a sophomore, that that's a breakout game for him and that he'll get the confidence and know that he can do that. Have that standard set for himself now, and he could have that type game each week. We've got to get pressure this week. This will be really interesting. We got pressure on Kansas, and it was hard because they didn't throw it that much. This bunch will have plenty of opportunities. We have got to get pressure on Seth. We cannot let him stand back there and throw the ball. When he does, he's nearly 70 percent [in] completions.
On being able to tackle in space vs. Texas Tech: They're going to play in space. You've got to stop the run and the screen game to the best of your ability and then you've got to cover. And [CB Carrington [Byndom] and Quandre have done a great job, but these guys are really good. I mean, they can make plays in the passing game.
On playing with confidence the rest of the way: Well, it is, but we could still lose the last five games, so I think we've got to prove it. We talked last year, and it didn't work. So it's time to shut up. Somebody asked me why why don't coaches get teams ready to play every week, because they saw all the upsets and near upsets across the country. It's really hard. These are not video games. You're working with human beings. They've got girlfriends that break up with them. They've got class that they've got a final. I rode up with a young student, she had her notes and her hands were sweating, and she was shaking, and I said, “Where are you headed?” She said, “Coach, I've got a huge test.” and I said, “Me, too. Mine is Saturday. But I've got a few more days to study.” But we all have our pressures, and it is hard for young people to play hard 12 times and be focused. And they try, but sometimes it's just not there. Your biggest fear as a coach is that your team will not play their best. And when they play their best, you want them confident. You don't want them satisfied. You don't want confidence to become complacency. Tech, they'll be coaching them hard this week. You see what happened when Oklahoma went to Kansas State and played great after they had a tough game with Tech. Usually athletes are competitive and they respond, so the worst thing that could have happened to us was Iowa State beating Tech because they'll really have their attention this weekend. And our guys have to take some confidence out of Kansas, but they can't feel like they're there yet because we're not.
On if he is seeing the young DBs growing up fast: We have. You go back to Earl Thomas and Blake in this game in '08. They were both freshmen, and it's a tough game. They can expose you very easily. I think the other part of that is as a young defensive back you ought to be really excited on defense about this offense because you get to rush the passer, and they all love to rush the passer. You get to cover guys. The ball is going to be thrown a bunch, so you've got some chances to knock some balls down, intercept some balls, and they all like that. That's like playing basketball in the backyard. People used to call an offense like that basketball on grass. What Tommy has done is add an element of being physical with the running game up front.
On if defensive backs are ever scared in a game like this: No, they like this. If you're a defensive back and you're scared, you don't stay out there long. They disappear fast.
On his thoughts about being inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame: Yes, I was very humbled and very honored. Number one, it sounds like coach speak, but the award for a head coach is for all the coaches and staff members and players that have played at Texas since '98. And we've done very well, so that's why my name is mentioned for this award. You wish you could send an email or a letter to every one of those people. I've thought about how to say you have been so honored by your name being involved with this award. And the other thing that's humbling is look at the other people they're putting in. And to be a guy from out of state that came in not knowing people in the state of Texas and really not knowing a lot about this state other than what you've read and what I've found, I feel very humbled that the Hall of Fame in this state would honor me and our teams and our staff by letting me in.