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Neal Brown Press Conference “Texas Isn’t a Rival”

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

Happy Election Day, I hope everyone has done their patriotic duty and voted. Big win on Saturday against Kansas State Wildcats, I have a lot of respect for Coach Klieman and their staff. I appreciate our fans, I appreciate everyone who came out and supported us. The win and celebrating Halloween with the family made for a good weekend.

Negatives first - we got hit with one long kickoff return. I think their average starting position was the 23 [yard line] but they got out in front to the 49 on one of them. We have to punt the ball better. We only punted twice, which is a positive, but we have to get more hang time to give ourselves time to get down there. Positives - made two field goals. Casey Legg was ready and made some kicks, especially the one from the 45. Our punt coverage continues to be a bright spot. We had really good surge on the field goal that they missed.

Defense - Two drives, a couple of explosive plays. Second drive of the game we had a good goalline stand and forced them to kick a field goal. We just lost focus on the touchdown drive with our eyes. Lot of positives on defense. We played with effort and physicality. We had three take aways. Very good against the run. Our pass defense was the best all year.

Negatives - not taking advantage of the two turnovers [on offense]. The goalline series we had 2nd to goal on the 1 and had a penalty that pushed us back. Positives, several explosive plays in the run game and pass game. And we were able to run the clock out in the second half.

Explosive Plays - Organic or Play Calls

Both. If you look at them our exp plays there were some schematically we had a say in but others we just won one on one. Bryce, he won, Doege caught him in stride and then he was able to run away from people. I think its a mixtures. Sometimes its winning one on one. Sometimes you see things schematically but often its players winning one on one.

Voting Today

We spent a lot of time [talking about voting]. Through some of the social justice things we were doing. We have an inclusion committee in our program. Voting was the topic a few times, not only voting but the history of voting, the importance of voting. Not just the presidential election but the local elections and understanding the ballot.

Without Tempo - Lots of Plays

We’ve been able to get a lot of first downs and been good on defense on third down. That’s been the formula. We’ve stepped on the gas a bit but haven’t done it consistently. That’s been the formula but running the ball is part of it.

Sam Ehlinger - More Dangerous In or Out of the Pocket

I think both. Early in his career that was the assessment [that he was a running quarterback] but that’s not true anymore. He’s gotten really comfortable in the pocket. He gets the ball out on time. His accuracy has improved. He is a capable runner and they will run him. He does a good job when the play breaks down but he’s very efficient too.

Square Peg In The Big 12 / Kicked Out of the Air Raid

We’ve thrown for 300 yards passing the last few weeks. Our passing isn’t bad, we’re top 20, 25 in the country. If you look at that tree, our roots, everyone has tried to establish the run. If for no other reason, to give your defense a rest and a fighting chance. That’s one reason, going back to Troy Trojans, we started doing that, for our defense as much as our offense. I think the league has changed. We’ve talked about this with our beat people. There’s been a lot of turnover in the head coaches throughout the league. The recruiting has improved tremendously in my mind. There's still some of the best offensive minds in the country here. We’ll go against one this week. But now you’re seeing a lot of innovation on the defensive side.

If you look at Kansas State Wildcats, they’ve played really good defense. Iowa St. Cyclones, they’ve played really good defense. They’ve already played some of the top offenses so their numbers are skewed. I think there's really good quality defense being played here.

Mike O’Laughlin

This is the first year he’s had a fighting chance. He came here at 190 pounds. Tore his ACL first practice. Came back and got forced into action and was fighting an uphill battle. Now he’s at a position with his body weight and strength where he can compete week in and week out. He’s always had really good body control. Not only him but TJ Banks has given us quality snaps all year long.

Texas Longhorns - Adopted Rival

We’re excited to play Texas, I don’t necessarily believe its a rivalry game. I think our rivals are in our geographic footprint and I don’t think Texas is looking at West Virginia as a rival. It’s a Big 12 conference game. The way I look at it is in baseball you play a lot of games. Basketball you play a lot of games. Football you play 12, 13, 14 at the most. This year we’re playing 10. You better be ready to go every week. Is there going to be extra juice because we’re playing Texas? Not in my opinion. They’re the next team. I have a ton of respect for Texas, that program. I think its great for our kids to go play in that stadium, but I don’t think of it as a rivalry game. I don’t think Texas looks at it that way either. I could be wrong. It’s a Big 12 conference game that’s vitally important for both teams who are trying to stay in the fight to get to Dallas [for the Big 12 Conference Championship game]

Injury Updates

Chase went down for one play. Maybe two. He played. He’s a little sore because most lineman are. He’s fine. VanDarius wasn’t able to practice at full speed so he wasn’t able to play. I think its a little early to decide on him this week. The guys playing in his position are playing well. Evan, unfortunately is out for the year and will have surgery next week.

Is It Dangerous To Lead Texas

They are a group that plays really, really well from behind. That speaks to him. He’s calm. You think about his career, how many games he’s played. How many close games he’s played. Games that came down to the wire. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Actually I think they’ve had three. Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys and Texas Tech Red Raiders that went to overtime. He’s really brought them back in the fourth quarter. I’ve only met him a couple of times but he’s a guy that comes off to me as a winner. He’s got some mental toughness about him. He’s got some leadership, some charisma that guys follow. When you have that type of personality combined with the talent, guys are going to follow him. He’s been able to make plays.

Tony Fields - Solo Tackles vs Assisted Tackles

I really don’t have a good answer for you. We’ve put a really big emphasis on running to the football with great effort. We’re doing that for the most part so that might be a reason for the assist but I don’t have a great answer.

Tackles / Depth

John Hughes left the game early in the first quarter, he’ll be ready for the game. Briason Mays finished the game. We’ve talked about this, our depth on the offensive line is not where we want it or where it needs to be. We have some guys who are making significant progress. We have guys committed to us. Its a process. The offensive line is the hardest position to recruit. I say that all the time and I mean it. I think we’re two years away from depth wise where we want to be. Overall, we don’t have anyone playing at the level of McKivitz was last year individually, but as a whole, that unit is much improved. That’s a credit to the work they’ve done. That’s a credit to Chase. Matt Moore teaching and coaching that group.