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November 23, 2015

Eric Morris

Lubbock, Texas

Q. You've been on the coaching sidelines for this game, and you've been on the field for this game. How special is it playing Texas in Austin?
COACH MORRIS: Yeah, no doubt. It's one of the coolest stadiums probably in our conference. With their rich tradition and winning some National Championships and year-in, year-out as good as they've been, not many teams in this program's history have gone there and beat them. I've never beat them there. So it would definitely be something that was pretty special to me.

Q. Is there added juice because it's on Thanksgiving night?
COACH MORRIS: Yeah, hopefully not. Usually on Thanksgiving their students are gone, so it's not as crazy of an atmosphere as it normally would be being on Thanksgiving night there in Austin, so we'll see. We'll probably have to create our own energy there as far as from an atmosphere standpoint. But it's going to be key for us to start fast. That's been one of the big differences in our great performances on offense and some of our sloppy ones.

Some of our sloppy ones have been on the road. That's well-documented. We haven't been near as good or efficient offensively on the road. So that's something that we've harped on, and something we've got to get fixed.

Q. You finally got a good performance from your receivers last week with a couple of off weeks. What was it like seeing those guys step up and have a good game last week?
COACH MORRIS: Yeah, it's always good to see those guys succeed on the field. That's why you're in this profession is to work with them all week on things that people don't see as far as them going to school and them having issues in their personal life. These kids go through different things from time to time that nobody sees. They've known it. They've been called out.

To see them go out and execute and have some big plays is always gratifying as a coach. The biggest thing is we ran the ball effectively the whole entire night. So it kind of opened up a lot of different things for us offensively. When they're putting six and seven even there at the end of the game and you're able to get a couple first downs, and DeAndre to run the way he did on senior night, that was a performance that I'll never forget and I know he won't either, to run for that many yards and they knew where it was coming in that second half. Did the same thing. Didn't change anything schematically. It was fun to see.

Q. Was that the best performance of any running back you've been around since you've been here?
COACH MORRIS: Yeah. I remember when I was really small, there were a couple games I got in and sat on the grass with my dad and watched Ben Morris a couple times here, which he was pretty impressive and fun to watch. But as far as in this offense, you know, if you really break down and study the tape, we ran off Le'Raven Clark's back side the whole entire game and did an incredible job at moving people, and played with an attitude and a grit that was really fun to see. So it's fun to see those seniors put some things on their back and lead us in that way.

Q. What is the most dangerous part of this Texas defense?
COACH MORRIS: I think up front they have the most experience up front. They've got a lot of young athletes that are fun to watch. Malik Jefferson their middle linebacker 6'3", 6'4", 235-pound kid. They've made some mistakes from time to time. They've also done a lot of good things on tape. They're guys up front that made plays and have done some good things and played a lot of football there. That will be the big thing to try to stop us in the run game and they'll probably know where No. 11 is at all times too.

Q. You just brought up Malik. How do you neutralize somebody like him?
COACH MORRIS: Yeah, we're just going to have to block him. Too, we go fast and throw a lot of different sets going fast at people, which is something he hasn't seen. They have a little bit of extra time to prepare for it. But as fast as we go, for him to be able to get lined up and still execute at a high level, maybe it will make it a little harder for him with our tempo. As fast as we're going to go, we've had a couple of extra days with the script.

Our kids know where to go, where to be, and we need to come out and play fast, be effective and efficient in the first couple drives.

Q. How hard is it to scout Texas with the roller coaster season they've had, the win over Oklahoma. Where is their offense and defense in that spectrum, I guess?
COACH MORRIS: Yeah, I don't think that's something we can worry about, really. We need to worry about controlling our jobs. There are 11 individual battles that we'll face every play on offense, and just like last week, that's kind of how we went into it with the mind frame that we needed to win the majority of all those battles and play with great effort. The receivers have to block in the run game like they did last week. That's a big part of this offense. DeAndre and Le'Raven will be the main stays in it.

We'll lean on those guys and Pat will do a great job of what he does. He's done it all year. Excited for these guys to go out and be able to play on national TV while everybody finishes Thanksgiving dinner and it will be a great stage to play on. So there shouldn't be any need to get motivated for this game.

Q. Texas skill position players and defensive backs and flashy positions pay attention to it as a fan but how physical are these games against these type of these kind of Texas teams.
COACH MORRIS: I think they're as impressive looking on the hoof as anybody we'll play. Up front the Jackson guy has played a ton of football, and the Ridgeway kid has played a lot of football up front. So that will be a big part of this game. We'll have to block them in the run game and in the middle and protect the middle there in the pass game as well in pass protection.

So our inside pieces, our guard and center will have their hands full. Those are great players. So same thing. When we're at our best offensively is when we're effective on first and second down, and we can start cranking it up and revving the engine and going as fast as we can go.

We're more efficient on first and second down last week than we've been all year. So it's not really a big coincidence that we're ahead of the chains. We're able to go fast and catch them out of position a couple times and get the ball where we needed to in space. So that will be a big key. We've got to stay ahead of the chains. First down, we can't move backwards.

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