Tracking Mack: Nov. 19
Opening comments: We have had a great four days of practice. We had three days last week where the guys really enjoyed practice and worked hard. The guys that were healthy enough got a lot of fundamental work done. We did the same today and it was a spirited practice. The guys were really physical, they got after each other, they are excited about the challenge of going to Kyle Field and they also know it ought to be a great football game. Itís not really about BCS, ití not really about conference championships, itís about Texas and Texas A&M and that is really important at both schools.
Iím sorry to see (Baylor head coach) Guy Morriss go. Heís been a great football coach. He has meant a lot to Baylor and he has done a good job there. One of my best friends in the business, (Michigan head coach) Lloyd Carr, stepping out today is disappointing because thatís two really good men we lost in coaching today and hopefully both schools will be able to replace them with quality men for kids because thatís what these two guys were all about.
On if Oklahoma losing to Texas Tech: The most important thing for us is to get our 10th win and win this game regardless of what happens after that because that is all we can control. We have not even discussed anything else other than winning on Friday.
On watching the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game: We saw Tech do the same thing the week before, I had a better seat, when they are hot they can throw it against anybody and they did a great job. And like Colt got hurt last year, when Sam (Bradford) got hurt that obviously set OU back some offensively.
On the young offensive line: We think that whole second team line could play now. So we are excited about them and they get better every day. We didnít even know that we would play freshman offensive linemen. All those guys are better than we thought and have done better than we thought. We are excited about the future of our offensive line.
On the players wanting to win following last yearís loss: They have talked about wanting to win this one because itís a really important game for Texas. Itís a rival game and itís another 10th win (season), seven in a row, this senior class can win two more games and be tied for the winningest class in school history. Some of the guys playing werenít even on last yearís team and everybody has their own mindset and guys need to get different reasons to be ready to play. Last year we were playing for a chance to play for the conference championship, this year we may or may not be. So this is a fun game. It is one of the reasons they come and they donít need any extra incentives to play in this game. They just need to play because itís A&M, itís national TV, its Thanksgiving, itís historic and itís one of the games they will remember for a lifetime. Legacies are built and lost in this game for players.
On getting a backup quarterback more prepared: You always want to have two quarterbacks ready to play, thatís just part of the game. This year every game has been so close it has been really difficult for us to do. John (Chiles) has improved so much in practice, but I know Colt (McCoy) will be excited about playing this week as well.
On what it takes to defend Texas A&M: They have got a really good combination of power and option and one of the best offensive lines in the country. Stephen McGee as we said last year runs about a 4.3, people donít give him credit for how fast he is. Jorvorskie Lane can run up inside against anybody and Michael Goodson is as fast as Jamaal Charles. Theyíre timed at the same speed. Then Martellus Bennett is as good of a tight end as there is in the country at 6-7. Those guys run the power at you, they run the option at you and then they hit you with play-action passes deep. They have done a great job of combining those three factors to put pressure on your defense.
On if he has talked to Dennis Franchione: I usually donít talk to the other coaches during the season. I write notes, but coaches donít visit a lot during the season. Sometimes the assistants talk back and forth and sometimes the head coachesí assistants will talk back and forth to try to make arrangements, but I didnít even talk to my brother during the season when we were playing against one another.
On if he talked to Lloyd Carr today: No I didnít. I figured he was full of emotion and Iíll probably call him in the morning and at least leave him a message. I did write him a note today and I will say that it will be hard for Michigan to find anyone to do as well as Lloyd Carr. Thirteen years from now I challenge the guy at Michigan to do what Lloyd Carr has done.
On the health of the team: The week off helped. We had three good practices, but we did not have people that were injured practice. They came back with a good quick step today. I thought practice was really good today and weíll need to follow up with that tomorrow.
On Thanksgiving: We have a Thanksgiving service for them here and they have an opportunity to stand up and say what they are thankful for if they want to. There have been some really touching moments in our 10 years here. John Mackovic was doing this before we came, it wasnít something we started. It has been a great team building day for us just to hear some of the kids that never say much to stand up and talk about what is important to them in their lives and how much they have grown and what Texas means to them. Then we have a meal for them here, or they can go with their parents or some of the parents here in town host some of the kids.
On if he goes into this game trying to control the clock: No, you look at our Tech game; we controlled the clock the last two years. A&M has done a really good job of controlling the clock, so what we would like to do is do a better job of slowing down their running game. Also, we would like to make some first downs with our offense and stay on the field more than we did last year. Last week, Tech scored really quickly some, but we forced a turnover in the kicking game, we forced a turnover with our defense and then we made four first downs on fourth down. So you have to change some possessions to control the clock and A&M did that against us last year and we didnít convert a couple of fourth down situations. Then we had the five turnovers and all of those are clock changers. You cannot have take-a-ways and not gain them and win ball games.
On the team improving: It is really exciting for our coaching staff to see this team improve so much. Obviously itís like being so far behind in the second half and then coming back and winning. You had to be behind so that was a negative. You always want to be a better team at the end of the year than you are at the beginning. You hope you start really good and end up great. We didnít start well, now we played really well for the last few weeks and we just have to finish well.
On the most fun thing for a coach: The most fun thing for a coach, I think, is coming behind on the road and winning, number one. Then seeing your players improve each week and watching them get confidence and have good body language and feel good about themselves and then obviously 10 years from now, they call you back and thank you and tell you about their family and they have all those things that you hoped would work out for them work for them.