Longhorns still searching for that Spark

The Longhorns opened up Texas-OU week with their customary Monday press conference featuring Charlie Strong and several players. A lot of talk about there not being enough players on this team that truly want to win. That and more highlights from the day's event below.

1. Still no update on Desmond Harrison. Or, well, the update was the same as it has been all season: No decision on him at this time. We will keep an eye on this as the week progresses. But the idea of Harrison/Flowers/Raulerson/Perkins/James going into OU does look appealing doesn't it? It's going to take a collective effort to keep Eric Striker from "Case McCoying" Tyrone Swoopes on Saturday.

2. Daje Johnson had an MRI on Sunday night on his hamstring. Charlie Strong said he is waiting on the results. Johnson's injury is why he didn't get nearly the touches that everyone was expecting/hoping he would against Baylor. Would be huge setback for offense if he isn't able to go. Only positive out of this: More Armanti Foreman?!

3. Strong addressed the whole Jerrod Heard question today saying: "I don't know if it's fair to just throw him in there right now." Strong was asked if he thinks about next year when determining to play freshmen or not and he said the only criteria is who can help this week. "We have what we have. It's not like we can change much." ..."You look at Swoopes, it's his 2nd year. ... We've got to get other guys to make plays for us."

4. Strong also addressed Joe Wickline reportedly not sticking around for the "Eyes of Texas." He said it didn't have anything to do with a medical reason but some coaches just get frustrated with results. He mentioned that he understands the importance of the "EOT" and that Wickline can't do that again. Said it's important to respect the university.

5. Strong said that Nick Rose will be the kicker again this week despite having a field goal blocked for the second time this season on Saturday against Baylor, which the Bears returned for the only score of the first half. Strong didn't place blame on Rose for the blocked kick, though, as he said that the line has to do a better job of blocking for him. He continues to say that Rose, who is 3-of-7 on FGs this season, makes the kicks in practice all the time, which is why he had confidence in him to trot him out there for the 52-yard FG against BU. Nerves could be getting in the way.

6. Strong mentioned the importance of this game in terms of the recruiting war that is a year-in, year-out ordeal between the two rivals. It's bragging rights. It's as important a game as there is, if not the most important. It's material that one coaching staff loves to use each year that the other coaching staff won't bring up.

7. An alarming stat: Texas enters its game with Oklahoma Saturday with three losses for the first time in the history of the series.

8. Strong said that losing Dom Espinosa was the biggest loss this team has suffered this season. Anchor in the middle. Four* year starter.

9. It became clear on Monday that there simply aren't enough players in the locker room hell bent on winning every week. To a man, every player that was brought in said that there needed to be more players in the locker room that cared more about winning each week. "I don't think we've got all the guys expecting to win," Quandre Diggs said. "I guess everybody doesn't have that dog in 'em." Diggs continued: "I think some guys need to figure out what they're playing for, and who they're playing for."

10. Keeping with that theme, Malcolm Brown said he told the entire team sometime before the Baylor game that he didn't feel like the entire team was at that point where everyone was hungry enough to win. "I don't think we are there yet." Brown said he thinks that can still become the case this season. Hicks echoed those sentiments saying, "It can't be a passive mentality. We have to think we're going to destroy people."

11. I ask Jordan Hicks what Steve Edmond (17 tackles & two sacks against Baylor) was doing differently this season and he said it was all about Edmond's preparation and mindset. He's taking things a lot more seriously this season. His focus in film study has been key. Edmond is second on the team with 65 tackles (Hicks has 69).

12. Hicks confirmed reports that he has applied for a medical redshirt but that it doesn't necessarily mean he'd come back. He'd just like that option in his back pocket. He is hoping to hear an answer soon. The main reason he'd like to come back, aside from helping get Texas back on track, is to finish his master's degree in advertising management. He actually said that balancing his master's program with football was easier than balancing football with regular college work because the professors treat the master's students like "adults." "You have to take ownership of yourself."

13. Hicks said that he takes up Charlie Strong on his open-door policy at least once per week. He was actually in Strong's office this morning watching game film of Oklahoma with Malcom Brown. Hicks said that Charlie Strong is so laid back that he doesn't even have to give Strong a head's up that he's coming over. He just walks right in. That wasn't the case with Mack Brown.

14. This will be the first time in three years that Hicks will be healthy heading into the OU game. Hicks wishes OU were still undefeated, because then a Texas win on Sat. would "completely shock the world.”

15. I asked John Harris what was going so wrong with the deep balls that wasn't getting them any completions and he just mentioned that the receivers had to do more to help Swoopes out. "You just have to make plays when the ball is in the air. You just have to make plays." Harris said that Texas has caught "what 1 of 10" deep balls and that if they want Shawn Watson to call more of them they are eventually going to have to start hauling them in. "If we want the deep ball we've got to give the OC a reason to throw it." Harris is more than making up for lost time this season. He is second on the team with 26 receptions and leads the team with 370 yards receiving and four touchdowns. But he's not satisfied and has let Swoopes know he wants to do more. He said he's told Swoopes to put the ball somewhere and give him the chance to make a play."

16. Tyrone Swoopes said that the back-to-back weeks with a fumble inside the red zone might have been caused by he and Jake Raulerson being too anxious to score. But Swoopes didn't say there was anything consistently wrong with Raulerson's snaps.

17. Shawn Watson said that he thought Swoopes was a bit nervous on Saturday and that's something Swoopes admitted on Monday. "I got hit a couple of times but that's part of playing quarterback."


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