Good afternoon, everybody. Before we get started with football, I would like to congratulate Coach Mittie, win No. 600 last night. What a great night last night, a remarkable career that Jeff has had. He’s been a great supporter of mine and our football program. Excited for Jeff to be able to get 600.
Then, congratulate Coach Tang on the first of many wins here. I’m excited for Coach Tang, his staff, his players to get started last night. He’s been a great supporter of ours as well, so good start for men’s and women’s basketball. Best of luck to them as they continue on with their seasons. It is early on in their seasons.
With regard to us, looking back at the film, it was kind of a tale of two halves [vs. Texas[. In the first half, we couldn’t get off the field on defense. Give Texas credit for some of the schemes they did. Then, we didn’t tackle very well, at all. When we loaded the box up to try, they got some passes on us. Just didn’t play very well on defense in that first half.
Offensively, we moved the ball really well. We answered the first score. We drove down the field, and tried to answer the second score, but had to kick a field goal. Moved down the field to answer the third score and that’s when we had the fourth down and didn’t get it. By that time it was 21-10. It was 31-10 at halftime after we gave them a score late, it could have been worse. But Ekow Boye-Doe made a big play to save a touchdown.
in the second half, it got a little better once Josh Hayes made a big play to get the strip. And gave the crowd, our team, and everybody a little bit of life, a jolt. The offense took it in and scored. T
hen we started to settle in a little bit more and play a good game. But by that time, we were probably down a little bit too much. But all-in-all, I was pleased with the effort, pleased with the comeback, and how the guys stayed in the fight.
With 2:30 left, it’s 34-27 with a chance to tie it or go ahead with had we gone for it had we scored. But didn’t happen. We have to learn from it. We have to own it. Coaches, we talked about it. We need to be better, as well.
It’s going to be another tough battle this week going to Baylor. A great place to place, a really good team. They are playing really well, and we have to have great plans to come up with because this is going to be a great challenge for us.
On what Baylor is doing differently to find more success recently
One, they turned it over in the West Virginia game, I saw. They turned it over and gave up more explosive plays than Baylor typically does. They’re so difficult to defend offensively because they have misdirection, they run outside zone, they run play-action out of it. You think we go for it a few times on fourth down? It’s going to be a game of possessions because they are going to hang onto the football. If it’s third and seven, they are going to try to get it to fourth and short to go for it again to try to keep the football away from people. I thought they had a really good plan against Oklahoma and executed it very well on offense. On defense, it’s a little bit different, the structure of what they’ve done the last couple of years. But they have really talented players. They are playing with a lot of confidence.
On players turning the page
I think that is the way it is. We have to talk about it. Talk about the positives. Talk about some of the things we didn’t do as well. Try to eliminate some of those negative plays that happened to us because that’s the poor start we got on defense. It dug us a hole for sure. I do think they are pretty resilient. They know it’s the next one on the docket and it’s a tough matchup.
On playing in the Big 12
It really is. That’s a credit to the coaches, the talent, and the parity. The fact that matchups are so important in this league, is just how you match up with somebody. Whether it’s o-line to d-line, skill guys, whatever it may be. It’s a play here and there that maybe changes the momentum. That’s the thing, we could not get the momentum in the first half, and then it just snowballed on us. In the second half, we make a play and get the momentum back somewhat. But that’s a challenge in looking at the slate of games, you can make a case for either team every weekend. That’s part of the Big 12 and college football right now.
On the status of Kade Warner and Malik Knowles
I don’t see Malik or Kade practicing today. Our hope is to get them back on Wednesday, that is what the trainers have said. Whether it is in a limited role or full speed, we believe both are going to be available [on Saturday].
On Will Howard not starting
He and I are still having that conversation. So I don’t want to speak to it yet until I get to truly visit with him. I know Collin [Klein] visited with both he and Adrian. We still have a plan. Will understands the plan. We will keep him abreast in the situation and I just look at it form Will’s point of view. ‘I have not played a full season yet.’ And whether that is a default of Skylar [Thompson] getting hurt or by Adrian [Martinez] coming here and playing, I know the competitive side of Will wants to play a full season.
On how Howard handled not starting
Absolutely. Those two guys are really good friends. He handled that really well as a team player. You bet he would want to play. Just like the week before, I think Adrian would want to play. And he couldn’t. Will said, ‘Let’s go.’ That’s the healthy part of that relationship as well as how Coach Klien handles that.
On Baylor’s takeaways defensively
A little bit of both. They play some really tight man coverage and they had some balls that were overthrown, Oklahoma did, and they made some plays on, especially in the first half that flipped the field on them. They got a fourth down stop. They converted on a couple of fourth downs, which gave them another possession — in essence. Then, they are going to run some timely pressures. They do a really good job of the offensive complimenting the defense as far as controlling the football offensively, hitting some explosive plays when they need to and getting those stops in critical times. The last few weeks, they are clicking on all cylinders. And going to OU and winning on the road is a big win for them.
On improving run defense
There’s a lot of things. Whether you can live tackle, is the amount of shoulders and things that people have. You try to simulate a lot of fits, schemes. We have simulated it every week now. The simulation didn’t work against TCU and it worked really well against Oklahoma State. And then it didn’t work as well — you can’t simulate Bijan Robinson very well. but it’s something that we have to do a good job of stopping the run. This is one of those weeks it’s going to be really tough. We have to get a lot of hats to the ball.
On time management at the end of the game
Well if there is one that there is to talk about. It’s the last sequence of the game. Collin and I were on the right page of we got a first down, the clock stopped. You don’t want to waste a timeout when the clock stops. And we both said, ‘Lets go one more play and if we stay in bounds we will use one.’ We didn’t get that play because we ended up getting stripped.
On fair catching kick returns
Not with the guys back there. We don’t. We struggled. I thought Texas did a really good job of kind of schemed up some of the returns we’ve had. We have looked at it fairly on Sunday and Monday and believe we have some help, some answers to try to counteract that. You still want to find ways to get Malik and Phl [Brooks]s the ball whenever you can, instead of just fair catch it. We have to do better than that. I would say, speaking of special teams, Ty Zentner had his best game at K-State. He’s kicking the ball at such a high level. From kicking it out of the end zone going into the wind to I think his best punt was into the wind. Then, he’s throwing triple duty on there with PATs and field goals. Happy for Ty because in his last year of college ball he’s getting to do all three and with great success.
On Kobe Savage’s third down stop of Robinson’s run
It was a blitz. I’m sure they are probably supposed to hook him and instead, they tried to kick him out and the ball stayed outside. Instead, he stayed on course and his track and made a big play.
On Blake Shapen
Absolutely. Because he was really good last year. I mean, really good. We didn’t know much about him. I’m sure Baylor knew a lot about him. And he threw the ball with precision, with confidence, and he ran the ball really well. I think he was the difference. I think he was a big spark. Not that Gerry Bohanon wouldn’t have led them to a victory, don’t get me wrong. I just think that kid rose to the occasion. You see it every game he plays. I’m not sure when it happened, I know he missed some of the West Virginia games, and he probably sputtered a little bit when he wasn’t out there. But he’s a terrific talent and a guy that can beat you with his arm or legs.
On targeting flags
We talk about it all the time. And emphasize it to take those things out of the game. We’re advocates of everything. Keep your eyes up and see what you are hitting. I think that was a really hard one for Julius [Brents] to get away from. I don’t fault Julius. It was such bang-bang play that the ball was there and he was right there. I’m not saying it was a bad call because I get why we call these things. And I’m comfortable with them calling it. I’m okay with it. I’m not saying that. I just thought it was going to be really difficult for him to avoid it and we keep talking about different ones of targeting one, targeting two. I don’t know if we are ever going to get to that because it’s still about player’s safety. And I understand why we won’t get to that, if we don’t, of targeting one, targeting two. It’s unfortunate the penalty is so severe when it’s not blatant, malicious and I’m going t lower my head and spear you deal. But that’s a conversation for another day with a bunch of people in a room that they are going to have. I felt bad for Julius because I know there was no intent on his part.
On Jacob Parish
Jacob played really well for a true freshman coming in there. He’s played a lot of games now and done a lot of good things. It’s gong to help him in the future because he’s going to be a terrific player here. He’s going to play a little more each week. It just hurt losing Julius. Julius is a legit 6’3, 210-pound corner that is one of our best tacklers, one of our best cover guys and it was a factor for sure.
On conversation with Martinez after the game
Well, I didn’t talk to many guys after the game with all the different stuff that I have to do. But I get them on Sunday or Monday and Tuesday. We met yesterday and we watched a lot of the tape of Baylor. I don’t review the game with them. Collin does that, but we meet on Monday and when I leave here and talk about things I see from the next opponent. We talk a little bit about things he saw on Saturday, things he liked, things he wishes he would have changed — whatever it may be. But I”m not going to be hindsight is 20-20 guy. It’s tough. Their two d-tackles were really good and they were back in his hip pocket most of the game. He probably avoided four or five sacks because of his athleticism. But those guys are really good. Adrian knows he’s got to do a great job of ball security in those moments when the pocket collapses, that’s something that he knows. We move on pretty quickly and start talking about the next opponent, especially when it’s Monday and Tuesday because we have to start moving on.
On how Martinez has improved
The confidence in throwing the football. I thought he made some really good throws, especially off-schedule or with people right in his lap. To hang in there, he took some shots. What was great was, on Sunday, in his conversation with Coach Klien, he felt great. He was sore because he hadn’t played in a month. But he felt really good, so we don’t see anything that will slow him down from continuing to feel better and better.
On Baylor’s run game, Richard Reese
He’s got great vision. He’s got great, tremendous balance. He understands that for a young player, the scheme they are trying to run with some of the wider outside zone and sticks his foot in the ground and gets vertical pretty quickly and gets through arm tackles, but he’s got the speed to beat you on the edge.
On Baylor’s takeaways
They play a lot of man coverage with two high safeties that allow those guys to read some eyes. They are pretty long upfront, so there are some batted balls where they get a lot of tips and overthrows where if there is a tip they find a way to make a play. If there is an overthrow they are in a position to make plays and they’re very opportunistic on defense and don’t give you anything really easy. That’s the thing we have to do a great job of with the different concepts they do, whether they are in their pressures, or base stuff. We’re going to have to do a great job of keeping the football and managing that and not getting on second and third and long and getting them on second and third and long.
On deep Baylor rushing attack
Keeping fresh bodies more than anything. I think they have a multitude of running backs that can make plays. They have a bunch of wide receivers that can make plays. Tight ends are a factor. I think it comes back to the QB, he knows how to distribute the ball. He’s so comfortable, for a young player, in what he sees. All of them understand that the run is going to set up everything. If you can’t stop the run, it’s going to be a long day for you. If you put more guys in there to stop the run, some of the play-action bootleg stuff is going to be an issue for you. We have to have great eye discipline this week. It’s so important that our guys keep our keys, read and stay with them and don’t try to do somebody else’s job.
On WR depth
RJ [Garcia] will play a little bit more. We still have some games with Jadon Jackson. He’s a guy we are hoping to save year because of what you see with the guys that are playing. We’ll give Jadon, he’ll be on the trip. He’ll get a bunch of practice reps. If we can’t use him, want to use him, or need to use him we have that ability based on Kade and Malik. Those guys, in particular, Seth Porter is another one that this old reliable playing on special teams but gives us something in the passing game as well as the jet sweep things.
On the team being resilient
The captains and the senior leadership, the leadership council. To what you asked about earlier, this is a hard league and they understand that too. They understand that we battled our tail off and won a hard-fought ball game against Texas Tech, battled our tail off, and won a tight game against Iowa State, Oklahoma. We made the plays at critical times. Then, on the flip side, battled our tail off but didn’t make the plays against TCU at the critical times, the same thing with Texas. The Oklahoma State game happened. You have to stay the course. It’s hard to win. You have to do things right. You have to win games in the fourth quarter and be able to make plays and they’re resilient because they believe in each other, and love each other. It’s a really tight locker room and nobody is going to point fingers at anybody. I’m excited to see how the guys respond. We are into November and the last quarter of our season and there is still a lot of football to be played, stories to be written about these guys.
On Big 12 title race
They probably know. It’s something we don’t get too caught up in because then you start thinking about variables or what needs to happen or what can happen. As soon as you start getting into that, you’re not going to do what you need to do to be successful. All the teams in the hunt, and race would tell you the same thing. It’s such a difficult league that you better control what you can control.
On Ben Sinnott’s hurdle
He’s getting more and more confident. He’s a really good athlete. He’s a really good football player that is starting to understand some of the things that he can do and how athletic and strong he is. I know his best football is still ahead of him as he continues to learn how to play it at the college level, He’s still a young player. I’m happy he’s gaining confidence and playing fast.
On presnap penalties
Huge. We had too many. Absolutely too many. We have to have that style of coming up the line of scrimmage of going on tempo, a second count so that Coach Klien and can see a defense and decide if we are going to stay in a call or get in a different call. We have to have better focus.
On Sims value to Baylor
He’s very valuable because he’s a really good blocker and does a great job in the naked bootleg and does a really good job of protection as well. They are a team that utilizes their tight ends really well.