Aug. 27, 2012
LB Jordan Hicks
On the linebackers: You know, I think for the fans, it's a question mark. Nobody has seen as a group what we can do, and you know, we all have limited experience at that position. So I think for them, actually we are just out there trying to prove who we are and who we can be as the year goes on.
On how much he puts on his shoulders: I put a lot on my shoulders. Kind of my personality. But you know, out there in practice, if we have a bad day, I feel like I had a bad day. It's kind of my job to get us going, and the linebacker corps is supposed to get the rest of the defense going. It all starts on the linebackers, and you know, I ultimately feel like it's starts on me.
On defensive coordinator Manny Diaz expecting the defense to be aggressive: I completely agree. Every time we go out there and step on the field, we are trying to be dominant. Obviously we are an aggressive defense, the way Coach Diaz calls the plays and puts us in position to attack the quarterback and get after him. I think those are two perfect words to describe us.
On the difference in age of the linebacking corps from last year: Completely different. Last year I was the young guy. And now I'm the old guy, just in a matter of a year. I think it's fun. It's a great time, and everybody in the linebacker corps is trying to get better. It's nice to have that experience and that knowledge where if they don't know something, they will come up to me and ask. It helps me out, because I have to know the defense inside and out. It's completely different but I really enjoy it.
On expectations for the defense: I think it's just motivation for us. We know personally we have high goals, and I don't think it matters what other people think about us. We are the ones that have to go out there and execute, and I think we are trying to stay away from all the hype and just trying to do what we have to do to get these wins and be dominant. You know, it's kind of been that added motivation a little bit.
On Wyoming: They are a physical team. They will spread you out and run the ball right up inside. Their quarterback, he's a good quarterback. He's got some wheels on him, and we have got to be able to contain him. He can also throw the ball. So we just have to go out here and do what we do and attack him and try to get him off his game.
On if he is nervous about starting the season: I honestly get nervous before every game. I think that if I don't have that feeling, it means I'm not ready to go. But you know, I'm just excited. I've got jitters right now. I'm excited for the game already. Just ready to get out there and learn more about this team and be able to play [Wyoming] on Saturday.
WR Marquise Goodwin.
On his confidence in QB David Ash: I'm very confident. He's done an exceptional job out there, both he and Case McCoy. Whoever fills in that role, whoever assumes that role, is definitely prepared for the job.
On the quarterbacks: Like I said, they are both capable of starting. They both go out there and work hard every day. They are both out there grinding, making plays in practice, studying film. They are competing for that job every day, all day. Even when they are sleeping, they are competing with each other. So I guess it's really Coach's decision who goes out there to play to start. But, you know, they are definitely both capable of being the man. So just really excited to see what he'll do September 1.
On QB David Ash: He's definitely matured a lot as a person. Grown up a lot since he's been here over his oneyear span. He's really assumed a real leadership role on this team. He knows his place. He knows his role, and he's doing it very well. So he'll be ready to go.
On his expectations for this season: Winning, that's what I'm looking forward to most. Just going out there and competing every day in practice, and then have fun on Saturdays. That's what it's all about. When you put in the work during the week and on the weekends, it's all fun. So winning is fun, and we'll be doing a lot of that this year hopefully.
On the receivers: Really we don't have nothing to prove to anybody but ourselves that, you know, we can be better than what people think we are. We definitely have been working hard, grinding every day, making plays. We are capable of being the top receiving corps in the nation. We obviously don't get credit for it but I think he'll do very well this year. We have been grinding every day. Been putting in the work. Been watching film in the weight room, been putting in work, so we definitely have those qualities to be the best. We just have to show everybody and gain the respect from everybody that we can be the best.
On if the offense is excited: We are definitely excited. Defense has always a rich tradition around here of being really great in what they do. And the offense, we'll definitely get a chance to show what we can do. Last year was the first year we had the new offense put in, so coming up this year, we are very confident in our new offense. It's not so new to us any more. Since we have installed it, we have really gotten a lot comfortable with the coaches, as well as each individual player, and we know what everybody can do. We look forward to playing on September 1 and showing everybody else how confident we are.
On if he is anxious: I'm anxious, I'm not going to lie. It came around really fast for me, coming back from the Olympic Games so soon and getting right back into football. I'm just really excited to see what we can do as a team.
On the team being different from last year: It's definitely different. Not so much strange, but just a little overwhelming. It's like, I just came in as a freshman, played in the National Championship game, and here I am my senior year, having to kick off my last opening game as a college football player. It's definitely been an exciting journey to share with the people that have been here, and that have helped me get to where I am now and helped me accomplish all the things that I have since I've been here. I'm just excited. It's my last first game for the university, and ready to put it all out there on the line.
On advice he gives to the freshmen receivers: Just the mentality of working hard every day and really just fighting every day for your position. Around here, receivers haven't really got a whole lot of respect as far as being like a good group. And so I think we can change that this year, the whole mentality of receivers, being smash mouth, going out there and blocking for the running back, being unselfish, doing the little things that it takes to help our team win. Just changing the whole mentality in the room and continuing to make each other better every day and doing the little things right.
DB Adrian Phillips
On the defense creating turnovers: We have been working on turnovers a lot this camp and our offense has been doing a really good job of keeping the ball secure and making it hard for us. I mean, we had our days where we got some turnovers and the offense had some days where they did a good job. We are both working on it and when the season comes, we are going to have to turn it up a little more.
On starting the season: It's been a long time, since January. I know this Saturday, I can't wait. I know the team is excited and when we hit the field we are going to be energized, and we are going be to ready to play.
On the defensive backs: I feel like if we do what we need to do, it's going to be real hard for offenses to throw the ball over our head. We have corners that will make plays and safeties that will come in and block you and hit you and all of us will cover. If we do what we can do and have our key strength, it will be hard for offenses.
On who he learned from these past few years: I learned confidence, and I learned how to lead from [former S] Blake [Gideon]. Blake was a great leader. He taught me everything that I needed to know. He knew anything about the defense. Any question that you had for him, he knew it. I just put that upon myself saying that I want to do the same thing, and that's the role I'm taking on now.
On if this team has lived to up R.I.S.E., the team motto: So far I think we have. The first real test is going to be Saturday when we play Wyoming. So I think we had a real good camp, and this Saturday, Wyoming is going to come out and try to hit us in the mouth and then we are really going to see what we are made of.
QB David Ash
On his thoughts about starting on Saturday: First of all, I'm just thankful that my teammates and coaches have really pushed me and coached me well. My teammates have stepped their game up and that's really helped me in the end, because when things work, it makes me look good. Most quarterbacks will tell you, when your teammates are doing well, it makes you look good. And so for sure that's a big part of it, and the improvement of my teammates. I'm thankful just for the opportunity. Going to do my best, compete as hard as I can and thank God that he has given me this opportunity and just try to use it to give Him the glory.
On trying to “make things happen” on Saturday: Well, that would be a dangerous attitude to have going into the game, because if I get emotional and try to force things to happen, that are good, trying to make the big play, that could really hurt me. So I'm just going to go into this game with the attitude that I'm going to take what they give me.
On his improvements since the Holiday Bowl: Decision making, no doubt. They say in the NFL, accuracy and decision making are the two most important qualities, and for me, decision making was a thing that I had to improve on a lot. Understanding situations, understanding that you don't always have to make the big play. Sometimes you can just get it into the right guys' hands, and they can make the play for you. So for me, decision making is what I really had to improve.
On the offense coming up to the level of the defense: Absolutely, we don't want to hurt the defense in any way, because we have a great defense. But at the same time, I think our offense can be as explosive as anybody. I think we can put a lot of points up on the board, and for sure, we are not going to turn the ball over. We are going to keep the ball in our hands and take the shots when they are there, and just play good, solid offense.
On playing with confidence: For sure. You never want to go into a game with the attitude of trying not to lose it. We want to go into the game with the attitude, “We are going to win this thing.” That's what we plan on doing.
On having more confidence with more experience: You know, a big thing going into the game, you feel really nervous and anxious whenever you don't have any clue what's going to happen. And whenever you gain a lot of experience and you know what you're doing, a lot of the anxiety goes away because you're prepared. You know what's going to happen. You just go out there and operate. I guess that's a big difference.
On his attitude going into the season: I'm just having fun out there. My teammates are having fun out there. Football's fun, and I feel really blessed to be able to do this. I don't want to waste this opportunity that I have to play this game that God's blessing me with by not having fun and not enjoying it. That would be terrible if I looked back on things and said, “You know, I didn't even enjoy doing that.”
On if this attitude began at the Holiday Bowl: Yes, it happened some, and there was always flashes of it. Last year I can remember plays where it was like, “Man, this is fun.” But then we got to the Holiday Bowl and there was times when it was really fun and there was times when it was really hard. That's always going to be part of football. There's always going to be some adversity that you're going to face in the game whenever things aren't going your way. And you've got to learn to push through that and have a good attitude and have fun even during those times.
On the tight ends: I feel good about where we're at at tight end. I think we have a lot of potential there, and I think that we have a lot of playmakers at the position. They have made plays, and I feel confident that they can go out there and execute and do their jobs very well.
On his excitement level for the season to start: I'm real excited. It's just going to be fun, and we are really going to get to go out there and see all of the hard work we have put in in camp and summer and spring ball and go out there and see what kind of product we have made. Show it to the fans, and it's fun. It's “payday” on Saturday. All of the hard work we have put in, we are going to get our “paychecks” out of it.
CB Carrington Byndom
On the feeling of finally starting the season: We are definitely ready to go. You know, three weeks of hitting each other, we are ready to take that out on somebody else, and luckily we will this week and everybody is ready to go. The first game of the season, just excited. Just ready.
On goals for this season: Just to win, really. That's what we are all about this year, accepting nothing less than winning. Get as many as we can or not get beat this week, or any week.
On if expectations of the team are higher this year: Oh, I think we have the same expectations. Always wanting to win. So the expectations are the same each year, coming in to win all the games, and those are the same expectations we have this year.
On what is different right now than this time last year: I think we are more of a family. We are more of one unit. I think everybody has bought in, and everybody's ready for us to try to win all the games this year. And I think that's definitely a difference from last year around this time.
On if he feels like a leader this year: Me, along with everybody else. Not just one person has to step up and assume a leadership role. It can be anybody on defense. We just kind of feed off of each other; not just me, myself, but all other ten guys.
On if there is a goal for the number of turnovers the defense wants to achieve: I don't really know a number. Can't give you a number. But I know for the defense, our goal every week is to create more turnovers than touchdowns allowed. So if we get that goal, then I think we'll be happy at the end of the week.
On the Wyoming offense: I know they have a pretty good quarterback. He's good with his legs. They have pretty good receivers and an okay running game. So I know that they are a tough opponent. They are going to have a lot of spread, a lot of threewide receivers. A lot of spread because the OC from Missouri is their head coach. So we are going to see a lot of stuff that Missouri used to do. So we are ready for anything.
On the expectations being put on the defense: I think that you have to be humble about it and continue to work as if you weren't getting all the publicity. So I don't think that changes anything for us. We are still going out and working as hard as we can.
WR Jaxon Shipley
On how excited he is to start the season: Well, obviously a lot of us, we are all really excited. I'm sure the fans are really excited, because I know the players and the coaches are. We have been looking forward to this day for a long time. We ended on a good note last season with the victory over Cal, and we had a good spring scrimmage. Fall camp has gone great so far. Everything is kind of hyped up right now. I think there's a buzz in the air, and everybody just really excited.
On if he still gets nervous before a game: Yes, I think everybody kind of goes through that. As a freshman last year, I remember being nervous before the game. I think that's natural. And then like Carrington [Byndom], after the first play, after your first snap, it kind of all goes away. I feel a little nervous sometimes before games, but you know, with a year of experience under my belt, I'm sure I won't get near as anxious or anything like that.
On QB David Ash: I think he's been really consistent, and that's been one of the things that he showed us that every day he's going to come out and give his best and do what he's told. He's been making some great throws. We are excited to have him starting as QB, and I think he can get the job done for us.
On expectations for the offense: We are hoping to come out and score on our first drive hopefully, because I think that's one of the things that can set off the game good for us. And we are trying to just make some explosive plays at the beginning of the game. And that's one of the things that will help us out is if we can just make a play at the beginning and give us confidence, and we can make plays throughout the whole game.
On the quarterbacks: It's just one of those things as a receiver, you can't really worry about who you are quarterback is going to be. We have to get our job done regardless of who is the quarterback. Whoever is throwing us the ball, we have to catch it. So that's the main thing for us as receivers. You know, it was a close battle, and all of our QBs have done a great job this fall camp and congratulations to David for getting the starting job against Wyoming. I think he's going to do a good job for us.
On how the receivers complement each other: Well, we have all got different things that we are good at, and if they are playing one receiver one way, I mean, if we are getting a lot of balls to one receiver one way, we can double off somebody else. It's just one of those things where we feed off each other. We hold each other accountable for dropped balls, or if we do something wrong, we are on each other about that. We all feed off each other, so I think it's going to be a really exciting year for the receivers.
On if there is more confidence this year:I think it's going to be a lot different. With a year of experience under my belt, I definitely feel more confident than I did at this time last year because I didn't really know what to expect. And this year I know my role on the team and I know that I've got to get my job done and I kind of know what to expect. I think it's a lot different with a year under your belt.
On if he had more anxiety last year:
Yes, sir, I did, because like I said, I didn't know what my role was going to be and I didn't know how much playing time I was going to get and I didn't know what to expect as far as playing at this level. Now that I've kind of been through that. I'm kind of used to it and I feel a lot more comfortable going into this first game.
DE Jackson Jeffcoat
On if he is excited to start the season: Oh, yes, we are extremely excited to get back on the field. We have been hitting each other and beating each other up in twoadays, so it's fun to get out there and go against an opponent, another team. We have been really excited for that, just itching. You can tell the guys are just itching for it.
On not getting too hyped up: We just focus on improving and getting better. We know the things that we need to work on, even though they might not be mentioned in news articles and stuff like that. We know what we need to work on and get better at. We don't focus on all of those things because you can't get too high on the good and too low on the bad and take things with a grain of salt and get better. Just getting strong. I did have surgery so I have to make sure I improve on my strength. Things that might seem good, you have to always improve on. There's things you can always improve on.
On expectations for this season: Well, we think we can be good, but you never know until you play that first game you and keep doing. I mean, you've got to take it game by game.
On getting caught up in the hype of expectations for the defense: No, you never really want to listen to the hype. That's how you get beat. You take it all, like I said, with a grain of salt and then you keep working. You keep improving yourself, because there's always things you can improve on.
On momentum from the Holiday Bowl win: Well, that bowl game definitely helped us. We didn't go to a bowl game our freshman year. That was great momentum, because there's been teams that have gone to Holiday Bowl and come out and played tremendous the next year. That's great for us. But we have to play. We have to go out and play. It's not just going to happen.
On defensive coordinator Manny Diaz expecting the defense to be dominant and aggressive: I agree with that, being dominant and aggressive. And like our motto is R.I.S.E., so we are going to get out there. That's how he want to be looked at when we are seen by other teams. This team is going to keep going at us so players are going to have to figure out different ways to get after us. That's the way we've worked. That's the way we've worked this offseason, working hard, trying to be consistent.
On Wyoming’s offense: Wyoming's offense, it's talented. They have the quarterback that can run and get after it and they have some wide receivers that can make big plays. So we have to be able to contain them. Like I said, we have to get out there and start strong from the beginning. Make sure they don't get out on us. My freshman year, they came out and they were beating us at the beginning. We are coming out hard from the beginning.
DE Alex Okafor On this being his last season:
Yes, it's hard to believe that. It's been a long journey. It's been a long process. I'm excited about it. It's just me and the senior’s team and I've been waiting for that moment. I'm ready to put our name down and make a legacy here. On the expectations for this season:
It's just about getting back to where we were, and then picking up from last season. It's about getting better every game, and last year, I think we had the eighthbest defense nationally. We just have to pick up on that and improve and hopefully get ranked higher than that. Just getting back to the top, man. That's all we worked on this offseason was just getting Texas back to where it belong, getting back to a Top10 BCS team. That's what we are working towards and Wyoming is essentially the first step to doing that. On the hype surrounding the defense:
Obviously it doesn't really bother us at all. We have high standards for ourselves. But we honestly have pressure for us and the coaching staff. The pressure and the things from the media and the outside stuff, it doesn't really affect us because all of those expectations for ourselves. On momentum from the bowl win:
It puts a good taste in your mouth going into [this] year. We have that to build upon, and we are hoping to take a step forward and get better from essentially last January, or last December. On what he will say to the freshmen on Saturday:
Don't let your nerves get the best of you, man. Take it all in. Enjoy every second of it. But remember, it's just football. You've been doing this since middle school; some kids since Pop Warner. Just don't let it get bigger than what it is. It's still a game at the end of the day. On the defense being dominant and aggressive:
That's exactly what we are. We want opponents to leave the game feeling like, man, not only did we lose a game, but we took a physical beating. That's what makes great defenses is when teams don't want to play you again. You can beat a team but they will be like, “Hopefully we can we can get them next year.” We want them to leave here like, “Ohhh, we have them next year, again.” That's the mentality we have on our defense. On Wyoming’s offense:
Wyoming, they have a good offense. They have a good team. Their quarterback, what was he, freshman Player of the Year last year for the Mountain West? He can run. He's a great player. It starts up front. If we don't pressure him from the getgo and he starts getting loose on a couple runs and completes a couple passes, we'll be in for a long game and we don't want that to happen. On if he and DE Jackson Jeffcoat have high expectations for themselves:
We do, because we know we have the Godgiven talent and we know we have put it on film last year. It's just continuing that and that's the ultimate goal, everybody wants to be the best. On what they can improve upon:
We have to get more consistent. I think we have learned the scheme, and we are familiar with the scheme enough right now. It's just about us getting more consistent and putting pressure on the quarterback every single play. We had some great plays and great sacks that have come in spurts, but now it's time to put it all together and do it essentially every passing down. That's what we have worked on. OG Mason Walters On the plan versus Wyoming:
I don't know what the plan is as far as what we are getting into. We'll go over it tomorrow. I know we are looking forward to the challenge Wyoming is going to present. We don't really know what they are going to do defensively yet. We are just going to see everything we can and come out and execute against them.On how to attack Wyoming:
You know, it's something we don't know too much about yet. They have a defensive coordinator that was the linebacker coach at Washington. So trying to watch them and get a feel for what we are going to see on the field. We don't know that yet, so what we are going to talk about all week is lining up and whatever we see, execute against it. Our defense does a great job of showing us multiple looks all throughout camp, and so I feel like we are going to be prepared to adjust on the run, and we have had to do it all summer. On the offense:
I think overall, the offense has improved. We have worked hard in camp. We have had a really good camp and we know we can be good and have great team speed, a lot of things we can do. [Co-offensive coordinator] Coach [Bryan] Harsin utilizes it all really well but we are improving after last season, still. Offensive line, definitely, but that's across the board. On what he would say to the freshman about Saturday:
I look back on my freshman year, the first time I ran out of the tunnel and nobody could have explained that sensation, what you're going to be feeling. Just trust in the plan. It's going to be crazy at times, you're going to go into autopilot and however well you prepared during the week is going to be what's on the field. On blocking differently for different running backs:
When you have multiple guys like that, you can't get used to just doing one thing to complement that back. You have to run the offensive plays designed, and they will adjust to that. Blocking schemes don't change when somebody else comes into the game. They have gotten used to the way we block it and they all treat it a little bit differently, and they are all really good at. On RB Joe Bergeron:
He runs behind his pads, gets downhill, doesn't ever shy away from contact. We'll be going in practice and boom, he's running into somebody. He's got good speed, too, and that's something you like to see. He's explosive, and I think that's what is so great about his game. He's fun to be around. He's always cutting up a little bit. Once he puts that helmet on, he's a force to be reckoned with. S Kenny Vaccaro On the defense versus Wyoming:
I mean, going into the game, Coach [Diaz] just said he really wants us to set the tempo early in the year and play hard and play physical. It won't matter just if it's Wyoming, that's just how we are coming into this year.On how excited is he to start the season:
I'm really excited. It was a long grind, and hitting each other is not pleasant all the time, so I'm ready to hit somebody else.On what he will say to the freshmen about Saturday:
They are going to be nervous regardless. I remember my freshman year, I was on the national championship team, and actually I was nervous. And I'm nervous to this day every game day. I don't know how I can calm their nerves. I just tell them to know their role. That's the thing I'd try to preach this whole game, is just know your role, because you can contribute to the team in every way. On what a win on Saturday would mean:
I mean, it's a step. One game is not going to ultimately tell our whole season, but I think coming out strong would be a good thing for us, and I think that's what we want to do. On the momentum gained from the Holiday Bowl:
Like Coach Brown said at the end of last year, it's a lot of momentum. It's confidence. It's a new team minus a couple seniors we lost. I think it just built steam up for the season, and we'll continue to use it. On how to avoid all of the hype surrounding the defense:
You really just have to keep your head out of magazines and online and all of the comments on Twitter and Facebook; people saying all of these good things about you, because ultimately we have to play the snap as this new defense and we need it come out every game and prove that we are the defense that everybody is talking about. On showing emotion on the field:
Yes, it makes it fun. When I look over and guys are showing emotion, it makes me want to play harder for the guy next to me and that's our whole concept for me is just to be men for others. I think [DS] Nate Boyer
stressed that during camp, because he was in the military and he stressed that in order for everybody to get home safe, you have to back up the man right next to you. And that's my motto as a defense; just be a man for others. On RB Joe Bergeron:
I think he's running harder. I think he's running harder than when he first got here. I think he understands that he's a big power back that can move the ball, and I think he's running like that with an edge to him. I think he understands a lot of competition in the room. So he needs to bring it every week in order to sustain that starting role or whatever he is. OG Trey Hopkins
On how excited he is to start the season:
Very excited. Camp is a time where you get to compete against people you see every day, but finally coming out and saying, “This is someone that I'm only going to see in this threehour window” to compete against brings a natural excitement. The grind of camp is over and just waking up every day to compete against the same guys that I'm going to see in the locker room 15 minutes later is over. Now fresh faces, seeing new depth charts and seeing new names and watching film in the film room and just grinding it out, watching games and learning opponents, I love it.
On the goals for Saturday: Saturday is about winning. We are going to take it one day at a time, one practice at a time. Saturday we are not worried about making statements to anybody else. It's all about this team and all about getting this team on track and winning games.
On QB David Ash: I love David Ash's confidence that he brings to the team. He stepped up a lot being young last year, but now he's coming in with great conviction in everything he does. He makes sure that we know what we are doing, and he makes sure that we know that he knows what he's doing. And that confidence just trickles down to the rest of the offense and makes us better in the game that we have to run. Definitely it's crazy, because coming in as such a young guy last year and not really knowing, just being an 18yearold kid trying to lead 22, 23yearold grown men and now he's coming in and stepping up and saying, “Hey, this is my huddle, this is my offense and we are going to run it like I'm going to run it.” And that's what he's doing.
On what he would say to the freshmen about Saturday: The only thing I would say is do whatever you have to do to keep your focus tight. I know it's easy to get distracted by the big crowds in a very large and very loud state and it's easy to find yourself wondering and looking around, wondering, where is my family at? Who are these people? How many people are here? And getting distracted with all of the fans and pageantry. You just have to make sure that you do whatever you need to do before the game to keep your focus on the game and just enjoy the pageantry and everything later.
On being a physical team: Definitely I think it's just the whole offense this year, we have the mentality, whatever we do, running or passing we are going to be physical. I know all of the receivers have been doing a lot better job of just finishing blocks on the perimeter. They have been doing a great job just being physical receivers. Our running back, our core, they can run balls and they can also deliver some devastating blocks, as well. It's trickled down physically when we do oneonone drills in camp. We have great personal battles. It's the whole offense and defense, we are going to be a physical team and we are going to dominate our opponents physically for four quarters.