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UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 2, 2006
JEREMY SHARPE: Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us today. As it said in our note to you, we will be providing you with, at a minimum, one offensive and one defensive player, as well as head coach Mack Brown.
To start the call, we have senior offensive tackle Justin Blalock. It's my understanding that quarterback Colt McCoy will follow him.
I'm going to turn it over to Justin. We can get rolling.
Q. Justin, could you talk about Colton McCoy specifically and his kind of growth process this season. Not a lot of huge expectations on him outside of Texas this year.
JUSTIN BLALOCK: Yeah, that's probably fair to say. But we've been pleasantly surprised with his progression over the course of the year from the point in the spring to the summer and fall and whatnot.
He's done a good job growing mentally as a football player as well. While maybe not on a national level, we've definitely been pleased with what he's done so far.
Q. What are some of the things he's done good?
JUSTIN BLALOCK: You know, he's done a lot of things really well. First of all, getting in the playbook, in the film room, really heady kid. He digested the playbook really well. Reads things extremely well, especially for such a young player. One of the biggest things he's gotten better at is his leadership capabilities. When he's speaking in the huddle especially, you know this is the authority figure and I have to shut up now (laughter).
He's done a marvelous job just growing up.
Q. Justin, one clarification. You were talking about when he's speaking in the huddle, he's the authority figure. Did you say, "I have to shut up now"?
JUSTIN BLALOCK: Yeah (laughter).
Q. You've obviously been around the program for three, four years now. Are you guys bringing a different attitude to the game on Saturday because you broke the streak last year? Does that give you a chance to bring a different attitude or swagger in maybe?
JUSTIN BLALOCK: I think you can say that a little bit. We're always going to be confident coming into every game. It gives us the ability to come in like that, the way that we prepare. I feel like we do as good a job as anyone working on film, getting looks in practice.
When you add all that together, it allows you to come out on Saturday with your head up and play your best game.
Q. Can you put your finger on, there's a different attitude on this team than maybe there was coming in last year. You were coming in with a five-game losing streak in this series where streaks have been such an important part over the years. Maybe the monkey has gone off your back. Maybe with a little bit more confidence and relaxation coming in this week?
JUSTIN BLALOCK: You know, funny thing about streaks, especially in college where there's so much turnover. A lot of these guys have never played in this game, and, you know, for them as well. It's going to be a very different atmosphere to the game with all the new players and whatnot. I mean, some of those guys, for them, have no reason not to be excited about the game. Some of our guys are in the same boat.
I don't think any of the past games are going to have any effect, especially on the game. They have good players. I know that the coaches are very good as well. I know they're going to prepare extremely well to do their part. It's going to come down to who prepares the best and who executes on Saturday.
JEREMY SHARPE: Thank you, Justin.
The next person on is going to be senior defensive end Tim Crowder.
Q. Tim, the dynamic of Oklahoma's offense really kind of changed last year when Adrian Peterson went out. From what you've seen of their offense so far this year, does he make that much of a difference as much as he did last year?
TIM CROWDER: Yes, he makes a big difference. He's the juggernaut of the offense. Everything gets going through 28. They try to establish the run. If you can't stop it, they'll keep running.
Q. What has been your impression so far of their passing game? Not a lot was thought of it.
TIM CROWDER: It's very impressive. Paul Thompson, he's getting better and better each game. He's really feeling the game right now. Their receivers are playing real well. They have a big tall guy out there. Kind of like our Limas Sweed. They have really good position, and they're doing a good job of catching balls.
Q. Do you see where in this particular game, Texas versus Oklahoma, that if you get in a quarterback's head, maybe the atmosphere and all that's riding on the game, everything that goes into it, maybe if you get into a quarterback's head early you can really take him out of his game?
TIM CROWDER: Not really. You know, that's different with any quarterback. If you get back there, rattle the guy, you know, he's going to have a tough time out there. You know, we just want to play our game, play our defense, play to our standard.
Q. I just wonder if sometimes there's so much emotion that goes into this game that maybe a guy will take himself out of the game.
TIM CROWDER: You never know. I don't really believe in any of that, because when it's all said and done, it's still a football game. You know, when you're out there playing, you know, it's like the crowd is out of it. You're basically focused on the other team.
Q. Tim, obviously you played a couple times now. How has Peterson evolved in their offense? Are they using him different in any way? Is he the same old guy?
TIM CROWDER: He's just the same old guy that's been back there. They really rely on Adrian Peterson. He's a great player for the offense. They got really good receivers. Paul Thompson is playing really well. They got a good offense.
Q. What is it like having to trying to tackle Peterson back there?
TIM CROWDER: Just got to run your feet and wrap-up. You can't go in there, Oh, I'm going to tackle. He'll go right through you. You just got to go in there and drive your feet and wrap-up.
Q. Are you guys coming into this game maybe with a different attitude, maybe a different swagger because you finally got the monkey off your back and won last year?
TIM CROWDER: No, not really. You know, it's the same thing. We take every game one at a time. We treat every team the same. Just another ballgame for us.
Q. What did it do for you guys after that game? I remember talking to you afterwards. The way that you beat OU last year kind of pumping confidence as you got ready for the rest of the season, how much did that big win over Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl say, Hey, we can be pretty good.
TIM CROWDER: It was definitely a relief for us to finally beat them. On the other hand, we had to focus on the next opponent after that. That's the same this year: you got to focus on the next guy, because the next guy can step up and beat you if you're too focused on OU.
Q. Paul Thompson is from down in Leander. Do you know of him or have you met him being around Austin over the years?
TIM CROWDER: I never met him before.
Q. Tim, about Adrian Peterson, how does he look to you this year? He was injured some last year.
TIM CROWDER: He's looking great out there. I could tell he's put only about 10, 15 pounds. He looks more powerful out there. He's running hard, as usual. I know he's going to be tough.
Q. You were asked about how about how your attitude has or hasn't changed in this game. A lot has happened to you guys since this game last year. I mean, you guys won a national championship. How has basically this whole calendar year changed the way you guys are?
TIM CROWDER: Nothing's really changed for us. We're still taking the game just like any other game. If you focus too much on one game, you'll step up and get beat the next game.
You got to have the same focus, the same attention, just the same vibe.
Q. You don't carry a little different swagger going out there as defending national champs?
TIM CROWDER: Not really. It's another year. It's a new year. Everybody is looking to knock you off. Really, it's all becoming who is going to play the best on Saturday.
Q. This is a very young OU offensive line, starting four sophomores. How do those guys look? What kind of challenge are they going to be for you Saturday?
TIM CROWDER: They look great out there. When you see them play, you don't really realize they're sophomores. They're really big, I know that. They quick, athletic guys. I know they going to play hard. I know they coached well up there.
Q. Tim, I was at the game last year when you made Bomar make a lot of bad decisions, turn the ball over. How did you get that done last year?
TIM CROWDER: We just had a good game. The defensive line, we played real well up front. We mixed the coverage, disguised the defense up a little bit on them. Over all, we just had a good game.
Q. What do you remember about his frustrations during that game?
TIM CROWDER: I can just remember him back there, we hit him a lot that game. Just the frustration in his eyes. I could tell it was going to be a good day for us.
Q. They have a new quarterback this year in Paul Thompson. What does he seem to do better or differently than Bomar?
TIM CROWDER: They really not too different. Paul, you know, he can run a little bit more. He's getting better and better each game with the experience and throwing and stuff. He got to be accountable also.
Q. They have a new offensive coordinator, new quarterback. There's a lot of talk if they would change their offensive scheme, maybe do some more spread stuff. What are some differences that you notice in their scheme?
TIM CROWDER: I really don't see too many differences. They're still going to line up and play smash-'em-up football. If you can't stop the run, they're going to run it the whole game. But if you can stop it, they're going to pass it. That's pretty much OU for you.
JEREMY SHARPE: Thank you, Tim. We will have Colton McCoy shortly.
Quick change of plans. Coach Brown is here. We'll let him get through the call. Questions for Coach Brown, feel free.
Q. You obviously have seen Adrian Peterson, I guess this will be the third year. Have you seen some changes in how he is playing, how they're using him, than previous years?
COACH BROWN: The first year I saw him gain 238 yards, so I thought he looked really good in that game three years ago. He's just such a force. He's in great shape. He starts the game with a tenacious attitude and gets better and better.
The most amazing thing to me is he's so tough and he's so competitive. He doesn't fumble the ball. He doesn't get hurt. He doesn't get discouraged. He's a better player in the fourth quarter now than he is in the first.
When you look at turnovers maybe being the biggest factor in who wins a college football game, he's got really good ball security. And the second thing is he's making explosive plays. In every ballgame, he's making four or five explosive runs, they're long runs, that change a game. Give him credit for those two things. They're game-changers.
Q. Can you tell that your guys are coming in with a different attitude or swagger than they might have had the last few years after finally beating them last year?
COACH BROWN: We're a more confident team after the last year and a half really. We took a step back against a really good Ohio State team. But the guys have regained their confidence now. They're excited about this game.
But winning the national championship really helps your confidence and your attitude about playing anybody.
Q. Did this game maybe give you a jump-start on the way to that national championship, particularly as you went through the rest of the Big 12?
COACH BROWN: We thought the jump-start was really Ohio State, up there, because they had not won at night. They'd won 39 straight out-of-conference games. That was a huge win for us that we thought probably gave us more confidence going into this game.
Coming out of Michigan with the Rose Bowl, going to Ohio State and winning probably helped us more than anything going into this game last year.
Q. Did I understand you say that you didn't really use a script, that you winged it?
COACH BROWN: Yes, I did. The first reason I did it was my daughter is in the movie business out in L.A. She asked me to do it.
Secondly, there's a tremendous amount of pressure on high school coaches in the state of Texas. There's more pressure on our high school coaches year in and year out than there are our college coaches, and they don't get paid near the same.
I thought that being a parent putting pressure on a high school coach on Friday night might also portray to fans across the country how much pressure there is on a high school football coach in the state of Texas to win.
Q. You also mentioned you heard from parents as a college coach. How much of a problem or how unrealistic are the parents of college football players?
COACH BROWN: Ours have been great. I've been a head coach now 23 years. I've had very few problems with parents. Usually if I've had a problem, it's because the young man's not doing well or he's unhappy. Parents just want their sons to be happy.
The other thing, whether we like it or not, most high school parents think their son should be a college player. Most college parents think their son should be in the NFL. I have noticed that mamas like their sons and dads like their sons better than other people's sons. We sell "team" all the time, but mom and dad are worried about their son. They're not worried about the team usually as they are their son.
That's fair. Sally and I are the parents of four kids. We love ours very much and want them to be happy all the time, too.
Q. The dynamic of Oklahoma's offense changed last year when Adrian Peterson went out. They had a new quarterback, inexperienced offensive line, young wide receivers. From what you've seen so far this year, does he make that much of a difference?
COACH BROWN: Does Adrian make that much of a difference?
Q. Yes. To this year's team in particular.
COACH BROWN: Yes.
Q. If he went out this year -- I guess the question I'm getting at, is if he went out this year, their wide receivers are a year older, their offensive line looks a little better, their quarterback's a little more settled.
COACH BROWN: Right. I think they're really good regardless, but he's the best player in the country possibly. So any time you take a guy who has dominated every ballgame they've played and touches the ball 30 something times away, they'll have a really good player behind him.
But it does change your dynamics. It's like taking Vince Young out of our offense last year. He's the guy right now they go to. They're really good in the offensive line. We're really impressed with Paul Thompson, the way he's playing at quarterback. Their receivers are great, as they always are.
So they have a great team around him, but he is still the guy in that offense. Every time you look at their film, he's a dominating player, he's not a good player.
Q. Speaking of Vince Young, what do you like most about Colt McCoy this year?
COACH BROWN: His consistency. His confidence continues to grow. He has been such a consistent passer in practice and in the ballgames. He also has been that way with his attitude.
He actually prepared the same way for Ohio State mentally and Sam Houston and Rice, games that were not considered near the talent level or as important to some people to him were just important. He's got a tremendous amount of pride. You can tell he's raised by a coach.
Q. I agree with what you always say about Texas having a lot of rivalries. In this game, this particular game, where the crowd is split 50/50, the Big 12 South is always on the line, all the recruiting chips on the table, all the national attention, is it even more important for a quarterback who has never played in this game to try to play with a level head?
COACH BROWN: Yes. I don't think there's any doubt. You go back and look at a young person like Paul. You look at a young person like Colt, Jevan Snead. They grew up in this state. They've watched this game since they've watched college football. They know how important it is.
We do have a lot of rivals. Our biggest rival out of state is obviously Oklahoma because it's been a traditional game that means so much. I think it means more now because of the Big 12 South and the Big 12 Conference Championship, the ability to go to the BCS through the championship game than it did before, even though a lot of times it was 1 against 2.
Truthfully now, a lot of the kids don't remember the Southwest Conference. They don't remember when Texas and OU was not a conference game. To them, this is all they know.
Q. Does quarterback experience play a big part in this game? In particular, having been under center in OU versus Texas, or is that just writers trying to add to the hype?
COACH BROWN: I'd say it's writers trying to add to the hype. It really depends on the person. If you look at Major Applewhite, he won the game as a redshirt freshman. He's the same age as Colt.
Q. This is about as atypical an OU defense as you've coached against in this series. I'm assuming when you break film down, their personnel doesn't look atypical. It's still a pretty toothy defense.
COACH BROWN: No, we think it's a great defense. You look at the two quarterbacks they played at both Washington and Oregon. Those guys are moving the ball against everybody. They're really athletic. They're making plays.
Both of those football teams have ended up being a lot better than for sure people thought Washington would be in pre-season, but also Oregon's got a chance now to go all the way.
I really think that the OU schedule has been tougher than people might have anticipated in pre-season.
JEREMY SHARPE: Thank you, Coach.
COACH BROWN: Thank you.
JEREMY SHARPE: We have Colton McCoy coming to the phone, redshirt freshman quarterback. Questions, please.
Q. Colt, what has been the key to your success so far this year?
COLTON McCOY: The key to my success, it's nothing about me, it's about my teammates and my coaches. Offensive line has done a great job of letting us run the ball and open up passing lanes. Receivers have done a great job catching the ball. The defense has done a great job of containing the run, giving us a few three-and-outs that offensively we can get rolling. The coaches have done a great job with the plays.
It's nothing about me. The success so far has been about my teammates, going out there, competing, playing hard.
Q. What kind of lessons did you take from Vince that you're putting into use this year?
COLTON McCOY: I guess the most important lesson I took from Vince is to go out there and have fun and be confident. Don't let your teammates see you not calm, not relaxed, but let them see in your eyes that we're fine. We got to go out there and play, find the end zone, so we'll be fine.
Q. I know this is a team game, especially when you have two teams as intense as Oklahoma and Texas. Vince struggled in his first start. We saw last year how good he really was. Any lessons from Vince in terms of Oklahoma/Texas when things get boiling?
COLTON McCOY: The key to Vince's success last year was he had his eyes right. Oklahoma tried to blitz a lot. They were throwing a lot of defensive schemes at us, throwing a lot of different coverages, and disguising a lot of things.
The key last year was he had his eyes right. He knew when he was hot and when he wasn't. He never got hit by his blitz responsibility. The offensive line did a great job of handling all that stuff. That's why we were so successful.
For me going into the game, I have to have my eyes right. I have to know where my responsibility is and do the things that it's going to take to win with my teammates. If we go out there offensively and play a good game, we definitely have a good shot.
Q. As intense as this thing can get, is it going to be hard to get your eyes right, shut out the atmosphere and just play football, or is that something you're pretty good at anyway?
COLTON McCOY: It's a big game. This is their first Big 12 game. They're going to come out fired up. So are we. We just got to go out there and play. It will be intense, but you've had the Ohio State game. You've had that. You know what it's going to take to go out there and win.
The past three games we've come together as an offense, as a unit, played well so far. We have to carry that into this game.
Q. Obviously you didn't play in the game, but you were on the sidelines, got a chance to soak up the atmosphere. Can you detect there's maybe a little different attitude, a different swagger, after you guys finally beat OU last year and stopped the streak?
COLTON McCOY: Well, it was definitely a great experience to be on the sidelines, to watch our offense and defense work, and to go out there and play a really good game.
But being on the sidelines, it let me learn a lot. This year we just have to go out there and do the same thing. We have to go out there and compete, not turn the ball over, to decrease our mistakes, and just go out there and have fun.
We've got to be calm. We've got to be relaxed. We've got to be confident. We have just got to go out there and have fun and move the ball.
Q. Can you tell maybe the team is bringing a different attitude in this year than last year because they did win?
COLTON McCOY: We want to play to a standard. Any time we play a Big 12 opponent, we've got to play to that standard. We've got to play to our potential. Teams in the Big 12 are really good. They're going to come out fired up and ready, especially against us, and especially in a rivalry game like us and OU.
I don't know if there's a different attitude, but it's another game, it's another Big 12 game. The stakes are high. Both teams are going to be fired up.
Q. How are you a better quarterback now after five games than the week before the North Texas game?
COLTON McCOY: It just comes with how comfortable you are. I feel a lot more comfortable with my teammates, with the protection that I get from the offensive line. They're doing a great job of opening up holes for the running game. Therefore, when we can run a ball, we can pass the ball.
Coming together and knowing how each person's going to play, how the runningbacks are going to react, how the receivers are going to react, how I'm going to react. It's one of those things where when you're five games into the season, you feel more comfortable, you feel like you have to go out there and compete, you have to go out there and play. But you're confident and you're ready.
Q. What's like your favorite all-time Texas/Oklahoma memory? And not from last year because you were there. Something from like when you were a kid.
COLTON McCOY: My all-time favorite Texas/Oklahoma memory?
COLTON McCOY: How come I can't say last year?
Q. We know that was a good one.
COLTON McCOY: That was the greatest because I got to be on the sidelines. I only went to one game, and that was my junior year on a recruiting trip. We didn't play so well.
The all-time favorite memory is being able to wake up on Saturday mornings back home. I never had a chance to go to the fair or go to the game. But watching it on TV, knowing that I hoped someday I'll be able to play at Texas, watching Major Applewhite when he was a redshirt freshman come out there, beat OU, have a great game.
I guess if I was to name one thing, it would be Major coming in when he was a freshman and beating OU.
Q. Seems you're a redshirt freshman. You're the same age. Has he talked to you about that?
COLTON McCOY: He has a little bit. When we talk, he just says, Look, you just have to go out there and play. You've got great play-makers around you. Coach Davis is going to call a good game. Your offensive line and runningbacks and receivers are doing a great job. Which they are. They're doing tremendous. It's a matter of going out there and playing, moving the ball, not making mistakes, and we'll be fine.
Q. What was the first moment this season where you realized you could be effective at this level? One thing to think about it and dream about it, but another thing to actually do it. What was that moment for you?
COLTON McCOY: This might sound weird, but it was after the Ohio State game. I felt like after the Ohio State game, all our goals were still intact. We could still win football games. We could still come together as a team.
After that I said, Nobody hates to lose at this level. But when we've lost, we've done a great job the past three games of coming together as an offense, coming together as a unit and playing together and knowing how each other os going to react to certain things, knowing what it's going to take to win down the road.
Saying that, I guess that was the defining moment to say, Look, hey, I can play at this level. We're going to go out there and compete and play hard. When we do that, we have a chance to make good things happen.
Q. Friday Night Lights, does that debut tomorrow?
COLTON McCOY: Yeah, either tonight or tomorrow.
Q. Are you going to watch it, and have you seen Coach Brown's clip at all?
COLTON McCOY: No. I really haven't seen his clip. I know he was doing something in it. I haven't seen it. Friday Night Lights, I mean, anybody who plays football in Texas -- and there's a lot of them from OU -- so anybody who plays in this state knows how big a deal it is. It might be a pretty cool series.
Q. What would you say if I asked you, Son, do you love football?
COLTON McCOY: If you're going to play here, and my dad being a coach, you've got to love this game. You've got to know that it's one of the biggest things in Texas, is to play on Friday nights. There's fans everywhere that love high school football. You definitely have to say, Yes, sir, I love football.
Q. Mack was talking about high school coaches in Texas are under more pressure to win than college coaches. Your dad is a high school coach. As a player, did you notice that?
COLTON McCOY: I guess you could say. High school coaches are in a different position because you just have to have -- be lucky and have great players in your high school. There's a lot of times where high schools go through down periods where they don't have as many athletes and other high schools do.
I guess there is a lot of pressure on high school coaches because it's such a big deal in small communities to be able to win and compete at high levels.
High school football, it's just fun in the state. The fans are very supportive. You want to go out there and win because that says something for your school.
JEREMY SHARPE: Thank you.
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