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November 5, 2012

Mack Brown

COACH BROWN:  Thought the guys played really hard Saturday in Lubbock.  It's the best Texas Tech team that we've seen since the '08 team, and Tommy has them playing well.  They're playing really well on defense, and Seth Doege is one of the best quarterbacks in the country and continues to play at that level.
Glad for our seniors.¬† I didn't realize until after the game when Alex Okafor said our seniors are 4‑0 against Tech, and that's always a special thing when you've got an in‑state rivalry when you can say you've beaten them the most.¬† We've won 9 of the last 10 against Tech, and four out of the last five in Lubbock.
People wondered why I was happy, and that's quite a feat for this football team and the staff.  That hasn't happened around here since the '50s and '60s.  Lubbock is a very, very difficult place to play as we've seen.  The games we've lost out there have been seven points or less.  They've all been really, really tough games.
Since 1999, 72 road victories, we're tied for the most in the BCS.  So our guys continue to play well on the road.  We've still got a lot of things to fix, and we've got to come back home and play well this weekend.
Special teams, what we did well.¬† The biggest thing was Carrington Byndom had tipped a field goal earlier in the game and his game winning field goal in the end made a huge difference in the outcome of the ball game.¬† I thought it was pretty much over at that point.¬† We did return one kickoff for 27 yards, with Marquise trying to be aggressive.¬† We didn't get much done because they kicked so many balls out of the back of the end zone.¬† We were four for four on extra points and had a 42‑yard field goal.¬† So we continue to improve in our field goals that we struggled early in the year.¬† We lead the BCS in blocked kicks with seven.¬† And Mykkele Thompson and Carrington Byndom both have two.
Things we need to improve:¬† Our kickoff coverage.¬† Nick Rose kicked the ball great.¬† But the one kickoff return they had after the 15‑yard penalty, they ran out it out to the 41‑yard line.¬† We've got to do a better job of covering our kicks.
Alex King continues to be an excellent punter.¬† He had one punt inside the 10‑yard line that was downed by Duke Thomas.¬† And he had a 50‑yard punt.¬† But we had poor coverage on two of the punts and they had returns of 15 and 22 yards, and we can't let that happen.
Also we're trying to be aggressive and come after the first punt, and we had three guys at the block point.  But ended up roughing the punter where we should have blocked the punt.  That would have been a huge three and out and blocked punt to start the ballgame.
The two most valuable players on special teams were Nick Rose with five touchbacks and Carrington Byndom with the blocked field goal.
Offensively we outrushed Tech 163 yards to 112.¬† And when we've out rushed an opponent, we're 121‑7 in victories since 1998.¬† So that's a very important stat for us.
Once again, we had no turnovers on offense.¬† We've turned the ball over only eight times this year, which is the seventh fewest in America, and gives us a plus‑six turnover ratio which is 26.¬† We had no sacks, ten explosive plays, four runs and six passes.¬† We were 1 for 1 on fourth downs by going for a fourth down at our minus 44 early in the second quarter, but we felt like we had to stay aggressive even though we had a two‑score lead.
Very proud of Johnathan Gray with his back‑to‑back 100‑yard games.¬† That puts him in an elite group with a lot of running backs at the school, and David Ash had a great game coming back to play well.¬† Mike Davis ended up being the Most Valuable Player on offense, and he ranks first in the Big 12 and sixth in the FBS in yards per catch with over 19 yards every time he catches the ball.
The best offensive lineman of the group, and they all played well, but the best performance was Trey Hopkins.¬† Things we didn't do well and need to improve on offense, we didn't do as good a job on third downs.¬† We're one of the best in the country at third‑down efficiency this year, and last week we were 5 for 11, just under the minimum that we need to be successful.
Our red zone offense, we were close.  We had two touchdowns, but did have to kick a field goal, and we like to have all touchdowns in the red zone.  Critical errors, we had four penalties which were really, really costly penalties, especially the holding call in the third quarter that kept us from moving the ball and getting a huge first down coming out of the half.
Defensively, things that we did well, our run defense was much better.  55 of the 25 runs were two yards or less, and that's an area that we've been inept throughout the year.
Last week we showed improvement, and Saturday we showed improvement.  We knew that would be a big part of this game, and it should be a big part of every game plan.  They only had one explosive run.  We've given up only one in the last two ballgames of more than 25 yards.  They had no passes over 25 yards, which is an amazing feat against them.
We held one of the best quarterbacks in the country that had thrown 15 touchdown passes over the last three weeks to one touchdown pass and 54% completion percentage.¬† Five trips in the red zone, we held them to two touchdowns.¬† And Carrington Byndom had an outstanding day on defense, stopping the two‑point conversion and breaking up a key third down play and blocking the field goal, as we mentioned earlier, to secure the victory.
So third straight week we've started with a three‑and‑out.¬† We've been really, really good on third down defense efficiency.¬† They were 4 of 14 on third downs, and we seemed to have continued to do that well.¬† We still gave up two fourth down conversions.¬† One of them was reversed where they just had a great call and they made the first down.¬† The other one was a key throw, with a long yardage, fourth down.¬† So we've still got to come up with some fourth down stops.
We had 12 on the field on the goal line, which didn't affect us that much.¬† It was about a yard penalty, half yard penalty.¬† But you can't substitute anymore unless the offense substitutes with an up‑tempo offense.¬† You're just going to have too many on the field.¬† We got started and they got nervous and we had too many defensive linemen on the field and we can't have that.
We did not force a turnover, and it's hard to win games modern day unless you force a turnover.  Thank goodness we took care of the ball.
We affected the quarterback, obviously, but as much as we blitzed on Saturday, we didn't get there.  We've got to do a better job with our pass rush.
Alex Okafor is tied for first in the Big 12 in sacks, and he's 15th in the BCS with eight sacks.  He continues to flush the quarterback out and put pressure on him.
Steve Edmond plays better each week.  Three weeks in a row he's had tremendous ballgames.  He is leading our team with 66 tackles.  And Kenny Vaccaro has 10 tackles over the last five games and forced two fumbles in the last three contests.  We're one win away from where we were as our total last year sitting here with four games left.
So we've got a lot of things to work on this week.  But we still have a lot to play for.  This is a very, very important game for us coming up on Saturday.
Iowa State, the honorary captains for the game will be Colt McCoy.  He'll be coming back for the game.  Phil Dawson, Lieutenant Michael Thornton who is a Medal of Honor recipient for the U.S. Navy.  Since it is veterans’ recognition weekend, also, Lieutenant General Eickmann, U.S. Air Force, which is a UT grad.
We'll have a flyover with four jets, which will be exciting before the game.  It's an 11:00 o'clock game, so we need the crowd to be there early and honor our honorary captains for the military, and two of our greatest players with Phil Dawson and Colt McCoy.  We also need our fan support to be like it was for West Virginia and Baylor because you made a huge difference, and we haven't played very well at 11 a.m. traditionally.  Our crowds haven't been as good at 11 a.m., but this is important for all of us.  So let's make sure we get prepared and ready to go.
The men's and women's banquets will be this evening.  Major Applewhite, which we're also proud of, it's a great honor for him to have played here, be a graduate assistant here, and now a coordinator.  Fun for all.  They're having the great moments he's given us in coaching and as a player.
Phil Dawson who still amazes all of us at his age to kick like he does in the NFL, and I'll never forget people talking about his 50‑yard kick to beat Virginia into the wind.¬† 53 yards, whatever it was, which is one of the more amazing kicks in our school history.¬† You've got Jim Hudson, Mike Dean, and Hub Ingraham that have all done so much for our program.¬† Also our team doctor, Carey Windler is going in.
Iowa State, we only have to go back two years for the upset victory that they had over us here, 28‑21.¬† It was a game that most of our players‑‑ half of our team was involved with, so they remember it.
You go back and look at what Iowa State has done this year.  You start out with 13 seniors on their football team.  They've played really good defense through the years that Paul Rhoads has been there.  Wall Burnham has been one of the best defensive coaches in the country.  Wally has been in this business for a long time and he was at Florida State with Mickey Andrews when they had the run with all of those great teams for 14 years down there at Florida State.
They beat Iowa on the road.¬† They had a close loss with Texas Tech.¬† They beat TCU in Fort Worth.¬† Kansas State, they played Kansas State to 27‑21.¬† They've played them better than anybody else.¬† They beat Baylor 35‑21, and obviously played Oklahoma a whole lot better than we did last weekend.
We're expecting a physical ballgame, a tough ballgame, and close ballgame, and it's really important that we keep winning.  The guys understand the urgency.
You go back to our game that we lost to them two years ago, and we had upset top ranked Nebraska on the road, and we came back home and they played very well.¬† I think we lost five turnovers during the ballgame.¬† We did not play as well.¬† Last year we beat them 34‑0.¬† But when you go back and study the video very closely, we gained a lot of turnovers.¬† We had a couple of trick plays, but we did not block them very well and we didn't stop their running game very well.¬† It was more the turnovers than anything else.
So we're continuing to talk about being a tough football team.  This is a weekend where we've got to stand up and show it against a very tough and physical team.  Questions?

Q.¬† Is part of that, Mack, responding to success and a balanced, well‑played game, as opposed to maybe one side does well, the other side struggles?¬† This time you've got it in every phase.
COACH BROWN:  Yes, we did think that after the game and we still feel like today we played our best game as a team against Texas Tech.  The defense, really, has not been consistent all year.  But offensively, we've been having to outscore people.  That wasn't the case Saturday.  The defense made some key stops.  So we've got to play really, really well on defense this weekend.
Our kicking game was a disappointment to me last week at Tech, and we've got to continue to do what we did and what we've done all but two games, really, on offense all year.  We've got to continue to put up points.

Q.  How do you avoid a similar situation?
COACH BROWN:  We've got to grow up.  We've got to have the intensity and urgency we had Saturday, and we've got to do it every day.  We told them to be a really good football team and have a chance to win all the games here at the end, which we're planning on doing.  You can't sit around and talk about how bad you were at Kansas or how great you were at Texas Tech.  You've got to go play the next week.
You can see Arizona beat USC one week, and gave up 66 points to UCLA the next week.  We're not seeing games carry over from week to week anymore.  There's enough parody out there that you better be ready to play every week.  We know now anybody can beat you.  Especially us.  We've played poorly at time this is year, and we've played great at times.  So it's time for us to finish by playing great.

Q.¬† Can you change all of those things that set up?¬† You haven't played well in 11 a.m. games here this year.¬† The crowd has a hard time getting here.¬† How do you self‑motivate these guys?
COACH BROWN:  Well, we've asked them to do a better job, obviously, and we'll keep looking at it.  We text them all week at every moment to try to make them better.  But we totally stunk at Dallas.  We were a little better at Kansas.  So maybe the third time is a charm here.  Maybe they'll play better on Saturday.

Q.  After the Oklahoma game, I'm not sure many people thought you'd be able to rattle off three straight wins.  Going into Kansas was kind of lackluster.  Can you talk about how you've managed to keep the guys insulated to everything that's been buzzing around and how they were able to get to this point?
COACH BROWN:  We told guys you have to worry about what you can control and not the opinions of others.  So if you don't want to read hurtful things when you lose, you're going to read hurtful things, so don't read it.
Again, after a game, whether you play well and people are going to brag on you more than you probably deserve, because we've got a lot of things to fix after Tech.  What we've got to do is go back to work, block out the outside world and get the circle tighter and make sure we continue to improve as a football team.  That is the only thing that's important.  There is no question.
As you look across the country, not everybody gets ready to play each week.  It's a scary thought.  It seems with 12 games and 365 days a year to prepare for those 12, that everybody would have full intensity every weekend.  It doesn't happen across the country.
We're not good enough to play without full intensity.  So we've got to make sure that we refocus.  That is part of us growing up here at the end.  It's a young team.  There is a tremendous amount of injuries.  There are question marks each week.  We've told them we don't want to hear it.  Go play.  The only thing that's important to us is to beat Iowa State, and then we've got a week off.

Q.  Is there anything you pinpoint that's made the defense improve really since the second half of Baylor?
COACH BROWN:  It has.  The biggest thing is stopping the run.  We've done a better job stopping the run and the screens the last couple of weeks than we did at any point earlier in the year.  Why we didn't do it earlier, I don't know.  But if you allow somebody to run the football the way they throw the ball in this way in this league, they can be two dimensional and you've got no chance.
Right now we're doing a better job at the line of scrimmage.  Steve has gotten so much better.  We don't know about Kendall Thompson this week, but he's improved so much.  So our young linebackers are doing better.  Our young safeties are doing better.  But the fact is that we're stopping the run, and that is the key.

Q.  I know you talked a little bit about (Indiscernible).  On the sidelines it kind of looked like a weight had been lifted.  What was going through your mind?
COACH BROWN:  I don't think anybody saw me on the Kansas sideline.  I was really happy then too.  I'm usually pretty happy.  I was pretty happy at Baylor.  It's a true correlation to wins.  If people haven't noticed, I like to win, and that's what this is all about.
The Tech game when we got here was one we weren't winning all the time.¬† That was a game that became very important to us a long time ago.¬† We lost the first year.¬† That knocked us out of the conference championship game because we beat A&M the next week.¬† Then A&M plays Kansas State instead of us, and that was a last‑second game.
We lost out there in, I believe, '02, 42‑38 on a double pass at the end of the game, and a play that Brock Edwards was called for holding.¬† When Cedric Benson scored in the end zone on the left side, and they called it back and we lost that game.¬† Then obviously the huge loss in '08 that cost us a chance for a national championship and a conference championship because of the tiebreaker.
So the three loss that's we've had against them in 15 years have all been significant losses for us and very costly.  That is a game that the players get excited about, and one that I get excited about.

Q.¬† You guys joke about being happy after a win.¬† But you went so many years with being the underdog.¬† The so‑called experts said you were a touchdown underdog last week.¬† Do you go back to those days from NorthCarolina and whatnot when you were underdogs quite a bit?
COACH BROWN:  No, not at all.  I'd rather be a huge favorite every week because that means we're really good.

Q.  Not surprising you sent a good well wish to (Indiscernible).  How much does Iowa State (Indiscernible)?
COACH BROWN:  It's interesting.  They have a great player in his place, which has also surprised us.  I did send him a note of sorry that you're going to miss some time here at the end, and also that I appreciate so much how you've played.  The guy has been a great player in this league, and we've been able to see him a lot the last three years.
But he is tough.  He's smart.  He's a great student.  He's a tremendous team leader, and he may get back for their bowl game, but he'll be in the NFL.  But Jeremiah George is a young guy, No. 52 that you all should watch this weekend.  Watched in film yesterday and last night and he's unbelievable.  He can fly.  He's all over the field.  He's from Florida.  We had not noticed him very much because of the two great linebackers they've had.
But give them credit.  He jumped right in the middle of that Oklahoma team last week and played great.  So circle No. 52 this weekend and watch him.  He's fast, he's tough, and he's really good.

Q.  With the election tomorrow, we know what happened the last elections.  Some guys said some stuff on social media.  Are you going to remind your guys be careful what you say and be smart Tuesday night?
COACH BROWN:  Since you brought it up, I will.  I hadn't thought about it.  I've had a little bit more on my mind, but I will definitely bring it up.  We don't need to be political with football.

Q.  You go back to Jantz and Iowa State's offense a little bit.  What's he present kind of as a wildcard quarterback?
COACH BROWN:¬† Steele Jantz has improved so much from last year.¬† He can beat you with his feet and his arm.¬† Those are the ones that scare you to death.¬† He can beat you with off‑schedule plays.¬† Seth can do that.¬† But Seth's not going to run much.¬† Steele will pull the ball down and take it and run with it without question.
We've got to try to do a good job stopping the run, because Iowa State is a big, physical, offensive line and they like to run the ball.  But he can give you fits with the option, the quarterback draw, with sprints, nakeds, and the ability to run off schedule.
It's also Iowa State is also a place that's warm to my heart.¬† I was an assistant coach when we came in here in 1979.¬† It was the first time I had ever been to Austin, Texas.¬† I was the receiver coach at Iowa State when we lost 17‑9.¬† So I've been involved in every game that Texas and Iowa State have played.
It's a good place.  They've got a lot of great people there.  These kids play hard, and you've got to give them credit.

Q.  Is there a Major Hall of Fame moment you have for us, coach?
COACH BROWN:  Yes, I think you can go back to so many great moments for Major.  I'm sure that's why he's in the hall of honor.  But none better than the performance he had against Washington and the Holiday Bowl out there at the end that threw for 497 yards or something.  He's in their Hall of Fame.
Major has been great for the University of Texas on so many levels and I'm really proud of him.  He'll deflect it all on Wednesday when you talk to him, of course.  He'll say that's fine.  I'm a lot more worried about Saturday at 11:00 than I am Friday night to be honored.
But Major is a star.  He's got it written all over him, and he'll be a head coach one of these days and a great one.  We're lucky to have him.

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