Below are quotes from Mack Brown's weekly press conference Monday in Austin. Quotes courtesy of TexasSports.com.
Like the Ohio State game, this game is fun because it gets so much national attention. It's not just about the two states or the Big 12. It is a game that people talk about each year across the country. It always means so much.
You look over the years that we've been here, both teams are usually rated, and both teams are usually rated in the top 15 for sure, and in more years than not the top 10. It changes the scope of not only the Big 12, but usually something else in college football as you go through.
OU has great players. They're very well-coached. It will always be that way. Bob [Stoops] has done an outstanding job. Every time you put on their film, they look the same every year. They're big, they're athletic, they're physical, they play really hard and they're well-coached.
You start looking at the national scene for us. You don't get re-dos in college football. Ohio State came down and beat us, so we can't get that one back. Oklahoma, on the other hand, had a controversial game with Oregon that came down to a call or two that was very difficult for them in the end. Both teams are coming in with one loss. Theirs was much closer than ours was.
We do feel the experience we had at Ohio State will help us Saturday, because guys in the younger spots with less experience, they've been through a week like this on the national scene with the media and the buildup for the game.
We feel like it will help them. Our guys know this is our second national game as such, and the last time we left disappointed.
You start looking at the respect that's grown over the years for these two teams. Most of the players know each other. So the coaching respect has grown and the players, it makes it fun for them as well because they talk about each other throughout the year.
You go back to another point that both teams are really good, as we said. So this game will come down to the one that plays the best Saturday. It's not about who's the best team. It's about who plays the best on that day. When you start looking at comparative scores across the country, a lot of people now are good in college football. People are so much alike, if you're the best team any more, you better play well on Saturday.
You look at the emotion Iowa State spent with Iowa. You look at the emotion they spent with us. They come from behind to beat 1-AA Northern Iowa, then go to Nebraska this week. You've just got to get ready to play every week. You can't take anything for granted.
Paul Thompson has done an outstanding job for them at quarterback. He's really smart. He can make the plays with his feet. He's got super players around him. Their young offensive line is getting better. They've got great receivers. Adrian Peterson is one of the best runners in the history of college football. That's been obvious since the day he got there. I think he gained 238 yards against us two years ago. He's a guy that gets them every week.
The most amazing thing about him is his toughness. He doesn't fumble. He's better in the fourth quarter than he is the first. That's the way great backs are. The great backs that we've had here are the same. The longer the game goes, the more plays they make. It seems like he always has the ability to break the long play.
We had an outstanding practice last night. The guys are excited about the week. Our three offensive linemen, three seniors, had a super game the other night. Again, they're showing great leadership up front. We said our quarterbacks played well. Our receivers are catching the ball much better than they did at the first of the year. We really bragged on our secondary last night because they have come a long way. They had a tough start in some different ways. They'll be key for Saturday. They played well when they played in that first half against Sam Houston.
Is the key with Peterson not letting him get a head of steam?
Well, that was the key with Ricky [Williams] and Cedric [Benson] and the big backs that we've had, because when they do get started they're so powerful. He's a 220-plus pound guy with great speed, but he's tough. He will run over you.
Obviously it's better if you can get somebody in the backfield. Ricky was only stopped when they never let him cross the line of scrimmage. If they could penetrate and get in his legs before he got downhill. Cedric was the same way. But he's also a guy that has very few losses. Adrian is not going to run sideways. He's not going to turn and run the other way and lose 20 yards. He's normally going to get downhill and make his yards.
The other thing about a great back, he is not a fumbler. I mean, if you're going to give it to a guy 30 times a game, Ricky didn't fumble much here; Cedric didn't fumble at all. You go back and look at the great ones, you can trust them with it because they're not going to turn it over and they're going to get explosives at some point during the ballgame. And those two things are what win football games.
Is Adrian Peterson and the Oklahoma rushing offense the best they've faced this season?
It will be a great test for our guys because we have played the run really well, but he's by far the best we've played. That will be the other thing. Antonio Pittman did not get it a lot against us. He was an outstanding back, but they came in and threw the ball a lot more than we would have anticipated. I saw Antonio Saturday night. He looked really good running the ball against Iowa.
You're not going to stop Adrian Peterson all the time. He's going to make his plays. You've just got to try to do your best to keep him out of the end zone.
Have you seen any change in their style of offense?
No. It's the same thing. In fact, everybody talked about [QB] Paul [Thompson] would have to run the ball. I think he hit 13-of-18 last week against Middle Tennessee. He's been very accurate. He's taking care of the ball. He's thrown more touchdowns than interceptions. He can make plays with his feet.
Paul is a very smart young man. He was a guy in town that we knew and know his parents. He's classy. He's smart. He's a great person. He just seems like he's been a really good leader for them.
Can you talk about [WR Malcolm] Kelly, that group of receivers, that match up?
Those guys are like ours, they're all athletic. Malcolm is different because he's so tall. You can get him in mismatches like we do Limas. It will be a great test for our guys. It will be the best test.
Obviously, Ohio State has great receivers. Iowa, we thought had really good receivers when Iowa State came in. They had really good receivers. This bunch is athletic. They can catch the ball, but they can make the play athletically after the catch. Malcolm just gets better and better each week.
They're a much better football team now than they were in the first game when we watched them against UAB. The offensive line is really athletic. They're young, but they're getting more cohesiveness now. We expect to see a really good offense out of them on Saturday.
Can you talk about Colt McCoy playing in that atmosphere for the first time?
He's grown up in the state. He's grown up watching this game his whole life. I've seen where he said it's a life's dream. It is for kids in both states. It's one of the reasons they come to Texas or go to OU. I thought he handled the pressure and buildup of Ohio State really well. Not just okay. He did better against Iowa State than he did Ohio State. That was still the first Big 12 game and important.
We didn't see him any different Saturday night. It's just been amazing that he has been the same person every day in practice and for the game regardless of the level. That's unusual for young guys. It's not been our experience to have a freshman, a redshirt freshman, play the same way every week. We're pleased with he and Jevan [Snead] and their attitude.
You can usually tell. One of the ways you can tell if you're focused is obviously how many passes are thrown poorly or dropped, because you have to have attention to detail to throw and catch. His success rate, completion rate in practice last week, was about the same as it was in the game. He didn't miss any. We weren't surprised Saturday night that he was so accurate.
Do you want to play both quarterbacks?
It's just how the game goes again. Jevan has improved. He's showing more confidence. The only throw he missed Saturday, he went to the right place and the guy was wide open, and it was the least bit high. Then he scored so quickly, I had to get him out. I told him, I wish you would have thrown some short passes. We could leave him in for another four, five throws.
He also shows the ability to be so powerful in the running game. The quarterback counter that he ran for the touchdown, he bounced out and made a good cut. He turned up. We do feel like he can go in the game and play now.
We will not plan on having a substitution plan before the game. We'll do whatever we need to do to win the game.
But from day one where we didn't know what we had with either quarterback to being in trouble, we feel like our quarterback situation is in good shape right now.
The older guys that had to listen about the streak to get over the hump last year, it was obviously to make a national title run. But going back in this game mentally, they know they can win, no 'taboo, they've got our number.' No, it's not. It was funny, I heard Coach Royal say a couple of years ago, someone said, When do streaks end? His comment was, 'When the players and coaches get tired enough of hearing it and they are good enough to do something about it.' We were a better team last year than we had been in that game. It was obvious that we won all the games.
It wasn't just that game; it was Ohio State. So the truth is right now both teams are coming in about -- they got the same record. It should be an even game. You look at just about everything from offense to defense. It's a toss up. That will make it fun.
It will be the game that the teams, again, that play the best on Saturday will win. It will be about a turnover, a blocked kick, a return, their ability to run it, ours to stop it, theirs to be balanced, ours to be balanced. It will be a fun game to coach and play.
I know you've had concerns with freshmen. Do you look at them before the game in the warmups, not starry-eyed?
You do. I told a story once. There was a freshman. I walked over. He was hyperventilating. I was thinking, "I can't believe this. How cool is this?" I thought, "Not very cool if you're that scared before the game starts."
Our program's different now than it was in those early years. Freshmen are more ready to play, I think, because they get here in the summer, because we know who we are as coaches more now. We're more established. We won't be forced to put a true freshman in there just to win the game. They can play and help us win.
But Nathan Vasher played in the game. There have been a lot of guys play in this game that played really well. All the negative publicity came because Cedric didn't play in it very much. Everybody decided we didn't play any [freshmen] in the game. In truth, we played them in this game like we have every other.
Has much changed about this rivalry since you were an assistant those many years ago at OU? The only change I would see is the fact that it's a conference game, and even more importantly, it's in your own division. Before the team that won the game usually left No. 1, the other was No. 2. It didn't change the conference race. The fact that you look at how many times Texas and OU have been involved in the championship game and then the national championship picture, then how many times our league has.
League play in the Big 12 has been really significant toward the national scene. The only thing that kept us from getting in more games at the end was this game, because we won all the rest of them. It does matter now because it's hard to get to the BCS without a conference championship game. Before both teams were going to be in a great bowl.
I remember when it was a tie game in '84. I think we were No. 1 and they were No. 3 at that time. I was on the "they" side. It's a tied game. Everybody left, we go back, and we're playing Washington for a chance to win the national championship at the end of the year after a tie.
It's tougher. It's a tougher loss now than it was then, and a better win now than it was then because of the conference affiliation.
Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young didn't play. They essentially did get a bye week, understanding they weren't a 100 percent. Is that the position where if you want to rest somebody, that's the most important because they only have so much tread on the tires for a back?
Coaches will have to look at coaching 12 games differently than 11 because of that open date and how long do you play. Who is that other game because there is so much gas in the tank? Coaches that hit so much during the year may have to adjust some as you start looking down the road just because guys wear out.
In some ways, the other thing we'll try to decide was Saturday night a little better for us than an open date because we did have to stay focused and we did have to get ready to play. No one played a whole lot so they shouldn't be exhausted. But they had to do some things to help them this week. That's where you get into question marks. If they go home and spend the week with the parents, laying around the house, eating grease, we don't see them, are they more tired from being out with their buddies? It's a balance.
The hitting thing is where I think, and the coaches that I trust that I've talked to, feel like will be a huge difference. I heard Joe Tiller is a great football coach. In my estimation, he's won a lot at Purdue. He's a guy who has always hit a lot. I saw where he said, 'We're going to have to adjust it.' We can't do what we've been doing in practice for years and expect these kids, if you play -- they could only play 13 because they don't have a championship game, but if we could play 14 games, that's a whole lot of football with only one week off until you have the little spread between the end and the 14th one.
Brown on Oklahoma
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