Notes and Quotes From Monday's Press Conference
Head Coach Mack Brown announced that the players voted to keep the numbers above the Longhorn logos on the helmets at Monday’s Press conference. The numbers were worn as a tribute to the 1963 National Championship team, which Texas honored in recognition of the 50th anniversary of its championship, prior to the start of the New Mexico State game last Saturday. Coach Brown did not say if the the numbers would stay on the helmets the entirety of the season, but that it would be up to the team to decide. Texas originally wore numbers above the logo on the helmets from 1961-1966.
Major Applewhite on Daje Johnson
After scoring two touchdowns and contributing 129 yards of total offense against New Mexico State, Daje Johnson obviously stood out as a player to talk about.
“He’s got a combination of great speed and power,” co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite said. “He’s got great change of direction, and then you add to that he’s got great ball skills, great coordination, and return game skills. He’s just got a lot.”
Applewhite had plenty of praise for the sophomore from Pflugerville, Texas, and pointed out he’s a “baller” on and off the field.
“I’ve seen him at team social functions where they have entertainment going on and then there is a bowl game or an NFL game on a TV to the side and he’s glued to that game,” Applewhite said. “He’s all about balling, and I love that about those kinds of guys. He’s got that Quandre [Diggs] kind of feel to him. Because he’s gotten to touch the ball more, his interest level has risen, therefore his work ethic in the spring has gotten better and better. He’s always loved the game. He’s just doing a great job, and I don’t want to do anything but watch him continue to develop and make great plays. We’re going to do our part to get him the ball.”
For Johnson to continue to improve Applewhite stressed he wants him to not be satisfied.
“Around here they will lionize you in a heartbeat,” Applewhite said, “and you just have to fight it. Get it away from you, stay pure of mind, and say there’s always another task. Yesterday’s game does not matter, it’s about tomorrow. That’s just what you have to do.”
A More Mature Ash Ready For BYU
Asked about the stresses of coming into the game the last time Texas played BYU in 2011 as a true freshman --then starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert exited the game due to a shoulder injury--David Ash responded with an anecdote from his high school years, and the privileges of youth.
“I remember when I was a sophomore in high school. We were playing Mansfield Summit, or maybe Mansfield Timberview, and it was fourth and ten and we were down by eight, and there was like three minutes left in the game. I layed up a C-Ball and my receiver made a back shoulder catch—caught it on the three yard line. And everyone went crazy. After the game they asked me ‘Now what were you thinking on that fourth-and-ten play’, and I said ‘that was fourth down?’ [Everyone Laughs]. I think whenever you’re young sometimes you don’t even understand you just go out there and play. That’s one of the advantages of being young, I think.”
Sometime Ash answers questions in ways you don't expect (See Also: David Ash’s Answer to the Manziel Question)
Diaz Says Dragon Slaying Impossible
Missed tackles came up as subject on multiple occasions. The team had seven in Saturday’s game, but according to defensive coordinator Manny Diaz the Aggies’ total yardage after missed tackles equaled 32 yard – the longest being 10 yards after the missed tackle and the majority allowing less than four to six more yards.
“We’ve been preaching ‘the posse is coming,’ so that was encouraging to see,” Diaz said. “We’ll continue to stress that, and improve that. Great defenses that fly to the ball can fix their teammates mistakes.”
Diaz said that his players can’t dwell on the past and can only focus on the present, especially when it comes to defending the run and tackling.
“We cannot continue to try compare ourselves to the past,” Diaz said. “That’s the same way whether the past was really good, or past wasn’t really good. It’s just different. These kids are different…We’re not who we were on both sides of the ball. So we don’t talk about anything other than who we are at this point… So from the challenge that we had we’re happy with how we played, but nobody is getting a sticker on forehead for that. We just did what we set out to do and now it’s a new challenge this week…We can never slay that dragon, and why would we try to do that anyway, because now we’re just looking in the past... Everything is just looking forward.”
Manny Diaz Slaying a Dragon Meme… (coming soon).
On BYU’s Run Game
BYU’s got huge offensive line. They’ve got great feet. They’ve got a 200 plus pound tailback who carried it 33 times the other night. So they’re going to be spread and up-tempo, and at the same time very physical. They have a quartback that physical – he’s very athletics—but he can also run. They ran quite a bit of option the other day.
On what he's seen from BYU QB Taysom Hill and RB Jamaal Williams:
Williams carried it 33 times. He's a big, strong, over 200-pound guy that can make things happen. He's a real force. They're a physical running team. The quarterback is very athletic. He can run the option. They're running a lot of option. He can sprint, boot. He's a tough guy. Both those guys are a factor. They do need their wide receiver back, (Cody) Hoffman, their leading wide receiver. They've got (Ross) Apo. They have No. 12 (JD Falsley) we just talked about a great punt returner. They have some good players on offense.
They did have a punt blocked in the rain the other night. It was raining so hard you couldn't even see. Then it was hard, the numbers didn't look great for either offense on Saturday night. If you go back and watch the video, it was impossible to move the ball in that rain after half. I can't imagine sitting there for two hours and nine minutes waiting, then going back out to play for both teams. You get back out there, its pouring rain where you couldn't see. Difficult circumstances for both.
On David Ash Against NMSU
David was great. The fact that we had the fumble early, you can't have, it was poor ball security, you got to tuck the ball away better. David came back, they changed coverages on him, got an interception going into the end zone, which was critical at that time that we needed to score. Then coming back, a guy batting the ball going up in the air.
One of the things Major (Applewhite) has helped David with is good play, bad play, move on, forget it. It's done. You can't do anything about it but learn from it. I thought David did a tremendous job of that Saturday night. He was as good as I've ever seen as making a great play, thinking he should, making a bad play, learning from it and moving forward. He didn't dwell on either one. He's really grown up.
I thought that and his ability to run. He was so accurate. Other than that he did a really good job. That game should really help him because it's the first game he's had with Major really when Major has prepared him through spring and all of pre-season camp. It was a very difficult situation in the Alamo Bowl, because he had him for 10 days. Not even the offense that he and Darrell (Wyatt) were preparing for. We have to be smart. There's a lot of speed on this offense, play-makers on this offense. Major and Darrell have to figure out how to get it to the right guys at the right time and distribute it well. I thought they did a good job of that Saturday night.
On the Altitude at BYU
I looked it up two nights ago, and we’ve addressed it for a year. They’ve actually been wearing oxygen masks when they were working out some in the summer. You’d have to talk to our strength coaches about why and how. I don’t know anything about that, but I’ve seen them wearing them some. They need to really hydrate, because the altitude makes a difference in hydration. But we looked it up and Wyoming’s stadium is about 7100 feet, Boulder is about 5400 or 5600 feet, and we never had and problems there. And Provo’s only at like 4400 feet, and we don’t think it should be near the issue. The only time it was an issue was when we went to Wyoming and we didn’t plan on it. So did we not want to go to Provo and not talk about it and not be prepared for it. Because we had guys that were effected by altitude at Wyoming, but I think it’s the highest stadium in the country.
On having a progression of difficult opponents and if it's good for the team:
I think it's good we're challenged by two good football teams the next two weeks. Both of these teams are as good as we are. We just have to play good. Our guys know that. They can look at New Mexico State who is just starting out with a new coach. I thought those guys did a great job. They fought, hung in there as long as they could. Those coaches did a tremendous job Saturday night. But this is an experienced staff. It's got an older football team with 24 seniors and 14 starters back from a team that won eight games last year. They play really well at home. They're not happy I'm sure with what happened on Saturday night. They'll be really motivated. This will be fun for us.
And Ole Miss has a good football team. They'll win this week, come in 2-0 for next week's game as well. This is great for us to be challenged.
We can't start this week like we started last week, that's for sure. We wouldn't turn out as well.
On how the addition of Time Warner Cable impacts recruiting:
Anytime we can add viewers to the Longhorn Network really helps us. I thought that was a big hit when I got the phone call Friday night at 6:00. I was able to tell the players. I'm sure it will continue to grow. It's really good. When people see it, more people are going to want it. The more people that see it are going to tell other people. I think it will continue to grow.
Brown and Applewhite on BYU Linebacker Kyle Van Noy –
Brown – “When you look at a film, you look at an impact player that can change the game. Then your game plan has to have him in mind on every play and he’s that kind of player. He was only listed for one tackle [last] Saturday, but he was all over the field. He force an interception, he hit the quarterback a lot. They went away from him…Van Noy is a consensus All-American. He’s as good as any player we’ll play this year. He’s not a good player, he’s a great player. He scares me the most as a pass rusher. I mean he is really something out of the three-four when they bring him.
He’s 6’3” plus, he’s big, he’s strong, but he’s so athletic. He can play in space, he can rush the passer, he’s a fierce tackler. I remember him as a factor two years ago. He’s a guy that everyone was shocked that he didn’t go out, because he’s a first round draft choice for sure. He’ll be a fun guy to watch on Saturday night, because our tackles will have a real problem with him.”
Applewhite - “He’s not a good player he’s a great player. You can see he’s added some power to his game. He’s got great flexibility, he can bend, he can turn and run. He’s got good hands. He’s a great football player so we’ll have to definitely account for him.”
Texas plays at BYU at 6 p.m. on Saturday night. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 and the Longhorn Radio Network.