I had a chance to catch up with El Jefe and talk some Texas vs. BYU football. As you can imagine the Cigar was in good spirits after the dramatic come from behind win in DKR on Saturday night. He had some interesting things to say about the feeling in the locker room among players and coaches as well as overall depth chart changes that have since gone public. We didn't talk much realignment but he did chime in with an interesting tidbit you'll want to read at the end. So if you've got your favorite cohiba, a smoking jacket and some time, enjoy the humidor.
JS: Big win on Saturday what were the players and coaches talking about shortly after the game or in their Sunday meetings?
BC: There was a lot of "swagger" talk and "Texas is back to being Texas" type stuff coming from the players—mostly the defense. I don't buy into that swagger bullshit usually but the kids on the defensive side of the ball are a physical bunch 1 through 11. On offense, it wasn't pretty but those kids wore down a unit with some serious NFL talent. It wasn't pretty at all, but on both sides of the ball this Texas team whipped a really physical BYU team and made them raise the white flag. When was the last time you could say that about the Longhorns? If they want to throw around the "swagger" deal then I'll buy that for now. But yeah, the locker room was fun and the kids deserved to celebrate.
As for the coaches, they're standing by their promise to play the best players regardless of seniority or status. You'll see that in the depth chart at a number of positions. Some kids really seized their opportunity on Saturday and they'll be rewarded.
JS: Talk about Gilbert being pulled for McCoy and Ash. What was the thought process there and what's next for Garrett Gilbert?
BC: I've been told that you saw it a lot in practice and it gets magnified in games, but Gilbert is more of an introvert and the kids don't really respond to him. He has to have success on the field or kids simply aren't going to believe in him or follow him and you're never going to have success all the time at that position. When you play as poorly as Gilbert has the last two games, it's pretty much a no brainer if the players don't respond to you in other areas and fight for you. The move had to be made, but thank goodness it didn’t cost us a game.
As for Gilbert going forward, I think coming off the bench is going to be the best thing to happen to him in terms of taking pressure off. If Ash and McCoy struggle and you need a passer then Gilbert being the only hope may do wonders for that young man's psyche.
JS: Kind of like Cortez burning his ships?
BC: I don't know what that even means.
JS: Let's talk about the other position everyone's got their eye on—the tailback. What's going on with Brown, Bergeron, and Fozzy?
BC: Well, Brown is the guy and he'll get closer to 20 carries against UCLA. He'll also get carries in the first quarter because we're more of a running team with Ash and McCoy. That's the reason Bergeron didn't play as much. When Gilbert was pulled, you essentially had to pull Bergeron because he was part of the Gilbert game plan. He's further along in pass protection than Brown because he had more reps in practice. There's nothing wrong with the kid, he was just tied at the hip with Gilbert in the last game. He'll get some snaps and carries against UCLA.
I think Fozzy will be relegated to a package type player here shortly. Monroe and Brown complement Ash and McCoy a little better. But Fozzy will still get the majority of Wildcat snaps along with Shipley. We're going to have to take advantage of UCLA's undisciplined play so expect to see a lot of trick or gadget looks.
JS: Anyone else the coaches are buzzing about?
BC: Yep, they love Dorsey and think the light is starting to come on for him which is important for a number of reasons. Not only do we need someone else alongside Randall to hold the point, but it allows Des Jackson and Greg Daniels to come in and give us limited reps with fresh legs. You saw it on BYU's second to last drive. Daniels looked like he was shot out of a cannon on three straight plays and that was against a Remington Award candidate. The result was a 3 and out. Same thought process with D-Jack, if that kid is rested he's going to give a tired Oline fits. So Dorsey emerging was a huge development.
JS: What about the play of the secondary?
BC: Coach Akina has to be feeling his oats right about now because that was supposed to be a unit of weakness. Diggs, Byndom, and Phillips are all looking like difference makers and we all know Vaccaro is special. That takes a lot of heat off Gideon. It also allows us to do some stuff with our linebackers as you saw with Hicks and Robinson who were flying around the football. Then you've got the other youngsters like Thompson, Evans, Turner, and Scott who have had some wow plays in practice. This may be Akina's deepest group if these guys stick around. The future is bright.
JS: That's a whole lot of sunshine, can you speak about any negatives with the program?
BC: I don't like to get specific about things like that, but there are rumblings about cliques of players supporting one QB over the other. That may be a moot point now, but I'm told there was some politicking going on, and that shit needs to be nipped in the bud by the leadership on the team. The problem is the leadership is mainly on the defensive side of the ball so the coaches may need to step in if they haven't already. One way or the other, the team better get united soon. That's really the only issue I've heard.
JS: Finally, everyone wants to know your thoughts on realignment?
BC: I told you back in August to watch for Boren to see how he reacts. He and Baylor were two of the things that could kill Texas' dream to form a new conference by adding like-minded schools such as BYU and Notre Dame. Baylor is just being Baylor, but Boren's under tremendous pressure from his Board of Regents and big money guys to not come off as if Texas is leading the OU program around by the nose. If they bolt to the PAC 12 then Texas has to look to join a conference. The problem is that when OU leaves, Texas loses leverage with conferences like the B1G as far as getting special treatment for the LHN. As for the ACC, I don't buy it. But stranger things have happened and they'd be open to the LHN. The PAC 12 will never happen until they change their stance on our network.
JS: Great stuff. Thanks for everything.