Player press conference quotes: Nov. 8
Nov. 8, 2010
DE Dravannti Johnson
On what the game plan is for Saturday: Just to beeline and do what we’re supposed to do. Put pressure on the quarterback. We’re going to find ways to get to him. These past teams, we’ve turned it up, so we have to continue to do what we’ve done all season and try to get to the quarterback and help our DB’s out.
On the most frustrating thing from the past couple of games: Probably that it’s not anything the other teams are doing to us, it’s everything that we’ve been doing to ourselves. It’s not making the plays, not hitting the holes right [and] not making the tackles. Coach [Brown] told us yesterday that we’re now ranked fifth in the nation for defense with 20 yards off of last year. That’s how close we are to hitting the goals we were hitting last year. We cut out some of the big plays, we’re stopping a lot of scoring drives [and] stopping a lot of yardage.
On if the team has lost its confidence: No, we’re never going to lose our pride. We’re never going to lose our confidence. We’re still a Texas team. We’re still Texas defense. So we’re still going to go out there and fight as hard as we can. It’s just that we have to get focused when it comes to game time and do what we’re supposed to be doing. Everybody, do our individual job and once we do that, we can get all together. We’ll have a successful game.
On the goals for the rest of the season: The goal is to beat Oklahoma State. And the rest [of the games] we play [the goal] is to beat them. We’re not talking about bowl games right now. It hasn’t been spoken of. The only thing we are focusing on right now is beating Oklahoma State.
On forcing turnovers: The ball has been on the ground a lot for us this year. It just hasn’t bounced our way. A lot of times, we knock the ball out and it goes right back to one of their players. We just have to do a better job of getting to the ball and getting on it and making plays for our team and our defense. So turnovers are going to come, and we’re going to keep fighting to get them, and we’re going to get some.
On what he thinks he needs to improve on: I just have to keep doing what I can to help this team and not make mistakes and do what I’m supposed to do when I’m supposed to do it. If I do that, I have to think that the other guys will do the same thing.
LB Dustin Earnest
On why good practices aren’t translating into good games: If you prepare well, you should play well. I’m not sure why that correlation isn’t happening, but it’s something we’re trying hard to fix.
On if there is a confidence level at practice that is not present during the game: I think there are a lot of guys on the team that have played a lot of games and won a lot of games, so the confidence level is not an issue. I think we prepare well. We should be playing well, and that just hasn’t happened.
On this how this season has played out: The season has definitely not gone the way I expected my senior year to go. But I still love my team and my coaches, and I still get to play football.
DE Sam Acho
On if they’ve been through enough adversity: I can’t tell what is enough. But we’ve been through a lot of adversity. It is good because it will teach us a lot of life lessons that go beyond football. It teaches us we’re always going to fight. We’re never going to give up. We’re going to work hard and keep on finding a way to be successful.
On how you turn this season into a positive: I think the only way is knowing inside what you believe in and what you believe to be true works, and then dedicating yourself to that. And this team is dedicated to that and dedicated to going back to doing the little things right, and focusing on getting better. Whether it’s a little bit or a lot. Just finding ways to get better and that will go a long way.
On how he brings confidence to his teammates: You have to remind them sometimes that we’re all here for a reason. Especially the guys on this football team. They got recruited for a reason, because they are the best in the country at their position. They came here to get better, and they got better over the summer and spring and during two-a-days. So you have to remind those guys things are going to get better. It’s not all downhill. We’ll find a way to get out of this, and like I said, it teaches you a lot of life lessons. Someone asked me earlier if I’ve ever been through such a team when expectations are so high and we didn’t live up to them. And I said no, but I’m glad going through this because it will teach me perseverance and how to survive in a time of struggle.
On why things haven’t improved: I couldn’t tell you. If we had that answer, we’d see different results. I think we just have to work by faith. A lot of times you can’t see what is happening, but behind-the-scenes, a lot is going on that will pay off long-term.
On why practice results aren’t translating to the game: We had a great week of practice against Baylor, probably the best week of practice all year. And we did play well. We had a great week of practice against Kansas State, and for some reason, it is not translating over to the games. So we have to find a way to incrementally get better. Just a little bit for each player will bring out the best in us. A lot of times, people in life will get satisfied with where they are, what they’ve done or what they’ve been doing. I think this will teach us to never be satisfied and just work hard in a little area one way or another and help the team out.
On how unexpected this season has turned out: It definitely was a surprise to me. I didn’t expect this to happen. It’s not going to be a surprise how this team fights out of it. Win or lose, this team is going to keep fighting. We’re never going to give up. No matter the result, we’re focused on finding a way to win, and that is what we’re going to do against Oklahoma State this weekend.
On Oklahoma State’s offense: They’re a great offense. Their receiver, Justin Blackmon, is basically like Dez Bryant. Their running back, Kendall Hunter, is one of the best in the nation. And their quarterback is another great player. They have a great scheme and a great offensive line, so I’m excited to have the opportunity to play an offense like this.
On how they’ve performed against Oklahoma State in the past: I think we matchup really well against this them. They have a lot of great athletes and a great scheme. But so do we, and we matchup well against what they do. So we have to focus on staying confident and staying positive and just doing the right thing.
S Blake Gideon
On Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon: He’s very explosive, and has very good ball skills, which obviously that’s important for a receiver. He’s able to finish plays. He’s a very good route runner. A lot of times you see guys that are very good athletes just rely on that athletic ability, which at this level most of the time cancels out. So whenever you get a guy like him that is very explosive and has that athletic ability but then is very disciplined in his route running, that’s pretty dangerous. You can definitely tell that his quarterback has spent a lot of time with him and the other receivers - during the summer or whatnot, during the off-season - getting their timing down. They look good. They’re every bit as good as advertised, and the numbers reflect that. It will be a fun game this week.
On Oklahoma State putting up over 700 yards on offense: It’s something that I’ve only done a couple of times in video games, so that is pretty wild for sure. But it’s just a testament to the kind of athletes they do have all over the field on their offense, and it’s a testament to their belief in their scheme and their trust in the coaches that it’s going to work. They have everybody on the same page in their offense, and they’re clicking right now for sure.
On keeping confidence and being a leader: I think everybody on our defense is ready to rise to the challenge. Whenever you go up against a great offense like this, it only gets you more ready. Whenever we were going up against Nebraska, all we were hearing about was how explosive their offense was and everything. So that only gets you more ready. You start preparing on Monday mentally for that and for practices on Tuesday and the meetings and everything all week. So I think that’s just a motivator. None of us have lost our confidence, and we know what we’re capable of and we know that we are very close. You know, it looks bad some times, but we watch it critically on tape and we can tell how close we are. It’s just a matter of one or two guys not leveraging to the ball right on defense, and that’s important whenever you’re playing defense.
On why the one or two guys haven’t been able to be corrected: I’m not sure. I think it’s, like I said before, you know if we play 100 plays and in 95 of them we’re playing perfect and five of them it’s one or two guys out of their gaps or whatever, not leveraging the ball correctly, and it’s hurting us. Which we’ve seen so far this year that we can’t get away with that. So I’m not sure. All we can do is go back to work this week, and we have to have perfect practices. That’s the only way we’re going to give ourselves a chance to be successful on Saturday is if we have perfect preparation.
On the feeling that it’s coming together but not working out: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yea, I think we’ve had great practices the past few weeks. We’re flying to the ball. We’re playing our schemes right. We’re playing correct technique, and we’re having perfect practices, just about. So that’s what’s so disappointing about it. That’s what’s frustrating about it whenever we get the kind of results we do on Saturday - that we do prepare so hard all week and we’re so sharp on what to expect and on the offense’s tendencies, and everybody is studying their playbooks and studying the offense’s tendencies just like you would for a test for a class. So that’s what is disappointing about it, is that we are preparing so hard and we feel like we’re doing everything in our power to get this thing right, and it’s really just not working out for us right now. All we can really do is go back to work tomorrow morning and get ready to play a great team this weekend.
On the biggest difference between the games and practices: The biggest difference in the result? It’s just one or two guys just not leveraging the ball correctly. I mean, I’ve said that from the start and that’s what’s frustrating about it - it should be corrected by now. From my stand point, there’s things that I need to have corrected by now and things that I need to do better to help my team, and I need to be able to do better for my team and give my team a chance to make stops. So I need to do better at that. As a defense, we all need to get back to playing together and doing our job, not worrying about anyone else’s job. If all eleven guys on defense are just doing their job, then we’re going to be fine.
On being shocked by the losses: I’m shocked every time we lose. I go out there expecting to win every week. I think everybody does on this team because we all prepare that way, and so it’s something that none of us are going to get used to. Which, that’s a good thing, you know. Once guys on this team get used to it and really start not caring, that’s when we’re going to have a problem. I can guarantee you that everybody on this team is still fighting, and we’re going to fight until there’s no more football to be played.
WR Malcolm Williams
On how to keep the team’s confidence up: It starts at practice. We try to keep the energy at practice because after a slump like this people want to come to practice and be drained and no one wants to be there. This is the time where we have to keep the energy up and make something happen at practice and make people excited again. You’ve got to go out there and want to [play]. If you don’t want to, it’s not going to happen.
On why the practices are not translating into the game: I think that is the toughest thing right now. I feel we have had really good practices going into the game, it’s just not transitioning like we want to. That is one thing we are trying to figure out right now is how to make it transition into the game. We feel that we are going out there in practices - we’re executing, and we’re doing everything we’re supposed to. It’s not happening, so we just have to figure out a way to make it happen.
On if it is tougher for the older players since they haven’t experienced this at Texas: I guess for us older ones it is tougher for us because we have been successful, and we know what it’s like to go to big bowl games. To have a big slump like this, we have never had it since we have been here, so it’s kind of tough for us to figure out how to get out of it since we have never known what this is like.
On how to fix the situation: As of right now, we can’t really focus on the big picture because when you’re in a slump like this you have to go back and figure out the little things to get back on track. That is really what we need right now, to get the little things to work. We then put the little things together to get the big picture to work. Until then, we are stuck doing the little things to get those as absolutely right as possible so we can get to where we need to be.
On what he needs to work on: I need to work on my leadership right now so I can help my teammates out. I have seen a lot of my teammates get down on themselves and having to watch that, I did not know what to do or say to get them energized again. Me being an older guy, I need to figure out how to do that to my teammates to help them out.
On the team: We are a good team. We have shown plenty of times this season when we have gone back to watch film, and shown that if we want to we can play against any team in the nation if we execute and do what we’re supposed to. It’s not a lack of “we’re not that good.” It’s execution and us not knowing how to get out of a slump that we have never really been in since we’ve been at Texas.
On QB Garrett Gilbert: As a young player, he is trying to manage it as best as he can. As an older player, me, James [Kirkendoll] and John [Chiles] are trying to keep his head up and let him know it‘s going to be OK and that not everything is going to be perfect for him. They said when Colt [McCoy] was young that he had tough times too. It is one of those times where we have to keep his head up and keep his confidence up.
OT Britt Mitchell
On self-defeating miscues: Yea, it’s us. It’s the little things that we’re messing up that are killing us. It’s not the other team. We have the talent, but it’s just us.
On team spirit: Well you know, during the past two weeks we’ve really come together as a team, I feel like. After losses like this at Texas that we aren’t used to, it’s hard. It really is. But we just try to all come together and help each other out.
On the offensive line’s pass blocking: I think we did very well. We had one sack for the game where we put in a younger guy that didn’t have a lot of experience, and they were throwing a lot of twist-outs and stuff, and we can’t expect him to be great in that area right off the bat. Besides that, I think we played really well. Like you said, we always love to run block, but whatever the team needs to win, we’re down to do it.
On QB Garrett Gilbert’s demeanor in Saturday's game: I know Garrett really keeps his cool a lot. I can’t imagine being in his position - you know being quarterback and having everybody look at you and every little single thing that you do. But he keeps his cool very well, and we just always try to tell him in the huddle that we’re behind him the whole way.
WR John Chiles
On criticism of the team: It is hard. Coming to Texas, you definitely have a high standard. But that’s part of it when you sign up. That’s part of it. You just have to take the good with the bad.
On what the wide receivers need to do to improve: Definitely just make the tough catches for Garrett. He’s doing a great job back there and doing the best he can, so just making the tough catches. Some of the balls that he has to throw - some of the hurry up balls he has to throw, the high balls and the low balls - we just need to do a better job at catching everything that’s around us.
On how difficult things are for Garrett right now: I think he’s going to be fine. What people fail to realize is that a lot of great quarterbacks go through rough patches. They seem to only remember your last game. But Vince [Young] went through the same thing. Colt [McCoy] went through the same thing and look at those guys. Those guys are doing great, and I think Garrett’s going to be fine.
On this team being different from the past ones: We have different players. We run a little bit of a different scheme, but overall, I think the guys are fighting their hearts out. Some of the younger guys are starting to grow up, and I just feel like we have to keep pushing forward.
On this year’s bad breaks: I’ve definitely been on teams where all of the bad breaks seem to go to the other team, and it’s just one of those years. I’ve seen it happen to other teams and this is the first time where I’ve actually seen it happen to us. I think everyone is still practicing hard. I think everybody’s still focused on the game and making it a team game. I still think everybody’s working hard and pushing forward.
On how to turn the season around: Win. Basically just come together as a team, click on offense, and just win these last three games. It definitely can happen. We definitely have the talent. We definitely have the coaches, and we definitely have the scheme. We just have to put it together on Saturday.
QB Garrett Gilbert
On if he feels he has to respond after the other team scores: I think as an offense, there is a collective feeling that we have to respond. That may be a reason for pressing. But what we need to do is just relax and play our game, and the responding will come and it will take care of itself.
On how to recognize when not to force a throw: It is part of being a competitor. You have to realize what exactly is going to be smart for your team, and what exactly is going to help your team win the game. It’s a matter of something you can work on everyday during practice, and it is just making smart decisions. And it is something I need to improve and get better at.
On if this year has tested his confidence: There has been a lot of adversity. It has been a challenge. But you have to have a short memory. Each week is a new week. You can’t dwell on things that have already happened because you can’t do anything about them. I think taking that from it is big, and just knowing each Tuesday is a new challenge and we’re starting on a new opponent. So you have to forget about what happened last week.
On if the older teammates are trying to keep his confidence up: A lot of those older guys, the seniors and leaders on the team, all year long have done a great job telling me they’re behind me. So that definitely helps to get a vote of confidence from those guys.
On what DE Sam Acho told him: Obviously, I was very disappointed in my performance, and I didn’t feel like I gave our team a good chance to win. He was telling me it was a team loss. Certain mistakes may stick out more than others, but we lost as a team. It wasn’t just one person or one group of guys.
On how the offense has done during practice: Especially the past few weeks, we put a great emphasis on not just taking a rep, but doing it as if you were going to in a game. We felt like practice has been very good, but it’s just something where we just have to relax and play the game on Saturday, and not press, not try to be perfect. Because that won’t happen no matter what.
On how you end on a high note: We want to make it to a bowl game. We want to be playing football - at least get that extra month of practice - and be able to play in December. Obviously, some of the goals we established at the beginning of the year aren’t on the table anymore. So we have to deal with the circumstances that we’re in, face it and move forward.
On TE Dominique Jones: He’s a guy that has been moved around to different positions since he has been here. He’s very athletic, and he’s got good hands. Being a defensive lineman [previously], he’s obviously strong and does a good job blocking. So he is a guy who wants to work and get better, and he has done a great job in practice all year. It was good to see him get a chance and make that catch.