Texas Rolls Over Kansas State

Texas improves to 3-4 on the season after beating Kansas State 23-9.

Charlie Strong addressed the media following the Longhorns 23-9 win over Kansas State. Here are the main takeaways from the head coach:

- Charlie Strong was pleased with the defense's performance to start the game. The Longhorns couldn't really throw the ball but he was happy with the run game. He enjoyed seeing Johnathan Gray have a big game and "18 Wheeler" Swoopes making some big runs. He knows there is a lot of improvement the team has to make, especially with a tough road game next week. It's a one game season and the team has to improve on fundamentals and technique and continue to build on these wins. It's all about confidence and guys believing in themselves.

- Kansas State loaded the box, but the coaches were prepared for that. They wanted to make sure guys could block so the running backs could just run through K-State's defense. Defensively the coaches knew the Wildcats would try to run the ball against them so they needed to load the box and be prepared to stop the run. "It's about being physical and playing physical and dominating at the point of attack." 

- Once Texas established the run game, Strong wanted to stay with it. He knew there would be some third and long situations, but they were going to go for it due to the weather. Strong wants to be balanced on offense, but they couldn't throw the ball much today so they relied on the run game.

- It's all about confidence. Everyone was saying the Oklahoma game was a fluke, but this game showed the team is building confidence. Strong thinks the open date helped the team get healthy and focused on K-State.

- As a defensive coach, Strong likes to see these type of low scoring games. "When we get low-scoring games, the defense is playing good." Defensively, Strong wants to establish this type of identity, holding Kansas State to only nine points. There are offenses that can move the ball up and down the field, but it's about getting stops and Texas was able to get those stops today.

- Strong told the team it wasn't going to be a pretty game due to the weather, but they needed to take advantage of opportunities to score on offense and get points on the board. He wanted to make sure Kansas State was playing catch up with Texas, because the team that took over early and establish themselves, it would be difficult for the other team to fight back. 

- A win is a win and that's all that matters. Strong said it's a one game season, so when the opportunity comes, Texas needs to take advantage of it to win ball games. 

- Strong has not lost any confidence in Jerrod Heard's throwing ability. Heard told Strong that he was having issues gripping the ball in today's weather, so the coaches knew if he threw it, it would almost be like a shot put type of pass. Strong didn't want to deal with that because the longer the ball hangs in the air, the better the chance of turning over the ball. Even when Heard dropped back on third down, Strong told him if the rush breaks down then just go get the first down and keep the drives going. 

- Strong told Tyrone Swoopes that there was no reason to hang his head after he lost the starting job. He ensured Swoopes that he would get playing time, even outside of short-yard plays. Swoopes asked for more clock and Strong said, "I will give you as much clock as I can." 

- On throwing the ball on 3rd and 1, Strong joked and said he wasn't sure why that play was called. "I'd like to know myself. I was like just pound them and run right at them. With Swoopes, it's a first down. He's going to fall for the first down."

- When the ball sailed over Michael Dickson's head, Strong thought, "Oh God. Here we go again." Overall, he was pleased with how special teams played but they have to continue to improve.

- Jerrod Heard was not hurt at the end of the game. They wanted to put "the 18-wheeler" in to get a few first downs at the end of the game.

- The coaches want Heard to continue to build as a throwing quarterback, but the most important thing is for the OL to protect him. They know he can beat people with his feet, so now it's about getting everything in place so he can continue to grow where he can see things, make plays and help the offense.

- Strong wants to expand Swoopes' package, especially since he can throw the ball and with the amount of talent at wide receiver. Defense's are prepared for him to run the ball, but allowing Swoopes to throw the ball will put more pressure on defenses because they will not be so quick to load the box.

- The offensive line has played two-straight games controlling the line of scrimmage. They are doing a really good job staying on blocks. Getting Kent Perkins back was big as he helps make the entire line more solid.

- Strong said you need to have a physical presence on defense and offensive line. He expects the OL to control the line of scrimmage and protect the quarterback, even with having two true freshmen on the line. He told Connor Williams and Patrick Vahe that they are no longer freshmen so they need to start playing like veterans and protect the quarterback.

- Bill Snyder and Strong spoke about how critical this game was for both of them before the game. Strong joked and told Snyder, "You need it (a win) but I really need it."

- Strong said when Hassan Ridgeway is able to dominate up front, then Texas is pretty good on defense. He can beat a one-on-one block. He can force a double team, and when it happens, it allows the linebackers to run through and allows other guys to make plays. He's so big and strong but is also really quick for his size. "He's not a slug. He's a guy who can rush the passer and beat one-on-one blocks." If he controls the line of scrimmage, the defense starts to look at him and starts picking it up and plays better."

- The defensive backs have done a good job forcing the quarterback to hold onto the ball longer, but the front seven needs to get more pressure to take down the QB. "We have to continue to get better and make sure we pressure the quarterback."

- At 3-4, Strong thinks the team can continue to improve. He has told the players they have to believe they are a good team, because once they believe it, they will start to play like it and play like it all the time. Before the game, he told the team he knows they beat Oklahoma, but they are still 2-4 so they cannot get full of themselves and believe what everyone is saying. They need to continue to play and prove they are a good football team. "We can have us a good season and we can end up the right way, but we just have to continue to play. We can't just go out there and go through the motion."

He also called the team out because he wasn't pleased with today's pre-game warmup. He told the guys that he understands it is bad weather, but he cannot stop the rain so get over it and prepare the way they are coached.

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