Arkansas State game quotes
HEAD COACH MACK BROWN
The quarterback is really a good football player. We thought he was coming in. He made play after play with his feet. I thought we managed everything else but him, but we let him make some plays. And obviously we did a better job with him on second down. He had a zone read play for a bunch of yards, about 30-something. He had a screen for 50. He had a couple of deep passes on us, and then he had the most amazing play to me on 3rd-and-18. I thought their running back Arnold was a good player. And I thought they did a good job of coaching. So congratulations to Steve Roberts and Arkansas State, because they came in and really represented themselves well.
The things that I thought we did well, we kept going, we played hard throughout the game. I thought Colt played really well. We lost our rhythm a little bit right before the half, and part of it was probably my fault because, they were staying on the field so much and that is who they are. They've been averaging 33 minutes per game through last season, and we felt like we were scoring really fast and our defense was staying out there forever, and we weren't stopping them with three-and-outs. We felt the heat, it's a hot night, and we tried to slow it down a little bit and we did. We didn't run the ball as well as we wanted to, but I'm pleased with Colt, pleased with the protection. I thought Jamaal did a great job running the football and protecting the football. I thought our kicking game was good. I thought the kids tried hard.
What I didn't think we did well, sort of what I told them was, 'We didn't finish things.' Normally we do. Before the half where we were down there on that 3rd-and-18 situation and they make it. Where we end up having the opportunity to probably get points there. Also before the half, we get an interception around the 20, and we normally score in that situation. We always score from the 4-yard line. It was really disappointing, and would have put them in a position where they had to throw the ball. They were a tough football team. We had two 15-yard penalties where we hit the quarterback at the end of the play that extended drives, they probably would have had to punt.
We protected the ball well, and I thought our kicking game was really good considering the new rules. It didn't hurt us on kickoff. We have a lot of things we need to work on before we play again. It's probably the best thing that ever happened to us. It brought us back down to earth again, and instead of everybody talking about how great we are and the things we did well, now we can start talking about things we need to improve and there are a lot of those things tonight, but I'm happy we won. I'm excited for the weekend, and I can't wait to get no sleep tonight and get back to work.
On the play of the receivers: I thought the receivers played great, they played really well. Limas had missed some time, but he played great and made some really important plays for us. Nate Jones played maybe the best I've ever seen him play, and Quan did so much tonight. He received and returned really well, and we'll have to look and make sure we're not asking him to do too much.
On the resiliency of Arkansas State: Everybody's pretty good if you let them stay in the game. Whether you credit Arkansas State for staying in the game or whether we are tough on us for letting them stay, they stayed. It doesn't matter if you give them credit if you're me or if you're hard on us if you're me. Both of those things in some way are probably positive, but you've got to give them respect that they played really well. And I expected them to play well. I expected us to score more points, and I expected them to play well.
On if he was hard on the team after the game: After the game? No, because I told them here, this place is so hard on them. Here we can win by 40 and people are mad. So in my position you have to be practical with them and tell them what you saw during the game that you liked. Like I just told them what I told you all, and you have to be honest with them and say, 'These things weren't very good.' You hit the quarterback late twice, and you're going to pay for it. And we've got to do better than that. If you can't score from the 1-yard line, that's not good. We do that again and I bet we score next week. So, you also want them to appreciate and enjoy winning, and enjoy how hard it is. You never want your team disappointed after a win.
On if the running game still needs to improve: I think that's fair. I think we have to go back and watch the film and see why. They were blitzing a whole lot and taking a bunch of chances. The thing you have in a game like this, just like App State, they've got nothing to lose. They can blitz every play, and if they get beat by 50 or seven, it's all the same. They're coming in with everything to gain and nothing to lose. We had to come in and win by a whole bunch or it was going to be bad. Sometimes we were in such a rhythm there, I'm not sure we didn't score to easy and score too quickly. And then we went into the game wanting to make ourselves run the ball, and they were blitzing so much we probably should have kept throwing it. We needed to work on our running game, and we'll see tomorrow what was good and what was bad. We had some really good plays but there were too many negative yards.
On the play of the offensive line: I would have to watch film. The protection was really good, I think there was one sack and I don't think it was an offensive lineman that let someone through, I think it came from somebody else. I thought they did a great job of protecting, I do want to see why people ran through as much as they did on their blitzes. I want to see why, I don't know why unlike you all, I just watched and listened and I couldn't figure it out.
They were going to make Colt throw it. Tonight is why NFL teams have preseason games. They can work through things and we can't. Ours is a live situation the minute we go out.
On the play of the offense: I thought there were great things. The quarterback, the receivers and the tight end are all really good players. We've got some inexperience on the offensive line and I thought they protected really well because we have good teamwork. I thought Jamaal was probably the best we've seen him. To be able to carry it for 27 carries and be able to take care of it well, to me there's a really big upside there. To me, the two most disappointing things in the running game are the nicks and the run-throughs. That's going to happen some, and it shouldn't ever happen. I thought we could've run the ball better at the end of the game. We need to kill the clock and score and we didn't.
On balancing positives and negatives of the game: I have both. I see really good plays and things I think are really good, I kept thinking we were about to break out. I think one of the things here we need to overcome is we've won so many games so easily, that the players and coaches get a little flustered when it's not as easy and that's why I'm honestly really happy that we won and it wasn't easy. Because it's going to be a whole lot easier to go back and coach next week than if it had been 66-0. We've had too many of those in openers around here when we weren't very good and we scored a whole bunch of points. Again, I think you've got to give Arkansas State credit. They're better than some of the openers we've played.
On the red zone defense: We made our red zone defense the most important thing all camp, and they really stepped up tonight. I was disappointed they scored the last touchdown, it was going to be a great message that they couldn't score a touchdown and they had to kick a field goal and they had missed some of those. We got an awfully good game out of our defense too.
On if Colt McCoy keeps improving with every week: He is. He threw for 230 yards and hit the first seven or eight or nine. And that's one of the problems we've got. The whole team is too hard on themselves. We've got to get them to relax a little bit more and enjoy playing and not expect to have to do everything perfect. This is not a perfect world. That's one of the reasons people enjoy college football, people mess up.
On not being able to score on 1st-and-goal: I was really disappointed, because we've done that. It's one of the harder things, short yardage and goal line. You don't get as much work with the guys and Jamaal and I'll bet you we score next week. We'll get back to work on it.
CO-DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR DUANE AKINA
On the Texas defense: You know we talk about having a pretty together personality on this defense and one of the qualities is to be resilient. I thought that was one of the good prerogatives down there when we had our backs to the wall. Both Frank (Okam) and (Aaron) Lewis made plays when they wanted to and that was very refreshing to see. We had a couple of plays on third and fourth down that we let (Arkansas State) off the hook with careless penalties here and there. The bottom line is when they had their backs to the wall, they dug in.
On Arkansas State's last drive: Yeah, we were disappointed with the last drive, obviously because we had them stopped and then we gave them another opportunity. I felt we came out in the second half and we had it going and we lost a little momentum. We took a little bit more of a conservative approach as we looked at the clock towards the end of the game just so we could ensure that we would walk out of here with a win. The game's not about drives it's about plays.
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR GREG DAVIS
On getting stopped in the red zone: Yeah, it wasn't good. It wasn't good at all. We did not do a good job finishing things in general. In the red zone we had an excellent drive to open the second half and didn't get it in. We didn't execute in that area very well, and that's obviously an area we need to do some more work on.
QB COLT MCCOY
On the Arkansas State defense: We worked on a lot of stuff, but it's hard during the first game to figure out what they're really doing. They threw a lot of different stuff at us, and that's a matter of us handling it and us fixing it. We're moving on. We're 1-0. Arkansas State came in here fired up, and they played really well.
On Appalachian State's upset over Michigan: No, (we didn't watch other games), we were really just focused on ourselves. I know what happened now and that very well could have happened to us today. We finished it and we got a win. It wasn't as pretty as we wanted it to be, but give credit to Arkansas State because they came in and fought hard and played really well.
DT FRANK OKAM
On Arkansas State QB Corey Leonard: He reminded me of (Iowa QB) Drew Tate in the Alamo Bowl; very elusive. Arkansas State has a lot of great athletes. They're a very talented team. When you have a lot of misdirection and you've got a lot of skilled athletes, it's very hard to deal with.
On game expectations: During the first game you really don't know what to expect, you kind of just have to go out there and play and get a feel for the game. They definitely passed the ball a lot more than some of us expected. You have to make the adjustment quick on defense.
WR LIMAS SWEED
On his wrist: It feels great. It did everything that I wanted it to do as far as in the pass game and the running game. I was able to do everything that I wanted to do and my wrist is fine. I knew coming into [the game], it was going to be fine because I landed on it a couple of times in practice already.
On what Coach Brown said after the game: He said great win and anytime that we can come in and get a win that's great. We wanted to come in and be 1-0 and we left 1-0, but we have to work harder and that's understandable.
On if they mentally relaxed too much after jumping out to a 14-0 lead: Not really. We just jumped out and Coach Brown talked about how we could jump out early or they could jump out early, but you just take it and you keep on playing.
On if he felt 100 percent before the game: Without a doubt. I definitely felt good and it was great to be out there for the opener and there was a lot of energy from both teams. Both teams were excited, so to just go out there and play was great.
On the receiving corps: Nate [Jones] had a great game and Quan [Cosby] had some nice catches as well. Jamaal [Charles] was carrying the load in the back as well.
DE AARON LEWIS
On the containing the quarterback: We had some calls where we were trying to rush him out of the pocket more and come towards the middle, but we have some things we have to work on definitely. But Frank Okam did great tonight, he got a sack and Derek Lokey split a sack with me. Our defensive tackles are doing great so we just have to let them go free and keep getting up the middle.
On the biggest issue Arkansas State gave them: They have a great running back and it's tough. You have to come out there every day, you have to practice and prepare and there are some things that we probably could have done better, like keeping our gaps. But it was our first game though, so I think overall, the defensive unit, we did well.
On what surprised him the most about Arkansas State: They're fast. I didn't think they were going to be that fast. On film, they played hard and they definitely hold on to the ball and try to run the clock, and they did a good job of that tonight. They came up with some big plays in the fourth quarter and they are a great team.
On jumping out to an early lead: I think the offense came out there and wanted to prove that the offensive line could hold their own and they definitely did that tonight. Tony Hills came out and led the offense and did great. Charlie Tanner cramped up tonight but he came back out there and did good. The front three proved that they are starters and that they earned their spots. I think it was just excitement and they got a little ahead of themselves but they came back and held their own.
On TCU next week: TCU is going to get after us, there is no doubt in that. I know that they planned all summer probably for us, and we have to hit the film tomorrow and start looking at plays and what they want to run. I know that their quarterback is great and I have friends up at TCU. But, their team is great and I expect for them to come out there and play their best for us.
RB JAMAAL CHARLES
On carrying the ball 27 times: I was trying to get into the groove and being out there on the field. I didn't want coach to take me out. I wanted to get into a rhythm every time I touched the ball, and he kept me in the game.
On being stopped so close to the goal line: We wanted to score on the goal line. We tried to pound it in on them, but we didn't and hopefully next time we can get the job done.
On the offensive line's play tonight: I think they did real well. They came out there and stepped it up and played hard.
DT DEREK LOKEY
On being able to correct problems: There are a lot of things on film that we will be able to say we can be better here or there, but tonight we're 1-0 and we're excited about that and we're looking forward to the rest of the schedule and we definitely have a lot of things to work on.
On what impressed him tonight: The fact that the offense was able to run the ball and the defense was able to keep guys out of the end zone. Those guys came in here and fought really hard and we give those guys credit and we think they'll do well in their league this year.
On how this game will help them down the road: Within the team we'll be able to look at this film and see what we did well and the things that we did wrong. That is how you go through the rest of the season. You watch film and see what you did wrong and fix it. We have some things that we need to work on this week, and we're excited about that challenge.
OT TONY HILLS
This game helped us to learn what we need to work on more. From an offensive line standpoint, that's making sure we're more consistent and picking up reads. The guys played great tonight. We didn't play consistent, but we played hard. That's the only thing you can ask of from the guys, the consistency will come as more games come, but as long as they play hard and keep fighting, that's the thing the coaches look for.
On what frustrated him tonight: We left some points on the field, but at the same time, credit Arkansas State, they played great. They came in and they played us hard and we needed that. We have had a lot of wins that were blowouts, but those are in the past, and each and every week you have to come to play. I feel as long as we do those things - come to play and continue to work hard - we will be fine.
On how the offensive line played tonight: The guys played hard, and we'll continue to get better. We understand that we're a work in progress, but those guys come to work every day, and as long as those guys continue to do that, we'll continue to get better throughout the season.
S MARCUS GRIFFIN
On defense tonight: The defense did really well, especially the front seven. Every time we needed a big play or stop they stepped it up.
On if the running game surprised him: Their running back (Reggie Arnold) is very good. I think he was just a freshman last year and rushed for over 1,700 yards. Even this year I think he can get to 2,000; they're a really good team.
On having his brother, Michael Griffin, coming to the game: He really surprised me a bit, because they're so busy at the next level and if this is his only time off, I was glad he got to see at least one game.
WR NATE JONES
On the Arkansas State defense: Their secondary and whole defense did a great job tonight. They gave up one big play, and after that they made sure that everything stayed in front of them. Sometime when they gave us a short field, they still gave us a hard time. They gave us different looks that we had to get use to.
On if it's good having a close game: Yeah, it's really good because it shows certain things that we need to come in and work on. We're going to start in the film room and just correct all the mistakes.
HEAD COACH STEVE ROBERTS
On the noise: There are a lot of things going on in there - the crowd noise and different shifts defensively and that type of stuff. We tried playing loud music during practice and things like that, but we can't stimulate that type of noise. We adjusted to it very well.
OG MATT REIBE
On playing at Texas: It was unreal being out there tonight. The crowd was great when you get down in the end zone. The crowd was loud.
QB COREY LEONARD
On the mood in the locker room: Everybody was mad, and that is a good thing. Playing the No. 4 team in the nation, people will say 'Oh it was close you should be happy,' but we really wanted it. When there are mistakes you made and things you missed, it makes you want to do it a little bit harder and do things better. It was the first game of the season, and we came into a hostile crowd. I did not think they were going to be that loud, they gave us a lot of trouble with how loud they got.