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UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 16, 2006
THE MODERATOR: Welcome, appreciate everybody calling in today. We'll start off with questions for our quarterback, Colt McCoy. We'll pull a couple other players in, probably grab Coach Brown, put a couple other players on to wrap up.
Questions for Colt McCoy, our quarterback.
Q. I don't know how much you have gotten into Nebraska film yet. What do you see from their defense? Do you see a defense that kind of does a lot of different things or kind of a basic one that you know what you're getting?
COLT McCOY: I see them doing not necessarily a lot of different stuff, but they do blitz a high percentage of the time. We're going to have to be ready for that. They try to disguise a lot.
What I really see is I see they're really big. Their linebackers are really big. Their defensive line up front has handled their own so far this year. We're really going to have to to be prepared, have a good week of practice, have a good game plan, and go out and execute because they're really tough defensively. They're going to come out ready to play.
Q. Do you like a defense that blitzes a lot? Does that play into what you do offensively?
COLT McCOY: We just have to handle whatever the defense does to us. If they're going to blitz us, we're really going to have to be smart, take care of the ball. Defenses are going to do different things. We've got to be prepared for whatever they throw at us. Hopefully we will.
Q. Have you been protected pretty well? Have you picked up what teams have thrown at you?
COLT McCOY: We have. The offensive line has done a tremendous job so far. They play really well. They give me a lot of protection. Offensively we're clicking pretty good. We're definitely going to have to be clicking come Saturday because Nebraska's a really tough team.
Q. If I'm right here, this is your first time out of the state for you guys on a road game this season. Is it kind of nice that you've gotten all these games under your belt before you go into a venue like this?
COLT McCOY: It is. We know how tough of a game it is, especially in the atmosphere. It's going to be a little bit colder in Nebraska. We're really going to have to prepare mentally and physically this week really hard. It's going to be a tough environment, tough place to play. But we're excited. We're looking forward to it. We're ready for the challenge.
Q. You obviously can't be coming off a better game. What's that you do for you going on the road here?
COLT McCOY: It's good. I give all the credit to our teammates and coaches. We were just doing what the defense told us to do. There were some passing lanes open. Offensive line did a great job with protection. That's really what we're going to do, is try to figure out what the defense is going to do to us, take it from there.
Q. Can you talk about the differences of being in a totally hostile environment and maybe what you have faced so far this year when you left Austin.
COLT McCOY: We really haven't been into a really tough environment except the Oklahoma game. That's a game where there's 50/50 fans on both sides of the ball.
We're excited about it. We're ready for the challenge. Coach Brown is really going to prepare us this week with the noise and everything. We'll be ready when we come down there. We're excited about it.
Q. Until you actually go on the road, do you really know for sure that this team is going to be a good road team?
COLT McCOY: I mean, you just got to prepare and take one game at a time. That's what we've done all season. We've prepared each week. We practice hard. We get ourselves prepared. The coaches do a great job of getting us ready. It's just a matter of going out there and performing, and we'll see how it goes on Saturday.
Q. Has the schedule allowed you and some other guys in their first year of playing to get some confidence so when you go on road maybe it's not that big a factor?
COLT McCOY: It has. The most important thing is this team's come together. This team is playing well together. They care for each other. We're like a family. When we go places, we're a tight knit group. We're going to play together, perform together. Hopefully we'll pull everything together when we go out there on Saturday and play well.
THE MODERATOR: We have our senior offensive lineman Justin Blalock. Questions for Justin.
Q. You had the luxury of having a pretty veteran guy at quarterback last year. Now you had to switch gears with Colt. How has that gone so far? How has Colt handled that as far as you see it?
JUSTIN BLALOCK: Naturally, when you go from a guy with a lot of experience to a guy with little to no experience, there's going to be some growing pains. Over the course of spring, summertime, even two-a-days, we had to, I don't want to say nurse him along, but kind of help him develop.
With a couple of big games under his belt already, he's done a pretty good job so far, showing what he's capable of. Just like anybody else, even a fifth-year player, there's things that can be improved.
Q. What have you kind of seen more recently? Have you seen the evolution week to week? Has it gone in spurts?
JUSTIN BLALOCK: I think every player is going to get better with each passing week. Coaches remind us, almost daily it seems, that you're getting better or worse. Every time we step on the field, we want to make our best effort to get better.
I really see that with him. I think last week was a pretty good example.
Q. This is the first time you get into a partisan crowd. What is that going to be like when you haven't really had that yet?
JUSTIN BLALOCK: It's really a lot of fun, actually. I mean, some of the guys, their first time in a hostile environment, completely hostile I should say. But it's nothing new to some of the older guys. Actually, we kind of relish the opportunity to go into a foreign place.
Q. Your offensive line has been talked about throughout the year as kind of one of the best units in the country. Could you talk about if there's anything you kind of hang your hat on as to why you're so successful. Nebraska's front seven, what have you seen of them?
JUSTIN BLALOCK: One thing we really pride ourselves on is effort. Coach McWhorter does a really good job emphasizing, you know, out straining your opponent. Another thing we're really big on is physicality. These are the two things that, I mean, you can have regardless of your talent, still or whatever.
As far as the front seven goes, they're really big guys. They move well. They're really good athletes, really active. They're productive as well. Their D line is one of the best we've seen, even having played two of the upper echelon teams in the country. These guys are right up there with them athletically and talent-wise.
Q. Their ends are 295, 280. Do you approach a game a little differently?
JUSTIN BLALOCK: There's very few that are that big (laughter). You know, we don't necessarily change our game plan for personnel, on the other team at least. I've had the luxury to meet one of the guys. Great kids. We're looking forward to playing against them.
But as far as changing our game, it's not something we're really going to do. We're going to stick to -- I guess say dance with the one that brought you.
Q. I know you haven't had a chance to watch him that much, but have you gotten a chance to see Nebraska's offensive line this year, what they kind of look like?
JUSTIN BLALOCK: I have not had the opportunity to see a game, a TV copy of a game. No, I haven't had the opportunity.
Traditionally they're very stout guys.
Q. Was there a defining moment with McCoy that you guys saw early in the season or in camp where you kind of thought this guy was going to take things with run with them or he's not going to be worried about stepping on seniors' toes or anything? Is there a recollection that comes to mind?
JUSTIN BLALOCK: Almost the entire fall camp, I mean, just really -- I don't want to say studying him, but watching him every day -- you know, just waiting for a day where maybe he came out to practice a little flat, maybe tired from two-a-days or whatever, let maybe some of that get to his head, just come out and have a bad day, but it never happened.
Really just to see the way that he responds to adversity, even in practice when something doesn't necessarily go right, just the way he carries himself let me know this guy is not going to be rattled in the face of pressure, that he can bounce back.
THE MODERATOR: We have Coach Mack Brown available for questions. Questions for Coach Brown, please.
Q. You've been to Lincoln a couple times. Can you kind of describe the atmosphere there, what it's like to play in that kind of crowd.
COACH BROWN: I grew up being a fan of college football like most coaches. Nebraska and Coach Osborne, Coach Devaney were in the group of people I chose as a young coach to look at in the Nebraska program to see who I wanted to be like, and what the program I wanted to be involved in was like.
So when I went to Iowa State, it was really because of Nebraska and Oklahoma, because I wanted to watch those programs, see what they were doing. The more I learned about Coach Osborne, then got close to his staff with Frank and Bill, Charlie McBride, all those guys that had been there for so long, then we were visiting them through the years at places like LSU.
And then our program, we tried to emulate what Coach Osborne had done at Nebraska when we got to North Carolina with our offense and our program.
And then through the years, both coaching at Oklahoma and Iowa State, I just loved the fans in Lincoln. I think they're the best in college football. I said that when we were up there before. They come to the game. They still want to win. But they're positive about the other team. That's something we're not seeing. We're not seeing the sportsmanship, in my estimation, across the country that we see in Lincoln.
We're better here now than we were in the early year. In my estimation, we even have our fans, some of them are applauding the other team after the game. All that came from the fans in Lincoln, Nebraska. But I don't think it's close. I think they're the best and most supportive fan base in the country. I've told our kids that.
Most of these kids have never been to Lincoln because it's been four years. I told our kids they'll never be treated any better than by these fans.
Q. Texas is one of the few teams that have had some pretty reasonable success over recent history in Lincoln. Is there kind of a key to winning in a hostile environment like that?
COACH BROWN: Well, we feel like it helps, number one, if you play in an environment with 80,000, 90,000 fans. Our kids play in front of 88,000 every week. They're used to big games. They're used to that environment. They get excited when a program is like the one they're involved with, when Texas and the Nebraska are two of the winningest top five programs in the history of college football. It's fun for our kids, like it will be for the Nebraska kids this week.
The other thing is they like to go into an environment that's full, loud, loves their team, because it's more challenging. It's tougher to win on the road than it is at home. When you can go to an Ohio State or go to a Nebraska and win, that's more satisfying and more fun, because you know it's more challenging.
Q. Coach, can you follow up on what you were saying about Nebraska's running game. Anything in specific that kind of catches your eye that they're doing? Obviously, you didn't see much of their film from last year. What clicks when you see that?
COACH BROWN: Well, I didn't see last year's film because we didn't play. I do remember seeing clips against Colorado where they looked so impressive. I could tell that they were getting back together in that Colorado game. Very impressive against Michigan because we played Michigan, and that was a great win. They were physical, hung in there.
Bill has done a good job recruiting. They look good in uniform. That's what you always say about a team. This will be two really good looking football teams pregame, because a lot of these guys will keep playing on Sundays after they get through.
But Nebraska's back with the running game. They've got the big, quick-footed offensive linemen. The backs are big. They're interchangeable. Bill obviously knows what he's doing, whether it was back at Wisconsin or with the Philadelphia Eagles. You coach a team to the Super Bowl, you know what you're doing. He brought great credibility in.
It takes some time to get your program where you want it to be, established. I think you have to declare Nebraska's back.
Q. How has Colt been as far as going week to week, showing you something a little more each time? Have you kind of seen that? Has he hit dead spots? Has it been an upward curve for him?
COACH BROWN: He started a little slow on Saturday night for the first time. He had the same personality for Ohio State that he had for Sam Houston. It's been interesting to see. Part of that is he likes football, he likes the games, and challenge. He's a coach's son.
He's much more comfortable getting the ball down field than he was in week two.
Q. What do you mean specifically?
COACH BROWN: He's throwing the ball better. He's making better decisions. He's scrambling much better. He didn't move much against Ohio State. Now he has the ability to get out of the rush, do some of the things that helped us with Vince. Nobody is going to be Vince running the ball.
Now Colt is making plays with his feet. He's scrambling, getting the ball down field. He can also run 10, 12 yards for a first down. He's playing much better now than he did in weeks one, two, and three.
Q. Did you see your older guys latch onto him right away? They were with Vince so long. How did that come along?
COACH BROWN: It seemed to progress over the summer, because we weren't sure who would even be the starting quarterback when we left the spring game. Our guys have worked really hard in the summer here, and when I got back after summer vacation, started talking to them, they were all talking about Colt, his leadership, how hard he worked this summer. He gained from like 195 to 205. So he sure turned their attention, got their confidence level up in him over the summer.
Q. The way you go about getting things done with your running game, you kind of mentioned Colt. How is that different from the past few years maybe? Obviously nobody can start it like Vince did.
COACH BROWN: Our offensive coaches, in my estimation, have done a great job of adapting to the personnel they have. We lined up in Vince's redshirt freshman year, and we were either running Vince or throwing some to the tight ends.
By the end, Vince didn't really run very much. His runs were all scrambles. But we had very few called runs. He had progressed so much in the passing game that we would, again, lean more heavily on a Cedric Benson, or last year a Selvin Young or Jamaal Charles.
We feel like coming into this year we needed to transition again, and we still need to get our rushing yards. But without Vince's legs in the game, we were going to have to try to feature somebody else.
So now we are more like the team before the zone read where we're running the ball and being physical and using play-action off of it, but we're having to figure out different ways, the option, the counter play, the draws and screens, to get the ball in our backs' hands.
Q. Are you finding that you're having to do less encouraging of Colt? He obviously can run it. Early in the year you were pretty vocal in saying he needs to look to run it more.
COACH BROWN: Yes. And he's doing that now more and more each week. He's just so much more comfortable with where he is. That's what I meant about he will scramble. He made some great plays with his feet against Oklahoma and Baylor. He's doing a great job of scrambling and looking down field as he runs forward and throwing the ball. But if it's not there, he has the ability to run.
He's a really good decision maker.
Q. I don't think it's any secret that running the ball is going to be big in this game. Can you talk about your comfort level in your defense's ability to defend the run.
COACH BROWN: I think we've probably gotten more publicity for our ability to defend the run this year than we deserve, because some of the teams that we played didn't run it at all. Stats are deceiving. Ohio State didn't even run it. They threw it a whole bunch, about 30 times against us or something.
When people have run it, we've done a good job of defending the run. But looking at this game, Nebraska is giving up 98 yards rushing a game. We're giving up 47. I think yards are going to be hard to come by. It's going to be an old-time, physical. Offenses are good, but defenses are really going to be getting after each other. It will be a fun game to coach and watch.
Q. First big game for your quarterback outside the state of Texas. You talked about the atmosphere. Probably nothing can prepare him for coming into Lincoln. What have you discussed with him?
COACH BROWN: Really nothing. We thought it was really a good experience for him last year to be on the road at Ohio State, be involved in the Oklahoma game. He was over at the A&M game. He was at Rose Bowl last year.
Ohio State atmosphere, the week, the buildup, was good. Our Oklahoma game is so unique because it's 50/50. You can't feel like that's a home field advantage when you're behind or in the wrong end of the field.
He's looking forward to this. He's grown up in a coaching family, and a football fan, and anybody who is not excited about coming to Lincoln, Nebraska, shouldn't be on scholarship in football.
Q. If Nebraska loses this game, you could have a rematch in the Big 12 championship. Any impact when you have to play a team twice in a year like that?
COACH BROWN: Yes. I don't like it. But nobody asked me about whether we should have conference championship games. Nobody asked me whether we should play the same team twice. Nobody asked me if other people should have 'em. I don't think anybody cares (laughter).
We just hope we're one of them, and we'll see whoever shows up on the other end if we can be good enough at the end.
Q. I know you don't make out the schedule, but have you ever gone into a season this late before your first true road game? I think you played at Reliant.
COACH BROWN: That's called a road game. I don't know if it is in Licoln or not, but here we actually had to leave, stay in a hotel. We traveled (laughter).
Q. Did you feel that was pretty hostile? What was the environment at that game?
COACH BROWN: No. We had more fans than they did.
Q. Have you gone this long into a season before you actually played where you're going to have 99% of the people against you? Eighth game of the year.
COACH BROWN: I didn't know we hadn't been somewhere else till y'all brought it up. None of that really matters. Honestly, I don't make the schedule. I don't look at it. I look week to week. I know we go to Tech next week. They'll all be mad at us. They'll all be wearing red. We have two exciting weeks where people won't like us to be there.
We've done well on the road. I think that stuff is overblown. I really do. I think it will be fun for our kids to have a change. Sometimes you play at home, you play so much, sometimes you need a little change. I think it's a good change for us this week.
Q. Can you elaborate on Nebraska's front seven, just your overall impressions of them.
COACH BROWN: Yeah, they're really good. They're talented. They're well-coached. You can tell there's a pro influence there, too. They do a great job disguising in the secondary. The guys are like us, they're going to stop the run first, then anything you get past that you're going to have to earn.
I'm really, really impressed. I'm glad Nebraska's good again. I think it's good for college football. I know it's good for the state of Nebraska. Good for the Big 12.
THE MODERATOR: We'll excuse Coach Brown. We will load in senior defensive end Tim Crowder. We'll take questions for Tim.
Q. Tim, from Coach Brown, what he said, it almost sounds like this will be the first time to line up and just run it at you guys and say, "Stop us." Do you eat that up this week? Guys look forward to that as defensive front?
TIM CROWDER: You know, we always look forward to a very physical game. Oklahoma, they came right at us. We knew that week we had to be very, very physical, play gap-control defense. We'll be looking forward to it.
Q. What have you seen from Nebraska's run game that you have gotten on film so far?
TIM CROWDER: They have a great offensive line. They know how to work as a unit. They have two great runningbacks. They got a smaller guy and they got a bigger guy. They have a pretty good offense.
Their tight end is real well, know how to use their receivers. They're kind of a balanced offense.
Q. Would you say they run the ball better than OU does or did?
TIM CROWDER: You know, you never know. Adrian Peterson, he's a great back. Their runningbacks, they work great. They have two guys, and they get back there and line up and run it right at you. It will be a great challenge for this defense.
Q. Is this kind of game exciting where somebody is going to line up and say, Stop us running the ball? Kind of a test of your manhood almost. Do you like that?
TIM CROWDER: You know, our defense, we definitely like this. We love when the offense wants to play physical with us. It will be a great challenge for us. Just another opportunity to go out there and show our defense off.
Q. You have obviously had a lot of experience playing in some pretty hostile venues. Have you heard the atmosphere of Lincoln? What do you know about it? Has Coach Brown said anything to you about what you need to prepare for?
TIM CROWDER: No, not really. We're going to take it every game at a time. Don't matter if it's home or away, you know their fans are going to be against you. You just got to go out there, get focused. Just focus on the game. Just focus on Nebraska.
THE MODERATOR: That will finalize this call. Thank you.
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