Player press conference quotes: Aug. 27
RB JAMAAL CHARLES
On if he feels extra pressure due to the injuries at receiver: No, because that's when the other guys have to come in and step-up on offense. That's why we've got depth charts, so other people can come in and take over when other players get hurt.
On what he worked on during the off-season: Power running, being a physical back, and also being a physical blocker. I know I'm going to be able to step up and have a good season because I worked so hard. The whole team worked really hard; we woke up at 6:00 in the morning and started working. I think everybody is ready.
On getting involved in the passing game: I think I can step up in the passing game too. Coming out of the backfield and helping the wide receivers and just catching the linebackers off-guard and the cornerbacks and free safeties off-guard too. I think I'll be able to step up in the passing game and help Colt (McCoy) and the wide receivers out.
On the offensive line: They're young just like I was young my freshman year, but I think they're ready to go out there and play against (Arkansas State) this week. I think they're really excited. Being out there for there first time after watching guys like (Justin) Blalock and Kasey (Studdard), they'll be ready to go out there and take care of business.
On opening day: Everybody gets nervous on opening day. I'll probably get a little nervous (on Saturday). I didn't really feel (nervous) last year, but since I know that I'm going to be starting, I'll probably get goose bumps.
On running out of the shotgun compared to the I-formation: Coming out of the shotgun you've got to run sideline to sideline, and coming out of the I, you can just go straight up the field. Basically it's just a little different coming out of the I because out of the shotgun, you've got to get the ball over the quarterback and you've got to cut up the field. But coming out of the I, you can just catch the ball and go. I don't really have a preference. Coming out of shotgun, I try to find a hole right when I get the ball and hopefully I can just cut the field then.
QB COLT McCOY
On the first game: I was driving back from home yesterday and I started getting so excited. We've worked so hard and we're ready to play somebody else and we're ready to hit somebody else. The preparation and everything you put in, two-a-days, all summer, last spring, everything leads up to it. I think it's important for us to go out there and play really well and really solid football because that's going to set the tone and set the standard for the rest of the year.
On how much action back-up quarterback John Chiles will get on Saturday: Well Arkansas State is really good, and they're going to come in here and play really hard and really tough. Coach Brown told me yesterday that they have four guys on their secondary that are up for the NFL Draft. So we're going to really have to be on top of our game. We've worked really hard and we want to play well, and I feel like we will. (Arkansas State) is a good opponent and they're going to come in here and play hard. And as far as John (Chiles), he's put in a lot of work, he's playing really well, and he's coming along every day. We've watched a lot of film and we've worked on his game, his running and his throwing. I haven't worked on his running game, but he's got that down. And as far as making his reads and making his progressions, he's come a long way, and I'm really proud of him. And I think you'll see some of that on Saturday.
On the difference between this year and last year: This year I feel comfortable and I feel good. There are a lot of challenges along the way, there are a lot of things I have to improve on, and there are a lot of things I can be better at. Those are the things that I'm focusing on, and I'm focusing on winning for this team, which is the most important thing. There was (more anxiety last year), but I like I said I feel comfortable now. And that doesn't mean I can just relax and not continue to get better, but right now, I feel good and I feel strong. Coach (Greg) Davis has prepared our offense to be ready for whatever (the other team) throws. It's hard when you play an opening game because you just have film from last year and you don't have any film on them from this year. So they probably throw some things at us that we haven't seen, and we'll just have to handle them, move on, and keep playing well.
On being a leader: I just tell (the younger guys) that there will be nothing like the first time they walk out there. I just tell them that when they run through the tunnel and run through the smoke, they just have to handle the emotions because they still have to go out there and play. It's going to be fun to watch those guys. I remember how fun it was for me just to go out there during the first game and play well and win. Being able to handle all that is pretty tough, but I know that it was a blessing in disguise for a couple of our receivers to go down and have to miss a few practices because those young guys got a lot of work. You can learn a little bit, but when you're thrown into the fire and when you're thrown into the mix, that's when you really pick up a lot on offense. So having those younger guys to be able to step-in there and be able to play some with the first-string, and being thrown in there at times when they didn't know they were going to be really helped them a lot. I think we'll see a lot of those freshmen this year. As far as the first day, I just tell (the younger guys) to handle their emotions, that it will be a lot of fun and they should enjoy the ride. When it's they're time to play, they just need to give it all they got.
On the young receivers: They've come a long way. We worked a lot in the summer, but you can't really tell a lot then because they don't really know the plays and they're learning and working on their individual routes (in the summer). So two-a-days is when they get better, that's when they learn, and when you figure out who is ahead of the other person, and who is going to play. So for them to step up and play and get some reps in was really good. I think we'll see some of them during the season because they played so well in camp.
On WR Quan Cosby: Quan is a veteran. He played on the National Championship team. He played really well last year. He knows the offense, and in fact he knows all the receiver positions. He knows what every receiver is supposed to do, how he can pick up blitzes, and he's just really smart. I know where Quan is going to be on the field during every play. So my relationship with Quan is really good, he's had a great camp, and he's served as a teacher for these younger guys. Quan is a leader, a veteran. He knows what to do every play, and we still have that solid relationship on the field.
On RB Jamaal Charles: I think he's really dedicated himself to being better. He's seeing the holes, he's running hard, and he's finishing every play. Those are just little things, but I know that he's excited. He's dedicated himself to this season and to the team, and he's running really hard.
On his conversation with Roger Staubach: It was definitely an honor for me to be able to meet with him. I wear his number. He was pretty much one of the best and most influential people I've ever met. For me to be able to learn from him and listen to him talk about a couple of the Super Bowls, about what it takes to be a leader on a team and what it takes it win, was a great experience.
DT FRAN OKAM
On being ready to play: We're always ready to hit someone in a different color, the first game gives us the opportunity, and we're excited to go out there and do that. I'm personally excited for this game because my cousin actually plays tight end for Arkansas State, so I guess you can say we've got a little family rivalry.
On his cousin and the family rivalry: I actually just talked to him yesterday because it was his birthday, but he told me that they've been talking about the game the whole year so they're definitely ready for it. He said they're really excited and that their coaches may put stuff up in their locker room to try and motivate them, and that they're just ready to get down here and play.
On stopping the run against Arkansas State: When a team tries to run straight at you, it's challenge and you have to make sure you can step up to the plate. Our defensive line is going to watch a lot of film on them and see the kind of stuff they like to do, and I think we'll be pretty prepared for it.
On what he wants to improve on: Basically, I'm just working on improving and getting better at everything because I think if you pick out certain things, you tend to focus on them too much. So basically just becoming an overall better play, better person, and a leader. As a senior, your ultimate goal is just to work hard during all the games and not really worry about your freshman goals, and that's really where I'm at right now.
On being a good leader: We take it upon ourselves to take our leadership abilities to the next level. I think a team can only be as good as the leaders take it to be, and that starts with Coach Brown and the senior class. As seniors, we definitely talk about setting a good example and showing people how to work and showing people what the standard is at Texas.
DE BRIAN ORAKPO
On his expectations for the team: I just want to see us go out there and have fun. You have a lot of different stuff to deal with in football, but the thing I want the most for the team is to have fun. Football is a game and we love playing the sport, so we just want to go out there and give it all we can and hopefully come out on top. The most important thing to us is to have fun.
On anxiety before the game: Leading up to (the game) it's always exciting especially when it's the opener because it's the first time we'll be hitting somebody beside ourselves. So we're always going to have that anticipation towards Saturday, and like I said, we just want to go out there and have fun. It's going to be fun this week to watch film, learn, study, and learn our opponents. It's going to be great.
On his attitude towards the game: My attitude hasn't changed at all. Football is a sport that I love to play, and I just go out there and have fun. Every time I suit up and get ready for an opponent, I just want to go out there and have fun. There's not that much pressure because we've been here and we've done this before. I've been playing for a long time, and fun is the key element for me and for many other players. We'll just go out there and do what we can.
DT DEREK LOKEY
On Arkansas State running the ball a lot: We consider it a challenge each and every week to go out and stop the run. A team that is run-heavy like this presents a challenge and at the same time, it's an exciting challenge for us.
On being a senior on the team: When you look around your room, this happened to us last year because we didn't have any senior defensive tackles last year, but you look around and you see that there is no one older than us to look up to, and so it becomes our responsibility to lead our defensive tackle room. That is something that we have taken a lot of pride in this camp. From the little things to the big things, we're making sure that we're doing everything right, so those guys can see that and if we see that they're maybe doing something that they shouldn't be doing, then we can pull them in together and talk to them about it. When you come into your senior year, there is a little bit of finality there, and it's your last go around and last chance so you want to make sure you do everything right.
On defensive ends Brian Orakpo and Aaron Lewis: I do feel like those guys have really developed a lot in this camp, and I think that they have played a lot, both of them. They are very experienced. Brian is just so fast and Aaron Lewis is such a ball player. We are definitely confident in those two.
On preparing for Arkansas State: In this game we talk a lot about the challenge of beating everybody. I think a lot of times you don't look at how hard it is to beat any team. In order to win a football game you have to get a hundred guys on the same page with a lot of energy. They all need to be working towards the same goal, and it's hard to do that on a week-in, week-out basis, but at the same time, we definitely respect all of our opponents and we can look on film and find things that are impressive with any of the teams we play - things that we know we have to work hard to stop. We look at each opponent and think of them as the best we have seen. We don't ever want to be caught off guard, and when you hear guys say that, it's because we have respect for anyone that we play and we don't want to downplay anybody.
WR LIMAS SWEED
On the problem with his wrist: I think a lot of people got things mixed up a lot of rumors going around. It was a simple sprain, like an ankle sprain. The coaches wanted to be cautious about it, and at the same time give some of the younger guys some reps. I can fall on it, land on it, I can catch with it. I feel very good and I'm just excited to go play.
On if he's playing: It's not a choice or a decision to whether I'm playing. If we had to play today, I could play. I just think a lot of misconceptions came when people didn't see me practicing. We just wanted to be cautious about it, and by being cautious, I'm in a position where I can play. I'm extremely joyful.
On the younger receivers: I think a lot of those guys were able to get in there and learn the system and feel more comfortable with it. Any time guys can come in and get the quality reps that they got with Colt it really helped them because it builds chemistry and timing with the quarterbacks and receivers. It builds a lot of confidence with them and some of those guys may be able to move up the depth chart because of it.
On James Kirkendoll and Brandon Collins: Both of those guys are smaller guys, but definitely more shifty and quick. You can expect those guys to come in and be shifty and quick guys who can make you miss.
On starting the season: I'm very excited. It's one of those things where you're sitting at home, go to summer workouts, then go to class, then summer workouts, and you just anticipate it so much that when it's finally here, it's like Christmas time. I can't wait and I know this team can't wait.
OT TONY HILLS
On what he has told the freshmen: I told them not to be shocked too long by the lights and the fans and the excitement. I know when I came in as a freshman, the first thing that got me was just standing in the locker room. Once they get past that, they just go out there and play, the same thing they have been doing since they were five years old or just a little bigger.
On the running game: As far as the running game goes I think it will take care of itself. We have teams out there that are going to either stop the run or stop the pass. What we have to make sure we do is be good at both of them, so if one doesn't work, the other will. Scoring points is the only thing that matters.
On preparing for the season: It's hard to win in college football. You can't take any win for granted. How many times have you seen teams that were expected to be blown out come back and win? A perfect example is Boise State and Oklahoma. You can't take any team for granted. You have to go out and play every week.
LB SCOTT DERRY
On helping the younger players: You have to tell them about everything proceeding up to the game -- the film watching, how to break down the film and just tell them to be ready because at any point in time, they can get their number called.
On Coach Larry Mac Duff: We have really worked well with him, and the depth and the rotation that we have going is something that is really great about this season. I look forward to seeing what happens.
On Arkansas State: We've seen a few of their highlights from last season, and they're a great looking team. I know they got a lot better as the season went on, but it's going to be fun to break down the film and get ready for this first game.
On the defense being aggressive: We always want to be aggressive here at Texas. We're an aggressive, hard-nosed, physical defense, and that's the way we like to envision ourselves playing. This year, we have added a little bit to it and hopefully aggressive is something people will see on film.
On playing against the run: I do like to play against the run being a linebacker, being able to step up and fill gaps and take on blockers. We have all worked on our pass coverage skills, and I do look forward to putting that into play this season and seeing if all the work we put in pays off.
S MARCUS GRIFFIN
On any advice that his brother, Michael Griffin, has for him: He tells me a lot of things like being mentally prepared for the game and letting it come to you and not try to force anything.
On Erick Jackson: He has always been a good athlete since he's been here. I think he is really one of the first guys to reach out to me when I first got here and our relationship has really grown since then. He's a big-time hitter.
On what to tell the younger guys: I tell them really to have fun. They go against good athletes every week and (I tell them) just let the game come to you and not be uptight.
On preparing for Arkansas State: We're focusing on their offensive scheme. They like to run a lot and they also have good receivers outside and an athletic quarterback, so they should give us some different looks.
WR QUAN COSBY
On knowing the fans are closer to the end zone: We have played at other stadiums where it was that close, and it's a huge impact for the opponents and us. They're a lot closer and a lot louder, so it's definitely a positive. We are thankful for the renovations and what it will end up being in the future.
On Limas Sweed playing: We always want to have our big guns back. He's healthy and that's good. Him and any other guy that is banged up who have actually had experience playing, we want them back to further help our chances for winning.
On what they need to work on during this first game: We're just working on the things that we need to, maybe things that we didn't do as well in camp, things that we may have not done so great last year, blocking downfield and getting our timing right form a game stand point.
On the new kick-off rule: The new rule is definitely helpful for returners, and we're excited about it. All of our kick-off return team is fired up and ready to do some special things to help our offense however we can. We want to put them in some pretty good field positions.