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December 3, 2005
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to congratulate the Longhorns from Texas University. We're being joined up here by Coach Brown and the players sitting behind their names. Congratulations, Coach, on the undefeated season and winning the Big 12 Championship. Opening comments?
MACK BROWN: Thank you. We're really proud of our players. I congratulate Colorado for a great year and winning the North. Gary has done a tremendous job winning 3 out of the last 4. I hated to see the score get like it did for him and his football team. I hope they do well in their bowl game. I'm proud of this football team. We didn't play as well as we needed to or wanted to last Friday, and we didn't play as passionate as we'd like to, and the guys came out and were hitting on all cylinders today and we played a great football game and we're excited about going to Pasadena.
Q. Mack, I realized what your focus is, but if you could, what would you like to say for all those who vote for the Heisman?
MACK BROWN: I would like to say look at the year. Vince Young is a great football player, he's the most valuable player on our football team for sure, and on any football team across the country. Understanding that Reggie and Matt are both great football players, but I don't think we would sitting here today without Vince.
Q. Vince and Rod, how important was it for you Houston area guys to come in here, and how fired up were you to play in Houston and win the Big 12 title.
RODRIQUE WRIGHT: It was a great feeling to come back home. On the bye week, we had a lot of people come up to me, I know Vince had the same, happy we were coming back to town and compete. To not only win the Big 12 title, and we're going back to the Rose Bowl, and we did it in our hometown in front of everyone. All the fans supported us, and they were deep with burnt orange. It was great.
VINCE YOUNG: To me the funny deal about it was finding tickets for everybody. We were asking all the guys how can we get tickets in the locker room. The whole week of practice, I was excited and pumped up. It was pretty emotional. I was looking forward to coming home to family and friends and everybody.
Q. Mack, can you address the margin of victory and preparing for this game? Can you imagine ever having something like this occur?
MACK BROWN: No, I didn't. It was a similar halftime score in Austin, it was 34 to 10, and really played an even ball game the second half. We're sitting there at the -- I guess it was 35-3 at halftime, and then what happened is we got some turnovers there and a blocked punt to start the third quarter, and then it got out of hand.
Q. Mack, can you talk about last year's Rose Bowl, and is it special that you're returning to that spot as opposed to the Fiesta Bowl and Orange Bowl, and David, can you talk about the year Vince has had?
MACK BROWN: First, we're excited to go back to the Rose Bowl because it was such a great place. Our guys enjoyed it and had a wonderful experience. Secondly, it's for the National Championship. Most people do not even get the opportunity to play for one, much less having a chance to win one. The guys are really excited about going back. They had a wonderful experience. They told the Freshman about it. I'm so proud. This bunch has been fighting the pressure of going back to the Rose Bowl since the Oklahoma game. It's been the most amazing thing I've ever seen. I didn't think we handled it as well last week, but the guys were able to focus on their goal at hand today, and we told them, obviously, you win, you're going to the Rose Bowl, you don't, we're not sure where you go, and you're depending on someone else to decide where you go, and this bunch all year has controlled their own destiny, and they did the same today.
DAVID THOMAS: Well, Vince and I coming in together, I've seen him more being the best player in the country. It's so much fun to play with him, and the way he leads this team and the heart he plays with. He means a lot to all of us and you can't say enough good things about him.
Q. A question for Michael and Rod, talk about that first drive, Colorado, they were able to move the ball on you and getting the turnover to stop that momentum.
MICHAEL HUFF: We knew that Colorado would come out there and give us things we hadn't seen before. Being senior leaders on defense, we had to make a judgment, and by the end of the drive, we got the ball back to the offense. So, as long as we got the ball to the offense, and they're able to score 60, 70 points a game, we'll be fine.
RODRIQUE WRIGHT: Like he said, I mean, we knew that they were going to come out and try to do different things. We knew they were going to be pumped up. It's a Big 12 Championship. I think we did a good job of handling it. As a defense, before the game we talked about getting turnovers, and I think we got four or five, so that's great. Whenever we do that, like Mike said, our offense is going to put up a lot of points when we give them the ball, so that was our goal.
Q. Vince, can you talk about what this means winning this for Mack, his first conference championship, and then talk about the goals that you guys had set before the season even started, especially you wanting to come back here to your hometown and getting this done?
VINCE YOUNG: I mean, you could say a whole lot of things about Coach Brown. Just seeing him dance and seeing him do a lot of different things, getting the team loose and him loose as well. Coaching -- he's having fun as well coaching, and to give him this victory and name him Coach of the Year, we love playing for a guy like that. Everybody feels the same. All of us are excited and appreciate him taking us in and bringing us here to play for the University of Texas. For the team, period, we have been working so hard. Summertime, I mean, it's hot, it was real hot out there, but we were still out there working hard, excited. Every time we break it down, we were saying Big 12, and we got here, and me and Rod come from Houston, and it's a blessing to play in front of your family.
Q. Mack, can you guys play much better than you did today?
MACK BROWN: Probably not. We'll find some things we didn't like when we go in, but forcing the turnovers, I think, made the difference in the margin of score. We were able to go one-minute offense, and no-huddle with Vince, and he's just so dangerous when he gets in that area. Guys were hitting on all cylinders. Colorado will not let you run the ball. They do such a great job in that area, you have to spread them out, and you have to throw the ball and we had some great advantages with the crowd.
Q. Mack, after all of the losses to Oklahoma and not winning a conference, do you feel this team has changed the image of yourself and this program?
MACK BROWN: I feel some other teams have changed the image. I would like to say the 2001 team, they were beaten up this week pretty badly about the game back in 2001 and Colorado won the game, but that was the first team to win 11 games for us. They took the awful upset and they were out in the Holiday Bowl in big Washington, which is very difficult to do. Since then we have won 10 or 11 games every year. A lot of people have put a lot of work in this one, and this team was the one to get where we want to right now, and obviously we don't want to finish here.
Q. Mack, as far as once it became obvious how this was going, did you allow yourself any kind of personal reflection?
MACK BROWN: I didn't, Randy, and Sally gets on me about that all the time. I'm sure I will tonight or tomorrow. I want to see the film. I'm glad to see the guys happy. You want to manage everything around you all the time, that's my job. Until you take a deep breath and back away and start looking at film for the Rose Bowl, we're still not finished, but it was obviously a lot of fun and an exciting game for our kids, and it was fun to see the joy in their face.
Q. Vince, did you get yourself back into the Heisman race today?
VINCE YOUNG: I don't care about the Heisman right now. I care right now we won the Big 12. I'm excited. I love playing with these guys and being with my coaches. To be blessed to go to play one more game, I'm totally excited. I can't wait to go out there and practice and get ready for the guys, whoever we're playing.
Q. This is for Michael and Matt, can you talk about the way the secondary can influence both this game in particular and other games? What are they able to do?
MICHAEL HUFF: We had so much experience back in the secondary, a lot of guys playing here a long time. And having the best front four in college football, it makes things a lot easier on us. So, I mostly give credit to the big guys up-front and we just go out there and do what we do.
MACK BROWN: When you've got older guys who have played so much, they're really smart with the disguises, so they can bother an opposing quarterback. But they can also play man-to-man, and when you pay man-to-man with the corners, you can put your safeties inside and have nine guys to block, and that gets it done.
Q. David, can you talk about a potential match-up with USC and the unfinished business?
DAVID THOMAS: You know, I saw some of the game just now when I left the locker room, and playing USC would be a lot of fun. We don't care who we play. We're excited to get the chance to go to California and play in the Rose Bowl and this time to play.
Q. For Rod and Mike, I know you guys have been big on scoring defense, all season long. And last week was a disappointment. Talk about not only how you guys played, but the secondary and the special teams, how important was that to you guys?
RODRIQUE WRIGHT: Just like last week, we -- I said that after the game, that we're going to have a bad taste in our mouth, and all week we did, and we were upset about the rushing defense, the week before, and we took it upon ourselves, and the coaches pushed us a lot during scout periods to focus on stopping the run. Most of the time when we shut down the run, the best secondary in the nation, they're going to shut down whoever. They tried to pass it, and we shut that down, held them to 3 points, and we had, I think, sudden changes, and we stopped them on the 5, held them to the field goal. That was a big stop right there, but just like I said, we had a bad taste in our mouth, and the young guys stepped up and pretty much shut it down.
Q. Michael, are you guys the best team in the country?
MICHAEL HUFF: We're just, every day, in the practice and the family of this team is, and the chemistry, I feel we are.
Q. What does it mean going back to the Rose Bowl?
MICHAEL HUFF: This means a lot. This is my last chance. It will be special.
Q. Vince, I know that you said that your enthusiasm for the Heisman, it's not your focus, but if you talked to guys who are voting, you're either one or two on their list. What is that like for you, and what would you like to say to them if you had the opportunity?
VINCE YOUNG: Just watch the game before they make their decision. Basically, how I am a leader to my teammates, and how much I love them guys, and how much I love playing with them guys. The stats, they basically happen, but the victories, I mean, just playing at the University of Texas and being here fighting each week with my teammates and my coaches, how much fun we're having and how well we have been playing, just to get back to this point. That's the biggest key. I hope they really look and see how our team did to get to the situation we are.
Q. For Mike or Rod, what are your thoughts on the potential meeting with USC and their personnel from the defensive standpoint?
MICHAEL HUFF: USC has probably the second best offense compared to our offense in the nation. It will be a great match-up for us. We just have to line up and play Texas defense, and we'll be fine.
RODRIQUE WRIGHT: It don't matter who we play. We're going to have to stop the run and get out the pass.
Q. Mack, what is it about Michael Griffin and your team, specifically special team blocking kicks? It's amazing.
MACK BROWN: It really is amazing. The credit to me has to go to Mike Tolleson and Duana Akina. They have done such a great job with our special teams. We've got faster players than we've ever had. We have the ability to block or return now. It puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the guys. I thought the first field goal block was a great message, and we made a poor decision and we picked it up and ran it out. That's a decision that ended up costing us 3 points. But after we were backed up and we had the interception. Then our defense played great goal-line defense to get the kick the second time. Some guys have a knack of blocking kicks, and Michael Griffin, Michael Huff, Cedric Griffin, those guys have blocked kicks since they have been here. They've become very prolific at it. We work hard every day.
Q. Gary was talking about how they haven't been the same since Iowa State. Just from watching film, how much difference do you see as far as the way that's gone?
MACK BROWN: I've said repeatedly, I think Gary Barnett may be the best coach in the country. I thought he and Bill Snyder have done an amazing job. I was sitting there watching the Iowa State game knowing we're going to play Colorado again, and they're pretty much dominating the ball game, and the way they lost it was so tough. To have the ball pop out as they're moving the ball and try to run it back for a score, and then they're driving down to win the game again and the screen is tipped and the lineman runs it back for the touchdown. The pressure we have been under for the last few weeks, I thought our guys felt some pressure last week at A&M because of the Rose Bowl, not because of this game, but staying in there, and I thought, watching the Nebraska film, Colorado probably tried too hard. They worked so hard to get back here, and then to lose the game with a rival and be told you're coming, we went through some of that in 2001, where we weren't ready to be here, and then all of a sudden, somebody tells you, you're excited about it, but it's not like our team prepared to be here all year. I thought the Colorado football team was in a real tough position today, because Friday they were not coming, and Saturday night, they're calling them, trying to get them ready for Sunday. I thought he had them ready to play. They ran some options that hurt us, they did a great job hitting their tightends early, and it was a heck of a football game for about a quarter and a half, and Vince, on our offense, had people spread out, and we were hitting on all guns. I thought the key plays by the defense, but Vince throwing the ball deep today was a big difference in the ball game as well. He threw a couple times over their head and made some huge plays. You never know what happens in the game like this when you've got the crowd and things aren't going well. You don't want a flashback, but 2001, we are up 14-0, and all of a sudden, they start coming back there, and Gary has been talking about 2001, and I say I'm trying to stay in 2005 here. I did think the couple of stops in the second half and Vince driving down the field and scoring put a tremendous amount of pressure on them. Colorado is a running and play action football team. If they can dominate the time of possession on you, you have trouble getting the ball away. That's what Rod and Michael are talking about with a running game. And we felt like we didn't want to get into a field position, time of running game with them because their punter and kicker are the best in the country. That's why we needed to get some points and get some separation early, so we would have to force them into a different type of tact.
Q. Vince, last year at the Rose Bowl was kind of your coming-out party nationally where people started to really recognize your ability. Now going back for a chance to play for the national title game, what's your confidence level and what's your swagger like going back there?
VINCE YOUNG: My confidence is extremely high. We've got great coaches. They do a great job preparing us. We've also got a great team and great fans, and then you've got guys giving that extra effort to make that play. My confidence is the guys believe in me a whole lot, the way I believe in them. Going back there, and having fun like we did, not doing anything different. Whatever got us to 12-0 right now, we want to keep it like that. We don't want to change nothing. Plenty much we want to go out there and have fun and take care of business.
Q. Coach Brown, when in this game did you guys go real (inaudible)? Did you guys really not show a lot that you can show a lot?
MACK BROWN: We obviously showed the no-huddle, which was key for this ball game. We felt like because they have been so good against the run, like I said, but we didn't show a lot of different things.
THE MODERATOR: Any more questions for the players?
Q. Vince, with so much at stake at this game, the Rose Bowl, the Heisman talk, playing in front of Houston, how do you keep yourself from getting too anxious?
VINCE YOUNG: I'm not an anxious guy, I'm the kind of character, I am having fun, that's just me. It's kind of natural, so I just go out and play my game each week and try to keep my guys' heads up. I like to see them smile and having a good time. That's basically what I like to keep them guys doing.
Q. Vince, if you can go all the way back to the second touchdown, the play call was a pass to Jamaal Charles, I think 3 yards out wide open. It looked like maybe Colorado was focusing on a run there, and also Taylor's big kick-off return, did you see that as an opportunity?
VINCE YOUNG: Coach David called a great play at the right time. We practiced all week and knew how the guys were going to react to it. Also, Taylor, he's a great return -- he's a great guy overall. He makes plays all the time and all day. We pretty much know when he gets that ball in his hands he's going to make a great play for us. We're happy to have him in the back.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, guys. We'll let you go. Best of luck in the Rose Bowl. Coach, if you will have a little more indulgence, we have a few more questions for you.
Q. Mack, talk about how the perception of your program has changed. I mean, you guys are now seen as the big, nasty team heading out to the Rose Bowl.
MACK BROWN: We're proud that we finally got over the BCS hump last year, and I thought that was so key. I have talked to people outside our program and the media and our boosters and asked them why perceptions change sometime, and some of them thought it started changing at Texas Tech when we played so well after we played poorly in Missouri, and then we got down so far at Oklahoma State, and then we were able to win, and that was a hard thing to do, and then Kansas the same type thing, and then winning the Rose Bowl I thought was obviously a significant game for us, and it is validated more even by the Ohio State win this year, and Oklahoma has been the game that's kept us from being in this game. So, that one was huge just to get us back here, because that's kept us from being in this game a number of times.
Q. Mack, if you can comment first on Vince's growing legacy with the wins that he's piled up for his career; and two, at this stage, after the game, what thoughts you guys have on the verge of going to the Rose Bowl, maybe winning your first National Championship in 36 years?
MACK BROWN: If you look at Vince, he was so relaxed, I thought it sent a message to the team and coaches, "I'm going to enjoy this." We didn't know about coming back to Houston. I thought our team played a little uptight last week. We didn't have the passion. That's hard to tell for coaches. You just don't know in games like that. You want to win them and get home as fast as you can and try to figure it out and go back to work. Our guys know when Vince plays well, like he did at Oklahoma State, like he did at Kansas, like he did at the Rose Bowl last year, Oklahoma, the entire game, today, they know that we have to help him when things aren't going well, but when Vince is playing well, we've got a chance in any game. That's why I do think he's our most valuable player. That's not just saying that. We've got a good team, and we could win without him, but it wouldn't be the same. He puts so much pressure on the defense himself, and he was able to run the ball today when they were scattered out, and he made some key plays with his feet. When he can do that, it gives us a chance to score a lot of points.
Q. The second part was, what you guys are facing now, you're going to the Rose Bowl and getting the chance to play for a National Championship you haven't won in 36 years?
MACK BROWN: When we came to Texas, Sally and I, everybody said all we would like you to do is get us back in the top ten where we're recognized as a great program again. We have been doing that the last four or five years. Texas is a factor. When you get to the end and don't finish it like you want to, it's really disappointing, but you can feel as a coach how close you are, and last year we took a big jump, and sometimes actors are different, but Matthew McConaughey did come out to practice on Thursday, and he said, "Win this one Saturday, and that will be your goal and then go win your dream." This will be a lot of fun for these guys. We want them to enjoy it. This week, everybody was talking about 2001.
End of FastScripts