Player press conference quotes: Nov. 22
Nov. 22, 2010
WR James Kirkendoll
On if this game is especially big for the team since it’s A&M and a game the team has to win: It being A&M alone is big for us. It’s a rivalry game. It’s something that us as players, we have to get up for. It’s a key game. It’s a must win. So it might add something to it, but at the same time, we’ve got to go out there and play. We’ve got to execute and make the plays to win.
On A&M having a better record than Texas: When we play each other records don’t matter. You never know what’s going to happen in that game. Big plays are going to happen everywhere, and whoever is better on that day is going to win. Whoever makes those plays is going to win. They’ve done a great job this year with winning. They’ve had some good games. It’s going to be a big challenge for us.
On being a senior: It hadn’t really hit me until these last couple of weeks. It went by fast. I’ve enjoyed my time here, and it’s been a great ride for me.
On his last home game this Thursday: It’s going to be different because me being from around here and being given the opportunity to play, it’s going to be something special. I’m definitely going to take it all in. I’m not that emotional. It’s going to be nice, but sad. You don’t get to do that everyday - go out the tunnel, play in front of 100,000 [people]. The whole experience has been fun.
On the confidence the team has gained from last weekend’s high score against FAU: Putting up points like that, it’s showing what we’re capable of. I think it’s good for our mentality and our offense. It will definitely help leading into this game. We’ve got to prepare the same way we prepared last week, and we’ve got to compete the same way, and we’ve got to make the same kind of plays we did last week.
On A&M’s defense: We know they have a good defense. You watch film and they’re really playing hard. We know there’s going to be some opportunities in the running game [and] passing game. So we’ve really got to sit down and button up on some stuff and make plays.
On the differences between A&M last year and this year: Their defense is a little different from last year. They’ve got a good pass rush. They’ve got some good DBs, too. You’ve really got to be on the same page with the QB from the receiver standpoint because so much stuff happens. If you don’t come to play, the game will be over quickly.
On what he thinks the team’s chances are going into this game: I like our chances every game, but this one I think they look really good on film, but at the same time, this is a Texas [versus] A&M game, so you never know what’s going to happen. You’ve just got to go with your one-on-one match up and let everything else fall where it falls.
On what the biggest difference was against FAU versus other past games for the Longhorns: It seemed like there was a lot more energy. For whatever reason, we were coming up with fumbles, forcing fumbles, getting interceptions - making all kinds of types of catches, runs, finishing runs. Just the little stuff we’ve been preaching all season finally came together. It’s a shame that it happened this late, but it is what it is. And we’ve just got to take it and move on to the next game.
On what the win against FAU means to the team: We needed a win. It didn’t matter if it was FAU or Oklahoma. We just needed a win. Anytime you lose a certain amount of games in a row, and then you have a win like that, it’s big. It definitely gives us confidence going into the next game.
On what a win against A&M would be like: It’ll be huge. We still have a chance to have a winning season overall and get to a bowl game. Beating A&M would be huge. It would mean that we went out the right way.
On if the team has a playoff mentality at this point: That’s exactly what it is. It’s been like that for the last couple of weeks. We know what’s at stake, and we know what we have to do. We just have to go out there and do something about it.
On the possibility that this Thursday could be the last game of his college career: That’s another thing, especially what us seniors are looking at. It is a win or go home mentality, and we’re going to leave it all out there on the field.
C David Snow
On the fun atmosphere of the A&M game: There are only a few games in college football that are like this, the big rivalry. This is just one of those games that everyone looks forward to. In the state of Texas, and in my hometown, you’re either a Longhorn fan or you’re an A&M fan. It’s divided down the middle, and all year long there are huge arguments about who is the best. So throughout the state of Texas, this game is a huge game.
On the pressure of this game adding to the rivalry: Well of course. There’s a lot riding on this game because of exactly what you said- we have to win it in order to go to a bowl game. That just adds a little bit more spice to it.
On QB Garrett Gilbert giving the credit to the offensive line: Well that was really nice of him. I feel like the offensive linemen throughout each week has been getting better. We’ve been progressing. We have a lot of younger guys, but they’re coming up and stepping up and we’re finally putting it all together. So I’m really proud of the guys.
On how he feels about the A&M defense: Their defense is really good. They are lead by Von Miller. He’s a very good player. We played him last year. He’s very good.
On having an edge by doing well in the big games this year: Well, yes, of course. This is a big game. In this game, it doesn’t really make a difference what you are ranked or what anybody says. All of that is out the door, because it’s just one of those games where people show up to play.
QB Garrett Gilbert
On being able to duplicate their play against Florida Atlantic again against A&M: Obviously with the quick turnaround there wasn’t much time to enjoy the win. We were able to enjoy it in the locker room and then on Saturday night. Sunday it’s all eyes on A&M, so we had to get focused and as a team yesterday we had a good quick work out, and we were able to move on.
On A&M’s defense: They’re very solid as a unit. They do a really good job. They’re aggressive. They play really hard and giving up six points to a team like that [Nebraska] is very impressive.
On if the team is more confident: It is something to build upon. It is something that we can take and using the 18-hour rule we are able to use it and move on. Obviously you can’t just count on that to move on, you have to have a great week of practice and be ready Thursday.
On if he felt more comfortable out there Saturday: I think being able to start fast and those sort of things definitely help you settle down a little bit and into a rhythm. Again, with the offensive line with how well they pass protected and how well they run blocked, they really dominated the line of scrimmage and that’s where everything starts as an offense for us.
On the pressure of the Florida Atlantic game: I didn’t think you can go into a game like that and put pressure on yourself. Celebrating Malcolm’s touchdown at the end of the half, it felt like the whole team was there celebrating and having fun making plays. That is how we play well as a team. We know we have to relax. Obviously, we have the sense of urgency we had last week, but we have to relax and have fun and play football.
On the pressure of the A&M game: Obviously, the most important thing for us is to get that sixth win. With the body of work that they have this year and the very good wins they have so far, it is something that we have to be very prepared [for] and we have to be very sharp. And every year this game is always very close.
On if the Oklahoma game helped him prepare for this game: These games - the hype going into them, the build up going into them - is a little bit more, but you have to prepare as best as you can each and every week as hard as you possibly can. And I think that is what is going to be my mind set going into it is we have to prepare to get that sixth win.
On A&M DE Von Miller: He has great ball get-off. He is very, very quick. He is a great speed rusher, and he’s also very strong. He does a great job, and from that stand up position he has got seven and a half sacks. So he is great at being able to get to the quarterback. He is definitely the best, if not one of the best pass rushers that we have played all year, and definitely one of the best defensive players we have played all year long.
On it being senior night on Thursday: A lot of the guys, the seniors who have been here since I have been here last year, they are guys who kind of took me under their wing. And guy’s like Sam [Acho] who work so hard for so long, and I think that is our goal. It is senior night and we want to win it for them.
DT Kheeston Randall
On what the UT defense needs to do against Gray: Just tackle. Don’t miss any tackles and correct any things that we’re supposed to do. Just do our assignments in the right way. I know one of their safeties. Me and him used to play basketball together since we were probably seven years old. And Christine Michaels. We’re all from the same city, so we all know of each other.
On his blocked field goals: Actually, we have just been doing it as a unit. It starts with the guys on the edges and everybody just coming. Not taking the play off because Coach Muschamp always says, “The field goal is not an easy point. It’s not just something you should take lightly because you can block them and run it for a touchdown, so who knows.” We just have been putting real emphasis on that these past few games.
LB Emmanuel Acho
On his thoughts of the A&M offense: They do a lot of things very well. They have a very balanced attack. I know Cyrus Gray, their running back, has rushed for 100 yards a game since he has become the starter, and the quarterback they have now does a good job of spreading the ball around the field. They are very balanced, and they do a lot of things well.
On if A&M is favored in the game: That is the thing about rivalry games, you kind of throw away whoever is ranked better that year. You kind of throw away everything else that has happened that season because there is so much emotion played in the game and nothing else matters. Nothing else prior matters and nothing else after matters. Just what is going to happen in those 60 minutes on the field. This is one of the biggest rivalries in college football - the Texas-Texas A&M game, so I’m sure it is going to be high intensity.
On the emotional impact of this game: I’ll be able to answer that Thursday night, but for now I know everyone is going to come with a lot of emotion and when you’re playing with emotion it’s always a positive for your team.
On the intense rivalry: I mean there is so much lying on it, but I don’t really think about it. It’s my brother’s last game. I get to play with him so that’s my motivation, and that’s all the motivation I need.
On if he will say anything to his brother, Sam Acho, before the game: I’m sure he’ll know when he walks on the field for his senior day thing - and my parents are out there - that is enough said. Nothing else needs to really be said. He knows this is his last time in DKR, and I’m excited to watch him play.
On if he will be recovered in time for this game: I’ll be 100 percent by Thursday night, I can tell you that much.
On A&M WR Ryan Swope: He is a good player. I haven’t seen too much on film about him yet, but he is a good player. He does a lot out of the backfield and he does a lot as a receiver. I think he has over 60 catches on the season, so obviously he is getting the ball a lot. He is getting a lot of touches. I know he is a good player who makes a lot happen when he is given the ball in his hands.
DE Sam Acho
On what a win will mean: It will mean a lot. With the tradition at Texas, and the family that you become a part of, it will mean a lot to be able to win this last game. That is why we are all working hard, watching extra film and getting ready to play.
On this being a rivalry game: Anytime you play a rivalry game like against A&M, you get more excited, amped up and ready to go. So it adds a little bit being that it is the last home game of the season. But we are having fun. We’re enjoying it. We’re having a blast, and that is what it is all about.
On if the non-stop practice adds to the intensity: That is what we love, non-stop football. That is what we’re living right now. And I’m enjoying it. I’m having fun. Everyone is rehabbing, getting healthy and getting the rest they need to get ready for Thursday.
On practicing the day after the game: It can be a little tough, but after the game, everybody got their rest and went in early for rehab if [they] needed it. So we are all getting ready physically and mentally as well.
On A&M’s offense: They have a very explosive offense. They move around a lot up front. They move the pocket. [Ryan] Tannehill is a great quarterback, obviously. Ryan Swope is a great receiver. So they do a really good job with what they do. Cyrus Gray is another great player. They do a really good job, so we are putting in plans to stop them.
On what this win will mean for the seniors: It is going to mean a lot going out on the right note. Winning this last one, then moving on to a bowl game is going to mean a lot. So we are all getting ready mentally and physically.
On playing on the holiday: It is fun playing on Thanksgiving. A lot of times, you like to enjoy the holiday with family and friends, but it makes it even that much more special when every one is sitting down eating turkey and talking about bowl games. People are enjoying Christmas - you get to play around then, too. So it is a lot of fun. It is a part of college football, and we really enjoy it. It is really about tradition, and that is what this school is about – tradition and the legacy you leave while you are here and after you leave. And that is what we all are a part of and what we love to be a part of.
On his legacy: I couldn’t tell you. We have to finish strong, and that will be a part of it. I can’t put into words that this is my last game at DKR. I don’t want to think about it.
On Senior Day last year: Senior Day was emotional last year for a lot of the seniors, but then the Big 12 Championship was emotional, and the bowl game was emotional. So for this being our last game at DKR will very emotional as well, and then hopefully moving on to a bowl game as well will be a lot of fun.
On the atmosphere he wants to promote: Everyone on the team leaving their hearts out on the field. Leave it out there. That is what everyone is going to do with it being our last game at DKR. We expect nothing less than that. Leave it all out there. Give your heart and soul to the team, and that is what we will do.
On how the team views A&M: We’re the same as them. They are a great opponent. They have a really good team, and they are playing well. They won a couple games, so it will be a fun game. I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited. We are all watching the extra film, getting the extra rest and rehab in order to win.
On if the team has been more excited to play this game than in previous years: A&M is always a big game. It is the last game of the regular season and a rivalry game. So we are going to be pumped. We are going to be ready, and we’re going to leave it out on the field.
On if he has noticed anything on film: Tannehill has done a great job at quarterback. They have done a really good job moving the pocket, helping out the offensive line. They have some young guys out there, but they are really good players. They are really efficient in what they do. They have a hurry-up offense, a quick-tempo, so we will have to get ready for that and be prepared to get lined up and play their offense.
On A&M's quarterback change: I’m sure they have changed a lot that people don’t know about, but the quarterback change was big. But they’ve been playing well. They have been playing good football, so that is why it is going to be a great game for us and a great opportunity for us to get our sixth win and be bowl-eligible.
LB Keenan Robinson
On DE Sam Acho: He has been one of the main reasons we are so successful on defense. His relentless play, his effort, everything he brings to the table has been something you can put on film and show young guys how to play.
On the rivalry: We sing the fight song after every win, and right there we say, “Beat A&M.” We make sure everyone at Texas knows that you have to beat A&M.
On the motivation for this game: I feel like we will use the momentum from the FAU game to make sure that during the week everyone is upbeat and focused. But at the same time, on Thursday night, we are going to make sure we go out and play hard and have fun. Not to try too hard to force things, but to let things happen, fly around and have fun. We need to make sure make plays like we did on Saturday, and at the end of the night come out on top. We are going to do whatever we can to help those seniors get that win.
On playing after a short week: The good thing about this week is that Saturday after the game, people are usually beat down and worn out. But on Sunday this week, no one came away from the game limping or having something that will hold them back from this game. I feel pretty good after the game, I didn’t have any bruises or nicks. So the good thing is that every one is not as banged up as they usually are after a game. So come Thursday we are fresh, and I think my teammates will say the same thing. I feel like we will prepare well this week.
On playing rivalry games well: We like to play the big games. We don’t let up for any big games. We show up, and we come to play. Our team knows this is a huge game, and it could be our last game of the season and we definitely don’t want that. So we know what needs to happen Thursday night for us to accomplish what we need to accomplish. All we need to do now is execute the game plan that the coaches have for us and make sure we do everything we can to make sure we end this season right.
On A&M WR Ryan Swope: He is a pretty good athlete. They have him in the slot and shift him to running back sometimes. So he is a player we definitely have to keep our eyes out for. He catches well and runs good routes. So we need to make sure we keep him out of their game plan.
S Blake Gideon
On A&M QB Ryan Tannehill making the mid-season move to quarterback: I think it just improves your mental aspect of the game, being able to know all of the responsibilities of everyone on the field. You know, that’s already a quarterback’s job is to know what everybody has to do, but at the same time it’s just a little bit different when you have to play another position like he has done the past two years. You can definitely tell that he is very mentally aware on the field, and he’s very comfortable making his checks and really managing the offense.
On so much being on the line this week: Well, yea, you said it. It really comes down to a one-game season. We’ve played ourselves into this situation, some good, some bad. But we have played ourselves into this situation, and with a win this past week we’ve given ourselves a chance to go to a bowl. You know, that’s one of our big goals at the beginning of the season. So that’s still intact, and we still have a chance to do that and attain that goal. It really does come down to this.
On the rankings not mattering in this game: Last year was a testament to that. We came in as the number two or three ranked team in the country - undefeated. I’m sure there was a pretty good point spread and everything. But that just goes to show you that none of that matters, especially in this game. They had a very good plan for us, and they were obviously very sound in their execution, and they were very comfortable with their adjustments throughout the game. They played a physical game with us, and that really kept them in the ball game.
On looking at last year’s game for preparation: A whole lot, actually. I think they have a lot of the same abilities. Everybody talks about how Jerrod Johnson had the running ability and everything. We’re playing a guy that was a former receiver now, and so, obviously, we know that he has a little bit of pocket mobility. We feel like it’s going to be a lot of the same game plan because a lot of what they did worked against us. We feel like it’s going to be a lot of the same game plan, and we feel like we have a good plan for them as well.
On the shortened week affecting the preparation: You know it’s going to be shortened practices. We actually practiced last night, which was a first for me. We usually have Sunday off, physically at least [to] give ourselves a chance to recover. So we practiced a little bit last night under the lights, and we’re going to practice today which is usually our day off. So it’s a little weird. At the same time, all that stuff really doesn’t matter when you get down to it. It’s just a chance for us to show our maturity as a team and give us a chance to be mentally tough and get rid of all that distraction, because none of it really matters.
On A&M WR Ryan Swope: He’s a great player, for sure. He has a great feel for getting open whenever he‘s covered. Whenever they have perfect coverage called for him, he has great feel to work away from the opposite color and get towards the open area in the field, and Tannehill does a great job of finding him. He’s the outlet a lot of times, and he does a great job with the ball in the open field. It’s going to be important for us to know where he is at all times and be able to limit his production.
On the improvements made in the FAU game: I saw a lot more sound execution throughout the game. It was a little disappointing coming out in the second half and really having them drive on us for a score, but for the most part of the four quarters, we were sound with our responsibilities. We weren’t overlapping into other people’s responsibilities. That’s one thing we always harp on is just doing our job and not worrying about anyone else’s, and just having trust that your teammate is going to handle their responsibility. So that was really the main thing. That was the thing that’s been frustrating us this year was that we would play great defense and we’d be sound in our run-fits and our leverages in the passing game, and then one or two plays would really exploit us and it would really hurt our team. We were able to grab some turnovers and that was huge. We always talk about putting our offense in favorable positions and flipping the field for our offense, and momentum comes with that. So that was huge for us to finally be able to finish some plays.
On the confidence being enough to look at A&M differently: The confidence question has been brought up to me a lot. I can say that myself, our secondary, our defense - because that’s what I deal with on the defensive side of the ball - we haven’t lost our confidence. We’re going to continue to run to the ball and fly around and hit people. We’re still going to man people up and still going to press them and our confidence isn’t shaken. We never lost it. I can say that there were a lot more smiles yesterday in film because of the win. That’s what it’s all about really. For myself, I’m not really about moral victories. I’ll worry about that in a few years from now - what I learned from this game and all of that. Right now it’s about getting wins, and so that was huge for us to get a win.
On what he learned from the A&M vs. Nebraska game: That they keep fighting. Whenever some things weren’t going their way and it seemed like Nebraska had an answer for everything they were doing, they kept fighting and they kept to their guns. They kept going back to what they know best. They’re very sound in their execution, and they’re very sound fundamentally. Whenever you get to this level and athletic ability cancels out, it’s important to be the best technician. That’s something they’re very good at, and they’re very sharp with in every aspect of the game, as far as their route running, their blocking assignments, whether they’re down blocking or kicking out. They are very sound with it. They all have that trust that they know that every person on their team is going to do their job, and so it’s easier to play when you have that trust in your teammates.