Tracking Mack: Oct. 3
Opening statement: This is a great week. This is a fun week for our coaches and players, and I'm sure OU feels the same way because this game doesn't happen across the country at most places. Very few teams have a game that means as much or is as much fun as the OU game and very few (teams) have one at a neutral site in midseason. Our kids have had a lot of energy this week. We have the parade tonight. (The players) always look forward to this game. And our guys have been really resilient after a loss so they'll come back and play hard.
On backup QB John Chiles: John just gets better every week. He's getting a better feel of the passing game and he is obviously there in the running game and he's done a good job of protecting the ball. We thought it was good that he got experience throwing the ball downfield last weekend. John Chiles is taking 50 percent of the reps right now. Colt (McCoy) gets all the (reps) with the first-team and John gets all the (reps) with the second-team, and then there is a package where Colt and John go in together.
On if the package with Colt McCoy and John Chiles will be seen more: Yes, I think it will. It puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the defense, and as John (Chiles) grows, we'll be able to expand that package.
On the importance of winning the turnover battle: It's huge every week. We did all the fundamental things you do to lose a ballgame last week (against Kansas State). It's the turnovers, it's the explosives and it's the kicking game. We won the explosives and we lost the other two badly, and you can't do that and win a ballgame against anybody, much less somebody as talented and well coached as OU.
On practicing forcing turnovers: Turnovers are the weirdest thing I've ever seen in my life. It seems they come in groups both ways, and you just continue to talk about it and do everything you can do. If you worked harder and you had fewer of them or you had more of them, then you would just keep working hard all the time. It's the same thing. We've worked as hard as we can work. We just talk about it again. And when there aren't any (turnovers), (the media) talks about it, so it makes it easy to get (the players') attention.
On the team being perceived as too mild-mannered after a loss: Well, what our guys are is classy after a loss. And some people really get that confused with too mild-mannered. They're disappointed, they've got a tremendous amount of pride and they compete as hard as they can. People have tried to use the word "angry" with me this week and I don't think you get a lot accomplished in your life if you're angry. If you're competitive, if you're prideful and if you're trying to do everything with in your power to be accountable then that's one thing. If you're passive, that's something else. This group is not passive.
On Oklahoma's offense: Every player that OU has got can score every time they touch it, and that's the kind of speed and the kind of talent level they have.
On special teams corrections: Well we've looked at lot of different things that happened on the two kicks (returned for touchdowns against Kansas State). We've gone back and studied it. What we do think is that we've got a lot of starters on our special teams and we'll continue to put them out there, but maybe we can rest them some place else and make sure that they're really, really fresh for special teams because they're so key.
On the Oklahoma running backs Allen Patrick, Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray: There are three of them that could probably start for about anybody in the country. They're very physical, they have good ball security and they're tough kids that run the ball well. Yeah, they really do (have different styles). But again you look at Patrick and when Adrian Peterson went down, Patrick was basically the guy they leaned on to win the Big 12 Championship last year. If you look at DeMarco, he's so fast and can just make things happen for you. They're just really good players. Chris is also a great player. They can hand it to any of the three at anytime, and it also keeps a fresh back in the game. It's like their tight ends. They've got two of the best tight ends in the country, so when they put both of them in there together, you can't lean on one of them because (OU has) big physical guys that can run the ball, but they can also throw the ball downfield to their tight ends because they're so tall and can run.
On momentum: Bill Little made a comment to me the first year that I was here that momentum changes more in (the Texas vs. OU) game than any he has ever been around. And at that time (Bill Little) felt like at that time and he still does that it's because it's a home game for both teams because you're 50-50 in the stands. It will start one way and everybody will get all excited and then it will turn the other way and it will just go back and forth. And that is one of the things that makes it such a great game.
On practice this week: Well they're all getting healthy again. Limas (Sweed) is back and he's playing really well and Billy (Pittman) has been practicing a lot more with Colt (McCoy) now, so we just feel like a lot of the guys are getting back for the first time. And even though some of them may not be 100 percent, just having them out there is really good for the spirit. This game helps you get giddy. It's like a bowl game at midseason.