Tracking Mack: August 31
General Comments: First day of class, three days before the opening ballgame, it is usually a tough practice day because they lose their focus, but they did really well. They worked hard against each other. They were competitive. We still were able to hit some. We’re pleased with all we got accomplished today.
We told them at the end of practice that you work 352 days for 13 Saturdays, and you want to make sure that you play really well each one of those Saturdays. This is their first chance to be seen as this football team. It’s an exciting time.
We also continually get more impressed with the quarterback (Jerry Babb) at Louisiana-Lafayette. He’s really a good player. He has made a lot of plays with his feet. They moved the ball against Kansas State in our league last year in a 40-20 game up in Manhattan. So we understand he is going to give our defense some problems, and we need that. It is going to be good for us to have a guy that can run and throw as well as he does. They have a receiver who caught 57 balls. We are going to get tested, and we are excited about that test.
Our thoughts and prayers are still with the people in south Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. We will encourage our fans during the game to give to any of the places in the New Orleans and Mississippi areas that will help the relief funds. We will ask our fans to try to help not only the parents and families of the Louisiana-Lafayette players but also send a message from the Texas football fans that we want to reach out and help somebody that is less fortunate.
On the secondary being tested going against Louisiana-Lafayette’s passing attack: Rickey Bustle did a great job with Michael Vick. He set that offense up to play Florida State for the National Championship a few years ago. So they know what they’re doing. They really test you by scheme offensively, and this will be a great test for a new defense and for two new defensive staff members that haven’t been out there together. We are excited about seeing how they match up. We feel this quarterback is a big-time player.
On the expectations of Louisiana-Lafayette considering the hurricane situation: They probably have had some distractions with family as well as weather. Usually I found that football is a great way to get away and put your mind in a different place. So I would think this would be a tremendous trip for them. They will be playing on national TV in front of a packed house at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. I think they’ll come over here ready to get away from all the problems they have seen in Louisiana.
On asking the fans to help in the relief efforts: We want to send a message to our fans that we are so fortunate here. Our weather is so good in this state by and large. We have had some tough times on the coast, but by and large we are really fortunate. We want the Texas fans to send a message to the Louisiana fans and the people of the coast in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama that we do care, and we want to give back.