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UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS MEDIA CONFERENCE
March 30, 2012
COACH BROWN: It was so funny when Ricky walked in yesterday and I had to take him down to the running back meeting (indiscernible) the quarterback receiver (indiscernible) they were just in awe. Just bringing a rock star in and walking him into the running back room. They were sitting up front and I walked in and said, This is Ricky Williams. They couldn't move. They just sat there. They didn't say hello. They didn't shake his hand. It was just like, okay, stand up. Be respectful.
Then they said he did an unbelievable job of saying exactly the same thing Major said all spring, but they listened. That guy from outside, they've seen him (indiscernible), they've seen him win the Heisman. I think they were four, maybe, when he won the Heisman, four or five years old. They watched him in the pros probably, and they've seen him win the Heisman here.
So it's fun to have him back. We have had a lot of NFL guys back. We've made an effort to ask some of them to come back and they were in meetings with kids. They would watch them practice and talk to them about what they saw at practice.
So (inaudible) and I'll miss some of them, but Curtis Brown, Cedric Griffin, Shockey Brown (phonetic), Lyle Sendlein, Justin Blalock, Kasey Studdard, so many have come back. Derrick Johnson was out there, Tim (inaudible). So a lot of the guys have come back this spring and spent time with our players, and it's been fun to watch our players react and respond.
Today's practice will be No. 14. It will be in shorts. The NCAA mandate that you have to have three of your 15 practices in shorts. First in shorts and you get one more. And we take it the last practice before spring game making sure we have enough healthy bodies to get to the game on Sunday.
This is the second year in a row that we invited our lettermen back. Lettermen will be at practice today and they will do the same thing as our NFL guys. They'll walk around with their group, they'll watch, and then at the end of the day they'll shake hands with the students and with the players and we'll try to tie some of our past to our present.
The last few practices seem to be physical, and I expect the same in the Orange and White game on Sunday. Two days ago it was one of the more physical games I've seen.
Friday you have a spring game. You want the young guys to get experience. I think we said early maybe 27 guys never been through a spring before. We'll have a big crowd of people watching, people around them. We're actually going to have a pregame meal for them. They'll fool around in the buses and walk around the stadium, simulate as much a game as we can, because we get the six new guys and some other guys that really haven't played in this setting. They were redshirted last year. And we feel like that helps with the game experience.
Secondly, it's not about schemes, but it is about evaluation. We're still looking at which guys will line up where to start. We actually report August2nd next year, which is earlier than we've been reporting. And some of the freshmen will be ahead of some of these guys. So they've got one more actual review today for the test on Saturday, and then you go back and you look at what they've done in the off‑season and in spring practice.
You'll get what they're doing and their accountability off the field and you decide how many freshmen would step in front of one of these guys and have his chance in the first ten days or so before the other guy gets to go back and play at that position.
So it's a huge evaluation day. We'll grade the video on Sunday after the game. We'll go over it on Monday morning and, like a game, we'll show it to the players in the afternoon.
So even though we're simplistic with scheme, it is a big day for evaluation. Sometimes it's easier to evaluate when you do less because you want to see who can block and tackle. And so much of modern‑day football is all over the place with the movement, the blitzing and the different formations and the motions.
Assistant coaches after the game, when we meet, we'll sit down with every play have an individual meeting with them tell them what they're like and what they're concerned about and reset goals for them for the summer. And we did that before spring practice. We did it‑‑ we will do it starting Monday.
And then the coach that comes in in the summer will do the same thing in the summer. He will meet with each of his players when he's here off of vacation and he will go over exactly where you are, and they'll get those numbers from the off‑season program this spring to see‑‑ Charles wants guys to be bigger. He wants more body mass. He's telling guys he wants them to be 300 pounds or 310.
So each guy sits down with our nutritionist and strength coaches and each guy sits down with our trainer and the academic people and they go over everything that he needs to do better in his life. And then they work toward that.
We say, yes, if they're reaching those goals they have a better chance to play because it's just like us, if you get in trouble there's a message that night, the poor choice that you made is more important than you playing. That's what I've told the guys. You shouldn't get arrested ever. But if you do, you obviously didn't care about playing that night. Didn't care about your family, didn't care about the university, didn't care about our team and all those things are important to us as well as obviously you breaking the law.
So we'll look at accountability off the field. We'll look at class attendance, character, grades as well, as we get closer to the season.
This is a huge weekend for recruiting. I think just about every one of our signees will be here on Sunday. I think all of our commitments are coming back on Sunday. There will be some recruits from the 2013 class that are here, and then we'll have a huge number of 2014 sophomores. And we don't even know how many‑‑ we've heard from 75 to a hundred, maybe 200. One year it was 150. You never know who is going to walk up and who is going to come. And that first impression is very, very important.
Aaron Ross and Sanya Richards‑Ross will be honorary captains before the game. Here's a guy that has won two Super Bowls and a national championship. How many times does that happen in your life? And he's still got a wife that won a gold medal that's faster than he is. So it's special. And she's back participating in the Texas Relays this weekend. We thought it would be a great message to our players to have those two out there before we start.
It's also a huge lettermen's week. I left a luncheon with Coach Royal and probably 50 of his players from the '60s that come back every year for this luncheon, and we tell stories and they all talk about him and it's fun.
Then this afternoon at practice they'll all come out to practice and stand around, like we said. And they have a reception after practice. Tomorrow I think there's 176 golfers playing golf. Some in the morning. Our staff will go out and meet all the lettermen in lunch and another group will play tomorrow afternoon.
Then tomorrow night at six at the Radisson there will be a dinner for 336 of the lettermen and families where our staff goes down and spends time with them, then they have some functions around the game as well.
And all those things are important for having the spring game, and we also feel like it gives the fans another chance to see them in a game setting, because you only get to tackle more than 50percent of the practice three times in the spring with 11 on 11. That's an NCAA rule. So we've had two scrimmages, and this will be our third. So that's the only thing that will let you do that.
Like I said, Ricky met with the running backs yesterday. It was fun for Major. They were asking him, What do you see? How do you hold on the power? What do you do with this? What happens when this occurs? And Major just let Ricky have it, turned it over, talked to them, there were questions, and they'll do the same thing today.
We are excited about the unveiling of his statue. I have not seen it. But they are giving out 10,000 pictures of it, I think, to fans tomorrow. The ceremony will be on the JumboTron in pregame. Our players will go in and get ready for the game, and I'll go over to the ceremony which will be out where the statue is, and they've got a few speakers, I think, Wane McGarity, Joe Jamail and Coach Earl. Earl will be there. And just have a few minutes where they will spend time, and then Ricky will actually have a gathering, a roast to raise money for his foundation then on Sunday night. A lot of the players and the coaches will be involved, too.
The players, we're all talking the last couple of years about all the jersey changes and uniform changes across the country and how much fun it is for this and fun it is for that. So I came up with an idea for them that we'd let them wear them some in practice.
They've designed some things that are fun for them. It doesn't matter anything else. We won't wear them in public scrimmages. Won't wear them in‑‑ we would not change our uniforms, obviously. We'll never touch our helmet or change our helmet, but in practice they like to change it up and have some different color combinations and stuff like that.
So we've worked with Nike and looking at some different things and we may let them play around with that some because they think it's fun, any way to get them in practice.
There was a little Texas flag on the pants that had black and orange on it. We would not put a Texas flag with different colors on anything. So obviously we'll have the regular colors of the Texas flag at the Texas flag is going on something, not to be disrespectful of our state.
Injured players, we feel like that the three guys that had their shoulders and were not out there this spring will be turned loose in June. Quandre, who hurt his wrist, will be turned, he will be free to work out in July. So we think that all those guys should be back 100percent for the fall, even though they missed the spring.
Garrett Gilbert and Cedric Flowers, we reached out for an appeal for both of those young men. So they would get their year back. And both of those appeals were approved this Monday. So Garrett is actually in school here. He will finish school this summer and he will go to SMU. And now that he got the year back and he will be a Texas graduate, he will be able to go to SMU and play for the two years there. He doesn't lose this year. So it's great for Garrett that he did a tremendous job for us, and sorry it didn't work out where he wanted to stay, but we wish him good luck and really glad that he's a Texas grad or will be a Texas grad this summer and wish him well at SMU.
Also glad for Cedric Flowers, that he got his year back. So he now will be a redshirt freshman in the fall. The format for Sunday is one that we're continuing to work on, and coaches have all kinds of opinions and we usually finalize that Sunday morning, but the format that we will use will be the best to evaluate. And that's what we want. We want a good hard physical scrimmage and evaluate personnel and that's what we will get out of it with pressure and a lot of eyes on the guys.
The two major goals for spring we want to be tougher as a football team and stay on the field not have as many guys miss practice or a game and we've been able to accomplish that.
We've had a physical spring but the guys have been out there. We talked about Joe and Malcolm. They don't miss anything. So they've been hit. They've blocked. They've been very physical, and they've done a great job with it.
And the other thing that we felt or I felt was a huge goal for this spring was to start recreating our depth, because when you've got depth you've got better team morale, when you have depth you stay healthier and when you've got depth someone's going to play hard because someone might beat him out.
So obviously it creates more intensity there in practice, the practice sessions by and large have been great. Questions?
Q. (Question off microphone)?
COACH MACK BROWN: I think the entire second group is better and we are hesitant to say first and second because we don't have the depth chart, but guys that have not been working as much with the first team I've asked the coaches to do, and we'll talk about it more on Monday, I would like for us to have ten starters on the offensive line. So we can play them interchangeably at any time.
We've probably got seven maybe eight that could be interchangeable not have a drop‑off. But the second team offensive line, quote, and the second team defensive line have done so much better job this spring than in the last couple of years. I think we're getting closer to be able to play two lines in a ballgame on both sides of the ball. And I'm really excited about that. To see Ashton Dorsey, Desmond Jackson, and Chris Whaley has improved so much, and Brandon Moore is coming on, so those four.
And then you look at possibly adding some freshmen to that group you could possibly have five, maybe six defensive tackles and last year we were trying to have three at this time.
So we made great progress. Reggie Wilson and Cedric Reed have come so far the start of spring practice, they're so much better that we're really excited about them and feel like that they can give quality reps now to Alex Okafor and to Jackson Jeffcoat.
Q. How do you weigh the player's performance in the spring game versus the rest of the spring, because coaches obviously put different weights on it depend on what they do?
COACH MACK BROWN: What we do is we put more weight on the three scrimmages because they're game tight situations more than just the regular practice. Obviously if you don't practice, well, you usually don't get the reps and the scrimmages. But we treat the scrimmages like a game. These would be like three preseason games and it's really important because things go faster and things move faster. And they have to handle distractions on Sunday.
There's so many things going on. Our coaches will be worn out. The coaches are dealing with so many different sets of recruits and three different years. They're dealing with current parents. They're dealing with pregame warm‑ups. They're dealing with trying to substitute and get a quality scrimmage out of the guys that you have and who plays the most, and they're really looking at how long do you keep a Kenny Vaccaro and an Alex Okafor in as compared to looking more at Cedric Reed and Reggie and getting them a little tired and looking at some of the safeties.
There's a lot going on this weekend, but it will be a very important scrimmage. The questions I will ask after I watch it by myself on Monday morning, or who was most productive in their minds and who played the hardest in their minds.
And then we'll start looking at where we think guys might start out on August2nd when they get back. And obviously that could change because of offseason things that come up, class attendance, getting in trouble.
But by and large it usually doesn't.
Q. Other than Jeffcoat, who are the other guys back in (indiscernible)?
COACH MACK BROWN: Adrian Phillips and Greg Daniels. Greg will be moving to tight end. He's been able to be in all meetings, been able to have all the walkthroughs. He's running now, but they still‑‑ with a shoulder that you might get them to practice in the last week, but they don't want them to fall right now. They're so close to being well, why push it, and two of those guys have played.
So Greg will have a full summer of workouts with the kids to get used to the tight end and hopefully he'll be a factor there in the fall. He was a good tight end in high school.
Q. The second question, overall, do you feel like you have more questions regarding the offense going forward than you do the defense in terms of where you feel you are?
COACH MACK BROWN: Yes. And at the same time I'm excited about the progress we've made on offense. Last year we were in trouble. There were so many question marks and Stacy had seven scholarship offensive linemen, and now he's got ten with a chance to be in a ballgame and four or five others that are coming on.
Tight end has been in shock because of the change in the offense. So I'm seeing D.J. Grant and Barrett Matthews and M.J. McFarland come on and Darius Terrell. They understand if you don't block you're not going to play in this offense. They've got to do that. We feel like we're making progress.
I think the entire staff is getting away from just a Boise offense and now we're trying to do a better job of what's best for this personnel and quarterbacks included. Both Kase and David have gotten much better this spring. So they're so much further ahead of where we were last year. But they know more and we're comfortable and we've said that.
Wide receivers, it's been great to have John Harris back. He's really added to the wide receiver group. Mike Davis is playing better. Jaxon Shipley's had a great spring. You've lost Marquise, Jaxon is coming on. He's doing better.
So we're starting to see some guys. DeSean Hales banged up his shoulder a little bit, but hopefully he'll be fine for Sunday when we play. But each of the receivers now is‑‑ Onyegbule we're working inside more, but he's still got flex wide receiver duties and we'll be working more towards some tight end stuff.
So we just feel like we know more about the players. We know more about their personnel and the offense is fitting those things better just like trying to get the ball in D.J. Monroe's hands a little bit more without giving it away to everybody.
And we think that's in a better spot right now than it was 15 days ago or 15 practices ago.
Q. Do you think it helped Jaxon Shipley to be able to come to the practices last year and kind of see how things were coming on, and has Cayleb Jones been able to do a lot of things with him being in town?
COACH MACK BROWN: Yes, I do think it's an advantage when you're out there and you're around and watching. And one of the rules that we would like to see adjusted is if you sign, you can't come and sit in meetings. If you're a recruit and you haven't signed you can come and sit at meetings and that just makes absolutely no sense to me.
So Cayleb Jones has to sit out five in the hallway waiting for the meeting to be over. If he's a recruit hasn't signed with us he can go ahead and sit in the meeting. I think those are the things that they're trying to change, too, just somebody missed part of that and it makes no sense.
Q. Where is the biggest stride you made this spring?
COACH MACK BROWN: I would think the two things I mentioned that were goals from my standpoint and that's toughness, we're a tougher football team than we were when we left Cal and depth. Those are two things that are critical in modern‑day football from my estimation to be really good for a year.
You have some good things, but to be good each week you have to have some depth and it creates team morale. Like I said, it keeps you healthier. I always thought when we're really good and have two deep, at least the other teams would tell me, the other coaches would say when you brought that third guard in and my guy was worn out and your guy was fresh excited about what he could do in the fourth quarter it just kills you, morale.
And we're getting closer to that. We're not back yet. In fact, we only lose ten seniors. So next spring we should have a full complement of depth across the board and have great competition for the first time in a few years, because we've evaluated and we're doing a better job of teaching, I think, right now than maybe at a time or two in the past.
At the same time I think we've got some questions on the kicking game that have to be answered and they'll have to be answered in the fall. Probably not going to get them answered by Sunday.
But we're running it better. We wanted to pass it better. We're not where we want to be. We are passing it better. But it's not where it needs to be. We're doing a better job at tight end. We're not where we want to be. But it's better and we're seeing progress. They need to have a great summer in the weight room and get stronger and be able to block.
Linebacker was a true question mark, losing two seniors. We're getting better there. We're not too deep in my estimation at linebacker right now.
We could be. But we're not. So that's a question mark. Duane and I and Manny will have to figure out, you play Josh Turner at corner, safety, where is he going to be. Let's get him settled. You're playing Leroy at both places, where is he going to be. So we'll have to settle some of that after spring, because you've looked at it.
But I'm really excited about these freshmen coming in. We utilized freshmen last year that really helped us, I think we can do it even more with this 28 or whether it be 22 coming in, because six are already here counting the two junior college players.
Q. You talked about (indiscernible) and this goes beyond your contract, but how do you think Kyle Jeffries will be in 20 years?
COACH MACK BROWN: I don't know. I think the biggest change is in the last 10 or 20 would be the Internet changed a lot. I think it's helped protect against cheating because people have to be more careful now because kids are talking more and there's the danger that the kids aren't telling the truth all the time when they're talking. So there's stuff not out there that's not really accurate, more rumors. But we also have access to things that can counter act that if it's not true and stop it.
At the same time coaches are being paid so much more than ever before. I don't know that that ever goes back. But coaches' salaries now‑‑ in 1975 I was the receiver coach, recruiting coordinator at Southern Miss, made $13,500. When I left North Carolina 14 years ago I made $275,000.
So things are just‑‑ I mean, they're so different in 10 to 15 years, but who would have thought that. I hope that we're getting more control of the rules. It sounds like the NCAA is trying to simplify and change the book and get rid of a lot of those pages and get the rules just like the one I mentioned out of there, get them fixed, get the rules that if I text message somebody and I don't know who it is and it's a recruit, we can't recruit that recruit for a week.
So I can't even answer text messages if there's not a name at the end. So I'm rude by not answering them, but I can't. If we bring in parents and we bring their two children outside of the recruit, two children can't eat. They have to stay in the hotel room.
So there's a lot of things, I think, that it sounds like President Emmert will clean up, which I think will help. I think at the same time we've all heard about the basketball issues with AAU. I think we're headed that way with football very quickly.
We have to step up and do a good job on it with seven on seven with All‑Star games, and we're getting a little bit out of control with some of that stuff.
And the (indiscernible) in my estimation, that's changed so much in our 14 years here, I don't see that changing. I see everybody still having to produce money. I do see coaches being fired faster. I see assistant coaches being fired faster, because if they're not filling the stands you gotta have money. So it's going to be tougher for the athletic directors to keep the money up with what we're paying the ladies now, too.
Q. Along those lines, do you think there's a point when this becomes, college athletics becomes a privatized deal where it can't co‑exist anymore? Some people suggest it's going in that direction.
COACH MACK BROWN: No, we've had it 100 something years, I think in 100 something years we'll still have it. It's too important to people.
You think about the influence the Final Four is going to have on Saturday night and Monday. I mean, it's huge. Women's sports, the Final Four in the women's, it's going to have a huge turnout. It's going to be packed and everybody's watching. And now they know the women's coaches' names and players by first names and that wouldn't have happened 10 years ago.
So I think that college sports is at a better place publicly than it's been. And I also think that the problems that have occurred over the last year or two with major programs that people are taking strong stances against sends a message to us, you better act right and win and get all your kids stay out of trouble and you can't break any rules and it's forcing everybody to do better. If I've got a phone in my pocket and I've had to put a security code on my phone, if I stick it in my pocket and I call a recruit I'm in violation. They call it the butt call. Stick it in there and it hits and I hit the wrong one.
I had to put a security code on my phone so when I put it in my pocket it won't hit the wrong thing. Because even if I don't talk to the person and that call pops up in compliance, I've had a violation because I've had a call to that young man.
So I think all of those things in my estimation will change. But we're already seeing coordinators being fired during the season for colleges and that never happened before. We're seeing colleges firing their coaches so much faster. Turner Guild gets fired in one year, two years, whatever it was, two years. And those things didn't happen 10 years ago. And I think all of those things will even accelerate now that everybody needs the money.
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