Practice: Day Six

No more open practices. And now the quality of information available starts going downhill until the first game.

Mack Brown phoned in another blog entry (I wouldn't know anything about that).

With the heat or any other adversity you face, concentration is critical. A good friend of mine, Kathleen Hessert, provided us with bullet points on how to concentrate when you’re working hard to be the best. Like the poem last night, I hope you enjoy it and feel free to share it with your friends.

It's like a chain letter. You can count on me, Mack.

Photos.

Brown had his first press conference since practices started on Friday, and here's the video and transcript.

Some good stuff.

On the importance of having a tight end: It’s important to have every position, but the most important thing for us is to put the best 11 guys in the field. So, if our tight end is not better than our third receiver, we’ll put an extra receiver in the game. That’s what you do. Even if the tight ends don’t step up, what we can do when we’re trying to run the ball when everybody knows we’re going to run the ball, we can put two tackles at tight end like we did with Britt Mitchell last year.

He's right. I think last year's OU game was a revelation to the offensive coaches.

On if the running backs are fighting for their job every night: We tell every player that. You’re playing to a standard in practice every day that you want to play to beat the best team in the country. That’s what your standard is in practice. We also tell them that we do evaluate everything that you do every day, and there are reasons that each guy plays each position. Like the guys that touch the ball better hold onto it or they can’t play. I mean if you’re going to fumble, you can’t play. We’ve proven that turnovers are huge in college football. Each day you’re fighting for playing time and you can’t have a bad day. Leaders can’t have a bad day. If a guy comes out and says, "I had a bad day," how do we know that’s not going to be the Oklahoma game? I don’t want to hear it. "I’ve got a headache." Well if the doctor has released you, and you’ve got a headache then play with a headache. Play well. ...Fourteen games is a long year. It’s gotten much more like the NFL. You can’t play guys that are hurt. If you get hurt on a consistent basis, and not bad, but where you have to be pulled out, we can’t depend on you for 14 games...

Toughness message sent. And Mack does not want to hear from Sally "not tonight, I have a headache."

On how tight the running back race is: It’s really good. The first two would alternate, meaning Vondrell (McGee) and Fozzy (Whittaker). They would be alternating with the first team. Cody (Johnson) is working fullback and tailback in short-yardage/goal line, and he’ll continue to do that.

I've yet to buy into the Cody Johnson hype. Yes, he's big. Yes, he's strong. But with what we're doing effectively on offense, he's not a fit.

On the running backs not losing and fumbles last year: Well we lost one fumble on offense outside of the quarterback, and that was Quan against Rice down on this corner as he was about to score right on the boundary. Other than that we did not lose a fumble outside of the quarterback position. That’s phenomenal. It’s the best I’ve ever seen, and we’ve got to repeat that. Our goal will be not to have that.

Trips says this is entirely possible.

On James Kirkendoll’s progress: James has been so consistent. He’s been consistently good. That’s what it takes to play at Texas. We’re going to get everybody’s best shot every day. He’s catching every ball. He’s so smart he can play most of the positions. In fact, he can play all of the offensive positions right now. He might even move out to X if we needed him out there, if Jordan took a break.

This is big. We needed a receiver to step up, and it looks like Kirkendoll has done so. Small, quick, good hands, the type of guy who can excel in this offense.

On how much of the nickel defense will be used: I think it depends the teams in the league. We will work to get our best 11 players on the field, just like we will on offense. That’s really important. If a linebacker or if a defensive tackle is not a good pass rusher, if a linebacker is not as good as the nickel or dime back, then you take him out of the game. If it’s a game where it’s going to be a heavy run game, you have the bigger guys in there. You get your speed guys too. So that will be the philosophy throughout the year. You’ll have to change it as you look at the different teams.

Scipio has said that Texas' defense will consist of a series of packages. He's also said that the internet consists of a series of tubes. Strange dude.

When talking about the freshmen, he mentioned the battle for backup quarterback: Obviously Garrett Gilbert who is a guy right now competing for the second-team quarterback spot, and that hasn’t made any movement. Both are dead even as they continue to grow. Right now neither one is ready to step in and play, so we need some work to get one of them or both of them ready to go in three weeks.

Keeping Colt McCoy is once again paramount.

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