Nov. 28, 2011
S Blake Gideon
On starting 50 consecutive games: It's an honor, I guess. I know that there's still football to be played, and I know that if I don't come out this week and have a great week of practice then that streak could come to an end just as quick. That's the way Coach Akina prepares us every week, and we have to come out and earn our jobs every week just like it's spring ball.
On the win against A&M providing momentum: It was huge. It was a huge game. Obviously everything besides the game just surrounding it, the whole atmosphere of it and the situation. But besides that, it was a great win. It was a great team win. It was a good win to get us back on track. We had a little slide there, but I think to be able to finish the season with hopefully two wins, two consecutive wins, that's really going to be a high point for us going into bowl season.
On if he technically graduates without walking across the stage on Saturday: I guess. I don't know. I know that I could have just graduated, but mom wouldn't let me because she wanted me to walk across the stage. I guess I'll have to come back in the spring and do it. I don't know, I guess I graduate.
On if he feels his UT career has gone by quickly: I probably wouldn't have believed you if you would have told me that back freshman year, but I don't know. It has flown by, and I've enjoyed every bit of it. But at the same time there's going to be another time for looking back and wondering what could have been or whatever, how good a time I had. For right now there's still two more football games to be played.
On carrying the emotion of the A&M win to the Baylor game: To play off of it, yeah. It's a high note. Everybody is excited about the win, but at the same time we're not going to be able to carry over any of those points going into this game, and we're about to face a really good Baylor team that I know they're going to be excited for us coming to town. We have to take the good with the bad and be able to put all that stuff where it belongs and move on, because, like I said, this is a very good Baylor team, and they're going to be ready for us.
On Baylor: I think we've always known that Baylor has always had very good football players and very good athletes. It was just a matter of putting it all together, having the right guy leading them, and with Coach Briles and his staff and with Robert running the offense, they definitely have the right people in place that they're getting the wins that they should have been all these years. We've always known. We all played high school football against those guys. We know how good they are. So it was just a matter of them putting it all together, and now they have.
On how to contain Baylor QB Robert Griffin: It's just responsibility football. Everybody has got to do their job and not worry about overlapping to your teammate next to you. You've got to have that trust that he's going to get his job done so you can worry about your job. That's really all it comes down to. That we've got to trust that the guys up front are going to handle the quarterback's legs or whatever, or any run game so we can worry about his arm and the passing game because they are very capable in both facets of the game. That's what it comes down to. It's responsibility football and having that trust in your teammates, and I think we have that.
On trying to stop Griffin from putting up big numbers: That's something that's been said. We would take a win no matter what, you know, even if it meant giving up so many yards or whatever. But at the same time, it is a pride issue that we don't want somebody having their claimtofame moment or whatever, their crowning moment against us, especially against the Texas defense. That is a pride thing, and we want to make sure we can prevent that.
On what puts Griffin on a different level than other quarterbacks: Just how elite he is at both. A lot of guys, they're either really passing quarterbacks or really running quarterbacks. You can kind of force them into one or the other, but whenever you have a guy that has worldclass speed that is actually a track star, and he's also top five in the country in passing, that's two real threats that you have to worry about. It's going to be a challenge for us, but I think we're going to be ready for it.
On the Baylor offense: They have playmakers everywhere. They have one of the best receiving corps we'll have faced this year, that's including everyone in the Big 12. They have a great relationship, quarterback and receiver, and great timing and rhythm on their offense. They have a good offensive line that opens up holes for the running game. It's a complete offense. So that's one of the things that you really have to worry about. It's one thing if you face an offense that can throw for 1,000 yards but can't really run. You can put 15 DBs on the field and stop them that way. Whenever an offense is this balanced, that's a real threat. And once again, it comes down to everybody doing their job and not worrying about anybody else's.
On if the Texas defense is playing as well as any he has been a part of: Maybe. I would say it's up there. Actually the past few games we've been looking for the turnovers, and we've limited the yards but been looking for the turnovers, and they all came in bunches this past game. It's a matter of us all putting it together now and being able to limit the yards, points and get some turnovers for our offense and put them in good position. We're still looking for that perfect performance. I haven't been a part of one yet, but we're always searching for that perfect performance.
On so many Texas fans always showing up in Waco: It was a good atmosphere for us obviously, my sophomore year, the last time I went up there. But this is a different Baylor team. I think they've turned everything around, and they've got the people up there in Waco excited about it. I'm sure it'll be more in their favor this team, but we're ready for that. We love away games, having that usagainsttheworld feeling, and we fared pretty well this past week in that situation, so I think we're looking forward to it.
OG David Snow
On QB Case McCoy: Through last week, that was a really tough game, and seeing him come through at the very end for us and to be poised and to make the plays, it's just amazing. I've blocked for both brothers now, and to see him just take off on the run and get us into field goal position, it's something words can't describe.
On playing in his 50th game: I mean, I love playing. I've been really lucky to see as much action as I have. To be in all these games, I just love every minute of it, so it doesn't bother me.
On if he will carry the emotion of the A&M game to Baylor: Every game has its own emotional ties that go along with it, and you've got to be ready to play every single week, especially this week, because anybody can beat you. You look at the Big 12 now, anybody can beat you, and it's happened this year. You have to bring your emotion to every game. You can't just think because you did good one week that you're going to turn around and do good the other. You can't feed off that. You have to create your own excitement. It's a great test for us this week, so it creates its own excitement and its own emotional stuff to feed off of for the entire game.
On things the offense can do to improve: There's a lot of things we can do better, especially this being a young offense. It's coming along, though. You can see strides. It's getting better, and that's the main thing. I mean, that's the problem when you play young players and you have a new offense. You just have to get everything right and the details just right, and especially with the offense we're running now, a lot of formations. We're getting better at it and people are getting in sync with it, so it's getting better each and every week. Just details, knowing your exact role and stuff. And that just comes with time, knowing the scheme, getting familiar with the scheme, being comfortable with the scheme. And that's the tough thing about offense is you have to get all 11 guys doing the same exact thing, doing their own job to make a play work, and if one guy messes up then the play is not going to work a lot of the times. So that's kind of the difficulty with an offense.
On how important a win this week is before bowl season: It's very important for us. It's the last instate game that we have, so it's basically for the state championship, and it means a lot. Their offense is really good. They have RG III, who is going to be a Heisman candidate, so it's going to be a really good game. It's up in Baylor, a hostile environment, so we're excited to go play.
LB Emmanuel Acho
On the Baylor-Texas Tech game on Saturday: It was fun to watch, I guess. It was high scoring. You know, both of those are great offensive teams, and they pride themselves on their offenses. And kind of myself as a defensive player, I definitely pride myself on our defensive performance every week. Got to go to work on film study and make sure we execute well because we're able to see what they can do and what Baylor is capable of.
On Baylor QB Robert Griffin's improvement from last year: He's a much more complete passer. I don't think people give him enough credit for how good a thrower he is. That's something that we are not taking lightly. We have to be low on our coverage, but at the same time we have to be balanced in our pass rush lanes to not let him escape.
On carrying some momentum from A&M to the Baylor game: Obviously with what we're capable of as a defense, getting our hands on the ball, finally getting the turnovers, we're able to see how that affects the game. We had great defensive performances two weeks prior at Missouri and Kansas State, or solid defensive performances, but we don't get the turnovers in either of those games. This game we get the turnovers, we set up our offense in good field position, and you see the outcome. When we're able to see firsthand, it's no longer words of what will happen if you get the turnovers, it's now firsthand knowledge.
On Baylor RB Terrance Ganaway: I said I'm going to have to get on the squat rack this week, hit an extra set or so. But it's exciting. I love seeing different attributes of different players. You always want to face something different to just test your skills at all levels. He's a load. He's a great back, I think, 17th in the nation with yards per gain rushing, so credit to him, and it'll be a good match.
On the defense getting more familiar with the defensive schemes: I think it's all per position. Our defensive line is now clearly starting to click. The pressures, the sacks, all those things are coming. The tackles for loss are starting to get there. The linebackers, Keenan and myself, really starting to get comfortable, and the secondary is most of it with their interceptions and just their knack for finding the ball. It's all coming together.
On if the defense is better because of more familiarity among the players: You've got to get the game reps. It's one thing to see the Xs and the Os on paper, but it's another thing to see those objects moving when the X becomes Jeff Fuller, when the X becomes a real person, Ryan Tannehill, it's a completely different thing. So I'm finally starting to get comfortable, and I'm happy for the guys in the future with this team, and also it's no better time than now.
On the importance of winning against Baylor: Really because it gets us our eighth win. Again, they're an instate team which you always want to win those, because you have to hear from those people most. But just trying to get the eighth win. I'm trying to continue a good thing that we have going here, and really just build on this momentum we built last game.
On trying to stop Baylor QB Robert Griffin: We're going to do our best. Words only mean so much, but that's why we have to get in the film room this week. We have to prepare well this week to make sure that he doesn't win the Heisman against Texas. I'm not trying to watch highlights of myself or lowlights of myself with him throwing the ball over my head and all that, so I've got to prepare well and we have to prepare well as a defense this week to make sure it doesn't happen.
On what S Blake Gideon's 50 consecutive starts mean: It means he's old [laughs]. And it also means that Blake is a tough guy, and to have 50 starts means you're staying healthy, you're doing all the little things right to make sure you stay healthy. And it also means he's a heck of a player, to be able to start from day one. So all credit to Blake. And proud of him, proud for him, happy for him, and that's way too many starts.
OG Mason Walters
On the Baylor defense: They're big up front, but I think it'll be a good challenge for us. I think the best thing about it is up to this point in the year we haven't seen too much complexity out of their defense, it's a lot of the same, so if we find something that works I think we can make them pay for it throughout the entire game. They're going to line up in one defense and we're going to have to go after it, and that's a big challenge. You know what you're going to get and you beat it.
On a young team learning as they go: I think at this point in the season we've been through a lot of situations, and there's some, I think, we're starting to realize and wish we would have learned earlier. Lessons we should have learned earlier in the season, and that's just something we have to take as a young team and you go on and not just think about this year but further down the road. We're learning lessons that are going to pay off, and we just keep working on what we are and it's going to pay dividends down the road. Right now we're concentrating on Baylor, and we'll let it be what it is after that.
On QB Case McCoy stepping up when needed: He did, didn't he. It was great to see, and fun to watch after. I didn't really realize how he managed the game until after I got to watch it that night. I think he did a great job as a group leader of a corps of guys. Not enough can be said about it. He did a great job managing the game, the situation. He kept everybody calm in the huddle and was able to pull off the win.
On if McCoy's run on the final drive put him "over the top": I think so. If you want to point to one thing, he looked like a warrior coming off the field. He was playing his guts out, which was great to see, and that one last run he got out there and got just enough to get us in field goal range, and then Justin knocked it through. It was pretty sweet.
PK/P Justin Tucker
On if he has put the A&M win behind him: Yeah, we've got a 24hour rule around here. I know you guys have probably heard that all day but we've really got to stick to it, especially going into championship weekend. We've got a big game ahead of us. Our focus is now it's turned from A&M, mission accomplished, and now we're going toward the Baylor Bears.
On if he received a lot of congratulations for the game-winning kick: No, I didn't have the honor of hearing from our president, but I did get quite a few Tweets and Facebook messages. It was really cool to know that our fans appreciate a big win just as much as we all do in the locker room.
On the field goal team being called the "automatic" team: That's right. That's a Texas tradition, actually. That's been around for a long time. We have different names for all of our special teams. The punt team is Rangers. Coach Akina's return team is Posse. Team Automatic is the name for our field goal and extra point unit, and it is important to us that we remain automatic when we go onto the field. It's fitting most of the time, but it is one of those Texas tradition things.
On not being able to walk at graduation this Saturday: I actually don't know. I know that we are playing Baylor at the exact same time that we are supposed to be walking or graduating. But what I'm planning on doing is either coming back and walking in the spring or just doing a smaller sort of ceremony with some of the other guys on the team who are graduating around the same time.
On carrying the emotion of the A&M win into the Baylor game: Well, it certainly is a part of any football player's and coach's mindset is you do have to have a 24hour rule. It's a big kick, and you guys asked me if I had come down from cloud nine yet. Yeah, I mean, that's part of it. That's the nature of the beast, and this is a business when it comes down to it. People's jobs are on the line, and there's a lot of pride at stake. But being able to move forward after your successes or your losses or failures is a very key component of what makes a good team good or makes a team be able to improve on a weekly basis.
On if he was nervous before kicking the game-winning field goal against A&M: No, I mean, I was all smiles. I was just having a good time enjoying the moment because that's about as hostile of an environment as you can have in college football. Kyle Field with their 85,000plus fans, however many there were. They were pretty dang loud. So I can understand that [holder] Cade [McCray] may have said to Coach Brown that he was nervous, but what I always say to him before any kick is pretty much the same. We have a little saying that we keep between ourselves. Maybe one day after I graduate I'll share it with y'all, but we've got to keep it in the family until then. He did a great job. He put the ball exactly where it needed to be. I always give him just a little spot, and it's about the diameter of a dime, and he put it right on there and had the laces pointing exactly where it needed to go. So kudos to him. If he was nervous, I couldn't tell, because he and [DS] Alex Zumberge did a great job.
On where the punting game needs to improve: Going into this week, I'm really trying to just focus on getting more distance out of my punts. It sounds like it's pretty simple because it is. A lot of guys who are specialists, kickers or punters or sometimes even quarterbacks, they'll be a head case and say, well, I need to change this about what I'm doing, and then it leads to inconsistencies. So what I'm trying to do is just keep it simple. My grandfather when I was a junior in high school gave me the best advice. He wasn't a kicker, he was a linebacker back in the day, but he told me, just kick the ball. It's pretty simple. Just kick it as hard as you can, and the rest will take care of itself. As far as going through this week, punting, I'm just going to try to kick it farther.
On if he has professional aspirations as a punter or kicker: Obviously I'd love to do everything from take snaps at QB to catching touchdown passes. But as it is, I do love scoring points and putting points on the board for our team and just propelling us to victories is probably one of the most satisfying things about being a placekicker and a kickoff guy. And as far as punting, being an option to mix it up with a different style of punting is something that I can do. Or pooch punting is something that I've been pretty good at. But as far as professionally, we'll worry about that when the time comes. As far as any other footballrelated things, postgraduate, that will come after Baylor.
On if his leg gets tired from so many kicking duties: I really wouldn't say I've felt the effects of it. As with anybody else on the team, you're going to get nicked up and you might have bumps and scrapes and scars and you might be sore. For me, I don't really get hit a lot or hit too many people to where I'm in the training room for hours and hours after a game. There can be a little bit of attrition over the course of a season, but it's just a mindset. Whereas like a couple seasons ago I was maybe letting it get to me a little bit later in the season where I would lose a couple yards on my kickoffs, I would lose maybe three or four, and this season instead of losing yards - I may lose a yard or two on a kickoff, but I'm still hitting a 4.0 or 4.1 or 4.3 hang time and allowing our coverage to get down there. Props to our Wild Bunch, that's a nickname for our kickoff coverage team, they did a great job this week with some big tackles inside the 25 setting our defense up with good field position. But as far as the leg getting tired, it's really more of a mindset than anything, I think, at this point.
CB Carrington Byndom
On being named Big 12 defensive player of the week: It's definitely an honor for me to receive an award like that. It lets me know that I had a pretty decent week, and hopefully I can get more in the future.
On if he watched Baylor play Texas Tech this weekend: I actually did watch a little bit of it and kind of just seeing what Baylor likes to do, kind of watch the tendencies and things like that. It was definitely a good game. We're going to have a challenge this week with Baylor, and we know that.
On the Baylor offense: You know, they have an explosive offense, great group of receivers with a Heisman quarterback back there. So I think you have to take this in as we do every week and just control one thing and control what we can.
On Baylor QB Griffin having a 35-yard per TD average: I think as a defense, secondary, I think we pride ourselves every week we look at not giving up long touchdowns, rushing or throwing, and we are in the top three in the nation of not giving up passes or long plays over 20 yards. I think we pride ourselves on keeping people from extending plays past 20 yards. So taking away long balls for touchdowns or long runs for touchdowns is something that we're used to.
On being able to carry some emotion from the A&M win over to the Baylor game: I definitely think you can with a win like that. There's definitely something you can take into the next week and look forward to bringing the same excitement and enthusiasm to Baylor.
On how important a win against Baylor will be: We definitely want to win the Texas state championship for us. So I think that's a big deal for us, and they did beat us last year, so you know, a win this year gives would be perfection for us, to win all our games in state. And it is the last regular season game, and I think we want to end it with a win going into the bowl season.
On getting turnovers: We do talk about causing turnovers, and I think in a couple of games we weren't able to force turnovers and things didn't turn out the way we wanted them to. It's definitely a great thing when we get turnovers. It helps the offense out and gives them that spark. We just try to go into every game trying to get turnovers, and sometimes they come and sometimes they don't.
LB Keenan Robinson
On how Baylor QB Robert Griffin has changed from last year:
He's pretty much the same guy to me from last year. He's more polished, but obviously he's always been a great athlete since the first time I played him, and that was two years ago when we went to the Fiesta Bowl. He was a great player then and is a great player now. He's got better over the years, really polished his game as far as throwing goes. He's always been a great runner, so he's a dualthreat quarterback and does a great job with that.
On if he played with any more intensity these last two games than ever before: No, I've been doing the same thing I've been doing since freshman year, doing what I do and controlling what I can control. I think the passion that you saw out of me might have been increased just because the nature of the two games we just played, KState and A&M. Obviously KState was senior night. A&M was the last game playing against them for a long time. So the passion probably stepped up a little, just had more energy. Being around my teammates is always fun, so whenever they play at a higher level, I play at a higher level, and we feed off each other. So I guess that was the passion and the energy that you saw come out Thursday and the previous Saturday.
On stopping Griffin: Coach [Manny] Diaz said don't let him win the Heisman against us, and that's not going to happen because where our defense is at, he hasn't faced us. He's played other defenses, but Texas defense, we have a name for ourselves and we have to protect that name. So we've got to go out there, play another great game like we did Thursday night and make sure we just execute our game plan, and I think everything will fall into place. Force turnovers like we did last week. Continue to make plays on third down to get off the field. Stop the run, and a combination of all those will help us win the game.
On how hard it is to accomplish 50 starts like Blake Gideon will do on Saturday: It's very hard just because of the fact of injuries nowadays. It's a physical game, so you need to be very tough. He's a guy that pushed through little small nicks and bruises here and there. He's had shoulder problems in the past, but obviously that doesn't bother him at all. He's out there playing, giving his all, 100 percent every play. He's a guy that just makes sure that when he is injured he gets in the training room. When he's not, he's out there watching film making sure that he plays the best he can play at the highest level he can play, and that really helps on the field. Because, I mean, he's a guy that he's been trusted since his freshman year, first day he stepped on campus. So he's a guy that's been around here for a long time, and he's a guy that the coaches trust, the players trust, and he's obviously a leader of the defense.
On when he feels the defense started clicking: It clicked early on, but it just clicked to different levels. We have a level that I guess goes through some stages, beginner, intermediate, advanced, all that. So early in the season we're obviously beginners in this defense. Obviously we practiced in the spring and obviously practiced in twoadays, but it's a difference when you get to play games, getting to see it in a game setting. So it's kind of hard for us to gauge how good a team we'll be on defense because through practices and all that, but once you start playing games you can see how the scheme works, how everything goes hand in hand. And when you start playing better opponents your defense gets tested. So we got tested early on in the season, midway in the season, and now we're getting tested again late in the season. So we're still putting new stuff in. Every day there's something new for every team, and I feel like right now, though, we have definitely exceeded Coach Diaz's expectations.
On if the last four games show where they want to be defensively: For me I think it has because we've definitely played well. The thing is turnovers and points you give up is obviously something that we really want to focus on and be better. The last game we had turnovers, but as far as points goes, we would like to hold teams to obviously less than two touchdowns, 14 points, and we haven't been able to do that. It's really hard in the Big 12 league, but it's still something we have to strive to because at the end of the day that's our goal. That's our expectations. If the offense scores 21 points and we only give up 14, then we've got a better chance of winning. It just comes down to numbers. It's not necessarily who's the best team but who scores the amount of points that day, and if we can hold a team to less amount of points as possible, then it gives our offense and special teams a better chance to help us win the game.
On why it is important to get an eighth victory: It's our last regular season game, on the road at a place that's pretty much rocking. They have a great quarterback and a great team, so it's going to be a good opponent to play. And as far as the eighth win goes, we really wanted a tenwin season. That's not possible, but we can do the best we can, get nine wins and put Texas back on the map.
On facing Baylor RB Terrance Ganaway: Actually me and Ganaway played in the allstar game together in high school. He was on my team. I remember him from about five years ago. He was a great back then and a great back now. Their Oline is pretty good, and they block pretty well. Their running game is going to be something that we'll really focus on stopping this week.