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UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS MEDIA CONFERENCE
February 23, 2012
COACH MACK BROWN: Off‑season program has been good. It's much better than last year. If you think about last year's off‑season program, guys really probably didn't do very much from the A&M game until they got here on the 17th of January. So it was a long time off.
And then when they got here, they had six new faces, a strength coach that was new, a lot of different position coaches, a faster pace, more energy, more excitement because of some new things that they were establishing. But guys were in pretty poor condition and it took us a while to get them started.
And then Benny had them over the summer and they improved some, but we feel like that we can make a significant jump in the off‑season program, and in the strength program now unlike last year, because they understand the level of expectation.
We do different drills when the coaches get off of the road in the off‑season program. The coaches actually get to coach their drill, and this year, for the first time, they graded each of the players.
So today, we will talk to the players about their overall grade and who was poor; who was average; and who was good; and who was exceptional. So we'll have different guys at our team meeting at 2:00, and we will actually show those guys who we felt like had the best effort.
Just because you had the best effort, doesn't mean you're going to play, because some don't have enough ability to be a great player. But everybody should be able to give their best effort and be exceptional and that's what we are working toward, and those grades should reflect that today and we haven't given them a grade in the past, so this is a new thing for us that should stimulate some conversation and show them how serious we are, even though I thought the team played hard last year by and large throughout the year.
What you try to develop in the off‑season program and team practice, you have to go and start over with team chemistry, No.1, with college football. In the NFL you keep basically the same guys, but in college, it changes, and we lost significant leaders last year. So we have got to change that.
You have to develop trust; trust in each other, trust in your coach, trust in your system and that starts over some because your system changes each year because you've got different players each year unlike the NFL, as well.
We have got to create depth. One of the reasons we won so many games around here in my estimation is that we were able to overcome injuries; we are able to stay fresh at the end of games when a lot of teams that we were playing would get tired because they didn't have the same number of players; and we didn't have as much depth last year and that really hurt us.
We have got to go back in the spring and make sure we know what our personnel can do best, and play to it. Last year, I'm sure our decision makers had to learn, and had to look at different guys, and then we had some injuries, especially on offense, that set us back.
And then you take your new ideas, for the last month, our coaches have been talking and visiting with other pro teams and college teams across the country, and they are trying to look at some new things and see how that would fit what we do and try to be an extension of what we did last year.
Injury report, we gave you the three guys that are out for spring, that's Greg Daniels, Jackson Jeffcoat and Adrian Phillips. Other than that, we will not do a day‑to‑day injury report in the spring because you do hold some guys out in the spring you might not hold out in the fall and you have got some different guys that may miss part of a practice or may miss some practice or it may be a guy that's an older guy that you would hold out, anyway.
So we are not doing that day‑to‑day. People panic over a sore hamstring and my gosh, you've got those just about every day this time of the year.
Position changes, we have talked about a few of these I think. Greg Daniels will be a tight end and a tight end only, and even though he will miss spring, he will be in all of Coach Chambers' meetings, and then he will be prepared to start this summer.
Miles Onyegbule is up to 228 pounds, so he will actually play wide receiver, because we are thin this spring. He'll play it some, but he'll start working some at h‑back because did he that some last year; because he's a tough, good blocker and came in, and said, I'm having to quit eating because I'm 222 and it's moving up fast. We told him to eat, be who you can be and we'll figure out where you play. But we don't want you to be on such a diet that you can't eat.
Because of Jackson Jeffcoat's injury and our limited numbers at defensive end, Chris Whaley will play both defensive end and defensive tackle throughout the spring and Chet Moss will play fullback. And those are the short‑term changes that we have. There might be some other guys that we experiment with, and we can talk to you about that later if it comes up.
As far as our short‑term goals for the spring, we need to get two quarterbacks ready to play, and we would like to see David and Case continue to improve. We also need to see where Connor Brewer is and get him going. His first college practice today is an exciting one for he and the other five guys that came in. Normally a freshman quarterback out there, the first day, does not look very good, so I don't even know how much he'll get.
We've got to get settled and be better at tight end and wide receiver. We also have to develop more depth. We feel like the tight end position is a key one for this offense and one that we have got to improve.
Wide receiver, we had three or four guys play, but we didn't have enough, so we got tired, and at the end h some injuries in that area, as well. We have got to go back and make sure we are two‑deep in both lines of scrimmage. We have been able to play a second offensive line around here as an entirety, and we have not been able to do that in the past two years, and that's something we think that really hurt us.
One guy I will mention that had one of the highest grades in the off‑season program was Garrett Porter. He has done a tremendous job, and he was nearly excellent. So hopefully he'll be a guy that can step up now and get more playing time and do better for us in the spring than he's been able to do in his first couple of years. He's very smart and he's a guy that hopefully will get into that mix.
And then we have got to replace some really good down people, linebackers and safeties on defense and everybody is talking about how great our defense will be. You don't lose that leadership, and lose three guys that are at the Combine in your front seven en, and come back and just start thinking, you're just going to be good because you're at Texas.
Defensively, we lost the two starting linebackers that we said are both really good leaders and both at the Combine, played in the Senior Bowl. You lose two guys up front with Calvin leaving, and you also‑‑ probably never seen a guy improve more than Kheeston Randall. He really improved a lot for us and then you lose Christian Scott and Blake Gideon; and Blake started every game since he got here four years ago.
So we have got some age and some experience and ability, but especially leadership down the middle of our defense, and you have to be good down the middle to continue to be good. So we have got lots of work to do. We also have to force more turnovers, and one of the things we are doing is we are asking our players to give us a minimum of three turnovers per practice. And that's what we want to win the ballgame.
So we are going to look at that very closely, see who is forcing the turnovers. And then at the end, they will be rewarded, if they force three turnovers or more. And they will also have some reminders that we need to force turnovers if they don't get three turnovers or more.
Offensively, we have to continue to run the ball, because we really improved in that area, especially when we were against Kansas and Texas Tech there. We were exceptional running the ball for the first time around here since probably 2004 or 2005. But we were doing a great job with it and then we didn't finish as strong as we wanted to.
But we have really got to improve our passing game better this spring and the emphasis will be on the passing game; running routes, getting better, quarterback throws to receivers, tight ends and backs. And we feel like we will continue to work with our running game, but to be the successful team we want to be and to get back, we have got to be more balanced and that's what we wanted.
And likewise, we will go back and protect the ball. So in any team period, we will allow one turnover and no more. So if you have only one turnover for the entire practice and team periods, they will be rewarded. If not, they will be reminded. And that's something that we feel like we just have got to continue to preach and step it up a little bit more.
We said you really need two quarterbacks. Everybody talks about the guy and the star. We have been here where we have had the guy and the star, and then he gets hurt, he's sick and we lose a game. So we have really got to put an emphasis on being two‑deep and making sure that we improve in that area. And that's who scores touchdowns and who protects the ball. That's what our quarterback position will be about and who is the best leader.
Kicking game, we lost Justin Tucker who punted, did field goals and kickoffs, so it's a huge void for us. So as we look at it, Will Russ will be the punter. He really improved at the end of last year, and he was booming punts. So we hope that he will get the consistency in practice that we need every time because he's got a huge leg and got a lot of ability.
And then Ben Pruitt will work on the kickoffs and also the field goals until Nick Jordan comes in in the summer and then he will work on field goals and kickoffs as well.
David Ash will work in punting, and he worked a lot last year in practice. We didn't punt him in the game but we also feel like he crossed the 50; you've got some packages that you can put David in where he actually can run the offense, keeping your offense on the field, or he can push punt, because he has the ability to do that.
We have got most of the guys that were involved last year back in our special teams so, we feel like they can be really good. We have just got to find the right kickers and punters, and it will be more dispersed this year, so we will not have the same guy doing it all and wear him out.
When you go back and look at how important the guy is returning punts and the guy is that returns a kickoff, just have to look at Foswhitt Whittaker, when he was in there, didn't start there. He was in there in the middle of the season, he had a kickoff return for a touchdown two weeks in a row, and then he comes out and we are average again.
So we have got to make sure we found the right guy, or guys, and we have got to make sure that we get the ball in their hands in the right places, because we have got to score more points in the kicking game.
Really excited about staff continuity. It was good that our coaches just about all got opportunities this year and none of them took them. We had head coaching opportunities; we had pro opportunities.
And I was excited because I think it sends a message to our fans and to our players that these guys think there is something special coming up and they want to stay here and get us back on track. So for the second year in a row, we should be so far ahead of last year, simply because we will be doing all of the same stuff and growing in those areas, not just starting over.
We will have open practices. So March 2 and 3, that will be our coaches' clinic, and both practices will be in the stadium and we welcome everybody to come out and we would really, really like to have everybody's opinion.
So if we can get a lot of e‑mails and we need plays, we need depth charts, we need things that our fans probably won't be comfortable doing, are you all probably won't be comfortable with your opinions, but please, please speak up and we really want your opinions (smiling wryly) yes, that was sarcasm.
Spring game will be the 1st of April. It is not an April Fool's joke, and it will be at two o'clock. We are trying to figure out the format. One of the problems with the format of the spring game changing is that your depth is so thin in the spring, and you get a few guys hurt; you plan on changing something, this time with the spring practice, and by the time you get to the end, you're trying to get through it because you have a lot of guys hurt. So we'll look at that and see where it goes between now and then.
You have 15 spring practices. We try to do eight before spring break, take the ten days off and do seven afterwards. We have done that because we feel like it's safer for the players. We also feel like that if a guy sprains an ankle or has a sore shoulder in the first part of spring practice, you might get him back for the second half with the ten‑day break; if you go straight through, you don't.
We also feel like it gives us a chance to look at some things and guys on one side of the ball in the first eight days and then we have ten days to review what we have done and go back and reset the goals for the second half. So we think it helps us there.
In your 15 practices, three are required in shorts. Today is a requirement in shorts. Saturday will be a requirement in shorts. We will also have our second junior day on Saturday. But the first two are required by the NCAA to be shorts practices. Then you have to stick one other shorts practice in your 15 days somewhere else. We usually do that in the practice before the spring game because we are trying to clean some things up and usually you've got some guys banged up by that time.
Only three of your practices can be more than 50 percent hitting, 11 on 11, and that means basically that you can't scrimmage more than three times, and that's just an NCAA rule. We have three guys that are running track. Marquise Goodwin, Sheroid Evans, and D.J. Monroe, they have been doing very well. We are proud of them.
Because the Big12 indoor meets are this weekend, they will not practice today and will obviously be competing for our track team on Saturday and we want to help our track team as much as we can. Then they will come back and be involved in the rest of the practices. For the first time this year, Marquise will be involved some in our drills. We don't want to hurt his chances to get to the Olympics, but he's going to run at least some seven‑on‑sevens and pass/skill‑type stuff.
We are thin at a number of positions, so you just have to move guys around. But when you are thin, it let's you see how tough some other guys are and at the same time it gives you a chance to look at some guys in different positions.
So if you're thin at defensive end, you may move a linebacker up in pass rush situations. You may even find something that you normally might not find.
Donald Hawkins and Brandon Moore, the two junior college transfers, will have their first practice today. They are excited about it. They have done very well in the off‑season. We treat the new guys differently than the guys that have been around here. We let them grow in the off‑season program instead of having the same standards set the minute they step in the program. But they have grown and done better each time.
Then you've got Connor Brewer, you've got Cameron Hughes, and Duke Thomas and Alex De La Torre, both did really well in the off‑season program. So they were in great shape. We are very, very proud of them.
Someone told me that Duke Thomas is named Duke because his dad liked John Wayne and he thought John Wayne had bow legs and Duke has bow legs, so go for that.
The biggest rule, most significant rule change, is the kickoff. They did change the fact that you kick off now from the 35 but if it's a touch back, the ball comes out to the 25. So we have got to look now at, you've got a better chance to kick it out, especially in this league with the wind, it's a huge problem.
But, against every team, if they don't have a great returner, do you want to squib some; do you want to sky‑kick some and try to get it deep and try to get it inside the 25. So those are new things we will have to look at, and obviously if we are really good at kickoff return, people will be trying to get the touch backs against us.
At our spring game this year, we are really proud to announce that we will unveil a Ricky Williams statue which we are excited about. It will be before the game and something that will be down ‑‑ as you leave the building today, if you get a chance to walk by, it will be next to Earl's statute. They are already starting it and already got the base ready.
John and Ricky and have reviewed the statute and said it looks great. Ricky went up and actually looked at it two or three months ago himself. So we are really excited about Ricky coming back for the spring game, and think that will also help us get a tremendous crowd.
And we are pulling for our guys at the Combine this weekend. I think our pro day is the 20th, we'll have to look at it‑‑ Tuesday the 20th. So the guys that are not at the Combine today will have their opportunity back here as well as the guys that if they don't do something at the Combine, or don't do something at the Combine, as well as they would like, then they will also have an opportunity here.
Q. You mentionedMcFarland what are the chances of him being the guy‑‑ if you're open at wide receiver?
COACH BROWN: We are hoping we do not have to alternate. Luke will still work some at tight end. Stacy does a great job of moving the guys around. So he's just going to look at them at different spots. Luke is going to play tackle and guard and tight end this spring.
But we are very, very impressed with what we have seen of M.J. McFarland in the fall as a scout teamer when he was red‑shirted. He is probably 260 pounds, I can get it for John and let him get it to you. He had a tremendous grade in the off‑season program for his work ethic. So he will be a guy that we need to come on and we are really excited about watching him today.
Q. As a blocker and a receiver?
COACH BROWN: That's what we are hoping. When you take the guys like we have that have been receivers and you change offenses, the biggest transition for David Thomas and Jermichael Finley and all those guys would be able to block. They were not dominating blockers, but they learned to block, and that's what we hope has happened from M.J. last year.
The reason he did not play last year was he was not ready to block. He could have run and caught but we are hoping, and we won't see that today, because we'll be in shorts, but hopefully by next Tuesday, we'll start seeing him progress. But he's got everything that we want. He just needs to block.
Q. The grading issue, is that accountability, trying to build more accountability into the players?
COACH BROWN: Yes.
Q. Why is that and how does that help you?
COACH BROWN: The biggest thing is that it's there, but it's a thing that's hard to measure. And we are trying to give them measurables to show them who on their team is doing the best they can do and who we feel like is not. Had nothing to do with how they did the drill, had nothing to do with the ability. It was their conditioning and their attitude.
And at two o'clock, I will walk down and call all the guys that were exceptional and didn't miss one turn; they weren't late; they didn't make any mistakes. I will bring them up in front the group and let the group see what we are look for in effort.
Q. How many were there‑‑
COACH BROWN: I'm not getting into all of that. I really don't know but we made it pretty hard.
Q. Is David ahead at the quarterback position, or how do you assess that situation and what's the message?
COACH BROWN: The message to those guys is like everyone else, we don't care who is ahead; we need two and we need two really good ones, and both of them have areas they can improve. So we are not going to get into who walks out first at any position today. We are just trying to see what you've got.
What we thought is that some gained some credibility from last year. Some gained more credibility in the off‑season program and some lost some. Some are gaining credibility off the field with the way they act and their academics, and then some will take a huge step one way or the other in the spring practice session.
And so at the end of the spring, we are going to have a grade for all of them, a total grade for who you are and how you've helped our program. To go back to the accountability across the board, not just ‑‑ if you're late to class, we are going to know that.
We are going to try to have awards for somebody who did not make any mistakes this spring: Didn't miss a class, wasn't late to a meeting, practiced as hard as he could every play regardless of who he is or his ability, to send a message that that's what we are looking for.
Q. Talking about the passing game, is that one area where you think a Top‑10 program‑‑ can you get that to where you want it to be?
COACH BROWN: Yes. I think because of our losses on defense, we have got more to catch up on defense than people will say because we are not near‑‑ you lost a lot of snaps down the middle. So we have got to do better there.
But in the offense, we have got to throw it better. If we can run it for 441 yards and get so we can throw it good, we are going to be really good on offense again. We have got to do that. I go back to 2005. 2004, and I may not be exact, but 305 yards rushing a game and then 106th in passing in the country and we were still good enough that the playaction by the end of the year got us good enough we can beat Michigan.
The next year, we were 250 yards passing, 250 yards rushing and scored 50 points a game and that's who we want to be. We would like to be so balanced that no one can say, we have got to stop this when you come into a ballgame, and we were not that last year.
Q. What is the biggest thing David and Case can take from the Holiday Bowl game?
COACH BROWN: I think the two biggest things were confidence and experience. I mean, to be in a Bowl game, that was his first one. Case had not been in a Bowl game because we did not play in one two years ago.
And then for David to start slow and to get better during the ballgame and do some good things to help us win at the end, I think that should give us great confidence and his numbers in the off‑season program were really good. So it seemed like that gave him more confidence coming into today.
Q. What is his next step in the spring?
COACH BROWN: What we would like to see is both those quarterbacks take over the team and lead them and not get into who is this, who is that, which one is starting, who is good, who is bad. Let's just play and let's be really good.
Let's don't have people talking about the quarterback position. Let's have people talking about, we got that fixed, we got two now, we are in great shape, we can move forward, they are both older, they are both mature, they both know each other.
It's just totally different from where we were this time last year where we had four and we weren't sure. We know what we've got and now we want it to get better.
Q. You talked during the Holiday Bowl how David was going to be held back by not getting the reps; do you anticipate Connor getting more reps, Jaylen getting more reps, just a change in how you do things maybe with the younger quarterbacks, the less experienced quarterbacks because of how last year turned out?
COACH BROWN: No, I wouldn't have thought we would have started our freshmen this time last year.
Q. Right. That's what I'm saying.
COACH BROWN: And when there's four, unless the NCAA gives us more hours, it's going to be really hard to get more reps.
I think Connor, by the nature that he is the third one will get reps, where last year Bryan didn't know anything about the older ones so. It was hard to get David some; he didn't even know Garrett, and they didn't know the offense.
So we were just in a totally different spot. So I think the reps will take care of themselves now and then you have to figure out after you watch Connor this spring what does that do with Jaylen in the summer.
Q. Can you talk about the opportunity for a guy likeMykkele, with Adrian Phillips out, more opportunities at safety?
COACH BROWN: It's a great opportunity for Mykkele and he's done everything right since he's been here. He's a good student. He's at everything first. He's a joy to coach. Very good in the off‑season program.
Duane has a philosophy that ‑‑ and we are all in on this. He will play the best four players. So he will look at Sheroid at corner and he will look at Josh Turner at safety. He will go across the board and try to figure out who the four best ones are, and then go from there.
But some of the hardest workers on our team right now have been the defensive backs, and they have taken some tremendous pride and we need to get some of the other positions to work up to that level.
Q. Do you see the offense evolving in terms of what you want to do‑‑
COACH BROWN: We would like to be able to run like we were in the two games, obviously, they were running up and down the field because we ran what we wanted.
And I love the diversity we have in our running game: We can run option; we can run draw; we can run power; we can run counter. We are where we wanted to be two years ago with rush games, and now we have to get better at it, and we need to stay healthy at running back. We got the running backs now. We have got to stay healthy. Got to stay on the field.
Secondly, I would like for us to be able to have a passing game that meets our running game where we can throw it anywhere we want, any time we want and be comfortable with it. So we don't have to worry about throwing it over the middle and we don't have to worry about throwing it on first down; and we can still have our no huddle and we can still have our up‑tempo and we can still do our playaction.
But basically, as you're starting a ballgame you like to be physical and use the playaction to get yourself started.
Q. Does the program have a drug testing policy?
COACH BROWN: Yes, our guys are drug tested so much. We test them at random, and I'm not sure who does the random but 36 guys are tested every time we are tested and they are told right then.
The Big12 has a testing policy and they can come in within a 24‑hour, at any time, and you have to do it at six in the morning. And the NCAA has a drug testing policy, and we would have to ask Arthur, but I believe if you have a positive on the Big12 or the NCAA, then you have to miss a complete year of competition. And I know it is with the NCAA drug test if it's a positive.
Q. Is the NCAA more for performance‑enhancing?
COACH BROWN: I think so. Ours is everything.
Q. If someone tests positive, what's the ‑‑
COACH BROWN: It's a university policy, which John could get for you. I think the first one is counseling. The second one, you can miss a game or two, depending on the coach and the athletic director, and you have to contact the parents; and the third one, you're gone. But John can get you all that. It's a public policy so, whatever it is.
Q. Can you talk about the offensive line a little bit more, the tackle position, if Donald comes in to be what you hope does that free up Hopkins at guard?
COACH BROWN: We will play Trey at guard today. Because that's where he played initially when he got here and what we wanted. So he and Sedrick Flowers will play inside.
And you'll look at Luke Poehlmann can play outside. Cameron Hughes can play outside. Paden Kelley can play outside. Donald Hopkins can play outside and Josh Cochran can play outside.
So we have got more numbers at tackle now than we had, and you're also bringing a guard and tackle in for the summer. So we feel like those numbers are better right now by far; Garrett Greenlea can play guard or tackle. We'll look at him at both places, and I'm sure I'm missing some guys, but some are just guards and some are just tackles.
Q. Centerand guard ‑‑
COACH BROWN: Yes, he did that last year. But just sometimes guys‑‑ the light comes on, and I'm hoping it does for him, because I've never seen a kid work harder than he has to put himself in the mix.
And I was really impressed with Stacy's group. He had a lot of guys that I'm going to have stand up today and that's a true credit to those kids, but also to him for purchasing them so hard.
Q. Offensive and defensive line you'll need some help‑‑ can you talk about the thinking of not going that route at the quarterback position and not looking for some experience?
COACH BROWN: You can get too many quarterbacks and we thought unless we found somebody that we knew 100% was a whole lot better than what we had, that what you do is you make what was a really confusing position last year more confusing again.
We feel like that the guys that we have got and the guys coming in will be good enough and we wanted to show confidence in them and move forward. I think one of the diseases out there in college football and if we are not careful, we get into it as coaches; the unknown guys are better than the knowns, and that's really a dangerous thing.
Backup quarterback is always the best player until he plays and then they like that other guy better that was out there before that we forgot and cussed. It's like backup offensive coordinators.
Q. David as a true freshman, what do you expect his learning curve to be? Do you expect it to be more so than a junior quarterback coming back in that situation?
COACH BROWN: Yes, we are so excited of the things I said: Everybody is back in the coaching staff, training staff, strength staff, we didn't lose anybody. And then we are doing the same things.
And now, we will be able to progress in those areas a lot faster than we could have last year, because we didn't even‑‑ this time last year, we had never lined up, on offense or defense. We didn't have a clue what we were doing.
In fact, I was amazed the kids handled it as well as they did, and that goes for David and Case, because neither one really played the year before. David didn't play any, and Case got nine plays.
So we just feel like today, that David and Case will go out there and run the practice, and Bryan will be helping them, but it's not like last year where he was saying, no, no, no; most of it was no, let's do it again, and today, they should have a great field. Kids have been doing seven‑on‑seven on their own.
The reports we get are they have been doing great. So they are just so much further along. And it starts with the quarterbacks. But the whole team should be further along. And then you've got the receivers have been out there so those guys can argue and say yes. Mike Davis has had a great off‑season, for instance. He is back full speed ahead and doing great. I thought he got discouraged some in the fall but he's really doing everything right.
So we are going to be older at wide receiver and more experienced, along with the quarterbacks and that will help a lot, too.
Q. Can you talk about how the statute came about and how that got started?
COACH BROWN: The fact that Earl had won, and he was a Heisman trophy winner, I think Ricky's was coming, and DeLoss kind of feels like you should wait until the end of their career instead of doing it early. And I'm sure he didn't know when we started this last spring that Ricky was going to retire this year, but he knew he was at the end of his career, and I think that's more than anything else.
But you would have to ask him. This is a Deloss ‑‑ and I'm sure it has to go through the letterman's committee and campus committee and those things. But it's obviously something that in football, we were ready for and have been for a long time.
Q. The depth chart, are you going to have one before the first game?
COACH BROWN: I think we'll wait till fall again, because again, we have got a lot of new players, and now, since we have played 18 freshmen last year, if you get set in something and those freshmen come in and they may very well take some of those jobs again like they did this year.
So we like the fact that, yeah, obviously you have to start somebody when you break the huddle today on both sides of the ball. But we like the fact that that doesn't matter, and the kids will know that. And I will meet with them here in a few minutes and tell them that again; that none of you have a job and that all of you are fighting to get it and keep it.
And you may have it for a day; that doesn't mean you're going to have it for the next practice or the next week. I've asked the coaches if possible, not demote a guy during practice, because I don't want a knee‑jerk reaction.
So what we will do is we will all study it, and if they move one, they will have to come and approve it through me. And I want to make sure that the young man knows why he's up and why he's down, and that goes back to the accountability stage as far as everything else we are doing, as well.
I don't want them to be able to say: I've had a bad day. That gets you beat. And I don't want them to miss a practice because they are hurt. I want them to be well. So if you're getting hurt, why? You're not getting enough sleep; you're not taking care of your body? Why are you hurt?
Or, if your guy is hurt all the time, you can't play in you're hurt all the time. So you're going to be a good backup player but if you can't participate in the games, we can't play you. We'll let you play some but we can't count on you being a star.
Stars are tough, stars practice every day, and stars are the hardest workers on your team. And that's what Vince Young was, that's what Colt McCoy was; that's what Cedric Benson was. Some guys want to be stars, but they have not put enough stuff into it.
And around here, because football is so passionate, we love our high school football and we love our; guys, sometimes we make guys stars without them having to pay for it. You can be a star against 16‑year‑olds. I want to see a star against 22‑year‑olds.
Q. Are Joe and Malcolm and Jackson all good to go?
COACH BROWN: Yes.
Q. On the accountability and the grade, where does the‑‑
COACH BROWN: No, I don't think so. I think more than anything else, we do it all the time and you do it in different ways. We just thought that we know everybody now.
Last year, we were growing and saying, do you this better and pick it up and we don't need to be sensitive anymore. It's time to say, you need to do better. And it's a measurable. We can say, this one did this and you didn't. So you're wondering why you're not playing? Here is one of the reasons. A mom comes and asks; here, mom, it's pretty simple, poor, great. Get to great, come see me again.
Q. Is there a chart in the locker room?
COACH BROWN: There's a chart in my hand. That's the only one we have.
Q. So everybody can see everybody?
COACH BROWN: No. But what I'm going to do today. I'm not going to say who didn't do well today, but they are not going to walk up front.
Q. Will you show mom the chart?
COACH BROWN: If she asks, with a video. They don't usually stay long in my office and they come and want to sit. I make him sit with me‑‑ I do. Mom, dad and son, right there. And I say, tell me‑‑ tell me that's a hundred percent. Tell me he's doing great. I just want to know that you think he's doing great, because if you do, he needs to transfer, because he's loafing. And then they usually chew him out and get out of the office real quick.
Q. Were you being too sensitive‑‑ did you feel you needed to toughen up the program? Is that where this came from?
COACH BROWN: Not at all. Just trying to win more than eight.
Q. Isn't it a fact that the expectations, they are always high for you guys, but maybe more so than the last two seasons?
COACH BROWN: The expectations two years ago were to win a National Championship. The expectation last year was to get us back on track. Now the expectation is, everybody knows everybody, we need to do better. We need to go back with the attitude that we are going to win every game, and that's where we are starting.
Q. Miles' brother was a defensive end and put on like 50 pounds over his career. When you guys recruited him, did you see him potentially outgrowing the wide receiver position?
COACH BROWN: We did.
Q. Is there still growth potential there where he can grow into a full‑time tight end?
COACH BROWN: Yeah, we think he can be a 250 guy because he's grown so much. And he came to us because he saw his brother grow and he knows that is a possibility, and he may be a great tight end before it's over, too. You just don't know.
Q. Obviously fans are always focusing on that whole quarterback thing, in terms of‑‑
COACH BROWN: They are?
Q. Strange thing.
COACH BROWN: Coach Rawls (ph) said they were in '63; they were in '68; they were in '70.
Q. For fans out there wondering, talking about the depth chart, sounds like starters won't be named for a while; is there a moment where you would like to name a starting quarterback?
COACH BROWN: I think I've answered this. Every year except when Vince Young and Colt McCoy were here, you would rather have one that's up for the Heisman, period. But you would really like to have one behind him that's not a big drop‑off, and we haven't really had that.
We've had the great one. We haven't had help if the great one got hurt. And what we want right now, we are trying to get so a bad performance for an injury doesn't lose us a championship. And it's happened about three or four times around here.
So we have gone back now to where we really don't care. We don't want to sit around and whine if it's not Vince Young or Colt McCoy, but we have no excuse not to win regardless of who it is.
So we want the two that we have got right now that are older, that know Bryan; that have been around; that he trusts to come on and improve their game, their leadership, their relationship across the board, and be able to handle whatever we've got. If one separates, we want the one that is second to be ready to go in and be able to put him in at any time and not have a drop‑off, because right now, we don't have the experience of a Colt or a Vince Young that we have had.
Q. Are you recruiting and looking at quarterbacks‑‑ like the offense when Vince was here?
COACH BROWN: What we are looking at are quarterbacks that we feel like can be great at something. And I like the diversity of this offense enough and the multiplicity that we can do whatever he does best when he's in there.
The thing that impressed me so much about what Boise has already done, they can do whatever their quarterback needs to do best, from option to drop‑back to spread out to‑‑ it doesn't matter. And I wondered how they did it. And then watching a year, our whole staff has grown with it, and now I feel like that we can do whatever we need to do.
Q. Do you have anybody in mind for the position Foswhitt ran going into spring?
COACH BROWN: Yes, we really don't. This morning we met for two hours this morning, and one of the things on there for questions to get answered this spring is who is that guy. And we have to look at the guys that are here, and then you look at the freshmen that are coming in, but now, we have got‑‑ at the end of spring, we need to know a guy, two guys, three guys that can do that.
Fossy was by far our best one, and after he got hurt, we were not as good at it. So we need two guys that can do it. And we need two guys that are really good at it. And when I heard Bryan say, probably two weeks before Fossy got hurt, 'I've never seen anybody do this as good as Fossy Whittaker.' He's just a natural for it. There's a guy, but we have got to find out who it is. I wouldn't have thought Fossy would be good at a, quote, quarterback position in a unique offense. So there's somebody. I think you just have to go by trial and error and find that guy.
Q. Do you have volunteers?
COACH BROWN: Oh, everybody they all want to. In fact, Mykkelle even came by the other day and said, "Don't tell Coach Akina, but I'll come over and do some."
I said, "Well, you've got to tell Coach Akina, he's going to miss you."
Q. We talked about motivation from both sides‑‑ what happens when you‑‑
COACH BROWN: What happens is you get less reminders. But you are reminded, you've just got two and you can get beat with two. Even though last year with two, we never lost a game.
Q. A little different angle, historically always been kind of a playoff guy, BCS commissioner was in Dallas for two days‑‑ and plus one in some shape or form, any thoughts on that in college football?
COACH BROWN: Yes, I don't like what we have got, so I would love to listen to whatever they are proposing, because in the past, we have always said, playoff, what does that mean? We have always said, plus one, what does that mean?
So if we can all get something that we like better than what we've got, I'd like to hear it and see it. And we've never had that. So it sounds like to me that they are making more progress on being serious about looking at a formula, instead just an idea.
Q. You talked about the receivers. Can you talk about John Harris, what do you think he can bring to that position?
COACH BROWN: John is still limited some. He had a setback in his rehabilitation. We think he'll be out here this spring. We really need him out here. We missed him probably as much as anybody in the fall; big, strong, great blocker. So we will have him back in the spring and we will see him. He will not practice today.
Q. Can we get your opinion and your comments on your upcoming induction into the Texas Longhorns Hall of Fame‑‑
COACH BROWN: Did I say that? I was wondering where that came from, too. (Laughter).
Q. You have to go to Waco now.
COACH BROWN: First time in 15 years. (Laughter) I am very, very honored, probably never been more honored, and at the same time, I'm honored because it's a great compliment to every player, every staff member, every coach and administrator since '98. And very seldom can all of your players and your coaches get an acclaim like that, and I'm very, very proud of that.
I wish they all could go. I do understand enough to know that me sitting there is only going to be a reminder of how many things have been accomplished since '98 and we are all very proud of those. But I would like for everybody to feel good about being involved with that award, not just one guy.
Q. Do you have your speech ready?
COACH BROWN: No, they said three to six minutes. By the time you get up there and get back down, that's three to six minutes.
Q. A high number of returnees, they are not coming to see‑‑ inaudible.
COACH BROWN: I do think I am honored and humbled and nearly embarrassed because it's such a great honor. And when you look at the list of guys getting in this year, it's humbling. When you look at the history of this state and to be a guy from outside this state to come in, it's hard to think about or talk about, so I'm overwhelmed.
Q. Your view on themulti‑year ‑‑ inaudible.
COACH BROWN: Right now, the way I understand it, you can only get one year. I played when they had multi‑years. I don't really see that much difference in the two.
Q. Is there a recruiting advantage?
COACH BROWN: I do, but it only is if you run kids off, and we have never run a kid off that wasn't a good player. We have asked some to leave that didn't act right.
But to me, you still I think will have the faculty committee that will review it; if they have an appeal, I don't see that much difference. I think it's only added public pressure, asking a coach to be more careful before he gets rid of kids, is what I took it as.
I really hope that we go back and give the $2,000 stipend to the kids. I hope that if one of the setbacks was the fact that we‑‑ because we didn't give partial scholarship student athlete money, I would like to see the partial scholarship that they have gotten to be the same partial of the $2,000, and they get money, too.
But to me, we need to give these young people some money and this is a great time to do it, and we are making more money than ever before. So I hope that we will go back and do that. And I think it's huge for the kids. I think we need to send a message to them. Coaches are getting paid, administrators are getting paid, facilities are getting built at the highest pace ever; we are really at a time where I think we need to take care of the student athlete.
Q. Can you just talk about the linebacker position?
COACH BROWN: It's wide open, and the only one that has established himself really is Jordan Hicks. The rest of them need to earn it this spring. But Jordan looks great. He's had a tremendous off‑season program and he will stand up down stairs in a minute. We are really, really proud of him. The rest of them have some work to do.
Q. How big is Desmund‑‑
COACH BROWN: We wouldn't move him up front at all. We think he's got a super upside at linebacker, and I would say he's in the 250s. He was 263 at one time last year but he's just big.
Q. Does Jordan step into the Emmanuel‑‑
COACH BROWN: I think like everything else, that's what we have got to decide this spring. So we will look at rotating those guys, but I think the probability is he moves inside.
Q. Moves inside?
COACH BROWN: Yes. Won't be at the Sam.
Q. Will he return kicks?
COACH BROWN: He returns punts anyway and he will continue to do that. We have to find the kickoff guys.
Q. What about Demarco, where do you see him?
COACH BROWN: He's been the hybrid guy between a nickel‑type safety and the linebacker, so he would still play outside.
Q. Now that the schedule is relatively finalized, what do you think?
COACH BROWN: I'm glad it's finalized. For the two times I think we have redone schedules, they have sent us four schedules to look at and we have marked them in the order that we would want. And they have given us exactly the opposite order that we ask. So next time I'm asked, I'm going to give them my worst choice last and I think I'll‑‑ the first choice last, and I'll probably get it, if that answers it.
I really screwed that up, didn't I. That was really confusing.
Q. Guys have an opportunity, Cedric Reed, guys like Desmund Jackson, can you talk about‑‑
COACH BROWN: Yes, they really need to step up. Desmund did a lot of great things last year. He played in the heat. Ced didn't play as much in the heat. And when the game was really, really on the line, he will have a great opportunity this spring to do that because of Jackson Jeffcoat's injury, and Jackson will be out there.
But Cedric is probably 260, 265, a tremendous athlete. Just got to get stronger and play with better leverage on the run, but we think he can do that.
Desmund is one of those guys that just drives you crazy inside from an offensive standpoint because he's short, and he's so powerful. He's still the strongest defensive lineman on our team and moving him, he's just really hard to block.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports