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January 3, 2010
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.
Q. Chris, what do you expect from Terrence Cody? What might that night be like?
CHRIS HALL: Yeah, obviously against such a great player, all you can expect from him is outstanding play. Obviously he's a really big guy. He's going to be super-strong, and he's All-American. He is what he is. Coach Parcells says, "You are what your record says you are," and when you look at Terrence Cody, all you can say is that he's going to be a great player.
Q. For Colt, what do you remember about the 2006 National Championship game at the Rose Bowl? You were a red-shirt, I believe, and your thoughts on the game and whether you still talk to Vince.
COLT McCOY: Yeah, we were talking about that on the way over here. It was a time -- Chris and I were both there on the sidelines, and we were just happy to be there enjoying the ride. That was a fun year, a fun learning year for me.
I think that year really helped me in my development as a quarterback because I was able to learn from one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game.
As far as the Rose Bowl, I just remember how great a game it was, how hard we fought to be in the game, and the last drive was obviously very special. The whole experience was pretty fun, and as a senior on our football team, and for the guys who were there before, it's pretty neat to be back.
Q. This is for all three of you, and we can start with you, Greg. The biggest criticism, I guess, of Texas is they can't run the football, and they can't run it consistently. When you hear that, how does that make you feel? Is that accurate, Colt? And Chris, if you could answer that, also.
GREG DAVIS: Well, I think it's probably valid. We have not been able to run the ball as consistently as we would like. We're not interested in any kind of special number of rushing yards. We talk to our team about being consistent when we choose to run the ball. We need to stay balanced, especially in this ballgame. A lot of what we do comes off play action.
But we do talk to the team about the consistency of running the ball, not that there's any special amount of yards that you need to get, but I think there's some validity in that we have not been as consistent this year running the ball as we have been in the past.
COLT McCOY: I think Coach Davis is right on. We just need to be more consistent. I think this game is going to come down to execution and not turning the ball over. Obviously we need to run the ball a little bit to really be effective, and I think the big thing for us is to stay ahead of the change. Don't get in 3rd-and-long situations over and over. If we can get three or four yards on 1st down and kind of stay ahead of ourselves with the running game, I think that'll definitely be an advantage for us.
CHRIS HALL: Being an offensive lineman, obviously I would definitely love to be more consistent in the running game. That definitely hits close to home as far as an offensive lineman is concerned. As far as what we can do now, we only have one more opportunity, so we'll just give it our best shot we can this next opportunity.
Q. This is for Greg and Chris and Colt. Giving up nine sacks against Nebraska, I think, Greg, you and Mack both challenged the team as far as saying that, hey, no job is safe here between now and the ballgame. Talk about how they responded to that challenge, and what kind of challenge you'll face from Alabama's front seven.
GREG DAVIS: Well, they responded just like we expected them to. Our team has won 26 of the last 27 ballgames. But at the same time, we were disappointed in the way we executed against Nebraska. I think obviously Nebraska is an outstanding football team. Alabama is very similar. They have the ability to pressure you with their front, and their three-down blitz package is one of the best that we will see.
But we did challenge our team. They have responded well. We've had great practices, both in Austin, and I thought we had a really good first practice yesterday. We know that it'll be a challenge, and we need to be able to do some things to help. Whether or not that's a quick game, be more consistent in the run game, the screen game has to be a part of that. But obviously we have to play better and execute better in this ballgame than we did in the championship game.
CHRIS HALL: Like Coach Davis said, probably the one positive you can take is that we're going to be playing the same kind of defense, same type quality, upper echelon defense in the nation for sure. So we've got some tastes of that, and we know what we'll be going up against, the type of quality for sure.
Q. Colt, how small is your hometown, and how did you go from there to starring at the University of Texas, and what does your success say to the kids who play small school football?
COLT McCOY: I would imagine it's a little bit smaller than Montgomery. (Laughter.) It is a small town. But I would not change where I came from at all. My population is probably about 714 people. It's a small farming community.
But I'm proud to be where I am because there's a lot of young football players that play from small towns, from small schools that sometimes don't have the opportunity. I'm definitely blessed and fortunate that Coach Brown and Coach Davis found me.
But at the same time, I think there's a lot of talent in small schools that sometimes gets overlooked. I consider it pretty special to be able to do what I do. I'm definitely blessed.
Q. Colt, on that same topic, your hometown has a real love affair with you with the signs they have up. How often do you get back there, and when you do go, are you able to move around freely, or do you have folks coming up to you and giving you the celebrity treatment?
COLT McCOY: Well, I think all 700 people probably have an autograph at this point. (Laughter.)
But I don't go back probably as much as I should, but when I do, I really enjoy it. There's a lot of really down-to-earth people that really keep in touch with me. They support me. It really is pretty neat. The support that I get from them is pretty special. They keep in touch, they call me. I definitely would not change anything of where I came from.
Q. You guys first of all, your thoughts about being in an underdog role, kind of unfamiliar to you, and also the chemistry of this Longhorn football team. Do you feel like the chemistry is right where you want it to be?
COLT McCOY: Talking about chemistry, yeah, our team is really close. The seniors have worked so hard as a group from last year's Bowl game at the Fiesta Bowl to get to the point where we are now. It's been a total team effort. You know, some games the offense didn't play as well as we would like to, a little frustrated, but the defense pulled through, and we ultimately found a way to win.
There's been a couple games where the offense kind of carried us. The defense was a little slow. But that shows the true character of a team is when you can find ways to win when things aren't going good. Just take the championship game, for instance. We found a way to win. That's the true mark of a team is when you can pull together when things aren't going your way and ultimately find a way in the end.
We've worked really hard to get to this point. Alabama has, too. They're deserving of No. 1. They're truly a really good team, really well-coached. We have our hands full, completely. The challenge is huge for us going into this game.
But we've had some really good practices, and our team is really close. We're confident heading in, as well.
Q. For Colt and Chris, you guys on that underdog topic, you've kind of pushed all that aside all year long, all the outside attention, everything else that's gone on. How have you been able to do that, and are you embracing that underdog role this week, or is it still just business? And Colt, if you could say, "one game at a time" for me I'd appreciate it.
CHRIS HALL: I would say the way that you kind of push that stuff aside and maybe just not take too much notice of it is just don't watch TV or read the newspaper. If you don't do that too much, then it's not too much of a problem.
You know, just like Colt always says, one game at a time. We're just focused on what we're doing. Obviously our opponent is such a great one that we have. As far as underdog or any of that is concerned, like you said, we haven't paid a whole lot of attention to it. We have been focused on the great opponent we'll be playing.
COLT McCOY: Chris is exactly right. At practice, at meetings, hanging around the hotel in our time off together, we're just really focused on the game and what we have to do to go out there and play our best. Like I said earlier, we're really having some good practices. In our meetings we're breaking down film, really getting into our game plan and what we need to do to win. Like I said, Alabama is the best team we'll play all year, for sure, maybe ever. They're really talented. They're really well-coached.
As far as Chris and I watch the defensive side of the ball. Those guys fly around, they're big, they're physical, they're strong. They don't make mistakes. They're going to be in the right place at the right time, where they're coached to be. It's definitely going to be tough for us to go out there and execute like we want to. But we're working for that and going to be prepared for that.
Q. This is for Colt. In regards to stardom, are you still truly grounded, and if you stray from that, who gets you back?
COLT McCOY: (Pointing to Coach Davis) That guy right there. God has truly blessed me to be in the position that I am and to have the opportunity to play for the last four years. I couldn't do that alone. Great teammates, great coaches. So I truly know that it's not just me doing what I do. I have great people around me, and I'm truly blessed, and I realize that.
Q. Comments on Greg McElroy. I know you've gotten to know him a little bit through the Manning camp.
COLT McCOY: Yeah, I really did enjoy the weekend that we spent at the Manning camp. I got to spend a lot of time with him. He was in the room right next door to me, and hung out when we weren't on the field working out. Great guy. I know he comes from Southlake. I didn't know him in high school. I was good friends with Chase, and he played behind Chase.
But obviously he's done a great job this year. To win 13 games in a season, I've played for four years and understand really how difficult that is. All the credit in the world to him. He's done a great job, and he's one of the leaders on their football team and does what he's told to do, I'm sure. You know, lots of credit due to him.
Q. Colt, just reflect a little bit on your career for me a little bit and the accomplishments that you've been able to achieve, and I guess what one more win would mean to you, your last game, to go out like that?
COLT McCOY: Yeah, obviously that would be special. From the time that you have the first opportunity to play, as a football player, as a quarterback, I've said all along, it's all about wins. That's the first thing that Coach Brown told me before I ever started playing, going into the first spring practice, was, you have to have your teammates believe in you, trust in you, and know that when you're stepping on the field you're giving them the best opportunity to win. That's kind of been my mentality the past four years.
All the accomplishments, all the awards and things like that, they're all team awards in my mind. Great coaches, great teammates, and obviously coming into this game and coming into this year actually was -- you want to play for the National Championship. That was our goal. That was our dream. Now we're realizing that our dream could actually be a reality. It's starting to set in a little bit, and obviously going into this game and playing well and coming out on top would cap it off the right way.
But at the same time, it's going to be a great game. We have a tremendous opponent, and we're going to have to be at our best.
Q. For Greg and Chris, you guys talked about how you need to execute better. What is it, is there something that needs to change on the offensive line standpoint from what happened against Nebraska to now, or is it just simply execution?
GREG DAVIS: I think it's individuals winning their battles. That's where execution comes. In the game of football or probably other games, too, you've got 11 guys out there with a job to do, and the thing I told the offense when we first got together here is that it's about winning your battle. There's going to be 75, 76 snaps, and it's important that you win your individual battle, and when enough people win their individual battle, all of a sudden you're executing, and there's that magic word.
That's what we've challenged the players, to don't worry about anything they can't control, but to worry about the opponent, what's his best moves, what's the tendencies tell you about this down and distance, and to win your individual battle.
Q. For Colt, what's the impact of those last two close wins for you regarding your confidence one way or another?
COLT McCOY: You're talking about the Nebraska game?
Q. Nebraska and the A & M game. When you win a close one, what does that sort of do for your psyche or confidence?
COLT McCOY: Right. Any time you go into a game, your goal is to win, at least for me that is as a quarterback. You come out on top both of those games -- the A & M game was kind of a shootout. Offensively we played really well, executed really well. You know, you come into the Nebraska game, and we just didn't catch any breaks and we didn't capitalize on our opportunities that were there. We had several opportunities to kind of put the game away, and we slipped up and didn't take advantage of those.
You know, I think there's lessons to be learned in both games. A & M game you don't need to be too high on your horse, and then going to the next game and not play as well. Coming out of the Nebraska game, I really think that was a moment for our team that really brought us together because not very many things went our way, and ultimately in the end we found a way to win.
There's lessons to be learned in both of those, and headed into this game, it's not going to be a game where you come in here and light them up, throw for 400 yards and complete 80 percent of your passes. That'll never happen playing against a defense like this.
So for us we have to understand that in this game there's going to be times where you're going to have some opportunities, and opportunities to make plays, and at those times you're going to have to be at your best and take advantage of those. Coach Davis talks about it all the time. Do what they tell you to do, take what they give you. That's exactly how this game is going to unfold. They're really tough, but at the same time, we're going to have some opportunities and we're going to have to be able to capitalize on those.
Q. One for Colt, one for Chris. Colt, this will be the latest game that a Longhorn football team has played. Much is made of the downtime in between, and it was a little bit different for you guys in terms of being released for the Christmas break and then coming back and working again before coming out. Even though it's early in the week, does it seem like it's been a while? And for Chris, there's been a lot of comparisons in Big 12 country between the defensive front of Nebraska and the defensive front of Alabama in terms of their intensity and how they attack it, and do you see the similarities?
COLT McCOY: As far as downtime, it has been a long time, but I think we have the best coaches in the country, and they really kind of spread it out, lay it out for us in a way that we can use that time to our advantage. A lot of guys were kind of banged up. We were able to get healthy. But at the same time practice really hard, prepare, study, and really get our minds right for this game.
So I think the time off has been really useful, and we've used it in a positive way.
This week is kind of -- we're ready for the game. You know, it's one of those times where it's starting to get closer and closer and you're kind of getting antsy, but we're practicing really hard, and I think this week is the time where it gets closer and closer, and you're ready to go.
CHRIS HALL: As far as defensive line is concerned, for sure Nebraska and Alabama as far as quality is concerned are very, very much alike. They're on the same plateau up there, same level. Now, obviously they do some different things schematically, like with Alabama you see a lot more three-down than Nebraska would give us. But for sure they're definitely of the same quality, and so we're going to have our hands full for sure. It'll be a great challenge.
Q. Greg, as you sit next to Colt and listen to him kind of go through his entire career, do you fight the emotion for the fact that Thursday is the last night you'll coach him?
GREG DAVIS: It'll be different, there's no question. It'll be different. He's been a special player. He came in at about 175 pounds in one of our first meetings, he said, "I want to be the best you've ever coached," and I'm thinking, "yeah, right. I've got Pee-wee Herman here." (Laughter.)
But he has been such a dedicated player in the weight room, in the film room. When I was growing up, you would have called him a gym rat, just a guy that's -- we left the meeting this morning, he said, you know, I need a key to the room so I can get back in and watch some film on my own. The way he's prepared and the way he's carried himself off the football field has been a real credit not only to him but to his parents and to college football.
Yeah, I'm going to miss him. But it's not like he'll be leaving my life. He'll just be leaving the Longhorn family. But he's been special, and we'll all miss him. College football needs people like Colt McCoy.
Q. Can you talk about the way Tre' Newton rebounded, played the year, and how much of that do you think comes from the resiliency he showed earlier in his life, his upbringing?
GREG DAVIS: Well, Tre' played in a great high school system where Greg McElroy played, so he was used to winning, he was used to hard work. He had played in a no-huddle offense, so he picked things up very quickly. Tre' is a guy that doesn't say a lot, but he's listening all the time. He's got excellent vision, very strong lower body, and I think he has a very bright future. I think it's still ahead of Tre'. I mean, this year he's done a heck of a job for us. But I see him just getting better and better each time he plays.
THE MODERATOR: Okay, thanks, guys.
End of FastScripts