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UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS MEDIA CONFERENCE
August 14, 2012
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† Yesterday morning, we had a great special teams scrimmage.¬† It's the first time we've done that.¬† And it also keeps them out there for a long time.¬† We were out there for about an hour and a half, and went through every phase of the kicking game, from top to bottom.¬† Did some of it live, a lot of it thud (ph), some of it walk‑through, but the guys did a great job.¬† We thought it really went well and it's got us ahead of where we would normally be in the kicking game.
So last night, we only kicked field goals and tried to block field goals, so we did not have the full kicking complement last night, because we had it yesterday morning.
The storm hit about 6:00 or 6:15 north of us and thought we would have to split practices or delay or something, and we didn't.¬† Chip Robertson does a great job of working with our local media weather guys and our radar is so good now that it cleared and there's some sprinkles but we were supposed to go out about seven and we went out on time and got everything done.
So we felt good.¬† We did not mind if it rained, because we need some work in the rain, and has not rained here in three years, so I don't know that we need work in the rain but if it ever rains, we are not ready for it.
So we thought we would stay out in the rain, as long as there wasn't lightning at all.¬† It was a very physical scrimmage.¬† We had over a hundred plays.¬† We had a lot of great work, one against one, and we worked some ones against twos and vice versa.¬† We worked a lot of threes against threes and I think we kicked seven field goals.¬† A couple were missed, one was blocked.
But overall, we thought the night was good from a kicking standpoint, even though we didn't do that much.¬† Snaps were good.¬† Holds were good.¬† Things that you worry about on a first scrimmage happened well.
We treat the first scrimmage like an NFL preseason game.¬† You don't have game plans but it gives us the chance to look at personnel more than anything else and you can also have some concerns about your team that are highlighted and‑‑ (buffering) ‑‑ morning with those guys out there, but our entire team was out there and they practiced while we worked on the kicking game.¬† So the big guys were out there all day, as well.
The offense did a good job protecting the ball.¬† There was only one turnover during the scrimmage, and it was a ball that should have been caught by a tight end that hit his hands and bounced up and it was intercepted.¬† Other than that, the defense really tried to strip the ball, and couldn't get it out.¬† So the guys did a really good job with ball security.
Defensively, they were disappointed that we only forced one turnover, because that's something that is such an emphasis on defense for us.
Both quarterbacks have improved so much since spring practice.¬† That's why both of them are still bracketed because we feel like we can win with either quarterback right now.¬† Both of them played really well last night.¬† They managed the game.¬† They checked the right checks at the line of scrimmage.¬† They handled the huddle well.
So we are pleased with the way both of them are playing and you just go back to this time last year, everything is so much better than it was this time last year.¬† The coaches know each other.¬† We know what to work on now.¬† We know where we're going with personnel and this time last year, we sure didn't know that.
Frosh (ph), in our 15 years in general, have not played well in the first scrimmage in the stadium.¬† I think it's because most of them are from Texas and they have looked at that stadium their entire life.¬† The first time they are in there, they have seen their heros play at Texas for years and it gets a little big for them.¬† Sometimes the Oklahoma game is the second time it gets big for them, and we have always noticed that.
A lot of the freshmen made foolish mistakes last night they had not been making and we'll be putting a big emphasis on them for next week and get them prepared to go back in.¬† We'll probably go in the stadium more with them now just so they can get more used to the stadium and the setting and practice more than we will later on.
But as we said, we'll use the scrimmage to evaluate personnel, figure out areas of concern, and try to establish a first group, and we don't care if it's seven offensive linemen that we would count in a starting group.¬† It would be anybody we feel like we could put in and play at the start of a game and they would not hurt us.¬† And definitely, we have got to create more depth as we talk about the scrimmage a little bit longer.
We need to start gaining continuity now, especially on offense, because we have been in this offense a year, we know who we are, and now with personnel, we can start doing a better job of figuring out where we are headed and what would be different with this offense than last year and we have still got a little over two weeks to do that.
But again, we are so far ahead of where we were last year.¬† Players that were held out of the scrimmage, Anthony Fera was held out.¬† We have talked about him with a pulled muscle earlier.¬† Ashton Dorsey was held out.¬† He should practice this afternoon, so he's fine.¬† Demarco Cobbs should practice this afternoon.¬† He was held out.
Alex Norman has not practiced for a while.¬† I think it's a sore ankle or something.¬† And Hassan Ridgeway, I don't even think he's practiced in pads.¬† He pulled a hamstring this summer and he pulled it again when we were in shorts so he has not practiced at all.
And Marquise Goodwin, we held him out last night.¬† Just because we are going slow with him, we'll pick it up some now.¬† I don't know how much he'll do today but we have to get him used to this heat and we have to get him back into football and we have got more time to do it but we have been trying to do it slowly, and he's one of the speed guys on our team that can create explosive plays and we need him to get out there.
I said offensively, one turnover, good ball security.¬† Thought the quarterbacks played well.¬† Mason Walters had the best performance of the offensive linemen.¬† We were really pleased with him and his leadership.¬† Luke Poehlmann is doing an outstanding job.¬† He would be in that mix right now with starters, so he would be‑‑ if we took six offensive linemen right now, it would be the five that are playing, and him, and we are excited about that.
Malcolm Brown had a great night running the ball and picking up blitzes.¬† He's so much better at picking up the blitzes than he was this time last year.¬† Jaxon Shipley had some great blocks downfield.¬† Tight ends in general did not get done what we wanted to get done.¬† So we have still got work to do there.
The best thing other than ball security by the offense last night is we are so much more physical than we were.¬† There was a goal line scrimmage at the end of the scrimmage, four plays on fourth down, and two in 4th down and one, and the offense scored three of the four times against our defense.¬† So red zone was better last night than it had been.
Defensively, the first defense played really, really well.¬† We were excited about them.¬† There were some question marks, but overall, they had a great night, other than forcing turnovers.
We still have got to develop backups.¬† We have got some backups in the defensive line but just about everywhere else, we have got to get some guys that can step up and play, and we have got to create depth on both sides of the ball.¬† There was a fourth down and six inches early in the scrimmage, and the ball was handed off to a back, and he bounced out and the defense caught him for a two yard loss.¬† So first defense did a good job.
Nick Rose and Nick Jordan have shown the ability to have really, really strong legs.¬† Again, we have got to be more consistent in both of those areas.¬† Both Will Russ and Alex King have punted well.¬† So we are pleased that we have maybe legs as strong as we've had overall and we are really excited about that.¬† Both snappers, Kyle Ashby and Nate Boyer have done a good job snapping.
Q.¬† Primarily with blocking‑‑
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† Both.¬† We dropped passes at tight end last night, and I thought we blocked better than we caught.¬† But we dropped‑‑ we probably dropped five passes overall at tight end last night.
Q.¬† You mentioned Milesmoving over there ‑‑
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† He didn't play.¬† I'm sorry.¬† He should have been in that list of not playing; because of his pec this summer, he is moving over there.
Kenny Boyd, we'll probably release him some this week.¬† But he was held out of the scrimmage.¬† The rest of the guys that had operations over the summer played.¬†¬† Even Bryant Jackson played a little bit.
Q.¬† Did your offense have any drives ‑‑
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† Didn't run up and down the field but there were some consistent drives, and they did a good job. I still think defense is ahead of the offense.
I still think we are ahead ‑‑ defense is ahead of the offense.¬† I don't want to act like that's not the case.¬† But it's not near the differential it was this time last year.
Q.¬† Any separation at quarterback?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† No.¬† I think they both did a good job.¬† And that's a good thing.¬† I think we are going to have two good quarterbacks to play right now and we'll just have to figure all that out as we go through.¬† Still got two and a half weeks.
It's not like it was last year where we are sitting here wondering.¬† I really think that in our mind ‑‑ and we ask everybody in the staff room, and we'll go around and say, who would you play at quarterback.¬† It's not only you all asking; we ask, too.¬† I got the same questions you do.
And the answers are good.¬† But we are having more consensus that both could play right now and still win a game for us.¬† I think part of that is because a game like an A&M game and a game like the Cal game, is the players have seen both of them win.
So they know that most of the time around here, we have not had a backup quarterback that could go in and win.¬† And right now is the first time that I think we are in the best shape, we are not in the best shape with the starters because we have had All‑Americans at that position, but both of those guys give us a chance to win right now if they protect the ball and they both did that last night.
And they both played with the ones last night, against the ones and they both played with the ones against the twos.¬† We actually had‑‑ excuse me, we actually had an overtime, which we have never had like that, and we took a team and put them out there and played them against the other team.
And the first team that went out kicked the field goal and the second team that came out had a field goal and got it blocked.¬† So it was fun to watch the kids respond, and we had Big12 officials, so that was good.
Q.¬† Do you have equal confidence in the two Nicks as far as field goal kicking, is anybody else in that picture?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† Nick Jordan and Ben Pruitt would be the two field goal kickers that would be the most likely guys to step up if Anthony didn't get back for the opener, and we still don't have a timetable for him.
Q.¬† Where are the guys‑‑ inaudible.
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† Yes, both of them have done a good job.¬† Both of them are really talented.¬† We had signed both of them again.¬† Both of them would play if we played today, and both of them can improve.
Q.¬† How do you balance out the backfield?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† I don't really ‑‑ we didn't Anthony.¬† We wanted to see Joe and Malcolm get some and then Jeremy Hills got some, and we gave a lot of them to Johnathan Gray.¬† And then we let D.J. Monroe play back there some, as well, so he can play at the tailback/receiver role.
But we really felt like that we wanted those others to get hit and carry the ball, and Malcolm had the best night of the group.¬† And we wanted them to be a very physical scrimmage, so make sure they could hold on to the ball but we wanted to get Johnathan as much we could, too.¬† So Johnathan, I would say he got more snaps than anybody.
Q.¬† With Overstreet being a guy that could do more than one thing, how do you judge whether you want to play him this year?¬† How much work does he have to get before you say, okay?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† It's still too early our estimation, as a staff, to decide which freshman is going to play and which is not going to play.
Within the next week, ten days, we are going to have to start making some of those decisions, because ‑‑ not with Jalen, but it affects special teams and about every category, because we had so many great special teams players, freshmen, that were playing on special teams last year.
I think the one question, we have not run the wild formation much.¬† I think we had it two plays last night, one with Johnathan Gray and it got screwed up.¬† And then one with Malcolm Brown that he had the ball off and it was a loss.¬† So neither one of them were good plays.
But we'll start looking at who that might be, and Bryant is not far enough along yet with Jalen and Connor.¬† Connor has been nursing a sore ankle, too.¬† But they are not far enough along to decide what we want to do with the wild.
And I have also told them, when you have got good backs, you're not going to take a good back out to put somebody in that's not as good as the guy you're taking out.
So our personnel has to be based on the best players being on the field, and the wild formation will not be any different.¬† We won't run it unless we feel like it gives us a great advantage at something.¬† Fossy gave us a great advantage because‑‑ we didn't know it when we started it but he just was a natural.¬† So we have to find out which one of them, if any of them, are a natural with it.¬† And if they aren't, we won't run it.
Q.¬† Happy with what you are seeing with D.J. and Daje?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† A lot.¬† We feel like we are heading in the right direction there.¬† Daje is a guy that can run it and he can catch.¬† He's got really good hands.¬† But he's got to figure out what to do because it's all new for him.¬† He was a tailback, period and now he's running routes and he's in the backfield some and he's motioning some.
He has really upside with ability, but he's got‑‑ all of the freshmen last night looked like freshmen.¬† Just amazing that they have looked so good at times in practice and out there you just say, where did that come from; I don't have any idea.
I think after the scrimmage, they took a deep breath and said, wow, this is a little different.¬† This is a little faster out here.
Q.¬† Scrimmage was ‑‑ inaudible.
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† I think all of them were.¬† In looking at it, I thought probably Duke Thomas, but then he was here this spring, was one of the few guys that looked like he had been out there before.
But other than that, the freshman class in general, they are dropping balls and going out the wrong way and lining up wrong, so we hope they got that out of their system last night.¬† They will come to practice with a different attitude today, I'll tell that you.
Q.¬† How has Malcolm grown in running back from a year ago‑‑
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† We have to figure out how to separate the running back‑‑ I'll say Malcolm had some carries.¬† And you'll say, 360 pounds and can run the ball like that‑‑
Yeah, he's the wild guy‑‑ trying to be a smart alec.¬† (Laughter).
Q.¬† How different is he from a year ago?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† More confident.¬† In great shape, not good shape.
He had very good vision last night.¬† He took a screen that he would have scored on, and I called a sack, because a right to do that, because I thought David would have been hit before he will he released the ball.
But after I called it, the whistle wasn't blowing for a minute and he wasn't going to score.¬† He broke two tackles and looked really good out there.¬† So we were impressed with him.¬† And I thought all the backs did some good things.¬† I thought he had the best night.
Q.¬† After a week of practice, is this team where you were hoping it would be?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† Oh, they are never where you want them to be or where you hope they are going to be, because you always have expectations that are higher than what you can do in 13 practices, and I think we are going into 13 today.¬† So.
We are a little less than halfway through.¬† We have made progress.¬† I like the fact that they are trying.¬† I like the fact that they are in good shape.¬† We are going to have good depth but we are going to develop it.
I told the coaches, we are going to have a good team but we don't have a great one yet and we have to do a great job coaching and figure out how to beat people.¬† We are just not going to be a team that overwhelms everybody and just walks out there and just wins.
Q.¬† Do you feel like having that quarterback competition has paid off the way you wanted it to?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† I really do.¬† If we had to do it over again, we would do the same thing.¬† And the reason is:¬† It helped our football team over the summer.
I think the young receivers are further along because both quarterbacks were out there competing and teaching those guys, and their timing in the passing game is better than it was when we left spring practice.¬† Both of the guys still have some hope and they still have a chance.
And I do think there will be times this year where we will play both of them, regardless of how we separate it.¬† Like I don't think it will be like last year.¬† It won't be the last‑guy‑standing type thing.¬† But I do think that there will be times where both of them can help us in a ballgame.
Both of them just managed things better last night.¬† You could tell it was a totally different thing than trying to manage four at this time last year.¬† And the two older ones are much further along than the two younger ones.
Q.¬† Along those lines, have you made up your mind for sure you want one guy at Wyoming to be the announced starter, or is there a chance you could have two?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† We really haven't talked about it enough because we thought they might separate themselves, and I'm sure they still might.¬† I mean, you get a sprained ankle, sore arm; something happens usually to help.
But we are excited as a staff to have two.¬† And we don't know what we'll do in the opening game but we don't have to know yet.
Usually we try to decide the Monday before the game starts; unless, if it got clear before that, we are not playing games.¬† I mean, we are not trying to sit here and not say anything.
Very honestly, we look at it every minute of every day to see if there's something, and that's a positive that both are doing well.¬† We really haven't decided when or how we will separate, because we still think they may separate.
Q.¬† Dismissing the notion of threesomes‑‑ is that something you're taking seriously at this point?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† I don't think so.¬† I mean, I don't think we are at a point right now‑‑ if we played today, we would not play three.
Again, I think you've got two more weeks, two and a half weeks.¬† So the wild would probably be in that consideration, when Brian was talking about it.
But as far as right now, we have not decided on the wild, if we'll have it.¬† We haven't decided who it would be.¬† And I'm sure that was part of Jalen can run, Jalen can throw; we just haven't put him in that position yet.
Q.¬† How is the offense going to look to fans, formation‑wise?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† I think we really need to wait till probably another week, ten days.
What we discussed today in the staff meeting was to have a physical scrimmage like that last night against a really good defense.¬† It exposes some things and some guys.
So we have got a another week here that we need to look at everything that we liked last night and build on it, because there's‑‑ now you have to start getting continuity.¬† We never had a lot of continuity last year as an offense.¬† We started getting it for Kansas and Tech and then we kind of went crazy after that and we were all over the place and we know‑‑ we know who we are right now and we know what we need to do to get better.
I don't know today that we can say that we are ready yet to do that.¬† So we have got to continue to throw it better.¬† We have got to continue to throw it when we want to.¬† How much no huddle do you want; how much tight end do you want in if you've got four good receivers; you've got to look at all this stuff; and how are you going to rotate the backs, and they will start determining that some, too.
But we really felt like today in the staff meeting that it's too early to start making those decisions, because we want to see how guys that didn't play as well last night respond to another week.
We want to see how they handle the heat for the next week, because sometimes freshmen hit a wall.¬† And we can anoint them as heros too soon, and all of a sudden, one of them wants to go home and we were putting in plays for him.¬† So we just feel like it's too early to go there.
Q.¬† How would you assess the receiver position?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† We have got more speed and more talent there than we have had the last couple years.¬† But again, we are not getting the continuity that we would like yet with the quarterback/receiver/tight end positions in the passing game.¬† We have made progress.
There were some really nice plays last night.¬† But we have got to continue to improve in that area.¬† I like where we are in that running game.¬† I like us being physical.¬† We have got to figure out who we are in the passing game and we have got better ideas now than we had in the spring a lot better than we had this time last year.¬† We had Marquise back for his speed; you add Daje's speed, and that helps you, because it's about explosive plays with the passing game.¬† And we didn't have enough of those last year, and we need to get that done now.
Q.¬† Jordan and Steve I assume are the two guys‑‑ who else?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† Tevin Jackson played well.¬† Kendall played with the backups but Tevin played with the ones last night at the sam position and had a good night.
Q.¬† We know you're a great defense right now‑‑
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† No, I said we were a great defense two years ago and we weren't at this time.
So I don't think you know‑‑ I don't think any coach knows what his team is going to be like until you get in trouble.¬† You get in a game and you're against a good team, and even if you beat somebody badly, I'm not sure you know who you are.¬† But when you're in trouble in the second half or at half‑time and comeback and win, you start knowing who you are as a team.
I do think we have good players on defense.¬† But it remains to be seen‑‑ Kenny Vaccaro did great last night, Alex Okafor, Jeffcoat, they all did a good job.¬† There's enough players there to have a really good defense.
We had some busts at linebacker but we thought overall the ability of Steve and Jordan and Tevin made up for some of those things, too.¬† But I don't think our coaches or I are ready to anoint our defense as being great yet, either.
And if you don't have but one turn over and a scrimmage, that's part of being great; they said we tried to strip it and the offense protected it.¬† You've got to get it out.
Q.¬† You recruited Jeffcoat‑‑ they both had injury problems; are they similar in a way in terms of this being a big coming‑out year for them?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† I think so.¬† Jackson was the Most Valuable Player for us in the Holiday Bowl.¬† So he came out last year and Jordan had some great games, but I do think when you don't redshirt a young guy, he gets some things his freshman year but it's usually not a dominating performance.
Then the second year, they both got hurt some.¬† So I do think they are both ready now to have a great year.
Q.¬† Is there one area of concern you have right now?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† Depth, for one thing.¬† When we have been really good around here, we've had a lot of depth and we have not had a guy get hurt yet that won't play in a game.
But we also feel like that we are not near as good when we substitute; in the heat, you're going to have to substitute.
So we have got to have some guys step up at nearly all the positions.¬† And we think they are good players, but we have a drop‑off, and that's an area that really concerns us.
Q.¬† Will you have any more scrimmages?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† Last year we had another scrimmage and then a situational‑game type thing that really wasn't a scrimmage.¬† That's when you are down to who you want to play and what you know and you are in game situations totally.¬† I would say the next scrimmage will be a big one.
Q.¬† When have you seen from Poehlmann that makes you say that he is No.6?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† We thought he was about to be really good when he hurt his knee against Baylor two years ago.¬† Last year I never thought he was well.
So now he's the only senior in the offensive line and he's playing really hard and he's playing with confidence.¬† He's smart and he can play either guard or tackle.
So he gives us immediate depth.¬† And Stacy really likes him now.¬† He never got to see him last year.¬† It usually takes more than a year, year and a half to get that knee well, and he's seeing him well right now, so he's doing a good job.
Q.¬† And guard, do you feel like you've got answers there?¬† Can you talk about Cedric working some at center and where you think‑‑
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† Cedric has not worked any at center, at all.
Q.¬† How do you feel about the guards?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† We have had some bad snaps, which concerns us.¬† We are working Trey Hopkins some with Garrett Porter at backup center.¬† But those are‑‑ Thomas Ashcraft is doing a good job in there.¬† He's moving toward a guy that will play some.¬† Sam's got to pick it up, do better.
Q.¬† So Poehlmann's tight end days are over?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† Hopefully.¬† We are seeing some good things out of Greg Daniels.¬† He's a 256‑pound tight end, and if he can block as good as Luke, it gives you a bigger pass threat and you don't have to mess with him being out there.
So Greg's coming on.¬† He's doing some good things.¬† We have got to remember, he's been a tight end for 13 practices.¬† So he's got a lot of work to do.¬† But he's got a chance to come on and be a better blocker there than we have been in some cases.
Matthews has blocked well.¬† He's helping us.¬† D.J. Grant is more healthy than he's been, so he's running and he's moving better, again, two years removed from two knee operations.¬† So we hope those guys can pick it up and do well.
Q.¬† How are the wide receivers blocking?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† They have been blocking very well.¬† Darrell Wyatt does an amazing job to me of blocking of the last night we didn't do as well.
One of things we have real to really look at, in our scrimmages, and everybody in America does it this way, and it's a tough deal, but you don't cut in most cases.
So offensive linemen against a slant defense like we have got, can look really bad when they are doing everything right, but they can't cut the guy.
And then the same thing with blocking outside, as much as you use bubble screens and quick screens, if you're staying up all the time and the linebacker is out there on you, you know, smaller receiver is not going to block Tevin Jackson without cutting him, saw him as a changeup.
So we may have to start looking at allowing them to cut because it helps our defense and our offense, even though it's more dangerous.
Q.¬† Is that going to be more important than ever, because the running game‑‑
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† Yes.¬† I think people are going to stack the box and we are going to have to get explosive plays outside, and that's one of the ways to do it.
Q.¬† What's the injury situation‑‑ not just those guys specifically, but do you feel like you might not be able to see enough of those guys before you make a determination to red‑shirt?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† When you've got a tweaked muscle, a strained muscle, you're not really sure how long they are going to be out and then what kind of shape they are in.¬† Because if it's a leg muscle, they can't run and in this heat, it just really delays their progress.¬† Because you need depth so badly, you don't even consider red‑shirting people until midseason, because you may get three hurt tonight.
You just never know.¬† But it definitely in this process with freshman where they are learning so much, and there's so much pressure on them to learn immediately, those two are really getting behind.
Q.¬† How much of the quarterback decision is strictly moving the chains and how much of it is how the team reacts to the guy?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† Yes.¬† Protecting the ball, move the chain, score.
I told Vince Young one time when he had the bad game against Missouri and I think we won 28‑20 and he threw four to us, four to them, and a couple incompletions.¬† I told him after the game:¬† You need to quit worrying about stats, because the only stat that matters to the quarterback is winning the game and that's it, period.¬† Now, you have to protect the ball and you have to have some explosives and you have to score in the red zone, but that is happening naturally if you're just managing the game.
But David has done a better job with his communication.¬† Case has got the whole communication down.¬† He's relaxed and so both of them are right there doing a good job.¬† And I'm proud of them.¬† They are really getting along.¬† Who is starting has not been mentioned and rotation has not been mentioned.¬† We don't even talk to Brian about how he rotates them.¬† He and the guys work it out.
So it's not like last year where everybody was counting how many did he throw, how many did he get.¬† It's just not that way.¬† It's both of them are trying to help us win.¬† The other day I saw David throw a touchdown pass and Case went out and high‑fived him; it's different than it was this time last year.
And I think they both know they are going to play and they both know we need to win and they both know they are special in that position to win.¬† So we are in a different spot than last year with four.
Q.¬† Is the decision going to be different ‑‑ you said the whole staff weighing in; is that different than last year or the same as it was last year?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† No, it's the same as it was last year.¬† I like to have the opinions of the defense about the quarterback because they see him every day.
And I ask the defensive coaches in front of the offensive coaches, a lot of times, position coaches don't want to talk to each other, because they are competing.¬† I want their opinion, so I'll ask Duane:¬† Tell me, rank our receivers, which ones scare you.¬† Manny, who on the field scares you when they walk out there and who doesn't.
And whether Bruce Chambers and Darrell and Major and Bryan like it or not, that's fact.¬† And then they may pout when they walk out, but at least they know who they think is best.
I made the offense and defense‑‑ but the offense had priority.¬† I made them draft the top 24 players on offense the other day, and I made them draft the top 22 on defense.¬† And they are just three wide receivers that play some on offense, so that's why we had an extra position.¬† And I had them fighting.¬† It was good.
And if you‑‑ this year, I said:¬† To win this year, who do you draft.¬† And I want them; I want hands up, and I want discussion and I don't want anybody's feelings getting hurt, but who and why, and why do you like him and where do you think he fits.¬† I think it's important for Duane to hear who Darrell Wyatt doesn't like to go against, and I think it's important for Darrell to hear who scares Duane.¬† Because that's a great scouting report we don't get that much.
Q.¬† Can we get that list?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† No.¬† (Laughter) You all have it.¬† You make it up.
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† The coaches.¬† I'll ask some key players that I trust their opinions.¬† But we can't ask 105.
Q.¬† Do any of the answers surprise you?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† No.¬† There's usually opinions, and I can tell the opinions before we start the draft.¬† And that's one of the reasons we have a draft, because if I've got an opinion‑‑ I'm in both rooms.¬† They are not.¬† So when I hear them say, oh, my gosh, that guy's fast, oh, boy, I'd hate to play against him.¬† I need the offense to hear that.¬† And the only way I can do that is to ask them, because they are not going to ask each other.¬† That's part of it.
And I'll say Manny:¬† What is the offense doing that bothers you the most; what do you hate to see.
And he'll say:¬† When they go three over two and you have that stuff back side over there it kills you, just kills you.
Offense needs to hear that because it reinforces to them, that's what they have got and that's important.
Offensively what gets you the most?¬† Those three linebackers up inside when they cross them and blitz, we can't pick it up.¬† Just it's a nightmare.¬† Reinforces to Manny, bring it more.¬† Bring it more.
And then you have to get to a point, and we'll head to that, where you've got to start working on Wyoming and New Mexico and Old Miss stuff because our defense is so unique, it's so much different than other defenses that we see it doesn't help our offense to game plan against our defense.¬† So they have to get on another level here to start looking at other defenses and get away from this pretty soon.
Q.¬† Does it hurt the No.1 offense's confidence going against them?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† I think they have to understand that when you don't game plan, there's going to be some free guys, because we don't have any reason to go offense against defense, because we are not going to play.
So the coaches are good enough to say, that one's on us, don't worry about that.¬† We would check out of that.¬† It looked back.¬† But it's not going to be a factor.¬† That's not going to come up, throw it out and let's go to the next one and sometimes you waste some plays like that.¬† But you don't have enough time to game plan.¬† You're trying to look at personnel first.
Q.¬† Can you start the offense can play better ‑
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† I think so.¬† I think until we get out there and play better.¬† You can feel better but you've got to play better.¬† It is what it is and at times last year, we were not what we should have been offense.¬† And they are excited about the possibilities.
They see sparks of things.¬† That goal line last night, they were so excited that they scored three times.¬† And it was a tough‑‑ they were knocking each other around.¬† It was really physical.¬† So you could see they were pumped and excited and the defense left mad.¬† So that's good.¬† That wouldn't have happened last year.
Q.¬† Can you talk about the return guys?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† The two top guys right now would be Quandre Diggs and Jaxon Shipley for punt.¬† And on kickoff, I don't know that we are there yet.¬† Probably Quandre, and we have got to be smart with Quandre and not overuse him.
But you would have Quandre on all of the other normal suspects with Marquise, D.J., Mykkele Thompson returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the spring game, Sheroid Evans, Daje Johnson, Duke Thomas.
I may have missed one, but those are all guys to be in the mix to be back there.¬† We probably wouldn't put Jackson back there just to try to save his body some.
Q.¬† Manny mentioned the depth in the back seven with guys like Thompson and Turner, do you feel like after a week, you have a better idea of what you have with some of those guys?
COACH MACK BROWN:¬† We do, and Josh had a good scrimmage last night.¬† So he's working toward being in that mix.¬† He and Mykkele Thompson are the old guys that have played some now, but I do think‑‑ and I just spent two hours with a staff talking about all of these things and I wanted to talk to them before I talked to you.
That's why really after a scrimmage it doesn't do very much good because my opinion may be different than theirs and I want to know their opinions.¬† There's enough guys in backup roles outside of the defensive line that the two tackles that can be good in three weeks‑‑ but we need to be better. ¬†And that's where we are concerned on defense.
If you ask Manny, Jordan Hicks is the older one, all of the rest of those guys have some things that they have got to do better.¬† And Steve Edmond is a tremendous athlete.¬† He has not played much football.¬† So there are a couple of things last night that came up that Keenan Robinson has seen so much that he would have adjusted to that Steve has got to get to in three weeks, so I think that's where we are.
We are still‑‑ I think we feel better about the middle of the defense up front than we did this time last year for sure.¬† Linebacker we are not as experienced so we have to catch up there.¬† And Demarco has missed three key days here with a sore ankle.
And then you start looking at the secondary guys, are you going to play nickel a lot in this league; will you play some dime.¬† Yes, with both.
So who does that mean, is that Josh and Mykkele right now and who else is coming.¬† Leroy Scott did a good job last night.¬† He had some plays and he has not popped up much and he showed up.¬† Evans is coming on and doing some good things that are showing up.¬† Do you play Duke Thomas; where does he fit in that mix.¬† What about the other freshman.
So all those things, we played Peter Jenkins and Dalton Santos a whole lot last night.¬† So how does that compare to Kendall Thompson; how does that compare to Aaron Benson.¬† All of those guys did a good job last night.¬† Who is ready to win all the games.¬† And that's what we have got to decide on both sides of the ball with the backups.
It's fun because we are getting our depth back and guys are having to compete every day.¬† Now whether that guy is good enough to win all the games yet or not, just like the tight ends, they are so much better than they were this time last year. ¬†I want them to be really good, and that's what we are talking about.
And with Demarco, he's been hurt a lot.¬† So, can you put him on special teams, can you plan on him starting, can you plan on him playing 12 games, 13 games.¬† All of those are questions that are unanswered that you have to start getting answered here soon.
But you have to look at the past to know the future with some of the injury issues and if guys had a lot of injuries, you have to plan on somebody playing in his place at some point.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports