Sept. 2, 2012
Box Score |
Head Coach Mack Brown
Opening statement: I'm really excited with the win. I want to brag on their quarterback. I thought he was good. Watching the video, he made more plays against us tonight than I thought he would. He hung in there. We hit him. We blitzed him. He avoided people. I really have to credit him for a really great job. I think it's the best Wyoming team we have seen out of the three times that we played. I told [Wyoming head coach] Dave [Christensen] that after the game.
Really proud of our guys. Number one, opening games are hard. They scare you to death. We didn't know what they were going to do on defense. We didn't know what they were going to do in special teams. Because both of those coaches were new. So, we got a slow start offensively. We had to adjust to a lot of things. We tried to start with up-tempo because we thought that would make them more vanilla. But then we just didn't do well in it so we came out of it and did a better job with conventional tempo with our offense.
I thought our team played well together - meaning that we forced the two turnovers, got the ball back at plus-40 yard line, and scored two touchdowns off the two turnovers. Came back and had a fourth down stop, which is like a turnover. When we needed it late in the game, the offense takes it 91 yards for a touchdown. So we got 21 points off of what would be three different turnovers. And then we got a field goal off of the blocked punt. So I thought those things worked really well.
I thought when we were ahead 31-9, that the defense would shut them down. And after that we would get to play some more younger guys at the end of the game. Get [junior QB] Case [McCoy] in there more. And that didn't happen. So, it was a disappointing thing. That was probably the disappointing part of the night.
But I'm happy to win. Happy to get it behind us. Nobody got hurt. There are a lot of things we can build on. A lot of great things from the night. Happy to have two 100- yard rushers. Happy to get the ball down the field some. We need to hit on some of those deep passes. We had pass interference on one of them. We had a couple other deep balls that were just missed. I've seen us complete them in practice. We've got to make that transition to the game.
The kicking game I thought we dominated. I love [freshman PK] Nick Rosekicking off. It's the best we have ever covered kickoffs. In fact, the problem is when he kicked it out at the 25 [yard line], and he kicks it so high, they were at the minus-10, minus-9, minus- 14. So we're going to have him kick it out. That's humor. You missed that.
On the running game: We feel like that we can run the ball well right now, and should be able to run it against anybody. We're really confident with our running game, but they came in trying to stop the run because they gave up so many rushing yards last year, and they were giving some space plays to us. I think we kept them on the field for some off those drives which were so long, 11 plays or 13 plays and wore them down some. Malcolm Brownis 220 [lbs], and we've said he looks really good in practice. Joe Bergeron is 236 [lbs] and the more the game wears on those guys can make some plays by breaking tackles. We wanted to get Johnathan in more. Hopefully he'll play more next week because I think we had 14 carries with one, 15 carries with the other, about that many more with Johnathan. Carry it 45 times a game and all of a sudden when you throw it another 25 to 30 times, you're in the 80's and 90's in play selection, and that's where you'd like to be.
On how to get all three running backs involved: Keep Johnathan coming. The other two are just more seasoned. They weren't at this time last year. Malcolm probably played about the same amount of play Johnathan played against Rice last year. You just want to keep bringing them. A lot of freshmen played tonight that didn't play prominent roles but those will expand each week.
On David Ash's performance: Confidence. David's confidence was so much better. He hit 20 of 27 [passes] and made some really good decisions. He threw some balls away that he might of tried to force at this time last year. He never panicked. I really just feel like he's got a good presence about him right now.
On the offensive line: I thought they did good. There were some big holes which you also like. We didn't make it once last year, but there's two fourth and one's that we have to make to score touchdowns, and you trust your offensive line and your backs to make it and in both cases they did. That's good news for us that we can build on and give the guys confidence that we can do it. I thought Joe made some really good plays out of the wildcat formation as well.
On how he feels about the game: I feel good. I wanted to get mad some. You give up an 80-yard run after the catch, and we can fix that. Those are things that we can fix. It's good that the offense had success tonight throwing and running because that will boost their confidence a little bit going into next week. Like we said we do need to get it to [WR] Marquise [Goodwin] more. He didn't get it tonight very many times. I thought [RB/WR] D.J. Monroe made some really tough runs and good plays. I wish they had kicked it deep to us on kickoff some other times. We called a fair catch one time, and we shouldn't have with [FB] Ryan Roberson, and then the next time he caught it he got it out to the 35 which helps us because we think that we we'll be a factor in our kickoff returns with the speed we have. I did think that there were enough good things for us to build on. If we had won the game 45-9 we would have walked out here feeling to good about ourselves. Now we've got things that we can still work on, but I think we'll be good.
On P Alex King and K Nick Jordan: Nick Jordan didn't miss a field goal for about the first two and a half weeks and then the last week he pulled a couple, and then tonight I thought he tried a little bit too hard. He did kick some in the middle, and obviously Anthony Fera will be competing for that position when he gets well, and we'll know more about that next week. Alex King's maturity, his confidence - he punted into the wind I think every time and had some really good punts. It was directional punting so he punted away from them and didn't give them a very good chance to return it. And like I said we're so excited about Nick Rosebecause I've never seen a leg like that kicking off for us.
On S Kenny Vaccaro's two big plays: I thought they probably made the difference, and give the offense credit for turning both of them into touchdowns. Great pressure. Kenny Vaccaro is a great player, he's not a good player. He can do some really good things to help us.
On Wyoming sophomore QB Brett Smith keeping the defense focused for four full quarters: I thought he was great for us. He played like a Big 12 quarterback. We said that we're going to see good players like him all the time. They have more speed at wide receiver than they had in the past. I think they can be a good football team. They're better on defense than they were last year. I think they've got some things that will really be positive for them. And I thought it was a positive point for him that he hung in there. He kept playing, and kept playing, and kept playing, and didn't give up.
On if the strategy was to play conservatively at the beginning of the game: When you don't complete passes, and you go three-and-out everybody says it's conservative. We weren't trying to be conservative. It looks conservative. What you're really trying to do is figure out what the new defensive coordinator is going to do. We thought he'd get a four-man front, a three-man front, and he was. They played the safeties low. They were going to make us throw it. So early in the game [offensive line coach] Stacy [Searels], [co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach] Major [Applewhite], [co- recruiting coordinator/wide receivers coach] Darrell Wyatt, and [recruiting coordinator/ tight ends coach] Bruce [Chambers] - they're all talking to [co-offensive coordinator/ quarterbacks coach Bryan [Harsin] about, "Here's what we see. Here's what we've got." And conveying that to the kids. Usually it's tough early when you've got seven starters back and a pretty good secondary. And all of a sudden you have no clue how they're going to line up at all. And you're trying to learn every play. But you're feeling it out and you don't want to make a mistake. Once we figured out where we were, I thought we did a good job.
On the linebackers: I thought they did good. We've shut down the option game pretty good. They started it there and got a couple of points on us, but then we shut it down. There were a couple of plays over the middle that we've got to shorten up. But that will be good video to watch.
On the downfield passing game: I thought we threw more balls down field that you saw it sounds like. I thought [sophomore QB] David [Ash] did a good job. I thought it was a great catch in the end zone by [sophomore WR] Jaxon Shipleyfor the touchdown. That wasn't an easy catch. But then I thought we probably had two or three balls we could have caught that David threw down the field that were missed. We have just got to keep throwing it downfield. I think we can do that. We've got to figure out more ways to get some things deep. But I liked what I saw.
On any surprises from the night: You know, I thought it probably came out a bit like I thought it would. I think the biggest surprise, to me, was their quarterback played better than I thought he'd be able to. And we blitzed him a lot. But even on the fourth down stop - the third down play to get them down to one [yard to go], that was a hot play that he flipped out to the guy on the backfield. Made a great call on it. So I really thought he played well. He made a couple of plays with his feet on the option that kept us off our feet. But I thought it was good for us to see.
Co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bryan Harsin
Opening statement: First of all, hats off to Wyoming. Those guys did a great job, they are a great football team. They played hard. I am proud of our guys. The guys played hard. They fought. They battled.
On QB David Ash: I thought David did a nice job. David did everything we asked him to do. As far as decision making goes, I am really proud of what David did. With the way they played us, that’s where those balls needed to go. The check downs, the backs knew that, we worked on them during the week
On limiting turnovers: That area is so important to us. We had the bobbled snap. That’s one we got to get rid of.
On RB/WR D.J. Monroe: D.J Monroe did a nice job. We got him in there in some of his packages and with the sweep action. The thing he provides for us is speed. It’s really important for us to get out there and make things happen. He doesn’t do it by himself, guys are out there blocking and keeping guys covered up. His job when he gets to the second level, to the third level, to the safeties, he has to work those guys and make them miss. I thought he ran hard tonight. He provided the perimeter that we needed. He kept us balanced from that standpoint. And we’ve got to continue to build on that.
On the running game: Philosophy-wise, we want to be able to run the ball. You always want to have that ability. Physical-ness, toughness, we talked about that in this game. We knew Wyoming was going to be a physical, tough football team. We talked about it all week long. It has to start in the run game. It’s not going to start with a back-pedal and pass sets. It’s going to start on being downhill. That’s the o-line, that’s the tight ends, that’s the running backs, the wide receivers. That’s everybody. In the beginning of the fourth quarter, Joe [Bergeron] had a couple big runs that really got us going, and we started to hammer the ball like we want to.
On his decision on switching from RB Malcolm Brown to RB Joe Bergeron: I think in that situation there, when Malcolm ripped off a few runs, we want to try to have the fresh guys out there and a lot of times that’s a few of them and a lot of times it is just a feeling. The other thing is those guys are looking at you like, “I’m out a little bit of gas, please give me a breather.” That’s when you want to have that one-two punch. You want to have Joe and Malcolm both ready. Then Joe ripped off a couple big runs and then Malcolm came in and vice-versa. That is what we have to have, and that is what we want to have is that depth. We want to continue that. Those guys have to feed off each other and the nice thing is that both are in the game getting very good reps and playing time. So when that does happen, when one needs a breather, the other guy can come right in and we are not going to miss a beep. We will continue to do that and hope that both guys play well when we are in those situations.
On RB Joe Bergeron running the "wild": I thought it was effective tonight. You know without looking at it, there are still some things that we can do with it. What I looked at tonight was the operation to it; with the snap, the fake, the hand-off, and whatever else we might do out of it. But he operated it well. Without looking at the tape, I don’t know what were the yards we were able to block and gain out of it. But the situation we were in was effective. So we will continue to build on that, and I thought he did a nice job and I thought he was very calm out there with it. He ran the show, and that is really what you want to see early with just the operation of it. He will get better and be able to handle it upfront or with whatever the blocking scheme we have with it.
On timing between QBs and WRs: We have to work on the timing of it. When you throw a shot like that and you have a guy running down the field in full speed, you just need to work on the timing of it. Whether we need to move around the pocket a little bit and had to reset, sometimes in those situations that can cause that there. We had those opportunities, and that is something we want to continue to build off of. We want to continue to do, and we will have to continue to work on that. We will work on it during practice and work those situations to get better.
Defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Manny Diaz
On the defense: I saw things you expect to see opening game. I saw tackling, which is always something that pops up in the first quarter. I saw our inexperience players not playing great which is what happens in college football. But then I saw in the second quarter guys like [S] Kenny Vaccaro and [DE] Alex Okafor and our experienced players stepping up and making the plays to sort of get it turning and spark the football team with turnovers. There are a lot of things that we saw. I don’t think anything was terrible and as a coach that is what you want. We just need to get back and start fixing the mistakes.
On third downs: That is part of our formula. Our running defense was good. Our third down defense was good. In the red-zone we were one out of two. What we violated tonight was that long run for a touchdown. Those are the small things that can injure a good day of defense. You have to give a lot of credit to Wyoming. You have to give a lot of credit to their quarterback. Their quarterback gave a lot of yards and a lot of those yards were off schedule. However many they had, a lot were actually played and broken down and made things happen. We know there is room to improve. The only thing that we could accomplish tonight was to be 1-0. We will move on tomorrow and work on New Mexico.
On what he liked from the defense tonight: What we talked about is like what Vaccaro said. We have heard all the expectations. What we need to talk about is managing with what we have. We gave up a long pass for a touchdown, which makes everybody feel terrible but we did block the extra point, which shows a little bit of the heart of the football team. We did get to put off on the rush towards the end. Both the offense and defense went out there and shut the door. So I think you can start to see, as a coach, is how the mindset of the team and the mentality of the team. Our best parts were, I thought, were our best players. They know exactly what the defense and the team needs and what we want. We just have to bring the other guys along. That is why we play the game. That is why we coach, and that is the natural progression of college football. You have graduation and then you move on to the next game.
QB David Ash
On his mentality going forward: Sometimes things don’t go perfect, but we had a great attitude, a great mentality, a winning mentality. I think that’s something we need to have week in and week out.
On Texas’ running game: They [running backs] did great. Not just them but the o-line. They really wore the [Wyoming] d-line out during the game. As the game went on, we saw some big runs. Joe [Bergeron] and Malcolm [Brown] did a great job of that tonight.
On his progressions: I was just trying to move the chains and convert third downs. You want to get the ball in somebody’s hands and let them get the first down for you.
On tonight’s win: I thought we played good football out there, but there’s obviously a lot we can do to get better this week. We are going to look at what we did well and what we did badly when we watch the film. We are going to correct it and get better and try to improve every week.
On being the starter: First of all, Case [McCoy] did a great job for me on the sideline as far as managing things and helping me out with drives. He’s a great ball-player. It’s my job to go out and operate. My team is better. All my teammates improved and worked hard this off-season. And hopefully we can keep helping each other and get better each week.
S Kenny Vaccaro
On the defense: The main focus of what we wanted to focus on this year is to start strong, and we weren’t really there. Honestly we need to get our head out of the magazine and start fast and play hard. I thought the turnovers were a lot of the momentum that helped us get started.
On what happened with the Wyoming touchdown in first quarter: That was just a bust. We didn’t have a middle field safety. We have inexperienced players, and we will get it corrected. The team just needs to communicate better.
On what was said in the huddle after the touchdown: I think Coach Diaz stated [it] pretty well, but I just told the guys that we just need to communicate. Do what we need to do and not worry about anything else.
OG Mason Walters
On the strength of the running game: It was a good glimpse of it. We can definitely get better. The thing that is going to make or break this power game that we have been talking about is consistency going in week in and week out. Teams are going to know it is coming and prepare for it. We are just going to have to continue letting it evolve the way it will. Coach [Bryan] Harsin did a great job putting us in the right direction for that.
On QB David Ash in the huddle: We saw the same thing that we have seen in practice. He commands it, and we all responded well to it.
On Wyoming: The thing about playing Wyoming is that they were a good opponent for us. [You have to give] credit to those guys. They played us for four quarters and hopefully got us better. We will see going into this week what we can do to continue improving our offense.
RB Malcolm Brown
On getting the win: It was a great win for us. There is always room for improvement, but the offensive line was doing their job. That was something we came into the game talking about, just doing your job and we will succeed if we do our job. It was a great night for us.
On the running game wearing out the defense: Yes, that is the plan. We want to establish the run game and then take shots after that. That is something we want to establish and something we have talked about as a team.
On rushing for over 100 yards: It felt great. That all goes to the offensive line. They do their job and they make my job easy. It was a great night for us and overall a great night for the offense.
RB Joe Bergeron
On the running game: When you are running the ball, you are not going to get the big runs every time. You have to pound them and eventually they will give up. It is like hitting a wall and after awhile that wall will just crumble and then you will get those big runs.
On the ability to wear out defenses with the run game: We have a stable. It is hard to wear down a running back when he has somebody behind him ready to go. Whenever you get tired, you have somebody behind you that will come in and is fresh and beating you down. Then once they get tired, you have someone else coming in and beating you down. While the defense is still out there getting tired, we have a nice rotation going.
On seeing the opponent getting tired: You can see it in their body language. You can see it when they tackle you from the first hit to the second. It’s not as hard. You will break tackles easier than what you would have the first time. It goes back to how you present yourself on the field.
On having two 100-yard rushers: It feels good. It is just hard work. We prepared for that and that is our reward for all the hard work we did during two-a-days and all the work that we do during the week. You come out and show it on the field.
DE Jackson Jeffcoat
On the team’s overall performance: We didn’t play great. We made some errors and some mistakes, but we played hard. Guys were coming in, and they were all playing hard. We’ve got to give credit to the other team, too. They played well, and their quarterback would not let us sack him.
On quarterback play in the Big 12: We definitely expect the quarterback to play well. The Big 12 is a great conference, and every team can throw the ball. We expect the quarterback to throw the ball, be quick, and even do seven step drop backs.
On the two forced turnovers: They were very big. Whenever you can get a turnover and give the ball back to your offense you gain a lot of momentum for your team.
On pregame nerves: There were some first-game jitters. It was just like getting the rust off, but we got back into our groove. Forcing those turnovers especially helped us get more confidence in ourselves and helped us to play the way we know we can play. We’ve got to keep working and getting better from here.
DE Alex Okafor
On the team’s overall performance: A win is a win. We are 1-0, and that was our goal going into the game and that’s what we accomplished. We didn’t play to our expectations, but it’s the first game of the season and we will get better every game and every day. That’s what we plan on doing. We had to shake the cobwebs off and get the rust off of us.
On communication problems: In practice and scrimmages you don’t have 101,000 fans around you. The communication is a big part of the game. The coaches may signal a call in and you may not hear the linebackers give the call. It was just stuff we have to adjust to throughout the game.
On the mobile Wyoming QB: We weren’t surprised. We actually made a little playlist and highlight tape of all of the escaped sacks that he had. It did not surprise me at all. He’s a great football player.
On biggest lesson learned: Just to take the mistakes. We did some good things, but we expected to do good things. We need to learn from our mistakes and learn to adjust within the communication aspect of the game, make adjustments on the fly, and to play faster. I don’t think we played as fast as we could have today.
CB Carrington Byndom
On the interceptions: I definitely think that both of those turnovers were momentum changes for the offense. That is one thing that we try to do, to create turnovers and when you create turnovers, you create momentum.
On Wyoming’s early success: I think we just had to settle down. We kind of had first game jitters. We were working on getting lined up and seeing backfield sets. I just think we had to settle down.
On there being any frustration for the defense: We were letting them move the ball and hurting the offense. Our job is to stop the ball as much as possible. We have a lot of things to work on, and we’ll get those straightened.
On what he liked about the defense: I like that we were flying around. They had a good quarterback that was using his legs pretty well, but effort was good and we were flying around today.
On the defense: I think we have to potential to be [better]. I think we still have a lot to work on. We’ll go back to the drawing board on Monday and make sure we get everything straight and start looking forward to New Mexico.
On Wyoming’s passing game: That is something that we try to limit, no big plays for touchdowns and we gave up that big one. It is kind of frustrating, but we just had to go out there and continue to play our game and not give up anymore.
On the teamwork shown by Kenny Vaccaro’s hit leading to his interception: I think we all work hand-in-hand. If it’s the defensive line creating time to give us time back there to cover or if it’s us covering getting them a sack.
LB Jordan Hicks
On the defense tightening up after giving up some early points: First game we had to get out the first few drives and move past those. We were able to do that - tighten up and get some stops and kept them out of our endzone.
On what he thinks about how the group did overall: We did well, but we can always improve. We’re not 100-percent satisfied with what we did. I think for a first game though, all we wanted to do was win and we were able to get that first win under out belt.
On the defense: We have to be able to be the defense that everybody has been hyping us as. We have to be that defense. This team needs us to be that defense, and tonight we weren’t that defense. Like I said, we have to tighten up and fix some of the things we messed up.
On the good things that the defense can take from this game: Definitely, we were getting after the quarterback, making him throw the ball up. That’s the main thing we want to do - get after the quarterback, and I think we were able to do that a little bit.
WR Jaxon Shipley
On his touchdown catch: We had play called where I was going to run a corner post and the safety was sitting over the top of me, and when I gave the stick for the flag route I turned like I was running flag and he bit on that. David [Ash] threw a good ball, and I was able to make a play.
On the offense: Our running game was really good today. We showed some sparks there with the passing game, but we are looking forward to next week and improving that. It wasn’t exactly what we wanted. David did a good job today, and we are just looking forward to next week.
On being happy to get the first win: Definitely. That is one of those things that Coach [Mack] Brown talks about, just getting that W and that’s the most important thing for us.
On if he feels that the team rose up to the expectation they had: Yes, obviously our motto right now is R.I.S.E., and I feel like we rose to the occasion. It was sloppy here and there, but it is good that we got the “W.”
On what the offense can work on the most for next week: Just getting out and starting fast. We came out with some fast-paced offense today and that worked, but next week we need to come out and score on that first drive. That’s something that hopefully will give us a spark and get us some momentum.
On David Ash’s performance: I think David played very confident today. I think he had a lot of weight off his shoulders now, and he’s ready to go. There were times last year where he was extremely nervous as a freshman. I think this year he knows he has been through it and is facing a great defense everyday and that has made him a lot more confident.
Head Coach Dave Christensen
Opening statement: We came out very good, but then we gave them three possessions at the plus 40 yard line, and we knew it was going to be a game of field position and turnovers and our players understood that. So that was a 17-point swing in the second quarter, and it’s tough to come back from that. I thought our kids came out and played physical, and we were a better football team than [we] have been. We came against a very good Texas team. My hat is off to them, and I expect them to have a lot of success this year.
On QB Brett Smith’s play: He was great. Tonight was the best we’ve ever thrown the football against one of the top defenses in the nation. I thought our protection was good, and we played very physical.
On where his football team stands now: I’m pleased with where our football team is, and I’m proud of the way they played tonight and how they competed. We have a lot more games, and I can tell you there is no one in that locker room that is satisfied including myself, the rest of our staff, and the players. Everyone is eager for Sunday to get here so we can start preparing for Toledo.
On turnovers having a big impact on the game: Turnovers and them capitalizing on them is going to suck the air out of you anytime. They are a good football team and you can’t make mistakes like that, and give them easy opportunities to score.
LB Korey Jones
On the game’s momentum shift: Thinking back on it, I can’t really think of an exact point when momentum shifted. Texas ended up getting the ball back and took it down and scored. There weren’t any big plays as far the end of the game. There was nothing that was an obvious momentum shift. You’ve just got to give it up to Texas being a good team. They have a lot of talent, and they executed well. You’ve got to be able to run the ball and score.
On how well his team’s run defense stacked up against Texas: Honestly, I think we did well. We’ve been watching a lot of film on Texas from last year. They move the ball well. We had an idea of what they were going to do—run with a lot of power. I think we played extremely well. I think it was encouraging. We’re definitely not satisfied. We’re disappointed in our performance and lack of execution at some points and some breakdowns. Tomorrow, we’ll get back to work.
On whether he’s encouraged by his defense’s performance tonight: We’re encouraged. We’re confident in our defense. We know what we’re capable of. We’ve just got to make sure that we execute. We’ve got a lot of talent there. We’re a hungry defense. We’re a hungry team. We expect excellence out of ourselves. I think we’re going to continue to strive for that every week.
CB Blair Burns
On whether he’s encouraged by his team’s run defense: I think we did pretty good. We let one get away from us. We made a couple good plays. Texas ran a couple for five or ten yards, but for the most part, we stopped the big runs. We didn’t let them run down our throats. We stopped that. We came out here and knew we had to stop the middle run and pay attention to the outside run.