Tracking the Longhorns: Sept. 19
RUNNING BACKS COACH Ken Rucker
On what it was like being on the outside looking in: You're still coaching. You still see the same things you see if you were there presently, but the biggest thing that you see is the guys really working hard and really trying to get it done, and that's the way it has been the last three weeks. They have really worked hard as a team. We're trying to be more consistent and that kind of thing. From a far you see guys really excelling to do well.
On how proud he is of Jamaal Charles leading the Big 12 in rushing: He's really done a good job and has been very focused. He's getting a lot of help from the guys up front and the tight ends. It's been a team effort. I'm really proud of what we have been doing. We're still trying to make strides and get better every week.
On how exciting it was to go back out to practice: It's the first time in my 32 years of coaching that I have (not been) on the sideline. I hadn't missed, so it was kind of foreign to me not being present. I was anxious, but at the same time, I realized I had to be patient. I'm still patient, it's still a road back and I know it's going to take a little bit of a journey, but with God's will and the help of the doctors and everyone praying for me and giving me a lot of strength, it's going to be fine.
On if he needs any more treatment: No, not at this time, everything is good and that's exciting to know that I just need to take care of myself and do what the doctors tell me to do.
On if this was an earlier return than he thought it may be: Somewhat, but at the same time, I was told from the start that it would be up to me really. Once we found out what it was and how we were going to go about treating it and solving the problem, it really relied on me. Through careful preparation and attitudes, I've tried to do what's right every day and that has enabled me to get back quicker. I really believe that.
On if he can travel: I'm planning on it. I'm taking it one day at a time. I started last week just working in the office and having meetings, and this is the first week that I've been out to practice, but that will be my next step and be with the team that way.
On what the overall experience has been like: Speaking with Coach Brown and getting a plan, I prepared myself. The practices that we had for two-a-days I knew at the end of that, I was going to be down for a while. I didn't know how long, but I had accepted it and that really helped me because if you dread something, you're not going to be your best at trying to get back. I had a positive attitude from day one knowing that this was the way it was going to be and that this is what I was going to have to do to get back to being right back here. The overall plan was good, but I had help. I really did. Step one to step Z, I had help the whole way.
On if he had any unexpected well-wishers: I really did. It was overwhelming, the Longhorn nation, plus old friends and colleagues and ex-players. It has been great and really fruitful for me. My wife Nancy and I have really been appreciative of all of the phone calls, e-mails, text messages, and the cards and letters. It's been awesome.
On if the running backs had more spring in their steps seeing him at practice: They have really been great. Coach Chambers worked with them while I was out and along with all the other coaches. They really had a great attitude the whole time I was gone, but I would say the spring was good yesterday and today, and mine too. To be around them and to be back teaching and coaching and going through the practices has been good for all of us.
On if he would consider being a spokesperson for cancer: If someone asked me, I would tell them, but I haven't thought that far ahead of where this would lead. But if I'm asked to do so, then I'm willing to do that. We are here to help one another, and if my experience will save a soul or help someone along the way, then that's what I'm willing to do.
On the wristband in his honor: That was something the guys did before the TCU game. It was a surprise within itself and it's a keeper. It's really a keepsake.
On the running game Saturday: We're trying to get the entire team ready to play as far a depth goes. We have a long season to go, and we need our entire team ready to go. We're a work in progress as far as working our depth, and we're getting better each day.
DT Derek Lokey
On the returning players: It's always exciting when you get a little new blood in there. We're excited to see what they're going to do. Sergio (Kindle) and Henry (Melton) on defense and then Billy (Pittman) will play well like he always does on offense. We're excited about having those guys back this week, and we're excited about the way Jordan Shipley's playing too. He did a great job for us last week, and he's back running around real fast. We're happy for all those guys.
On the team's character: I think this team is very resilient. I think we've shown that in the fact that things haven't always been going well but we've still been able to win and be 3-0. I think the defense has been resilient in the first two games not giving up touchdowns. The team as a whole is a resilient team, and we're going to keep showing that by doing our best and continuing to win. These close games have been helpful in building the character of this team.
On dealing with injuries: Football is a game where there are injuries, it's just something that happens. Unfortunately, we've a few too many this year, but the guys that are coming up are going to add depth and they're going to play well.
On improving before conference play: It's imperative this week that we go out there and fix a lot of things that we haven't shown that we're capable of doing. It's not now-or-never, but that's something we are adamant about doing this week.
On being a leader: We can encourage guys and we can be an example. That's kind of what we're doing now after these things have happened, we're trying use this as a positive. Instead of dividing the team, it's going to untie the team.
WR Jordan Shipley
On if there was someone he could lean on during his injury: My Dad has always been really positive and my whole family in general. It's been just as tough on them as it has been on me. There is no use in everybody in my family being frustrated just because I can't play football. There are other things and it could have been worse for me. I feel really lucky to be out there.
On if last year was disappointing for him: At times it was frustrating, but after being hurt for two whole years it take a while to work your way back. They can't just throw you right back into the mix. I'm glad I went through it now, and really I have learned a whole lot in the last two or three years that if I hadn't gone through those things, I probably wouldn't have learned.
On the receiving corps: We should be good to go. We have five or six guys that have played a lot, so we're ready to get out there and make some plays.
On what the offense needs to do before conference play starts: Actually just watching film, we have played pretty well, it's just a matter of getting the ball in the end zone, especially in the red zone. For the most part, our offense has been fine. We're really close, we just have a few things to work on and I think will start clicking.
DE Lamarr Houston
On having Sergio Kindle back: Nothing changes, we're just keeping the rotation hot, like we always do with Coach Giles. We're a team and you have to rotate to keep everyone fresh.
On the heat: We get in shape during the summer and we play pretty well in the fall. We'll be all right.
On what he expects out of Rice: Everything the have. They're a good team, they're going to come with it full force, no fear. I expect a good game.
LB RODDICK MUCKELROY
On the defense's goal for Saturday: We've to go out there and just play team ball for 60 minutes. We need to focus on stopping the run and playing good pass defense.
On the return of Sergio Kindle and Henry Melton: It's amazing. It's going to be good for us to have those guys back. We're just looking forward to getting those guys out there on Saturday and having fun.
On Rice: They've got some pretty good players. We've just got to be prepare hard this week to be ready for them.