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September 18, 2012

Mack Brown

COACH BROWN:  First want to brag on our fans.  Our fans travel so well.  Seems like they got a great reception in Oxford by the Ole Miss fans.  It was a lot of fun for everybody.  From what I can tell just in notes and emails, our fans just had a great time.  But they were a huge difference in the ballgame.  It's just amazing how we can get tickets like that when we go on the road. 
It was fun.  It was the largest non-conference crowd in Ole Miss history and the fourth largest in that stadium, period.  That environment should really help our players when we go up to Oklahoma State.  Encourage our fans to be the same there as they were in Oxford, because they were just unbelievable. 
John said there was some discussion about whether the players wanted to score the 72nd point instead of the 66th point at the end of game.  The answer is, sure we did.  They work hard when they're on the field.  Our second team offense has done really well when we put them in.  They scored twice against New Mexico.  They took the ball and drove it right down the field, with limited play selection, we weren't even running outside, we were running off tackle, and did a great job getting it down to the six-inch line. 
Basically the discussion on the sideline is, When is enough enough?  When you're sitting there at 66, does 72 matter, or is it classier at the end of a ballgame to take a knee? 
I discussed it with our staff on Sunday to make sure we're on the same page.  We sure didn't expect to be put in that situation.  We didn't talk about it going.  It's a good problem to have.  I haven't had it lately.  Really haven't had it enough with this staff to talk about it. 
In the staff, there was one guy that said, I can see kids wanting to score.  Everybody else in the staff room said it was best to take the knee, do what we did.  They thought that was it. 
What we told the guys is, We're glad you're competitive, want to score.  Coaches coach and you play.  I'll make those decisions, you don't.  When I make a decision, you do what I say and move forward with it.  That's what we got. 
But usually when it gets in the 60s, the game is out of reach, that's enough for us.  We don't have to score at the end of the games when it doesn't matter.  The game was in such a position we couldn't throw passes much on that last drive.  That's the discussion we had.  We told the players, If you have differences of opinion, share it with your coaches, then you can bring it back to us.  It's about all of us.  One thing we have to do is continue to have humility, not be arrogant, not shove something in somebody's face.  That's what we were trying to do. 
Some people might say taking a knee is worse.  I would think the Ole Miss players would not agree with that.  I've been on both sides of that.  I've had 73 scored against me before.  It's not very much fun. 
Offensively a lot of praise goes to David Ash and our offense.  When your quarterback plays that well, there's a lot of guys that helped him.  Saturday night is who we want to be.  As I've said in '05 when we were rushing for 250 a game, passing for 250 a game, getting 500 yards and 50 points a game, that's the balance you want to have.  Over 300 rushing and passing, it's unbelievable that that popped up.  Our offense hasn't shown the ability to do that over the last year and a half or so, really the last two years.  It was a great sign. 
So even though we know competition's going to pick up, we'll play much better defenses here in the next couple of weeks.  At the same time it showed the offense that we walked out of Oxford with a lot of confidence.  That's something this offense has been lacking, in my estimation, over the last couple years.  They know they can do it and it's exciting. 
John also said there's some talk about David's under-thrown balls.  He had a couple of great strikes.  Really truly we've been overthrowing too many balls.  If you under-throw it, you got a great chance to get it.  And usually the wide receivers come back and get it.  We've been encouraging him to let the guys catch it and been challenging the receivers to catch it.  Overthrown balls are punts:  you don't have a chance to catch them. 
I thought he did a great job and I thought the receivers did an outstanding job by making some outstanding catches. 
When the receiver is turning and running back and the defensive back is running with his back to you, you'll see the under-thrown ball caught most of the times by the receivers, very seldom by the defensive backs. 
Progress in a young quarterback's life.  First 12 games, David was 85 of 151 attempts, 85 completions, and that's 56.3% for 937 yards, three touchdowns and eight interceptions.  He had a passing efficiency of 104.4.  Last three games he's completed 65 of 95 passes, 72.6%, for 485 yards, eight touchdowns, no interceptions, a passing efficiency of 175 yards. 
He had 15 straight completions at Ole Miss Saturday night.  That's the third longest streak in UT history.  So he's very confident right now with where he's going with the ball and also he's very accurate. 
Four TD passes, averaging 44 yards per pass, including 69, 59 and 46 yards.  So we were able to accomplish what we wanted, and that's throwing the ball downfield, making it work for us, which should, again, send a message to defenses and have our guys do a better job of catching the ball when it's down there. 
Had a phenomenal 101 knock-down blocks overall by the offense.  They were downfield knocking people down.  They were very, very consistent. 
Offensive line has been so consistent, we've only had four negative plays in three games.  That's just phenomenal.  It's a credit to the offensive line as well as a credit to our backs who are being physical and not getting tackled for losses. 
Just about all the guys played well.  They all graded winning performances on the offensive line.  Donald Hawkins did play his best ballgame, which is a positive as well.  Jeremy Hills and D.J. Monroe are impressing us with their roles as seniors.  They're working hard on kick teams.  Also when we ask them to go in, they're being very productive. 
Jeremy has his role with third downs.  We'll probably get the ball more to D.J. because he's running the ball harder than he's run it, he's catching it better, and deserves more touches. 
You start looking at the runningbacks, all three runningbacks, all four runningbacks really, but the three that carried the balled most did a great job.  When Joe came out, Malcolm had what I thought was by far his best game.  The last touchdown he ran, he showed great vision and cut all the way back behind the backside end on another third-and-five on the goal line, he powered his way into the end zone. 
We've had good ball security with our backs.  Thought Johnathan Gray did a great job when he came in.  The three receivers that played the most, they all played really well, too.  They're all blocking for each other, more of a team concept. 
Marquise Goodwin showed his ability to score on the run and in the air.  That speed really helps us as well.  But it thought the guys really helped the quarterbacks and went after the ball, which is something we've been encouraging them to do. 
66 points is the most that's ever been scored, most scored against Ole Miss in the last 100 years.  Last time was 1917.  That's a great confidence builder for our team and it's the most we've scored since the 2005 Big 12 championship where we scored 70. 
First time ever in Texas history that we've rushed and passed for at least 300 yards in a game on the road.  The third time in school history we've posted 300 yards passing and rushing in the same game.  Two 100-yard receivers for just the 12th time in school history.  300-yard passer, 100-yard rusher, and two 100-yard receivers plus in the same game for the first time in school history.  Two 100-yard receivers and a 100-yard rusher for the second time in school history.  We scored touchdowns off all three turnovers.  The defense, we had a non-offensive touchdown with Steve Edmond's interception, which we've been pushing for, and the two interceptions by Quandre were turned into touchdowns. 
We were disappointed after the blocked punt.  Had a short field, did not not only score a touchdown, but missed the field goal attempt. 
Defense has been doing a great job of forcing turnovers.  Quandre Diggs with his two interceptions and Steve Edmond with his interception for a score.  I feel we've been really physical on defense, which is something that we're trying to improve on both sides of the ball.  In fact, we've become a much more physical football team than we've been in the last five or six years. 
We are giving up too many big plays.  It happened some to us early in the season last year.  We got better at the end of the year, but still gave up some against Baylor. 
We still have some tackling concerns.  I think the front is playing really well.  But we've missed tackles at linebacker and in the secondary.  There were nine missed tackles, two of which accounted for 97 yards.  You take that out, you take scores out.  We can't continue to do that with this league, the way that people score.  We just have to keep working on it. 
The good thing is, it can all be cleaned up.  The mistakes in the secondary, the inconsistency, are things that we can fix.  We have to do it, do it better, have two weeks to do it before we head to Stillwater. 
Same thing with the tackling.  We're taking each play out and showing the guys the nine plays we missed tackles, we're showing them exactly what happened and what we need to fix so we can improve it. 
We'll just go back to work on those issues.  I said in pre-season, these have been issues in spring and fall.  We said we lost a lot of seniors down the middle, and those four seniors are being missed right now and the young ones have to pick it up and do a better job. 
Special teams, we wanted to be the best in the country.  We already blocked two punts.  The punt block and return team, we returned one 35 yards.  Doing a good job in both those areas. 
Kickoff coverage was great Saturday night until we let the one come all the way back.  We told him, No. 10, that we had covered.  I said after the game we probably need to do a better job substituting, because a lot of those guys are playing.  When you cover 10 or 11 kickoffs, you get tired.  We have to look at that and make sure we didn't put them in a tough position. 
Punting, we're still No. 1 in net punting.  We punted once the other night for no return again.  Our snapping was better for the short snaps on extra points and field goals, and our snapping was really good on punts. 
Alex King has done a tremendous job of getting the ball high, directional punting, punted it to the left where they didn't have enough time to return it. 
Our kickoff return has been average to poor.  We haven't done a good job with it for three weeks.  We're not happy with it at all and we're looking at the potential of looking at different people in a couple of spots this week because you've had three weeks to fix it and if you don't fix it, somebody else will. 
Extra point field goal was fine.  We thought we would block an extra point or field goal at Ole Miss, we didn't.  Disappointed.  But we had a chance.  Chris Whaley has blocked an extra point earlier in the year and that team is doing fine.  Our extra point and field goal is still inconsistent, so we've got to improve in that area. 
Turnover battle is the best thing we've done in the first three ballgames.  We only lost one turnover and it was the fumbled snap in the opening ballgame.  We have gained 42 points off of opponent's turnovers and they've scored none off of our one turnover.  They had a fourth-down stop after the fumble, so that would be like another turnover.  We're winning the turnover battle right now and it's helping more than you can even imagine. 
As far as the health of our team, we'll hold out some guys that are older and banged up, let them get rested.  The open date is used for a couple things, and that's one of them.  You have guys that have been hitting for four or five years, maybe some young ones that are banged up, you can let them get some stuff done but you hold them out of the some of the hitting this week. 
The health of Anthony Fera, Jordan Hicks and Joe Bergeron, who will all be limited this week, we will know more on Sunday when we come back.  We'll practice today, tomorrow and Thursday.  The coaches were out recruiting, some of them yesterday, some will go out Thursday night, most all of them will be out Friday, some Saturday, then we will come back and start practice on Sunday.  So we will know more about Anthony, Jordan and Joe at that time.  They will be limited this week. 
We really haven't done anything with Anthony Fera since he pulled his groin, what, three or four weeks ago.  The trainers and the medical staff have done whatever has been done.  We haven't even seen him kick, so he has not worked with us whatsoever.  But we'll reevaluate those guys on Monday. 
Another good thing about the first three weeks is that we were able to play a lot of players.  We've been really pleased with the second team offense.  They've done a good job.  We think those guys can play more.  We have not been as pleased with the second team defense.  When they've gone in, they had a stop the other night, but there was a penalty that saved them.  They didn't play very well against Wyoming.  They haven't given up points but haven't played well as a group, and that's something that concerns us. 
We need some of the second teamers to step up on defense and be ready to help.  The two ends, Cedric Reed and Reggie Wilson are really playing well.  They're helping us with our depth at end.  All four of those defensive tackles have played really well, so that's not an issue up there.  We got to have more help at linebacker.  So we've got to step up there and do a better job. 
In practice today, tomorrow and Thursday, reevaluate the first three games, go over everything you're doing, try to build on the positives to see that this guy is doing this better than we thought, this other guy can do it, we haven't gotten it to him or something like that, and then with concerns you got, you either fix them or throw them out because you do not put yourself in a position to keep beating your head against the wall if something is not working. 
The other thing you do is you still continue to look at the freshmen that still might play.  We didn't play a new freshman on Saturday night, but you look at the guys that might play because of injuries, and that probably will continue to occur until about the seventh week of the season.  We don't travel all of them, but you're still looking at them and trying to make sure. 
For instance, like you've got Bryce Cottrell and Shiro Davis, and we're going to start seeing teams throw it 50 to 70 times a game.  Will you have enough pass-rushers when you get down the road five or six more weeks?  Those are things we're having to consider and look at. 

Q.  Is this a good time or bad time for an open week?  Would you rather just keep playing?
COACH BROWN:  When you really think about it, I really doesn't matter because it is the time so you have to make it a good time. 
I don't like them to be the first week of the season.  I don't like them to be the second week.  But we've got a really tough stretch coming up here, so it's probably a good time for us to step back, let some guys heal, also kind of figure out for sure now who we are going into conference play. 
I get in trouble sometimes.  I call it pre-season, it's not, it's non-conference season.  In non-conference season, you want to win.  We're 3-0.  You want to stay healthy.  We were healthy till Saturday night, got a couple of guys banged up.  We've hung in there pretty good except for Anthony Fera.  You want to come out with some confidence. 
I think we have more confidence coming out of Ole Miss going into that environment than we did playing UCLA last year, beating them 49 to whatever it was.  I thought we came out of this one with more confidence. 
What we've got right now, in my opinion, is we've got confidence but we're not a great team because we've still got too many things to fix.  We feel better about ourselves than we should.  There's good and bad to that.  As coaches, we have a lot of things we can work on this week and coach to get the guys' attention. 

Q.  Any explanation on the broken down missed tackles, any common denominator there?
COACH BROWN:  No, if it was a common denominator, it would be easy to fix.  What you do is you take every young person.  So for a Demarco Cobbs, not to call him out, but just a name, Manny will sit down with him and he will go back through every missed tackle or missed assignment he's had for the first three games.  He'll ask him his opinion.  He'll ask him what happened. 
Some of Saturday night, you have to give credit to Ole Miss.  They were leading the nation on explosive plays.  Scott runs 10 300 meters.  We saw him outrun us.  Moncrief is really good.  Quandre had him covered like a blanket on the one he caught, stepped out at the 22.  And I think Bo Wallace is a good player.  Those three guys can play for about anybody. 
We have to give them some credit in this deal, too.  At the same time we'll do that with every player on defense that has missed an assignment, like we still have a penalty on third down and long.  We've done that three times this year.  We can't have it.  Gosh, we had a great blitz in Bo Wallace's face, hit him right as he was throwing it when they made the third-and-18 down the middle.  We got to cover better.  The long touchdown catch by Moncrief, we had him covered.  Safety didn't take the proper angle to get there.  Those are things we can fix.  Just got to fix them. 

Q.  What is the situation at linebacker?  You mentioned you want more depth there.  Jordan out for a while.  What is the situation there?
COACH BROWN:  I think that's what the next three days will be for.  Manny and I talked about it at length this morning.  What we will do is look at some different guys there this week, see who's improved the most.  Santos has a banged up calf, too.  He'll be limited a little bit even though he'll be out there some. 
But we just got to find some guys there.  And you're going to play more nickel defense in the Big 12 than you do sometimes when you're playing some option teams.  So that will be a factor, too.  There will be an extra defensive back in there more in the next four or five weeks than there were the first three.  That will factor in. 
The thing right now we have with Jordan is not only his experience but his leadership.  All the other guys are younger and haven't played near as much.  He gives us so much leadership at linebacker.  That's what we lost last year with Keenan and Emanuel. 

Q.  (Indiscernible). 
COACH BROWN:  I really think both have done a tremendous job.  We had Bryan in the hardest position that you could possibly be in as an offensive play caller last year and quarterback coach because he had new coaches that all had opinions of what we should be running as well as what he brought us from Boise.  They've meshed that together well so we know who we want to be more like Saturday night than we did this time last year. 
Three weeks ago last year he had four quarterbacks, and David was the fourth one who hadn't had any reps.  He got maybe I think four plays, maybe one play in the spring game, no work in the summer.  So we were trying to figure out three weeks ago whether we would redshirt David or put him in for a few packages because he could run the option. 
Then Connor leaves, Case and Garrett are in competition.  Then Garrett leaves.  So poor Bryan has a freshman who never played and Case who played nine plays in his freshman year out there with new coaches trying to put all this in. 
I think it's a real credit to David that he didn't get his head down.  David's got tremendous faith and kept fighting and competing to get to where he wants to.  It's a credit for Bryan not to give up.  Bryan Harsin is one of the most positive human beings I've ever seen.  He's upbeat at practice, upbeat about his offense, and as a play-caller.  He believes in what we're doing and thinks we're going to get really good at it. 
I've said, I think we've seen pieces of it here and there.  I thought we saw a really good offensive football team Saturday night, understanding now the competition will get better. 

Q.  You mentioned the UCLA game last year.  How is this going to be different than that, do you think?
COACH BROWN:  I don't know.  That's why we all watch.  There are going to be a lot of people watching.  I think we have a tougher schedule this year than we had last year I believe.  You look at West Virginia.  I showed the kids yesterday Oklahoma State's 25th in the coach's poll.  I don't know why y'all don't print the coach's poll.  Y'all leave that out.  It's like the APs are better or something.  I read espn.com and I know that everything that is put up is in the AP poll. 
But I do think this league's harder.  We may be a better team than we were last year and still could not have as good a record because we got some really hard games ahead. 
I think Oklahoma is 5 or 6, depending on whether you like writers' or coaches' opinions.  West Virginia is 7 or 8.  Oklahoma State is 25th in the knowledgeable poll (laughter). 
That was humor.  That was humor.  It's a week off.  We're friends. 
But I do think it's a good question.  We'll know more about ourselves in a couple weeks, that's for sure.

Q.  Does the memory of that in your mind make you pull the reins a little bit about the excitement knowing it's felt good before and hasn't turned out perfect?
COACH BROWN:  I don't know.  If every time I felt good I pulled back, I'd be a miserable sucker in my life.  I'm the other way.  I know we're headed in the right direction.  I know we can do better than what we've done on defense.  I like where our kicking game's going.  I really like the prospects of offense. 
I sat in here for two years and told you I wanted to be more physical.  You looked at me like, This guy is crazy.  We're seeing that better.  We started the game running the ball.  That's very hard to do against anybody.  We were successful on the first two plays running the ball.  We're getting a lot of yards after contact. 
But I think this.  I think to answer your question, I know we're headed in the right direction.  I'm not anointing us as a team that is going to win all the games.  I do think last year we didn't have a chance to win all the games.  The year before we were poor.  Now, nobody's going to say absolutely that we don't have a chance. 
We got hope.  We got more confidence.  Our fan base has got more confidence.  We know that we got the right coaches in place.  I feel like we got some really good players in place.  We're headed at a good place for us.  We're about to get back to where we need to be.  There's no guarantees you beat Oklahoma State in two weeks.  We can't get into promises, waving a wand, say everything is well, but it's not.  We gave up 31 points to a good offensive football team, but that's too many in this league.  And Ole Miss was better on offense than they were on defense.  They were not as good as Oklahoma State.  So we understand that going in. 

Q.  One of the things you mentioned, turnover differential.  Is there a way to try to coach about that and maintain that?
COACH BROWN:  When you get better competition, the numbers usually don't stay as good.  The other thing is that you either have to be lucky and healthy or you got to be deep.  Every time you turn on TV anymore, somebody has lost a good player.  So the teams that make it at the end have to be really deep or lucky.  Anymore, teams are physical enough. 
Guys are bigger, faster, they're flying around more, there's more kids getting hurt.  That's a concern for all of us in this game.  The great teams are the ones that can replace somebody that's hurt, not sit around and talk about injuries all the time. 
Last year, that's what happened.  Gosh, Mike Davis was hurt, John Harris was hurt, Jaxon Shipley was hurt, Marquise was limping half the time, you weren't sure who you were at quarterback, then you lose three backs at Missouri right after you asked me what we were going to do because we had too many backs.  I think it was your fault.  I just remembered that.  These are the demons that come back out (laughter). 

Q.  Speaking of sacks, since D.J. is pressing you, what about Malcolm, the performance he had?  Does that change how you use him at all?
COACH BROWN:  No, I think he and Joe both looked really good.  We'd like to get Johnathan in earlier.  But we're in really good shape at that position.  Jeremy Hills can come in in third-and-long situations.  He's the best guy at the third-and-long.  When they're going to blitz us, he can pick them up.  He has a tremendous attitude.  That's what I was talking about he and D.J.  He plays six or seven plays. 
Freshmen always gripe they ought to be playing more.  I said, Here are two five-year seniors that are really good players that are on kick teams and they're handling their role.  They're not griping at all.  Some of you young ones that haven't done anything yet, freshmen always want to play.  D.J. and Jeremy are trying to win.  That's exciting for them. 
That TNZ position, we just need to let D.J. get back in there some.  I like what I've seen from him.  I think about every time he's touched it, he's scored.  That's a good thing.

Q.  Can I get your thought on Steve Edmond's play. 
COACH BROWN:  Yeah, Steve didn't play a lot last year, so his learning curve is going really quickly.  He needs to now.  Especially depending on what we see Sunday on Jordan, Steve is right in the middle.  He's got to step it up and play. 
He's got all the tools.  He's so big, fast, can catch.  Looked like a fullback running when he turned it up the other night.  But Steve needs to be a big-time player here as we start Big 12 play.

Q.  You never know what you're going to get on a first road trip.  What worries did you have going out there?
COACH BROWN:  The thing that worried me the most going on the road is how would they handle the bad things that would happen to them in a game.  We haven't had any.  The only time there was even any, Oh, my gosh, was when we fumbled and we had Wyoming down to three scores, we fumbled down there and they had a chance to get it back to 14 or something. 
There really wasn't any pressure on the team.  When you go on the road and you can't hear, they're talking about being one of the biggest games in their school history, as much as we hear about the SEC, with A&M going to the SEC, all that hype with the kids, you don't know whether it would get them. 
You really haven't seen David in that situation much since Kansas State last year and that was at home.  So David hadn't had the road trip because Case handled it over at A&M. 
How would they be able to hear?  Would we be able to run the ball?  They're quick on defense, move a lot of guys.  Are we able to move our feet and get that done?  How would you handle the bomb threat distraction?  I mean, that's hard.  We're supposed to meet over here at 12:00.  They couldn't go back to their dorms until 12.  They couldn't get their clothes.  Arthur Johnson did a great thing.  We'll be more prepared in the future.  Hopefully it will never happen again.  He sent them out to the old airport to a pavilion, everybody got together to make sure everyone was accounted for and safe.  At 12:00, they had to run back to their dorm, get their clothes to travel.  Might forget something easily.  Then they had to run over.  President Powers was traveling with us.  He came over.  I asked him to speak to the team briefly, bring them up to snuff on what had happened exactly.  He did that.  We said, Let's go.  Then it's a long trip.  Then you have the trip from Memphis down.  Had never been to the stadium. 
Each team is different.  Didn't know how they would respond.  Even when we gave up the big plays defensively, our guys were not happy, but they didn't get frustrated.  They didn't get to a point where they were pointing fingers.  I thought it was good that the defense has carried the offense around here for a couple years.  I thought it was good the defense can brag on the offense and say, This is getting better.  It helps us get better. 

Q.  It looks like you went over and said something to the defense as a group.  Is that something you've done a lot previously?
COACH BROWN:  Yeah, I try to do that all the time because it's good and bad.  I mean, if it's bad, I can tell them, Unacceptable, got to pick it up.  But I thought, again, I was really disappointed when we had, like Wyoming, two or three opportunities to get the game over, put guys in earlier.  28 points now is not a lot in college football, the way people are playing, throwing no-huddle.  I was disappointed they had the long run with Scott and then the kickoff return.  I thought that really kept some guys out of the game. 
We've told them, It's your responsibility to get your buddies in the game.  It's not ours.  You're taking snaps away from guys that are your buddies.  Buddies, don't gripe at us, gripe at your teammates. 

Q.  Are you doing anything specifically to prevent false confidence?
COACH BROWN:  Around here, it's a younger team, so we'll talk to them.  I think the environment here is we get too high too fast, we get too low too fast.  I think they pretty much understand what they've got ahead of them.  That's the good thing.  We bring them back down to earth when we watch video.  They all see video.  They know who is playing good, who is not.  The defense understands they're going to a place that's maybe number one in scoring, number one total offense, so they're not going to walk up there cocky.  They better go with some confidence, but they understand that. 
I think Stacy Searels will get the offensive line back down to earth today.  They'll think they lost the game by about 6:00 tonight.  I like the fact of when you can run the ball, everything else is okay.  If we can continue to stay healthy at runningback and run the football like we are, it takes so much pressure off the pass protection, and you do have the ability to get more balls downfield.  There's fewer people back there. 
If you watch this video, the two most obvious ones were the two touchdown passes from about the four or the five and the one.  Nobody is even close to anybody because they all had to bunch up and try to stop your run.  I liked that.  I think it's back to who we want to be. 

Q.  You mentioned before the season you were pretty happy with the six, seven guys in the offensive line, looking for depth.  Where do you stand now?
COACH BROWN:  We talked about it this morning and felt like every time we've put the other guys in, they've done well.  Now, the game has been in hand, you've beaten the other team down.  But in our pass some we put the second team offensive line in, couldn't block anybody, couldn't score.  They're really excited, doing a good job.  I do think we're developing more depth in both lines than we've had around here in a while. 
Luke Poehlmann is still the guy that goes in first, but the other guys have done a good job when they came in.  Stacy and I were talking about that with the staff this morning.  Those guys are at a point now where we could put one in a ballgame, and we weren't sure three weeks ago of putting them in early when it mattered.  We think Johnathan Gray has gotten enough carries in the last three ballgames that he's more ready now to go in early because you didn't want to put him in that environment really early, as loud as it was, and possibly have an exchange problem or something till he got settled down. 

Q.  D.J. and his yards after contact, is this something y'all had seen in practices?
COACH BROWN:  No, I think D.J. is much better than he's ever been.  He's more confident.  He's stronger.  He's all about football now, not track football.  He's wanting to win.  That's what seniors do.  They get to a point that they do not want to leave this place without leaving it like they found it.  Kenny Vaccaro, Alex Okafor, Jeremy Hills, there's this group of guys that said, We got to get this place back on track, and we're tired of being okay, so let's do whatever we need to do to win.  We challenge them to play their role. 
The thing we've told them, If you don't like your role, improve it, make it better.  Get more carries.  Every time you touch it, you do something.  And I think he's doing that.  Like I said, he's never said one word, he just wants to help us win.  So I like what I see out of him right now a lot.  And there's still some limits because he's not a 'wide receiver', so there's some limits, but I still think we can keep putting him in. 

Q.  (Indiscernible.)
COACH BROWN:  We got in so late Sunday morning that I tried to sleep for three or four hours, and I was behind.  I didn't get to see any football Sunday.  I was asked about it on the teleconference.  It's a hard one just from what I heard because I know both guys, and both guys are friends.  I'm sure Greg Schiano is getting Tampa to where they can play, not stop till the whistle is over, as long as everything is legal, I understand that.  Still there is kind of a gentlemen's agreement, don't touch that quarterback.  What it's over, it's over.  I didn't see it. 
But I understand Greg trying to send a message, I want to win.  I can understand Tom saying, Don't be touching Eli Manning. 
I got to see a lot of football Saturday because a long day sitting there all by yourself.  I do think right now, I think it's probably necessary, but there are more calls for hitting a selfless player, a guy that can't help himself, head-to-head.  Flags are being thrown very, very quickly.  It's something that coaches are aware of.  It's something that coaches are understanding.  We don't want our kids or other kids to get hurt.  I mean, there's no way to do that. 
At the same time it's really hard right now to teach tackling because if you hit in here somewhere, it slides up any, that head goes back, and there's not much room to hit in there with a little back, it's a flag. 
The thing we've got to be careful of, in my opinion, is we don't throw the flag so quickly that kids start taking knees out and we'll have neck injuries because the defensive player has his head down or we are going to start hitting so low that we take a quarterback's knee out. 
I think it's the toughest time right now to try to teach being physical and what that means and staying within that rule because what we show out here is big hits in our past.  I saw we had a bunch of big hits put up for one of the games at a timeout.  Those would all be flagged now. 
What we used to say was the dominant hit now is a penalty, so it gets confusing for a guy that's a real physical guy and we're saying we want a physical team.  Receiver goes up for the ball, punish him.  So what you're saying now is you really have to be careful about how we're teaching, what we're saying. 
The other thing that happens with it, I think we're seeing some of it in the NFL right now, the toughest thing for coaches is the inconsistency of officials.  Just tell us what you're going to call and we'll teach it.  But when you're not sure, you think it's a great hit, the flag comes out, what do you tell your kids?  That's a hard thing. 
I saw some of that Saturday.  I'm seeing more flags thrown for good hits than ever before.  I understand after the young man got hurt at Tulane, everybody wants him to be okay, Arkansas, Wyoming quarterback got knocked out, concussion, hasn't played, I understand.  But it's more difficult for everybody.  I understand leaning on the side of taking care of the kids. 

Q.  Along the lines of concussions, there's 23 concussions in the NFL in three weeks.  In the long-term, I know you have policies about how you go about it when a kid has a concussion, but where does this go? 
COACH BROWN:  That was part of our discussion this morning, too.  Kids are bigger.  They're faster.  We're smarter in what we feed them.  The training is unbelievable.  So the impact of the hits are bigger and stronger. 
I don't know.  I think that's a good question that I see because I do think at some point there will be no cutting, so the rules will continue to lean towards safety.  There may not be a crack-back as such.  But we've changed so much with blocking downfield on screens.  I do think there will be some more things.  We're seeing you can't touch the quarterback now anyway.  I mean, if you touch him, he's throwing the ball, they're going to throw a flag.  He is so protected.  That's changed in the last four or five years. 
I really don't know where we're headed with it.  But it is a concern with everybody, all of us.  The NCAA has a concussion plan put in place now where if they have a headache, they take them out, and they can't put them back in until they're cleared for 24 hours. 
If a kid hits somebody, comes out, says they're the least bit dizzy, I've got a headache, they're out of the game.  That's done by the doctors and trainers.  Coaches have no input.  They come and tell you, So-and-so is out of the game and will not return, and that's it. 
I think from the medical standpoint they are trying their absolute best that no one stayed out there.  I remember when I played, they would put up fingers, say, How many I got?  If they put up this, you said, Two, close enough, go back in.  How long is he out for, get him back in.  What's your name?  That's close enough.  That's it. 

Q.  I know we'll talk more about Oklahoma State on Monday, but just a quick preview. 
COACH BROWN:  What we're going to do is we told the kids, we will actually look at cleaning us up and we're going to look at what we need to do to improve.  We're not going to mention Oklahoma State to the kids till Sunday because we feel like in our past, if you're not careful, you can start playing games too early.  If you start on them now, you talk about them all week, it's kind of old news when they get back for next week. 
We're going to wait.  We're not going to have a scouting report.  We'll work on things they're going to do.  We will not mention Oklahoma State to them until next week. 
Thank you all. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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