Tracking Mack: Nov. 1
On this being another November to remember: Yes, we're proud of our team that we've done very well in November, but we also thanked the guys for keeping us in the mix the other day. This time of the year is fun for Texas fans, our coaches, and our administration, and very few teams still have a chance to fulfill all of their goals, and our guys still have a chance and that's fun.
On Oklahoma State's talent level: It's really good. They've always been talented it's just sometimes they haven't had all the pieces come together at the same time, and this week they have. [Oklahoma State coach] Mike (Gundy) is doing a great job and I thought Les (Miles) did a great job there too; sometimes transition years are harder like last year's season for them, and at times they played very well last year. But this year, they've had a chance in every ballgame.
On moving past the traditional slow starts against Oklahoma State: Well, [the players] are, but some of [our slow starts] should be credited to Oklahoma State. They've taken some chances; the play on fourth-and-one that hit us last year down the middle - that's a hard one to cover if you take that chance and hit it. Give them credit for getting a fast start and give our kids credit for hanging in there, but we'd like to start faster. But we started great at Nebraska, and then had to hang in there towards the end. We used to worry about fast starts and what happens is that you've really got to play 60 minutes and figure that sometimes a fast start is an imposter, and if you start fast it may not last. In truth, it's the way you play for the 60 minutes.
On slow starts versus fast starts: One year at North Carolina we scored the first drive in every ballgame and the next year we never scored on a first drive in a ballgame, and it was the same stuff and the same plays. There is a stat here that's really amazing to me: we've won 57 games and lost five or something when we've scored first. Some of those may be due to the fact that we were the best team, in which case we probably scored first and often, but if you go back and look at them maybe the other team got discouraged when we scored first, but it didn't bother Nebraska.
On Oklahoma State's rushing game last year: No, they jumped out and blocked us. They ran up the middle and bounced outside. One (running) back had 195 yards rushing and they had 250 yards [rushing] total, so they probably rushed against us as good as anybody did last year and that's something we've looked at and addressed this week. They're averaging 211-yards rushing, and they're one of the top rushing teams in the country.
On Oklahoma State's receivers being talented: Well, they are. (D'Juan) Woods has made a highlight reel out of us the last few years, not just the balls that have bounced off somebody else for touchdowns, he's really a good football player and has made plays against everybody not just us. And Adarius Bowman transferred in from North Carolina, and I've talked to people up there who have said that they thought he was going to be a great player before he left there, and obviously he has become another big-play guy for [Oklahoma State]. They've got two of the best receivers in the country.
On the Oklahoma State game two years ago in Austin: I think it was the biggest change in attitude of our fans and for our team and coaches because it was the biggest comeback in school history and something that's really hard to do. I'll still never forget jogging off that field at halftime and our fans giving us a standing ovation down 35-14. I think that was a huge turn of events for us here and they've been that way ever since, and I really credit the fans for a lot of that change. Then also our coaches were so positive at halftime, and I think really you don't have to grab and cuss when you're in trouble. I really believe [the comebacks are a carryover from year-to-year]. I think that all of our players understand that each year each team is having their own comeback and we've been able to score enough points usually that we're not out of games. The other thing is that a lot of times, teams get so behind and they can't catch up, but through the years, we've been able to at least catch up and, if the defense can pick it up, force some turnovers.
On being a part of the SMU broadcast last night: Well you're so proud when you've got a brother that's coaching football, and I was disappointed for him last night because I know he was disappointed, and I like Phil Bennett - he's done a good job at SMU. But when you look at the Stoops brothers, and the Dooleys, and the Elliots, there really aren't a lot of brothers that are head coaches across the country and I've always been really, really proud that both of us have been in this business at the highest level.
On playing a Big 12 Championship game: I wasn't here when they made the two divisions, but I don't like championship games. And if we are going to have one, then I wish everybody would because in my opinion it's a huge advantage for the Pac-10 and the Big Ten and other conferences that don't have to play an extra game if they've already won their conference championship. I just think it's a huge advantage for you not to have to play a conference championship game and not have to play a team twice when you're working on the BCS, and to me, either everybody should do it or nobody should do it. I'd like to see more continuity in the way we finish the season across the country. I've never liked divisions because you take opportunities for rivals away, and again, I don't like having to play the same team twice for anybody if you revisit in the championship game.