Mack Brown Monday press conference transcript: Nov. 8
Nov. 8, 2010
Opening statement: Any time you lose a football game, it’s tough. It’s tough for people who love Texas Football. It’s tough for the fans, the administration, the faculty, especially when we’ve had struggling times like we’ve had since the Nebraska game. It’s something we’re unfamiliar with. It’s something that we obviously don’t like. As hard as it is for the other people I mentioned, just think about your coaches and your players. They die with every loss. It’s very difficult for them. It’s hard to fight back. As you always know, sports fans and media get negative when you lose. It’s fair. The players have to handle all of that adversity. The coaches have to handle that adversity, and they have to turn it around and try to win at the same time.
At the difficult times you still have to try to fix your problems. You can’t get down. You can’t lay around and gripe. You can’t feel sorry for yourself. You can’t point fingers. You have to go back to work. That’s all you can do. As much as you’d like to do some of the other, it’s not productive. Obviously when you’ve got problems, you’ve got to fix them. That’s what we’re trying to do. You stay upbeat. You stay demanding. You work as hard as you can to get it fixed. Unlike the NFL, we can’t have a waiver wire. The players we’ve got are the ones we’re going to keep working with. We tried to play a lot of the younger ones last week. Some of them played well, but you still want to win the game. Some didn’t play as well as we hoped.
We have two-and-a-half weeks and three games to get things fixed. All we can do is fight our guts out and try to keep working, understanding that as disappointed as we are, the players aren’t going to quit. They didn’t quit Saturday night. The coaches aren’t going to quit. We’re going to keep working. The players actually played hard against Kansas State. It’s hard to believe when the game turned out as bad as it did. They didn’t quit. They didn’t give up. We just didn’t play well. Any time you lose five turnovers and you gain none, you’re going to lose the game. Usually if you lose three turnovers you lose the game, much less [losing] five. We continue to turn the ball over in games like Iowa State and UCLA and now K-State and don’t give ourselves a chance to win.
Also, I thought Saturday night probably more than ever before, field position was a key. Part of that was because of the turnovers. The other part was the kicking game. The entire team is responsible for that and the coaches as well. I felt it during the game, but looking at the video Sunday and this morning again, it’s hard to imagine, but K-State’s first five scoring drives - four touchdowns and a field goal - averaged 23 yards. Their first 10 possessions started on average [at] the Texas 30-yard line. We gave ourselves absolutely no chance to win throughout the ballgame.
For the third consecutive week we lost a game where we owned the advantage in first downs. We had 23 first downs to Kansas State’s 11. Again, like last week, our total offense was 412[total yards for Texas]-270 [total yards for Kansas State]. It’s obviously not about those two issues. Those are stats that are unimportant. The stats that matter are the ones with explosive plays, which we did a little bit better than they did in that area, [and] field position which we were horrible and turnovers which we were horrible. Two of the three we were bad. We gave up too many explosive plays to them, and we still didn’t get into the end zone like we need to in the red zone.
Special teams; we lost all phases of the kicking game. When you go on the road, you have to run the ball well - we didn’t. You have to stop the run - we didn’t. You have to win the kicking game - we didn’t. You have to win the turnover battle, and we didn’t. We didn’t do the basic fundamental things that you have to do to have a chance to win much less to put yourself in a position in the fourth quarter to win.
We kicked off to the number one kickoff team in the country, and they run it back 63 yards. Two plays later, [Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas] runs off tackle and scores a touchdown. The offense has a good drive. They get it down to the 30-yard line. We fake a field goal. The snap is high. It goes right over Justin [Tucker]’s hands. He really did a great job of getting back and falling on it or they could’ve picked it up and run it back for a touchdown. We didn’t score in the kicking game. We didn’t gain field position in the kicking game. We didn’t force a turnover in the kicking game. I did think the one bright spot was that Adrian Phillips did manage punts throughout the night and didn’t hurt us in that area, and we didn’t block one punt. Obviously, we had a penalty on another one that led to a score.
Defense; we didn’t start the game right. As I said, the player we wanted to stop throughout the night goes off tackle the second play of the game [and] goes untouched for a touchdown. We gave up too many big plays again. We gave up a 34-yard run, a 17-yard run, a 22-yard run, a 20-yard run and a 19-yard run. That’s with them being one dimensional and [us] knowing they were going to run the football. We didn’t stop the big play, and we still didn’t force a turnover. Keenan Robinson did force the one fumble, and we did not get on it. We did have five three-and-outs. We did have two sacks. We held Kansas State on third downs, two out-of-12. They were successful four out-of-five times in the red zone. We played much better in the second half [than] in the first half. I don’t know why we didn’t start the game well.
Offensively; you have five turnovers - you give your team no chance to win. Three of those turnovers were down in your own red zone area. Then you go back and throw an interception in your end zone that cost you points right before the half. I actually thought as poorly we played in the first half, if we score a touchdown before the half it’s 24-7. We get the ball to start the second half, and we’ve actually got a chance to get back in the ballgame. Then we throw the interception going in, and then we come back out and start the third quarter with a turnover. That’s totally unacceptable. We’re sitting here right now minus-12 in turnovers. The teams that win the national championship will probably be in the plus 20s. I remember when Florida and Oklahoma played, it was 22 and 23. I’m not sure what we were last year. We’re not going to win games until we quit turning the ball over, start stopping the big play and start doing a better job in the kicking game.
We did get to play a lot of the young guys, as I said. I’m proud of the kids that they didn’t quit. Most teams would have with the adversity they’ve been under, and the pressure they’ve been under. As many things that happened Saturday, you see pro teams quitting, you see college teams quitting. The guys did try. We watched every play closely to make sure they tried. We talked to them in the dressing room after the game and told them - if you quit now, it’ll be something you’ll do for the rest of your life. You become a loser if you quit. You can lose football games and try to figure out how to straighten them out. It’s a part of your life that you don’t want to have [quitting] as a coach or as a player.
Chykie Brown broke his arm. I hate it for him. He’s had a great career at Texas. He’s out for the year. It’s a tough way for him to end his senior year. Kyle Hix played the first half and then had a head injury. Tre’ Newton played eight plays, and he had a head injury. They were taken out of the game. When that happens, the doctors do take them out. They do give them a battery of tests and will not let them go back in if they feel like there’s any chance it might further damage them. If you’ve got any questions, you can talk to [Assistant AD for Media Relations] John [Bianco] and he will get with [Head Athletic Trainer for Football] Kenny Boyd. I don’t know the tests that they do. I do know all they do is tell us, “Coach, Tre’ is out for the game.” In fact, I didn’t know Chykie had broken his arm until after the game. They don’t tell us that during the game, because they feel like it’s very upsetting to players on the sideline [and] obviously coaches, and they want to talk to their parents before they give that information out. Kyle and Tre’ will be monitored during the week [to] see what their status will be for the weekend. Aaron Williams has been cleared to come back. Jackson Jeffcoat has one of those ankles that doesn’t seem to get well. He didn’t practice but very little last week and in pregame again he couldn’t push off. I took him off the depth chart this week. Hopefully at some point here down the road he can get it well, and he can help us at the end of the season.
[Oklahoma State head coach] Mike Gundy has done a tremendous job with his team. It’s really interesting that they were not supposed to be a good team this year. They were last year. They got their injuries and kind of fell apart at the end of the year. This year they’ve come back and done so well. Dana Holgerson came in as offensive coordinator and they got 725 yards total offense against Baylor last weekend. They’re unbelievable with what they’re doing. They’ve scored 65, 41, 65, 38, 54, 34, 41 in losing to Nebraska, 24 and 55 points. They’re third in the country in offense. They’re averaging 46 points per game, nearly 200 yards rushing – most of it [by] Kendall Hunter. He’s been unbelievable. He’s averaging 6.1 yards per run. They’re averaging 353 yards passing and about 550 yards total offense. What Dana has done is taken what they did at Texas Tech. He’s cut the splits. They’re running the ball better. They’re more balanced. They’ve got an older quarterback in [Brandon] Weeden that played pro baseball. Justin Blackmon is every bit as good as [Michael Crabtree]. He is just an amazing player. Those guys are playing as well as anybody in the country.
Their defense has got six seniors. They’re about 29 percent blitz. Bill Young has done a tremendous job with their defense. He’s another guy they brought in a couple years ago. When you’re playing with as much confidence as they are, it’s fun to watch them. They’re getting after it, and they’re making all the plays. It’s something they’ve been waiting on. It’s a great team for them. It’ll be a big challenge for us. We’re not scoring points. We’re turning the ball over. We’re not playing with a lot of confidence, which I feel really bad about because it’s my job to make sure that we have a confident team and a confident staff and right now we’re not doing that.
On how to fix the running game: It can’t be totally fixed. When you get behind so fast like we did on Saturday night, and you’ve got to catch up and you’re not stopping them and your kicking game is not working, I thought we got away from the run but we’re having to score. That puts a tremendous amount of pressure on Garrett [Gilbert]. Garrett is feeling like he has to score on every play. He has to throw it deep. I think that everybody felt like we have to catch up fast. The thing that people need to understand [is that] everybody wants to fix it. The coaches aren’t fighting, but they want to fix it. They don’t feel good about this. The players want it fixed. Everybody wants to fix it. Obviously we need to be balanced to win. When we were balanced against Baylor, if we’d have scored touchdowns instead of kicked field goals, we could have won. And if we didn’t turn the ball over. When you turn it over and you’re not stopping them and you’re giving up plays in the kicking game, your offense gets out of the thing that we need to be doing right now, which is to be balanced. You get out of it too quickly. It’s [trying to] force turnovers in games like UCLA, Iowa State and Kansas State. I thought they were all alike, except this time we tried hard. The other two I didn’t feel like we tried as hard.
On how to gain confidence: I think it’s chicken and egg without a doubt. They practiced really well last week. It’s funny - we dropped six balls last week. We dropped three this week. That’s a positive and a negative. We’re dropping too many balls. I thought that the receivers did play a little bit better. The offensive line; there were three freshmen out there the whole second half. I thought they fought and tried to hang in there after Kyle [Hix] got hurt. You’ve got to start getting your attitude in a position where you’re not worried about negative things happening. Two of the interceptions are tipped balls. Another one I thought the receiver should’ve knocked the ball down fighting for it. He kind of stopped, and they intercept the ball. There’s obviously things we can do. That’s a problem when things are bad. When things are bad everybody’s mad. Everybody’s down. Everybody’s after them. They have to hear all that stuff during the week. They have to be strong enough to step up. Coaches have to be positive with them. It’s really strange, when everybody’s down on them and coaches coach them really hard and get down on them, they just go in the hole. Right now as coaches, we have to be more positive than we would be. We have to be strong. We have to be demanding. You have to be upbeat with 18 to 20-year-olds that don’t have many positive things in their life on the field. That’s the only way to turn it around. That’s what we’re going to keep doing.
On QB Garrett Gilbert’s confidence: I thought [against Baylor] he played great. We’ve got some inconsistency. Greg [Davis] will talk to you more. He’s talked to him more than I have about it. I thought that he gets pressing, and he feels like it’s all on him to go win the game with every play. You get off your reads sometimes and throw deep balls instead of run[ning] it. He’s running it really well. There are some great things he’s doing. We just can’t turn the ball over.
On the quarterback situation during the game: Yes, we talked about putting Case [McCoy] in with six minutes left. Case was cold and he wasn’t loose. There was a three-and-out. We said let’s not put him in until he gets warm. We sure don’t want him to go out there [after] standing here all game. He hasn’t played hardly all year and [then] have him not do well. Then he got loose and I think Greg felt like Garrett was having a good drive. He was having some positive things happen. He felt like he needed to leave him in there so he could finish right.
On if the staff considered putting QB Case McCoy into the game earlier: We talked about it. I think the best chance to win at the end is Garrett. We’re still trying to win games. Everybody else wants to move on to next year. We’re not. We’re trying to beat Oklahoma State. That’s what we’ll work on hard this week to do. You’ve got to send a real clear message to your team that you’re not quitting and you’re not giving up when a lot of people want you to. We’re not going to. We’re going to fight our guts out for two-and-a-half weeks. We’re still trying to win those eight games.
On if a strong end to the season can help for the future: Sometimes you take your darkest times and they can help you fix some things that end up appreciating winning more. I shouldn’t have griped at them for beating Rice. I’ll never gripe about a good win anymore where we didn’t think we played great. I’ve gotten over that. It makes everybody want to tighten up every little thing. We’ve got to get back to where we’ve been. It’s been fun for 12 years. We’ve had a lot of great moments. We’ve lost those right now. You’ve got to fight your guts out to get them back. That’s what we’ll do. I’ve been here before. These players have not. Most coaches that have coached as long as ours have been. You don’t want to do that, but not everybody’s gone 12 straight years to a bowl and not had a bad year. That doesn’t happen very often.
On if he looks back on past coaching experiences to help fix things: I even go back to some of the players to the times when we’ve had struggles and say, “What turned it for you? What was good for you? What did I do that didn’t help you?” We’re reaching to every possible area we can to try to get things fixed here. I feel like the analogy - it’s like a plane that’s got oil leaking and you’ve got to fix the oil. You’ve got to get it stopped. You’ve got to stop it and start it over. It’s hard with the negatives that are out there. Places that don’t have fan support and don’t have much media, it isn’t an issue. Guys can get things fixed. Here, you’re under the microscope, good and bad. I’ve told the guys, “You’ve handled winning with class. You have to handle losing with class.” Also, teams see you struggling, and they play better. They play with confidence. They say, “If we can get Texas struggling a little bit, they’re going to lose their confidence.” That happened on Saturday night. It’s obvious. We talked to the guys about it. You cannot let that happen. You cannot get your head down in sports or you’ll get toppled. It’s kind of a microcosm of life. If you get down in your life - it’s like you all, if your ratings stink, you’ve got to get them fixed. That’s what you do. If you lie down and pout, they’ll fire you. They may fire you if you’re doing a good job. Still, you’ve got to get them fixed. My life is no different than yours. Mine’s just more public.
On if he thinks the team is playing with passion: On Saturday night I was really worried about it. I challenged them at halftime. I was hard on them. I thought they tried as hard - they played a much better second half than they did the first half. They came out and started poorly. You talk about getting your head down. They could’ve just laid down and packed it in and gone home. Those guys that were on the sideline were pulling each other up. I’d see them every time somebody would get down or a play would happen that was bad. I’d look at all of them and say, “You better get your head up.” People say I’m too positive sometimes. I’m going to be positive. I’m going to be tough, but I’m going to be positive. I’m going to keep these guys playing. We are not going to lay down and quit. We may not win the game at Kansas State, and it’s a shame that we played as poorly as we did. They are going to play hard. That’s one thing we can do, confident or not confident.
On if the team’s struggles compound on each other: I think it’s a domino effect with teams that aren’t playing well. They get down too easily. They’ve got to overcome it. They’ve got to fight back. That’s something we’ve got to do. That’s important for me. In this ballgame coming up, they have a great team. They’ve got maybe the best offense in the country coming in here with mostly Texas players against a team that’s been struggling. We’re going to plan on winning. We’re going to fight our guts out. We’re going to play 60 minutes. We can do things fundamentally sound to help us. We can turn the ball over less. We can run the ball better. We can knock some balls loose. We can kick the ball better. Those are things we can do that we know we can do. Oklahoma State is a great team. They’re going to do what they do. We know here’s some fundamentally things that we did at Nebraska that we can do. I told them, this is still the team that won at Nebraska. You can play better. You’ve just got to do it.