Nov. 29, 2011
Co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bryan Harsin
On Baylor’s defense: I think overall just as a team, they've done a very good job and they've been very successful at home. Defensively they do their deal. They'll bring some pressures and give you some different looks, but they don't do a whole lot, or they haven't throughout the year, and they're just good at what they do. I think their guys up front play hard, and then in the secondary I think their corners, those guys match up well with some of the guys, and they played some very good passing teams with some good receivers out there. But they kind of do their deal and try not to let you just go up and down the field, wait for you to make a mistake, and I think they're pretty opportunistic when that happens.
On the two-minute drill: We've been in that situation several times, and this one we got it done. And so that was good. As much time as we spend on that week to week and the scenarios that we've gone through where we haven't been successful. And those came up in this last game and we were successful this time. I think it's just kind of going back and proving that what we could have done in those other drives happened in this particular drive here. And so that was good. It was good from the quarterback standpoint, the wide receivers, the whole operation, coaches, everything. All working together just to get in that position and then ultimately we gave ourselves a chance to win the game.
On the quarterbacks: They'll both play. I think we'll play Case [McCoy], and David [Ash] will have his package in there, as well. And those guys will be back and forth kind of like we did in this last game. Like we said, we've got those two guys and we're developing both of them. We had more plans for David in this game. The problem was we weren't converting third downs. We didn't extend our drives to get the plays that we hoped we were going to get, and so that shortened his opportunities in the game.
On the offensive consistency: From the standpoint of just going back and you look at the execution and certain things, you look at stuff that we've been doing that we've been successful at in this game, maybe the same play we weren't successful. It comes down to consistency is what it comes down to, and that would be the biggest thing that we talk about offensively is we're doing the same thing and we've done it before. We've got to be consistent. It's got to be something we do over and over and over and over and over, and until we get to that point, that's where it gets frustrating where you're in those threeandout situations. And [when] we have the opportunity to not be in that situation, we've got to take advantage of that.
On what having WR Jaxon Shipley back means to the offense: Well, it does a lot. Obviously come game time he's a guy that you want to have on the field. He does a lot of different things. He's got a lot of different abilities. We talked about Shipley when he got here, just his habits, I think his mentality, the attitude he brings, it just seems to lift everybody up a little bit more when he's out there on the field. We all like how competitive he is, and how he prepares and what he brings to the table just in that type of standpoint on the field.
On if Shipley was practicing his TD throw when he was out: We kept his arm loose, yeah, waiting to get him back there [laughing]. That was a great play. He's a guy, he's got a lot of different talents, and the one thing is whether he's throwing it, catching it, running it - he's a guy that in big games will make big plays. And that's why it's important to have him out there.
On asking RBs and WRs to take a direct snap in the wild formation: Is it difficult for them? No, everybody is trying to try out for quarterback and wants to do this and that. It's just a matter of picking the right guy. We have a lot of guys that have done different things in high school and have a lot of different talent. It's a matter of what fits that week. And that's the fun part, when you're able to get to that, where you can involve a lot of guys and things are flowing and you're extending drives by getting third downs. You get more plays and things like that. That's when it becomes fun, and we've got those type of guys to do that with.
On players being pleased when asked to take a snap in the wild formation: Well, they know they're going to get the ball. That's a guarantee, the ball is going to be in their hand, somehow, some way. Those guys and their mentality is they want to have that opportunity.
On if that makes them more sympathetic to the quarterbacks: No, I don't think so, not unless they're able to drop back there and maybe take a blind shot or something like that. But they usually don't get to do that. I think they do their deal, and the quarterbacks are on your own. You've got to take care of your job, too.
On getting RB Malcolm Brown to be more effective: I think kind of what we've been doing. We've got to be more effective with what we're doing. We want to get the ball in his hands. We want to get him inside on the perimeter. We're trying different ways to get him rolling. It's not [just] Malcolm, it's everybody on the field. So it comes back to that consistency of doing what we've been doing and guys doing their jobs and helping him out from that standpoint.
On QB Case McCoy being a good game manager: Here's my thought on the quarterback position, and it was no different with [Boise State QB] Kellen [Moore], and Kellen was a great football player and has done a lot of great things. But it was no different for him starting out, just go out there and manage the game, and here's the things you need to do. Don't turn the ball over. Make sure we get the ball to the playmakers. Go through your progression. If the first read is there, take it. Don't try to do any more than you're asked to do. And if you'll do those things, then eventually you're going to be asked to make bigger and more and better plays. And like in Case's situation, he managed well out there, and then all of a sudden that opportunity for him to run presented itself. And I think those are the type of plays by just managing the game you're going to get, and you're going to be asked to now go out there and try to win the game for us. Just like anybody else on offense, they just need to do their job. First read is open, take it. If it's not there, throw it away. Make good decisions. Don't put us in a bad situation. And by doing that you're helping yourself out ultimately because defenses are going to say this guy is smart, he's not going to hurt himself. They're going to be a little bit more risky and then the opportunity presents itself and you get a big play out of it.
Defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Manny Diaz
On the Baylor offense liking to make explosive plays: Well, yes. When you put the tape on, the first thing that jumps out is how explosive they are, and you see a big play by a wide out and you're like, that guy is so fast. Then you see another big play, and you're like, wow, that's the same guy. No, that's a different guy. And then the next play, man, that guy is really fast, oh, my gosh, what number is he, that's a different guy. I mean, if it was one guy, that would be different, but they have multiple guys that can attack you down the field. The quarterback's accuracy on throwing deep balls is really remarkable. Even going back to the first game of the year against TCU, it's like a video game. You would not expect someone to be able to throw the ball 40plus yards down the field five times a game and hit the guy right in stride, and yet he does it. There's a reason why they lead the nation in explosive plays. Before you do anything against them, you've got to find a way to stop that. But everybody has sung the same song, and it's been easier said than done.
On preparing for the Baylor offense: Well, I don't know that we will need a lot of hyping up. I mean, I think their film will get us hyped up. We have enough of a challenge as it is, and I will say this: If we don't play well, we'll end up on all the highlight shows, and we'd rather not do that. We don't want to go to New York, I'll put it that way. We don't want to be in the highlights in New York. And [Baylor QB Robert Griffin’s] body of work should not come down to this game anyway. He's just been outstanding. His résumé throughout the course of the season. If we need that to get us excited to play this game, then to me we're in trouble. Their film speaks for itself, and the danger they possess will have us ready to play.
On who reminds him of Baylor QB Robert Griffin: I'm trying to think off the top of my head. No one comes to mind because he will scramble to throw and scramble to run. He's a passing quarterback, and then they can run all the quarterback run game stuff with him. They have a vertical passing attack. They have all the quarterback run game, and then you have a guy that you have to worry about taking off and running with a fleet of skill around him that's really dynamic. There's a reason they've done what they've done to everybody that they've played, and he gets it orchestrated all from his position. It is not fun to watch, I can assure you.
On the approach to stopping Baylor’s offense: What my mouth would say is don't give up long plays for touchdowns because that is the surest way to get beaten. But I'm pretty sure I'll be the 12th defensive coordinator in a row to preach that. But what they do just puts that under tremendous stress because you have the quarterback run game, so you're worried about devoting the numbers to stop that because if you don't stop that, they'll run the ball right down your throat, and they're explosive in the run game. So you have that challenge. Then you have the challenge of trying to cover them the first time. Then you have the challenge of trying to cover them, and then the more people you try and devote to coverage, then it's very hard to keep somebody around him. It's like a simple thing. You want to spy him, but then the problem is you also want to spy No. 1, you also want to spy No. 3, and you also want to spy the running back, and you're just running out of spies. You're like the CIA. You can only play with 11 guys at one time. But I do know this: The game of football still doesn't change. You still have to find a way to make them go the long way. These offenses like this. They're going to be so good. They're going to gain yards, but we will play this game for points, and we have to find a way to hold them to the fewest amount of points as possible and the explosive plays.
On if the strategy to contain Baylor will change play to play: It can, but that's sort of my point is that the more people - again, the spy theory - and you put people on him, then you're taking something away from somewhere else. We can have somebody stand there watching him as he's throwing a touchdown pass oneonone down the field or something like that. So that's all going to be a part of it, and yet you have to have the ability to do both. That's sort of a theory that sometimes is, again, easier said than done.
On how he feels about his defense: I have confidence in our guys, and that's the way we look at it. We look at this as a great challenge. This is fun. This is what you want to do. You want to go play against offenses like this no different than the offense we played against last week. We will respect who we play, but we're not just going to make up the numbers. We're going to go do our thing, too. There's things that we've done that we've been good at, and one of the things that we've been good at is not giving up long plays. Through the course of the year, I think we're third in the country in fewest plays of 20plus. So to me, above everything, that's the challenge in this game. Them trying to get 20plus plays and us trying to limit them getting 20plus plays, and probably that stat will determine who wins and loses after the game. So that's strength on strength, so we're excited about that.
On the improvement he has seen in CB Carrington Byndom: Really all of our defensive backs have improved, but the way those guys played Thursday night was - obviously it was outstanding. We talked about it being a game where you could make a name for yourself because of it being the last game. It was a hero's game. It was a legend’s game. And one of the great things that I really enjoy about being at this school is that guys can get that legend status here, especially when we talk about DBs. We actually talked before the game, they get referred to as one name or by a nickname. Earl [Thomas] or ARoss [Aaron Ross], Ced [Cedric Griffin]. You want to be one of those guys when people talk about you five, ten years down the road they don't even say your whole name. They can just say your nickname and everyone knows who you are. How do you get that? You get that by making plays in a game like we had Thursday night. You'll get that by making plays in a game like we play this Saturday. So that's what gets our guys excited about this game. Baylor has got great wide receivers. We feel like we've got a pretty good group of defensive backs that will be excited to play against them.
On if the A&M game was the defense’s biggest game: Was it our best game? I don't know. As a coach you're always going to see the warts in the performance. But I would say that the way that our guys battled under the adversity and the quality of the offense that we played against, I would say it was up there with one of our best efforts. But at the same time, we still didn't start and finish the game to our standard. So as a coach, like I've always said, we come back in and just find a way to get better the next week.
On when he saw the defense become what he was expecting: Well, as crazy as it sounds, the Oklahoma game. And that's what's funny is that when we put the film on, and sometimes you've got to dig under the rubble, but there were some things on that tape that we actually really liked. And the game is not complicated, will never change. The game always starts up front. Everything will always start up front. I guess that was our fifth game that was really the best game that we had played up front. Not perfect, not dominating, but there were some things that we were starting to see. The things that we were preaching. We felt maybe we had something. But then Oklahoma State came to town and we had to sort of change a little bit of what we did, then we went away and we had a bye. But all week in practice during all that time we were still hammering our fundamentals of the way that we want our front to play. And then Kansas comes in. Kansas has been a good running football team, and we played very well up front against them. And then Texas Tech, same thing, and it sort of goes on from there, Missouri, KState. So week in, week out, I think everything always starts with our front play, and we sort of saw it there. And I would say for the last six weeks they continued to get better, and we're still showing them plays that we're not finishing and not making. But the game will always start on the line of scrimmage. And that's where those guys get a lot of the credit. You've heard me say before, stopping the pass and the run are both 11man exploits, and I thought the way that our guys up front put [A&M QB Ryan] Tannehill on the run through the course of the game really helped out our guys on the back end, as well.
On Baylor RB Terrance Ganaway: Reminds me almost of Stephen McGuire at Miami when Dennis Erickson was spreading everybody out and he had that big solo back that just kind of hammered you. Again, when you have a quarterback as a run threat, so they really have an extra blocker for all your guys so everybody has a guy on him and you're trying to leverage and he's running through half a body. Instead of you can outnumber them in the run game and you have an extra guy there for them, you have half a guy there for them. Or you're so concerned about their pass threat down the field where you may not have the numbers to have an extra guy, so he can beat you by himself. They can just run the ball. That's really what they did this past weekend. They can just sort of run the ball down your throat. And they can be explosive in the run game. Like I said, that's why their numbers, they're in the top 20 in rushing and passing like a fantasy football team. They have everything that you'd want.
On if there is no drop-off when rotating the defensive tackles: I think we're getting there. I think at tackle I think we've been able to develop that type of depth at tackle. At end it's been a little bit slower to come on, but it has been coming. And now in a game like this where you've got to chase that guy around for who knows how many plays, it'll be as important now more than ever. Our guys know this is not lip service that we have to play a lot of people up front to play the style of defense we want. It's very hard to do what we want to do up front and come off the ball and play the whole game. I think that's probably also why things have sort of changed in the second half of the season as our depth has gotten better. The guys are realizing, hey, you know what, I can put my foot on the gas and let it all out for a fourplay set and then come out and my buddy can come in and do the same thing. And we're all better when we do that.
On Baylor WR Kendall Wright: Well, one, he's a blessed athlete. He is so fast, got great change of direction, his acceleration is so fast. The first thing that stands out is you can tell they're a well coached outfit. They just explode off the ball. They instantly are putting stress by trying to step on your toes. And then he's got great change of direction. He can make the play down the field, and he's got great run for the catch. He's a guy that I hadn't had a chance to see a whole lot of, but to me he is second to none in this conference. When you talk about the [OSU WR Justin] Blackmons and the [OU WR Ryan] Broyles and all those type of guys, to me you have to speak of him in the same breath as all those guys, and his numbers back it up. I think, again, as we've talked about, people are sort of waking up to Baylor and what they've done to everyone that they've played this year, and he's a big reason why.