Tracking the Longhorns: Oct. 14
Oct. 14, 2008
Defensive backs coach Duane Akina
On the secondary’s play after Ryan Palmer’s injury: I’m really proud of Ryan. It all starts with him on how he handled the situation. Obviously, being from Dallas, it’s his last opportunity to play in such a great game, being right in the middle of it and really playing well, for him to take A.J. (Aaron Williams) under his wing, and be very positive with everybody. That’s the biggest thing, to forget it and move on. Him being a steady influence with these younger guys is really a hidden value within this football team and especially in that room.
On Aaron Williams: Aaron came on and played really well. The game was not too big for him. It wasn’t too big for Earl [Thomas]. It wasn’t too big for Blake [Gideon]. It’s really something when you’ve got three young players back there that are really in very critical decision-making and execution positions, to play well, keep their poise, to continue to play after a negative play happened. I was not sure how they were going to handle this situation, and when I left there, they exceeded what I was hoping would happen with them.
On Blake Gideon: He came in this spring and one of the big things, being a quarterback, not used to the physical side of the game is something we challenged him with. (In the first drive), that tight end [Jermaine Gresham], he’s a real (big) guy. Just looking at him could get you wondering if you should throw your eyes in there or not. But Blake did a great job all game. Very fundamental, took that extra step to get inside and there wasn’t much leaking yardage on Gresham. That was such a bonus with him. And many times in A.J.’s situation when you just say, “Get your sweats off, you’re in,” a lot of times that’s an easier situation to come in under. You could tell with the questions he was asking, he was very calm and the game had really slowed down for him. It was really fun to see and be a part of.
On the importance of throwing multiple looks at Missouri QB Chase Daniel: I think it’s going to be important and that’s where these young guys have really developed. We’re finding we can do more with them. We’re trying to keep it consistent and keep carry-over game in and game out. All these reps that we’ve had matter and you don’t want to reinvent the wheel. This conference really reminds me of the Pac-10 in the 1980s and 90s – everybody has an NFL quarterback now and NFL quarterbacks draw NFL receivers and offensive coordinators that can get more and more creative. We’re seeing more formations. So what was a good idea last week really doesn’t fit this week and you have to tweak things a little bit for them. Yet you can’t leave the cylinder too much where it’s brand new for (our guys). They’ve really done a nice job of learning concepts, and that’s what I’ve always believed as we teach. You just can’t try to memorize assignments. You have to understand concepts, why you’re doing what you’re doing. I’m a big believer on that, and these guys have bought in. I think the guys that have been in the room before that continue to come back – Michael Huff, [Nathan] Vasher and Ced[ric] Griffin – continue to sell that with these kids and they all want to go where they’re at. I’ve been very fortunate with that.
S Earl Thomas
On the differences between Missouri and Oklahoma: They have a good quarterback just like OU. He can run and pass. We just have to stay in coverage when he rolls (outside of the pocket). Just stay within yourself and don’t try to do too much.
On how the safeties prepare during the week: We constantly ask each other just to check up and make sure everything is going right. We’re the quarterbacks out there in the secondary and it’s a lot to put on freshmen. We ask each other a lot of questions during the week.
On the relationship between Blake Gideon and himself: We always play (the) NCAA (video game) in my room. We’re very competitive. He’s more quiet and serious. I’m more goofy. I like to play around. He’s always taking stuff too seriously. He gets mad at me and stuff. I have to watch what I do around him (laughing).
On the importance of communication among the secondary: If we don’t communicate, it’s going to be a touchdown or a busted play. We can’t have that. We had a few mishaps against OU, so that’s what can happen. We talk, but we have signals. It’s a known without saying anything.
On facing three high-octane offenses in a row like Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech: You just have to get prepared every week, take coaching in, get all the mental errors out of the way and take one game at a time.
On when things slowed down for him during the Oklahoma game: Probably after halftime. After I made the (interception), it calmed me down.
On the faith and confidence coach Will Muschamp has in Blake Gideon and himself: He told us at the beginning of the season, it didn’t matter if you were a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, he was going to play the best players. With him seeing us as the best players put a lot of confidence in us and I thank him for that.
S Blake Gideon
On Earl Thomas describing him as a serious person: Most of the time when Earl sees me, it’s on the field and in the meeting room, and I take this sport that I love very seriously. I’m a competitive person, that’s all I can say.
On the differences between Earl Thomas and himself: I guess just the contrast in where we grew up, him being from deep southeast Texas and me here in central Texas. I view Earl as one of my great friends and I think that I learn a lot from him, and he hopefully learns a lot from me. I think that we kind balance each other out and so far it’s been a good match on the field.
On asking Coach Mack Brown if he’s nervous before every game: That started my sophomore year, my first game on varsity football and my dad was my head coach. I asked him before the opening kickoff if he was nervous, just joking around, because I definitely was. He just smiled and said I’d do fine. Coach Brown just kind of laughs it off, says that I’ll do fine and that he knows I’ve prepared. I guess it’s just a thing between me and him.
On asking Coach Will Muschamp the same thing Saturday before the Oklahoma game: I asked Coach Muschamp that and (he said he was nervous). That’s just the kind of guy Coach Muschamp is. He’s going to be straightforward with you and he’s not going to leave anything out. That was to be expected.
On the faith and confidence Coach Will Muschamp has in Earl Thomas and himself: I don’t know if he has a choice considering all of us are freshmen. But I think that we show an interest in getting better, we learn from mistakes and that’s worked out for us.
On facing Sam Bradford one week and Chase Daniel the next: Obviously they are two great quarterbacks that we have a lot of respect for. They have some incredible stats that you can obviously get caught up in. It makes our job a lot easier on the back end whenever you have one of the best fronts in the nation. We just do what the coaches tell us to do and they put us in the right position to make plays.
On the opportunity involved with facing such high levels of competition: (Coach Muschamp) talks about how every day is an opportunity to get better. You never stay the same. You either get better or get worse every day in practice. So it’s an opportunity to improve as a player and as a person. That’s just something that he’s preached since he’s been here – that it’s an opportunity. It’s not really a challenge. It’s an opportunity to get better.
CB Deon Beasley
On the day-to-day competition at the defensive spots: It’s great competition, and that’s the good thing about coming to Texas. Everyone is playing really well right now, from Chykie [Brown] to [Ryan] Palmer. The safeties are also playing great. So, it’s not a big deal. The main thing to do when they’re on the field is to produce, and everyone is doing a good job of that right now.
On Missouri’s high-powered offense: Missouri has a great offense and it starts with their electrifying quarterback who throws the ball a lot to everyone. They also have Jeremy Maclin and a number of other great receivers, along with their tight end, big number 45 (Chase Coffman). They throw the ball around a lot and they get to the open spots. It’s going to be a good game again.
On the fans and atmosphere this weekend: They are going to be fired up on Saturday considering that we’re number one. But, it’s nothing different than any other time. I mean, we’ve been ranked since I’ve been here, and it’s just another number. We’re going to go out and perform for our fans, just like last week against OU. We had a good game, but this week is another week, so we have to come out and try to get another win.
On focusing on one game at a time through this part of their schedule: Last week is over with and it’s time to start over. Our season is starting over right now, starting with Missouri. Like I said, they have a great offense, and then after that, it’s going to be another great test. Right now, we have to start with Missouri and see where we go from there.
LB Roddrick Muckelroy
On Chase Daniel: Chase Daniel is a great quarterback. I’ve watched film on him and he’s very accurate, he can run the ball and he has a great offensive corps. His receivers are good. They have good speed and (Chase Coffman) is a great tight end. He’s just a threat. We just have to be ready going into this game. We have to prepare each day just like we do for every other game. It’s a great team coming in here and we just have to be ready.
On comparing Chase Daniel and Sam Bradford: They both are great quarterbacks. Both of them have a great arm and they both have good receivers. Chase Daniel will run the ball, while Bradford will try to stay inside the pocket. Daniel looks for all of his receivers and he has good receivers. They run the same type of no-huddle offense, and it’s going to be a great challenge. There’s a lot of carryover from last week in terms of their no-huddle scheme. So, we’ve been there before, so we know what to expect when the no-huddle comes. We have to continue to work hard in practice and focus on the little things.
On Jeremy Maclin: He’s a great receiver and from watching him on film, he has great speed and hands. It’s going to be a great challenge for us this week to cover him, and I’m excited about it.
On how to contain the Missouri offense: We just have to stay with our scheme and play our own defense. You have to play your defense as a whole and take what’s coming with the offense. You just have to take it as it comes.