Nov. 21, 2011
S Blake Gideon
On the A&M offense: Very balanced. That's one thing we saw this morning in film. They have some tendencies like any offense. If we pay close attention and we really get in the film room this week and pay attention to receiver splits and different personnel, then they give some stuff away. But you know, like I said, that's only going to become apparent to us in the game if we spend a lot of time in the film room.
On A&M WR Ryan Swope: He's a great player. They use him in a lot of different ways, so they'll hand it to him on different routes and they'll use him as a lead blocker. He can be a physical player. Obviously runs great routes and catches the ball well. You can tell that [A&M QB Ryan] Tannehill really trusts his hands and trusts his decision making as far as where to set down routes. They spend time together in the summer, for sure, being able to perfect that bond, I guess.
On this being the last game against A&M: Well, I wouldn't have it any other way. It's my senior year, to go out this way. Want to make sure we send those guys off right. So it's definitely been a discussion that this game will be remembered. The score will be remembered, just because it is the last one in a long series. We have talked about that, and we want to make sure that we do everything we can this week to make sure we do send those guys off right. I think it will be weird. It's a game that I grew up watching, that all TVs turned to A & M versus Texas on Thanksgiving. And no matter who you are if you live in the state of Texas, it will be a change. But like I said, I'm glad that I have one more shot at them.
On the atmosphere at Kyle Field: Well, I think obviously Kyle Field plays a lot into that. They play very well at home. You know, the 12th man is very well advertised. I think they do a great job of making noise when they need to and really getting definitely quiet whenever they need to. It's a tough place to play, but if you're a college football fan then it's a great atmosphere. And if you're a competitor and you like that usagainsttheworld attitude, then it's a great place to play.
On if he has encouraged the offense: I told them that it's going to start to happen. I know that offense is different from defense in that offense relies so much on rhythm and timing, and everybody, all 11 guys, just clicking and on the same level. Defense you can make up for so many mistakes with effort and just being physical and running to the ball, but offense is a different story. I know with how those guys prepare every week and their expectations for themselves that it's going to start to happen eventually. They're going to light up the scoreboard eventually.
On his favorite Texas vs Texas A&M memory: Probably the 2005 game whenever they won the National Championship. They really stole momentum, had the lead there for a little bit, and just how it was an undefeated season hanging in the balance. How all those guys really regained momentum with a blocked punt and everything, which by the way, [defensive backs] Coach [Duane] Akina shows us at every punt block meeting. It's one of those things that in this kind of game everything is remembered. his is where Longhorn heroes are made. So that's probably my favorite memory, that whole comeback.
On if he feels the defense needs to play perfect: We're always searching for the perfect game. Haven't seen it yet, haven't played one yet, but I think every competitor is searching for the perfect game. You know, there's not many people that believe it, but we went in and we watched film on Sunday. And there are things that we need to clean up, and we definitely feel like we could have prevented those 17 points. At least 14 of them, just by small technique things and guys just maybe being a little bit hesitant or whatever, giving the quarterback a little bit of extra time, whatever it may be. We feel like there's always things that we can improve on, and it's just our job to hold offenses down to the least amount of points as possible. And we know those guys on our side of the ball are going to pick us up.
On A&M RB Cyrus Gray: He runs hard. He's a tough guy. He's a good football player. There's a difference in being a fast guy or a good athlete and being a good football player, and he's definitely he's the latter of that. He's a tough guy. He runs hard inside, runs fast outside, and he gets yards. He's a gamer. People were trying to make a big deal about him leaving the game this past week, but there's no doubt in my mind he's going to be ready for us. He's a competitor. There's nothing more he wants than to play on the big stage, and that's what we want. So it's fun for us to play against guys that want to compete and play hard like that.
On Texas CB Quandre Diggs: Quandre, he's definitely coming along. I think everybody has seen that this year. I think he's mature beyond his years. He's playing older than he is, playing bigger than he is. And he's a fun guy to be on the field with because the first thing you notice about Quandre from day one whenever he came in early is that he's not scared. He's not afraid of any challenge. Whether it's being in oneonones or whether it be lining up against two tight ends and having to come force a sweep. ust because he's the smallest guy on the field, that means nothing to him. He feels like everybody is challenging him all the time, even if no one is. It's fun to play with a guy like that.
On if he feels extra pressure covering A&M WR Ryan Swope: There's definitely going to be some situations in the game to where it's me and him or Vaccaro and him, Christian and him. We're going to have to do a great job this week of playing our technique and trusting our technique and knowing where help is in the coverage. He's a great player. We understand that whenever we play great players, they're going to make plays, and it's just about limiting those plays and not letting them stack up. We need to understand that we need to have short memories and be able to go out and play every play and compete every play.
On what Swope has been able to do against other teams: I think it's just really his great route running. A lot of guys even whenever they have him blanketed in routes, he's still able to adjust to the ball in flight. He's an athlete. He's a competitor. He goes up, and you can see plainly on film sometimes, he just outcompetes a guy for the ball. Like I said, we're looking forward to the challenge, and he's definitely put up the numbers for him to be worthy of all the praise he's getting. It's going to be a fun week for us.
On if he will appreciate more what this game means as he gets older: I think down the road I'll appreciate it in a different sense. But you know, especially after the Aggie supper we had last night with all the former lettermen coming back and really telling us what they thought of this rivalry and what they thought of this place and sacrifice at this place, a few guys telling us what they thought of the Aggies specifically, then I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of what this rivalry is about. don't want to let those guys down. There's a lot of tradition that goes into this rivalry and this series, and we want to make sure that we end it the right way.
On if it is hard coming back after a loss to a short week: You know, it is tough. That was an emotional loss. There was a lot that went into that game. It was a physical game, so more than just the bumps and bruises, just with how we lost it there seemingly in the last minutes, and that's tough to get over. But at the same time, we have to. There's games left to be played, and in a short week it's really not a 24hour rule, it's more like a 12hour rule. We had to come back Sunday morning and we were putting game plan in yesterday for A & M. So it's that quick of a turnaround with a short week like this. At this point in the season everybody is kind of bruised and banged up, so it's going to come down to mental toughness and who wants it more.
LB Emmanuel Acho
On the defense: We have to as a defense continue to get better. We have to make sure we limit our next opponent to as few points as possible, knowing that our offense could pick up. They could heat up at any point in time. We don't know when and we don't know by how much, but we have to do our part and we have to do our job, and we as a defense haven't done that lately.
On the A&M offense: They're very balanced. That's one thing about them is they're very balanced. They can both run and pass very well, and their quarterback does a great job of getting the ball around. We know what we're up against, we just have to be prepared for it.
On what the rivalry means to him: You know, it's going to be fun. It's going to be just crazy. I know the atmosphere is already hectic, but with this being the last regular season one for a while, it's going to be extremely loud, extremely rowdy, and just for me personally, just trying to make a good memory. We have no regrets. Leave nothing out there on the field and just try to make sure we go out with a “W.”
On his favorite memories of the A&M game: I think the '09 game, the year we won the championship. It was just wild because both offenses were on fire, seemingly couldn't be stopped. They had the first play of the game, a 70yard bomb. Ad they couldn't be stopped from then on out, and thankfully our offense pulled it through. That was one thing that really taught me a lesson about the game of football. You never know what phase of the game is going to do it on that day. You've just got to hope for the best.
On if it is different playing at Kyle Field: A little bit. The crowd is just ridiculous. Credit A & M for that. It's crazy, it's wild, and throughout the course of the game they stay that way. They never lose their emotions. It just makes it more fun as a player.
On what his favorite part of this week is:
Just what all goes into it. Everybody talks about the game, everybody talks about the threehour period that night, but the game is won and lost today, tomorrow and Wednesday. That's when the game is truly won and lost. But the game will be talked about only on that night. Really now that I'm older, now that I'm a little bit more mature, I understand where the battle is really fought, and it's fought in the film room. It's fought in the weight room. It's fought on the practice field.
On if he feels he owes anything to the fans of this game: I always try to pay my respect back to the fans. As much as they support us, as much as they support the team and as much as they support me as an individual, I always try to play my heart out for them. And I know this one, like you said, being the last time is going to be crazy and I know they're going to remember that scoreboard. It's my job. It's our job as a team to make sure we make it a good memory for them and for ourselves.
On A&M being a team of two-halves: In order to have second half troubles, you have to have offensive greatness, and they're plus 167 against their opponents in the first half. And that's really the stat that needs to be talked about is how fast they get out and how fast they start and how great they are early on. So we have to make sure that we weather that storm. We have to make sure we brave that and then just play the game.
On what worries him about the A&M offense: Really just their ability to catch fire. You never know when Tannehill gets hot, he's hard to stop. They have great playmakers outside, and they have a great running back now in Cyrus, so they have the ability to catch fire. So we have to make sure that we're hitting on all cylinders at all times.
On Texas CB Duandere Diggs: He's a beast. He's a little man, but he plays huge. I love playing with him. I'm sad I'm only going to be able to play with him for a year. I know the future for him is incredibly bright. He's a heck of a player, and he's a heck of a person.
On if Digg’s hit on the first play set the tone for the defense against KSU: He did. He set the tone. [Defensive coordinator] Coach [Manny] Diaz said before the game, Kansas State will make sure everybody is ready to tackle, and I think we proved on the first play that we were ready.
On if the defense feels added pressure to perform well: We have no margin for error. It's not enough to shut them down except for just a couple big plays because a couple big plays is going to be the difference in this game. The defense has no margin for error. Personally I have no margin for error, and that's the standard I set for myself. Ad that's the standard we require of this defense and we require of ourselves. So that's how we're going to practice all week and that's how we're going to prepare for this game and that's how we hope to play.
On expectations for this game: There's something about this game. It doesn't matter what you do before the game. It doesn't matter what your record is after the game. But during that threehour span, it's all about the game, and that's what I love. It's going to be high intensity, going to be high emotion, and whichever team executes the best is who's going to come out on top. That's the thing about college football. You never really know what's going to happen, and that's the crazy thing with us again. That's why you love the game. That's why you respect the game because there's no really disparity anymore between the two teams. It's all great teams in this game, and that's why you love it.
On what Thanksgiving means to him: It's really just a time to reflect on, first and foremost, all that God blessed me with. All that God has blessed me with in this life, and just reminds me to give back, as I try to do often. But just be thankful for the parents, be thankful for my brother who really has shaped me into the person I am both on and off the field, and just everything I've been blessed with.
TE Blaine Irby
On what this rivalry means to him: I remember growing up watching this game, and I grew up with the Arizona State/U of A rivalry. I remember watching this game still, and there's a lot of tradition and it's just crazy how this is going to be the last one. So it's kind of a special meaning for all of us. This practice and yesterday, we talked with the team, and we're just excited to be here. It's crazy how this tradition and this rivalry is coming to an end.
On how important it is to win the last one: Yeah, it's a pretty important game. Not only is it A&M but it's our next game, and so it's our biggest rival. You know, we're excited to be here. We're excited about the position that we're in right now. It's a quick week, so we're going to have to get after it pretty quick.
On what he enjoys about this rivalry: The thing I love about it, I love going over to College Station and playing in Kyle Field. They have great tradition over there and their fans go crazy. Very hostile environment. I mean, I think that's the reason why a lot of us play football is for games like these. Even when A&M comes over here, our crowd is the loudest it's ever been. My first game was when we went to A&M and we lost 2820, and I don't think I've played an A&M game there since then. So I'm excited about this. I'm excited that we get to go over there and play them.
On having the offense start fast:
[Our] defense these last couple games has been playing unbelievable, and as an offense we haven't been able to really help them out and put points on the board. It's real important that we start out fast. I think when it came down to the last couple games our offense has been struggling, it just came down to little details. One guy will miss a block or one guy will go the wrong way on a protection, and it trickled down during the whole game where it was just like that. We've got to just worry about the techniques and just the little things during the game, and I think we'll be fine.
On QB Case McCoy: Case has got a sense of confidence that I don't know how he gets it, but whenever he comes in the game, during the year I remember even this last game when he came in, he just had a calm state of mind. And I think that's what you need at quarterback. I think both our quarterbacks just have to understand they don't have to do too much. They have ten other guys on the field that are trying to do the same thing that they're trying to do; they're trying to go score. They just need to calm down and just play the game. They've been playing their whole lives, so they need to just have fun with it. I think Case is just one of those guys that he just loves the game of football. He's a great quarterback. He throws the ball really well. During practice, I mean, we see him getting practice reps, and it's just like the first team. So I think that's where really our quarterbacks gain their confidence is in practice and obviously through experience with the games. Even if Case hasn't played in a lot of the games in the past, he's getting just as many reps in practice.
On if he will take time to reflect as he plays out the string of games as a senior: Yes, definitely. I think it's going to be a game that we're all probably going to remember for the rest of our lives. It's going to be the last time that Texas is going to be playing in Kyle Field, and it's going to be the last time between this great rivalry. We don't want to be the team here at UT that loses the last game, so we're going to go out there, and defense just needs to keep on doing what they're doing. They've been busting their butts the last couple games, and they've been playing really well. So as an offense we've got to step it up and really get after it.
On if he feels he has been watching the QBs grow up these last few weeks: I think it's been like that since camp. Both these guys are young quarterbacks, and especially when Garrett decided to leave and these guys had to step up. You saw it in the offseason. You saw it during summer workouts. These guys have been growing up like crazy just because of the experiences that they're really going through. Prime example is we have a successful day at UCLA and at Iowa State and a couple weeks later we play against OU and then Oklahoma State. They're learning. They're learning fast. So we just have to take advantage of these moments right now and just improve on things that we need to improve as an offense. It's really just the little things that we need to improve on, and so everyone just has to do their job and not try and do too much.
On watching them grow up: It's just the way the game is. You watch quarterbacks like Vince Young and Colt when they were freshmen and sophomores.They had some tough years. So you know, both these quarterbacks are going to be great, and it's a process, and they're not just going to come in and tear it up right away. I still have the utmost confidence in both of these quarterbacks. They can play really well. Sometimes they get a little excited, and that's what the ten of us other guys are there for, to kind of calm them down and talk to them. But yeah, as the year goes on, it's a learning process for them.
OG David Snow
On if he feels sad that the rivalry is ending: Yes, it really is. It's a great tradition, but they've got to do what's best for them. But I do hate to see it go. You grow up with it, watching it as a child, and you know, it just becomes engrained into something that is just a part of your life.
On if the game is part of his Thanksgiving memories: You know, it is. You get to eat lunch and then go play a little backyard football and then pile around the TV and watch the game. It's one of my fondest memories I have of this rivalry is as a child growing up. It's really great that I get to be a part of the ending of it, too.
On if he will appreciate it more later in life: I appreciate it right now. It's something that's beyond words. But you know, things do get better with time, so I'm sure I'm going to appreciate it even more when I'm old.
On if he has fond memories of the ’09 game: This is true. That was actually a really good one, Colt and all them. That was something special, him running for that touchdown. That was pretty nice, pretty special stuff. That was probably one of my best ones.
On the atmosphere at Kyle Field: It's very hostile. Their fans don't like us, and regretfully so, our fans don't like them. It's really just hostile. That's the only way to really explain what it is. You have that many people hating you in one place, all synched in with the same chants. It gets pretty loud.
On QB Case McCoy: Well, you know, he's been doing really well for us. Sometimes you've got to let your wings out and fly the coop. I think Coach Harsin has prepared him, so I think he's ready. He just shows up to work, and that's the great thing about him. He doesn't make excuses. He just shows up and battles. He gets better every week.
On the A&M defense: They're very good. They like to show multiple looks, a lot of blitzes and stuff.
On if a short week is more stressful: It's just everything is really moved up, so it's kind of like gets you out of the everyday “I'm doing this this day, that that day.” It's kind of nice sometimes to just change it up. You get out of the routine of things, and I kind of like that. You know, it's going to be great.
WR Marquise Goodwin
On how he feels he can contribute to a win: Man, this is my last chance against A&M, already my third year. Time has flown by so fast, especially this season. You know, the opportunity presents itself, I'm just going to do what I need to do to help the team win. I'm not going to be Superman. I'm not going to be Captain America. I'm not going to be Flash. I'm going to be Marquise Goodwin, and I'm going to go out there and play my heart out.
On what is so special about this rivalry: It's been a great rivalry over the past, you know, however long this rivalry has been present. They hate us, and we go in there and both teams give their all. They fight hard, no matter the record. You never know who's going to win. It's an exciting game, so it's going to be really fun.
On the atmosphere at Kyle Field: Kyle Field is pretty loud. As I said, they don't really like Texas Longhorns too much, so when we come in there we get a lot of boos. I'm pretty much looking forward to it actually. I can't wait. I'm not intimidated one bit. But like I said, it's an exciting game. I can't wait to play. I wish it was Thursday today.
On his favorite memories of the rivalry: Man, my favorite memory, just securing that “W” my freshman year. It seems like yesterday. We just pulled together as a unit, offense and defense, and it was a hardfought game. We had a better record obviously, but you know, they came in, they didn't play us like they played the team before, and it's never like that. Same way with Oklahoma. Both A&M and Oklahoma, any other team, they play Texas different than they would play any other team that they play. So you know, to have that type of competition, it's just a blessing to go out there and to know that you're going to get a good competition from those guys that's lining up across from you.
On how different the short week is: It's so much different. Monday being your day off to Monday being the busiest day because you've got to get ready for Thursday. You have to manage your time differently. We have to work around schedules with classes and everything and meetings and rehab. It's pretty difficult, but we have to do it. Not a whole lot of time to prepare, but we've got to make the most of our time that we have.
On if he feels QB Case McCoy would be ready for a game like this: I think so. He's got it in his blood. You saw what his brother did two years ago. He's got it in him. Young guys, it's hard to come out and try to lead a team, you know, your first two years, your first year. It's hard. I didn't play a whole lot my freshman year, but it was still hard for me to come in and try to make plays on especially third down. They have to make a play every play, and so I think they're ready, though. I think all they've got to do is stay focused on the task at hand. Just got to go out there and have fun, realize it's just another game, same game that we played the first game of the year. It's just a different title on it.
On if it is mentally taxing for the QBs trying to get the offense more productive: Most definitely. They get frustrated at times just as anybody else. It's just one of those things. It happens, and it's happening to us, and it is what it is. But you know, we've just got to figure out a way to win no matter what. It's not all about how many touchdowns I catch or how many touchdown passes the quarterback throws to the receivers or how many touchdowns the running back runs or how many yards the running back is going to get this game. It's all about executing as a whole, executing as a team and going out there and getting the “W” for the team.
On if he feels the QBs are going through growing pains: I wouldn't necessarily say growing pains. I do feel like it is a little rough for them at times. Like I said, them being younger guys and having to step up and play at the level that they are. This is not sixman high school football, sevenman. This is Division I college football at the University of Texas where everybody is going to play you hard every time, every snap of the ball. And so it's a lot of pressure put on those guys. I commend them for doing what they have this year, them being young and having to be the brains of the operation. They seem to handle it well, and they can't do anything but get better from now on.