Nov. 18, 2009
Opening statement: I want to congratulate James Brown and Menan Schriewer for being inducted this weekend into the Men’s Hall of Honor. It is a tremendous honor and one that The University holds in a very high esteem. I want to congratulate both of those guys. Also, we are very honored to have Coach Royal and Joe Jamail as honorary captains this weekend. The guy with his name on the stadium and the guy with his name on the field will go out and represent our football team before the game. It is also unique that they are still great friends, and both of them have done so much for The University. Joe has given back so much and Coach Royal has given his whole adult life, so that is very special for us.
Mary Dunleavy, a Texas graduate who has performed in opera houses all over the world, will sing the National Anthem for us, so it should be a great pregame.
We want to encourage our fans to come to the Tom and Cinda Hicks North Gate in front of the Red McCombs Red Zone and greet our team between 4:30 and 4:45 p.m. because it is the last time for these seniors. We would like to have everyone in their seats early to make it a special night for them.
Practice was very focused and upbeat yesterday. The guys are really excited about the game this weekend. It is an emotional week for our seniors, but at the same time, we continue to tell them that it is not their last game. It is just their last home game.
Even more unique this year, they usually have 10 games before the Texas A&M game. They are going to have to come out of the game Saturday night and be ready to work on A&M Sunday morning, so they will have very, very little time off. It will be the first time that we have two games, since we do not play a Thursday night game except A&M, that close together, so it will be a unique experience for us. I do think that the guys are excited about Kansas coming in on Saturday.
On Kansas: They have an older football team, and it is a team that is not pleased, I am sure, with the last five weeks. They have played some really close games and lost. Kids are competitive. I do think that when people are talking about their team and their coaches publically that it pulls them closer together. We will see a team in here from Kansas that is excited about playing, trying to right their wrongs from over the past five weeks, and trying to get in a bowl game. They have us and then their rivalry game with Missouri the next week, so they have a lot to play for. You think about [QB] Todd Reesing. It is his senior year at the end, and he is coming back to Austin for the first time. This is a game that he circled the day that he signed his scholarship. He is a leader on that team. He is a guy who they all look up to. He is to Kansas what Colt [McCoy] is to us, and I promise you that coach [Mark] Mangino will have them ready to play.
On the advantages of recruiting brothers: We really like to recruit brothers as long as they are both good enough. That is a difficult thing. It is easy when they are like the Achos. They are both great young men, tremendous students, and terrific players. If one of them is a great player and one of them is an average player, then it makes it more difficult. By in large, we run our place like it is a family and when you have two guys that are both good players from a good family, and one is having a good experience, it helps you get the other one. A lot of years we have had brother combos on our team. I cannot think of a time when it did not work out.
On Colt McCoy: Colt is a self-motivator. Colt is a guy who figures out how to create an edge in his life. He has tremendous faith. He is a pleaser very much like me. I think that I understand Colt coming from a small town. He is always wanting to prove himself, and he will want to do that again Saturday night. This will be very important for him to finish right at home. The fact that he was not as high on the recruiting list and that some people have said that we really did not want him as much as we did Ryan [Perrilloux] is not true. We thought that he was really good. The fact that Jevan [Snead] came in, some people thought that Jevan would take his place. Jevan was a great player and has shown that now since he has been at Ole Miss. Colt has been a consistent winner ever since we have seen him. He won in high school in every sport he participated in, he has done the same in college, and I expect him to do the same in the NFL.
On the advantages to coaching in the same place for 12 years: I think there are tremendous advantages with not only the fact that a coach can stay 12 years, but also you keep a lot of the same staff. We have lost very few members of our support staff. Our same strength coach is here, our same academic advisor, our same life skills director, our same football operations director. We lost Arthur Johnson and replaced him with his best friend George Wynn, who came from the same place, Arizona State. We have lost our trainer twice, but the people that are around the kids on a day-to-day basis have all been here. I think that the longer you stay, the more you understand the place. Our place is very unique, and you have to understand it to be able to help the kids. We have done the same thing with stability of the offensive coaching staff and the defensive coaching staff except for coordinators. We lost the coordinators, which is also why we thought it was so important that Will [Muschamp] stay last year if it would work in the long run for Will and for Texas, because we did not want to go back through having a change at the top of the defensive staff where we change numbers and schemes again. We felt like that was very unfair to the kids.
On how those advantages translate into recruiting: We are seeing kids as freshmen and sophomores that we can follow through the process. We are lucky that with the change in recruiting and people committing young people so much earlier, our coaches know a lot of those players better than anybody because they have been in the same area for a while and have a relationship with the coaches. Coaches now will actually call us and say, “Have you seen this sophomore over at this school? He is playing really, really well, and he fits what you are looking for.”
On Colt McCoy’s consistency: I think that it is really hard. You go back and look at what he has accomplished, and nobody has ever done it before. Even more than when he accomplishes the 43 wins, I think the 10-plus wins every year is more phenomenal because that has never been done in college football. It is just an amazing stat. I think that it goes back to his tough, his competitive attitude, and his leadership ability and that is what we saw in high school. When you go to the state championship in football and basketball, and you are the star in both of those sports on your team, it tells you something about his leadership ability not just his playing ability.
On McCoy following Vince Young: I think what he’s accomplished is even more amazing since he did follow Vince and he came in at a time when we won the National Championship so the standard jumped right back to the late ‘60s and early ‘70s for the first time in 35 years, so you cannot have played under a microscope with more pressure than the times he’s done it here.
On Vince Young: I have watched him lately and am so pleased with Vince and for (the) Tennessee (Titans). We’ve got a number of players on that team and we’ve talked a lot this fall, even when the team was struggling and he wasn’t able to play. He’s matured so much and he was so positive even at that time about trying to help the team and be positive on the sidelines, and I do think that the hard work that he’s put in and the patience and watching Kerry Collins and watching the other older quarterbacks in the league has put him in a really good spot right now. He’s giving back to the community, he’s doing a lot of community service stuff to try to help, and charity events, so I’m really, really excited about where Vince is and just watching him play the rest of the year. Sally and I TiVo all of his games, so we get to watch him when we get the time.
On Young maturing: I think all of us continue to mature and if you stop, then probably your life’s over, because there’s things I see today that I didn’t know yesterday that help me and I see things differently at different times. We talked about pressure with Colt, to think about the pressure on Vince at 21 years old, being given that much money, and with the first round pick comes a tremendous amount of pressure and expectations. Then to start immediately, put them in the playoffs, go to the Pro Bowl and then have it taken away from you and have to restart, it’s probably very fortunate you have to be kicked down a little bit and step back before you can move forward, and that’s what I think he’s doing. I talk to him a lot, and he and I have a tremendous relationship. We have a relationship like we had here where I can say anything that I feel like I need to say to him and I used to preface it by saying, “Now I don’t want this to hurt your feelings.” I don’t even have to do that anymore. He knows that if he asks me a question that I’m going to be very honest with him and that’s great. I’ll ask him questions too. I’ll ask him things about what he sees, and I think he and Colt talk all the time and we’re so fortunate right now to have so many of our pro players that are really doing a great job and being successful and they have a relationship that’s very unique with our team because they call the guys and they text the guys and we’ll get texts all the time. Just like Roy Miller walking in the building the other day and Jonathan Scott and Michael Huff being here for the Central Florida game. They’re around all the time, and it’s a lot of fun to hear from them and see them. I even got a text yesterday from (former North Carolina player) Greg Ellis because he’s out at Oakland now and pulling for us this weekend, and I haven’t heard from Greg in probably a year.
On Brian Orakpo: I have [heard from him]. He’s doing so well. He’s one of the sack leaders in the league and he’s right in the middle of the Rookie of the Year race, so were really, really pulling for Brian. I’m going to text him today and see if he’ll run down and rush the passer for us. He missed last year’s Kansas game, so we’re going to try and petition the NCAA and see if we can get that back.
On Texas having a consistently good defensive line: I agree. You start looking at what Oscar [Giles] and Mike Tolleson are doing up front. Every year it seems like we have a different guy step up and a different guy move forward to the NFL.
On winning: There’s an old adage in coaching that winning cures everything, and I do think that’s true. People are happier. That’s why a game with Baylor we can play everybody we take, it helps your team morale so much. If you can win and play everybody, it’s unbelievable. George Strait was in the locker room after we beat UTEP. Joe Jamail walked in there with him and Joe said, “I’ve never seen a happier dressing room.” Now fans would say, “Why?” It’s because they all played, everybody played and everybody felt good about the win so you constantly talk about “team” and “all in,” but when you get an opportunity for them to live it and feel it and the guys that are on the scout team every week that never get in ball games to have a chance to get out there and play and have fun and enjoy it and feel good about themselves, it helps your team spirit, your camaraderie, and helps your team the next week, and that’s what winning is all about. Sometimes I worry that our team thinks you’re just supposed to win. When Michael Huff came back and the Raiders are struggling, he said the other day, “I didn’t realize when I was here that you just don’t win,” and that’s something we constantly fight. You don’t want to convince your team you might lose, but at the same time, they have to understand that you win because you play better than the other team, you don’t just go out there and win every week and I think they have won 23 out of 24 with this group right now. So that’s something that you constantly have to make sure that you do not let down and take a step back and get a little complacency and feel too good about yourself.
On any negatives of the relationship between sports: I don’t think so, as long as your players understand that the other bunch is playing for national championships and you’re trying to get there. That’s what we always told our players at North Carolina is we want to be like our basketball program and that’s why people like them because they have won so many games and our basketball players and football players at North Carolina got along great. The players here get along great. It was obvious when Kevin Durant is on your sideline at Oklahoma State, I mean, what a great statement about the camaraderie of the athletic department here. It’s just wonderful. Even beyond that, our other sports here text me before and after every game. I mean it’s amazing how everybody is pulling for each other and that’s the way it has to happen, and I think the coaches have to get along as well and that happened to us at North Carolina and that happens for us here with Rick and me.
On his situation at UNC being similar to Rick Barnes here: Yes, and we finally got to where Rick is (here in basketball) in football at North Carolina and I do think that because I’ve been in that position that I have personally been very sensitive to Rick’s situation and Gail (Goestenkors)’ and I do want to make sure our staff understand so any time Rick needs anything, we’re going to reach out and make sure we help him get it because I understand. I’ve been there and he’s made it on his own now and Gail will. That’s the reason I try to get to both sports’ games anytime I can because I want to make sure that they understand the support that we have for them and hopefully they will use football as a tool to try to help their recruiting and help move forward. A lot of the time I talk to recruits in the other sports on Friday when they’re coming in for a football game.