Player press conference quotes: Nov. 15
Nov. 15, 2010
WR James Kirkendoll
On if there is a sense of urgency on the team: I think at this point we have a sense of urgency. We've got to win the next two games. It doesn't matter who we play. We have to win the next two games if we want to go to a bowl game. Seniors want to go out with a winning season, and we can still have a winning season and turn everything around and that's really a philosophy we're going on--take one game at a time and win them all.
On if the team is under pressure to win the next two games: I don't think there's any pressure because I think things are going as bad as they could possibly go. I think everybody, just right now, is competing and we're just going to relax and play.
On the plans for Florida Atlantic: I think we just need to stick to our game plan and do what we've been doing. It really comes down to making the little plays. For whatever reason, this year we haven't been making the small plays. Once we went back and looked at film, it was just the little stuff, like picking up fumbles or making tough catches or just staying on the block longer. It's just the little things we've been missing, and that's what we're really working on.
On building on his good game from this past weekend: Whatever I can do. Like I said before, if we run the ball 40 times a game, we throw the ball 50 times - it doesn't matter. I'm just trying to win. That's my philosophy.
On if the underclassmen are as motivated as the seniors to win: I think some of the underclassmen, they want to win for us, too. Just like when I was a junior and sophomore, we played hard to win for the seniors, when I was younger. I think everybody wants to have a winning season overall. I think that if you tell anybody on our team that we have to win two games to get to a bowl game, I think they're going to play as hard as they can.
On if he thought a Texas team would ever struggle to win games: Honestly, I didn't think it would ever happen to us. College football is different these days. You can't show up expecting to win. Anybody can beat anyone any given day, and for whatever reason, there have been a lot of upsets in the past couple of years. You've got to go out and compete hard and play hard every game because every team has good players now.
On if he thinks Florida Atlantic thinks it can beat Texas: I think they probably do think that. If you look at the record, any team would say that, but I think in the back of their minds they know what we're capable of and what we were like the last time we played them. Also, they know that it's going to be a tough atmosphere to come and play in.
On what a win against Florida Atlantic would mean for the team: It would be major. We haven't won in a couple of weeks. Really, just I think it would be good for the morale of the team. If we win this game, then we'd be ready for A&M, also. To win that game would also be big. Just getting to a bowl game, getting away from everything and practicing hard and rebuilding for next year, also.
On what the seniors do to pump up the team: I'd probably say different people respond different ways. Some players respond better to yelling, some respond better to pulling them aside and talking to them. I think that's our job as a senior [is] to figure out what works best for everyone. Myself, personally, I like to lead by example rather than yell. We've had different meetings here and there, and I think everybody is on the same page as far as that goes.
WR Malcolm Williams
On UT's record: It is really unexplainable. There are no words to explain how I feel or how this team feels. We know we have to get it corrected right now. We only have two games guaranteed left. We`re trying to end the season on the right note, so that is what we are trying to do right now.
On how to make sure the team doesn't underestimate Florida Atlantic: That is something we have to work on individually. As a team we can say yes, we need to respect [the opposing team], but if we don't as an individual, then it is going to be hard to.
On if the entire team wants to make it to a bowl game: I feel like we all really want to get to a bowl game. That has been our standard for a long time, and that is not something we are trying to let up.
On the pressure of having to win the next two games: I don't feel like we have pressure. I feel that this is the time where we just need to relax and have fun and play. I feel like that is what we have been lacking these past few weeks. We haven't really been having fun but putting pressure on ourselves to win. Instead of trying to play to win we're playing not to lose. So that's what we're trying to avoid right now.
On how to start playing better from the beginning of the game: That is really tough and that's hard and that's something we're trying to figure out. How to play to win and just have fun at the beginning of the games and not try to get ourselves in a bind and try to win when we're almost out of time. That's what we're trying to do right now.
On RB Tre' Newton: It is really tough. I just heard [of the news] not too long ago. That is a heartbreaker because he is a really hard worker, and we know how much he loves football. He is a real asset to our team. We know he went out there every day in the weight room, school - whatever - and he worked his butt off. It's tough and we all love him, and we're hoping the best.
On the thought that every game could be your last: You never know. Anything can happen, any day. Today something could happen. It just makes you realize how precious it is of what we do have and we have to not take it for granted. There are some things that you shouldn't take for granted, and football and life you really shouldn't take it for granted because you never know when something could happen to end it.
On this season being a learning experience: I feel that this was a learning experience for all of us. To show us that we are all human and there are a lot of trials and tribulations to take us to where we need to be.
QB Garrett Gilbert
On if the team is uptight: I don't necessarily feel uptight. I felt like the other night especially, we started out with two pretty good drives. It's just a matter of staying in that rhythm and understanding that sometimes we're going to face adversity and just to overcome it more quickly instead of letting one three-and-out turn into another three-and-out.
On how the team prepares each week: Each week is different. Each defense presents a new set of challenges, a new set of goals that you're trying to accomplish as an offense. We go into each game with a different mindset. Obviously as an offense, we establish our same goals. I think the way we go about getting there is different each week.
On if the team is still upset about losses as they were early on: Losing hurts. That's all there is to it. It may affect people in different ways. We can't do anything about last Saturday. We've got to be able to put it behind us and move on.
On trying different ways to play better: Not necessarily different. As it's gone on, I've felt like being more vocal as I've grown more comfortable in that. That doesn't necessarily have to do with losing. It's just being more comfortable as being a more vocal leader.
On potentially having 12 days left in the season: It's gone by quickly. It creates a little bit of a sense of urgency. We've got 12 days left, and we need to get two more wins. That's all that's on anybody's mind. That's all that's going to be on anyone's mind as we go out to practice.
On maybe not having the chance to extend the season: It's new and different. It's new and different for a lot of us. It's something that we're going to face as a team, and we're going to face it together. It's something we're going to overcome.
On the sense of urgency this week: I don't think that there's any pressure. We've just got to relax. We've got to relax and play and try to enjoy it and enjoy the game. The seniors have two home games left. It's going to be about relaxing, having fun and enjoying the game. I think it's kind of discussed a little bit. It's understood we have to relax a little bit more and try and settle down and have fun.
On his comfort running the ball during the game: Getting into some of those third-and-long situations was tough. They were doing a lot of eight-man drop, just rushing three guys. Sometimes that is the best option as a play. Fortunately, we were able to open some stuff in there. With an eight-man drop it's sometimes the best option on a given play.
On Tre' Newton's decision to leave football: That's tough. Tre' is a great guy. He redshirted. We were both sophomores this year. I know he's still going to be around and be very supportive of us. Losing him is very tough.
On Florida Atlantic: They're the 17th ranked pass defense in the nation. We've got to play our game. We've got to get those two more wins to get bowl eligible. That's all our goal is now is to win. It doesn't matter the opponent. It's about us.
On Mike Davis getting the freshman receptions record: That's awesome. He's done a really great job all year. He came in in the summer, and he was trying to hop in with the first team there. He's done a great job. It's very cool for him.
C David Snow
On if the freshman were nervous: They seemed a little nervous, but after the first couple of plays, they really settled in and played well.
On if playing relaxed will be important these last two games: It is very important. You play well when you are having fun. If you're up top thinking I'm going to make a mistake, that just leads to making a mistake. If you just have fun, you go out there playing for your friends. You are less likely to make mistakes and you will play great.
On how to get relaxed: You just have to calm down, get very focused, don't get sidetracked by the crowd or anything else going on in your life and just focus on the game. Focus on football.
On what he says to QB Garrett Gilbert: We're behind Garrett, and that is what we tell him all the time. We're behind him. We support him 100%. He's doing very well. He played very well in the Oklahoma State game. The main thing is we're going to be there for him. When he gets on the ground, we're going to pick him up. We're going to take care of him.
On what he would grade the team for the season: It is very tough to just give a grade based on this season. It has been a difficult season. There has been a lot of adversity. Adversity in life is about how you take it on. With this team, we've been through a lot of adversity looking at our record. When you have adversity as a team, you either pull together to face it or you fall apart. I don't see this team self-destructing. I see us pulling together and pulling together and getting better as a team. It is making us come together as one.
On how to not overlook Florida Atlantic: Well, we have to win the next two games to get to a bowl. There is no overlooking anybody. We have to win these next two. If there is any doubt that some people will be overlooking this, we don't have that luxury anymore.
On if the team wants to get to a bowl: We desperately want it. The winning tradition that has been going on here at the University of Texas has been going on for years, and we don't want to let that down. So going to a bowl game and having a winning season is important to us.
On Tre' Newton's decision: Tre' is one of my really good friends. If I was faced with that decision, I don't know what I would do. I will be there for him, and I'll support him. I know that he loves football, so the decision that was made, he thought about it and it was what was best for him. It doesn't affect our relationship one bit. I am just sad for Tre'.
On Tre' being able to stay around the team: He is one of those types of kids that will be around because he just loves football. He loves being around it, and the whole team really enjoys him. So I'm glad he is going to be around.
S Blake Gideon
On ever thinking a season like this would happen: Never. You couldn't have paid me enough money to think that this season was going to go like this, honestly. I felt like we had a great offseason, we had a great spring, and we had a great camp. You know, some things weren't going our way and defensively we haven't been making some of the plays that we were able to finish on last year that made us such a great defense and helped our offense out so much. So this year we've kind of been putting our offense in tough positions where they've had to come back from deficits and they have to start from not the greatest field positions. These next few games we've got to do a good job of getting some take-ways and flipping the field for our offense.
On relaxing and playing to win: Well, I've heard that enough times that we need to relax, and we are playing uptight and stuff. Defensively, I don't believe in that. I believe that all defense is effort, and so you can never try too hard. It's running to the ball. It's flying around and hitting people. So defensively, I don't think there's such a thing as playing uptight or needing to relax. I don't think defenses need to be relaxed. I think there needs to be a tension. There needs to be a kind of snap - kind of an edge to your personality. I think we need to keep running to the ball and keep that fire on defense and go out there and stop these teams.
On how to not take FAU lightly: It's pretty easy in this circumstance. We've put ourselves in this situation where it's really a two game season. We have to win these two to give ourselves a chance at a post-season game. So it's pretty easy to focus on one at a time when there are only two left. We have to win this one in order to give ourselves a chance at a bowl game, and that's our main focus right now. If we win these next two then we can give ourselves a chance at a winning season and that would be a huge turnaround for us.
On avoiding a repeat of Iowa State or UCLA: Because we were all there during those games, and we all had that same feeling afterwards. Whether it was that we came out flat or whatever the reason was, it was a terrible feeling. It kind of left a pit in all of our stomachs, and that's something that we don't want to experience again. Just knowing that we've been there before and we've all had that feeling- kind of guilt on Sundays that you let your team down and you let your program down. We don't want to have that feeling again. We are not going to have a problem focusing this week to beat Florida Atlantic.
On really wanting to go to a bowl game: Absolutely. Absolutely. That's the ultimate goal at the end. That's your reward for a season at the end. You know, bowl practice is a time at the end where you get a little bit more time before the game to where you can go back to the fundamentals of the game - kind of more of a two-a-days feel like we had during the off-week. We were really able to get better at Texas Football before we really started worrying about an opponent. It's a time that we can really get a jump-start on next season, if nothing else. It would be very important to go to a bowl.
On if that is what this team needs: I'm not sure. I just know that every week we're going to go out and we're going to work as hard as we possibly can, and we're going to do everything we can in order to get these next two wins. That's going to start this week with Florida Atlantic. It's going to start really tomorrow morning when we come in early for our meetings and we get our initial game plan, and we start our preparation tomorrow afternoon. You know, that's all we can do is prepare hard and practice hard and focus on having perfect practices to give ourselves a chance to win on Saturday.
On Tre' Newton's situation: It's tough. Tre' is my roommate. He's one of my best friends. We came in early together so that's tough. I can definitely see the emotion in him, and it's tough to see a guy like that have to give up something he loves.
On if he had to fight with the decision: I know his parents came down, and they had a conversation with the team doctors and they just decided on what was best for him and his future. We're all going to be there for him. He's still our brother, and we're going to be there for him to support him in whatever aspect that is.
On having a chance to talk to him: I talked to him a little bit last night, and I think he's going to be ok. Obviously, it's a tough decision right now. I couldn't even imagine having to make that decision right now for myself, so I really don't know what he's going through. But all I can do is be there for him and offer him any kind of support he needs.
On any words of wisdom for him: I'm not sure what you say. Like I said, I can't imagine that. He was more reassuring. He's a strong guy. He knows it's going to be okay. He knows it's probably the best decision for him, so, I don't know. I don't know what I'd tell him.
On the thought of any game being your last: Sure. We always talk about how we want to go out there and play every game and every play as if it's your last. I guess it kind of hit reality there that I guess Kansas State really was his last. It's just tough to see that a guy that gives so much like Tre' - and not many people see it because Tre' is such a quiet guy - but you know, he does give so much to this team. Being a great football player and working his tail off to be the best he can be and to reach his potential. So it's tough to see that.
On coming back next year: Absolutely. Absolutely. I signed up for four years. This is my dream. I never considered anything at the next level before I finished out here.
LB Emmanuel Acho
On if there is a lot of pressure this week: No, we just have to win. I don't feel too much pressure. There is a task at hand, and you need to accomplish the task.
On if they overlooked other teams this year: I can't speak for anyone else, I feel like I prepared the same way day in and day out. But collectively, I know practices have gotten better in the latter part of the season. So, in that sense, I'd say we started to pick things up, but I can't speak for the rest of the team.
On Tre' Newton: It has to be rough for him. To have something you have done all your life and growing up with it - as his dad played - it had to be a tough decision for him. I'm sure he made the best decision for himself, his family and his future. Concussions aren't anything to play around with, so I know he is trusting in God with the decision he made, and I'm proud of him for making his decision.
On his favorite Tre' story: We were both juniors in high school, and we both had committed here. We were doing one-on-one drills against each other, and he thought he was going to beat me, but I locked him up as usual.
DE Sam Acho
On not overlooking Florida Atlantic: There's no way to overlook this game. We've learned you can't overlook any game. That's what we've learned this season looking at games in the past. There's no chance we overlook this team. We're going to prepare well and have a great week of practice and get ready to get our fifth win and be on our way to a victory.
On respecting Florida Atlantic: Just learning from the past, learning that you can't ever doubt your opponents. Everybody has Division I athletes. They're all scholarship players. They all were the best in their high schools. You have to give them respect. Every team has great players and coaches. You have to give them respect and understand what they're capable of and not take them for granted and not take them lightly. That's why we already started watching the film on Florida Atlantic. We already started getting mentally prepared for practice and just really preparation. More than the final outcome, you have to focus on the preparation to win a game.
On not feeling pressure to win the last two games: You never want to feel pressure. For me and this team, it's more an opportunity. It's not a pressure. You don't really get nervous. It's an opportunity to go out there and play the game that we love and have fun doing it. Some people might call it pressure. We call it an opportunity to go out there and perform.
On having fun this season: I'm always having fun out there. A lot of guys on this team are always having fun. That's got to be the focus. The coaches always say the fun is in winning. Our goals are aligned. We're having fun, but we're also doing whatever we can to help the team win. That's why it's going to be so important this week for us in practice to have fun and enjoy it like we did last week and the week before and go out there and focus on the preparation to getting a victory.
On Tre' Newton's decision to leave football: I heard about him in high school, and we lived in the same dorm right across the hall freshman and sophomore year. He's one of my best friends. We play video games together. We have challenges and all of that kind of stuff. It's tough. It's got to be tough. He'll talk about it some more. I know God has a plan for him. It's going to be something bigger than football.
On his faith: Something that a couple people have encouraged me with the last couple of weeks, or since Nebraska really, was knowing that we can count everything as loss for the joy of knowing Christ and for the joy of having a relationship with Christ. Even with the season going as it is, I count it as loss. Everything the world has to offer, it's not good for me. The best thing for me in my life is knowing Christ and having that relationship with him. That's something you can always have no matter what's going on in the world or in your life, no matter how good or bad things are going - if you have that relationship with Christ nothing else matters. That's one thing that I've really learned this year. Nothing else matters more than my relationship with Christ.
DL Alex Okafor
On if this is a long term move: I'm not sure about that. I can see myself playing it down the line, but I'll always leave the door open for end. I feel like I can play both.
On playing on the outside: Rushing a little bit, this game brought back memories. I did like that.
On past players' moves inside: That's definitely helpful. Seeing it done before makes it a lot easier. You see what you need to do and where you need to be at what stage and what point in time.
On handling the move inside: I just want to help the team. That's the biggest issue. I came here to be a team guy. I feel like the coaches will always put me in a position to succeed. It wasn't an issue for me. I just want to do what I can to help the team.
On if he dislikes giving up rush yards or pass yards more: I'd say rush yards. To me, a team being able to run the ball on us is a question of our physicality. Being able to run the ball on us hurts me personally because I'm in the middle of that. It questions our toughness.
CB Aaron Williams
On taking advantage of that frustration: Just take that anger out on the other team, basically. This whole week my phone has been off. People have called me, but I wasn't in the mood to talk. That's that competitiveness in me. I hate to lose. I'm a winner. I'm going to try whatever it takes to win. My teammates are the same way or else they wouldn't be here. Every one of my teammates has a great bit of fight left in them. Tomorrow it starts with day one and do what you need to do to complete that goal.
On respecting Florida Atlantic: If you don't have respect for Florida Atlantic, it's going to be a long day. It's going to be another day like UCLA, Iowa State and Baylor. They are a good football team. We have to play to our Texas standard. Everybody knows that. We're going to come together. We're going to fight ,and we're going to keep fighting. We're going to fight and keep fighting until that clock says 0:00.
On giving up big plays: It's hard to deal with because I'm a perfectionist. I don't plan on getting scored on. I don't plan on getting a ball caught on me. I demand perfection. I know the coaches feel the same way. They put me out there for a reason. That reason is to when the running back comes your way, you have to stop him. When that ball comes your way, you have to get a pass deflection or an interception. A guy like [Justin] Blackmon is a great receiver, number one in the nation. It's about who comes up with the biggest play. Unfortunately, he came out with the big play that time. You've just got to move on from it. It's done with. Find what you did wrong and make sure it doesn't happen this week.
On what he could have done differently on Blackmon's touchdown: From the start of the line, I could have moved my feet to the outside instead of the inside - instead of giving him a free release. Second, when the ball was in the air I kind of jumped for it instead of taking him a couple more steps to try to go for an interception or a deflection. I put my hand up. I didn't see the ball until the last minute. When I hit the ground, I figured he caught the ball and he's down or the ball didn't his hands. I rolled over and saw him keep going. I was angry and frustrated he made that play. It's a great catch. There's nothing you can do about it.
On the team's effort: The energy and the effort - everything was there this week. Honestly, I don't have an answer. I feel like we're doing the right things. It's one of those years where things aren't going our way. We're not giving up. I haven't seen anybody give up. I haven't seen anybody not fight. We're playing until that clock says 0:00. We got a turnover with a minute left in the game. It's one of those years where you've got to keep playing.
On feeling pressure: I don't have pressure. If you have pressure you tense up. You make yourself want to make more plays than it seems. I think it's one of the issues I had this weekend. I knew this was a big game. I knew I had to stop Blackmon. I knew as a defense we had to stop their offense. For me to keep saying I have to make this play - when the play comes and I don't make it, it's a downfall. I didn't make the play. What do I do now? Now I just have to go out there and have fun and not worry about pressure and not worry about what people are saying outside. That kind of got to me what people were saying. That's one of the biggest mistakes as an athlete you can make is to listen to what people are saying and not to what your coaches are saying. They know your abilities and they know how you're supposed to play.
On having fun: Go out there and relax. I feel like we've had fun. Things aren't going our way. A funny stat is that we've had 16 balls on the ground this year, and we've only recovered five or six of them. When you have those kinds of situations, you think to yourself, "What's going on? Why can't we get the ball?" We had 34 turnovers last year. This year we're getting the balls on the ground. We're just not completing those turnover ratios. You've just got to keep fighting. Sooner or later - it might be the last two games - it might come out. You just have to keep playing and see what happens.
On Tre' Newton's decision to leave football: I couldn't even imagine. I heard the news this morning. I didn't get a chance to talk to Tre' until after his interview. I told him if he needs anything, we live in the same apartment complex. If he needs anything to come to me. If I was in that situation, I would be bawling, crying. I love this game. I know he loves this game with a passion. I know it's hard for him to tell everybody in the world that he's done playing for the rest of his life. You just have to encourage him. Whatever you can do to make him feel better, we're here for him.