Tracking the Longhorns: Nov. 28
Nov. 28, 2012
Co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach Major Applewhite
Assistant head coach/defensive backs coach Duane Akina
On why it is difficult to limit Kansas State QB Collin Klein: I still think it is all of the deception throws. The running game is excellent. They are a great running football team, but it is still the vertical throwing game and the big plays that they get out of it. That is still a big issue. We still have to line-up and stop the run as we did a year ago, be physical up front and do a great job with our eye control. We still really need to make sure we stay on top of the vertical throwing game. They can produce a lot out of that.
On lining up against three top receivers: Within this conference, there are a lot of explosive throwing teams when you look at the numbers, but I think this may be one of the top three or four receiving corps. When you talk about first, second and third receivers, they are very balanced. I think because of their offensive philosophy, it gives them an opportunity to have some one-on-ones out there. They do a great job with the play-action pass, max protection using a lot of seven-man protection, which allows them a chance to get vertical, and a lot of double move routes that really challenges defensive backs down the field. I think that is one of the reasons when you talk about passing efficiency, they are one of the leaders in the country in that regard.
On the key to defending teams who utilize the play-action for the defensive backs: I think it is eye-discipline. It is one of those things where they are running the ball, running the ball, running the ball and you just can’t get caught up in that. You really have to trust and do a good job. If you are on a tight end, you need to dial in on the tight end. What happens a number of times is, because the quarterback is such an efficient runner, your eyes start getting into the backfield too much and you lose sight of your keys. What is happening in college football right now, the rules are such that there was a time that linemen could not get down field. Now linemen are working down field. The rules have changed where they could get four or five yards down field. There was a time when you could say if the linemen are down field you could get in on the run game. Now that is not the case. We just have to do a good job as a secondary, me included, in making sure we touch all of the bases with the guys, and we have all the double moves routes [covered]. We have to give them opportunities to defend that. We just really have to do a good job of reading our keys.
On why Kansas State has had success against Texas over the years: Number one, they have had a good football team throughout the years. If you go back and look, they have won a lot of football games. They do a good job across the board in offense, defense and special teams. I think that’s one of the things when you look at outstanding programs across the country, it is teams that have balance in all three phases. So often I don’t think the special teams phase, maybe it is just not as sexy to talk about and all that, but great special teams really creates a lot of chunks of yardage. I have always preached to our football team when you get out there, the thing about special teams - because these things always happen - is every time you line up, potential points can be scored on every special team. You can return a punt, you can block a punt, you can return a kickoff, and if you are covering kicks you can knock it loose. You can create points on every single opportunity out there. Field position is created through that. If you just look at the opening kickoff the ball starts at the 35 or 40-yard line wherever you are at, 60 yards of field position are exchanged. When it comes down, it is on the goal line. Now what do you do with it? If you just watch these guys, they have 36 punts and only four of them have been returned all year for 15 yards. They just do a great job of negating any possibilities to return punts. So you’ve got points, you’ve got field position and the hidden thing in all of that, when you see plays when there is a lot of space and a lot of running and there is a big play maker on special teams, it creates momentum in a football game. It is always to me a hidden factor in outcomes of games. These guys in there return game have created a lot of momentum. It gets your crowd involved if you are home, and it takes life out of you if you are on the road.
On comparing TCU quarterback Boykin to Klein: They are different players. Boykin is a little more explosive in terms of the run. He is very slippery and has a different running style, stop and go. Klein is just a big, physical guy. He is just very, very efficient with his legs and his arm. You would say he is maybe more dangerous throwing the football. I think both receiving corps are good receiving corps, but I am really impressed with the Kansas State receiving corps and their one, two and three receivers. They do a great job of utilizing them. This will be a good challenge for our secondary and our defense.
On if their receiving corps is overlooked because of their running game: I think so. When you look at them I think the running game is obviously an outstanding running game and that is the start of it, but I think their receiving corps and their throwing game doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves. It is certainly a threat for us, because of all the big plays they create with it. They have three weapons that you have to line up with. Not many teams have three weapons, many times there is one or two. When you have three to defend it creates other possibilities and some match-up problems for you.