Oct. 17, 2012
Co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach Major Applewhite
On how P Alex King has adjusted to Texas: Alex is so mature. He is just so mature, as you would expect from a guy who has been at Duke, got a degree, and you would just expect that kind of personality coming in. He is a competitor. He was a quarterback in high school, went to Duke, tried out for the basketball team and had an opportunity to make the team but there was going to be a little bit of a delay so he decided to go ahead and try out for football. He wasn’t a punter. He punted a little bit but wasn’t really fine-tuned like some of these guys that go to all these camps and stuff. He is a self-made man. He has taught himself. He has been to coaches around the country, trying to develop his craft, and he is competitive now. He is absolutely competitive, and I love that about him. It is good to have him around some of the younger guys and pass down that attitude.
On the running game: We didn’t run the ball very well, obviously. And when you get behind, you have to throw the football, but we didn’t run the ball near [as] effectively to be able to sustain some drives and get some scores to where we could’ve continued to go back to it. It’s that the run game is so multi-faceted that sometimes it’s a lineman, sometimes it’s a back seat in the hole, sometimes it’s to make sure you are in the right play, that you have the formation correct, and there are just a lot of different things. The main problem is like we talk about. “Let’s not fix the blame, let’s fix the problem.” That is what we have been focusing on this week and everybody holding their group accountable. Don’t worry about the big picture, that’s not what you were hired for, so just worry about your position and getting those guys better.
On who motivates: I think it lies on everybody to motivate themselves. You have to have some self-motivation, something inside you, some heart and some courage inside yourself. If somebody has to pull something off the internet to get you excited to play football for Texas then you are the wrong person.
On RB Malcolm Brown not having been able to play: It’s hard for him. He is not a loud guy, but I can tell. Still waters run deep. He is a quiet guy. He internalizes most of it, but I know he wants to be out there and this is irritating him.
On thoughts about RB Johnathan Gray’s first OU game: He didn’t get many opportunities. A lot of his opportunities were late and obviously, the game dictated that. There were some times where I thought he stuck the ball in there on a couple runs and had some good runs, and then there were some times where there was more there than what he ran for. Quite honestly though, that’s in every game. I have never met a back or quarterback who has ever hit every single one of them. But I did not walk out of the game thinking he was not ready for this. He was ready for it. We ran a play and had the formation switched around early in the game, and the “wild,” he ran right at them and didn’t duck for a split second.
On the loss: It is something we would want to address but we are focused on Baylor. That is our job. We have to go to the next one. There will be a time where we will address this, talk about it, and really get into the nuts and bolts of it, but you don’t have time midstream to do that.
On how do tofix those problems quickly before next game: If you use too much of it today, you are not going to be ready for tomorrow, and that’s my whole point. Tomorrow is Baylor and if we spend the rest of this week trying to figure out how to fix Oklahoma, we are going to lose to a good football team. So we have to focus on this football team and when the time comes, the appropriate time to address all that, we will.
On the team’s attitude: Anytime you get your pride hurt like that, doesn’t matter what job you are in, you come back with a different vigor. I think that is when you see more attention in meetings, more urgency on the field, and all those little details that when you get embarrassed, as a competitor that is what you expect to see. That is what these guys are doing. You see a little bit more effort whether it be film study, little more effort in practice, more attentive, more focused because their pride is hurt. I would be worried if we saw the same routine in terms of getting ready.
On thoughts about Baylor’s defense: Any opponent, you try to talk to your offense because I think more times offenses lose games than they do winning. You go to that game last year where we out-rushed them, out-passed them, we out first-down them, we out time possession them, but we had too many turnovers. We had six turnovers. That is why we lost the football game. So what we talked to our guys about is. “Let’s not lose the game before you even get a chance.” Too many times we did good things last year, but when the series doesn’t end in a kick, whether it be a field goal, punt, or touchdown, you are off to some bad things. And especially if you are playing [against] an explosive offense.
Assistant head coach/defensive backs Duane AkinaOn comparing Baylor’s offense to West Virginia’s offense:
I think they are similar. They are built similar in a lot of ways. Their throwing game, which is kind of what you see quite a bit now, a lot of offenses are doing this. I think with all of the ones doing this, you see these kinds of numbers.
On Baylor QB Nick Florence: I think he is a product of the system. He is a guy who has been doing the same thing over and over. He reminds me of some of those Texas Tech quarterbacks that have generated great numbers. They do a handful of things, they do it really well and a system is there. They are well-coached and the receivers and him have good timing. They have seen a little bit of everything- they have seen all-out man, they have seen drop eight and combination coverage. So they are well-tested, and they do a very good job with it all.
On practice this week: I think the practices have been really good. We are all very prideful, and we got after it. For the most part, the secondary has practiced with a tempo that is very on par with how we have always practiced. They have been very spirited. Everyone has been buzzing around. We are very competitive and want to get to the next game and get this taste out of our mouth.
On sophomore DB Mykkele Thompson: I thought for a second-year player who has been pressed into action, he had a lot of outstanding plays. He is still growing in a lot of areas and you can see his growth every day that he is getting better. In some ways you can say he is out there a year ahead of himself. With [former Longhorn] Nolan Brewster being medically out and losing him, he would have been a fifth year senior this year, so that probably kicked [Thompson] into the action a little bit early. I’m really proud of how he is competing. He is a beautiful athlete, and I think with time if we stay patient and stay with it, then he will end up having a great career here.
On Mykkele Thompson’s confidence after the WVU game: I think like any young, conscientious player he is hurt. But he understands that at this level there are a lot of good players out there. You are going to go through some growing pains when you play in the secondary, especially with one that is as aggressive as ours. We put some guys on islands back there. We can go through it with [former Longhorn and current NFL Jacksonville Jaguar DB] Aaron Ross and some of those great ones that had some struggles early in their careers and did fine by the time they left here. I see Mykkele much in that same stride. He understands that there are things that he has got to work on. He is very coachable and that is still the key. You can press him hard, and he still wants to be a good player.
On who is taking a leadership role: I would say within my group [senior S] Kenny [Vaccaro] is a guy that stands out. He is not one that is talking all the time, but he leads by example and he leads by toughness. He leads by what real leaders are. He is a guy that is very physical and takes great pride in being really physical. Having a game like that hurts him. I think we have addressed that as a team, as a unit and we have all collectively, starting with the coaching staff, need to do a better job and everyone else feels the same way.
On if Kenny Vaccaro is too valuable at the nickel to be moved back: A guy like that you always think about that to be the last responder, but you lose a lot of his on-the-line-of -scrimmage ball instincts and the ability to blitz. What we have asked him to do against [WVU WR Tavon] Austin and [Oklahoma WR Kenny] Stills - he has had some really difficult job descriptions the last couple of weeks. We have put a lot of pressure on him, but he likes that. It keeps him on the edge. It keeps him excited for the next challenge, and he has another good one this week in the slot with 16 [Baylor WR Tevin Reese]. Those are things you consider as a staff, but I just think losing him as a blitzer on the line of scrimmage, in man-coverage, being close to the football, being part of the run defense and getting in is [too valuable]. In my opinion, we have him at the right spot.