Player press conference quotes: Nov. 14
QB COLT McCOY
On if there is extra motivation going into this game: I think for this team we have a bad taste in our mouth. We lost the opportunity to be able to play for the Big 12 championship and who knows what happens after that. I think itís big for us to go down there to finish this season.
On not being able to finish the game last year how he wanted: It was a challenge last year to play, and this year I feel healthy, I feel strong and I feel confident. I think that will be big for us as a team.
On if he had spoken to Kellen Heard: He actually wrote a letter to the school. I never talked to him. I donít even really remember what it said. I think he was just competing and fighting for his team. Both teams wanted to win and he was doing what he thought was best for them to win. I wouldnít really consider it a cheap shot. I know it looked like one, but itís not any motivation in itself. I have enough motivation knowing that we lost the game last year 12-7 at home and that is big enough for us to go down there. That was big enough to put a bad taste in our mouth.
On the bye week: I think the bye week will be a big advantage. It will give our bodies time to heal. We have played 11 straight games and that is tough in itself. Iím not sure very many other people do that. I think itís coming at a crucial time for us. We lost some offensive linemen and it will give the young offensive linemen at least one extra week to play together and get a feel for whoís going to be beside who and how theyíll work together on the field.
On what heís going to do this weekend: I think Iím going to go home. I think Iím just going to relax. I may watch a little bit of football and probably do a little bit of hunting. Obviously, Iíll watch some A&M tape to kind of start to get an edge on them.
On how this game affects the state: Even as a little kid I can remember waking up the day after Thanksgiving and being with the family, I have a lot of family that are A&M fans, so it was a big deal growing up and Iím sure it still is today.
On the atmosphere at Kyle field: I think the noise can be tough. I think that you have to handle the noise and be sound in your audibles and hand signals and the team has to be. I think at the same time, there is a point when you can take the crowd out of it and that is obviously what an opposing team wants to do. We are going to have to work on that and I think weíll work on sound this week to be prepared for that.
On being able to look back and see how far the team has come: I think you can look back a little bit, but at this point, all of our focus is looking forward. I think there is a time for looking back, but right now we started yesterday strong on A&M. We are going to be prepared, weíve watched film, weíre having team meetings, weíre staying in the same routine that we would if we were playing this week. I think that is important for us.
On QB Stephen McGee: I have known him in high school. We went to some camps together. Obviously, I knew him through Jordan (Shipley). Jordan and I were friends. He is a great guy, a great friend and itís always fun to compete against him. He played tremendous last year and I give him a lot of credit for that. We have a good relationship.
On both quarterbacks being able to play for the team they grew up rooting for: Guys who grew up loving a school, watching a school as kids and dreaming someday of playing there; we were lucky enough and God blessed us enough to be able to play quarterback at those respective schools. Itís fun and itís exciting. It will be a great Thanksgiving treat for a lot of families; especially mine.
TE JERMICHAEL FINLEY
On the offense: I think Colt has gotten extra comfortable back there and that is a good sign. I think Colt and I are going to connect more, Quan (Cosby), and Billy (Pittman) too. Weíre just going to come through and try to win this game.
On the bye week: Iím so happy I donít even know what to do this week. We get rest for one thing. Our bodies get a little boost and we will be ready for next week. I appreciate it.
On the turnaround of the team: Colt, at the beginning of the season he was struggling, but everyone was struggling. Colt learned from his mistakes, so weíre on a roll.
RB JAMAAL CHARLES
On if the bye week breaks the teamís rhythm: Itís kind of bad timing because we were in a rhythm, but we also get the opportunity to go home to our families and be with them for a few days. But after that, weíre going to have to come back here and get back to work.
On getting the time to recover from injuries: It also helps the people that are hurt, because the bye week helps you get off your feet. We get to go back to our families and have them feed us. It also helps everybody that is hurt to get well, so we can see them back on the field next week playing. That includes me as well because of my heel injury. The off-week really helps me, so I can come back next week healthy.
DE BRIAN ORAKPO
On why Texas A&M ran the option so well last year: They came out there focused and more prepared than we were. We were a great team at stopping the run, but for some reason when we met A&M, they had success running the ball against us. And thatís something weíre going to work on throughout this bye week and next week is not letting them do that again.
On how Texas A&Mís option differs from other teams: The only thing Iíve seen is that guys tend to get up field a little more to where (Stephen) McGee can hand the ball off quicker and the running back can make plays down the field.
On his number one responsibility when opponents run the option: It just depends on the game plan. (Defensive co-coordinator) Duane Akina will either send us to the quarterback, the running back or the pitch, so it just depends what situation he puts us in as far as the play call. That can change throughout the game too. If I have the quarterback and heís hurting us, then theyíll put me on the dive or put the other defensive end on the pitch. It just depends on whatís hurting us and whatís working.
On QB Stephen McGeeís running ability: Itís a big dual-threat that he has because he can pass and run the ball. Itís like there are three running backs on the field if you have a double-set, so thatís something that weíve looked at and we want to stop. If heís going to continue to rush then weíre just going to have to play assignment football, so thatís what weíve been working at all week and thatís what weíre planning to do to, stop the run. Heís sneaky-fast; heís one of those guys that doesnít look that fast on film but then when you play him in person heís gone. Heís a very elusive runner and he can take hits. One thing I noticed from playing him in 2005 is that he can take hits all day and heíll get right back up. Heís one of those tough quarterbacks that I truly respect.
On what itís like tackling a guy who is 275 pounds like Jorvorskie Lane: Itís like tackling Derek Lokey, but just with better feet. You donít want to be hitting him all day, so we plan on getting in the backfield and disrupting him a little faster before he gets in our secondary.
DT DEREK LOKEY
On how many times heís gone up a running back thatís bigger than himself: Not since I played Jorvorskie Lane my sophomore year. I missed the chance to play him last year with the leg injury and everything, so Iím looking forward to this game. Heís a good back, but so is Mike Goodson, that guy can really run. Itís a little thunder and lighting so weíre going to have to try to shutdown the storm.
On being able to focus primarily on the running game: It makes it fun for defensive lineman, or defensive tackles at least. When youíre looking at a game where youíre going to have to rush the passer 60 times, itís not nearly as fun as having the opportunity to defend the run 40 or 50 times. So for us itís going to be a lot more fun. Weíre going to be really focused this week, and Frank (Okam) and I are already doing extra things, like running extra, so we can make sure weíre in the best shape we can be in to go against these guys. Weíre going to give it everything weíve got to go against these guys and try to win this game. Itís a really big game for our team.
On using the bye week to relax: Iím extremely wired and ready to go. Iím ready to play today. Iím ready for this game and I canít wait for it. But Iím going to try to relax on this bye week, but itís a big game and Iím really looking forward to it. Itís going to be so much fun because Texas A&M has a really good offensive line, so thatís a personal challenge to me, and like I said, I wish I could go play right now. But Iím going to try and calm down and go watch my little brothersí playoff game on Friday back home. Bye week or not Iím ready to go.
WR QUAN COSBY
On what itís like to lose to Texas A&M: Itís not a very good feeling at all, especially because Iím from a small town (Mart, TX) that is split with Aggies and Longhorns. Just being from Texas and playing an in-state team is always tough because you know a lot of the guys on the other team. Itís hard to go anywhere after you lose to an in-state team and thatís the biggest struggle. Any loss hurts, but when itís an in-state loss, itís close to home and itís a huge rivalry game. Naturally, itís going to be worse.
On the atmosphere in College Station: Itís a unique place and it has a lot of history. They do a lot of different things that no other school does, so itís different. Of course, itís going to be electric. Theyíre going to be really pumped for the game and excited that weíre in town. Everything they do, like the whole swaying thing, adds to the atmosphere, and weíre expecting nothing less than them to be extremely loud. I donít think anything can really get you ready for it you just have to embrace it when it comes.
On if he gives advice to the younger players who have never been there before: I just tell them to embrace it. And theyíve been in some huge games here already.
On how Colt McCoy will handle this game: Heíll handle it just like every other game. Heíll be very poised and heíll lead us to the best of his ability, which is a pretty good ability, and heíll be excited. Heís already pumped. Heís excited about the atmosphere, the history of the game and just going out and finishing strong.
On looking back at how far this team has come: Especially this week, Iíve kind of taken that in. If you look across the nation, the situation weíre in is a pretty good situation. The identity weíve built as far as an offense and defense and just the total team is amazing. Weíve come back in some real tough games and road games and weíve overcome some of the adversity weíve faced and the losses that weíve had. So weíre proud of everyone out there on the field, coaching staff and everyone involved, and weíre ready to try to keep it going.
CB RYAN PALMER
On Martellus Bennett and the focus for stopping him and the Texas A&M backfield: Heís real big, kind of like Jermichael (Finley). We have to be ready to tackle and wrap up, with a big guy like that, you canít hit him without wrapping up. They have him, (Mike) Goodson and big Jorvorskie Lane. We canít have a lot of missed tackles this week because they have a lot of good backs.
On Texas A&M RB Jorvorskie Lane: If he gets back there, we just have to do our job. Weíre all football players, we all put the helmet and shoulder pads on. We just have to get him down as best we can. Hit him low, hit him high, it doesnít matter. We just have to get him down.
On the importance of film study against Texas A&M: Itís real tough because we have to play pass first. You donít know if theyíre going to do an option pass or what theyíre going to do. You just have to study film and find little keys the receivers give you. We just have to make sure we pay attention to the keys they give us and capitalize on them.
RB CHRIS OGBONNAYA
On the recent success of the running game: I think that a lot of it is just us becoming more focused and more consistent. We would be one block off, or one inch off from breaking it. Jamaalís having an incredible year, Vondrell as a freshman is having an incredible year. I think that can be attributed to the offensive line and also the wide receivers being able to block down the field and springing us for those long runs.
On the success of the offense: Itís wonderful. Itís definitely great and itís a blessing. I think that we can still do better. The skyís the limit for us. We have such explosive and talented skill position players, great linemen and a great quarterback, we just need to continue to get better.
On the familiarity of the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry: I know a few guys from A&M, played a few of them in high school. Itís important because you get to compete against people you know. You want to play well against them and hopefully come out with a victory.
DT FRANK OKAM
On why the Texas A&M option has been successful the past two years: You try to figure those things out. When you try to pinpoint something like that itís hard to do other than that itís a rivalry game. Thereís a lot of passion and emotion played in these games. These past two years, those games have been very physical, very emotional and there are huge momentum swings in that game. Bringing all those different dynamics, itís hard to pinpoint all of them.
On not wanting to wait to play A&M: I think the bye week helps us get more preparation, first and foremost. It gives some guys a little rest. I personally, this being my last Texas-A&M game, I want to play. This game means a lot to me, and I know it means a lot to our seniors. Just the emotion and being able to play over there one last time, that kind of environment is what you live for.
On Kyle Field: That stadium is probably one of the loudest stadiums in college football. Itís probably a few decibels higher when we come over there, knowing how much they donít like us. You can feel the energy from the stands and that shows up on the field. (The swaying) is kind of hard to explain, it looks like the stadium is moving, really. You feel the shaking all the way down the field. As a player, itís hard to explain the emotion involved in that.
On the character of the team: Where we were, almost falling out of the Top 25, to now maybe having a chance to go to a BCS game, it says a lot about this team and our coaches, how resilient we are. This being my last year, Iím proud to be a part of a team like this.
OL CHRIS HALL
On Texas A&Mís defensive front: Their defensive front is very big, very strong. Theyíve got guys with great size, their inside guys are 300-pounders who push the pocket very well. Itís going to be a very physical game, like it always is with A&M, but especially with this defensive front weíre going to be facing. Theyíre very good, very physical, very aggressive and itís going to be a good game.
On the support he gets to play multiple positions: Coach McWhorter and the guys that are around me do such a great job. Dallas (Griffin) and Tony (Hills), Cedric Dockery, Charlie (Tanner), Adam (Ulatoski), Buck (Burnette), all the younger guys, Michael Huey, they do such a great job with helping me and critiquing me. Coach McWhorter is correcting me and coaching me technique-wise, and where Iím at and how Iím supposed to be doing it. Itís really not that huge of a problem because of the people I have around me.
On the encouragement the line gets from a consistent running game: For an offensive lineman, thatís really, really encouraging. To know that we can go out on first down and trust in our offense to say we can make four yards and put us ahead of the chains, thatís really big for an offensive lineman. As an offensive lineman, you love to look up after a block and see 25 (Jamaal Charles) or 12 (Colt McCoy) running down the field, or see Vondrell (McGee) taking it straight up the gut. Thatís really, really encouraging. It lets you know that what youíre doing is successful and you can keep doing it. Itís not a one-time shot. Weíve really enjoyed that this season.
On the opportunity to play for Texas: I was just thinking about, wow weíre 9-2 with a chance to go get more wins. I am so blessed to be here at The University of Texas, playing for Coach Mack Brown, to be on a nine-win team so far, and to be able to in a couple weeks into College Station and play one of the best rivalries in college football. This is just such a great situation, Iím just thankful to the Lord to be here.
WR JORDAN SHIPLEY
On QB Stephen McGee not passing like he use to in high school: Yeah, it is obviously different than what it used to be, but sometimes thatís how it is Ė you go to college and things change. That is what he has been asked to do, so heís doing it. Heís really good at passing the ball and really good at running the ball.
On knowing that Stephen McGee can throw the football: There is no question; he obviously has the ability to throw the ball. He is probably one of the best high school quarterbacks in the state. I know what he can do and heís just been called to a different role, and sometimes thatís just part of it. He just has to play the role they want him to play.
On the fake field goal last week: I was just trying to make sure we got the yards for the first down. Everyone was giving me a hard time telling me I could have scored if I hadnít jumped. It was a fun play and I was really excited when I heard them call it. I was just focused on getting the first down.