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Neal Brown Press Conferece: “I Know We’re Better Than Last Year”

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JUL 16 Big 12 Media Days Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Disappointing loss on Saturday to a very good Texas Longhorns team that is talented. Proud of our guys effort, in all three phases, we just collectively didn’t get it done on Saturday. Three areas that are key, we have to make calls and plays in critical situations. We have to improve our situational awareness and we lost our fundamentals in key points. When you get into pressure situations, you have to fall back into your training and we didn’t do that. We went rogue and lost footwork in pressure plays.

Special teams - punt coverage was really good. Best we’ve punted the ball and our coverage units, which is going to have to be good this week, did a good job limiting Texas. Our kickoff team did well. Our field goal block team continues to affect kicks.

Defensively - we allowed too many rushing yards and I thought they really controlled the line of scrimmage. Several explosive pass plays down the field. No turnovers. We held them to 17 points, lot of pass breakups and we found a way to get off the field. Defensively, not one of our better games. To many explosive plays, we didn’t create enough negative plays. I think Texas was a little off as well. 17 points we’ll take that, you have to win when you hold someone to 17 points.

Offensively - the redzone. What the redzone came down to is two fourth down plays. Our lack of rushing hurt us. Leddie Brown not being 100% was a factor and Texas’ interior was big. We went in knowing that and our inside guys have played well up until this point. We tried to keep Joseph Ossai out of the game as much as we could. We did limit him but their interior D-Line was dominant. Positives we controlled the clock and really efficient in the pass game in the second half. We had several explosive plays. Didn’t turn the ball over. Offensively not enough points and we have to play better in critical situations. We’ve made a lot of progress over the last year. We weren’t in the game last year about midway through the 3rd quarter but this year with multiple opportunities to win the game in the 4th quarter. So we’re making improvement. We have to be able to finish those games.

Saturday Run Game - Injury or Texas?

Combination of both. Let’s start with this, Leddie Brown got hurt on one of the first plays where he was on the perimeter blocking and he wasn’t the same. We’re going to take care of him this week. We won’t know until later in the week. He was not at full speed. The other issues in the run game were, number one, they played really well. They were dominant at times interior wise and we lost a lot of one on ones. The other issue was we had some miscommunication, some missed assignments, some fronts. On three third downs we just didn’t execute. WE should have had numbers in the box and we didn’t get on the right blocks.

Fourth Down Philosophy

The overall philosophy is we’re going to be aggressive. Those are plays we’ve practiced, some of them we’ve practiced for multiple weeks. I think you’re going to have score touchdowns in the redzone in this league. I think that’s how the game would have played out if we had scored. That’s the overriding philosophy there.

We would really like to run the ball there in that situation. The first one we had a pass play that we felt really good about and would have run that even if we had been running the ball effectively. We had exactly what we wanted on that. On the second one, it was a yard or less. We had an RPO and the quarterback threw it, which I don’t blame him. If we had been running the ball more effectively, we would have taken that option off.

Max Duggan - Dual Threat QB

He does. They’ve asked him to carry that more as the year’s gone on. What you do is you have to prepare for the quarterback run game whether its passing and he pulls it down and runs it. You have to put yourself in those situations in practice. It makes it difficult though because you have to put one more hat in the box. Your nickel or safety, you have to get another guy down in the box to account for him.

Receiver Stats Are Distributed Evenly

I think the answers both. We’d love for someone to just be dominant but I like having a lot of guys involved. I think its good for chemistry, good for comradery. I think its harder to prepare for. Those receivers are getting better. We’re playing a bunch of those guys. We’re playing seven. I like rolling in a bunch of guys. it keeps them fresh and the defense can’t lock on any one particular guy.

Why Columbe Hurt You but Not Ehlinger

With Columbe I can’t remember if its 49 or 69 yards came on rushing on pass plays. Where he pulled the ball down and scrambled. We just didn’t do a good enough job in our linebacker play. Tony Fields went out early and we were dropping too deep. Our eyes weren’t in the right spot. So Columbe really hurt us on scrambles on pass plays. To me, you’re looking at run efficiency. Sam Ehlinger had some really efficient runs on third down. Maybe he didn’t have the big long runs or rushing totals but he was still efficient. There’s a reason why people have running quarterbacks. Theres a reason why guys with running quarterbacks their rushing totals are higher. Its harder to defend.

Clarify Play Calling Duties

We [Gerad Parker and I] work together. He calls some of the plays, I call some of the plays but we work together. I have final say so any of the bad ones you can blame me. I call them. He definitely has some say in situation football. We’ll talk about it sometimes when the defense is out there. I’ll say, “Hey, here’s what I’m thinking, have this ready.” Or “Hey, have a drive starter ready” Or “Hey I want to go tempo, you just take it”. It’s back and forth and really everyone in the offensive staff room has say in what we’re doing. He calls some of the plays. Sometimes its situational, sometimes its not. It’s not where we get to a certain situation where he takes over. It’s not really super scientific.

Satisfied With Red Zone Performance

It’s such a small margin of error, it really is. Sometimes you call bad plays and they work. Sometimes you call good plays and they don’t work. Gerad called the play where we had Winston Wright Jr. scot-free. It’s hard to get someone that free. It was really good play design. He wanted to call it. It was a good time to call it. We had a good play, we just didn’t make it. You look at the first time we went for it on fourth down in the red zone. We had Mike wide open. It’s hard to get someone that wide open. There were other times where guys make a play. We missed a block at the point of contact on our touchdown and Leddie runs through the guy. It’s a small margin for error. The sack we took after the touchdown got overturned. Our guard put his eyes down. It was split second. Things happen so fast and with a such a small margin of error. As a coach you have to analyze what plays you’re putting your players in position. We had some good plays and we had some I would do differently. That’s probably the case every game.

Being Two Plays From 6-1

I don’t get into hypotheticals. That’s how my mind works. Someone asked me about recruiting and in my mind once I make that decision, I move on. You have to have a short memory. I remember almost all the details we played this year but I don’t look back. I’ll spend some time after the season, critically what did we do well, what didn’t we do well. How can we better prepare? Is there a certain opponent who is giving us issues, that we have to do some different things against. Things we need work on in spring practice.

Here’s what I do know. There is significant improvement in our football team from a year ago. The reason I know that is with four minutes to go in every single football game we’ve played this year, we’ve had an opportunity to win, which was definitely not the case a year ago. We’ve found a way to win three of those games. Take out the EKU game. Baylor was double overtime. Kansas State was closer than what the score looked like. We were able to pull away from Kansas in the second half. So we won three of them. Two of them, ya know, are nationally ranked teams that we didn’t make the plays necessary. One of them a sack fumble really set us back and was the difference in the game. The scoop-score. And we didn’t play great against Texas Tech. I know we’re better. We have to finish the year off on a strong note. I know we’re better, but we’re not where we want to be because we’re not finishing all those games. I do know we’re better but it is frustrating that we haven’t finished those games yet.

Young Offensive Line

Brandon Yates played his best game. We gave him help with Ossai but he showed really steady improvement. I like how he’s played the last month. Zack Frazier, he had a tough time on Saturday. He didn’t play poorly but that’s the most struggles he had. 93 [T’Vondre Sweat] is a long, he’s a huge man. I don’t know if ya’ll have an appreciation of how big a guy he is. Texas has some big dudes across the board but he’s the biggest. James Gmiter, who I count as young, he’s only a sophomore, he played in the game and is getting better. Briason Mays, a sophomore, he played in the game every snap. He has to get stronger. He didn’t hurt us in the game. He’s showed steady improvement since Kansas State. Parker Moore is getting better. He’s getting close to ready to play. Hubbard has battled some things at home where he hasn’t been here as much. I think he has a chance but he needs an offseason. I think Jordan White is a guy who can play. Strength wise he’s getting better. That’s some of the guys who are getting close to ready to play.

Players on Five Game Stretch

We’re showing some signs. It’s a long stretch. Especially when you don’t have the full summer to get ready for here. We have the longest stretch of any body in our league. We’ll get through it. We’ll manage some practice time. The election time helped us last week. We’ll manage some time this week. We won’t make mistakes. You look at our roster and we’re really young. We have some guys who are going through this grind for the first time and we’ll have to adjust some things to take care of them.