Nov. 25, 2008
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR Greg Davis
General statement: We've had great work. I think the weekend off really helped. It had been a grind and I think it really helped our players that came back. We worked Sunday and Monday. I think we're in really good health for this time of year. The guys are focused on the task at hand. We're excited about playing a great in-state rivalry.
On Texas A&M: I think you start with the two defensive ends, they're both guys that can jump off the ball. Alton Dixon is a guy that has played both in the secondary and at linebacker, which puts more speed on the field. They're a team that plays a little more two-deep than some of the people in this league, although they mix it up like everybody. They do a nice job playing man-to-man. But everything starts with the two ends, and they're big in the middle. Kellen Heard is a guy that is tough to move when he's in there, and it's going to be interesting to see how much three-down they play because a couple games this year they played quite a bit of three-down, but their base is a 4-2.
On Texas A&M defensive coordinator Joe Kines: Joe Kines is a great friend of mine. We worked at two different places together. We were at Arkansas and Georgia. I've got great respect for him. As outstanding a coach as he is, he's an even better person. He's a tremendous influence on young men's lives.
On the difficulty running the ball against Texas A&M the last two meetings: It is true, I don't think there's any question about that. Hopefully, this will be a ballgame that we'll be able to run the ball better. We've tweaked a few things to try to be able to do that. At the same time, if you can run the ball, your protection is better, it helps your run-out passes, your play passes, all those kinds of things.
On the notion that Texas A&M has played more physically than Texas the last two meetings: We've talked to our players about it because I think the last two years, they have been more physical. They won the battle of the trenches and when you lose that battle, everything else becomes tougher. We've really challenged our offensive line - and our defensive line for that matter - we need to be much more physical in this ballgame.
On whether practices have been more physical: Yes, they have. We took a couple days off and put (the Kansas game) to bed. We've been in pads last week and again this week. We've had big emphasis on normal down-and-distance run game. This team has been a workmanlike team, so we've approached this ballgame with a workmanlike attitude that we were going to be physical early in the week and back off as the week went on.
On Colt McCoy: He's an extremely accurate guy. He's got great intelligence. He's a tough guy and he's really played with a lot of poise this year, and has tried to take one play at a time. He's tried not to make things happen before they were there.
On the announcement of Will Muschamp as the next head coach of Texas whenever Mack Brown decides to retire: I was extremely excited because in this business, any time you can have continuity in your program, I think it's a positive. Will's a great young coach and very deserving. I was excited. Our players were excited. At the same time, I don't know how long Mack's going to coach, but from my perspective and the football team's perspective, everything was positive.
On how long he thinks he will coach: My wife says they're going to bury me out there one day. I'm passionate about what I do and I really enjoy it. I've been fortunate to have good health, so I expect you'll be seeing me for a couple more years anyway.
On his time as a coach with Mack Brown: Coach Brown has a very unique way about walking in this building and being the boss, and then walking out of the building and being a great friend. I know the difference, where the boundaries are, and I respect that he's a head coach and he's going to set the philosophy for everything we do - from recruiting to third downs, the whole ball of wax. But it's easy to sell a guy that you believe in, and I believe in what he stands for, I believe in the way he approaches kids. He has a sincere desire that they're better people when they leave here after four or five years than when they came in.
On whether, from his experience, the Aggie approach to the rivalry is different from the Longhorn approach: I don't think so. I think it's a game that they look forward to, that we look forward to. I'm thrilled that it's back on Thanksgiving Day. As a young guy growing up in this state, Thanksgiving meal was always based around what time this game was. My family was not one side or the other, we just wanted a good football game. Coach [Darrell] Royal and the success he had, Gene Stallings, I remember when he was there. Ed Hargett, Ted Koy, James Street - it was just something that you did in this state on that day.
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR Will Muschamp
On Texas A&M's offense: We're finally seeing some two-back [offensive schemes] and that's a little unusual in this league. So, that's been good to get a couple of extra days for preparation for that, because we haven't seen that in a long time. At times, they play with a true fullback. They'll still spread the field and show some empty and one-back [back fields]. There's a variety of what they do within their personnel.
On if he thinks Texas A&M will change things up dramatically for this game: Well, I think each week they give you a new look. I think if you see that early in the game, you've got to be able to adjust to that because we're going to see it all day. There will be some different things that they'll give us in the game. They've done that pretty much for the entire season. That's pretty much par for the course each week. Somebody is going to give you something different, with some teams more than others. Mike [Sherman] is an outstanding offensive football coach and he's a guy that knows what to do in situations in terms of protection and blocking schemes up front. They'll do a good job.
On if it is refreshing to go against a two-back offense: I don't know if it's refreshing. You get back to a normalcy. Back when you used to install offenses, the first thing you put up there is pro-formation, twins and two-back and how to adjust out. Now, we just put up an empty backfield and just adjust from there.
On if he is anxious to see what this rivalry is about: There's no question in talking to Coach Brown and some of the other coaches. Obviously, the kids' tempos have been good. They're excited about playing in this game, and it's a game that we've lost in the last two seasons and we need to do a better job on Thursday night.
On if he was surprised to see Stephen McGee listed as the starting QB: No, I'll expect to see both quarterbacks. Stephen has been a guy that has played outstanding football for them and he's won a lot of football games for them. I've got a lot of respect for him as a competitor. He'll play well on Thursday night.
On what the defensive seniors mean to him: They mean an awful lot. Anytime you go through change, it's not always easy on the kids. We went through a lot of change in terminology, how we call things and our approach, and I think those guys have been the reason to why we've had some defensive success this year. You look at Rashad Bobino, Roy Miller, Brian Orakpo, Henry Melton, Ryan Palmer and Aaron Lewis - all of those kids have really put their heart and soul into Texas. We are very appreciative of what they've done this season. Just for me personally, [I'm appreciative] of how they've handled change and a new situation. They've been first class.
On the focus in practice: We had two good preparation days last week and we had a good day yesterday and we had a good day today. We'll clean things up tomorrow and have some good walkthroughs of the day before the game. I've been around it where you've practiced and prepared well and you felt great going into the game, but you don't play as well. I've been through situations where you didn't feel like you were going to play well at all and you didn't feel good about the week, but you go out and play lights out. So, I think you prepare and you do all you can do as a coach, and you leave it up to the kids on game day to play well. I know our kids are excited and I think they will play well.
On if thinks his instillation into the Texas program has been successful: Other than one game, I think it went well. I look at wins and losses and we didn't get it done in that particular game. It's easy to look back and say what you could've and what you should've done, and the most critical person of me, is myself. There are obviously things you'd like to have done a little differently. But, these kids have played hard and they've played with great effort and passion. I told them from the beginning that the effort is on them and the execution is on me. As long as they play hard, everything else is on my shoulders. If we don't execute well, then it's my fault. But, they've been outstanding with their approach and I've just been real pleased with their effort.