March 5, 2013
Senior S Adrian Phillips
On his mindset coming into spring practice: My main mindset is to get better. Of course, I want to do better than I did last year. I know as a senior now, I have to fill some big shoes that [former S] Kenny Vaccaro left. He was a great role model. I know how it is done, and I have to make sure that I do it that way.
On the little things being emphasized in practice: Just holding everyone accountable. We are making sure that no one is getting a step out as far as running to the ball, gap control and knowing your assignment in the meeting room before we get on the field.
On battling for starting positions: They’re battles everywhere. Really at the moment, no one is safe. After the season we had last year that is really where all the coaches’ mindsets are. Everywhere across the board, everyone is battling for a position. We are going to practice saying, ‘I have to win [those battles] and I have to get better. If I get better, maybe it will raise the next man’s level as well.’
On how the defense is affected by the fast-paced tempo the offense is implementing: It makes the job tougher. Since we are getting that feeling right now, we will better be able to handle it when the season comes. In the Big 12 everyone does the up-tempo offense, so our defense is in better shape than it has been. It is working out for us.
On freshman DB Adrian Colbert: He is making tremendous strides. As a freshman he came in as a great athlete, but at the same time he knows the mental side of the game. He is working hard and he is coachable.He just listens to everything.
Senior OG Mason WaltersOn practicing the fast-paced offense:
This offense is a bear to change your mentality coming from a huddle team to a no-huddle team. The coaches have what they want this offense to be in their head, and they are not accepting anything less than that. Even though we are processing and going through the steps to get quicker, they are not going to be happy with it until it is exactly where they want the ball to be snapped on the play clock. We have a lot of practice left through spring ball that we can work on it. On how QB David Ash is handling the up-tempo offense:
I think he is doing a great job so far this spring. He is really stepping up in that management position of the fast-pace offense, and that is important. You have to have guys in the right spots to run the plays and make sure they are effective. Doing it at a high rate of speed gives you an advantage over the defense. David is coming into his own more and more.On the biggest transition for offensive linemen using this style of offense:
Conditioning. Getting up to the ball and keeping your technique while doing it better than the guy in front of you - that is the challenge. You have to get in great shape to be able to do this offense, and the coaches are pushing us everyday. On sophomore OT Kennedy Estelle:
There is an example of a guy where we had someone go down and they always say, ‘you are one play away from starting,’ and that is it. Kennedy is trying to adjust from his head swimming in a complicated offense, especially with how fast we are going. It can be hectic, but he has stayed the course and is working hard. He is not letting any distractions get to him. If he continues to work like that, he will definitely help out or be a starter for us.
Senior DT Chris Whaley
On what the defense hopes to improve: Last year was a letdown for the defense, but we don’t focus on that. The main focus is to get everything turned around and to be a great defense. Texas has always had a great defense. Last year was a big letdown. Giving up all those yards and not being considered a physical defense. So there is a big chip on our shoulder to come out and prove that we are still that tough Texas defense. There’s a lot of senior leaders on this defense, and we are stressing that we are going to get this thing turned around.
On physical practices: There’s a lot of one-on-one drills. There’s competition every day. We have to be physical on defense to be a great defense. You have to come out everyday ready to win. Nobody has a set position, so you have to come out everyday and fight for that position.
On practicing against an up-tempo offense: It’s definitely going to help us. The Big 12 is all about tempo. It will be a great experience to watch the offense go out and play at that fast tempo. You have to get back and get ready to line up. That tempo is pretty fast.
On how QB David Ash looks so far this spring: He’s confident. He is coming out and playing and running the offense like a leader. That’s what we need. He never really said much, but now he is stepping up and being a leader.
On sophomore DT Malcom Brown: He is coming along. He has one year under his belt, but he still has to earn some stripes. He comes out every day trying to get better. [Defensive ackles coach Bo] Davis tells us we have to work on the little things to get better. Malcom’s attitude is great. He comes out ready to work and is willing to help everybody. That’s a great thing for a young guy.
On defensive coordinator Manny Diaz’s demeanor this spring: He is more demanding. That’s what we need. He needs to demand greatness in order for us to be a great defense.
On being more comfortable at DT after moving from RB: When I first moved over, it was difficult. Coach Davis gave me all the tools I needed. Now, with a year under my belt, I’m having fun. Defensive tackle is a lot of fun. I’m just working to get better and become a great player.
Junior QB David Ash
On the new up-tempo offense: It’s been a whole lot of fun. Spreading out, doing all sorts of different things. There’s a lot of good players on this football team. We want to get them in the open field and let them run with the football. It’s fun to just go play. Everybody’s coming together and enjoying it. I think it’s helping the defense get used to playing at a fast tempo. I think it’s a win-win. I am really enjoying it.
On being the starting QB: It feels good to know that you have the confidence of your coaches. I don’t want to disappoint them. I want to keep working, just try to get better every day and help my teammates get better.
On interactions with Vince Young during this semester: I see him around. He is really good about telling me something he did when he played that can help team chemistry. Being visible to your teammates, setting a good example with your work ethic. Just building those relationships that go deeper than X’s and O’s. In crunch time, care about the guy next to you, and do whatever you can to help the team win.
On where he wants to improve during spring practice: I want to have better footwork. Better timing. I want to be better at anticipating. I want to be a better runner. I want to be more encouraging of my teammates and be more vocal.
On his decision-making: Part of that is me being older and part of that is the coaches teaching me. I am learning where to go with the ball quicker, which makes me more confident with my reads.
On sophomore WR Cayleb Jones and sophomore WR Kendall Sanders: They are coming on. They are working to get better. Cayleb is a big body who can battle for the ball. He has good hands and can go up and make plays. And Kendall Sanders is a tremendous athlete. He can go get the ball. We are going to continue working, and I think they are going to be able to contribute a lot.
On the team’s goals: We are on the brink, and we just need to take this next step to get Texas back with the elite. I am just excited to get to work everyday with these guys. I love football, so this is just fun.