Takes on the Texas Longhorns victory over New Mexico from players and coaches.
-- Co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin on why sophomore running back Malcolm Brown received so few carries: "The way the flow of the game was and whose opportunity was to go in there and play was Joe's. That is nothing against Malcolm Brown or anything like that. It was just how the rotation was going. Malcolm had some more throws and more pass protection when he was out there. That is the nature of the game when you play with those two backs like that. One guy is going to have more carries because of rotations. Sometimes the other guy is going to have more pass protection and things like that. They are both equally important in those situations."
Coming out of the Greg Davis era, "flow of the game" excuses sound pretty tired, but since one of the major objectives of the game was to get a look at some of the players who didn't have many opportunities last week with Wyoming scoring late to keep the game closer than it should have been.
-- Head coach Mack Brown on the victory: "The best thing about tonight - it was a fun game for the whole team. Everybody got to play. When we didn't put our foot on the gas and finish the game at 31-9 last week, we dominated the second half [tonight]. And everybody got to play. It makes your football team better. Morale is better. Kids are happier. Mamas are happier. Everybody is happier. And you get better as a football team because you gain more depth. And I was glad that the second and the third team defense kept them out of the end zone and got a shut out."
Let's all hold hands and sing Kumbaya together. Seriously, there are some expectations out there that are completely out of whack. Critical assessments are necessary. Deriving some pleasure from watching a football team that is showing development, especially at the critical area of the quarterback position, helps make the football good and reduce blood pressure overall.
-- Brown on the offensive strategy: "I think you're feeling your way early to see who can do this and who can do that, but we haven't shown everything for sure at this point because we haven't needed to."
Harsin has a reputation as a guy willing to throw it all out there on any given day. The Statue of Liberty and two attempted throws for sophomore wide receiver Jaxon Shipley held true to that storyline against Wyoming. Against New Mexico, Harsin clearly opted to tone things down to work on other aspects of the offense.
-- Brown followed up on those thoughts about the offense being a bit conservative: "I think you do it every game early in the year, because you're just trying to figure out who can do what the best. Now next week we won't be able to do that. We have to go into Ole Miss to win the game. And we won't be able to try this out and try that out. Like we said, we got some things in practice you hold. And if you need to use them in the Wyoming game or you need to use them in the New Mexico game, you use them. You just hope you don't need to. And so far we haven't needed to."
Count it as a positive that Texas still has some wrinkles in reserve for Ole Miss. And, as a result, the team has a better sense of how all the personnel pieces fit together.
-- Junior offensive guard Trey Hopkins on the strategy offensively: "We were able to run the ball, but we were focusing on getting our quarterbacks and receivers some looks by really spreading them out. We were trying to look outside the box because teams are going to continue to load the box on us. We're just going to continue running our power game and our zone game. When teams load up the box we have to be able to look other things like passing the ball, spreading out, and just getting a little room to breathe. That's what we were focusing on today."
Good stuff from Hopkins, who may be the smartest player on the team and sounds like a successful future coach because he answers questions directly and with depth. Better than a lot of coaches.
-- Some perspective from defensive coordinator Manny Diaz on how difficult it was to defend the New Mexico triple option: "We had, in essence, half of a game last week, and an entire season from Sam Houston last year (of game film) to try and guess what of all that we were going to see. And despite all of our information, they were still able to come out with new ways to run the option. They did a good job getting the quarterback involved in the run game, which you can tell by the numbers. After the play, that's where all the yards were coming from, the quarterback keeping the football. So, we had to make some adjustments at halftime. I was disappointed that we had to wait that long to get it done, but credit to New Mexico and all the varying looks they were sending to us."
Preparation for a unique attack like that presents a ton of problems for a defensive coordinator, so it wasn't much of a shock to see the Lobos move the ball some in the first half. When the Longhorns were able to make those adjustments by Diaz, the defensive performance was much stronger in the second half. Sometimes it just takes a little while to get used to defending something so new.
-- Diaz on giving up fewer big plays: "I think it's a testament to what we talked about last week. If you don't give up long runs or passes for touchdowns, you always have a chance. Even though there was some plays we are disappointed about, there was some plays on third down, I thought, that we were really disappointed about, especially in the first half. It's like Jackson [Jeffcoat] mentioned, as patient as you have to be when they are getting yards, if they are not getting big chunks, if they're not getting long scores, you always have a chance to stop them. And that's where we showed against Wyoming and it came up again today, that this is a resilient bunch. They appear to do a good job of being able to fight against pressure. We were out there for more snaps at times then we wanted to be, but we never gave the big one away. They never got in our redzone. I don't know what their furthest penetration into our part of the field was, but that's a pretty strong testimony to their [Texas defense] ability to finally make a stand."
Defensively, Diaz is all about forcing sustained drives by opponents. Hardly revolutionary, but it's something that Texas has been good at through the air during his short tenure in Austin and though the pass defense wasn't tested much, they didn't give up the big chunk plays through the air that can happen due to the effectiveness of the play-action passing game, and the run defense improved throughout the game, as Diaz mentioned in the first quote above. Throw in the shutout, and the end results were mostly positive. New Mexico will hold the ball, score some points, and present issues for opponents this season. Credit Bob Davie for making a fantastic hire in Bob DeBesse.
-- Sophomore quarterback David Ash on his throw to Mike Davis just before the half: "It was a great play by him and also the offensive line gave me plenty of time because I took too long to get through my progression there. Thankfully the offensive line was able to hold them out, and then Mike made a great play. We were in a tough situation there, backed up in the red zone."
Ash has been honest in his assessments of his own play the last two weeks. The lack of improvement from the first week to the second week in getting the ball out on time continues to be a significant hindrance in his overall development. However, expectations with him seem to have increased incredibly since the spring. Now, he's expected to perform at essentially an all-conference level, when the narrative before the season was supposed to be that he needed to simply manage the game and avoid mistakes. What changed so quickly?
-- Davis on the opening throw from Ash, which was off the mark: "That's the best opportunity [during the game]. We just have to go back to practice hopefully hit that in the next game. I wanted it bad though."
Davis was open and Ash just missed him. Not good enough.
-- Junior defensive back Adrian Phillips on the dietary choices of the Texas defense heading into the Wyoming game: "We might have been feeling ourselves a little bit. We had people out and about telling us how good we were. So last week we ate the cheese and Wyoming came out and got after us. This week we made sure we went back to the basics, no matter what anyone else says. Because at the end of the day this is our defense and we know what we need to do and we know what we have to do to come out with a win."
Don't eat the cheese! Especially American cheese. That stuff is way too processed and gross. Worst thing about 'Merica, imo.