Mack Brown Monday press conference: Oct. 8
General comments: The game Saturday was a great Texas-OU game. In fact it's one of the best we have seen in a long time. The two teams fought hard, they fought throughout the day, and the fans sure got their money's worth. It was a very disappointing loss for us because when you try as hard as you do, and it comes down to four or five plays, and they made the plays and we didn't, it hurts a lot worse than even if you didn't play well and didn't play hard because you put so much into it. The positives were we had great effort. We put ourselves in a position to win, as we said, and obviously we need to improve the turnover ratio on both sides. For a second straight week, we did not force a turnover and we gave up two turnovers. The other thing that was huge, we gave up four big plays. The 65-yard rush was really the only significant run during the ball game, but it was key and he [DeMarco Murray] is really a good football player. We had trouble tackling him, we did a lot better with the other guys. You start looking at the bottom line, we played much better, but we still didn't win. We've got to improve and win close football games.
Defensively, we did much better in sudden change situations. They got no points off of the turnovers. Our run defense was great except for the one long run. You cannot let them have a 65-yard run. There were about 40 carries for 105 yards other than that, but we gave up four big plays that were significant -- about 180 yards of their 400 yards of offense. A 65-yard play, a 41-yard play, a 39 and a 35-yard play and you just can't do that. When you are playing a great team like OU that is so talented and well coached, it keeps a tremendous amount of pressure on you. We've still got to improve on third and long. We had them in critical situations two or three times and they got out. I thought that the key situation for our defense was in the fourth quarter and it was a 21-21 game and we kick off and we get them inside the 10, and you have to give them credit, they have the 90-plus yard drive for a touchdown to score and go ahead and we lose field position, we lose points, that was such a critical point in the football game. It was a 3rd-and-6 or 3rd-and-7 when they threw the touchdown pass and we had a corner blitz and it was that much late. That's the kind of football game it was. It was a game of inches and we just have to do better in those situations. Then after that drive they moved the ball some, but we did respond and hold them the next three series and give our offense a chance to win the game. We are not getting enough pressure up front. Even when we blitz we are not getting there, we only had one sack, and to force more turnovers, you've got to force negative plays, you've got to get more penetration, and you've got to get the quarterback out more in pass protection situations and that's two weeks in a row that we haven't done that.
Offensively, we created some explosives. Our play action set up some big plays down the field. Our protection was better; we still had too many sacks. We lost about 30 yards in rushing. I thought we responded well most of the day, but again in the fourth quarter when we had the drive to score when it was a 28-21 ball game, there were three opportunities and our offense didn't drive it down and score.
In the kicking game, it was much better than a week ago. We won the field position. Our kickoff team with Quan [Cosby] gave us great field position throughout the afternoon. He is just playing great. I think his effort, his toughness is just courageous and we are really excited about all of the things he is doing to give us a chance to win. Justin Moore's hang time was really really good in punting and we were much better at covering punts. We held them to minus-three yards on the return, on the negative side of that we only got three yards on the return. We've got to do a better job. We are not blocking punts or returning them like we have in the past. We are not creating field position or turnovers in our punt block situation. We've still got to cover kickoffs better even though the kickoff coverage gave us a chance to really have field position to win the game. So it was improved from last week, even though we've got some more work to do in that area.
We won the explosives eight to seven. We lost the turnovers two to zero and won the kicking game because of field position. Probably because the significance of the kickoff coverage that got them inside the 10-yard line, that was probably the difference. As far as predicting what happens from here, it has been such a crazy year this time last year no one would of thought that leaving the Cotton Bowl that OU would of won the Big 12. It has been the craziest six weeks of college football I have ever seen. So I'm not going to sit here and try to predict the rest. What we have to do is continue to get better. To try and predict who would win a championship right now is ridiculous with what is happening across the board. You have to get better. You have to play. People talked about not playing with great emotion before and after the OU game, that is not a situation we can have. We've got to play with great emotion this week.
We are going to Iowa State and Coach Chizik will have his bunch ready. They did beat Iowa, which was an emotional game for them and an emotional win with their rival. We have seen Bret Meyer, he is completing 62 percent of his passes, but he threw for a bunch against us last year. Todd Blythe is a great receiver and he has a chance to break their all-time receiving record and J.J. Bass is third-leading rusher in the league. There will be a lot of familiarity between Gene and what we do offensively.
On if this is a chess match this week with Gene Chizik: Gene and Duane (Akina) are great friends and they are very close. They spent every day of two years together in a meeting room and you start looking at the same thing with Greg Davis and Gene on the field and preparing every practice plan. There is a lot of familiarity and you have to be careful in situations like this that you don't look too much into what you think you know that he will do and try to change too many things. You just have to be who you are.
On the trouble forcing turnovers: You get into full and half empty glasses and it's really interesting to see how people respond to it. You can't say that you've had bad luck because if you do, it's a copout. You can't fix bad luck. I found a penny and I put it in my billfold and it didn't help. The head was up and all that good stuff and it didn't help. What we've got to do is play better defense. We have to knock more balls loose and we have to take care of the ball better. There were balls that were tipped that we could have gotten that we didn't get. Our ball goes right through our receivers' hands and it hits them right in the chest. I thought Jamaal [Charles] had the ball tucked away again and their linebacker makes a great play down on the goal line and we can't have that happen. What you've got to do is you've got to keep it half full, but you have to do a better job in those areas. We have to get more turnovers than we give. I think that is the third time this year that we haven't. Arkansas State we didn't either, we just happened to win the game because we were the better team.
On how crazy college football is this year: It's finally caught up this year I think. This is the craziest year I have ever seen in my 33 years. Sally read me parts of an article from USA Today on Friday that said it was 1992 when the scholarship limitations changed and I think they said that the only thing we can assure you won't happen is that Stanford will not beat SC. Who knows? You can't tell. The thing you have to do is play. You have to play and quit worrying about it, quit worrying about the end and get better as a football team and make sure we have our best effort. There is absolutely no doubt that you can win or lose every game you have left based on the way things are going.
On the upcoming road game: We've never really thought that there was any difference on being on the road or at home. We have been good at both places. We are bleeding a little bit right now; we have to stop the bleeding and go back to work.
On the running game: Oklahoma is probably one of the best run defenses in the country and they are really good and we hit some creases. I didn't think we gave up on it to soon on Saturday, they were just harder to get. I thought we had a chance to win the game. That's what you go into it with. Against Kansas State, we didn't. In the end, eight minutes left and we still can't make a first down. It was a different circumstance and a different ball game.
On if Jamaal Charles' running style is the reason he is fumbling so much: I don't think so. He is probably trying too hard and competing too hard. There is a fine line and we talked about the half full and the half empty. There is a fine line between a team trying to hard and sometimes just being to confident.
On the effort last week: It is a great effort. You just hate to have such a great effort and lose. That's the sad thing about it. What I talked to the kids about Sunday is that it's amazing to me that we are seeing across the country good effort and bad effort so much now, more than ever before and I don't understand that. It seems like to me you ought to play 12 times. Kids work 365 days a year for 12 Saturdays, it seems like to me that everybody should play their heart out every Saturday. You look across the country it's not happening right now and that is a concern.
On Colt McCoy: Colt played great. The problems Colt has had this season haven't been Colt's problems. It has been what we have done around him. I thought the protection was better and he played with more confidence and we made some good plays for him.
On coaching against Gene Chizik: You take tremendous amount of pride in the guys that you hire and come in and it works well and it did for Gene. Gene is a great human being. He is a good father, a good husband and we are very good friends. I'm proud that he was offered a head-coaching job. You figure there are only 119 of them in Division I-A. It is very difficult for anybody to be a head coach. I do not take it for granted. I have been there for 24 years in this business. Very few people ever get a job as a head coach and a lot of people don't get to keep them, but about three years. For Gene to be a head coach at the Division I-A level in the Big 12 is really exciting for me for him. We have talked just about every week since the season has started. We will not talk this week obviously. I'm very proud of him and they are much better now than they were at the first of the year. Transitions are tough sometimes, they either go really easy or really hard, but you can tell they are a much better football team than they were. They will be so excited about us coming. Jeff Koonz is there who coached our linebackers at the Iowa game in the Alamo Bowl last year and Ken Sheppard who was an assistant strength coach for us; Jeff's [Madden] top assistant for about 13 years is there. They will have them all juiced up and ready to go.
On if the team had more passion in the Oklahoma game: It is easier to have passion against OU than it is against some teams that they didn't grow up against. That is something that we are talking about across the country now. You need to be ready to play because you like to play, because you are excited about football, because you got a scholarship at Texas and you want to represent your family and yourself well, not because it happens to be the OU game.
On if it is hard to go up against Gene Chizik: It is. I would rather not coach against people that I know really, really well or that have been on our staff or have been in our family. My brother, I have coached against him three or four times and my mother was mad for all four. It just adds extra stuff to it and you rather it was just about the football game, which this one will be.
On having Brian Orakpo back: I didn't know for sure whether Brian would play very much because he was so limited in practice. He couldn't make plays against the run, so he had to come in and out. In fact once, he is such a smart young man, such a great young man, he ran out there late and we had to call a timeout because he said I can tell they are going to run this one and I'm not in position to stop the run right now so let's get a fresh body in here that can do that. He is a great young man and one that we have really missed. Hopefully, it looked like he came out of the game really well and hopefully we will get him even stronger this week. Adam Ulatoski only played 10 or 12 plays so he didn't play very much and hopefully we can get him a little bit better this week and start getting some of the experienced guys back on the field.
On if it helps getting the older guys back in: It does. Sergio [Kindle] is the same. He was limited Saturday, he got to play a little bit, he didn't get to play a whole lot because even when the doctor releases you, you have such a limited amount of practice coming in that you need to get your confidence back. You can hit some in practice, but the speed and the impact of a hit Saturday is much different than practice. So they're really not sure until they get out there how they are going to feel. I think that Adam [Ulatoski], I talked to him last night some and Adam, Sergio, Brian and I feel like they came out at least as good as they came in and hopefully all three will be better for this week.
On if he still has friends up at Iowa State: Yes I do. I was there three years and it is a wonderful place and it was a great experience for me. It is funny, I get notes from them, I talk to them very little, but I talk to them this week.