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November 5, 2016

Charlie Strong

Texas - 45, Texas Tech -37

CHARLIE STRONG: This is a big road win for us and we talked about it all week, just finishing. And you look at this team and you just look at just how resilient they are and how they continue to just battle. And even though things may go against them, they continue to just -- someone steps up and makes a play.

And you look at what D'onta Foreman done and how many yards he had and the offensive line blocking as well as it did. I mean, it's amazing how he just continues to just get better and better.

And then defensively, going out and making some stops. We knew what we were up against, knew that we were going to go against a high potent offense and we needed to go out and make plays and we were able to make those plays. And even to get the ball just back for our offense.

I told them the first two or three drives, we just gave them plays and we were in man coverage, partly my fault, once we started playing a lot of zone, then we made the quarterback hold the ball and Malik was able to get pressure and we started bringing him as a fourth rusher and was able to get pressure.

But just build on this one, knowing that we got a big one next week at home, and we're just going to take this team here and just watch how it just continues to just grow together and develop together and become something special.

Q. You said the main thing was the resiliency that you showed today, that you thought this team had all along, to finally show it, talk about that.
CHARLIE STRONG: To be in the hostile environment we were in and I told them, I said, guys, the crowd is going to be there, they're going to have their crowd. It's senior day for them. We just need to go out and just battle and just play our game. I said, we have yet to put together a complete game and especially on the road. I said, the same energy, the same fire that we had last week at home, let's bring that fire today and that's what we were able to do.

Q. (Question about D'onta's performance.)
CHARLIE STRONG: I said to our offense, I said we had just driven the ball 99 yards, and then we end up fumbling. So I said, we'll get our offense back, we'll take the ball and we'll go score. So it bothered me, but I just knew that we could match the score. And even though we were down, I said we just got to make a play on defense, our offense has just got to continue to drive the ball, which we were able to do, and that play there, I just thought the ball wasn't across -- but that's not here or there now.

Q. How would you rank this performance?
CHARLIE STRONG: Oh, it's got to be an A plus. It's as good as I've seen. The thing about him is that he just takes it and it's a one yard, it's a two yard, and then it goes a 70 yard run. But he just works so hard. He's fun to watch.

Q. Those last two offensive plays, was there any thought to go with Foreman on those?
CHARLIE STRONG: No, in that package we have been successful, we knock people back, and you just are thinking that it was third and two, only thing we need to do is get one. So I said we're going to go for it. I told them we have two downs to get the first down. And even though we didn't get it, I said, hey, defense, it's good -- I kind of wanted the game to fall on the defense's hands there at the end, because it's just a confidence builder for them, to go out and make a stop. And I said, hey, you know what, guys? This is exactly the way we want it. Now, we have been playing well all game, now let's go finish the game.

The main thing is they got to score a touch down and get two. So let's go out there and let's stop them, not give them no touch downs, but make the ball get thrown up and let's go get an interception.

Q. What did you want to do to their offense? How did you want to stop them?
CHARLIE STRONG: The thing you have to do with him is just make him move in the pocket, don't let him sit in the pocket. And then, once we got him to scramble, we were going to bring a guy to like Malik or just one, McCulloch, one of our backers, we were going to chase him to the outside. And we did a really good job with Malik, we got some really good hits on him. And we never go out there to hurt anyone, we just want to make sure we play good clean football.

But the key for him is showing different looks, we played some cover two, we played some cover three, we drop eight, and we played man free, but we got out of the man free because of the different routes that they could run. But we were able to mix in our zone coverages.

Q. Do you think this team has finally turned the corner?
CHARLIE STRONG: Well, I told them the other day, I said, we have four games left, and I said we control our own destiny. I said we got to go on the road against a really good Texas Tech team, and then we get to come home against West Virginia. We got to go to Kansas, then we get to come home again against TCU.

I said, we can end out the season pretty good, we just got to just continue to build on it. And I said, the win last week really helped us, more than anything, to watch us battle back against a really good offense.

Q. McCulloch and Malik spying on Mahomes at different times. Talk about that performance without Wheeler.
CHARLIE STRONG: Well, the thing with Wheeler -- Freeman was good because it was more of a coverage for him, and that's what Wheeler would have been in the coverage. But with Malik and McCulloch, it was more just chase him down, force him to the outside, let the ends, give the ends a free rush, so we were able to give Hager and Roach and all our guys the free rushes. Cottrell and Omenihu. And then just let them just rush freely and then force him out of the pocket and the linebackers go run him down.

Q. (Question about one of the Texas corners.)
CHARLIE STRONG: Oh, it was. And I was just happy to see him go get that interception. He had the ability there early and, but it was good to just watch him go up and finish.

Q. Talk about the defensive play in the second half.
CHARLIE STRONG: Well, it was big in the second quarter, because we scored. And then I think it was maybe three minutes and then they get the ball back and I said, hey, we got to get this stop, because it's happened to us like the last five minutes of the first half. We have given up a big play and we have given up a touch down. Then we go and score and we get the ball back again, and I think they get it back with 30 seconds to take a knee. But we played very well in the second quarter.

Q. Talk about that 99-yard switch there. Was that the mental part of that that's impressive when you look at it?
CHARLIE STRONG: Oh, it was, and you watch us drive it and we drove the ball and you're right, you could have hit a lapse there, but our defense, we knew we were coming back with our offense. And then I looked up and I told the defense, I said, you guys, you haven't been on the field for at least five minutes, so you ought to be good and fresh, so when we go back out here, we should be able to get some scores or not get scores, but shut them down.

Q. Did the referee say anything on that play?
CHARLIE STRONG: No, he didn't. I think that what happened is they didn't blow the whistle for a touchdown, so when he came out of the pack with the ball, then they just, it was, they were going to overturn it.

Q. When he was running back a hundred yards, what were you thinking?
CHARLIE STRONG: Oh, I was hoping that Duvernay could catch him. Duvernay was at that angle and I was like, go get him Duve, go get him, Duve, go get him.

Q. (No microphone.)
CHARLIE STRONG: It did. And that's what I said, and there was no quit. And if you look at it, they just, they knew that we were going to come back with the ball on offense, we knew we were going to get a score, whether it be a field goal or a touchdown and just try to get those points back.

Q. You've been doing a lot of rotation over the last couple of weeks, do you feel like guys are making the most of their opportunities when they're in there?
CHARLIE STRONG: Oh, they are. And I tell them that all the time. I said, guys, we're not going to give too many snaps for some of you guys, so when you're in there, you got to play well.

And we're rotating a lot of defensive backs -- the defensive front has been rotating so many guys in. Even with the linebackers today, we were able to play McCulloch a lot and because of Wheeler. And our thoughts and prayers are with him because of the passing of his grandfather. I told him, you have to do that. You have to go to your grandfather's funeral. You can't come and play this game. But he felt bad about it, but I said it's nothing to feel bad about. I said these guys, we got guys who can play for you.

Q. (No microphone.)
CHARLIE STRONG: No, I saw the shoe, I thought it was Jake McMillon's because he was laying on the ground. And then I looked up, and I said, "It's the one shoe, huh?" And he said, "Yeah, that's what made me run faster, they couldn't catch me."

Q. You put your foot in the ground last week and said, this program's not in disarray, this program's moving forward, but what have you seen over this stretch? You had some tough losses in there, no breaks, but what were you seeing?
CHARLIE STRONG: Well, what you see is the guys continuing to battle. A lot of times when you have a young team and there's not much leadership from your seniors, when they hit a stretch of losses, sometimes they just, they don't quit, but they quit playing because they are just looking for something bad to happen. And we were able to just keep them together and the coaching staff did a great job of just keeping them together.

But you have some guys that really want to win, you have some seniors that really want to win, and they were able to get the young guys -- because a lot of times with young guys, they're just going to follow the lead of anyone older. And these guys have been able to follow the lead of the, some of the older players that are beginning to step up.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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