Player press conference quotes: September 19
On having an open date this week: There are a lot of things we can improve on this week. You never want to be complacent with where you are. That's when somebody can jump up and bite you. The only difference about this week is that there is not a game on Saturday. There is still lot of time to work on things.
On his plans for this open weekend: You have to replace the game with something. Up to the weekend, we are going to be full speed ahead. Saturday and Sunday will be a little bit slower; I might get to see my family. Hopefully I can find a good game to watch and watch it objectively. I will try not to use too much energy.
On the 99-yard drive versus Rice: We look at a situation and know that's what we have to deal with, so let's go. There is no point in getting down about it because nothing is going to change the fact that the ball is where it is. We might as well get excited, and we have had fairly good results from that.
On his impressions of the team thus far: Our resolve in tough situations has really impressed me so far. Having the will to win when the stakes are down has been important.
On the offensive line acting quietly: I did not come here to get headlines. Anywhere you go, you don't get headlines as a lineman, but that is not why I chose to come here. I chose to come here to win games. However we do that, whether it's with young guys or number ten [Vince Young] back there, it doesn't matter to me. Every time I see headlines about him, that is a compliment to us [as an offensive line].
On keeping up momentum: I don't think the momentum ever stops. A lot of people thought the momentum would go down after Ohio State because we were so fired up for it. They thought we would go out after Ohio State and forget that we still had to play Rice. I think the focus now is to get some time to heal. But we are also getting focused for Missouri next week.
On the Longhorns receiving so much national media attention: Coach always tells us not to worry about what people are saying about us. Our main focus is our team as a whole, as a family. We are just preparing for Missouri. That is the next thing ahead of us. Right now, we will go out there today, look at the tape from Rice, put it in the past, and work on Missouri.
On the focus on Missouri: I think we are going into it the same way we went into Ohio State. We had Louisiana-Lafayette, and it was important to focus on that first game. Last year, [Missouri] came out here and put on a show. It was a close ball game, but we managed to pull [a win] out. So we are only looking at the game in front of us.
On his big collision in the Rice game: I haven't really gotten a chance to look at it on tape. The trainers said it might have just been a muscle spasm or a pull. I did not have enough stability when I tried to hit the guy, so there was just a lot of pull on this left side.
On the defense's big hitters: Definitely Aaron Harris is a big hitter. I have seen him deliver some blows to guys like Braylon Edwards last year in the Rose Bowl. I have seen a lot of big hits from him. Also, Rashad Bobino knows how to fill a hole on a fullback or tailback lead. Either one of those two linebackers can really make blows. Everybody in the secondary has their moments. [Michael] Huff can hit, Cedric Griffin can hit, Tarell [Brown] can hit. I have seen a lot of improvement from all of our guys in the weight room.
On Brad Smith: You compare him to Vince, Reggie McNeil, he can run and he can throw. He is a really smart quarterback. You just have to go in there and focus with him. It helps us out that we get to go in there against Vince every day at practice, so that is a plus for us. But we have to go out there like we did with Troy Smith from Ohio State and be prepared for anything. He can go out and get the ball to his receivers, so we just need to stay focused.
On this week's bye: I probably won't watch too many games. We will probably just rest up a little bit and watch some film. We are going to start jumping up to Missouri since we have more time to prepare. Usually we get about two or three days to prepare for a team, but now we get about five or six. It will just give us more time to prepare and relax.
On talking to his friends on other teams: I just call all of my friends that play at other schools. It gives me an opportunity to ask them how they played and how they felt about different teams. I have a friend at Oklahoma and one at Colorado. It is hard for my friend, Darien Williams, at Oklahoma. He is a competitor, just like we all are in college football. All of us are out here to win and make things happen. Right now, it's a down time for [Oklahoma] right now, but they will bounce back.
On why he pumped up the crowd when Texas had the ball at their own one-yard line against Rice: I was just overly excited I guess. If everyone is down in the dumps about us being on the one-yard line, I get really pumped up. I thought we could go 99 yards and show Rice we were there for business. We weren't down there to mess around. I feel that if I get pumped up and ready to go that everyone else will do the same.
On the benefits of the bye week: Off weeks are good. It lets everyone get healthy. You want to get out there and play, but you don't mind getting the chance to rest up. It gives you another week to prepare for a team like Missouri.
On the lack of publicity given to offensive linemen: Growing up as an offensive lineman, you know you're never going to get publicity. You've just got to accept what you do. You get out there and push people around so other people can go in and do their job.
On Missouri: Missouri played really well against us last year, and that definitely was not one of our better games. We have to keep that in mind when we get ready for them. They will be ready for us. We'll prepare for them this week and next week, and we should be ready for them.
On the things the team needs to improve upon: I think we played well offensively and defensively, but there are some things we need to get better at. We need to hold on to the ball a little better. We need to cut back on our penalties. But, we have a really solid foundation heading into conference play.
On Missouri QB Brad Smith: I think he's a great quarterback. He's had some great years in the past. Of course, we've been going against Vince Young since last spring and in two-a-days. We'll take into consideration how athletic Brad Smith is. He's a good passer, as well. We're looking forward to the challenge.
On making the switch to linebacker from defensive back: Right now, the whole mentality of playing linebacker is totally different than defensive back. At defensive back, you have to have a short memory. My vision is something I have to improve on, and getting closer to the ball. There still are some adjustments. New things are getting thrown at me every week. It's a matter of adjusting on the run, and I think I'm getting better at that. I'm glad the coaches are helping me out on that.
On teammate Rod Wright: I think everyone feeds off of him. As a group, we can come together and help each other understand certain things. I think it really helps us out. I think Rod (Wright) leads the D-line really well and takes care of the linebackers and keeps us on track.
On completing the 99-yard drive against Rice: We loved it. Any time you have a chance to go 99 yards on a drive, that's something you've got to take very seriously. That was a lot of fun for us.
On whether the team is ready for Big 12 play: Certainly. Our first season is complete and now we're getting ready for our second season.
On Missouri: Missouri is a really good team. They are always really physical up front and always have a good defense. They led the Big 12 in defense when I first came here. I know they have just as good of a defense as they have had in recent years. I'm looking forward to playing them.
On the bye week: It gives us an extra week to study Missouri and figure out what we can do against them. It will help us better prepare for the game.
On the team's performance through the first three games: I think by now we've made a statement that we're a special team. I think we deserve respect. We have played hard, physical games. We went up to Ohio State and had a big win, and we also had a big win this Saturday. We're 3-0 going into Big 12 play and that's what we wanted to do.
On defending Missouri quarterback Brad Smith: He's a very special player. He's like Vince (Young), he can run and throw well. He's off to a good start this year. Their offense is ranked pretty high. He's going to be ready to beat us and get us back for last year. We're going to have to be ready for him.
On next week's game at Missouri: Last year I felt like we could have played a lot better against Missouri. It'll be a great game. It's going to be loud, and it's going to be a great game. Brad Smith is back. You have to contain him. You have to keep him inside the pocket. You can't let him outside the pocket, but he also likes to run inside the tackles. You have to take good angles on him and control him.
On how the team is doing heading into conference play: We're doing well, but we have some things we can work on. We have two weeks to prepare for the first conference game. We're going to do a lot to prepare for them (Missouri). We have a lot of time to watch film on them and see what they're going to do against us.
On Drew Kelson: He's a real nice guy. He's really smart on and off the field. He does his job. He does his assignments. He's a really focused and attentive kind of guy. I try to tell him different things to help him out. He hasn't played linebacker. He's doing a good job on his own so far. He knows what to do, and he knows his job. He just has to get the feeling of playing linebacker a little bit.
On being quiet off the field and being intense on it: It's not really hard. I've been doing it all my life. I don't really talk a lot off the field. I just go about my way and do what I do. As soon as I get on that field, it's like there is a different person in me. I just want to have a lot of fun out there.
On his sack Saturday night against Rice: The sack is not a big deal to me because I know other things go into to me getting a sack like that. I know that Rod (Wright) did his job, Tim (Crowder) did his job along with Frank (Okam). So I'm happy they're doing their jobs.
On him and Tim Crowder putting more pressure on the quarterback this season: The one thing this year is that we're concentrating on getting more pressure on the quarterback, rather than keeping him in the pocket. This year as soon as we see pass we're going after the quarterback. Rod and Frank are getting a lot of double-teams, so it is giving us a lot of one-on-one situations. They're definitely helping us out a lot. The main thing for us is as soon as we see pass, we're going.
On Brad Smith: He's a great quarterback. This year they're letting him run a lot more than they did last year. He's back to his old form, so we're definitely going to have to watch out for him.