There have been a lot of questions about Jerrod Heard’s health right now after he was not made available to the media following Saturday’s loss.
It sounds like he will be OK.
“On Thursday he had a little temperature and filled him up with fluids,” Charlie Strong said. “We weren’t that concern. We knew we were going to use Tyrone in short-yardage. We were just trying to take a lot of hits off of him.”
From an offensive production standpoint, Strong said that Heard held on to the ball way too long at times against Oklahoma State.
“Just go ahead and trust your ability,” he said. “He has to get rid of the ball and not take those sacks.”
Strong refused to get too involved in the officiating.
“Officials officiate and coaches coach,” he said. “We have to do a better job.”
Strong jokingly said he did not remember what he said to the official who called “unsportsmanlike conduct” on him.
“I forgot what it was,” he said with a smile.
At the end of the day, all 16 penalties that Texas received on Saturday didn’t fall into the “questionable” category, and Strong knows that.
“We have to be a better disciplined football team,” he said. “We just have to be under control ourselves. Sometimes you just get pushed to that point. I can’t allow to have a direct impact on the game.
“You have to correct them. This game is mental and physical. You have to be locked in and focused. You don’t know what play in the game is going to determine the game. That’s why you have to play every play.”
Take this last quote from Strong how you will. When asked if he’s been involved in a game where calls were so one-sided: “No I haven’t.”
One facet of the game that Strong felt really did impact Texas was the inability to use headsets for the majority of the game after OSU’s staff complained that theirs weren’t working properly.
“I think the loss of headsets hurt us more than anything on Saturday,” Strong said.
Strong said that he feels like he and the staff are in a good position with recruits right now despite the 1-3 start.
He said that it’s going to go down to the end like it did last season.
“We recruit everyday. That’s not the issue,” he said. “The issue is we have to play better because that’s what they look at. They want to be on a team where there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are a lot of guys still out there. It’s not like you can press for a decision. No one is getting those decisions because you still see them sitting there.”
The message from Strong to fans on why they should support this program despite whatever doom-and-gloom they might be muddled in right now was fairly straightforward.
“This is the University of Texas,” It’s the elite of elite. Our fans are unbelievable. They are the best in the country. Their job is just to come out and support our team. We have to give them something to watch where it’s exciting for them.
“It’s a cycle that we are going through but it can turn in our favor. That’s going to happen. We need their support. There’s not a better feeling for a player that he has support around him.”
Strong appreciated the students section in the south end zone staying after the game and cheering the team on as they ran off the field. He wants to see that from everybody, bandwagon fan or whomever.
“We need our fans and we need their support,” he said. “We need everyone behind us. When it flips, then everybody is going to want to jump on board. You might as well get on board right now because it’s gonna flip.”
Strong was asked why he doesn’t go with some of the younger guys to start the game when they are clearly giving this team a spark.
“We have thought about that but sometimes you like to get into the game and watch the flow of the game,” he said. “And once they’re in, they’re in. We are just going to play a lot of guys and let them play.”
I know this is going to bother some of you, and I don’t blame you. I understand Strong’s point. It’s almost like the whole 6th man deal in basketball with guys like Manu Ginobili or Jamal Crawford. They are definitely worthy of being starters but are better served coming in off the bench to provide the team with a spark.
But there were times in both Ginobili and Crawford’s careers where they could have both assumed those starters rolls and still probably provided the same spark.
I think it’s time for Texas to go with two freshmen DBs, regardless of which two they go with.
Strong said that Kent Perkins [knee] was day-to-day right now, but the way Longhorn Network’s Jane Slater asked a question about how the OL was going to adjust without Perk makes me believe he’s not going to play.
Here’s Strong’s response to that question: “We can shuffle those guys around and get the right players in place. We should be OK. We’ll have to move some players around and hopefully keep [Heard] protected.”
Now, it’s still early in the week and I am totally assuming here [you know what they say about those that assume]. But that’s just the vibe I’m getting right now.
We’ll keep you posted on what we find out.
But Texas fans should be concerned if UT is forced to roll out some combination of Marcus Hutchins and Tristan Nickelson at right tackle.
Maybe Texas will toy with some different lineups in practice this week?
Josh Doctson had 18 receptions for 267 yards and three touchdowns against Texas Tech.
He’s going to get his. Texas knows it. You know it. I know it.
But if I’m Texas, I’m putting Holton Hill on Doctson from the jump and just letting the cards fall where they may.
Why Hill? Well he’s roughly the same height as Doctson [6-foot-3], can at least put pressure on him off the line and has as good of recovery speed and hips to catch up with Doctson if he gets beat off the line.
There is no perfect plan for covering a WR as electric as Doctson. He might be the best WR in the country.
There’s no perfect plan for covering Detroit Lions start Calvin Johnson either. But the Denver Broncos chose to blanket him with Aqib Talib on Sunday night.
Johnson ended up getting his fair share but Talib did enough to make life difficult on him, and he didn’t impact the game as much as the Lions wanted him to.
Now I’m not saying Hill is Talib, who is one of the top CBs in the league, but he’s one of the bigger CBs in the league whose size was used to counter Johnson’s 6-foot-5, 237-pound frame.
Hill is as big a Texas cornerback as there is. Line him up over Doctson and let it play out how it will.
The key for Strong in this one is containing TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin.
The Heisman hopeful has completed 99-of-153 passes for 1,470 yards and 14 touchdowns with only three interceptions. He’s also rushed 46 times for a net of 190 yards and two scores.
“He can break you down,” Strong said. “Doctson makes unbelievable catches.
We know the ball is going to go to Doctson. But their offensive line is solid. They do an unbelievable job of protecting their quarterback.”
It sounds like we’re going to gradually see more of James Locke in the coming weeks. Strong says he’s earned the right for more playing time.
Strong also said that DeShon Elliott would be back and that he was practicing right now. A timetable for when he could see playing time is still anyone’s guess.
We’ll dig and try to find out more.
STRONG: “We have to be on point. In order for us to go into Fort Worth and play an unbelievable game it starts tomorrow.”
STRONG: “It’s just a matter of making plays at the right time.”
STRONG: “Look at how far we’ve come. It’s our own fault that we’re in this position. We have to close games.”
STRONG: “We have to create our own luck.”
STRONG: “We have so much youth on defense and that’s no excuse. I told them they are no longer freshmen but upperclassmen.”
STRONG: “Ridgeway played unbelievable. He controlled the line of scrimmage.”
STRONG ON YOUNG CORNERS: “The young players aren’t afraid of their ability. They’ll go challenge the wide receiver.”
STRONG: “Gonna depend on the vets to keep the team together.”
STRONG: “Just make it a 1-game season. Go get ready for TCU. We are going to have to play above our heads to beat this team. It’s a challenge for us. We’ve improved but now let’s go take another step.”
STRONG: “Ridgeway has been working hard. He played really well in the Cal game. During the preseason camp he had a couple of nagging injuries.”
STRONG: “Dickson is older than those guys. Even talking to him, he’ll bounce back. It was good to get Rose back and let him get those two he had.”
STRONG: “It was good to get Tyrone. I told him I just want to see him just go.”
STRONG was asked if their were positive things under the hood here despite these losses? “I just have to lift that hood.”
On positive things, STRONG: "The vets haven't won. Do you know how to win? With JGray, Duke [Thomas], we owe to seniors to end this right way."
STRONG ON TCU’S DEFENSE: “They are missing six defensive starters. If we were missing six defensive starters we’d really be in trouble [knocks on wood].”
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STRONG on being an 18.5-point underdog: “I didn’t know it was that bad. Wow. We just have to go out this week and go to work. Wow.”