Nov. 16, 2009
Mack Brown Monday press conference [Nov. 16, 2009]
Opening statement: Saturday was a great day for Texas in general, in Waco. We challenged our fans to come in numbers, and I thought we were there in record numbers. There was a lot of burnt orange in the stands. They were loud, excited, and really helped us jumpstart the game. We dominated the game, especially the first half, and we talked all week about getting a fast start. That's something that we were concerned about. We were able to rest the starters most of the second half and play a lot of the younger guys. It's always good when the younger guys get 25 to 30 plays because you never know when they're going to be the next guy in. We feel like it's one of the reasons why we've been able to win consistently. We play a lot of the guys when we can in the games and it helps us in the following year. We were also very honored to have Lt. Colonel Greg Gadson with us. It was a touching moment for us when he addressed the team Friday night. To see what he's been through, hear his story, and to see how strong he's been and how he has come back is just unbelievable. It made all of us, me with my knees and all of our players with bumps and bruises think again before we gripe about where we are in our life and reprioritize. We also had Brett Robin, who was a running back for us who gained 125 yards against Baylor one night, come and eat dinner with us on Friday night. He is now a doctor in Waco, and he was very active in surgeries with a lot of our injured folks in the tragedy at Fort Hood. It was great to see and talk to him about what he's doing and that night, and how he's saved people's lives.
We're excited to be 10-0. This is the second time it's happened since 2005. Last time before 2005 that Texas has been 10-0 was 1983. It has happened only seven times in our 117 years. That was in '63, '69, `70, '77, '83, and then '05 and '09. All of those years we had a chance to do something special at the end of the year. It's another national TV exposure for us with ABC on Saturday night at 7:00, that way Texas fans across the country and across the world can continue to watch us play. It also helps us in recruiting when you're in the homes of all the recruits, especially young Texas kids that may be freshmen or sophomores and they can't come to the game or can't get a ticket to the game, but they can sit and watch their Longhorns on Saturday night.
Colt tied for the most number of wins by any quarterback in college football history, which is really significant. I did not realize that he is the only quarterback to lead his team to 10-plus wins each of the four years, and that again is a phenomenal stat when you start looking at what he's done. The seniors and Colt have 42 wins. The '05 seniors and the '08 seniors have 45 wins, so they've still got some work to do to be the winningest class in the history of Texas football.
The best thing about being 10-0 at this point of the season is the opportunity to be 11-0. The BCS and rankings are unchanged, so we had the opportunity to talk about it in our team meeting yesterday and we've moved forward. We did give them the poem that said, "If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs, then you're going to be fine." We've got to go back to work and quit talking about anything that's happened in the first 10 and go back to work and make sure that Kansas is your goal.
The Kansas game is important for many reasons. It's an opportunity for us to tie up the Big 12 South, and that was a goal for us when we started the season. That is really, really important for these kids. It is a chance for Colt to become the winningest quarterback in the history of college football, which is just unbelievable. When there's only one of something that big, you know it's a special thing to try to get accomplished. We still have a lot we can improve. This is Senior Day. I'm kind of glad the game is Saturday night because our fans will have all day to get excited about it. It'll be a tremendous atmosphere on Saturday night, and we need to send our seniors out the right way and give them a crazy crowd. I think our fans will do that.
What we did well on Saturday is the defense played well the first half. Baylor had 30 plays for 37 yards, which is just hard to imagine for a team that scored 40 points on the road against Missouri the week before. We stopped them on seven of eight third-down opportunities, and we had six three-and-outs. They hit some quick screens early in the game before we adjusted to them and had a drive to start (the game). After three quarters they had 47 plays for 87 yards. The guys continued to play hard until we took most of the starters out. We also forced three turnovers, had the three interceptions and had one fourth-down stop. The first interception and the fourth-down stop were really critical to stop momentum early in the game.
Offensively, we ran the ball better than we have all year. Against a good run-stop defense, we had 224 yards rushing, 67 percent consistency, and were five of seven on third downs in the first half. We lost the one fumble and I think Tre' Newton and Cody (Johnson) had great days, but Tre' has got to hold on to the ball. We cannot turn the ball over. That's what we've preached and talked about all year. We did get 40 first half points and we were four of four in the red zone. Colt has been unbelievable since the second half of the OU game. I was really, really impressed with him in the one-minute drive before the half. That's kind of his trademark, coming back from deficits at the end of the game and his halftime heroics before we go in.
In the kicking game, we blocked a punt and the punt return team was outstanding. We got points in both of those situations. Our extra point and field goal teams were great. We were 6-of-6 in extra points and kicked a 41-yard field goal. Kickoff coverage, we had two touchbacks and two tackles inside the 20, but we also had a ball kicked out of bounds and we gave up a big return back to the 50-yard line. We were about 50/50 there and that's not going to win against a good football team. Kickoff return, we thought, was average. And obviously D.J. (Monroe) will not play this weekend. Jordan Shipley will replace him on kickoff returns. Jordan came to us and asked us. He's excited about it and that's what he wants to do. He's one of the best in the country. Punts, we had two inside the 20. We had a 51-yarder, but we gave up too many yards and we're not doing a good job with our rocket punt when we get down around the 40-yard line trying to pin somebody deep. We didn't get it done twice on Saturday.
Things we need to improve, we need to finish the game right regardless of who's in the game. When you've got a 47-point lead, regardless of who's playing, we've told the guys when we put them in the game we expect them to play well. They did play hard. We dropped some passes, we missed some tackles, even on Tre' Newton's fumble, DeSean Hales should have gotten on it. We also felt like there were certain areas of the kicking game that have to get better. We also know that the teams that win in the end are the ones that have the most focus. You have to earn the right. You can't get to 10-0 and then stand around, you have to get stronger and get better as a team and we're continuing to do that.
I released a statement yesterday on the D.J. Monroe situation. He's indefinitely suspended while the legal process takes its course. We do not want to insinuate in any way that he is guilty. That's something that the legal process will take care of. He was out late and when we have someone get involved with the law they are suspended at that time. I do know that coach Applewhite texted him at 11:13 in his room. I do know that he texted coach back at 11:15 and I do know that coach Rucker checked him in his room at 11:45. Our coaches did everything they can do and the kids are accountable. They need to understand that. That's just part of the deal. What we will do is move forward. He will stay at practice. He will be on the scout team. He will be disciplined further inside for being out too late and then we'll see where it takes its course but he will not have any impact on the game this weekend and he will not be involved until we get more answers from the legal system. His story is very different from the officer's story. That's why he will have an attorney and that's why he will have his right to make sure he shows his innocence if that's the case.
Moving on to Kansas, Todd Reesing is a great story. He did a tremendous job at Lake Travis. We were all able to watch him for many years and admire what he's done. He's been for Kansas what Colt's been for us. He's accurate, he's got a quick release, they have some great receivers, and they can move the ball. They'll come in here pumped up and ready to go because they're still in bowl contention and the season has not gone the way they liked after starting out 5-0. We'll have to be ready to go. Mark (Mangino) is a risk taker. He's a tremendous coach and he'll come in and pull out all the stops.
On how he will feel during the Senior Day festivities: I've really tried to learn that it's not near our last game. I used to get real emotional, but I get more emotional at our football banquet when I know it's their last one. We've got A&M not even a week after, and then obviously we'll have a bowl game, and we hope we'll win enough to get an opportunity to play another game. To me, I will not be as emotional on Saturday night. My focus will be on Kansas. Our bowl game's our last game. That's Senior Day for me. It's just the last time our fans will see them play here and they've been so special to us, all these players have, that I really hope our fans will come out and let them understand how much they've enjoyed this run.
On this year's senior class: They've just been a group that's been in the mix at the end every year. One year Colt gets hurt and we don't finish right, and the next year we lose to A&M, and then last year they're one play away. They've been a group that has made us proud. They've competed and they've put us in the right positions, but they haven't finished it. Their whole focus, since they haven't won a championship, is to finish this one right. It's really hard to be the group of seniors that follows the 2005 group. They were young guys and they have watched it. Obviously modern history changed at Texas in 2005 with a National Championship, and the standard changes. They've been under much more scrutiny and they've had much more pressure to win every game than probably any team since maybe 2005, and a long time before that. I think they've handled it all very well. I think they're in a good place. They know exactly who they are, they're tough, they move forward, you can be hard on them, but I like the fact that they're a group that wants to give back. I like the fact that they talk about our soldiers. I like the fact that they talk about breast cancer and the awareness of it. I like the fact that they were so taken back by Lt. Col. Gadson, so it means something to them, and when Brett Robin came in, they're so respectful and they all get up and thank him for playing at Texas and what we did. I do think we're getting tremendous support from our ex-players in the NFL that come back. Michael Huff was on the sideline for our Central Florida game. It's been a fun group to be around.
On the resiliency of the senior class: The first text I got after we were aware that D.J. had been out too late was from Lamarr Houston saying, "Can I help?" I told him to go for it, that's what seniors are supposed to do. I asked Lamarr to go help; he was the first one there. This whole class has been that way. They're very caring. They want to help and they understand that we're all human and we all make mistakes. You look at Jordan Shipley; nobody has overcome more than Jordan Shipley to get what he's gotten today. Anything that he gets, he paid for. He was patient. He waited his turn. You start looking at Colt McCoy, who can take over for Vince Young and handle it? The first thing he says is, "I'm not Vince Young. I can't be Vince Young." Here he is, he's already won 42 games. He's polite, a great role model, and he's taken over and been not only one of the best quarterbacks in Texas history, but ever. From (Roddrick) Muckelroy to Sergio (Kindle) it's just a story of kids that have persevered and done a great job here.
On the way the team handled the Monroe situation: It's been so long since we've had a different type team. The last few teams have been this way. We walk in; we hit it right in the face. He's in the meeting. I tell him exactly the information I have. I tell them what he tells me. I tell him that I told you not to go out, don't go out. If you go out you're going to be held accountable for it. For every action there has to be a punishment for it and it won't be mentioned again. What they did is they said, "What about Baylor, coach? Let's get to film. What about Kansas?" That's just who they are. They'll protect him, he'll handle his personal problems with his family and we'll move on.
On how the staff is motivating the team to finish the season: What we did last week for the first time is I showed them how 2005 finished in the last two or three games of the season. I showed them how 2006 finished, I showed them how 2007 finished and I showed them how 2008 finished. '06 and '07 didn't finish as well as '05 and '08. We basically said you can choose. You've been a great team and you've had a great run so if you want to be flat and stand around here and get beat at the end, that's up to you. I can't do anything about it. If you sincerely want to be 40-years-old and look back at what you've accomplished, you've got two weeks to put yourself in a different place than a lot of teams have in this football program. When you bring your children and your grandchildren back through, if you want to be proud of 10 wins, that's fine. If you want to try to get to 14, that's on you. That's kind of the way we put it to them and the indication Saturday was they'd like to get to 10 at least. I didn't realize when Marcus Tubbs and Tony Jeffrey, guys that have played here that are on our staff, come up and say, "Coach, I've never won 10 straight. That's impressive." These kids don't realize they've won 23 out of 24. We also have a few who ate the cheese session in our meeting, we had about eight of them, and now we did put a big platter of cheese out at our team meal. We're trying to make them aware that there are some out there that aren't as fortunate as us.
On the South and North divisions possibly being decided this weekend: I know Kansas State and Nebraska have a big game this weekend like we do with Kansas to try to get some things settled. You have to be impressed with what Bill (Snyder) and Bo (Pelini) have done. They've both done a tremendous job. I think we're seeing the North separate itself here at the end. That's why we need to take care of business.
On Texas' history against Big 12 North programs: We feel like we've done pretty well against everybody. We had that stint against Oklahoma where we didn't do well, but now we're doing better in that game. We've always said you need to beat the teams in your state and win the state championship before you can start talking about conference and national championships. It is different with our fans and our kids were not raised with the Big 8 conference. Even when we've played Rice and Houston and TCU, there's been more excitement around the fans when we go north. The difficulty for us as a staff is to be sure that the kids know who those programs are because there's not history with Texas and them, and that's been the most unique thing with me. It starts with fans and media but it definitely affects our kids. We've had to go back and look at the history of those programs. None of these kids grew up on Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State football. We've played Colorado some, we've played Oklahoma State some, and they recruit so much in Texas and we've played Oklahoma a lot. You start looking at some of the other programs, there's just not much history so that's been our goal is to make sure that they respect teams they don't know much about.
On Kansas QB Todd Reesing coming back to Austin: A lot of our kids know Todd. He's back in the summer and they like him. He's just done a tremendous job for them. There's great respect. Any time you know somebody there's more energy. I don't think there's any doubt our defense will be excited about getting after him and he'll be excited about getting after our defense.