November 16, 2009

The Breakdown - KU week 2009

1. Mack Brown went into great detail about the events leading up to D.J. Monroe being arrested and charged with DWI early Sunday. He talked about how each case like this is different and how he won't revisit the possibility of Monroe playing again until at least this Sunday.

"Lamarr Houston was first text I got," Mack Brown said. "I do want to make sure that everyone knows we are not saying D.J. is guilty. He was out late Saturday night when he was told to stay in.

"Coach (Major) Applewhite texted him at 11:13, and he texted back at 11:15, and he was in. Coach Rucker checked his room at 11:45 p.m. and he was in. He was obviously out past curfew, and he has a legal situation that he has to clear up. His story is different from the officer's, but that's for he and his lawyer to get straight.

"He will practice with the team this week. He will be on the scout team. He will not dress this weekend. He will not be on the sidelines. Then, as we continue to get information from the legal system, we'll evaluate and see where it fits.

"We've told them all, 'You stay in, act right and do the things you're supposed to or you'll be held accountable for it.' The team understands and we move forward.

Mack Brown said he didn't let D.J. Monroe talk to the team on Sunday, a clear indication of just how pissed Mack was about this. Remember, when Lamarr Houston was arrested for DWI and was suspended one game, Houston was allowed to talk to the team and apologize immediately.

"We'll wait and see," Brown said. "I have learned a lot about handling these situations. Since his story is different from what has been said by the officer, it's wrong for any of us to count him as guilty. It's the American way, we have a right to prove our innocence.

"He has to get his own attorney through his family and they have to handle the personal issues. And when he gets those handled, and there is more information available, I'll determine when he's going to play.

"He will not play this week, regardless. I don't know how long the legal process will take, but I'll look at it every Sunday. I will not think about it again until next Sunday. Each one of these are different.

"You have to take into account the person. You have to take into account the family. You have to take into account all the information that you have available to you that others don't have. And then you try to look at them individually."

Brown has experience dealing with this because of Houston's arrest before the 2008 season and the DWI charges filed against Sergio Kindle and Henry Melton before the 2007 season. Kindle and Melton both got three-game suspensions, in part, because of a string of trouble following the team at that time involving Robert Joseph, Andre Jones and James Henry.

"I learned that with Lamarr (Houston), Sergio (Kindle) and Henry (Melton), and what I've learned is you take each one as an independent case and you handle 'em," Mack said. "You do not let it distract your team.

"We handled it with the team Sunday with him in there, and we'll move forward. He'll go to the scout team, and handle the disciplinary action that I give him. We have a player committee that talks about it.

"We have a group we call the MACK 8, Making Advances and Caring for Kids. It's eight staff members who are not coaches who go downstairs and recommend to me what they think the punishment should be. Then I'll make the final decision. But he will not dress. He will not be on the sideline Saturday."

Colt McCoy said Monroe's arrest will not be a distraction to the rest of the players.

"It's not a distraction," McCoy said. "This team has all our goals still intact and we're not going to let one little thing set us back. We hope and pray for the best for D.J. He's part of us. He made a mistake. He's going to get punished for it. But at the same time we're here for him."

2. Mack Brown says Colt McCoy is "right in the thick" of the Heisman Trophy race. Greg Davis said McCoy seeking to become the all-time victory leader among QBs in college football this week "can't hurt."

"I didn't know Colt was the only player ever to lead his team to 10 wins in four straight years," Mack said. "To be the only one of all the kids ever to play college football is really special.

"Saturday is important for a lot of reasons," Brown continued. "First, it's a chance for us to reach our first goal, which is to win the Big 12 South. Then, it's a chance for Colt McCoy to become the winningest quarterback in NCAA history. Thirdly, there's still a lot of things we can improve. We still haven't played a complete ballgame.

"Fourth, it is Senior Day. We've tried to approach Senior Day different and tell the kids, 'It's your last game in the stadium, but it's not your last game. So let's not get all emotional over it. The next time you come back to this stadium you'll be calling plays like all of our fans.'

"They can start second-guessing us. They probably do now and don't tell us. So they'll be able to tell us."

When it comes to Colt and the Heisman race, Mack Brown said, "I think he's right in the middle of it with some great exposures here at the end. There's three players they talk about a whole bunch (Mark Ingram, Tim Tebow and Colt), and I think he's right in the thick of it."

Brown said he normally doesn't spotlight individual awards to his team, but has featured Colt's chance for the all-time wins record among QBs.

"It's a team record," Brown said. "We told the team that Sunday. 'It's like the Heisman. All you guys were right here with him.' We very seldom talk about individual awards or accomplishments, but we said this one was important. 'It's important for all of you.' We also told them a national audience will watch Saturday night, and that's better than Saturday afternoon."

Greg Davis said, breaking the all-time QB wins record "certainly can't hurt" McCoy's Heisman chances.

"Anytime you start saying, 'Ever in the history …,' that's pretty rarified air," Davis said. "I know he was kind of blown away by passing Peyton Manning because Peyton is one of the guys he really looks up to. It's pretty special."

3. Colt McCoy said his teammates want him to win the Heisman Trophy but that he's not thinking about it.

"We've got three big games left," Colt said. "My motivation is not to go out and win the Heisman. My motivation is to go out and win. That's our goal. But I do realize we have the opportunity to play four more games. So I definitely want to be the best I can be, for sure."

Colt is flattered that Mack Brown has made his run at the all-time wins record for QBs a mission for the whole team.

"This is something 20 years down the road you look back and celebrate and appreciate with all of your teammates and coaches," McCoy said. "Right now, the most important thing is beating Kansas. You just have to go out and do what gives your team the best chance to win, and I felt like I've done that for 10 weeks and make it 11 this week."

With McCoy becoming the first QB ever to lead a team to four straight 10-win seasons, it's realistic to think if McCoy continues to post wins this season his all-time victory record for QBs might not be broken.

"I don't know," Colt said. "I think it would be rare for someone to start four years in a program that has the ability to win 10 or 11 games each year. Who knows? I think it's pretty special because it's a team award.

"I couldn't have done it without my teammates. There's a couple guys on the offensive line who have been with me every step of the way (Charlie Tanner, Adam Ulatoski, Chris Hall). Those guys deserve it just as much as me. The coaches have been great. It's just a special thing."

But Colt said the thing that still looms out there more than any award is winning a title because, for all the wins, there are no titles.

"I'd love to," Colt said. "That's obviously the goal. We've still got a lot of football left to play."

4. Greg Davis was asked if Colt McCoy's legacy will be unfulfilled if he doesn't win a title.

"Like all competitors, like Phil Mickelson before he won the Masters, it's there," Davis said. "But at the same time, it's the old adage you have to play each week. When he was a freshman, we were in the same situation.

"Win one of the last two and you win the South. We lost 'em both. So it's certainly something he set individually as part of a team goal that he wanted to do.

"Peyton didn't win one in the Southeast Conference. Marino didn't win one and he was pretty good. I think common sense says yes. I'm not trying to be argumentative.

"I think we toss out the term great sometimes and who defines it? Is it Hall of Fame great? Is it All-American great? I know what you're saying, and I agree, but we have to be careful. And Peyton didn't win the Heisman. Charles Woodson won it."

5. Mack Brown had several nit-picks about his team coming out of the 47-14 victory over Baylor.

"We substituted freely with the big lead," Mack said. "But the young players need to come in and produce. They played really hard. They tried.

"But they dropped too many passes. The protection wasn't great for Garrett (Gilbert). We missed some tackles on defense. And there were seconds and thirds in there on defense late, a lot of young guys.

"But still those are the players of the future. So when we put them in, they've got to play. Sergio (Kindle) only played 35 plays. Some of those young guys on defense played 32 or 33 snaps."

Mack also said he will spend time this week reviewing how players need to get on a loose ball.

"One thing that we should do but we've let it slip a little bit is Chykie Brown should have gotten on a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown, but he rolled instead of staying on it," Mack said. "You roll you lose it, and DeSean Hales did the same thing. So we've got to go back and work with the kids about how you recover fumbles because that could have cost us the game in a really tight ballgame."

Speaking of Chykie Brown, Mack Brown as not happy with his pose after Chykie's sack of Nick Florence that rattled Florence into missing his next eight passes (spanning four possessions).

"If you'll notice he came right out of the game after that," Mack said. "I told him, 'Don't even let it be close (to being a judgment call on an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty).'"

Mack was not happy with the team's kick coverage or the team's kick return against Baylor. Mack also said the team needs to do a better job of pinning teams inside their own 20 when punting from the opponent's 35 or 40 when it's too far to kick a field goal.

"We're not doing that very well right now," he said.

Mack said it's a no-brainer to put Jordan Shipley back on kick returns with Malcolm Williams now that D.J. Monroe is out.

"Some people wonder why you would put Jordan Shipley back on kick returns," Mack said. "He has a chance to score every time he touches it. And the kickoff return is as important as any play in college football with the new rules and teams kicking off from further back."

6. Mack Brown showed video highlights to his players on Sunday of Texas finishing the season right in 2005 and finishing the season wrong in 2006 and 2007.

"We've told our guys the team that can win here at the end is the one that's earned the right and finishes right," Brown said. "'If you want to be flat, that's fine it's up to you.' We've gone back and shown them what happened in 2005, when we won out.

"We've shown them what happened in 2006, when we lost the last two and were in this exact same position and lost at Kansas State and lost to Texas A&M. We showed them how we lost the last game in 2007.

"We showed them how we finished really well after Tech in 2008. It's on them. We can talk about being a great team, but you have to finish. You have to finish strong no matter the circumstances. And I think they understand that. You have to earn the right to be the best team.

"Someone asked me earlier if I think we're the best team, and I said, 'It really doesn't matter right now. There's not a best team in the country. They don't evaluate that until the end of the year.' So we're a team that needs to improve, and we're a team that is improving."

Colt McCoy said he thinks the players got the message from Mack Brown.

"As a senior who was a part of that (2005 team). Didn't play, but was around, there's a lot of similarities between our two teams," McCoy said. "But the big thing for us is the finish. Not making it bigger than what it is and not focus on anything that we can't control each week.

"I think that's the message we'll be preaching from here on out. Just to say, 'Hey, it's there for us if we take care of business like we should.'"

7. The running game resurfaced against Baylor, but the Bears often times only had six men in the box. So be careful how much you read into those 35 carries for 224 yards on the ground.

"Sometimes, if teams played us that way, we might not have run it or run it well, so I do feel like we're at least headed in the right direction," Mack Brown said. "Cody Johnson, every time we put him in, he's made yards.

"And every time we've put Tre' Newton in he's made yards. He's just now 100 percent healthy again. We've just got to have him hold onto the ball.

"We were really hard on the offensive linemen about run blocking after Central Florida. And Central Florida is good up front and plays the run really well, but still you ought to be able to make 4 yards rushing.

"And we didn't make very many in that game. So we hammered all week that we would look at the plays we thought would be successful and would really work to get them the opportunity to come off the ball, and we're excited that they did."

Greg Davis said he scaled down the number of running plays Texas used in the Baylor game so he could focus more attention on this runs in practice against different kinds of defensive looks.

"We really cut back on the number of runs we carried," Davis said. "That allowed us to work on them against all forms of defense, versus a base look, versus slant, versus a run blitz. I think because of that it helped.

"Cody ran with vision and power. Tre' did the same thing, running with vision and patience. We'll carry more things, obviously you have to have a Plan B. But we'll look at what we think will be the most successful in a ballgame and really rep those."

Colt McCoy said Texas just has to be smart about when it runs and how it runs and everything will be fine.

"I think our running game has been fine," Colt said. "I think the big deal is we needed to do what people told us to do and be more consistent. If we wanted to run the ball, I think early on in the season we couldn't run the ball.

"I think now if we want to run the ball, we'll run the ball. If we want to throw the ball, we'll throw the ball. But basically we're going to do what they tell us to do. Against Baylor, they were telling us to run the ball. I checked to a run play when we had a pass play on just because it's stealing when they have six in the box."

McCoy said making adjustments on offense are becoming more and more important as teams have seen more film of Texas.

"Like Baylor, dropping eight people, we're going to run the ball all day," McCoy said. "In the OU game, they were completely taking away the passing game, manning up underneath and putting safeties over the top.

"Against Central Florida, they completely took away the run and said you're going to have to throw it. For us to be able to adjust like we have been and be 10-0, that's pretty good."

8. In preparing for Senior Day this Saturday, Colt McCoy reflected on all he's been through to reach this point. He said he wants people to remember him "as a winner."

"I think that's the goal for a quarterback when he starts to play," McCoy said. "This has been an awesome four years, and we still have a lot of goals ahead of us. Through the ups and the downs, the goods and the bads, it's been tough, but it's been fun.

"I want them to remember me as a winner and I gave it my all every time I was out there."

McCoy was very candid about all he's had to overcome as the kid from tiny Tuscola, Texas, who initially was seen as a throw-in QB behind Ryan Perrilloux and then had to beat out Jevan Snead to win the right to replace Vince Young.

"I don't think I necessarily had a chip on my shoulder (as the small-town kid headed to Austin)," McCoy said. "But I definitely used it as motivation, used that as something in the back of my mind to push me whenever I wanted to give up or faced a tough time.

"I had people in my town, people close to me, saying I would never be able to play here. They see a guy like Vince Young, a guy like Ryan Perrilloux, who is always on TV. I come from a small, little town.

"Everyone thought I was awesome in high school, but that's just from our town. To come play at a place like Texas, a place that not very many people can, I used all of that. And I still do. If I'm tired in a workout and want to quit that kind of stuff pushes me over the top."

A reporter said McCoy has now made people forget about Vince Young.

"I don't know about that," McCoy said. "Vince is one of a kind. But God has truly blessed me. I've worked as hard as I can. I'm so thankful to be in the position I'm in. I'm not thinking about all the things we've done or accomplished or all the things I've done or I've accomplished. I'm thinking about how we're going to finish this year."

The battle with Jevan Snead was a critical crossroad in McCoy's evolution as the QB at Texas.

"That was motivation," McCoy said. "Picture someone from a small 2A school who wasn't even ranked by or whatever, I didn't really pay attention to it.

"But you just think about that and where I came from, I used everything anyone ever said about me. I was too small, too slow, I didn't have a strong arm. I couldn't play in this league. I wasn't tough enough. Jevan comes in, he's a five-star, four-star, given the role basically. He's going to be the next quarterback.

"I had to fight everybody. I had to work twice as hard. It's just one of those things that I'm so thankful to be where I am now because I know what I have done individually, but I couldn't have done it without my teammates and other people around me.

"But at the same time, I know how hard it was to get to this point. A lot of people have things given to them because they have a lot of publicity coming out of high school. It makes it that much more special for me."

McCoy was asked when he thought he had won the job in the battle with Jevan Snead before the 2006 season.

"I thought the job was mine the whole time," McCoy said. "That's the mentality I had to have. I never thought I wasn't going to be the quarterback. I played every snap, every rep like I was fighting to keep from losing the job.

"I still practice like I have someone chasing behind me, someone is going to take my job if I'm not the best. That's the mentality you have to have."

McCoy said he relied on his dad, Brad McCoy, his coach in high school, to help him maintain his confidence when few others believed in him.

"I had to have a lot of support around me," Colt said. "My dad was there for me. I talked to my dad on the phone almost every night. He never accepted anything less than my best, ever.

"One of the hardest things was getting my teammates to believe in me. They didn't know where I was from. I was small, little, scrawny, whatever you want to say. And trying to let them know, 'Hey, I'm going to take over for Vince Young.' That's really hard to do. That's one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

"Not only play after Vince but beat out Jevan. There's been a lot of things people don't really know about that have fueled my fire this whole time and really pushed me and still does to this day to be the best I can be."

9. Mack Brown said he went to a no-huddle offense in 2006 to avoid having Colt McCoy call plays in the huddle because he didn't want him to be intimidated or for the veterans to see McCoy's nerves as a freshman quarterback.

"It's crazy," McCoy said. "It was hard to get in the huddle and call a play. I couldn't even speak the plays sometimes. I knew what to do, but I couldn't tell you what everyone else did. It was a huge learning experience.

"But I talk to every single one of those linemen about once every two weeks. They call me and encourage me, tell me the things I'm doing well or doing wrong, so obviously I did something they liked."

10. Mack Brown said now he gives Colt a hard time about being the small-town kid who has risen to greatness.

"I do think Colt was not as highly recruited as some other quarterbacks," Mack said. "And he's been challenged by that the whole time he's been here because I bring it up every now and then just to stick him and make him remember he wasn't."

This is one of the all-time quotes of the season …

Colt McCoy said, every now and then Mack Brown will tell him,
"'You remember me here in a couple years. I was the one who came to Tuscola and found you in the woods.'"

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