Tracking Mack: Oct. 10
Opening statement: Practice has been great on Tuesday and Wednesday. The guys have had a great attitude. We always start the season over after the OU game win or lose, and they've responded to that challenge really, really well. We have to go back and do a better job forcing turnovers and taking care of the football, which is one of the things we haven't done over the last few weeks that we've discussed. And the other thing we need to work on is we've got to finish in the fourth quarter. We've had opportunities to win the last two games in the fourth quarter and we haven't finished. The other issue this week because Gene Chizik is so familiar with what we're doing is we had to change all of our signals offensively and defensively and the way we communicate with our players during the ballgame. That's something we had planned on since Gene left to Iowa State, so we don't feel like it will be a big issue for us at all, but it is something that the players are aware of. I think (the players) will be excited to see Gene. There is great respect for him from our team. Anytime you play somebody as a player that has coached you or has recruited you, it adds more excitement to the game.
On if he's ever coached against someone he's coached with before: I don't think so. I've coached against my brother twice as a head coach when I was at Tulane and he was at Vanderbilt, but I don't think I've ever coached against a (former) assistant coach as a head coach.
On the end of WR Limas Sweed's career at Texas: We hate Limas' injury so much for him. He was just playing with a tremendous amount of pain. And after discussing it with the doctors it was something he felt like he needed to go ahead and get fixed and move forward. He's had a record-setting career here, and he's done a tremendous job for us. I will miss him, but you hate for him more than anything else to not be able to finish how he wanted to in his senior year. He'll get his operation and come back and help us coach the young guys. We'll move Quan (Cosby) out to (receiver) X and hopefully Billy (Pittman) can start getting more touches with the ball now since he's played for a couple of weeks. And as much as this hurts your football team to lose a great player like Limas or Aaron Lewis you move forward with those that are healthy.
On playing against Iowa State in the morning: It is (different). It's supposed to be 39 degrees when we get up there and I think it was 91 (degrees) today. It's supposed to be a high of 61 to 65 (degrees), and probably won't get that high while we're playing. When we go out on the field for pre-game. it will be about 9:30 a.m., so our guys will be up at about 6:15 a.m. We challenge them to get up at 6:15 in the morning and be aware of what 10:30 and 11:30 brings for that time zone on Thursday and on Friday. And we'll get them to bed early Friday night because that 6:15 (wake-up call) is going to come really early Saturday morning. We'll actually leave the hotel in at 8:30 a.m. and be on the field at 9:30.
On the emotions of coaching against Gene Chizik: Well we really haven't (thought about it). I love Gene to death. He's a great friend, and he's done a tremendous job. It's been fun to watch his team this week and see that they are well coached and they're doing a good job and playing hard for him. Like us they've had the turnover problems, but he's [Gene Chizik] doing a good job, and he's going to get Iowa State where they want to be, we just hope it's not this weekend.
On the most dangerous part about Iowa State: Well going on the road is tough anyway. And it's always windy up there (in Ames, Iowa). I was there for three years when I coached, which does effect the kicking game. (Iowa State QB) Bret Meyer to us is a great player. They've got two tall receivers and we're not as tall in the secondary, so we know that they'll try to exploit their height on our secondary.
On RB Jamaal Charles: Jamaal has been great this week. He's worked so hard to continue to protect the ball and he wants to do well, and part of the problem is that he probably tries too hard sometimes. We're proud of the way he's responded after the game and helping us move forward. We would like to get him in the space more, but we still have to run upside some and be physical.
On looking forward to the cooler weather in Ames, Iowa: I am. The big guys like it, and earlier when I told them [the players] that it was going to be in the 60s, there was a big hoot. It's been so hot here and I think they're ready for some cool weather, so maybe after this week it will start cooling down some.
On moving forward after the two losses: We just want to play better. We've had a chance in fourth quarter for the last two weeks to win and that's what you want to do and now we've got to finish. We've got to make sure that we make the plays in the fourth quarter that we've been making in the first three (quarters).
On TE Jermichael Finley: Well it was really good to have Jermichael step up last week and get him more involved, and we hope we can continue to do that. Oklahoma was playing two-deep and with play-action pass, it allows you to get the ball to him more than if they're manning up on him and doing some other things. We felt like Colt (McCoy) did the best job last week he's done all year of moving the ball around and getting it to different players. So what we want to do is build on last week's game and continue to get better. We've been consistently good around here and at times we've been great, but we haven't been as consistent this year as we want to be and it doesn't matter what the reason is. Any of the reasons we can talk about are excuses. We've told our guys we need to be consistently good to get great. We played really well for three quarters last week and at times in the fourth quarter, but we need to put a whole game together and play like we did against Rice, like we did the second half against TCU and like we did parts of the Oklahoma game. We need to do that now not only this week, but for the last six weeks of the season.
On WR Billy Pittman: It's really hard to miss as much experience as he missed at the first of the year and to have his shoulder problem too and to snap right back into it. He's practiced so well for the last few weeks, and he actually has class on Tuesday so he misses all of Tuesday's practice after he stretches, but that's part of the deal at The University of Texas. I thought Billy (Pittman) had a really good day today. And when someone does have to step out because of an injury, it gives somebody else a chance to step up. Jordan (Shipley) has come on the last couple of weeks and I think we'll see Billy (Pittman) progress this weekend.