Player press conference quotes: Aug 5
Aug. 5, 2012
Sophomore QB David Ash
On leadership: People say leadership is a lot of different things, but when it comes down to it, it is a really abstract term that has a different meaning to everyone. I think guys want to follow the guy who is going to put them in the endzone. That is my goal.
On his confidence after winning the Holiday Bowl last season: It was good to know that I can win a ballgame. I understood how to play that game. Also, it helped me trust what the coaches told me because they told me how to play that game. I did what they told me, and it worked. That built trust between us. So we will continue to build that relationship and hopefully [the coaches] can trust me with more and more.”
On his strengths: I’ve always thought of myself as a passer in high school, and I can run the football when I need to. But I think of myself as tough. Every game – doesn’t matter who you are playing – there is going to be a point when it is hard, when things aren’t going well. I can ride any period like that. I can be resilient through anything.
Junior QB Case McCoy
On this year’s quarterback competition compared to last year: I don’t think it’s any different. I was competing against Garrett Gilbert, and I guess that’s the only difference from last year. I wish him the best of luck at SMU. I think the competition [with David Ash] is just the same. We all came to the University of Texas to compete. Nothing is ever handed to you here. I think we all know that and are excited for what’s going to happen this fall.
On if an offense needs one clear leader in order to be successful: I think people have found a way to thrive either way. Whichever way we decide to go, I know it’s going to work. We have a lot of players on this team who have decided to make it work. That position [quarterback] will not define this team. We have athletes and strong-willed leaders all around this group. Whoever is on the field, we are going to pack around them and make it work. It’s a system we’re trying to run, and we want it to be run as well as we can. There is a lot of time, commitment and thought put into what we’re trying to do.
On the quarterback competition with David Ash: I think we’re both ready, but I couldn’t tell you where we stand. We haven’t been with our coaches this summer. This has been a team-run organization all summer long. I think we’ve run it how it needs to be run, and even better than in the past. We’re trying to get Texas back to where it always has been. We’re excited going into the fall about what we’ve done this summer. We know we’ve worked just as hard, if not harder, than anyone else in the country. It just has to translate to the fall, and we’ll see where it goes.
On his maturity: I have matured. I think we all have, but especially me and David. This whole team in general has matured. That’s going to show in August and September. Things we dealt with last year will not be the same that we deal with this year. We’re going to find new struggles to build on and overcome. We went 8-5 last year and we want something much greater this year.
On his best attributes: I pride myself on being a leader and making everybody play to the best of his ability; if that’s putting the ball in the running backs’ hands every down, then that’s great. If that’s making the big, deep pass, or being consistent on every play, then that’s what it’s going to be. I want to make everybody else around me better.
Senior DE Alex Okafor
On improving defensive numbers from last season: It is our second year in the [defensive system]. Last year we were thinking a little too much, and it slowed us down on the field. This year we can just go do what we need to do in the defense and just let loose.
On what he learned from the incident this summer: I learned that we have to respect authority figures – that’s pretty much what it came down to. I faced a lot of adversity this summer and it helped me grow as a person, become a better man and, honestly, it made the bond with my team stronger. They helped me get through the situation.
Senior S Kenny Vaccaro
On what to expect from him this year: The first six games last year I wasn’t comfortable in the defense yet. The sack at the bowl game was my moment. That’s what I’m going to bring every play this coming year. Coach [Manny] Diaz talked to me and said I was being a robot. He told me to roam free. I said OK. I can be a lot more relentless. With guys like Alex [Okafor] and [Jackson] Jeffcoat coming off the edge, balls have to be in the air quickly. With athletic and versatile linebackers, I don’t necessarily have to worry about making a mistake because I know another person will be there for me.I want to bring leadership each day. I want to mold this defense and put the cream on the top. I want to be the backbone.
On lessons learned from this spring: I learned from what happened. I told the guys I was more embarrassed for them than me. I want to represent this program as well as I can. I took summer by storm. This was my best summer by far. Guys don’t really say anything about it to me anymore. Any incident you have to take responsibility for. Coach Brown sat me and Alex down and said we needed to be leaders for this team. We did what we needed to do and went through our discipline.
On the young defense: I don’t think age matters at all. I think I started a leadership role my sophomore year when I was playing a lot. Quandre [Diggs] is a leader and he was a freshman last year. He won the Ball Hawk Award as a freshman, so I don’t think age has anything to do with it.
On heading into the second year under defensive coordinator Manny Diaz’s defense: I’m just a lot more comfortable now. I can be less timid when I’m blitzing or making reads. Having another year under our belts is going to help us tremendously.
On his summer approach: I treated my body differently. I’m hydrating and getting my treatments every day. I’ve matured in how I approach the game.