Valero Alamo Bowl press conference quotes: Dec. 28
Dec. 28, 2012
Head coach Mack Brown
Opening statement: As has been reported, we had a couple of young men that broke team rules last night. They have been suspended from the team, and they will be sent home and will not be available for the game.
Like [Oregon State head coach] Mike [Riley said], it's been a great week. We were here in '06, and I remember how wonderful the staff was and the Valero Alamo Bowl has done such a great job, and it just reminds me each time that I come to a bowl with players and watch the experience of our players and Mike's players that the bowl system works that's in place. And it is about the kids. It's one of the few things left in college sports that's really real for them to reap some benefits at the end of the year. Nobody does it better than San Antonio as a city of hospitality, and the Alamo Bowl has just done a tremendous job all week for our guys. Last night was a lot of fun, to spend some time with the coaches of Oregon State and also the players, and the players have gotten along wonderfully this week. I think it's probably because of the respect that Mike and I have for each other. I love Mike. I've known him a long time. I admire so much what he's done. I didn't realize Tim Cross, one of our defensive coaches, [was coached by] Mike at linebacker. I always thought Mike was on offense. I never knew he was a linebacker coach. I learned something last night, back in the day, and Tim said he was good at it, too. I bet he was good at it. But to see what Mike has been able to do in his entire career and being the son of a coach and the fabulous job he's done for 12 years at Oregon State, being their best coach ever, and the turnaround this year, his team is really, really good. Their lines of scrimmage are great. They've got great speed at corner. They've got great speed at wide receiver. They've got two quarterbacks playing well. So we're excited about the challenge, and I think it's going to be a great matchup. We have our hands full, and we understand that, but it's been a great week. Again, congratulations to Mike and his fans and his staff, team, on a great year, and we look forward to the game.
We have [DB] Leroy Scott will be out. He is out with a concussion. [LB] Steve Edmond is questionable. He sprained his ankle in Austin. He came down here and was doing pretty well. He tweaked the ankle again on Wednesday. [RB] Daje Johnson is questionable because he's had back spasms all week, and we're not sure if those two will be available for the game or not.
On dealing with distractions at a bowl game: I have not met with the team yet. I'll meet with them at 11:45 before the luncheon, and I will tell them exactly what I told you, and then you move forward. That's what you do. You have policies that you go by, and our policies are in better place right now than they were in '99, so we understand that when you have an issue, you deal with it and you move forward.
On his time at Texas: Our last three years have been more like our first three, really. We were 9-5 one year and the world came to an end. I remember we came down here at 10-3 in '06 and the world was nearly at an end. And I remember being 10-3 in '03, and it was at an end. And then what we did, we got a let better in '04,-'05, fell back off in '06-'07, and then got back [to the BCS in] '08, and then in '09 played for the national championship. We dropped off heavily in '10. I thought we were competitive last year but we played good defense. We didn't move the ball well enough. This year we've improved on offense, [but] we dropped off on defense some. But I think in our process to move forward, we're about back to where we can compete at the highest level, and we'll have an older team for the first time since we made our changes next year. And I think we're making tremendous progress. Not all of it is visible, and that's something that's very difficult for Texas fans who have seen us be so good. It's difficult for us, too, because we want to be really, really good, and this will be a great way to end the season, competing against one of the best teams in the country, and see how much progress we've made there and then move forward to spring.
But I'm excited about [co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach] Major [Applewhite] taking over the play calling. I think he will do a great job. It won't change much tomorrow night, but I think in time there will be some changes, and he and [co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach] Darrell Wyatt will put their imprint on the offense and move forward. And I think the defense knows that we dropped off more than is the standard at Texas and they've improved here some as of late, but it's still not where we want it to be, and they've got a lot of work to do for next year.
But I like where we're going. I think the kids get it. We've had very intense and very productive bowl practices, and I think we're seeing progress. Got a lot of good young players that are growing up and growing older, and we may have some depth next year. It's been unparalleled the number of injuries we've had the last two years. We won't even start any of the three linebackers who started the season tomorrow night. And then you've got [LB] Jordan Hicks and [DE] Jackson Jeffcoat as team leaders that won't be out there. So you're in a position where I hope that we can see more depth next year, and when we've been good, we've had depth. And therefore when we've had injuries it hasn't cost us as much as it has the last couple years. We've been playing more young players than anybody else in the country the last two years, and I think you have more injuries and you have less depth when you're playing freshmen. So hopefully we're working our way out of that.
On the significance of tomorrow night's game to next season: It's a reward when you go to a bowl game. You get 13 extra practices, which is nearly a spring practice, to improve, especially with your young guys. We think we've already accomplished that. And you always like to win your last game. Mike [Riley] and I have done it both ways. f you lose the last one, it motivates you to get ready to go to spring and you've got more to prove. And if you win the last one you feel like you're on a high and you finished really well, like we did against Cal last year, and it takes momentum in the spring. But as coaches, what you got to do is do the best that you can do to win the game, and if you don't you manage it and if you do you manage it and you move forward.
On whether there was a moment where you looked at Major Applewhite and knew he was the right choice as the play caller: Yes, I knew that two years ago when we made our changes. I just didn't think it was fair for Major because we weren't very good at that time, and he had played for [former offensive coordinator] Greg Davis. He had worked for Greg as a graduate assistant. He had worked with Greg as assistant coach, and I felt like there would be too many correlations between Greg and Major. Major and I felt like we needed some new ideas, so I thought that was good. But in watching him over the last two weeks, I guess, he's done a tremendous job with the offense, and he's done a tremendous job with the quarterbacks. He's really worked hard with them to improve and gain their confidence. [Former offensive coordinator] Bryan [Harsin] did a tremendous job for us. It's always difficult, you watch all these bowl games now and you don't know who's coaching. I think Cincinnati had four coaches last night. So it's a little bit crazy right now in college sports who's ending up coaching, so we're pretty lucky that Major had prepared for this. I told Major, if something happened to Bryan or if he got sick and couldn't call plays you'd have to call them during the season. So he's prepared himself for this, and again, I don't think tomorrow night is fair to him to judge everything on him because he won't have his mark on the offense like he will this time next year when we open up. But I think that he'll do a really good job. I've always thought Major is a star, and I'm excited about watching him. The players are excited. They know this is a dream for him. He was patient to wait the two years to get this opportunity again, and he's excited about it. This isn't the best bunch to start it against. I think he watched video. He came in and said, "Do you think Bryan could come back for the game?" But he's done well.
On whether he has done any research on potential running backs coaches and has a hiring timeline: No. In hiring over the last few years, I felt like in some cases it was disruptive and really unnecessary to call guys who were in bowl games and talk to their head coach before you talk to them about a position before they coach their game. We were okay, we didn't need him in here for recruiting at this time. We didn't need the guy to coach because he wouldn't know our system anyway. So I felt like it's best to wait until after we get through [the bowl game] and after the two or three guys I'm going to talk to get through and then talk to them and bring them in and interview. But I really haven't called anybody yet. I've obviously looked at some things, and personally I keep a list of guys that you're interested in through the years. And then one of the good things about waiting, too, and it happened before, is a lot of guys call you that you might not [have] remembered were out there or that you might not remember or think they'd even be interested in coming. So sometimes being more patient than I've been at times is a good thing.
On the advantage of having a former Texas quarterback coaching the position: Yes, I think it's really a good thing. He's helped our quarterbacks anyway because from afar, even when he was coaching running backs and Greg [Davis] was coaching quarterbacks. I would say, "Major," in front of Greg and in front of Bryan [Harsin] - "Major, meet with these guys and tell them it's a different place." You've got different pressures and you've got different expectations than a lot of places. He's a guy that's been through it all. He's a guy that started. He was a guy that was a star. He was a guy that was National Player of the Year as a freshman. He was a guy that got hurt. He was a guy who didn't get to play. He was a guy that got his opportunity and came back in a bowl game and came [from] 19 behind against Washington and won. He's been the whole gamut with Texas. He's been a player, he's been a graduate assistant [and] he's been a second team quarterback at Texas, which is pretty popular. He's been the starter, which he was popular. I think all of those things help him when he's trying to help David [Ash] go through the process.
On the key to success Texas success in bowl games: Number one, we've had good teams, and we've taken winning the last game very seriously. I think that you'd have to go back and look at all those games. I guess we lost to Washington State 28-20, and we lost to Alabama in the National Championship game of those 10. And we didn't play very good against Washington State, and we obviously lost our quarterback early against Alabama. But I think the guys have worked very hard. We've had nearly spring training type workouts in Austin, and then when we've come, we've had just game week workouts at the bowl site, and it's worked very well for us.
On practices and games being an audition for David Ash for next season: You go back and look at what David has done. He won eight games. He's in the top 10, maybe top seven in passing efficiency in the country. He did get an injury, had an injury against Iowa State, and we thought he'd be fine. And I'm not sure that he's such a tough young man and he doesn't say very much, so I'm not sure that he was as healthy for TCU as he told us he was. He didn't respond very well at that time because after Kansas we thought he was really on a roll and doing so well at Texas Tech and Iowa State. We said Case [McCoy] would start at Kansas State because we didn't really know David would play or not. We knew he wouldn't practice very much, and we felt like we should go ahead and make a decision to get the guy that's going to practice to play, and then they told us the morning of the Kansas State game that David was available if we had to have him, but he did very little during the week. So I think David has made great progress, and tomorrow night will be a big game for him because it's a very good defense. It's a defense that does things a lot like Kansas State and TCU where we didn't play very well against. They're going to stop the run. They're very physical up front. They're going to make you throw it, and they've got two pro corners. So they do it right, and they do it good. So I'm excited to watch our offense respond against the two defenses we saw at the end of the year that we didn't handle as well.