Nov. 9, 2009
Press Conference Video
Opening statement: It was a great game on Saturday, and we're really proud to be sitting here this time of the year at 9-0. It is the second time we have been 9-0 at this time including 2005, and it has only happened nine times in the 117 years at The University of Texas that a team would start 9-0. Last time before 2005 was 1983, so it is not something to take for granted. We are really proud of it and really proud of our guys.
We're also proud that we could have an appreciation for our veterans. I didn't really know that our stadium was named memorial stadium in honor of three football players that died in the war. That's how the stadium was named and there is a plaque on the left side as you walk in the stadium in our north end zone. I showed that to our players this week, so it was good we knew that. I though it was also a special day to honor our military, not only our veterans. The pilots that did the fly over, there were 10 of them, and they ate the pregame meal with us, which was really unique. We don't have anyone eat pregame meal and they were at the hotel, so we thought it would be really nice for them to come in and eat. Two of them were Texas graduates, and we asked one of them to stand up and talk to our team briefly about preparing for a mission. It was just amazing how our military prepares and how our football team prepares for each day understanding that theirs is much more important because it is life and death and about our freedom and ours is just a game.
We also were honored to honor our veterans, but we also wanted to keep the folks in Fort Hood, the families and friends who lost relatives and friends, we want to keep them in our hearts and make sure we continue our prayers in their light because a lot of people move on in their lives and that is an awful situation up there, and I am sure very difficult to handle.
We're also excited to be number two in the country and in the top three in the BCS. Our job is to continue to win. It is to do the best we can do each week to keep our eye on our goal and not be distracted by the individual honors and not be distracted by the BCS or the computers or the polls and what people like to talk about all the time. We're back at Baylor this week this gives a chance to get back to the goal of winning the Big 12 South. Right now, that is all we're interested in and what we can work on this week. We feel like we're in a great position if you are in the top two or three spots in the BCS and two teams above you play each other. We felt like last week, being second or third really didn't make any difference to us. We just need to keep playing at a very high level.
The defense played great again until we substituted in the fourth quarter. Our defense had held Central Florida to 100 yards total offense. We're number one in the country in total defense right now giving up 230 yards a game. We're number one in rush defense giving up 55.3 yards per game. Maybe more importantly, we're number eight in the country in scoring defense, and we're leading the country in third down efficiency; 23 percent of the time is what we're allowing them to make. Central Florida only made 2-of-12 third-down situations, which was really good for us. Sergio Kindle and Lamarr Houston played at very high level. We had seven sacks, nine pressures, and 13 quarterback hits. We feel like we're continuing to improve on the pressure of the passer and that's what we've got to do to continue to win, but our pass efficiency defense is so much better than we have had in the past because of the pressure we're putting on up front and the interceptions we have had, we're fifth in the country in pass efficiency defense. There were 26 snaps of their 37 total snaps that went for zero yards; 12 of those 26 were runs. The only thing that we needed to do more on Saturday was to force more turnovers. We didn't strip a ball. We had the one fumble that Chykie Brown recovered but then we had a late hit on the quarterback, which was a good call that nullified it.
Offensively, we continued to be very effective. Our pass protection was good. Colt and Jordan were as good a combination as anybody has ever seen in college football on Saturday. It was fun to watch them. Since the half time at OU, Colt is hitting 80 percent of his passes, so he is really doing better than he was this time last year. He's on fire, and we need to keep him going the same way. We are inconsistent in our running game. We are really good in short yardage and goal line, which is what we want to do. The one play coming off the goal line, Cody saved us. It would have been a safety if he hadn't fought his way out because we had a bust up front and missed the assignment and nearly got ourselves in trouble. I think as coaches we can do a better job of helping the kids in that situation. We threw it out of there and then got a first down. We had a 99-yard touchdown drive with an 88-yard play off of that series, so we feel like at Tech last year, you can't get in the I and hand the ball to an I-tailback when you're on the six inch line and not have an opportunity for a safety, so we think that is our fault as coaches, and there was a bust up front, but the kids really didn't do a bad job, it was more on us as coaches than them except for the kid that busted it up. Cody Johnson will start as tailback this week. He has been most productive, and we're excited about him getting better each week. Offense had three drives over 80 yards of offense; they had an 80-yard drive, an 87-yard drive, and a 99-yard drive, which is very, very hard to do. They were also successful 10-of-14 snaps on third down, so they stayed on the field as our defense was getting us off the field.
We only had one turnover, but we didn't gain one, so we didn't win the turnover ratio even though the defense did have one fourth-down stop, and we count that as turnover internally. Colt just needs one more win in order to tie for the most wins for a quarterback in the history of college football, which is phenomenal. Right now, we're third in scoring offense with 41 points per game. Our kicking game was not as good as we need for it to be. Kickoff coverage was great. We had two tackles inside the 20-yard line. They only average 19.8 yards a return. We had two kicks out, which made for the touchbacks, but we had one very poor kick, therefore we covered it poorly, which gave them good field position. We only had one opportunity for a kickoff return, and we botched it. It wasn't very good. Extra points, we were five out of five, but we missed the field goal to start the game, and it is very important for us, when we defer, our defense stops Central Florida, we drive down, had an opportunity to score first, which is huge when you look at the number of times we have scored first and won. Our punting was inconsistent. We had one really great punt and one really poor punt. Our punt return is not up to our standard. We had one punt return that was decent, but we didn't get close to blocking one. So you come out, and we didn't score on special teams. We didn't get a turnover on special teams. We really lost field position because they had a 50-yard punt and a 70-yard punt, so we've got to do better on special teams. We bragged on them. They were as good as anybody in the country in the last two weeks. As a group, they've dropped off.
We do lead the nation in scoring differential. We're averaging 41 points a game and giving up 12. That's why we are undefeated. We are second in the country in kickoff returns. We just need to do a better job. We're seventh in the country in turnover margin. Most importantly, we came out of the game healthy. Aaron Williams will be back at full speed, and he should practice on Tuesday. As of now, Mason Walters and Calvin Howell will be the only two that will not play this week, so they continue to be out.
Right now we have the road game at Baylor. Baylor is playing at the highest level of any Baylor team we have seen since we've been here. After losing (QB) Robert Griffin early in the season, they have come back. They've played really well the last two weeks. They had a 20-10 game against Nebraska that was really close. Last week they just lit up a Missouri defense for 40 points and 427 yards. It is a fun game for us because it is always competitive, but it's a chance for our fans who don't have tickets at The University of Texas to get them and go up there in order to fill the stands. I always love our crowd at Baylor. It is fun to have them up there.
On Baylor's offense: They'll have some new wrinkles. They've got two great receivers in (David) Gettis and (Kendall) Wright. They can fly. The quarterback's playing at a real high level. You've got to give them credit for losing Robert Griffin, changing their offense completely, getting away from the run some, throwing for over 400 yards.
On S Jordan Lake and the Baylor defense: Jordan Lake is as good a safety as there is in the country. He's number 21 for our fans to watch. He's been an unbelievable player in his time there. He's out of Houston and he's a guy that can run and hit you, plays tough and aggressive and smart. They're bigger and better looking up front. They can make plays. They've got the big transfer from Penn State in last year that's a big player for them, and they're playing much better defense than they have. They're good in the kicking game. Their punter's up for the Ray Guy award. All of their specialists are back from last year. Obviously, when you lose an impact player like Robert you go into a little shock. You have a little trouble figuring out what you've got to do to change and all of a sudden they've done a great job of finding their niche here two weeks before we play them. We're excited; it should be a great challenge.
On QB Nick Florence and the Baylor offense: He was a third-teamer and the second-teamer hurt his shoulder and he took advantage of that. I saw him earlier in the year, I can't remember who we were playing, but they had an afternoon game with Oklahoma, and he came out there and looked great. He's tough and threw the ball. They're going to go for fourth downs, they're going to have trick plays, and they'll just leave everything out there. He's very, very accurate. Their two skill players are as good as anybody in the league. We knew that going in. What Art (Briles) has done is upgrade their skill level and their speed. When you had Robert, he was able to use play action and hit those two guys on screens and hit them deep. Now they're doing the same but they're doing it from more one-back and multiple sets.
On Baylor head coach Art Briles: He is a great high school football coach in the state of Texas, he won championships at Stephenville. He progressed to Texas Tech as an assistant; he went there to an offensive system with Houston and did a tremendous job there. Kevin Sumlin's done a great job (at Houston), but Art recruited some of those speed guys. (Houston's) offense is as good as anybody in the country. He'll do the same thing at Baylor. He's the perfect hire for them.
On Baylor's coaching staff: Coach Briles used to work our camp when we first got here, and then obviously we signed Kendal, his son, who's on that staff. Three of our ex-players and coaches are on (Baylor's) staff, Beau Trahan, Kendal Briles and Casey Horny was a graduate assistant for us on defense. We've got great respect for their staff. Brian Norwood, I think he played for Duane (Akina) at Arizona and he's their defensive coordinator. We have a really good respect and a good relationship with their guys. They've done a great job recruiting. I think that's the thing you can see. They've upgraded their entire football team. When you walk on the field there were some years when you'd look at their guys and your guys and say, `Oof.' When you watch this film it gets your attention. They've got good players.
On RB Cody Johnson and the running back rotation: He's gotten his weight down, his confidence is up, and he's protecting the ball. Just like the little check-down that we hit him with on Saturday, it was a four-yard play; he turned it into a 14-yard play. We feel like he can do all those things. We're not asking our backs to get deep very often. We'll still have Fozzy (Whittaker) in there. We're going to bracket Fozzy and Tre' Newton together, Tre' is healthy again so we're going to let him have another run at it. We're just trying to find the right combinations. What we've said across the board is that we want the guys that produce the most in the games to have the first chance to run out there. They'll still all play. We're still rotating all those guys.
On moving WR James Kirkendoll back into the starting lineup and the wide receiver rotation: James Kirkendoll will start with Malcolm Williams and Jordan (Shipley) this weekend, but we will play Marquise Goodwin and John Chiles a whole lot. John Chiles is getting better. Marquise learns something every week. Marquise and John had the furthest to come because John hadn't played receiver and Marquise was brand new and wasn't even around this summer. They're learning each day and hopefully will continue to get better.
On how he has been able to beat Baylor in all 11 tries and the continuity Art Briles will bring to Baylor: We had better players early. I'm on our fourth Baylor coach. They haven't had continuity in what they've been able to do and that really affects your recruiting. Art will stay there and do a really good job there, so I think we'll see a different Baylor from now and the rest of the time that Art stays because they're just more talented. He has a great relationship with the high school coaches so he can get the players. They've already beaten more Big 12 teams than they had beaten in a while. It's a different attitude. He has a confidence and a swagger about him about high school football in this state. They're going to win with Texas kids. They'll do a great job. I think that's the biggest thing for us. We're going in this game with great respect.
On returning to conference play: The hardest thing last week, not playing Tech in that slot was different for us. A lot of teams across the country stick a game that's not in their conference about now just to kind of break up the conference race a little bit for them and take a little breather. Central Florida's pretty good. You look at them; they're one of the best teams in their league and have been for some time. This will be exciting for us. Our goal is the Big 12 South so we can play in Jerry Jones' stadium for the Big 12 Championship. Our dream is the national championship. This gets right back in the middle of our goals and this will be very, very important to our kids. I thought they handled it very well last week. You look around the country, I still don't understand. Our guys played really hard. We didn't have as much emotion as we would have for Oklahoma State or somebody else and I get that, because when you look around the country it's just not happened with teams and kids. Sometimes they get mentally tired, and that was the week that we played Tech last year. It's a tough run this time of the year. They get worn out. We have to balance how to pick them back up and I think watching Baylor play well against Nebraska and win against Missouri will really help them get excited about this game.
On WR James Kirkendoll's re-emergence: I thought we probably worked James too much in preseason. Receivers run all the time in this heat. Jordan (Shipley) came out and didn't spend as much time out there. I'm not sure that James didn't hit a wall after Wyoming. He just got tired a little bit. We just need to get him some rest and shake it up a little bit. He played great on Saturday. He was one of the great performers during the ball game with his blocking. Our downfield blocking with our receivers was as good Saturday as we've had. We feel like now when Marquise (Goodwin) and John (Chiles) hit a little wall we can give them a little break. I think James is ready now with Malcolm (Williams) to make the stretch run here.
On WR Malcolm Williams: Malcolm's about 220 pounds, and it's amazing to me that he's on kickoff coverage, he's on punt coverage, he's on the kickoff return team and playing 35-40 plays a game and making a difference. I walked into Oscar Giles' office and tried to get him off the kickoff coverage team and it was like trying to steal a child or something. Good for Malcolm too that he's doing so well.
On what he learned watching college football Saturday night: Not everybody gets ready to play. Sometimes when we don't play perfect, I've left the stadium mad at our special teams, mad that we didn't run the ball off the goal line, and then you watch the film and see that really, short-yardage and goal line is the only time we did run it well. We ran it great except for that one play off the goal line. We didn't run it well on first and second down. And I was mad at our defense for not getting turnovers. And then I go home and turn on about five games and I wanted to text all of our players and say, "Thank you, 9-0 is good." I think what you've got to do in our position is appreciate the 9-0 and understand that we've got to get better. Let's don't walk around with our chests stuck out and act like we played perfect. We didn't, and we still haven't played our best game. Our offense is now getting better. Our defense is continuing to play at a high level and now our special teams have dropped off a little bit. It's my job and our coaches' job and our players' responsibility to pick all those phases up to trying to get our best game.