Giles' attitude: An Oscar winner for UT
Thomas Wolfe was wrong.
You can go home again…and Oscar Giles couldn't be happier.
"I appreciate this opportunity," said Giles, who has returned to his alma mater in 2005 as assistant coach of the defensive ends.
"It is so great to come back to where I played, where I graduated, where I grew as a person," he continued. "I feel fortunate to have this opportunity, just as I felt about the opportunity I had to play for Texas."
Technically, this is Giles' second stint at UT, having been a graduate assistant coach in 1999.
After that season, he moved to SMU (2000-02) and then to the University of Houston (2003-04). Giles didn't hesitate when head coach Mack Brown called, offering him a full-time position with the Longhorns. Giles was pleased to be able to come "home."
Giles, a three-year starter at defensive end and an All-Southwest Conference performer as a senior, capped his UT career (1987-90) by helping to guide the 1990 squad to the SWC Championship and an appearance in the 1991 Cotton Bowl.
In 1988 and 1989, Giles led Texas with a combined 13 ˝ sacks, taking up residence in opposing teams' backfields.
That stat helps get his players' attention when he discusses that topic -- sacking the quarterback -- before, during and after every practice. "And it didn't come easy," said Giles, a Palacios native who earned his bachelor of science degree in speech communications. "Nothing ever came easy for me."
"But that was OK...because it kept me working harder," he continued. "It kept me disciplined. It kept me focused."
Being disciplined and focused are two traits Giles expects his men to emulate.
As much as Giles is valuable because of his expertise at playing defensive end, having followed up his career at Texas with seven years in pro football -- the NFL and Canadian Football League -- no doubt it is exposing the players to his attitude where he might have the largest impact. "I'm excited for these kids, as I was excited for myself and my teammates," Giles began. "I just want to help make sure every one of the guys understands the privilege he has to attend The University of Texas and to play football for The University of Texas.
"I don't want any of them to forget how fortunate they are to be here right now. I want to make certain no one takes anything for granted."
Giles wants to share his experiences and his thoughts. He wants to share what his mom and high school football coach meant to him. The impact they had on his life.
Giles resists comparisons between this year's club and his 1990 squad, which was a team of destiny, including an unbeaten SWC mark and a victory against then fourth-ranked Oklahoma. Giles' 1990 squad was on a mission that began with an upset on the road against Penn State on the season's opening weekend.
"When we come out to practice, the guys will say, 'Coach Giles is excited every day,'" he said. "Well, I am…and I want them to be excited about every day, too. I want them to enjoy every day."