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Mack Brown Wednesday press conference recap

The Texas head coach met with the media prior to Saturday's game against Baylor.


As the Texas Longhorns prepare for the regular season finale against the Baylor Bears this weekend, head coach Mack Brown met with the media on Wednesday.

Here's the news of note from the press conference:

-- Redshirt freshman defensive end Caleb Bluiett flashed nicely in the Texas Tech game after moving back from tight end last Tuesday, recording his first career sack. Brown said that Bluiett will likely stay on the defensive side of the ball moving forward because he was a guy who stood out to defensive coordinator Greg Robinson when he was watching practice video before taking over for Manny Diaz.

Bluiett has moved back and forth several times between the two positions and although Texas has a definite need to develop a good blocking tight end behind juniors Geoff Swaim and Greg Daniels, who both depart after next season, but Brown said that he believes Bluiett's future is on defense because the Horns will have to replace seniors Jackson Jeffcoat and Reggie Wilson. Hopefully not junior Cedric Reed, though.

His immediate future probably shouldn't be on punt coverage though after two penalties the last two games.

-- Brown also had a semi-update on junior quarterback David Ash, who still hasn't practiced yet, but has been around team at practice and in meetings and is apparently contributing some to the game plan this week.

-- Sophomore offensive weapon Daje Johnson probably won't return punts this week -- that is still yet to be determined -- but he will be back returning kicks. Brown added that they do have a limited package for the speedster who was suspended last week for the game against the Red Raiders, then dropped an interesting tidbit about the package being more limited than it was entering the BYU game.

The offense has changed so much in nature since that time that some of the reduction makes sense. However, dropping the Diamond package doesn't as much because it was one of the most effective ways that Texas has had to hand the ball off to him. And how much of the reduced package is because Johnson has been a problem to the extent that he needed another suspension to get his mind right?

Speaking of that, play caller Major Applewhite specifically pointed to Johnson having his "mind right" and being "on point" during the Tuesday availability.

Sounds like the kid still has some growing up to do.

-- Asked if the team lacked intensity against Oklahoma State, the Texas head coach responded by saying that the team doesn't have much margin for error, so they've been pretty intense every week. It's not exactly a revelation that this year's team has virtually zero margin for error and it's not worth jumping on Brown for saying it, but the admission does kind of put into perspective where exactly the program is right now.

Whatever margin for error there was got erased by injuries and the while some of the replacements have been adequate, overall the program hasn't recruited and developed players well enough to compensate for it and that was supposed to be the standard at Texas.

-- The topic of Brown's job came up. He was asked if he had talked at all to the team about his situation and the "noise" about his future in Austin. Here's what Brown said:

"I really haven't. This is about these kids and it's about this team and I'm very unimportant and have absolutely not mentioned it. I did not mention it after it after Ole Miss, Brigham Young. I just said, 'Let's go back to work.' And really, at that time, touched it briefly with the coaches, 'Hey, we can all lay down, feel sorry for ourselves because we didn't do our job in the first three ballgames, or we can all go back to work, pull this thing in tight and pick these kids up and be the team that we thought we were going to be in preseason.' I have not been mentioned in either case since."

-- Kickoff returns have been a problem all season, along with mistakes on the punt block unit and with the kickoff coverage team and Brown indicated that the returns haven't ben overlooked, as the staff has gone back and looked at all of them in an attempt figure out the program. The bad news is that what they've done hasn't worked, with Brown merely offering the usual, "We'll keeping looking at it and get it fixed."

Excuse me for being pessimistic on that front with two games remaining.

-- The tight ends have a combined four catches for 32 yards on the year despite heavy playing time. Brown said there are some plays in for the tight ends, but because the offensive identity has been to run, run, run, and then play-action pass, the tight ends having been staying in to max protect for Case McCoy.

The blueprint for playing Baylor is probably about the same because there isn't much else that this offense can do. If there's ever a game to break out a misdirection throwback to a tight end, though, this would be the game.

There's also a need to find a young tight end who can provide at least the blocking that Swaim and Daniels have given the offense this year. Unfortunately, with MJ McFarland still not playing, it's looking more and more like he isn't going to be that guy and there aren't any other scholarship tight ends on the roster or in the class of 2014.

More on a development there in a bit.