Tracking Mack: Oct. 20
Oct. 20, 2010
Opening Statement: In the dressing room out at Texas Tech, we felt like we had a real team building moment and the chemistry was starting to get a lot better with our team. That's something we worried about in the first two weeks and obviously we did not have momentum carry over to UCLA, so we didn't get accomplished what we thought we would with our team that night. We felt like they would play much better the next week. The dressing room, the scene on the field after the Nebraska game, pulled the team very close together and it looked like team chemistry was building. The dressing room after the game was very emotional. Now we'll see if that will actually carry over and [if] the guys will play inspired together much better this week for their first time back at home after the UCLA game.
[Iowa State head coach] Paul Rhoads has done a great job. We mentioned on Monday they did win out at Lincoln last year and got the confidence after that game to go play in a bowl game. We know that [former Iowa State head coach] Gene Chizik can recruit. He's got some great players on that team. A lot of those guys are from Texas. They were very capable in beating Texas Tech badly earlier in the year. We know that they're capable. We know that Paul's an emotional guy and a good football coach. [He's] a defensive coach a lot like Will Muschamp coming from Auburn because he's emotional with his team and, we know that he'll have them ready to play. The question will be will ours be ready to play, and we feel like they will be. But that's a great question about this week. People have been pretty critical of this team, a lot of it rightfully so, but this week they've been bragged on more. So will they be able to handle that positive attention and move forward and still play as hard as they did last week?
We had won 16-straight at home. We had great home-field advantage coming into the game at UCLA. We didn't play well in that ballgame, so we really need our fans to come back and get our streak started again. The fans, in my estimation, can have the biggest impact on this team [that] they've had with any we've had in our 13 years because there's five of the last six home games. We need our fans. This team needs our fans. Some of our teams have not, but this team needs our fans. The game at 11 [a.m.] is early. It's tougher, especially tougher on the students to get up and get moving on a Saturday morning, but we need people there. We need them attentive. We need them ready to play so we can have our fans make a huge difference in this team's performance over the last five weeks at home, and I think that's very, very important for us to regain that advantage.
Austen Arnaud is the quarterback at Iowa State. His dad, John, played for us when I was an assistant back in `79, `80 and `81. He was a great safety. Patrick Neal is the defensive end for Iowa State. His dad, Brian Neal, was an all-conference player for us at offensive guard when I was there. It makes me feel a little bit old this week when I'm seeing the players that we coached [and their] sons [are] playing against us as we get ready to go.
In my first year at Iowa State in 1979, I was the receiver coach on a team for Donnie Duncan that came in and played a Fred Akers' team. That's really the only time I had been to Austin before I took the job, so it was something I'll never forget. It was a ballgame that Texas won 17-9, but I was very, very impressed with all of the Texas things at that time, and we played a good game that night but didn't have enough offense to go ahead and win the game.
Brian Davis, our academic counselor, is a graduate of Iowa State. He was a letterman in track there, and he worked in the academic department there. But he's also very close friends to a lot of the guys that played on the team, especially Arnaud and Brian Neal. He'll have kind of a reunion with them this weekend.
I do hope it's really hot and humid. I think that's something that at this time of the year is to our advantage. It looks like it's going to start about 78 [degrees] and finish in the mid-80s, so it will be 85, 86 [degrees] at the end of the game. That's something that with our depth we feel like that we can try and wear the other team out if we can get three-and-outs and stay on the field offensively.
Some of the guys did not practice yesterday. We're hoping just about all of them will today, but we will not know about the actual injury report until Friday because they'll still work some of the guys out Friday morning. The Nebraska game was so physical, it has taken a hit on us and we've got to get some guys well today and tomorrow so they'll be able to play on Saturday. Normally, our rule has been if a guy does not participate in practice we do not feel like he should play in the ballgame. That's happened a large majority of the time. If a Ricky Williams didn't play, he still was good enough to play on Saturdays. We'll look at a couple of guys that will be in question and see where that gets us as we work through today and tomorrow's practice.
Tray Allen has decided to redshirt. The doctors told us yesterday that it will be at least another three weeks before he could play in a ballgame, and that would take away a large majority of his year. The positive thing for Tray is it gives him a fifth year. He was doing very well in spring practice. He had his best spring. He got hurt really, really early in preseason camp and at 320 pounds or something with a broken foot, it puts so much pressure on it it's hard for a young guy to come back. It was very similar to what happened with Mason Walters last year. For next year, one of the positives is now we'll have three starters back with Tray Allen who will be a senior, David Snow who will be a senior and Mason Walters, who is playing much, much better right now than he did earlier in the year because he is really coming into his own and he had a great Saturday.
There's been a lot said this year, but specifically since Sunday and after [what happened to] the young man at Rutgers, about targeting and head-to-head injuries. First, we'd like to say that our thoughts and prayers from all the people at Texas, you guys, and us and football players, really want to be with the young man and hope he can have a full recovery, because those injuries are devastating and we are seeing it happen more. People have asked me the first couple days of the week what I think about our rules. It`s a tough game. It's a vicious game. And at the same time there are a couple of things that I would look at and I will propose to the rules committee or at least to the AFCA board, to give to the rules committee and safeguards committee. I think we should go back and move the kickoff back up five yards. I know why we moved it back. We moved it back to get more kickoff returns because it's exciting and helps the game. But when you've got full-speed collisions and you've got maybe twice as many as you do kicking off from back, I do think it's more dangerous because you've got more opportunities for head-to-head collisions like the young man got hurt [with] at Rutgers. I also think we should go back and put the halo rule back in. Right now the rule says you have to have an opportunity to catch a punt, but as soon as that ball touches his fingers someone can take off on him and I still think it's very, very dangerous. I would rather have a punt returner with an opportunity to catch the ball because to me - and I returned punts - if you're standing there, as soon as the ball touches your fingers, to me, you're still a defenseless player. I think that that's got to be a huge part of the rule. I understand defensive coaches not liking the targeting rule because it's very, very difficult to call consistently. Especially when you start talking with the officials and they're telling you if a helmet hits down in the shoulder pad area and comes up and hits the head - it's still targeting. So you've put a tremendous amount of pressure on defensive players. We don't want to make it dangerous for them as they try to move their head around in different areas. It is a problem. It's an issue that really needs to be looked at, but in thinking about it this week and talking to our staff, those are two suggestions that we would have without question. We feel like both of those would be safer for the game. It might not be as exciting in either case, but right now we're talking about safety.
On how good Iowa State can be: Dan McCarney had them really good. They were in the Big 12 North race every year, very much like Gary Barnett had Colorado. I do think it takes consistency for a coach there. Gene stayed two years - he made some progress but he didn't win games. You could see they were better. They nearly beat Oklahoma. They had some wins, but you could see he was recruiting good football players. You'll be impressed by the way they look. Their offensive line is all huge. Their problem is, since when I was there, is they have to go out of state to get most of their skill because there aren't as many people in state and you've got two big universities in prominent BCS conferences sharing the few players that are in the state of Iowa, because it's not a very populated community. Then you have to look at where you go. Do you go to Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, where Chicago and St. Louis are very much a Big Ten area in recruiting? Do you come to Texas, which Gene did because of his ties, or do you go to Florida? A lot of people at Iowa State through the years have gone to south Florida to get their speed. I do think it takes someone with a knowledge of the area, and Paul has that, someone who is very passionate about being there, and Paul fits that as well because his dad was a prominent high school coach for many years in the state of Iowa. And a guy who knows the coaches, not only in the Iowa State area, but a guy who can look back and see where all of the coaches in the past went to recruit. I had Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago when I was recruiting at Iowa State, and I started out with south Florida.
On being able to successfully recruit athletes at Iowa State: You had to do a good job recruiting. You had to project some kids. [Chris] Washington was a linebacker we signed when I was there. He was an offensive guard [at] one of the inner-city schools in Chicago. At that time they quit having video and that's how Tom Lemming got started. Tom Lemming was a postman and he decided that since there wasn't an opportunity for the inner-city schools in Chicago to show off their kids anymore, he would go video[tape] games. So he took a video camera and he started videoing all the games in the inner city, and then he would charge us to come to his basement as recruiters to look. So he's charging us five bucks, ten bucks to come in and watch the video. I walked into the gym and [Washington] was a very smart young man, and I saw him do one of those dunk-it-over-his-head [moves] at a pickup basketball game as I was walking in. I asked the coach, I said, "Who is that?" We didn't have anybody like him and he said, "Well he's an offensive guard." And I said, "I don't know about that, brother!" He came and started for four years for us at linebacker and ended up playing with Tampa Bay [in the NFL]. We just took him as an athlete and said he's something. [You] probably take fewer now because the numbers have been cut back. Back then people were just taking guys.
On LB Jordan Hicks: We knew Jordan through the years. Jordan's mother worked for Jeff Madden at Colorado, so he came to our camp as a sophomore. I knew then if he was good enough and if we wanted him, we would have a good chance because mom really trusted Jeff. When you get in the recruiting process, when the family finds somebody they really, really trust, you've got a chance. Now obviously there were some great schools that were recruiting him. He was the [high school] Butkus Award winner. He's very, very smart. He's got tremendous grades. He's a very quiet young man. He doesn't say a whole lot, but I thought he was a young man that would trust the strength coach, trust a guy who'd been in our program for a long time and our program was on the same level of the other ones that he was talking to. So the one thing that separated us from the others is that mom and Jordan had someone that they trusted at this school, and I thought that was the biggest factor, very honestly.
On 11 a.m. kickoff times: This is one I've laughed about for a long time. I'd rather start at seven [a.m.] because my stomach hurts all day, and I sit there and watch all these games and everybody gets upset. [I might start] at six [a.m.]. They make the [players] eat four hours before, so I liked it when we played the Cotton Bowl at 10 [a.m.] because we ate at six [a.m.]. These kids now will be up on Saturday morning at 6:15 and they will eat a pregame meal at seven, they'll walk into the stadium at nine and go on the field at 10. It is very, very unique and different. From a crowd standpoint, I'd love to play at seven [p.m.]. To me, six or seven [p.m.] is better. We do not have any say when we play. I've learned that through the years. We cannot refuse a TV game. It's a conference deal and all the conference teams get some money when you play, so you do not have the right to say I don't want to do that. The second part of that is that from De Loss [Dodds]' standpoint, he also, in my estimation, has to think about what's best for the economy. When do people eat lunch? When do people eat a dinner meal? So is 2:30 [p.m.] the optimum time? So they come in a little early, they eat an early lunch, [there's] the 2:30 game, everyone sees it, and then they go and they stay and spend the night. It is a very, very complicated thing, and I know now that we've got Iowa State at 11 [a.m.] and we've got Baylor at six [p.m.] and at least I like to know when they are, and I think Baylor will be fine at six.
On his wife, Sally, after losing her brother: Sally's doing fine, thank you for asking. I lost my mother in February. She lost her mother nine days later, and she lost her dad when he was 61. So it's been a long time ago. She and her mom were very close. Her brother, David, had a stroke five years ago, and he was in a rehabilitation center since that time, but Mom would see him every day. When they lost Mom, Sally felt like she really needed to see David every day, so she actually had him moved, which is a very complicated thing, and flown medically from Wilmington [North Carolina] to here and saw him every day that he was there. She thought Mom would want her to do that. The positive thing was that she had a couple of months with him every day, and he loved Texas and he wore his sweats and saw the games. He had been sick. Over time, we thought we would lose him at some time, and this one kind of surprised us. He was doing really well. He was so upbeat. He was so happy that he'd been moved, and we thought that we were making some progress here and we just got a call really quickly that said you need to get over here. It all just happened so fast. I think it caught us all off guard.
On any big surprises from the Big 12 Conference this season: I think not. I've heard some people say it's not as strong a year. I think it's probably a stronger year when you look at it. When Iowa State can beat [Texas] Tech, when Baylor can be bowl-eligible before Texas, when Oklahoma State's undefeated and it's past midseason and they've got a great game with Nebraska. When Missouri looks like it has a chance to be a great team from what we've seen so far, and you have an undefeated matchup with Missouri and [Oklahoma] this weekend. Kansas State coach [Bill] Snyder just kind of always keeps his mouth shut, and he always lurks around and he'll bite you and he never talks about it. He always acts like he hasn't won a game, and he's sitting here at 5-1 and it scares me to death. I talk to him every now and then and he always tells me how bad they are right before they beat somebody. [Texas] A&M has moved the ball well. As I look at the last six games we've got, and this has been unusual for us, we could lose the five conference games that we've got if we don't play well. That's not usually been the case around here. We've had some gimmes. Right now we'll play the best Baylor team we've played. We haven't played Iowa State that often, but Kansas State, we've got to go out there and it's a typical Bill Snyder tough, running, play defense, play man coverage, make you play well to beat him, kick the ball well team. We always have an exciting game and tough game with [Texas] A&M, and then you've got the game with Oklahoma State where it looks like they're for real.
On DE Reggie Wilson: He's doing really well. The fact that Jackson Jeffcoat came so fast and Eddie Jones has played really well, Sam Acho's been unbelievable and you can play Alex Okafor at both end and tackle has kept Reggie off the field more than Jackson. We do feel like with Adrian Phillips being thrown in there the other day and [he] played really well, that if we'll go ahead and put some of these guys in they're going to play well. So Calvin Howell has been getting 10-15 plays a game. So we're starting to get them some time, but we've also told them that you're no longer rookies. You need to graduate. You've got to play now. We can't say we're young because half the year is enough.
On getting S Adrian Phillips more playing time: I think it will depend on Kenny Vaccaro some too. Kenny is such a dynamic player in special teams. He is a difference maker in those special teams. He and Malcolm Williams may be the two best special teams players out of our punting and kicking teams, and they're out there all the time. We're doing it again with Malcolm - he's so worn out. We need to figure out a way to substitute him more because he's on every kick team and will not come off. He just fights it. Kenny's the same way, and Kenny's a guy that's played safety. He's played nickel. We think Kenny's athletic enough in the future [that] he could play corner if we needed him to. He's really good, I think, so I'm enjoying watching him. I was proud of our team the other day that when he and Keenan came out and got dressed at halftime and it was obvious that they weren't back out there that nobody blinked. The young guys went out there and stood up and they did what you should do at Texas when you sign some good kids by midseason. We want to get Mike Davis back on track. He was doing so well and he's kind of been lost the last couple of weeks, and he needs to get the ball in his hands and he needs to make some plays with it. We want him to do what Jordan [Hicks] and Adrian did Saturday. He was doing that and after he hurt his knee he's been just a little tentative coming back, so he and John [Chiles] are playing but we haven't gotten plays out of either one of them yet that we need.
On keeping the same punt returners: I think we're OK. We went double jammer on Saturday to try and hold up the gunners and give them a little more time to catch the ball. The problem you've got if you start over right now is your putting someone out there who's never caught one. Then you start over with the unknown, and if he drops one because there's pressure on him, it makes it very difficult. We'd like to really build on these two. Both of them have the ability to score when they touch the ball. Curtis [Brown] is very unconventional with his returns but he's really fast. He gave us an opportunity for three points Saturday.
On QB Garrett Gilbert stepping into a leadership role: I thought that Saturday was the first time - a little bit at [Texas] Tech I saw it - but Saturday was the first time that he was able to play well in managing a statement game. To me, you can't really lead until you've shown the players you can do something special. On Saturday, in a day where we did not throw the ball well, he was able to win with the running game. Win with his feet. Win with his confidence - not turning the ball over, throwing the ball away and not worrying about stats. I thought he made a huge step in the eyes of the players and the coaches so they would all gain confidence in him which will allow him to be a better leader. Now what we've got to do is he's got to follow up on it the next week. We had the advantage of watching Major [Applewhite] as a freshman, watching Chris Simms as a freshman, watching Vince [Young] early, watching Colt [McCoy] early and seeing all of them struggle some with the ability to lead because the quarterback position is overloaded so much. I really think one of the keys to that is winning a statement game that nobody thought you could lead and win. Now he's shown that ability so all the players can know. We can throw it. We didn't Saturday, but if we can continue to run it and pick back up with our passing game, then Garrett can still have a special year.
On keeping the intensity going this week: What we've told them is if you want to be a good team you're back on track and have your chance. You've had the one slip up that you could afford and that was UCLA. Oklahoma's a tough game - we had our chances and we didn't do what we had to do to win the game. We waited a half before we started. You have got to play with full intensity if you want to win a game. I told them yesterday - you've got 17 practices left and you've got six games left in the regular season and if you can't practice hard for 17 days and play hard for six then we made a mistake in recruiting. This is a big game because it's one of the one's left, and we've already slipped up enough and we have no room for error in our last six games. I'm going to be interested to see if we've grown up any.
On talking to the team about not looking at Iowa State's last game: What we have said is that probably this week your fans and your media will not give Iowa State credit. They've played two top 10 teams the last two weeks. If you go back and look at the Texas Tech game - which is where we've focused a lot of our energy because they played very well in that game - they are capable. You need to understand they're capable. Go back and look at the last two weeks, Utah on the road and Oklahoma at home have dominated the games. So you can either be a team that wants to be like the last two that they've played or you can be a team that's just OK. That's up to you. The measure of this team will really be how hard they play together and with how much confidence and intensity they play with at the end of the year. You go back to 2007 - I didn't think I did a very good job because we yelled all year and we just screamed at them. About the time I'd think we'd gotten them there, they would just lay an egg. Now they would pull them out. They laid an egg against Nebraska and won late. They laid an egg against Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State was [winning] 35-14 starting the fourth quarter and [we] won the game 38-35. What we've learned is when you've got a mixture of some old and some young and then a bunch in the middle that it's not the easiest chemistry to have. Young ones usually play up and down, and your seniors and your upper juniors have to be the driving force and be consistent in trying to get the young ones ready to play. Young ones have got four or five years, so there's not as much urgency for them. Seniors have six weeks and you'll be remembered for your six weeks as a senior. So you younger ones, don't be selfish, don't be immature and let's make sure these seniors go out because when you're seniors you're going to want to go out the right way. We're really pleading with the young ones to wake up. We started to get them up and meet every day this week at six in the morning, but then if they stay up until 11 [p.m.] or 12 [a.m.], which kids normally do now playing their video games or studying, then they're going to be tired for the game. What we're doing is we're texting them at 6:15 [a.m.] and telling them this is when you're going to wake up Saturday morning so understand that. We're texting them at 7 [a.m.] and saying you are eating. We're texting them at 9 [a.m.] and we say you're leaving on that bus. We have to leave at 8:30 [a.m.] to get here at 9 [a.m.] and you're walking in the stadium. They're so sick of getting our text messages this week, because daily we're just hammering them to let them understand that this is the routine you have to get your mindset in for Saturday because things will happen faster. They will not go to a movie on Friday night. They'll stay in their room and watch a movie, and we'll have special teams meetings on Friday night where we normally have them on Saturday. The 11 [a.m. start time] changes their entire demeanor as they get prepared for the game.
On DE Alex Okafor: He's made an amazing transition. We'll have to check his weight. He's probably still around 265 [pounds] and he's 6'5" or 6'6". He's really playing with low pads, and he's playing with a lot of leverage. That's a hard transition for a big, tall guy to do. We will have to see if some of the young defensive lineman can come on like we want them to in the offseason so he can go back and be a power end and be like Sam so he can play both. That's what we really want him to do, but he has really saved us inside. We didn't have him in there as much against UCLA. He really held point Saturday. He played a great game along with Kheeston [Randall], and that's something we've been missing. Hopefully now for the rest of the season you've got Alex and Kheeston who can play well, and you've got Tyrell Higgins and Calvin who can help out and you're trying to get Ashton Dorsey where he can come on and then you've got back to the depth inside that you need.
On Okafor accepting a new role: He is an unbelievable young man. He would have rather stayed outside and he looked at myself and Will Muschamp and Oscar [Giles] and said, "Whatever you need me to do, I'll do. I don't know if I can move in there or not, but if you all think I can I'll do it." It helped us that Sam was already doing it. Sam can play in there and he's a great role model for these kids and Sam's still the dynamic leader on the team. He's got some others around him on defense. We're still pulling and trying to find those guys on offense.
On the offensive line's play last week: They played really well. They played maybe the best game I've seen this group play in a long time Saturday, and I want to see it again. I want to see it back-to-back. I don't want to be satisfied and them be satisfied. We need to be balanced and the running game is what we've been talking about, and if we can get that and go back and consistently throw the ball well, then we've got a chance to get our numbers back up on offense. To me, this is an offense that potentially should be scoring up in the 30s again, and we've been scoring in the 20s. We just missed opportunities.
On everything coming together last week for the offensive line: I think it's all come together, and since they moved the ball better then all of a sudden they do have confidence. They protected and played well most of the Oklahoma game against a great defense. Same thing last week. This was an offensive line that technically gave up nine sacks against Nebraska eight months ago. If you look at it, the running game wasn't good in the conference championship game and the sacks were awful, and they completely turned it around in this game. Britt Mitchell hasn't played a lot and he's playing much better. Mason Walters has not played any and he's playing really well. They're all starting to play well together. It will be interesting this weekend because Iowa State moves. They slant and angle their defensive lineman more than anyone we play, so now they're going to have to take guys that move. Nebraska sat there and they had some twists and they had some line stunts, but Iowa State will move every play. So our guys are going to have to get their head up and keep their feet moving and still be aggressive, but get pad on pad and play with low pads. They played with better pad angle last week than I've seen them and that was really, really important for us to see. What I saw in practice yesterday - they came out with a swagger. They came out looking like we're going to run the ball now for the rest of the year. So hopefully, we'll do that.
On Garrett Gilbert's running becoming part of the offense: Yes, I think so. He needs to mix into that group. We're still running a lot of the things we ran with Colt, but we weren't making the third-down decisions with our feet that Colt did. Last week Garrett did. There were some quarterback draws that were designed and Colt ran that play really well, but there were a couple of plays where he just pulled it down and saw it and ran it. An amazing play - it was a third-down play on their boundary where he gets hit short, and he's so big and powerful he turns his shoulders and makes a key first down that leads to points. Those are things we didn't have in the first five ballgames. We need him to continue to be able to pull it down. Sprints, boots, nakeds, all of those things early in the year he's holding it and throwing it. There were opportunities in some of those cases to run. Now we want him to pull it down and run. You get five yards on a first down - take the five. First play of the game was a great example. He gets four, but he sent a message to Nebraska that we're going to do something today that you haven't seen, and you better get containment because I'm going to do this again. I thought one of the best plays of the day that got us nothing was when he had the same roll pass and he started to run on a third down on the goal line and he stopped and threw it across his body to Malcolm - which should have been a touchdown. We should catch that ball. And that's what we saw out of Colt and Vince. The pressure to run and I can run if you stay back, but if you come up I'm going to throw it. And I thought that was a key play for what we need to see from Garrett in the future.
On Gilbert learning to go down while running: I'm concerned about injury every minute of every play. That's just something you've got and we'd like to get Case [McCoy] in there more, and we're not in good shape right now with Case because he hasn't played. We're in worse shape than we were in the national championship game if Garrett goes down, but we've got to do what we need to do to win. Hopefully after this year our quarterback position will be back to the strongest it's been since we've been here, because we haven't been able to have some luxury of guys that have played and are a little bit older.
On fixing dropped passes: I think we've been so totally spoiled when you look at what we've lost in Jordan [Shipley] and Quan [Cosby]. Those guys were phenomenal. I don't remember but maybe one or two dropped passes in four years and Jordan's eight years, or 12, whatever it was. They just caught balls, and I've told the guys in practice that I would stand at practice and watch Colt and Quan and Jordan and a ball would never hit the ground and we're all spoiled with that. I just thought that's how it's supposed to be. We've said if you can't throw it successfully against air, how are you going to throw it against defenders and people out there? We've been really challenging coach [Bobby] Kennedy and the receivers to pick it up. The running backs are doing better. I was really proud of Cody [Johnson] and Tre' [Newton]. They didn't pout when they got hurt or sat out a little bit. They really did a great job of moving the pile Saturday. Fozzy's been doing a good job. Greg Smith did a good job Saturday. Our offensive line did a good job Saturday. Garrett did a good job Saturday. The receivers were spotty, and they need to do a better job than that so they've got to pick up their end on this thing. They can. It's all there. Like the running backs, we've had injuries but it doesn't matter. Injuries don't count. You [have] got to play. Marquise [Goodwin] can make plays with his speed. We've seen those plays, but we're not getting them consistently. I want to see Mike do it again. John Chiles should be well now. He needs to get back involved. Malcolm, I think we've overdone. I think he's worn out a little bit, and we've got to back off some. James [Kirkendoll] has made some great plays. I think the play on Saturday, when you have a replay that's called on the field and then it's in a dark corner of the end zone, they couldn't possibly see that play so we'll never know. James thought it was different than replay, but we've just got to make some of those plays. The one that gets you too - is the play to Fozzy may be a touchdown off the little boot in the middle of the field when Garrett was trying to get it to him and Garrett knew it. The defender left him. He went away with the flow. There's nobody out there, so it's going to be blockers or man-on-man running them off and Fozzy with 40 or 50 yards of field. We still haven't put things together and because of the inconsistency that we've had with our receivers, I think that leads to our inconsistency in the red zone. We don't have the guy right now that we know Garrett's going to throw to if he gets in a bind, and we've had that.
On the importance of having WR Marquise Goodwin participate in spring practice: You'd rather have him, but that was a deal we made with him in recruiting. He will not be around, I don't think, any spring that he's here and I don't think he'll be around any summer while he's here because he's too good. I don't know a lot about track. I know fast guys are fast, and I do know that coaches always tell me to tell them to go fast and keep turning left until you get back and you'll be fine. I think from what I hear is that he's got a chance to be in the Olympics, so it would be wrong for us to take that away from that young man. What we may have to do is definitely adjust his practice schedule when he gets back in the heat because we didn't do that his year because we just didn't understand. Track conditioning is much different than football conditioning for a wide receiver, and you think that a track guy runs all the time, he's smaller and he should be in great shape. It's still different. He has some breathing issues with all the stuff in the air like I do, and that adds to it when you get to Austin. We probably tried to put too much on him too fast without having spring and summer, and we'll have to look at that. I think it will affect him less as he gets older. Jordan did not go through spring practice last year because of his shoulder, but it didn't affect a guy that had played a whole lot. The other thing we've got to do better, to me, is we're not hitting kickoff returns. We're not getting anything out of it now, and it's something we've been really good at. As hard as they are to cover, how can we sit here and say it's OK not to be able to return them when you can't cover. We're covering them better, but we haven't returned them well at all. It's been a mess for us, and it's got to get fixed.
On WR Darius White: Darius is coming [along]. Darius was in a situation last year where the quarterback for them [his high school] couldn't throw the ball very well so he didn't get any passes thrown, and it hurt his development. So he keeps coming. He wasn't as far along as Mike. Mike was one of the guys - and he hasn't been for the last week - but we have got to get him back involved and we've got to get him the ball. He's tall. He can catch. So he needs to be a factor.