clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Texas vs. Kansas: Quotables

Thoughts from the players and coaches after the win in Lawrence.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns recorded the first road shutout since 2005 in winning a 23-0 contest against the Kansas Jayhawks that was more uneven than perhaps the final

After the game, the coaches and players shared their thoughts on the performance.

Strong, on the performance of junior cornerback Duke Thomas...

"The thing about Duke is that he has a lot of confidence; sometimes he plays with too much of it. Duke does a great job of covering. The thing he does is study receivers during the week, so he knows the throws and what is going to happen."

After failing to follow Strong's instructions about looking for a double-move on the deciding play against the Bruins, Thomas bounced back with his best game at Texas, recording two interceptions, picking off another pass that was nullified due to penalty, and breaking up a pass at the goalline that saved a touchdown and preserved the shutout.

Before the season, Thomas talked about how his study habits and attention to detail as a defensive back had improved under the new staff after he came to Austin as a raw prospect because he played quarterback in high school. Those efforts paid off on Saturday.

Strong, on the Texas offense...

"The thing you would like to see is just consistency with our offense. We drove the ball the first half and got the field goal blocked, and even right before halftime we tried to get some plays in with Tyrone (Swoopes) getting outside with his feet and make some throws. And in the second half we had to find a way to run the football because if we can establish the run game then the passing game is going to open up for us. On first-and-10 we have to get in front of the chains and get a manageable second down. We've got to get consistency."

To be sure, the Texas offense was hardly impressive on the whole, especially the running game that was man-handled in the second half by Kansas and failed to produce any plays by the running backs over 11 yards.

There's something of an elephant in the room here and it's the explosiveness of junior running back Johnathan Gray. The former five-star back has had problems breaking tackles and moving the pile since he got to Austin, but right now he doesn't seem to be providing anything dynamic and has also fumbled the ball twice this season.

Senior running back Malcolm Brown hasn't been exceptional, either, but he's been better than Gray and needs to receive a greater share of the carries.

Strong, on the play of freshman wide receiver Armanti Foreman...

"He's been doing it practice. If he could do it on us, he was bound to do it in games."

Foreman provided a major spark for the Texas offense on the only sustained drive of the game, the 11-play, 79-yard effort that ended with the fumbled exchange by sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes and redshirt freshman center Jake Raulerson.

It was the first reverse of the season for the Horns and Foreman took it around the right edge and into the open field for 30 yards, though as Strong noted after the game, when Foreman was finishing the run, he was holding the ball out "like a loaf of bread" and had it stripped, though he was fortunate enough to recover the fumble himself.

Later, Foreman caught a short pass across the middle and immediately broke a tackle for what looks like a modest seven-yard game on the stat sheet, but was much more important than that in the scope of the season.

On an offense that has struggled to find anyone who can break tackles, though, what Foreman was able to do in only two touches served notice that he needs to football in his hands more often.

If play caller Shawn Watson can't accomplish that over the next two weeks, he's not doing his job right. No excuses.

Senior cornerback Quandre Diggs, on the increase in interceptions...

"We are attacking the ball and we are catching them and not dropping them. The guys on the defensive line continue to work hard and make our job easier."

Against Kansas, it was certainly true that the Texas defenders were doing an excellent job attacking the football and finishing plays, something that didn't happen against UCLA when there were two potential interceptions dropped by Texas defenders.

The poor play of Jayhawks quarterback Montell Cozart helped, as one of his passes hit Thomas right between the numbers, but the interceptions by Diggs going up in traffic on the tipped pass early and the leaping, twisting interception by Jordan Hicks were both exceptional plays.

Three of those four interceptions helped lead to three of the four scoring drives for the Horns, so the plays by the defense were critical to providing the separation from the Jayhawks that existed by the end of the game.

In 2013, the Texas defense managed only 10 interceptions and currently have nine on the season, nearly matching last season's total only one game into the conference season. Since turnover margin has a major impact on winning games, if the Horns can continue to protect the football and create turnovers at a high rate, especially through the air, this team has a much better chance of coming out victorious in the close games that will ultimately determine whether Texas plays in a bowl game or not.

Senor wide receiver Jaxon Shipley, on playing Baylor and Oklahoma in upcoming weeks...

"You have to come out and start fast. You have to show them you can play. I think the most important thing is to come out and score on the first drive. I think our defense has done a really good job so I think they can hold them as well. It's ultimately about the offense right now, we need to match the defense."

Texas currently ranks No. 116 nationally in yards per play at 4.61, No. 105 in yards per rushing attempt at 3.42, and No. 112 in yards per passing attempt at 5.9.

So let's be honest about the fact that this offense is ranging right now somewhere between bad and really terrible. It needs to get significantly better in the next week.

The odds of that happening?

Not especially high.