Mack Brown Monday press conference: Oct. 27
Oct. 27, 2008
Opening statement: It's a real fun time for Texas football. I know for our fans and our players and coaches we're playing great teams because the Big 12 is full of great teams this year, three out of the last four games our guys will be involved with watching GameDay some, which is always fun, especially for recruits and three out of the last four games have been national TV with ABC. This is a really good time. We felt like our guys played hard, we played well against an Oklahoma State team that always plays us well. It's probably one of the few times in the last five years that we haven't been so far behind that we would have to dig ourselves out of a hole, and I think that's because our guys respected this Oklahoma State team more than some in the past. Really, we've only been behind by a large amount here one time. We've had more trouble up in Stillwater. The guys played well against a good team as I said, but we didn't finish. We had chances at 28-14 to separate more from them and go ahead and close them out, and then at the end of the game the defense played so well we had chances offensively twice to go ahead and put points on the board and separate from them more and we didn't.
Defensively, we were very proud that we had five sacks. I think they had given up four for the year. We were proud that we got 12 hits on the quarterback and four pressures. We did a really good job of defending Dez Bryant because he's such a great player for them and made so many super plays deep, even against Baylor the week before he was the difference in the ballgame. Where they're so good offensively is when you roll to Dez Bryant and you double-cover him, then you've got the big tight end to deal with and the running back. Their running game is really good, they've been averaging 283 yards a game, we gave up 217 and we were mad. Part of that is because we missed more tackles than we can miss, we missed 12 tackles for 125 yards after contact and give them credit. Usually you miss about 10, in some cases we missed six but they had more yards after the miss than most. We had some key third down stops and we did a good job in their passing game overall. I'm really proud that the defense came in and shut the game down at the end. We wanted to score, but very honestly if we scored we'd have to kick off and we weren't doing that very well, so they could have scored on a long return and had a chance for an onside kick. Probably the way the game ended, putting them on the six-inch line with 33 seconds and no timeouts was pretty good. (We have) concerns that we didn't stop the run as well as we wanted to, but again, give them credit for running the ball as well as anybody in the country. We talked about the missed tackles and we'd really like to still have more turnovers. We forced two with the one fourth-down stop and Earl Thomas did a great job of stripping the ball, but we need more turnovers. Players of the game - (we're) really proud of Henry Melton. This is the first time he's been the defensive player of the game and good for him. He's come a long way and been through a lot. He and Earl Thomas shared that award as the defensive players of the game. The Ball Hawks, Earl Thomas, for causing the fumble and Sergio Kindle for recovering the fumble, and Lamarr Houston on the fourth-down stop. We did not have a hit that we felt like was significant enough to get the big hit award on defense this week.
Offensively, we lost two turnovers, which is something we haven't done the last two weeks. We won the explosive plays, 12-8, which is really important. (We were) really, really good on third downs, 11-of-14, which is unbelievable, 78 percent. We weren't as good in the red zone. If we score in the red zone the last two drives we're six-for-six like we have been in the last two games and the game is out of reach and not even an issue. The Boss Hog again was Adam Ulatoski. Most productive players were Jordan Shipley and Colt McCoy; biggest contributors were the entire offensive line and Greg Smith for their pass protection. Colt had one sack and he had enough time to stand back there as long as he wanted. The great play of the game was Quan falling on his back and catching the ball in the end zone, and the big hit was Vondrell McGee running over one of their guys. We had three drives of over 80 yards; two of them were over 90 yards, which is showing consistency with the offense. Things that we need to do better - we didn't run the ball well at the end of the game. I'm not as concerned with the whole game, but when you line up and you need to be able to take the ball and run it instead of having to get a play like we did with Jordan, you'd rather be able to kill the clock and knock the ball in at the end of the game instead of having to come up fourth-and-short. We want to be more consistent in the running game and not have the turnovers in the red zone, and we did drop three passes this time, which is something we haven't been doing.
In the kicking game, it was really good as far the punting is concerned. We only punted once, and we punt it out at the 5-yard line, so that was good. Aaron Williams is so closed to a blocked punt, but he was there and good for him and Duane Akina that we're getting that back. Hunter Lawrence is the special teams player of the week again because he's continued to be 100 percent, and our kickoff returns were okay. Our kickoff coverage was poor the first half, we gave field position against our defense at the 29-yard line and the 45 and you just can't do that in a field position game. It's really amazing that our defense played as well as they did being backed up that much. We'll change a few things we're doing there and we're going to change some personnel. We're not doing it right and we're going to fix it.
Going to El Paso and Colorado at night earlier in the year should help us with the environment out at Tech. Those were really good environments. Graham Harrell and Colt should be two that everybody in the nation will be watching, two of the best quarterbacks again, it seems like we repeat ourselves every week. You change the names of (Missouri WR Jeremy) Maclin and Bryant to (Texas Tech WR Michael) Crabtree and you just keep working. Mike (Leach) has done a great job with this team and it's fun for the Big 12 South that three teams are rated in the top five, that's really, really special. It should be a great game. Tech's a place I like to go. I think it's a great environment. It's fun, it's challenging, they always play you so well out there and it'll be a fun challenge for us.
On the similarities between Colt McCoy and Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell: The thing that they do is they both win for their programs. They're both as good as any quarterbacks in the country, they both run their systems perfectly and they're as accurate as any quarterbacks I've ever seen.
On the Big 12 quarterbacks: We're seeing the best quarterbacks in the country in the Big 12 - Zac Robinson, Todd Reesing, Chase Daniel, wherever you look. Jerrod Johnson completed 79 percent of his passes last week. It's not stopping, Robert Griffin next week. It's a who's who of quarterbacks right now, young and old. It's just amazing. I hope all of the fans in the Big 12 are appreciating what we're seeing right now.
On Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach: Mike's different, he's fun, his own person, he's very bright, he always says that he's hard to defend because he's not just the regular old Joe in coaching. He wants to be out of the box and he's right, he is hard to defend. He's done an amazing job. I've said I thought Spike Dykes was the perfect coach for Texas Tech and Spike and I have talked about it, you have to give Mike credit. He's done an amazing job of taking a system that you wouldn't think would work out there, you wouldn't think it'd work in the wind and he's made it work. I've got to give him all the credit in the world.
On what offense Texas Tech compares to: There's more similarities to his and Missouri because the quarterbacks are deeper, the splits are bigger and Mike's running the ball more now. They're averaging 138 yards rushing. They both do such a great job with the screen game. Mike doesn't change that much, they're just really, really good at what they do. They're going to look at your man or zone, they're going to have the right call for it and they just do an amazing job of throwing the ball.
On his thoughts on the label of Texas Tech's quarterbacks being system quarterbacks: I think if the system is good enough you better find the right quarterback for it. I think it is bad because there are a lot of people that are running those same plays that don't have the quarterback to do it. You look at Graham Harrell; I think he'll be a great pro quarterback. You look at Chase Daniel; I think he'll be a great (pro) quarterback. People like to label things and a lot of people get stuck on perceptions. I don't think Mike's quarterbacks have gotten the credit they deserve because they do so well every year that people do not give him the credit for coaching quarterbacks because he develops those guys each year, and Taylor Potts will be the same way next year. I don't think the quarterbacks get the credit because Mike is so consistent offensively, I just don't think anybody thinks it's anybody but Mike, but he's a great teacher and those quarterbacks have played well. We've seen Taylor, he's really good too.
On Greg Davis' development of quarterbacks: You look at what Greg Davis has done with quarterbacks each year in our system. The thing that Greg has done, is Mike has recruited the quarterback to fit his system, Greg has probably tweaked the system more to fit the quarterback. That's what we saw with Vince (Young) early as compared to Vince late.
On Texas Tech's defense: We really have respect for Ruffin McNeill, he's the new defensive coordinator. He was at East Carolina when we were at North Carolina and Appalachian State, so we've known Ruffin for a long time. He's got them playing hard and playing with confidence. They're forcing more turnovers than we are, I think they have 14 interceptions, and I believe they're plus-five in turnover ratio on us so that could be a big part of this game. They look better up front, they're bigger and stronger, they're getting more pressure on the passer and they're doing more things. They're still about an 18 percent blitz team but they're moving around more.
On the close games in this series in Lubbock: It is the best Tech team we've seen. I think they're legitimate. They proved that last week. They just scored at will, and we know Kansas is a good team. At the same time, if you look at our scores with Tech, they've all been closer out there than they have here. Every other year out there, regardless of if it was Spike (Dykes) who beat us out there the first year we were here or playing Mike, they've all been 10-point games or less so we expect it to be a great game out there.
On Missouri's win over Colorado and starting the season over: Every game is so different now, you can't even project. Missouri struggled against us, look at how they played against Colorado, they looked great. They were back to the Missouri we saw before Oklahoma State. I just think Missouri had a couple of bad weeks there. What we've got to do is start the season over and that's what we talked to our guys about. It's nothing-nothing against Texas Tech and you better go out and play your best game.
On the schedule: We experience (big games) every week in football because you're never going to know who's going to play well because everybody plays so good. It's the first time at Texas we have ever beaten three ranked teams in a row, probably the first time we've ever played three. We'll see this now more in the future in the Big 12. Very honestly, this team has played hard for eight weeks and that's hard to do, so you have to give the team credit. Their character and their toughness and their blue-collar attitude and we'll have to play that way against Baylor next week. The one thing that people aren't giving the credit to Baylor for is they're getting better every week. If you look at our games after this stretch, we've got Baylor who's improving and got a great quarterback, we go to Kansas, and the last time we went up there we won with 11 seconds left when Vince overcame a fourth-and-18, and then Texas A&M who we haven't played very well against the last two years. I don't think we're talking about a four-week stretch here, I think we're talking about a four-week stretch to the end that will be tough.
On the Oklahoma State game: We thought we probably got what we needed Saturday. Everything wasn't easy Saturday, it wasn't sharp, there were some things that we need to fix, so it's not like the Missouri first half when we walked out of there feeling too good about ourselves, and at the same time we thought it was such a reverse for Oklahoma State because we've been sorry at the beginning, they jumped out and we had to come back and fight. This one, we got ahead and didn't do things well at times while we were ahead and still hung on. If the thing had been 42-24 it probably would have been worse for preparation this week. We have (the players) attention this week, they were not happy with not finishing the game right against Oklahoma State and at the same time gave Oklahoma State a lot of credit. The Oklahoma State kids said they could have won, well we could have done better too. That's what you get in a ballgame and Mike (Gundy) deserves credit for the improvement at Oklahoma State. They're a legitimate football team. Anybody that can run it and throw it like they do, and anybody that has a wide receiver like that and a tight end like that and a running back like that, those guys are really good. They can beat anybody they play we think.
On Jordan Shipley and the passing game: Jordan is getting ready to break our single-season touchdown record. He's one behind Limas (Sweed) in career touchdowns at The University of Texas, and he hasn't even played that much really when you look at how fast he's coming. He is just a playmaker. A lot of people have talked so much about the chemistry between Colt and Jordan because they're roommates, well you have to add Quan to that group and now Chris Ogbonnaya's moving up the charts with receptions for a running back. I think a lot of it comes from how hard they've worked in the weight room and how hard they worked this summer, in the spring, to make sure that they keep that combination because it's like they've got eyes in the back of their head. The touchdown Jordan catches in the south end is just an amazing throw, and catch, the one that Quan catches on his back, it was just a great throw, and then the gutsy throw and catch from Colt to Jordan at the end of the game when we're trying to kill the clock shows you that Greg Davis has enough confidence in those guys to do that.