Nov. 2, 2011
Assistant head coach/defensive backs coach Duane Akina
On preparations for Texas Tech: We've felt that we had a productive week, but we're still chipping away. Obviously when you're playing against one of the top five offenses in the country, you are excited about it and there's a great challenge ahead for us.
On the excitement after the Kansas win last Saturday: It was a great win. That was a great team victory where all three phases played well. A lot of people had a chance to get out on the field and that's always good for your locker room - against a team that was actually very efficient [offensively] coming into the game. Now we just have to prove that we can stack another game up behind it.
On using press coverage in the secondary: That's kind of been our history to all the way back when I first started here. We are a press team. We always have been. Since the `80s, that's our starting point. You kind of look at what the offense does. Who you're playing against, and you figure out what you need to do. Although, you never want to be one-dimensional, and I think in the growth of a defensive back, you want to make sure they have a lot of different skills for them to have an opportunity to go on and play. We are a press team. We're one of the few that do it quite a bit in the conference, and I think that gives you a chance to play against passing teams, where you can keep your guys close to them.
On development of the press coverage at Texas: Early on our models were the early [Oakland] Raiders when they had what they called the "9-man defense." That was the model for us, and we went to it when the Raiders were playing it a lot. We found that it helped us in recruiting, and we found that you could recruit athletes to it and it's what the NFL looks for. It helps us across the board I think. It helps us schematically in recruiting, and it helps the kids for their future down the road.
On the press coverage regenerating at Texas from class to class: I think so. I think that's one of the attractions to us. They see guys down there challenging, playing press-man.
On the similarities between the passing games of Oklahoma State and Texas Tech: They are probably similar in a lot of ways with some of the concepts. Tech may not give us as many formations and personnel packages that Oklahoma State does. They [Tech] are much more just ten personnel and even their tight ends are flexed quite a bit. Formation-wise they are not as much. They are very, very efficient at what they do. Ever since Mike Leach was there. Every year seems like 350 to 380 [yards] is their magic number to throw and 500 yards is what they are. I say this every week though, you just look beyond them and you see more of the same in this conference. Once again, it's a lot of fun.
On the similarities between Tommy Tuberville's offense to Mike Leach's: No, I don't think there are too many similarities. I would say that there are a lot of principles that are the same. When you get into spread teams, they all really run a lot of the same concepts that are out there. Each offensive coordinator may put in his own little wrinkle. Or there may be personnel that are different spots, whether it's one to the field, one to the boundary or two to the field, wherever you choose to put your receivers of choice. For the most part they have the same principles. If they see man they do something, if they see zone they do the same thing.
On S Blake Gideon being a coach on the field: Blake came in with a tremendous IQ. His father did a great job growing him up around it. He's one that really excels in that area, and he continues to plus his game. Where he is helping out the team, you saw players like [former Longhorns] Earl Thomas and Curtis Brown, to make that leadership role more of their personalities. Players that were outstanding physical athletes that have gotten by with just the physical side when they were younger, and then became much more in tuned to the mental side of the game.
On Blake Gideon and his personality as a player: He's a veteran. He's been through a lot. He's seen some of the good times and some of the down times that this game can do to you. He's been through quite a few experiences. You're talking about a guy that has started every game since he was a true freshman. I think that in itself speaks about his talent level. His maturity to come in and handle that. On top of all that, he's done it at a place like the University of Texas and in this conference. I think that's really quite a story.
On Texas Tech being a tempo vs. timing based offense: I think everyone has their smatterings of tempo, it's just part of everyone's offense. You just see so many productive offenses having success with their tempo. We'll see some of their attempts to have the tempo dictate the game, and how much we see of that will depend on how we handle it.
On Texas Tech's offense compared to when they played Oklahoma and Iowa State: Against OU, their quarterback really caught a rhythm and got hot. Iowa State, he just wasm't on the field quite as much. That will happen when we control the ball that much. Obviously when you put up the kind of numbers that they're putting up, they are going to come in here hitting on all cylinders. We're coming expecting that. It's a big game, and we're excited about the challenge.
On Texas Tech QB Seth Doege: He's like a lot of the quarterbacks that have come out of that system. He's very efficient on where he goes with the football. He understands their offense and understands coverages, and what he's seeing and where he needs to go. We have to do a good job of mixing some things up, and we have to do a good job disguising and getting him off rhythm.
Co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach Major Applewhite
On last week's offensive performance: The goal is just to keep getting better. I know there's certain numbers out there, but you don't focus too much on that. Just focus on the next opponent and get better. It's a good opportunity. We're young. Everybody knows that. It's not an excuse. Just got to keep getting better.
On going against the Texas Tech defense: You teach your guys, offense and defense, to look at them as nameless, faceless opponents. We know that Texas Tech is a good football team. We don't pay attention to numbers. Those are always skewed. You can make of them what you want. They're capable of playing great defense. They didn't have a defense when we went out and played them in 2008 and they played phenomenal that night. So, you just don't pay attention to the numbers. You go play the opponent.
On if the offense wants to stay out on the field as long as possible: It's kind of typical. Every team when they go to play a team like Texas Tech or Oklahoma State, those teams that are fast paced and can score a lot of points, you want to play a little bit of defense with your offense. You want to create great field position with your special teams. We talked about that in terms of our punt unit and our kickoff coverage unit this week. So those are just the things that you have to do in order to beat a team that is that explosive.
On RB Joe Bergeron: He's done a great job. He has. You've got to put it out there come game time. He's done that. He's consistently gotten better at practice. As with any player, there's always room for improvement.
On how the coaching staff determines player rotations: There's a lot of different factors. Starting off number one with packages. Certain packages call for specific players. You may have a guy, like Joe, who has a hot hand but then all of a sudden you call some kind of sweep that involves [RB] D.J. [Monroe] or [RB Foswhitt] Fozzy [Whittaker], or [WR] Marquise [Goodwin]. So all of a sudden he's got to come out. So that'll hinder you there from a package standpoint. Also, you've got to deal with a hot hand. A guy who's running the ball extremely well. You want to keep him in the flow of things. You start to see certain guys and understand when they're getting tired and you need to swap them out. So all those things come into play when you're rotating guys.
On if he may use Joe Bergeron earlier in the game: Absolutely. You can do it different ways. And you don't want to mess around too much because what we've done has worked. But you can spell those guys in the first half, and keep them fresher throughout the course of the game. Instead of running the guy until he's completely done in the middle of the third quarter and then putting in the new guy. You can rotate them through the first half. You've just got to throw the line with that and not disrupt the flow.
On having a deep rotation of running backs: There's so much that we're doing with the backs. With D.J., with [RB] Cody [Johnson], with Fozzy, with Joe, with [RB] Malcolm [Brown] - there's so much there. We've talked to those guys, and you're not really having to sell them on it because they can conceive and understand it themselves, that if [they're] are fresh throughout the course of the game, we're a better football team. So if you can take his carry and give him a rest, then that helps us. So we can stay fresh throughout four quarters.
On the missed fourth-and-one against Kansas: It's a situation where we moved the ball down there. We thought we were really close to the goal line. We thought with an inches type play, we could go ahead and sneak it in there. And we didn't. We learned from that. You've got to coach every single play. Some plays you think are "gimmes," and you've got to coach every single play and the finite details of those plays. We've looked at that and seen where our mistake was. We've gone over it. So we'll be better next time.
On if it's important to the team to have the students in their seats early for kickoff: There's no doubt. It doesn't just end with the students. It goes with everybody. These are kids. I know we look at them different on game day. But they're still 18, 19, 20 year olds. And they go in the environment around them. And they kind of go with the flow. If the flow is loud, rambunctious and everybody's having a good time, then they feed off of that. There's no doubt. You can't hide that. So we need everybody involved. Our fans, our students, everybody.
On Cody Johnson making progress at fullback: Yes. He is. He did a great job Saturday. There were a couple of plays. Obviously the holding, he was just out in the open field so you can't do that. But he did a really good job. We ran a version of power 25 times or more in that game. He's a lead blocker on that play and did a phenomenal job. He just needs to understand you can't accept good. Great is available. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. And get better. And he is.
On if having an offensive lineman play tight end is making a difference for them: Absolutely. You've got a bigger body up there. A guy that's doing a little bit more base blocking. He's keeping the line of scrimmage more flat. Getting push at some point. Not allowing penetration on key plays. So that has helped us out tremendously. You see a lot of teams doing that across the country in short-yard situations.
On Texas Tech QB Seth Doege: You know, I don't watch their defense very much. But I have watched them on television. He just reminds me of those guys that they've always had. You may not know their name until they start, but you know they're extremely efficient. They take care of the football. They know where to go. That's one thing that is very common with all those Texas Tech quarterbacks. Even when Coach [Mike] Leach was there. They know where to go with the ball. Very seldom are you going to find them flat-footed not knowing where to go.