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December 26, 2012

Major Applewhite

Malcolm Brown

Marquise Goodwin

Johnathan Gray

Mason Walters


MAJOR APPLEWHITE:  All four have done a great job for us this year and all four are healthy and ready to roll.

Q.  Anything about the preparation so far, coach?
MAJOR APPLEWHITE:  Yeah, we've had great preparation since we got through with the season.  The guys got done with finals, they did some conditioning on their own, did some conditioning with the strength coaches.  We got off the road, we made the changes when Bryan took the job at Arkansas State, tried to hit the ground running as best we could.  We've kind of reconfigured our staff, Blair Peterson, our grad assistant is helping with the running backs now.  He's very in tune to the offense, been in the offense a couple years, so he's been able to help us in that area.
I think the guys have taken to changes, have done a great job with it, they're giving great effort.
Just like any other bowl practice, early on, you start to practice the younger guys, start to develop some depth, and as you draw closer to the game you start to get more game focused, but it's a chance for you as a program to steal some reps for the younger guys and get those guys ready for down the line in spring practices.

Q.  Major, just talk about your role now as the play caller, what, if anything, is going to be different about the offense for this game and possibly in the future?
MAJOR APPLEWHITE:  Well, I think the guys for the most part did a great job all season on offense, and I think we've got a good system in place that we want to keep in place.  Obviously just like any other offense, you'll make some changes in the off‑season, and those were things that Bryan and Darrell and I had already talked about, Coach Searels, as well, things we wanted to look at in the spring.  So we'll obviously make the minor changes that you make to an offense on a normal annual basis.
But in terms of just calling plays, that's the only difference in my day‑to‑day responsibility is just calling plays, and I've always felt like even as a player this game is about players, put it in the best guys' hands and let them make plays.  I think sometimes we over think it a little bit as coaches, so I'm excited to watch these guys go play.

Q.  Johnathan, Oregon State has had a pretty good run defense all year.  Talk a little bit about what you see on film and what you expect on Saturday.
JOHNATHAN GRAY:  They're pretty big up front.  They've got two good D ends, linebackers play fast and they're big and they've got a good secondary.  As far as the running game we just plan to go on with what Major calls and execute plays and try to find a hole in their defense to get the running game going.

Q.  Mason, you obviously don't bring a ton of momentum into this game.  Are you afraid the fans are concerned that maybe y'all don't want to be here because it's not a BCS Bowl and you didn't finish strong?
MASON WALTERS:  Well, if they're concerned we don't want to be here that's definitely not the case.  We're excited for the opportunity to go out and play.  Oregon State is a great opponent and present a lot of challenges and we're excited to go up and play against.
As far as momentum there's so much of a break between times of playing since the K‑State game and going into this game, you're really going to have to make your own edge just like in any game maybe after a bye week.  But with the focus and intensity we've had in practice up to this point, bowl week, there's no need for concern.

Q.  Malcolm, coming home this week, finishing up what might have been a frustrating season for you.  Can you kind of go over what the season was like?  I know you had high hopes.
MALCOLM BROWN:  Yeah.  Things happen, really.  That's just what the case is.  It was unfortunate that I had my injuries these past two years and everything like that.  But things just happen, and that's really the game of football.  There's no real explanation for it.  It's just the game of football and things happen.

Q.  Malcolm, we had a Facebook question.  Talk about coming home and playing in front of the San Antonio crowd.
MALCOLM BROWN:  It's exciting.  I have a lot of family coming, a lot of family that got tickets on their own so I didn't have to go search for tickets and everything.  It's going to be real exciting for me.  I've played in the Alamo Dome a couple times and it's always a fun atmosphere, so I'm really excited to play.

Q.  This question is for Major and David.  Just talk about, Major, you're now the quarterbacks coach.  Talk about what you wanted to kind of get across to David to maybe unlock him for this game, and David, just talk about how the preparation has gone with major now as your quarterbacks coach.
MAJOR APPLEWHITE:  Well, going into the situation not having coached a quarterback the whole season until the final game, the last thing I want to do is make a lot of changes.  I don't want to change a lot of the ways he's been coached.  I think he's done a great job this year.  Has there been a game or two he wants back?  Absolutely.  That's usually the case for most players.  But I think he's improved from last season.  I look at some of the mistakes he made as a true freshman and then now he's doing it as a true sophomore, big wins on the road in Oxford, big wins on the road in Stillwater, he's done some great things for our football team and made some great plays in clutch situations.  The last thing I want to do is scratch the hard drive and try to change a lot of things that he's really been ingrained in over the last two years.  He's done a great job.  We'll talk more about that kind of stuff in the spring and where we want to go with the position, how we want to grow.  But for the meantime I've been trying to keep him in the same concepts in what we've been doing offensively in the throw game and in the run game.
DAVID ASH:  Well, you know, I guess we have a coaching change this year, now, and having Coach Applewhite coach me the last couple weeks, I've enjoyed it a lot.  I feel like I've learned so much, and I just look forward to continuing that.

Q.  Major, could you talk a little bit about your offensive play calling philosophies, just overriding things that you'd like to get done in that regard, and are they different from what Bryan did?
MAJOR APPLEWHITE:  No, I think it's one of those situations where you're probably a lot more alike than you are different.  I think sometimes people want to paint you white and black, and I think we're a lot more the same than we are different.  Number one, we want to maintain possession of the ball, we want to end all drives with a kick.  We want to punt, get a field goal or kick an extra point.  That's our primary goal, to protect the football, number one.  Number two, you want to get the ball in the playmakers' hands, your guys who can make plays who are explosive players.  When you look at it from a defensive standpoint, that's one of the first things they try to point out, they turn on that tape and see who was making the explosive plays and how can we slow them down.  Outside of that you want to have a scheme that allows you to take care of the ball, put it in the best players' hands that has a larger margin for error, so to speak.  You don't want to be in such a system that you're pigeonholed and you've got to be perfect all the time.
In terms of play calling, we want to be balanced.  Of course we'd love to be 50/50 at the end of the night, but our definition of balanced is being able to win the game both ways.  If we need to throw the ball for 400 yards against Ole Miss to be in, then that's what we have to do.  If we need to run the ball for 400 yards against Texas Tech in 2011, then that's what we need to do.  Our definition of balance is being able to win the game both ways.

Q.  Major, you've seen teams come out flat or uninspired for I guess regular season games but even bowl games.  As a player and a coach, did you ever see those things coming, and is there anything teams can do to prevent it when they do see it?
MAJOR APPLEWHITE:  I think it's an individual game quite honestly.  I don't think teams are flat, I think players are flat.  I think you have individuals that don't get themselves focused and ready to play and maybe you have a collection of four or five of them, and they make two mistakes apiece and that's 10 snaps that you've wasted out there on game day.
In terms of as a coach you're always leery of that, you read of that, you hear of that.  What we try to do is make sure we vary up the schedule enough, change enough of what we're doing to keep their minds interested in the day‑to‑day Xs and Os of it, change the schedule up.  These guys have also, the last two games, haven't played the way they wanted to play.  There's a little bit of an edge about them so they're ready to go out and play and prove themselves, and then ultimately if you're a competitor, it doesn't matter when you're playing, where you're playing, who you're playing, you love to play the game of football, and that's what we're trying to bring out of more guys in these bowl practices, find who loves football, who doesn't, and play with the motivated ones.

Q.  For Coach and David, I'm curious, what have you seen on film out of Oregon State's secondary?
MAJOR APPLEWHITE:  Like Johnathan said, up front they've got some big guys up front, Castro 98, ginormous, a big guy inside.  They do a great job on the edge in pass rush.  They have good linebacker play, they can run well.  Their safeties are good.  They're in position a lot.  You don't see them out of position a whole bunch.  You don't see busted coverages.  These guys do a great job of flying to the football as many interceptions as they had this year, a lot of eyes back on the quarterback.  Poyer obviously has allowed them to do some things in some nickel packages, but they've done a great job.  But the thing that stands out to me is how hard they play.  You know, you're going to see some of the same coverages, the same blitzes throughout a 13‑game season and it's not going to be anything new to you, but what usually flashes on tape is the tempo which they play with, the passion which they play with, and that's something that jumps off from a coach, because a scheme is a scheme but how you do what you do is more important, and I think that's the biggest compliment to Coach Banker and those guys.

Q.  Johnathan and Malcolm, now that Major is the quarterback coach, are you afraid he's going to forget y'all and throw like 70 times on Saturday?
JOHNATHAN GRAY:  No, I think he still has love for us RBs.  He's done a great job of maintaining and coaching quarterbacks and running backs.  Whatever he calls, we're ready to execute, and we're fired up for the game.
MALCOLM BROWN:  Like Johnathan said, he still has a little love for us, I hope.  You know what I'm saying?  But no, like he said, we have a tremendous respect for Coach Applewhite, and we know that he knows what he's doing, so whatever play he calls, we just go out there and try to execute.

Q.  Major, can you talk about what y'all are looking to do with Hopkins' spot at left guard, the thinking behind that?
MAJOR APPLEWHITE:  Yeah, we've got a number of guys playing, we'll play Luke Poehlmann, we'll play Cedric Flowers and Coach Searels has a number of adjustments that he can make up front to get guys in certain positions if we start to get down, but with Trey out those guys have gotten predominantly‑‑ the most amount of snaps, so those are the guys that we'll roll with, we'll go with.

Q.  Major, does Oregon State's defense remind you of any teams you've faced this year?
MAJOR APPLEWHITE:  You know, it's funny you ask that.  The first thing I saw is I saw just a‑‑ it reminded me of TCU not from a schematic standpoint but I believe those guys love to play defense, and I think that's a compliment when you're sitting in a silent room and there's no audio, there's no one to tell you what hometown this guy was from and how much he loves football and all that and it's just still and quiet but the video speaks to you, I think these guys play hard.  I think they're a really good defense, and they're going to present a challenge, but we play hard, too.

Q.  Johnathan, I want to get your thoughts on what the feeling will be like playing in your first bowl game and Marquise, playing in your final game and what it means to both of you.
JOHNATHAN GRAY:  You know, it's exciting being a freshman, getting to play in a bowl game and great atmosphere.  It's exciting for me, and I'm willing to do anything for my team and hopefully come out with a win as a freshman and get the season started for next year.
MARQUISE GOODWIN:  Piggy‑backing off what J‑Gray said, it's an exciting moment.  It's been my third bowl game in four years.  Really just glad to wear Texas across my chest for the last time.  It's been a wonderful journey here.  I've learned a lot, and I'm just excited to play in my last game as a Longhorn.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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