Feb. 6, 2013
• 2013 Signing Day announcement
• Meet the Texas' signing class of 2013
• Video: Coach Brown discusses the 2013 signees [Feb. 6]
• Coach Brown comments on the 2013 signees
Opening statement: We have a smaller class - 15 guys - we think a really good class. Some of the guys today have asked me why only 15 recruits? You go back, you can only sign 28 [recruits] in a class. We had 28 last year. You can sign 50 over a twoyear period. We had 22 three years ago. You have to stay at 85 [scholarships] or under when the guys report in August. We had 16 to get to 85, so we have 84 scholarships now. We'll have one available if something happens like an [former Longhorn punter] Alex King, where a guy graduates or wants to change in his fifthyear and come to school, or a guy wants to transfer, or something like that that pops up.
[Associate athletics director for media relations] John Bianco did some research. Last time we had a class this small was in 2005. We had 14 signees at that time. Nine of the players started. They all earned rights to go to NFL camp. Seven of them are on the rosters this past season. I think sometimes in smaller classes, you do a better job of your evaluation. And they really come in, and some of them that had a chip on their shoulder because they're not as highly ranked, they fight harder to play well. Then when we start asking about where guys will play, you have the same guys that can play in as many different places as they possibly can because it gives them a better chance to be successful.
We all get excited about signing day. We have had some topranked signing classes that haven't panned out. We need to evaluate this class four or five years from now and see who is playing. A lot of times perception is not reality with these guys. Our job is to fit our needs. You're never really sure where they're going to play. As we watch the video, we'll tell you what some of these guys are.
Thirty-four of the 28 signees of 2011 and 2012 played as true freshman. Forty-eight signees in those classes, 20 of them return with starting experience in 2013. Probably the highlight of this class we got some speed that we needed. But the highlight is the offensive line, averaging 6'5" and over 300 pounds. They can move their feet. I think you'll see some speed at skill positions as well at the other places.
When we start talking about defensive linemen - "why didn't you get any?" - we're going to move [freshman DE] Hassan Ridgeway from defensive end to defensive tackle, and we signed three others last year. It wasn't a position of need for us this year. Hassan looks great, he's moving quickly. We knew we were going to do that probably by bowl practice because that's where we played him most of the time. Defensive end, we're moving Caleb Bluiett back to defensive end because he was an outstanding defensive end last year. That will help us in both of those positions. With tight end, we're moving [WR] John Harris into a flex tight end position. He'll still play some wide receiver, but he can double at tight end as well. Next year we'll have to do a better job of getting more defensive linemen and tackles.
We have a bunch of linebackers coming up in our junior class. Next year we'll have to get some more secondary guys. We still want to get some more speed guys at receiver because we've got to get back to our upper 40 and 50 points a game offensively in this league. To do that, you have to have great speed at wide receiver. We think we helped ourselves some in this class, but we feel like that's another issue.
You also go back and think about our three guys that will probably be drafted, the highest in the draft this year, [former Longhorn WR] Marquise Goodwin didn't sign a scholarship. He was recruited for track. [Former Longhorn DE] Alex Okafor was projected as a really good football player. Nobody even knew who [former Longhorn S] Kenny Vaccaro was. He'll be a firstround draft choice. He wasn't highly recruited. He played receiver in high school. Here he ends up on top. Marquise wasn't talked about on this day, and Kenny Vaccaro, was talked about very little.
It just shows you that today is not as important as what happens after today. We've learned that over the last few years when we had classes ranked in the top-five and some of them didn't pan out. Our job as coaches is to take the 15 we've got - and a high percentage of them end up playing at the University of Texas. When you look at what's important, the classes over the last three years have been very, very good as a group. It should give us a chance to have a really good football team next year. We have a small senior class next year, but a really big junior and sophomore class, and a smaller freshmen class. The strength of this football team now is the sophomores and juniors that have played so much the last few years. We have 19 returning starters as I said, so I think we have a chance to be very good.
The offseason program, we met a lot with our strength staff and coaches. We met a lot with our training staff because we felt like we had too many injuries over the last couple years and tried to figure out why. Part of it is youth, part of it is not enough depth. The depth area is an area we really want to improve in because we are going to be an uptempo offense.
We're not getting into spring practice stuff, just to see where we're headed. We want to run a similar offense, but do it from nohuddle, and try to keep the same personnel on the field. In fact, we changed so much personnel over the last couple of years that we felt like it gave defenses a chance to match with us in packages. So we're trying to get a group on the field and keep them on the field and run a lot of different plays and formations from the same personnel so the defense cannot rest, because in the last quarter against Oregon State, they got tired. We feel also by going uptempo in practice, because most of our league is a tempo league now, we will be more ready on defense to play at that pace as well because they're going to see it every day in practice. We found when people are snapping the ball in 15-18 seconds, it's very hard to try to get that picture in practice with a scout team, so we need to be doing it every day against each other.
Still have got to be physical. Still have to run the football. Still have similar play. Still have all the numbers. We're not changing our offense, we're changing our tempo. We're really excited about it. That's one reason [assistant coach/running backs coach] Larry Porter fit where we're headed. We wanted to do tempo most of the Oregon State game, but we couldn't because we weren't ready for it. We only had five or six plays. Our coaches were limited in that package. When we decided to do it in the second half it really helped us. I think the kids are excited about it as well. You try to get your fast guys in space, continue to do a better job with your vertical passing game. When your numbers fit, you have to be physical. With [former Longhorn QB] Colt [McCoy's] offense, we got behind.
There are 13 high school studentathletes and two junior college studentathletes in this group. We have to do a better job with our junior college athletes earlier in the spring because some of the guys couldn't get in school. It was late in the process before we could get all the transcripts.
On the potential for any late signees: We've got one scholarship left that we could use if we wanted to. The problem you have, if you use it, it has to be somebody really good. If you had somebody transferred in like Alex King, it wouldn't cost you next year. You want to keep your numbers up so you don't have a smaller class the next year. Like we talked about last year, you can sign this many, but understand he better be better than the one you get next year. That's where [DE] Hassan Ridgeway helps us. [DE] Bryce Cottrell is really good. We wouldn't have thought that on this day last year. He's gained weight. He's really a quick passrusher. He can be a special player in this league. Last year at this time we wouldn't have known that.
On why he believes this lineman class is so good: I've just never seen guys this big with these kind of feet. Every one of them are big with feet. You usually don't have five guys that can move like that. We have three seniors starting in the offensive line next year. We're going to need to replace those guys over the next couple years. I think these guys are something. [offensive line coach] Stacy [Searels] kept talking about we need to cover up defensive lines. We haven't been able to do that yet. Last year's class was good. Donald Hawkins, but two young ones in Curtis Riser and Kennedy Estelle. We add those three, but those two young ones to this group of five, all of a sudden you're starting to see what he's talking about. It is a big, physical offensive line with feet. We still need to be able to run the ball in those games where the defense is good, crowding the line of scrimmage. We've been able to run the ball much better. We haven't been able to run it in some of the games we have had to.
On if there is any comparison to the current offensive line: No. I think [offensive line coach] Stacy [Searels] has done an amazing job. We had seven available for him in spring practice to even coach. Now maybe he's going to have two deep for the first time of really good players, maybe a third deep. My wish would be that we play it two deep, get it back to where we had it, where we have some depth and we're not fighting these injuries. I'm really going to push the guys to try to get these young guys with a second team offensive line and force them to play. If we're going to be tempo like we are, nohuddle, you're going to have big guys running all over the field. You're going to have to be in great shape or have two deep.
On an up tempo offense: You still want to be physical. We're not going to be the option type team like Oregon, but we're going to run their tempo. We want to be similar to the things we've been doing, but we want to do it with nohuddle and with the same players. I thought in watching the last two years, as much as we packaged things, as we were sending in different personnel groupings, they were sending in personnel groupings. And what I saw for us, our big guys would be looking over at us, West Virginia is snapping the ball. I just think that's where football's headed. You still want to be physical, and some people aren't. I think that's what's getting them beat. So we're going to keep our physical presence. We're going to run the football, but at the same time we're going to do it without huddling and try to do it with the same personnel. Oklahoma did it in '08 and they scored a bunch of points, because what we're seeing is defensive coordinators can't call defenses.They look at their wristband, call a defense. The kids are looking down, the ball is being snapped. You can't substitute, call defenses because the ball is being snapped so quickly that it's changed our game completely. We're going to get right in the middle of it.
On QB Tyrone Swoopes: What you're looking for is a quarterback that can move. You look at Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, RG3, rookies in the NFL that made the playoffs. I think a whole lot of reason is because those guys made plays with their feet. We want to get to making sure our quarterback can move.
On how hard it is to keep players during recruiting and negative recruiting: I think we can answer both questions at the same time. What's happening to us now, we already have seven commitments for a year from now. Some of these kids we're going to have to keep a year and a half. If one of them backs out you in December, it really hurts you. What I've talked to our coaches about is you have to do a better job of making sure you trust the parents and that you don't talk one into coming. If he decides to come now, if you get a commitment, it better be because he's wanting to come, not because you recruited him and talked him into it. I've talked to some other coaches. There's been more people flipping around the last two years than ever. A lot think it's because of social media. You can get to kids. Everybody gets in his head. Unlike our guys, a lot of guys recruit for their school. They get in these kids' head, and a lot of it is not true. It's easier to get to him. You can get to a young man through Twitter. High school coach doesn't know it. Mom may not know it. It's just different. I think the thing we will do, we've allowed a couple of kids to commit and still look around the last couple years. We're going to go back and say, "We're not doing that anymore. If you're committed to us, you're committed. If you're going to go look, we're going to go look." There's coaches backing out more on kids and kids are scared. It's dogeatdog out there right now. What we found is the 15 that we got are very passionate about being at Texas. That's what you want. Very honestly if you think about it, if a young person tells you they're coming, the parents tell you they're coming, [then] they don't, you wouldn't want them to be here, very honestly. It may be disappointing on the day it happens, but you want people that will look you in the eye and tell you the truth and you want people that want to be at your school. That's important. When somebody decides to back out on you, you have to go look for somebody else's. That's what happens in this world. I think everybody understands it. That's the nature of the beast right now.
On a change in his recruiting philosophy: The biggest thing was when we started offering juniors last summer, since the head coaches cannot go out in the spring, I've been to just about every school with a junior that we're looking at over the last three weeks. And I think that's very, very important for me to have that presence in the high schools. It wasn't as important before because we didn't offer people till junior day. Gosh, now we're offering last summer. We're offering in August. I like to go to the school, see the coach. The other thing is that if you get a commitment, you'd like for the high school coach to help you keep it. We're going to make sure the high school coach buys into the commitment as well. I need to see those guys, shake their hand, tell them we're not backing out on kids. If we're not, if your young man and his parents want to commit to us, we want you to commit, too, that he's going to stay with us.
On Jake Raulerson's weight: I'll talk to Stacy, [Assistant Athletics Director for Strength & Conditioning] Jeff [Madden], [Strength and Conditioning Head Coach for Football] Bennie [Wylie], or our nutritionist. I told him he'll probably be 275 [lbs] by fall. He may end up being about 290. He has to see how much he can weigh and still be effective. We don't want him to lose his quickness and explosiveness, because he's got both those things and he's tireless now. You don't want to ask him what he ate for dinner because you'll get it, all of it.
On WR John Harris playing as a flex tight end: We're going to play with three and four wide receivers a lot. We have to be very careful. John will still play wide receiver, but he'll move into the flex position because we'll have more ability to interchange the wide receivers. John is about 222 [lbs], 224. We'd like for him to be able to come in tight and play flexed, still have the ability to move out to wide receiver, whether it's a flex wide receiver or a split end. If he can do that, it really helps us reach our goal of keeping the same players on the field and going from threewides to twowides or fourwides.
On if the offensive line is open to competition for starting spots: All of our jobs are always open. They really are. If a guy is loafing or doesn't play well, I just don't come in and say it every day. I should say it every day. Very honestly, we're going to play the best players. These guys will have a summer. Jake [Raulerson] will be here all spring. The other guys will have a summer. With the AFCA [American Football Coaches Association], we've talked to the NCAA, I'd love to see coaches be able to visit with their players more in the summer. I think you'd do a better job of getting them ready, watching film. We can't do any of that. It hurts an offensive lineman. We're lucky because we have an older offensive line, because Mason Walters and Trey Hopkins can work with these kids. Same schemes, just a different tempo. David [Ash] is older, Case [McCoy] is older, they can help the young quarterbacks more. We haven't had that the last couple years. Some of our best players have been the youngest ones. Now we have older players. Kids were laughing, cutting up, picking at each other watching these videos. The whole team is working out every morning at 6 except for Wednesday. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, they're working from 6 o'clock to 7:30. They're getting after each other. There's more accountability out there that you need to pick it up. We're making them go back. If one guy is slacking a little bit, they're really getting after each other. We're seeing more leadership than we have the last two years. I think it's going to be great next year.
On the new recruiting rules: I was in favor of having the ability to text with seniors. I thought we went a little too far. If you look at right now what we're looking at, it's a very difficult time in my estimation for athletic directors. We now can have a media guide that has unlimited number of pages, pictures - they can be color. We can send out any posters we want, unlimited numbers. I'm not sure the high school coaches are going to want to be getting all this stuff anyway. We can send any note cards out. All of that changed. As of August 1st, we can text or call any junior or senior we want at any time. In talking to a lot of the high school coaches around, they're worried now we can call them as much as you all. You all get comments from them. If he doesn't think the comment is fair, we can call them immediately and ask them, where we've never been able to do that before. At the same time coaches won't have to call the high school coach anymore. The high school coaches are concerned that more people will have the ability to get to the kids without going through them, and they're going to lose some control of their program. I'm not sure that we didn't go a little bit too fast and a little bit too far. We all have to figure out why. You also can have everybody in your building recruit now on campus. You also can have a head coach and nine assistants recruiting off campus instead of seven. I can be out all the time without having an assistant come in when I go out. But anybody in our building, [Director of High School Relations and Player Development] Ken [Rucker], starting in August, can be a recruiter. He can't leave the campus, but he can call a high school coach. You also have no regulations on the number of personnel people you can have. People are going to start hiring a whole lot of personnel people. Maybe even some NFL personnel people, to start handling some of their recruiting on campus and looking at videos. I think we'll see in a year, we'll get some sense into some of this stuff that's out there now.
On if he has ever pulled on an offer to a player: I've done it before, yes. I think, again, we're in a world where there's different circumstances that come up all the time. For me to sit here and say in every case it's going to happen while I'm coaching in the future, you lock me into it, you say, "He lied." I'm not going to do that. What we'll tell guys, "Don't commit to us unless it's over and you want to come." Then the message we get, if you're committed to us and you're looking, that's a simple message, we're going to look, too. If we find somebody as good as you that wants to come, you're looking around, we'll take them. I think that's fair. I've done that before. My job is to do what's best for the University of Texas and get the guys that want to be here. Guys can change their minds. If you start looking, to me you're looking for something different than you've got. I'm going to look for something different than I've got.
On if he will add personnel for recruiting: We're all over the place right now, all of us are. We have to talk to athletic directors, coaches, leagues. Everybody has to figure out how do we put some sense into this. None of us have been home. Now we'll have to sit down. I've asked the offensive staff and the defensive staff to give me a proposal of what they think based on what other people are doing out there. I've asked [Associate Athletics Director for Football Operations] Arthur Johnson and that staff outside of coaches to give me a proposal, see what they think. I'm putting together thoughts that I feel are very important. Then we're going to have to go to [Athletics Director] DeLoss [Dodds]. If you hire new people, then in one year is the rule going to change and you have to fire everybody. It's a tough time right now to try to figure out where we're all headed. I don't know. Really, I'm honest. We met this morning and said, "Arthur, you and DeLoss and [Deputy Director] Butch [Worley] have to help us." I think right now probably the athletic directors are trying to put some sense into this and talk to each other and say where we're headed and can we all get on the same page, and the coaches have been so busy that we haven't been home. Now a lot of people are going to start looking at this to see what we do. It's the biggest change in my coaching career as far as across the board in recruiting.
On why he thinks these rules came about: I think basketball. They changed all the basketball rules last year and gave them more freedom. Very honestly, some of the schools have been making calls anyway, and you do it with another phone other than a university phone and nobody can find it. I think what the NCAA is trying to do, they're really trying, and what they're trying to do is say, If everybody can call all the time, then it takes the advantage from those that are breaking the rules. I'm getting asked at junior days, "Why don't you ever text me?" I'm saying, "You can't, it's against the rules." They're shocked. So I think that's where the NCAA is going. If we can't find out who is texting and calling extra, let's throw that rule out, allow everyone to do it. Then it's not an advantage by those not going by the rules.
On the defensive line: I think we're in great shape. Malcom Brown is really good for the young ones. We've got the older ones. I think we'll find that Paul Boyette and Alex Norman are going to be really good players. We're excited about watching them this spring. Hassan Ridgeway is as talented as just about anybody we've seen in a while. We're excited about watching him. You take a 270 [lb] defensive end, he gets to 306, doesn't lose any speed. In this league where people are spread, you have screens, you have draws, you don't need the big, slow guy in there anymore - he can't play. You take him out of the game with these spread offenses.
On the play of the defensive tackles last year: I thought the defensive tackles played better than the linebackers. I was disappointed in our linebacker play. I thought they played better at the end of the year, great against Oregon State, but I don't think they played well here.
On DB Antwuan Davis: The first part is, the thought of him not doing track is he is really committed to coming in here and wanting to play. It's very important to him, because he's great in track. What a lot of our guys have done is get established in football, then go run track later. Right now [DB] Sheroid Evans is involved in football. Sheroid wants to play football. He's in every offseason program, every spring practice. He's never done that before. I think that will really help him.
On not having a running back in this class: I don't know. Probably losing a running back in late December and hiring a new running back coach that didn't happen till January - moving [offensive coordianator] Major [Applewhite] to quarterbacks, probably affected the running back recruiting some. It's why at our position when a guy backs out late, if he backs out early, you're fine, but if you tell every running back in the state that you're going to take one and you took one, then all of them get mad at you. Then he backs out, it makes it a little tougher on you. That's why it's really important that guys that commit to us hang in there with us.
On running backs coach Larry Porter having an impact on recruiting: I don't think he could have much because he didn't really get here [in time]. You have about three weeks. I think he'll be a really good recruiter in the future, but most of what we got was already done when he got here.
On decommitments: I don't think it says anything. It says that five we looked at decided they didn't want to come. I think last year we had two. Year before that we had two. If you look at it, it's happening across the country. I've tried to look at the guys and see why. I think it's always different. You try to ask why and that. What I've asked our coaches and myself to do is let's make sure that one is committed before he commits. That's a hard, difficult thing to do, because they all are when they commit. But I think I've said it before. Lou Holtz said it the best, "Worry about the ones you get." You have them for five years, 365 days a year. Don't worry about the ones you didn't get. I don't want anybody here that doesn't want to be here.
On why they chose DB Erik Huhn: He could play man. We're in a league where they're going to spread you out so much, there's going to be times you have to play man. If he's going to be a safety, he's going to be locked up on a fast guy. That was the question. They played so much zone, [assistant head coach/defensive backs coach] Duane [Akina] in his mind had to get him on the grass and he loved what he saw.
On if his junior day philosophy is changing: I don't know. I don't think [it has changed] a lot. I think we're pretty much who we've been. It's changing in that we've got seven commitments going into it, and we've never had public commitments going like that going into junior day. I know we're going to explain the rules to the families very carefully. I know that we're going to ask the families not to commit to us if there's any chance that they might want to go somewhere else and visit because we think it's not best for them, it's not best for us. Those are really not changes, but I think there would be a bigger emphasis on that right now than maybe last year.
On his philosophy on freshmen: I really think because when the NCAA allowed us to bring them in in June, that changed everything. They're in better shape. They work with your older players all summer. The older players can actually coach them. Because of all that, they're away from home, so you have a lot less homesickness during a twoaday period than you used to have. You have fewer twoadays. You have more teaching, fewer double practices. I really feel like the major thing is that they get more time, even some coming in January, but even the guys that come in June are much more prepared to work against the older guys than when they used to come in four days before. They were out of shape. They didn't know. These kids are so sophisticated, they're doing sevenonsevens, 11on11s in the summer. If the older ones will help the younger ones, let them get involved. They're a lot more ready to play than guys before that. I can't remember when it happened, might have been seven years ago. It's changed everything. The thing you still can't do is you can't teach a freshman back to block in the summer. The big linebackers are blitzing them. You can teach every play, the drills, the techniques, because the older guys do that. I think we're a lot further ahead. The NCAA really helped kids get ahead in school, get the transition from home, get to know the players better by doing that, than probably anything else we've done in this business.
On any new rules he would back as head of the AFCA: I think because Coach [Grant] Teaff asked me when they put me in that position, everybody is supposed to have something passionate - I think trying to get these rules settled would be the biggest thing I wanted to as president. We need to know how many quality control guys we can have, how many guys are in the recruiting room. It should be the same at Texas and the same at East Carolina. Let's all have a number. If you can't get that many, if you can't pay for that many, that's fine, but that's the number you could if you have it. To me, instead of having a media guide that can have 35,000 pages, let's put some sense into it. We can count the pages, so that has to go by the rules. I understand the rule about the unlimited calls. I don't know that I'd have done that for juniors because you all are calling them every day, we're calling them every day. We're really being a distraction for high school coaches. Recruiting is getting bigger in some cases than their teams. That's what I'm hearing from them. So I don't know. I think there's some things there. But I would like for all of us to have rules we can make people follow. I'd like for it to be all the same for every school, then I'd like to see us have to follow them.
On his thoughts about an early signing day: I've always thought early signing day would be good because then you don't have so many flip at the end. If you have a guy committed, you can sign him in December - he doesn't want to sign, he's sending you a message. It would keep a whole lot of this flipping from happening. A lot of coaches think if a Texas can sign 25 guys, you have 20 signed on your early signing date, you take your 10 coaches and go recruit everybody else to get five more or start looking at juniors. That's the problem with early signing days. I understand that. I would love to see five years of eligibility. For us having to play [QB]Jalen Overstreet in that ballgame [Alamo Bowl] and have him lose that year of eligibility. He said he would play. His parents said, "We trust you." What an awful thing for us if we would have put him in that game. We could have played him against New Mexico. But I don't see why those things are an issue. Then you don't have medicals. Then you don't have redshirting. What you've got is you've got a certain number of scholarships that everybody can have. If you run one off, it costs you. I think it's safer for kids. Right now you can have 15 medicals - they hide guys, they shove guys. We could have played Jalen and cost him a year of eligibility. I've never done that in my life. I was worried about that during that ballgame, I'm glad David [Ash] stayed healthy. Let the young ones go out there and play five or 10 plays, give them a chance, because a lot of kids are devastated by redshirting. We found the ones that play have better grades than the ones that don't because they're involved. They're on the field. They're out there participating. That's what they've been doing. And redshirting is really, really hard on a lot of kids. In some cases you don't even get better because you're depressed because you're not out there and you have to tell your buddies, "I'm sorry, I'm not playing." "Aren't you good enough?" They're afraid to go home, afraid to be seen. It's a very difficult thing. I'd love to see a few of those things done that I think would really help kids.
On former Longhorn Ricky Williams being inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame: A lot of times they wait till you quit playing. Ricky is so deserving. I really enjoyed that a couple years ago. The guys in here that vote on it have done such a tremendous job. It's such an honor now to get in because you look at the people that are in. I think Ricky Williams fits right in the middle of that class and is a guy that has given us thrills in this state. Regardless of where he's from, he needs to be in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in my estimation.