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October 15, 2012

Manny Diaz

Q.  Mac put a lot of the onus on the offense for their lack of productivity and the loss.  How much do you agree with that, and how do you think the defense played on Saturday?
MANNY DIAZ:¬† I thought we were poor.¬† I thought it was‑‑ I thought they beat us in every way possible, so there's no side of the ball, there's no one that can walk away from that feeling good about what happened, especially us as coaches.
We have to move on.  We already have.  We had a good day yesterday, and just move forward to Baylor.

Q. What did you take positive out of the game?  Was there anything?
MANNY DIAZ:¬† As always‑‑ it's not good.¬† There's nothing you can say about that that's good.¬† But there are some guys that played well.¬† I thought Brandon Moore before he went out played really, really well, I thought Ashton Dorsey played really well on the inside.
But something did happen on Saturday that I thought was interesting.¬† For the first time this season I started to see the steps to us becoming a player‑led defense, and we'll see where that goes.¬† But there were some leadership things that finally emerged on Saturday, and again, it's‑‑ it was such a poor showing on our part, and that's not what we would ever want to represent this University with the defense playing the way it was.¬† But out of that we saw some guys take some leadership stands that may serve us going forward.

Q. The players were talking about how after a game like that their confidence is shaken.  Does that happen to you at all as a coach when Oklahoma is able to just kind of move the ball at will?
MANNY DIAZ:  It's not a matter of your confidence being shaken, it's just a matter of that horrible feeling, the feeling that everyone associated with this University had on that Saturday.  You can only imagine what the players and coaches feel, 100 times worse.
But what we have is just that feeling that you've just got to go get it right, and that's our commitment.  Our commitment is to these kids.  I think sometimes the one thing about these kids, at times they're more resilient than even we are as adults because they're able to go on to the next day sometimes easier.  I think we sit around and think about things more.  But what we have to go back to, when you speak of confidence, you have to find confidence from something that's real and that's going to have to come from the practice on Tuesday, the way we practice on Wednesday, and to get ourselves back to feeling good about some of the things that we can do.

Q. How do you replace Jackson Jeffcoat?
MANNY DIAZ:¬† Well, we will miss Jackson for sure.¬† I think Reggie Wilson is a guy that has really, really made big improvements from where he was this time last year.¬† Cedric Reed has done the same.¬† Both those guys have really come along.¬† But when you lose a guy like that, it's sort of ‑‑ when you move the next guy up in your batting order, it sort of affects, now your fourth guy is your third guy, your third guy is your fourth guy, your fifth guy is your fourth guy, so it really almost affects you in three positions.
But more than anything I just feel really badly for Jackson because Jackson was just having an outstanding year, was doing everything that the coaches were asking him to do and having a lot of success, so he'll be a big miss.

Q. Are you thinking you'll have to play Shiro?
MANNY DIAZ:  I would imagine that's a possibility.  It's really hard with the tempo offenses we see in this conference to make it through a game with three defensive ends, and that's assuming that we stay healthy from here on out, which there's no guarantees.
I would say that there's a good chance of that.

Q. Third straight week you're playing ‑‑ Landry and Geno, now you're playing another pretty good quarterback, but is it better that RG3 isn't in Waco anymore?
MANNY DIAZ:  Well, yeah, because they went from No. 1 in pass offense to No. 1 in pass offense without him there?  Certainly the first player picked in the NFL Draft is a special talent and things like that don't come around very often, but they have had the fortune of replacing him with a senior, so that would be three straight weeks of a senior at quarterback and a great passing offense with weapons all over the football field.
Again, the onus, we know these teams we're playing are very good at what they do.  We have to get better at what we do well.

Q. I remember last year before the Baylor game you talked about their ability to throw deep was almost uncanny, and it seems like that's carried over this year with different receivers and different quarterback but they still seem to throw long.
MANNY DIAZ:¬† Yeah, they have great speed on the outside.¬† Terrance Williams is maybe as good as any wide receiver in the country, and he was a little bit overshadowed last year because of Kendall Wright and the damage he did on the inside, but Williams on the outside is outstanding.¬† The number of drives, I think they've scored four one‑play drives this year and 11 drives in three plays or less, or something insane, which is what they did last year.
They're constantly on the attack, and what that means defensively is you just have to from the first snap to the last snap you just have to be big‑play aware and just be ready to play different concepts and hunting the explosive play.

Q. When they have an elite receiver like that, do you buy into taking maybe your best cover guy and putting him on him regardless of where he lines up?
MANNY DIAZ:¬† You can try to do those type of things.¬† But sometimes there's even more to it than just having your best cover because you have to make sure that ‑‑ any way that you affect your pass defense obviously affects your run defense, as well, so there's a lot to it.¬† But obviously as you‑‑ as any good defense will try to do, you always try to make them at least not beat you with their best players.

Q. It seems like it's almost at a point where this could go one way or the other, guys could really buy in and believe that the program is going to continue to be rebuilt or buy out of it.  How do you make sure guys are buying in?  What do you have to do specifically to make sure of that?
MANNY DIAZ:¬† Well, I think what you have to do is you have to look the guys in the eye and you have to be honest with them, you have to be‑‑ players want coaches that are for the players, and that's what we are.¬† We've not had a good second quarter to our season.¬† We are at halftime right now in our season, and we've not had a good second quarter.¬† So what they're watching from us is they're watching our panic.¬† They're watching if we scatter, if there's division amongst us, and there's not.¬† And then we meet yesterday as an entire defense and we talk with them and we hear them and we get the sense from them and we understand there's not division amongst them, there's not division amongst this football team.
This is a football team that ‑‑ it's really a unique situation.¬† They really enjoy each other.¬† They have a very good chemistry.¬† But what they're doing is they're learning to become a player‑led football team through the lack of seniors that we have, and that's literally what I was talking about.
I think we're going through obviously growing pains that I wish our fans didn't have to see, and again, I'm sad about the way that way we represented ourselves this past weekend.¬† But that being said, what is coming out of that is something that I think we are all going to be proud of, and the season‑‑ the story of this football team is certainly not going to be written after this week.¬† There's still a lot to be said in terms of where we end up.

Q. Amid a lot of the criticism and angst, what does this team do best?¬† What makes you proud when you take a look and say‑‑ maybe it's communicating, maybe it's‑‑ I don't know, but what do you think this defense does best at this point of the season?
MANNY DIAZ:  I think the thing we're doing the best right now is we're hanging together.  I think the thing we're doing the best right now is that we show that we're battling, we have heart, we're not worried about guys going their separate ways.  And where do you see that, you see that on the last drive of the game.  I mean, you see guys still fighting to the end of the game, when they feel as badly as anybody does in that stadium.  But they're still fighting as much as possible.
The way they respond coming out of halftime, and that's a little thing, but that shows at least that they've got heart, they have character.¬† Now what we have to do‑‑ now, sprinkled in there's a lot of other good things and a lot of good individual performances, now the issue is putting it together in a consistent package, and that's what we're learning how to do.

Q. Mac had said he didn't feel like there was many missed tackles against Oklahoma.  It seemed like at times like in the open field guys were shying away from contact or not wanting to meet Oklahoma players head on.  Is that way off base?
MANNY DIAZ:¬† I don't know if shying away is the word.¬† I will say this:¬† I have been‑‑ I have seen it before where it is like turnovers on offense.¬† There have been times where I've been on teams where they've had an issue with turning the ball over, and it becomes such a battle cry that it can almost become‑‑ the guys almost start holding the ball too hard and causing more turnovers until it becomes a psyche.¬† One of the things we addressed yesterday is that‑‑ I've seen the same thing happen with tackling before, where when tackling becomes such a major issue and we have worked obviously to the nth degree in practice, that the players can become so robotic in the tackling that what starts to happen is‑‑ still the number one thing in tackling is running your feet through contact and wrapping the guy up is that you almost start to say, okay, here I am, and you start to slow down to do everything fundamentally absolutely right where in a game like that you can't do that.
So we talked about that with some of our young guys, we have to‑‑ okay, yes, we made big plans, but we have to go.¬† You've got to go and you've got to get after the guy.¬† So it's not a matter of shying away, it's not a matter of want‑to in any stretch, and the reason I know that, there's too many plays where the same people made really good physical tackles on their same guys.¬† So it's not as if they don't want to.¬† They do want to, but there's situations where‑‑ and part of that, that just comes from confidence.¬† You've got to go and let it happen.¬† What we do is we show the plays that we were not proud of the way we tackled and you compare that to the same guy making a tackle in sometimes a harder situation.¬† That's just how they have to learn how to do it.

Q. It seemed like up through maybe half of the Mississippi game, three quarters of the Mississippi game, things were okay on defense.  When Jordan went out, I know you've played better offenses, but how big an effect did losing him really have on the defense?
MANNY DIAZ:  You know, you have to go play with whoever is in there, but Jordan is a very important person on our football team.  He's one of the best leaders we have on defense, and he's certainly the leader in the linebacker room, and he's a guy that it's not one position that is affected when he's not game, it's four or five positions because of his ability to do the things before the play.
A lot of the things that happen, and you don't want to get beat before the play begins, and sometimes it can be six inches in your alignment that can really hurt you or hinder you in doing your job.  But I'll say this:  That is my responsibility to get the next guy ready to go.  Everyone we play has to deal with injuries, and you just have to overcome those things.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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