Tracking Mack: August 30
General Comments: Practice has been good. Monday after a three-day weekend is usually a little bit sloppy. The first group did great yesterday. The other group was up-and-down. You are looking at a lot of things for Louisiana-Lafayette, but today, practice was great. They got after each other. They were intense. They were focused, and you can tell they are excited about playing on Saturday.
We have talked with DeLoss (Dodds) briefly about seeing if there is anything within the rules that we could do to reach out to the Louisiana-Lafayette kids that have had family problems. With state rules and regent rules it is a very difficult thing to do, but their families are obviously in our thoughts and prayers. It sounds like New Orleans is really in a mess, and there are a lot of tough things for them. We are going to focus on the game and get ready to play, but if there is anything we can do to help we would like to try.
On if Louisiana-Lafayette can match up with the Longhorns: You never know in an opening ballgame until you get out there and see. When you start looking at our team, we would like to think that our talent level two-deep is as good as the top 10 or 15 teams in the country. We comes down to football games it is who plays the best on that day. In opening games, the kicking-game, turnovers, explosive plays are even more prevalent because you haven't played against anybody. Because we don't have preseason games like the NFL these opening games scare you to death. They'll bring an excited bunch in here. I'm sure they'll want to get away from the distractions of the family issues with the hurricane. They have nothing to lose, so we expect everything they have in the trick bag. They'll be ready to play and play hard.
On the team not looking forward to the Ohio State game: I really have not had to talk to them a lot about it. That is why we use 'Take Dead Aim' as our slogan. What you need to do is focus on being the best team you can be week to week, and make sure that you prepare for this game and play hard because the games after this aren't as important if you don't win this one.
On Ahmard Hall: Ahmad was a great story before he started, and now he is even a better story. He spent his time in Afghanistan and Kosovo and could go back. He was not a recruited player out of high school, and after he got back from the war, he fought his way through getting in college at The University of Texas and starting. It is just phenomenal story for a great young man, and one that we use a lot with our other players. A guy has adversity and picks himself up and fights through it. He is also a father and a husband, so he has a lot of duties outside of just football and the Marines. The last two years he stood up during two-a-days and said guys, 'Let's talk about boot camp here. This isn't boot camp. This is football practice, so I don't want to hear you walking around here with your head down griping.' He has been a very positive influence and a tough influence for the rest of the guys.
On Ahmard Hall receiving a scholarship: We thought it was great message to the rest of our team members about overcoming adversity and never giving up and never getting down. We also thought it was great story during war time when they asked him, 'What if they call you back?' and he said, 'I'll go tomorrow.' We understand that the war is different than a football game.
On the offensive line and how it stacks up to previous ones: We feel like we have a chance to be as good as we've been in the offensive line since we've been here. Our first offensive line was a great one, and Coach Mackovic recruited all those guys. They played together two or three years and they had Ricky Williams. It made them very good. They were successful. Last year's offensive line was one of the best in the country because we were able to run the ball so well, and a lot of that had to do with Vince (Young) and Cedric (Benson). This year they have to reprove themselves because everyone will be gunning for them. They're doing it without Cedric. Hopefully we will be able to throw the ball better to help them some more as well. We think they have a chance to be really good.
On Quan Cosby: We are going to play Quan because of his maturity. He gets better everyday. He is so mature. He is in great shape. He had a physical trainer a couple of months before he got here, and he hasn't missed a beat. He seems to get better everyday. He played well today, so hopefully he will get to play some on Saturday. We think he'll play well.
On the team's identity: I don't think we really know yet. Part of it we'll see Saturday and see what we do really well. We would always like to be balanced, and we would always like to be able to run the ball and use play action. When we have been in trouble around here offensively, it has been because we couldn't run it, not because we couldn't pass it. If you run it you have a chance. We are going to continue to be physical and run the ball, but we do want to be able to make bigger plays in the passing game.