Oct. 4, 2011
Co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bryan Harsin
On if he has a run-first philosophy: We want to run the football. That's the one thing that we believe, that if you can run the ball, everything gets a lot easier when you can do that, when you have the run game to rely on. Our mentality is run the ball, however we can do that, whatever formation that is. We want to try to get that done and we have been able to do those things, and I think we have been fairly productive in the run game. We have the opportunity to get better in those areas but just philosophywise, yeah.
On if the Boise win over OU in the Fiesta Bowl put Boise on the map: I think for Boise State at that time in our program, being in the BCS helped us tremendously. Obviously, the way the game went and winning that game was huge for Boise State and our program and the Boise State program at the time. At that time, that was a very good football team that we had at Boise, and we played a very good football team at Oklahoma and it was just a tremendous game. And the way it always worked out with everything from the end of the game, just so many different storylines that went into that game, it was tremendous. It was tremendous for Boise State at the time. That's obviously special to Boise State and the program at that point, and a lot has changed since then and you know that was a good memory at that time.
On if that was the most fun he had coaching a game: It was a fun game. Not so much that game in particular but the process to get there, the entire team and playing a team like Oklahoma for Boise State was huge. And everything that led up to that game and all of the storylines that no one ever got to see that we got to experience was the reason why it made it special.
On how to prepare for OU this week: It's the same philosophy we've had in the first four games with our quarterbacks. Let's take care of the football, not put ourselves in a bad situation. and it's the coaching points you use in every single game and that's what you have to do. We have a process and formula leading up to this game and we'll continue to use that same process and formula going into this game and each week we have to find a way to get better and better. This is no different this week. Go in there and play your game, and that's what those guys need to focus on. They need to focus on preparing themselves for this game and being mentally ready to go.
On if he thinks coaches need to address the hype surrounding the game:
I think you do. It's something that you've got to - like any travel game or going to an opponent's stadium. We have to handle distractions, and that's one thing we talk about and this is no different. Obviously, there will be more around this than the previous games we have been in on the road. We will address that with the team. We will talk about that. I think they understand that. But you know, we make a point of it that we are there to do our best to play and to avoid those things and not get caught up in that. And leading up into the game, and while you're in Dallas, as well.
On if he has received kudos from Texas fans for the Boise win over OU: I've heard those things and obviously I know about the rivalry between the two teams and things like that. And like any rivalries, somebody wants their team to beat their rival game and their rival opponent. I've heard that. but like I said, that was a long time ago and different scenario, different time, different game, and it was fun at the time. But we are focused on this one now.
On if he will take time to acknowledge the atmosphere around the game: I think you have to, and all of the guys, as well. Just the ambiance of being there at the stadium and everything that's going on around it, and that's part of college football. That's something that you want to take in as a player, as a coach, because those are opportunities you get only so often. I know that this game is a special game, and that's part of that process going into this type of game. That's not a distraction doing that. That's just taking it all in and enjoying it for what it is, college football, and having two great teams that are undefeated playing each other and going out there and playing your very best.
On the Oklahoma defense: They do a lot of things. One, they have got 11 guys out there all the time that are very good football players. But they do a lot of things schematically. They move around. They are very well coached from the front end to the back end. They know exactly what they are doing. They communicate well with each other. It's just a welloiled machine as far as the defense goes, and I've been impressed watching their film and what they have done. And they have been successful for a long time for a reason, and they have got a great staff and great players and they have bought into what they are doing.
On what the Texas offense needs to do to be successful: We have got to play fast. They play fast, we have to play fast. We have to take care of the football and take advantage of our opportunities. If there's a window there or a oneonone match up, we have to find one, and they don't give you that very often. But when there is, we have to find a way to exploit that and take advantage of it. And that's what you do in those bigtime games. There's going to be little opportunities in there and when they are, that's what you have to take advantage of. And so we have got to find a way to get that done.
On what attributes Mack Brown saw in him when he was hired: Just the whole process of a staff change, for example. There was a lot of things, just not from the offense and defense. Some philosophies and things that coaches from other programs that had some success would bring. And he's been great about what ideas do we have, not just O and D, but what ideas do you have practicewise, scheduling. And there's a lot of other things that go into it rather than just the philosophies on offense and defense. That's great, and we have hashed it out, the staff, and things we have done, different staffs that have been good. And we have kind of come up with the formula we have right now. It's still a workinprocess and it's something that we feel good about, and we will continue to build on it.
On the Texas offense’s preparation: We are still very critical about ourselves when we go back and watch tape of what we can do better, and every game is going to be that way. There's not a perfect game on offense or on defense. What we talk about is just preparing ourselves correctly, making sure that we have seen the looks we need to see. Making sure we practice the way we need to practice so that we can go into that game and feel confident [that] we have prepared ourselves to play the very best we can. And if we go do that, and we get beat, we can go over there and shake their hand and say, “Congratulations. You guys, you outplayed us.” That's what we want to make sure. We go into every game with our very best and play our very best, and that's our focus.
On what the offense learned from the missed red zone opportunities against Iowa State: Just going back and some of those third downs, obviously, go back and analyze that. We had opportunities there. We had guys that were open. It's just a matter of just sticking with our progressions, sticking with what we thought would be there. And in the red zone, the biggest thing is our defense was playing so well and they got us turnovers. We had some turnovers in the red zone. We had that short field and we have to find a way to capitalize and just that sudden mentality to a sudden change. We are in the red zone, we have to get in. We have to score. That's as much as anything, just the mentality of, look where we are and get out there and ready to go compete right away. We'll work on that this week in practice.
Defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Manny Diaz
On preparing for OU’s up-tempo offense: When we had the bye week, we knew we were getting into league play and this was a week where we tried to crush envelope in terms of trying to snap the ball quick. We just do some drills that in between plays, we hurry back to get ourselves lined up. It's been a big part of their success through the years. but we are going to try to make ourselves as difficult to play against as we possibly can.
On if he looks forward as a coach to big games like Texas-OU: Yes, that's why you coach as Texas. These are the games you want to be in. You want to be in the rivalry games that everyone around the country is paying attention to. But all of that being said, it's still going to be a football game. They still have the option to run or pass on every play, and they can kick it if we make them. All of the things that have won us these first four games, we have to try hard to do well in this game. That's how you calm things back down again, because you're not wowed by the environment. Hey, let's go tackle and let's go beat blocks and let's go play a football game and do what we are supposed to do.
On what makes the OU offense so successful: Well, you can tell they are obviously a very wellcoached outfit. They just go as fast as humanly possible, and they do it with really talented football players and they have the conductor back there at quarterback that's very experienced and just sort of navigates the whole offense and can put the ball anywhere he wants it. He can throw the field out. He can throw the ball so effortlessly down the field. And he's very comfortable, you can tell, playing at that tempo. He understands their pass concepts very well, knows where to go with the football. What they have done in my opinion is they have gotten really good football players that go really fast and they give their playmakers the ball in situations to make things happen.
On OU wide receiver Ryan Broyles: He's as good a receiver that's there been in recent times. What I like about him - or what I don't like about him, depending - he can make the easy catches but the hard catches, too. He's a guy that you can tell sometimes [he] may not be open but the quarterback is going to throw it anyway, because he has got the confidence that he's going to come out with it. It's sort of like that oneonone is oneonnone to them, mentally.
On if Mack Brown hired him for his attitude as much as his skills: I don't know if that was in the forefront. I believe that might have just happened as a result. I think everybody knew. I think the one thing that Coach Brown has been very consistent about was, it was going to be a new year, regardless. Just as '09 didn't carry into '10, '10 should not have any bearing on '11. I believe the new coaches allowed us to snip off the past a little bit easier because we had no history to us. The players had the burden of having to learn new schemes and had the burden of learning the new system in the weight roo.; but to their credit, they have embraced that. They have it embraced the change and they have really gotten heavy into the process of what wins football games. All we are trying to do every week is just find that extra point that we have that they don't have so we can go home winners.
On if this week will be a test for Texas’ young secondary: It's a great test. By far the best passing attack that we have seen so far this year. When the stakes get higher or when the opponent appears to be better, you have to go back to what you've been doing. If there's a tendency to do more or to do extra, usually that's when you get yourself in trouble. Go back to the technique that Coach [Duane] Akina has worked on. My confidence is going to come from something, so it's going to come from what I've learned on tape through four weeks or my technique. We have to tackle well. I believe they are going to complete a pass. I don't think we are going to hold them to 0 for 30. So that when they complete a pass, we have to tackle the catch. If they throw for 5, we have to tackle for 5. If they throw for 10, we have to tackle for 10. And here is the thing, if they throw for 30, we have to tackle for 30 and not make it 60. When one covers, prevent the big plays as we have done for the first four games. But we have done those things for four weeks. So when you say, “Hey, is this a crazy environment?” Or, “Hey, do they have really good players?” Just go beat OU. Don't try to beat anybody else. Just try to go be who you've been for the first four weeks.
On if the biggest task this week is just getting the defense set: Offenses ask questions by nature, defenses have to come up with the answer. If there's one inherent advantage that offense has over defense, offense decides when the play begins. That's just the way it goes. The difference between defense and offense, is that we all have to go chase the ball carrier where an offense doesn't. If they throw a screen to Broyles, all of the guys on our football team have to go try to tackle him because he's an outstanding player. So all of a sudden that guy goes on the ground, they can go get lined up and we have all been trying to chase the ball down the field or maybe they threw the ball deep down the field incomplete. Our secondary just ran back there to try to defend the pass, and now their linemen are already getting set getting ready to go, and now we have to run back and get going quick. So when they are asking the questions, it's like, math. What's two plus two? What's two plus three? What's two plus four (speaking in methodical tone).? When they get asked in rapid succession fast, what's four plus four? What's two plus three? And all of the sudden, you're like, that's four, that's three and you're like, wait, wait, what was it? And they are already asking you the next question. And that's what they want you to do. They want to you fall behind. And the second you fall behind mentally now you don't pay attention to the tight end running wide open. Or now here comes the running back going around the edge to score. It puts a lot of stress on the defense, and that's why before you do anything against them you have to make sure you're lined up. That's the whole deal. If we have the best blitz in the world but can't get it set by the time they snap the ball, then it's the worst defense in the world. That's the give and take and that's what I've got to decide. What we can handle.
On if it is easier to not substitute and just signal from the sidelines: No, because you still have to play the defense, because that's sort of the trick. If you just want to sit there and just play basic defense all day, now they have you playing basic defense all day. That is the whole game. That's what we have to decide. How dynamic can we be? How dynamic can they be? And ultimately, our job as coaches is to put the players in the best position to win. My job is to not mess it up for the players on Saturday. And that's easier said than done sometimes.
On if it makes defending OU easier that Jones is a pocket passer: You have to be careful what you wish for because as hard as it was to tackle the guy we played last Saturday, this guy, he's not going to run around and threaten 80 yards for a touchdown. But he can do things with his arm that the other guys can't do. And he's got a quick release. He can get the ball out. So, like I said, maybe the DLinemen say, “Hey, we don't have to chase this guy around like the guy we did last week.” But he's got different strokes that causes problems, too. You have to be careful what you wish for sometimes.
On what the defense can do to stop Jones: Any quarterback, the most important thing is to disrupt him, but there are different ways to disrupt a quarterback. You can disrupt him with pressure, but sometimes they can it get into a rhythm against your pressure. You can try to change your coverages. You can try to slow them down, but that gets back to the tempo. The more you change your coverages the more you have a chance of messing up a coverage. That's a big catandmouse game. But most quarterbacks when they know what they are getting and they know they have time to do it, they can beat you with it. And this quarterback for sure can.
On if he will take time to acknowledge the atmosphere surrounding the game: I think before the game. You would be blind to not notice. And again, like I said why would you shy away from such an amazing setting? And how great that we are both in the Top10 and undefeated. That's what you want. You want to revel in that environment. But the bottom line is when the ball hits the foot, we are playing football, and you're coaching and just focused in on what wins.
On how hard it is for teams to prepare for Texas’ offense: We told our offensive players throughout August that it's going to be fun for us on Saturdays in the fall to sit and watch other people chasing them around the park and trying to figure out who has the ball and who has the formations and trying to get lined up with everything they do. And that's kind of one of the fun things we have in our locker room. Offensive guys like watching the other team trying to go against the defense. And I know our defensive guys like watching the flipside. That's why we have a camaraderie between our O and D, because we have sort of been a pain to each other throughout the spring and fall camp, and now we are able to give someone else some grief.
On how much more work is needed to prepare for an offense: The hardest part in college football is that you have to pick what you can practice against. We have a 20 hour week. You have the players only four hours a day, everybody usually on a Tuesday or Wednesday practice. So when you talk about going against our offense, they have got this formation, that formation and this series with this guy and this series with that guy. And you've got to find a way, in a very short amount of time, you have to find a way to practice all that. And then you're practicing all of this stuff, that's less time to practice some of the meat and potatoes plays. That's a little bit of what you try to do. You try and sort of be everywhere and at the same time, nowhere.