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Neal Brown Press Conference: “How You Live Your Life Matters”

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

This week is different, we gave the players and staff time off. It was a solid three-phase win against the TCU Horned Frogs. I want to give a shout out to our fans, they’ve done a great job, Kansas State Wildcats and TCU. It’s felt like college football. I also note should that our gameday and event management crew have done a great job of creating a homefield advantage.

I thought our staff did a really good job on Saturday. Our special teams coaches did a good job in our coverage scheme, both on our punt team and our kickoff team. Winston Wright Jr had a chance to house one, he missed a cut. I thought they limited explosive plays. We got under the RPO windows. Offensively, we kept them off-balance. I thought we had some good protections answers. We changed our run game a little bit. A credit to our staff.

I want to recognize our Big 12 Players of the Week - TJ Simmons. Two critical touchdown receptions, both of which were contested catches, which is big for him. Really proud of him. He’s had three really good weeks of practice. I’m a firm believer that if you practice at a high level then your going to have success in the game. He’s had two weeks in a row he’s played at a high level.

Tykee Smith, he’s someone I’ve talked about as being under the radar after the game and then for him to win Defensive Player of the Week. I’ve said this multiple times I think he’s playing his position best in the league.

Improvement in Run Game from ‘19 to ‘20

I think when you look at a whole i knew we weren’t going to get it fixed in a years time. I knew we would make improvements but to be at a championship level. we have to continue that improvement. We’re not - you can look at the statistics - we’re not at a championship level at running the football but we are much improved. We devoted a lot of time, since December of last year, all through the month of July, really working on it. We put a huge emphasis on it. I think that work has paid off, but I dont think its a finished product. We still have work to do to take it to the next level

Tykee Smith

He plays our spear position, essentially a nickel position. At that position you have to be able to play the run, be a 7th fitter in the box. You hav eto be able to play man converage, zone coverage and you have to be able to blitz. Most people asking others to play that position ask theirs to do similar. The one thing that separates him from others is he really good job of playing perimeter blocks. He tears off those blocks. He makes plays on the ball, which is osmething that other guys don’t make plays on the ball. What’s his ceiling? I think he has several things he has to continue to work on. I think his best football is in the future. Some of the things he has to work on are changing his body. Improving his long speed, he has great short area quickness. He runs well but i think he can run better. He can improve his man coverage. He’s gonna have to be versatile. He is going to have to be able to play at the high safety and low to make him available in the next level.

Jarret Doege- Football protection

He’s brother had a run at Tech and we had a kid name Levi Brown at Troy that went on a really long run too. There’s some luck. The tomlinson kid dropped one on Saturday so there’s luck involved too. He’s decision making has been good. He does a good job with his eyes. If you don’t have your eyes on safeties and your eyes on windows, thats when your interception numbers go up. Outside of one play on Saturday where he should have taken a sack, he got called for grounding, his when to scramble, when to take the sack, when to throw it away, those decisions have been much better since the Baylor overtime.

Recruiting Class

Yes, we’ll back one or two [spots for transfers]. We have to improve our depth on defense. Really young on offense. You never know what’s going to happen in the portal. In house. Defensively we have to improve our depth at linebacker and safety. That’s where we’ll focus the rest of this class.

QB Qualities - Recruiting

I think there are some givens - high character, you’re looking for a guy that has leadership skills and you want a guy who has an extremely good work ethic. Then you want to see how they perform in high pressure situations. Then their release point because I believe there are some things you can fix and some things you can’t fix. And the role of a being a dual threat is more important now than it ever has been. Competitiveness is hard to see on film, you have to see them in person to see that.

Jarret - No P5 offers

In all fairness, I haven’t watched his high school film in a really long time. I know he was really skinny coming out, but I don’t want to speak on it. I was in Lexington when he was coming out. There’s misses in recruiting all the time. Recruiting is not an exact science. You’re trying to project. QBs get over analyzed. Sometimes you’re trying to find a reason not to take them and that happens in QB recruiting. Was he under recruited? Yeah without a doubt. I think he’s proven some of his doubters wrong right now.

Young OL

I think we’re much improved on the offensive line. Our communication is better, our chemistry is better. We’re better upfront than we were last year. We’re not where we want to be but we’re better and a lot of that goes to Matt Moore. Those young guys, the three those have in common, they love football and its really really important. You say doesn’t everyone love football? No. I wish that was the case. I wish every scholarship and every player were eating it up and thinking about football when they weren’t here, but that’s not the case. But those three guys its really important to them. From a preparation standpoint, they work at it. They watch their opponents, they take coaching and I think that gives you a chance. You have to grow them. Parker Moorer is a great example, kept putting in the work and trusting the climb and now he’s seeing success.

Josh Chander-Semeto status

too early to tell what his availability is for Oklahoma Sooners. Tony and Exree played every snap in the game at the Mike and Will position. Dylan Tonkery can play the Mike, practiced there and he would be the second in line. Noah Guzman can come in and play the Will position. If needed to, Jake Abbott can give some snaps at that position too.

Recruiting Numbers with Free Year

Its complicated. You have a group of seniors who can come. You have most of your ‘21 class already committed. And you have transfers who will have immediately eligibility. I think it will affect the 2022 class more than your 2021 class. It won’t affect us as much as other people. We’re operating with lower scholarship numbers and we have a relatively small senior class. I think it will have less effect on us than it will on others.

Tykee Smith

AT that position you want a big physical corner. If you look at the NFL that’s what its roaming too. That’s what we would like to have a big physical corner. Tykee could go play corner in this league. Offense, Defense, Special Teams, you try to feature your best players and he is one of our best football players. And we’re trying to put him in position. If he’s not our best tackler, he’s one of them and we’re trying to put him in position.

Assessment of Corners

I think they’re improving. I credit Jamaal for that. Nicktroy and Dreshaun have basically played exclusively at that position. I think we’ve done a good job schematically helping them out. I think each one of them has gotten better. We’ve played more man coverage lately and the confidence we have in Dreshaun and Nicktroy.

Passing of John Schlarman

Really tough day yesterday. Back in Lexington. I left really early yesterday morning and came back. I had a chance to speak at his memorial service. Really close friend of mine. We worked together at Troy and the Univeristy of Kentucky. I think there are a lot of things right about our profession. I said this about him yesterday. I think he battled valiantly for over two years the cancer that eventually took his life. He taught some invaluable lessons. And how you live your life matters. We talk to our kids about how you play the game matters. Everything you do from practice to a game is filmed. I tell our kids this and John and I talked about this when I was at Troy. What you put on film matters. It tells your story. So if you’re a tough guy, your film should show you’re a tough guy. If you’re physical, it should show physical. If you’re an over achiever, that’s what your video should do. I think how you live your life matter. He lived with such humility and put others first. Tough day. I love that guy. I feel for his wife and his four young kids. And that football program. A guy that meant something to them. 45 years old and that’s way too soon.

Rotation of Defensive Lineman

Defensively, we got burned by that against Texas Tech and that was our fault as a staff. Sometimes as a staff, you’re relunctant to play guys who don’t have experience, but they only get experience if you play them. I thought we played our defensive linemen too much in the Texas Tech game and they didn’t have enough gas in the tank left. We played them early against Texas and I think our guys - our first group - played better in the second half because of it. Our second group has to continue to get better and come on but we have a lot of trust in them.