Strong also said that Edwin Freeman will be checked out today to determine his status for this week. Taylor Gaspar said she saw Freeman walking around DKR with his right arm in a sling.
Strong continues to say that it’s the simple things that are hurting Texas up front in the run game.
“All eyes should be on the ball and we just don’t make the play,” he said. “It’s more of a fundamental breakdown.
“I look at the plays that hurt us and they are plays they can be fixed. It was a missed assignment, poor tackling, not in the right coverage zone. It’s about fundamentals and technique. We have to get it fixed right away.”
It looks like Kai Locksley will stick with the third team and Tyrone Swoopes will continue to get reps with the No. 2s.
“Tyrone can run the offense,” Strong said. “It’s just certain plays that we have for Jerrod that we don’t have for Tyrone. You don’t want to get in that situation where you have to go with Kai.”
Still not exactly sure what Marcus Johnson's status is for this week. I’m going to assume that he’s going to play. Then again, you know what they say about those that assume…
“When we get No. 7 back he’s another guy who can take the top off a defense,” Strong said.
Strong was really hoping the loss, specifically the way Texas lost, wouldn’t take away from Heard’s record-breaking performance.
“Amazing performance by Jerrod,” he said. “It was just unbelievable. You don’t want loss to overshadow his performance.”
Strong reiterated just how difficult it was to see what Jerrod Heard was capable of during practice, but that he always felt Heard was capable of performances like Saturday’s.
“I’ve always felt like this with Jerrod,” he said. “You just don’t know what you are going to get sometimes. When he goes back he knows if it breaks down he can take off with it and make people miss in the open field. He’s won two state championships at the 6A level, so I’m not surprised.”
That’s what Strong told the two a few days ago.
Those two continue to make strides as is the rest of the offensive line, Strong said, while adding that their play is also helped out by Heard’s abilities to make something out of nothing.
“It’s a combination of both. OL is getting better game-by-game,” Strong said. “Just continue to improve. Jerrod also helps you out. If they miss a block, he can make a guy miss and take off.”
As Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph goes, so to do the Pokes. At least that’s the way Strong sees it.
“He gets the ball in the right peoples hands. He controls the game,” he said. “That’s’ why they are playing so well. It’s going to be a tough game for us.”
Rudolph ranks in the top 10 nationally in passing yards, yards per completion and yards per attempt. He’s 12th nationally in pass efficiency and has a 68.9 completion percentage with five touchdowns and one interception.
The big plays continue to crush Texas on defense. Strong said UT gave up nine plays that would classify as “big plays” on Saturday, which means they were either from a run of 15-yards or more or a pass of at least 20 yards.
“Big plays can’t happen,” he said.
Well, Rudolph ranks third nationally in 40-plus yard completions with seven. So Texas will definitely have its work cut out for them.
Any loss hurts, especially the way that Texas lost to Cal on Saturday. But Strong was glad to see how hard the guys were taking it if that makes any sense.
“For the first time I saw a team that took a loss the way they should have taken it,” he said.
No one, as you could imagine, took the loss harder than Nick Rose. I’m told he was extremely emotional after the loss.
Strong said he stayed with Rose in the locker room until around 12:30 a.m.-1 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Strong told him, “It’s over with. You can’t relive this moment,” and said the players have really rallied around him.
Despite the loss, it’s a lot easier to sell the program to recruits after the offensive performance Texas showed.
“The guys see a bright future,” Strong said. “On defense, Malik is a freshmen. Jerrod is a freshmen. They see so many young players and see them playing. A lot of guys want to play their freshmen year.”
And Strong is letting them play.
Strong said he isn’t worried about Johnathan Gray right now, even though it is clear to a lot of people that he doesn’t seem to be running with the same gusto as he’s known to in the past.
“I’m not worried,” Strong said. “He’s doing so much for us right now. He’s on punt, kickoff return. And he asked to do that stuff.
“You have two backs that can help each other. The key thing for us is to keep those guys fresh.”
“When he came into the game, he’s always been a big hitter,” Strong said. “He doesn’t always wrap up. He caused fumble. He played well being thrown into it. Every game we have to have one guy come off the bench. You have to prepare yourself like you are a starter. He played really well for us. It was fun to watch him compete.”
How about the deep ball at Texas these days, huh? Not bad, especially considering the players involved largely include are a redshirt freshmen quarterback [Heard], a sophomore WR [Armanti Foreman], a freshman WR and a senior [ Daje Johnson].
“You have guys that can take the top off of the defense,” Strong said. “Burt is so athletic and can run. Armanti doesn’t know how fast he is. He can go track a ball. He’ll wait for the ball to be thrown before he puts it into top gear.”
Strong: “Our mindset is to win the conference.”
Heard on the last drive to Strong: “Coach, I got it. We’re gonna go score.”
Strong on Daje Johnson, who didn’t get an opportunity to do much in the return game since Cal wouldn’t kick to him: “In this conference they’ll kick it to him… I think they’ll kick it to him.”
Strong on Steve Patterson: “He supported me 100 percent. Steve did a job here. He’s going to support this athletics program.”
Strong on the Joe Wickline lawsuit situation: “I haven’t said much about it. Joe hasn’t shown that it has affected him at all.”
Strong on Mike Perrin: “It’s been great with Mike. Texas Ex, on a national championship team. I’ve spoken to Chancellors council twice. He’s going to do a great job. He really is.”
Strong on the mindset of this team: “At some point it has to be pride. It’s up to us to continue to fight. You just can’t give in.”
Strong on too many costly penalties: “That should never happen from the vets, getting the late hits or personal fouls. Those have to be corrected. We can’t allow those things to happen.”
Strong on the Foreman brothers, particularly D’Onta: “Both of those guys are contributing and playing very well. D’Onta is a big power back that can run down hill. He’s getting better and better. It’s like they are feeding off of each other; one scores and then the other wants to score.”
Desmond Jackson: "They had 5 explosive plays where their yards were. If we took care of those, they don't get 280 yards."
Strong said Haines' hit "wasn't a big blow. A ref said (Cal guy who hit Heard) wasn't trying to do it. I said some things to him."
On fans' support, Strong said, "It was amazing to see our fans, especially at the end of the game."