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UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS MEDIA CONFERENCE
March 20, 2012
COACH BROWN: I thought we had another successful Pro Day. There were 50 scouts, head coaches, general managers out there, and all 30 plus teams were represented.
So we felt like the guys got a really good look. We had 14 guys work out. 13 of the guys were on our football team, and John Chiles came back as an ex‑player. John spent some time with the New Orleans Saints.
He went through the first three exhibition games last year. And then he went to the Rams and they cut him loose when they had the coaching change. So he wanted to come back and work out with the group as well.
Of the current 13 players that worked out for us, 10 are graduates, and the other three have a semester or less this spring to finish school. We're excited about those guys having an opportunity to go into the business world even if it doesn't work out for them in the NFL.
I was asked why we have Pro Days. Number one, the NFL decides who goes to the Combine. We don't have any input. We can't recommend. We can't push them there.
But the scouts and the NFL decide that, like they do All‑Star games. We have request from All‑Star games of which guys they want. We take the requests of those players at the end of the season and they check.
But we have the Pro Day to help those guys that were not invited to the Combine, have their NFL Combine. And we do it here. We set it up just like the Combine. It's run exactly like the Combine to give them the same opportunities.
And last year 59 guys that were not invited to the Combine made a pro team. So the Combine doesn't limit your opportunity to get drafted or make a pro team.
We also feel like the guys that go to the Combine and maybe mess something up, they were hurt, something, they didn't get the good time they wanted in the shuttle run or a 40 or they didn't jump as much, they have an opportunity to take the good things that they did at the Combine and keep them, but redo them here in a more comfortable environment, if it didn't work for them at the Combine like they want.
Now what the guys will do is they'll start going out and working, workouts and interviews for the individual teams. And a lot of the teams will come in here and also some of our guys will be flown into each of the teams so they can work out at their facilities.
One thing we try to do is help organize with the guys, if three different teams want you to work out but one wants one to work at eight in the morning, another one 1:00in the afternoon one at 6:00at night, it's very unfair to the player. And the players do not like to tell the teams: I can't work out with you at 6:00.
So what we try to do is Jeff Madden organizes the workouts to a point that all three of those teams could work him out at 1:00, then that makes it better for our player. So we continue to try to work to do that.
As far as our starting the second half of spring practice, we took the first of eight practices, and we were able to evaluate those practices, look at our goals, look at the things we tried to get accomplish after the first day of spring break, first eight days during spring break.
Now you reset your goals, if you didn't get something accomplished, you go back and try and work on it. We'll be more aggressive with special teams the last seven practices, because we have a pretty good feel of who the players are and what they're doing in the first eight.
An injury update: John Harris will rejoin the team for practice today. Demarco Cobbs will rejoin the team for practice today. You work both of them back in because neither one of them have been out there for the first part.
They'll do most of practice. They are released to go, but we obviously will work them back in more slowly than if they had been out there.
Sometimes you always look at trying to look at a guy on the other side of the ball. We'll look at Alex De La Torre at fullback the second seven days, because we've seen him for eight days at linebacker. That doesn't mean he'll be a fullback in the fall, but that means we'll have a fair evaluation on both sides of the ball of where he fits.
We also are working D.J. Monroe a little bit more at wide receiver because we're getting some depth at running back. D.J. is catching the ball better. The best play D.J. has for us is the speed sweep, and he has a wide receiver when he does that.
So he will work more with Darrell Wyatt the latter part of practice so we can try to get him in the game without giving it away that he's in there only for a play that he runs. And he needs to have a package of six or eight plays. So we won't have the tendencies that we've had over the last couple of years by putting him in. We'll practice today. We'll practice Thursday.
And then we'll come and practice Saturday morning. Last year we came back and practiced on the Monday right after spring break, and it was a disaster. Guys were tired. They weren't prepared. So we ran the guys at 6:00 on Monday morning to make sure they didn't have too much fun at spring break.
And they were in great shape. All of them made their tests. Bennie gave them the test before they left. He told them what they had to do to be ready for the running when they got back. And they did a great job of running. And then lifted weights yesterday morning.
So we feel like we're so much further ahead off the field than we were this time last year. We were still trying to get them excited, get them going, and get them to buy in. Right now they've bought in. All the guys were on time. Last year we had six late coming back for break. We even had a coach late. We couldn't run the players without running the coaches. So we ran the coaches.
But everybody's in better shape coming back and that will help us the last eight days. So we'll practice today and Thursday and we'll have what we call a signee orientation on Saturday morning, and all of our signees not involved in track will come back, and they will go back through a process with Brian Davis to make sure that they've got everything in place for their admissions so they're ready to go when they get here in June.
So we felt like that's a great day. And they come back the week before the orange/white scrimmage. They may can get back for the orange/white scrimmage. And the reason we have it on Sunday is it's after the Texas Relays, but also you are not in conflict with an SAT or an ACT test. Some parents work on Saturday. And also a lot of these guys are involved in baseball and track. So it's impossible for them to get there.
So at 2:00 on Sunday we have the orange and white game. Usually these guys can either make this Saturday or next Sunday or both, but the spring game gets so crazy because the spring game is about junior recruiting, getting your commitments back in.
It's about sophomore recruiting, trying to start identifying who the top sophomores in the state are and inviting them into the game.
And then you have 40‑plus thousand people here, so it's a little bit crazy. And a lot of the signees come back. A lot of the players parents' are here. So it's crazy on that day, it's hard to sit down with every individual that comes here. We usually talk in groups. We'll take all the sophomores that come. I'll address the group with a PowerPoint, and then we'll sit down and each of the sophomores and juniors that we don't know as well will go sit for ten minutes with the area recruiting coach to get to know him, because we can't call those prospects. We have to call the high school coach.
We can't even write sophomores. We can send them a camp brochure or we can send them a questionnaire. But we can't send them anything else. And sometimes when you hear that Texas hasn't contacted them, the other people have, maybe we're going by the rules, because there's very little you can do for them.
And then you have them sit down with their position coach for ten minutes. And then the coaches have to run out and head down to the field. So in some cases you could slight one of your signees or one of your commitments because you have so many people around here that Sunday, it makes it more difficult to get everybody together.
Excited about practice this afternoon. The pro scouts are asked to stay if they would like and watch the first hour of practice, because it gives them a little head start on our juniors and sophomores.
Then we actually have a junior combine where we bring in some ex‑pro scouts and people that have been involved with the Draft and they start talking to our juniors exactly about what the Combine is like, what questions they're going to ask you. They watch video and say you're doing this well; I wouldn't Draft you right now at that level because of these things, you need to get these things fixed.
So we feel like it helps our guys stay away from agents. The more information we can give them and know that they've got a fair chance and that they are prepared for the Combine or this Pro Day next year when it comes up. A lot of our NFL guys come back.
You saw a lot of them out there today. They all like to come back and support this day because they knew it was a special day for them and a lot of our current players after they come out of class will come and watch them as well.
Q. You mentioned John and Demarco coming back. Did they have to go through the same amount of non‑pad work, given the fact that you don't have much pad work going?
COACH BROWN: No. It's interesting, with the NCAA, in the fall you have to have two days in shorts, two days in shorts and shoulder pads. And one day in pads before you can start a two‑a‑day work. If a guy's late to practice, if he's hurt and doesn't get to go through that orientation for the first five days, he has to go through that orientation.
So if he doesn't come until the tenth practice, he still has to go in shorts, when everybody else is in pads. When the young walk‑ons come and join your team, when school starts, they don't have to do anything. They can practice the day they show up, which I've always thought was really interesting.
And in spring go back and start the second session, like John Harris has been working with our trainers and rehab group the entire time. He's been running. They just didn't want him to have the pressure of being out there, making cuts and getting hit. But they feel like he's in shape and ready to go.
Now, with Demarco being out and John being out, what we will do is the position coach and I will sit down with‑‑ did sit down this morning with Kenny Boyd, and we'd go over exactly what they will allow them to do and what they'd rather stay away from.
And you just want to make sure. Then Kenny and Bennie Wylie will watch them very closely and what they will do is make sure that if it looks like they're overheating or they've got too much anxiety coming back after the injury they'll pull them out. And they have a right to do that.
Jeff Madden, by the way, too, handles all the Pro Day. He does everything. We meet with the scouts, with myself, Jeff Madden, Arthur Johnson, Brian Davis and Kenny Boyd, and we go over the academic status of each player.
We go over his track record as far as trouble, if he's been arrested or if he's not. We go over his academic status, what he studied, how long it took him to graduate, did he graduate, how many hours has he got left.
We do not talk a lot about how they played for us. We feel like that's what the video is for, and that we should not be evaluating for the pro scouts where or how much we think they should play or where they should be drafted, we're not pro coaches. That's their job.
Q. How would you describe what Joe Bergeron has done this spring.
COACH BROWN: Joe's done really well because, number one, he stayed healthy. He and Malcolm both had their pulls and strains throughout the offseason program. So it really concerned us that here we are with the same problems we had at the end of the season.
And you've got to play and be a great player, you've got to stay healthy. And it's a harsh thing to say. But if you're a guy who stays hurt and can't be on the field consistently, then you'll never be a great player.
So one of the things that Malcolm and Joe needed to accomplish this spring, and they've done it so far, is make sure that they took care of their bodies and they stretch properly and they eat properly and they get well and can stay well, because it's such a bruising position that we're going to have enough guys next year we can rotate guys and we can keep them out there just a limited amount of time and keep them fresh. But Ricky Williams never got hurt while I was here. Cedric Benson never missed a game while I was here that I remember. Jamal Charles stayed hurt some.
But of those three that are top NFL backs, two of them, in fact Cedric Benson against Michigan, the first play of the game, hyperextended his knee and the doctor said I'm not sure I would play if I was you because you're a first round draft choice, he said: Tape it up, I'm going to play. He went back in and played every play.
That's the attitude we want to get on this football team. We've had too many guys in my estimation hurt. Not talking about those two. But in general. We've had too many guys that will miss a game or miss a practice. So we're putting a tremendous amount of emphasis on who is out there every day, who is consistent every day, who gets ready to practice every day and who is excited about playing every day.
We've tried to make some analogies to the NCAA tournament. It is one and done. That's why I like it so much. If you go flat, you don't get it back. And kids can be flat for a big game. I've seen it. And we all think it can't happen. It can happen.
But when they sit there and watch Lehigh beat Duke, and they sit there and watch Norfolk State beat Missouri and Norfolk State lose by 40 points to Florida the next game, it's not about the best teams anymore. Everybody's got talent. It's about who plays the best on that day.
And that's the attitude we're trying to get to this team. You can't be a great team and have a bad day. If you are, you're probably going to get beat.
Q. Since he's been healthy what have you seen from him? What have you seen from him on the field.
COACH BROWN: What we saw last fall. He's really good. He's big. He's strong. He can catch. Both backs need to improve their blocking. That's still pass protection because that's an area in high school that gets slighted because they carry the ball so much.
But he's 200‑‑ his weight has fluctuated between 238 and 241, and he hasn't lost one ounce of speed. And some of his high school teammates came to one of the junior days and saw him and said: My gosh, he looks like he's really lost weight. So I didn't think about it. I hadn't heard anything. I didn't see nothing.
I walked over and asked him. And he said: I'm 241. I've actually gained weight. But he's lost body fat. He's in great shape. The kids are in great shape. They're working really hard.
Q. Do you anticipate doing some unique things offensively to get all three of those guys on the field at once.
COACH BROWN: Yes. We have to be careful that we don't anoint someone before they get here. But what you do is you take what you know. And then the problem with freshmen playing, you can't incorporate anything until you get out in the fall, make sure they're healthy, make sure they're doing well, making sure they're handling the pressure and they're in great shape.
Where they do have a better chance is they're in better shape now than they were before because they've got the summer. But you still have to see how do they catch. A lot of the young backs don't catch the ball much either. They're tailbacks. They run the ball and that's all they do.
And I'll never forget last year someone asked me right before the Missouri game: What are you going to do with all these backs, you've got too many? And we had one for the Missouri game. So I think we've got to make sure that we've got a tailback in the game that's fresh and healthy that can do what we want to do in our base offense.
And then we can add toys. But we've got to make sure we're established at tailback. If we've committed to being a physical football, you better be really good at tailback, you can't be average.
Q. Speaking of toys, I know that there's been some issues with D.J.'s pass catching in the last couple of years, when did you notice he started to get better at it.
COACH BROWN: We haven't done enough to say it's a whole lot better. But we put him at receiver a week ago. And we've had him running some routes because we just need‑‑ if he's going to play more, he needs to expand his package. And we need to expand his package.
And to do that, there are places at tailback right now that we need him in there. He needs to be outside. That's who he is. And to do that he's got to catch better. He runs 10 300 meters. So it makes sense that that's his place to play. So we've told him catch better.
I mean, you just need to do that. It's really important. So work really hard. You're fast. You're great with the ball in your hands in space, but we can't hide you if you've got one play. We've got to get more plays. We've got to get more touches for you.
If you want to do that, then do this. And I think he's understanding that now. And it will be interesting. He's still not there. But we feel like we've made some progress. It's an area that we're still thin, and we're still looking for great speed guys. We've got to have more explosive plays in the passing game than we had last year, and we can count our speed sweep as like a pass, player pass.
But he should be really good at those little bubble screens and all that stuff, too, because he can do things in space. So we've been trying to force tailback on him. When our tailbacks are now 205 to 240, and that's not his game. He's 165 pounds, 170 pounds, and he needs to be a space player. And I think we've got something that can help him if he can grow in that area.
Q. Is he spending extra time on the (indiscernible)?
COACH BROWN: Yes. I think he understands now, when you first tell a guy we need you to do this more, they don't like it much because they say I'm a tailback. If you're not going to touch it there and you want to touch it, then listen to us and let's try to help you grow.
Q. Speaking of toys, the wild formation, is that something you all have talked about and identified anyone for.
COACH BROWN: We haven't. That will be in the last seven days. We were very particular about wanting to be fundamentally sound in the first eight and let's figure out who is up front. What's our deal at center, who is the backup center, who is the backup right guard. Who goes to left tackle if Donald Hawkins is tired.
What about tight end? We have to establish ourselves at tight end. Who are the wide receivers. Right now we have some good young ones coming in.
I told the entire team Sunday night, when we met, that you've got seven days to get your spot. And like last year, we played 18 freshmen. So if you don't have a spot leaving here, we're going to put freshmen in your place, but what we will do is put up on the board after the spring game who we think can beat the best teams we play or all the teams we play.
And that doesn't mean he's a starter, but if he can give us 20 plays, can give us 12 plays, he'll be in that group. If you're not in that group and you're not significant in special teams, then we're going to put a freshman in your place. And that's going to be your fault now.
It's not our fault. Because you've had 15 days and a year to get your spot. So if you don't, so pick it up and give us time now.
But we'll look more at kicking game the last seven and we'll also look at the wild some. I think we've run it maybe two or three snaps with the tailbacks only, but we haven't worked on it. It's been a toy we've put in to look at something.
Q. When you said we've been trying to force tailback on D.J.'s efforts, you just said now, seemed like the last few years you've been talking about, he's been trying to force it on himself.
COACH BROWN: I think we all‑‑ he wants to be a tailback, and that's who he is. And because he was a tailback, he didn't catch a lot in high school and it wasn't comfortable for him. But we're also deeper at tailback right now than we were two or three years ago.
We were looking for this guy. And right now we're about to get good at tailback, and we're about to be really good, I think, and I'm excited about that.
But we're big and strong and fast at tailback and can catch. And we're still not where we need to be at wide receiver.
So I think that gives him a chance, if he will embrace it, which I think he's going to. And if he can run fast enough and if you run real fast they're going to get off you. So route running is not hard if you run 10.3, and even if he's a threat to go deep, they've got to stay off of him.
And we need space plays. We need explosive plays. So I really think the timing is better than ever before for him and for us for him to try that.
Q. You mentioned what is the deal with center. My question is what is the deal with center? Who is‑‑
COACH BROWN: Dominic Espinosa has done a really good job. He's smart. He's getting stronger. Hurt his shoulder senior year in high school. Didn't get to lift that spring. Then he had an operation.
So he really hasn't lifted at all the last couple of years. So he's above 300 pounds now. So he's getting stronger. And he's got to continue to get stronger. But the other thing we need is we need somebody pressing everybody that is playing for competition.
So Garrett Porter has to keep coming on or Mason Walters has to step in there and help. And both those guys will be looked at and given significant snaps in the last seven practices to try to make sure that we're two deep.
We've learned around here lately if you're not two deep you're not very good. You can't be one deep and win in this league consistently, because somebody's going to get hurt or tired.
And I don't care who you are, unless there's some threat of you losing your job, you're not going to do as well. That's probably not that way at the state spot, but everywhere else.
Q. Eight deep.
COACH BROWN: It is. And eight deep. And all quality players. There's not a starter. You all don't have a depth chart. I've checked. You've got some injuries. We're not going to go into that.
Q. When is the last time you were able to wholesale sub the offensive line five for five; that was in '08, was it?
COACH BROWN: I don't think we did then. '05 we could have done whatever we wanted. And'06 I think we could have done it. '07 is when we started getting trouble some on the offensive line.
I remember down at Central Florida which Chris Holt played 97 plays and played all five positions at one time or another. And it's unfair to ask him to do that and not good for that. And we quit redshirting guys on the offensive line. We had to start playing them.
And we haven't been as consistently good across the board two deep since then. And that's what we've gotta get back to. We've got a decision to make with Kennedy Estelle and Curtis Riser when they come in, how will they look in two‑a‑days, will they be ready to step right in be backup plays or step in. So this is a critical time for your offensive linemen to see who is going to be in that mix.
Q. I know you don't want to anoint anything, but does this have a chance to be the deepest offensive line you have had in a while.
COACH BROWN: No. I think we're too early for that. There are guys that are playing that need to pick it up. That are doing better. But to be good enough, you'd like to be able to have your offensive line where every third series you could put the entire second group in and not miss a beat. That's when you get really good again and we're not ready to do that.
And you'd like to have that without a drop‑off, because if your number one guys are a little bit tired, your number two guys should be as good as your one guy is tired. And we're not at that point yet.
Q. In terms of safety, Adrian's recovering from the shoulder. I know you guys have held Kenny out a little bit. Can you talk about who has shown up in that next wave?
COACH BROWN: Yes, the good thing‑‑ I should say, I'm sorry, Sheroid Evans will be out there full speed today as well. I didn't count him because I knew he was coming back. But he has not practiced yet because of his pull in the Big 12 track meet.
So Duane, like Stacy, loves to play them everywhere. And he feels like he can tell their range better if they play corner for sure because it's harder to cover at corner than anywhere else. But since he watched Josh for a year at corner, Josh has had a lot of safety. And he's liking what he sees.
Now, again the next seven he may change it some. Because you've got to feel like Adrian is going to have a presence, because he's been around so much. He's played corner against Nebraska. He's played nickel. He's played safety. So he's done a lot of things for us.
But Duane likes the fact now that even Duke Thomas, he thinks may get in the mix, because he's done so well in the first eight days at corner, he's been really impressed with him, and we think he's shown maturity beyond his years at walking out there and playing corner for a guy that didn't play there much.
So we've really been impressed with his attention to detail, his toughness and his maturity. You can cover at corner and not have to hit many people. Safeties have to hit you. So it's the other reason Duane likes to move some of those corners in there to see who is going to hit and who is not.
We've had a goal line scrimmage and we had a really good scrimmage last Wednesday. And I mean they knocked each other around, and it was fun to watch, and Josh had a big hit on one of the tailbacks and Duane was really pleased with that.
But I would think right now trying to determine where Josh fits, getting Mykkele more comfortable and more physical at safety and now deciding where Sheroid fits in the entire look of the overall secondary is really important.
Q. When you look at what Carrington and Quandre were able to do last year, why were they able to have the success so early as they did.
COACH BROWN: I think it's two things. Both of them are both very bright. They made an easy transition to the field. Both of them were in very good high school programs.
Quandre was tough being a tailback, got knocked around a lot. He was a kick returner. And Carrington is a guy who could have played college baseball, a very good athlete. And Carrington has gotten tougher every minute he's been here.
Q. Kickoff return, you've got Quandre coming back but what do you look there at the practice?
COACH BROWN: What we thought is that it would be really important for us to look at everybody, because we know what Quandre can do. We know what D.J. can do. We know what Marquise can do. So let's look at everybody. Let's take Sheroid. Let's take Mykkele. So what Major and Bruce and Darryl and I were talking about this morning, let's go out of the box a little bit.
Let's work guys that haven't worked there a lot. And let's see what we get out of them here the last seven days. It's another position. You have to have depth. You can lose five guys that return kickoffs, and it's never been more obvious than last year, we weren't returning them well until Fozzy started. He returns two for touchdowns and then we don't return them well.
So obviously that guy back there is probably more important than the other ten guys blocking for him because he made that a viable scoring opportunity and field position for us.
The obvious next year with the kicking, the kickoff rule changing, is something we're all having to really look at. And we're all talking to different head coaches across the country. And what do you do?
Do you try to kick it out every time? If you have a huge wind, are you going to have some short anyway? Do you try to sky kick back to the 10‑yard line. So there's a lot of different scenarios of what will happen: Will more people squib instead of trying to kick it out to try to keep you inside the 25. Deep sky kicks? What will change?
So we're looking at all that, especially with the wind in this league, because they're certain days you're certainly still not going to be able to kick it off even from the 35. And then the second rule that changed, we met with the officials for an hour yesterday as a staff‑‑ and this is one that disturbs me and I feel like we should talk about it‑‑ and I may not get it all right, but if you lose your helmet next year, you have to stop playing. And it's a little gray.
You can still play in your initial contact with the player in front of you, but you lose your helmet, you can't continue to play somewhere else. So if I'm a defensive end rushing the passer, supposedly I can rush him, but quarterback steps up, I can't continue to rush or it's a penalty.
If you lose your helmet, you have to come out of the game for a play, regardless. So your quarterback could lose his helmet on the next to the last play of the game and he's out for the last play. And also if you lose your helmet within‑‑ in the last minutes of the half at the end of the game, you can have the ten‑second run‑off rule.
So Case McCoy is at A&M, he's trying to get over to the middle of the field and someone happens to hit him in the side of the head and the helmet comes off, and it's not a foul, then we lose the game, unless you have a timeout. You have to have your timeout like the ten‑second run‑off rule. So I don't like that rule. I think it can change the game.
Now you have to keep a timeout in your pocket and you've got to probably‑‑ we have to kick the field goal against A&M with 13seconds instead of with three, if we don't have a timeout in the pocket.
Q. (Inaudible) and you've got the ball and you're ahead of everybody.
COACH BROWN: You have to stop. What they told us is in that case you could continue as you were. But if there's somebody ahead of you, you had to stop and turn and start doing something else, change your course, you would have to stop. Even explained it to us. This is why we need to get Walt Anderson involved with it.
Right now, if I'm backing up and somebody hits my helmet and it's not a foul and the helmet comes off, I can keep blocking him here; but if the quarterback scrambles I can't run out and continue to block him.
And I said: So what about the rusher? His helmet comes off. I can keep rushing him, but if the quarterback moves, I can't go somewhere else to hit him. We have to blow the whistle and stop or it's a 15‑yard penalty. But that's one we all need to get clarified.
Q. Running down the field with helmet off, 400‑pound defensive tackle in front of him, you know he'll get by that guy.
COACH BROWN: They'll blow the whistle, the way I understand it. And the last one you've gone back to the Halo Rule. And I don't like this specifically. So we're going to talk about it. But you've got that one‑yard halo in front of the returner. You do not have a halo behind him. But if at any time you break that one‑yard halo, then it's a 15‑yard penalty.
Now, if Allen's covering me and I'm returning the punt and I bobble it and go toward Allen and Allen is within a yard of me and doesn't touch me, I catch it after a fair catch, it's a 15‑yard penalty on Allen.
To me, if Allen comes and hits me before the ball's dropped, it's a 15‑yard penalty. If Allen's standing six inches from me instead of a yard, I don't think you get 15 yards for that. He's a little bit close because I fell into him as I was catching the ball.
So I really hope that we'll relook at some of those things and try to make a difference. How about this one: On the on‑side kick, if the ball is kicked and hits the ground bounces up in the air I can fair catch it.
Q. No way. That's what you want, though?
COACH BROWN: I think they're protecting the guy that's standing there getting ready to catch the pop up and everybody's running over him. If it touches the ground once I can call a fair catch now on the kickoff on the onside kick. You'll have to kick the ball on the ground. If you hit it twice, can bounce it twice, get it to jump, then there's no fair catch.
Q. For all these rules did studies show that people were getting concussions or getting hurt.
COACH BROWN: I would think so. The officials don't have that information. All they're doing is trying to tell us. But we're going to try to get Walt back down here to go over it with us again so we understand. And being on the AFCA board, I'm going to bring it up, too, because I think there needs to be clarification on some of those things.
Q. On this halo rule, what if it's a windy day and guy misjudges, gotta run it down, but he's called a fair catch.
COACH BROWN: 15‑yard penalty on you if you're within a yard.
Q. But some coaches want additional‑‑
COACH BROWN: What you have is about nine coaches from all different divisions that are in a group with Safeguards Committee and they sit and make these rules. And I really wish we would have more input instead of just being told, because we didn't even understand some of these until yesterday.
Q. So to continue your NCAA tournament analogy where basketball coaches want basketball coaches on the tournament Selection Committee you'd want more football coaches involved in the committee.
COACH BROWN: I would like for I‑A coaches to make I‑A decisions. Because I was on the committee in'95 and they brought up at that time for the quarterbacks to be able to talk to the offensive coordinator and the helmet like the NFL does and it was voted down because it would cost $5,000 per helmet and Division II and Division III and DivisionI didn't want to spend $5,000 for three helmets.
Q. Can you ever remember someone's helmet being knocked off and that person getting seriously hurt.
COACH BROWN: I don't. But I guess it must have happened somewhere or they wouldn't have put such an emphasis on stopping the game. I think what we've done when we make rules and make the official's judgment in a tough spot, I think we're hurting ourselves because how in the world are you going to know when to blow that whistle. Last play of the game and the helmet comes off, you make the decision before the quarterback throws it that he had to stop, I mean it can change lives now.
Q. Can you change anything equipment‑wise as to how, chin strap buckles, have you looked at that.
COACH BROWN: I thought that would be a better answer, is let's figure out why so many are coming off. One of the officials said the first three plays of the game he did last year an offensive tackle's helmet came off. To me get him out of the game, fix his helmet.
And I do understand that if it's a ball carrier, if it's that crazy linebacker that loses his helmet, gets back up and runs and tries to head butt somebody without a helmet, that's obviously very, very dangerous. So I think the emphasis is right in that we need to take care of the kids. And now we've got to figure out what all this means, because I'm glad it came up for us yesterday, because we need to call and get some answers and make sure that how are we going to teach it, because now covering punts became more different today than it was yesterday, and punt return is now a viable chance again, better than kickoff return.
So they gave you better opportunity to return punts and a lesser opportunity to return kickoffs with the rule changes.
Q. Back to the corners, when you talk about Quandre and Carrington, how responsible‑‑
COACH BROWN: Are you talking about Joe?
Q. How responsible were they for the kind of numbers you guys put up leading‑‑
COACH BROWN: I thought they were very responsible. That was one of our biggest question marks sitting there in the spring and in the fall. And I thought you have to give a lot of credit to Manny and to Duane for devising a scheme that took pressure off of them as well.
We didn't play near as much man and didn't put them in as many one‑on‑one situations, and then because of their confidence you see the play that Carrington made at A&M probably changed that game.
Q. Do you know who you have at linebacker at this point.
COACH BROWN: I don't think so. Right now we really were hurt by Demarco not being out there. He's been a good player that's made some highlight plays. But he hasn't been consistently healthy. So like our backs he's another guy that needs to be healthy and stay on the field.
We want to watch Kendall Thompson more. We want to watch Aaron Benson more. We want those guys to show up here in the last seven days. Steve Edmond and Jordan Hicks have really had a good eight days. Jordan's had his best eight days and Steve just gotta keep playing more. Steve's got some unbelievable ability but still has to keep playing.
Tevin Jackson gained because of the snaps he got when Demarco got hurt. So looking at all those guys right now, am I missing anybody? Anybody have a depth chart? I'll make some momma mad here.
Q. Kendall and Aaron you mentioned.
COACH BROWN: Yes.
Q. On the scholarship rule, (inaudible) so did Oklahoma and so did A&M and so did the Big 12. Can you explain what your position is.
COACH BROWN: I can't explain the (inaudible) position. It would be wrong for me to. But what I believe, Kirk, is we're doing it right now. We don't cut kids off scholarships. And we can't give them a five‑year scholarship.
It's very clear they have to work. And a lot of the players we talk to said what would keep somebody from not trying, if I've got a five‑year deal and I'm third team.
Right now our guys have to compete. They have to try. But I think we need to be more careful with the schools that are running kids off. Because that's what this is about. But I don't think a five‑year scholarship's the answer. That's what I had as a player.
And I know we had some players that took advantage of it and didn't play and didn't care and wanted to stay the five years just to get the money and went on a scout team. But I don't‑‑ I like the $2,000 a year for the kids. I don't see the purpose of the five‑year scholarship. It doesn't change us. But the way I understand it, if the young man still messes up you still take him before the same faculty committee that we're taking him now.
I don't really see the purpose of the rule. And I think that's kind of where Texas was is we're not going to run a kid off that's trying and going to school and staying out of trouble off the field.
Q. Do you know how widespread you feel that is as far as running kids off.
COACH BROWN: I don't know. It's just not been something that we've done ever. And I thought it was done a lot more a long time ago when there were multiple years, multiple numbers in scholarship because when I was at Florida State there was a bunch leaving at midnight. You'd have to check the next day and see who is still there. That's just not happening anymore.
Coach Smith told me one time that he thinks the best thing, Dave Smith, he told me he thought the best thing the media does for the people that do it right is they watch very closely the ones that don't. And so I think you all really helped that. And the fact now that people know they can go public, if they feel like they've got the bum deal they can get some attention.
So I think that's better now probably than it used to be.
Q. When you give a scholarship this past February, did you tell them you have‑‑ if so (indiscernible)
COACH BROWN: Yes. And you should ask Delois or Chris, some people were saying they were giving multi‑year scholarships.
Q. Some of the SEC schools were, Big Ten.
COACH BROWN: I don't understand that. The way I feel like is we explain to the parents it is a one‑year scholarship that's renewed every June. But if your son, if he has a felony or flunks out of school or doesn't try at all, he'll be gone for the first two and the third one we're going to try to help you get us make him try. Other than that he'll have his scholarship.
Q. To be clear, Duke Thomas is working primarily at corner.
COACH BROWN: Yes, period.
Q. And Josh‑‑
COACH BROWN: Josh is working corner and safety and Sheroid will probably do some of both. Since Sheroid played safety all fall, he'll probably work at corner the next seven days if everybody stays healthy.
COACH BROWN: All safety. He did not work corner last fall. Josh is working both. Sheroid's worked both. Duke's working corner. Because he's young and you want him to do one and Mykkele's worked only safety since he's been here.
COACH BROWN: Leroy is working safety now, he worked corner last fall. So he's working both.
Q. Obviously you can't do much because he's still recovering. But what did you think of Fozzy.
COACH BROWN: Fozzy is just an unbelievable person. He's the most upbeat human being I've ever seen. Sitting there talking to the pros, they had him at the combine, it's a compliment to be invited to a combine when you can't run, can't workout. I don't think I've ever seen it before. And to take a slot as valuable as those slots are for them to evaluate, obviously they think he's got a chance.
His knee is doing great. He's doing everything great. He's working for us as an intern this spring because he's finishing his graduate degree by June. I mean, it's just an unbelievable story.
Q. I know you like to pick the brains of other staff. Have you decided or determined what staff to invite here this spring or what staffs you'll go visit.
COACH BROWN: We haven't, Anthony, it's one of the negatives of starting early with spring practice. You usually do it after spring and you have to incorporate your stuff in the fall. And it's one of the things that I don't like. But our staff's constantly, with all the video available to everybody now, you don't have to visit as much as you can swap video with teams and say let's swap ours and you grade our film video and see what you think, tell us what you look at, tell us what you do, if you don't play them. And they're friends and they're confidential and we do the same with them. So that's happening more now than even going and getting to visit.
Q. Can you say where you are with punting and field goal kicking right now.
COACH BROWN: Yes, I thought neither one of those guys Ben or Will have done it. They did not have a good eight days.
Will had good moments. Ben kicked a lot better the last two days when you all didn't see him. So he got settled down and you can video him and watch, and it was overstepping a little bit.
And those guys are in that group. We've got Nick Jordan coming in in the fall. We've got David Ash who will punt some in the next seven days. Those guys know there's a short amount of time here where they need to do well here in the end.
Q. You heard about the quarterback needing to be the manager, not make mistakes. Teams that are successful with that model have great defense and great special teams. Can you have a manager at quarterback as special teams or quarterback.
COACH BROWN: We want to be great at quarterback. But we want him to manage. But we don't want to have to win the game because he's great every game, because the great ones aren't great every day.
You take the teams that win with 3‑point shots, when they lose they're cold. And they don't have a way out and they walk out and say bad day. We don't want to walk out and say bad day. We want to be able to win the game, period. But we're not going to be conservative and quit throwing the ball and not ask our quarterback to do things.
What we'd like to do is have a good enough team that if the quarterback's not having a stellar day we can still win. And the last four or five years we haven't been that way.
Q. What type of things can Blake bring to an NFL team.
COACH BROWN: Blake, cliche, coach on the field. He knows everything. He probably knows our defense as well as Coach Akina. He called all of audibles in our kicking team. He can deep snap. We didn't use him but we had him in an emergency role.
It's really key, like I said, to stay healthy. He broke his wrist in the Baylor game and played in the Bowl game. He's tough. He's durable. He's smart. And he's in the best shape he's ever been in.
I'm not sure what 40 he ran today but it was big to him. And I think he felt really good about whatever he ran. I know he likes football, I know he's passionate about it. I know he's smart.
I know he'll show up every Sunday and I know he'll play hard and hit you. Those are places you start. You don't just start 52 games here without being good. And we want a bunch of those 52.
And the criticism that came for him was dropping one ball out in Lubbock. And sometimes, for the people that want to be negative, they don't see all the positive things that somebody does. They'll lean on the negative. And I wonder how many interceptions those people caught that are griping.
Q. What kind of progress have you seen from the quarterbacks and what do you want to see from them over the second half?
COACH BROWN: I think they've made a huge leap. And there's been a lot of talk about David's leap. Case's improved as well. And probably as much. I'm really excited about both of them right now. And moving forward.
It also lets us go a little bit slower with Connor, which we wanted to do, and Connor's getting great work. But he doesn't feel the pressure of having to be in there with a first or second team.
But like we've said, we want two quarterbacks, because one quarter getting hurt has hurt us when we haven't been prepared in the backup. And we want both Case and David to be ready to go, and we're going to let Connor then go get to the level he can now and through the summer and through the fall and see where he is.
Bring Jalen in and see where he is after summer, and in the fall. But just the demeanor of David and Case, the fact that neither one of them are sitting around looking over their shoulder saying we've got four, where do I fit, I haven't heard anything about who starts. I haven't heard anything about who is getting snaps from ones or twos, and I haven't heard anything other than winning.
We've made a tremendous amount of progress off the field in those two areas.
Q. Because of the fullback, because you have a question there, or you have enough depth at linebacker to look‑‑
COACH BROWN: Both. Chet Moss is out for spring. He will not continue to play this spring. He'll rejoin the team in June. So right now we only have one fullback and that's Ryan Roberson. And we're working Barrett Matthews there some. But we've got more potential depth at linebacker, and we're bringing some guys in more than at fullback so we think now is the time to experiment in that area.
Q. Mack, on the quarterback, you're talking great things about the backup not being‑‑ toward that end, would you think about playing a second quarterback more during the game as opposed to getting them ready to train?
COACH BROWN: Brian and I and Major, we've had that discussion, and I think we have to wait until fall to go through two‑a‑days to make sure they're both prepared. But we can do that, absolutely, with these two and not worry about it.
I'll always like to play the backup quarterback the third series of the game. And then if he's doing well then keep him in every third series. We did it with John Chiles in the Bowl game at Arizona State. And I think you're better prepared to do that. And the last couple of years we haven't done that as well, and I think it's gotten us in some binds when we got some people hurt.
So we're really, really working on toughness, keeping guys on the field and developing more depth. I think those are things that we've lost in some areas, the depth specifically that we need to get back.
Q. Do you know how many sophomores you're going to‑‑
COACH BROWN: There's a bunch of them. Coming in? No, I'm sorry. I thought you meant on our team. No, we can probably tell you afterwards. Since we can't call them, what we have to do is call the high school coach and say we'd like for so and so to come and then you have a huge number of walk‑ups. We didn't have many last year because we were so far behind.
I think we had 250 two years ago. And I think we had 25 last year. It obviously ended up being the 25 good ones because we had a good recruiting year, but we'd like to get back into the 200s so we can see faces and names and stay further ahead like we were before.
Q. You were so helpful in recruiting Coach G here. How do you not feel as she's feeling right now and what do you do to stay positive and keep the passion going.
COACH BROWN: What I did, I texted her last night and said thanks for all the good you did for Texas and I appreciate it.
And if it's‑‑ who in the world knows how somebody feels. And if she felt like it was time for her to step away and go do something else good for her, congratulations, and let me know if there's any way I can help you in any way.
Coach Rohl told me something, probably'03 because we were struggling some at 10 and 3, in'03, as we looked back. I asked him why did you quit. And there were reasons. But he said that when the losses became devastating and the wins became relief and it wasn't fun to even win, because you were supposed to, then I needed to get out.
And I thought that happened a little bit to me in'03 and I had to wake up. I thought it happened to me a little bit in 2010, I remember beating Nebraska, walking off the field and I was worried about Sally because she lost her brother. I didn't have any joy in that win and that was stupid because it was a huge win for Texas and these kids.
I didn't feel it walking off the field because of her loss and I felt a little guilty I was there without her and her brother being buried.
And I saw that some in Gail. I think she's put so much into this that sometimes you just get worn out and hit a wall and that's why after last year, after 2010, I had to go back and say: Wake up. You got a lot of people depending on you.
If you're going to walk around and pout when you lose, act like a baby, and when you win act arrogant, not feel good about a win because Texas is supposed to win, we don't anoint ourselves supposed to win, then you're in some trouble and you need to have fun and you need to have joy.
And I'm happy for her that she's getting a new start here and getting to start over. And I'm sure Chris will go and find someone good.
I thought Gail was a great hire. She's fought hard. In retrospect I think we've got the best league in women's basketball in the country. If you look at what the teams do in this league, we may not have the best team in the year, there's been some Tennessees and Connecticuts, I'm a big women's basketball fan. I like it. I watched Arkansas Texas A&M last night down to the last six seconds. Sally did walk in and say: What are you doing? I said: Leave me alone, I like basketball.
I watch every game in the tournament, men's and women's. I love basketball. I watch it very closely. I loved J'Covan Brown out at Pro Day. Some of the scouts were hitting on him.
A lot of these basketball guys make good corners. What did you play in high school? He just laughed. I said tell Rick Barnes I did not say go over there and ask him. But I did say if you're going to stay‑‑ no, I didn't. I didn't.
But I think that your businesses are really hard and you have to be passionate about them. And when you lose that passion, you know, you either gotta start back up or go do something else.
Our business is the same. You cannot hide it. I think the kids can feel it. The coaches feel it. You all feel it when something's not working. And when it's not working, you've either gotta go change what you're doing and do something else or you gotta reinvent yourself and pick it up and start over.
And that's what we had to do here. We had to start over because 210 wasn't fair to Texas, wasn't fair to the kids, wasn't fair to me, to Sally, to you all. We didn't do our job.
So I think I can understand how Gail feels. You get so you hit a wall sometimes, and you just need change. And short term I didn't talk to her about it because I was trying to talk her out of it. That's probably why she didn't call me, because she would have known that.
I appreciate the job she's done. She's honest, she's got integrity. She's worked really hard. I like her a whole lot, and I want to wish her well.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports