If last year's loss to UCLA was the basement of the program, last nights win was evidence the Texas Longhorns have turned the corner toward a well-rounded, coached-up football team. Sure, mistakes abound. But the resiliency shown by the team to withstand the first half errors and come out in the second half with a smash mouth brand of football not seen on the 40 Acres in some time was nothing short of a thing of beauty.
And if the post-game comments are any indication, the fire burns bright for our young stars. Following are select player quotes that show an uncanny level of maturity and offer a glimpse at the very special young men who are Texas Longhorns. When you read them, take note of the central theme running through their thoughts: There is no "I" in Team.
WR Jaxon Shipley
On Coach Brown's halftime speech: Going into halftime, Coach Brown gave a great speech. One thing he told us was that we were in the same situation last year against UCLA, and it didn't go our way. He said that this year, since we were in the same situation it was going to be a whole different story, and we were going to come back and we were going to win. We had a lot of motivation going into the second half, and I think that showed as we gained momentum every drive. On that drive we scored on at the end, it was very big. I think Case did a great job and getting that victory for us. We're just looking forward to next week.
On the role of Case McCoy in the second half: When Case came in, I think, he played a real leadership role for us. He immediately came into the huddle and was pumping us up and telling us to trust him, and that he was going to lead us down and deliver a victory. I think there was just a lot of energy that he brought in. As you can tell he played a great game. He's a great leader for us.
RB D.J. Monroe
On switching quarterbacks: We all felt like we were never going to lose this game. We protect our house. That's how we feel no matter who was at quarterback.
On third down plays in the second half: We had to step up our intensity in the second half. Today was a big game. We felt like we had to get it done. We had to win. The offense helped us and we helped out the offense, so it was a big team game.
QB Case McCoy
On talking to the team in the huddle: That's two weeks in a row that we have not started off how we would like to start off, and I guarantee that is something that we practice on this week. That's one thing I had to tell them was to calm down. We have been playing this game since we were in seventh grade. Who cares if there is 100,000 people out there, just play your game and play hard and I promise you that whoever is driving the wheel right now will not change the game.
RB Cody Johnson
On the victory: This win was really big. It's a stepping stone of what we're trying to do this year, and we showed everybody that Texas is here to play for 10 or 12 more games.
OL Tray Allen
On the offensive line: We're coming together. It's still a work in progress. Its only game two, and we have a lot of games to go. We're laying brick-by-brick, that's our motto. Right now we're just laying the foundation, and we're going to keep working together and keep jelling together. It's going to be a process. We haven't reached our full potential yet, but we're going to keep working hard every week in practice and the weight room, and watch film to get better.
LB Jordan Hicks
On the defense: We played really well. We pulled together to stop the run and get after them in the pass game. We held them, and that's what we strive for. We practice those situations, and we went out there and executed.